Party Conference Thoughts

Posted on September 10, 2010 at 11:31 pm,

I’ve spent today at my first ever Green Party conference, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts about it. When I arrived, I wandered around the exhibition stalls, before going into the opening speeches.

Caroline Lucas was really good, highlighting some of our successes, some of our ideas, and making the case why disaffected voters from each of the big three parties might want to consider us. She was followed by the leader of the Welsh party, who basically made a case for why cuts would hit Wales (and other similar regions) hard, and why the Greens are the best placed to oppose them. He also did a bit in Welsh.

After that, we had a Plenary session, which is basically where we discuss motions brought to conference and vote for them. This one was a fairly trivial one about accepting a report, and finished early – which appears to have been quite an achievement. It was followed by hustings for the position of Party Leader (the options being Caroline Lucas and Re-Open Nominations) and Deputy Leader (Adrian Ramsey, Derek Wall, and Re-Open Nominations). I went in to the hustings leaning towards voting for Adrian, but came out absolutely on the fence about who would be best.

The rest of the day I went to fringe events (a term which covers a very wide range of things). So I went to one by the Jubilee Debt Campaign, which touched on a whole range of issues about international relations and the monetary and economic system, rather than just third world debt (which is still as much of an issue as it was back in the 90s when we made it big news). I also went to an introduction to conference session, to ensure I understood everything that was going on. Plus an event organised by the Young Greens about the effect of the cuts on younger people. Like the debt meeting, this one covered a wide range of issues – about the effect cuts will have on public services for various vulnerable groups, and about the way the system has given younger people today a much rougher deal than their parents and grandparents had.

We finished the day with the announcement of the leader and deputy leader ballots, and to nobody’s surprise, Caroline Lucas and Adrian Ramsey were re-elected to the posts.

So, overall, it was a rather enjoyable first day. I now understand how it works, and am looking forward to the rest of it. The one thing that struck me, though, was that there aren’t any real timetabled breaks. There’s 10 minutes between sessions, with no mealtime breaks in the timetable. If you want to eat, you either have to do so quickly, or you have to miss something.

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