Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Brief Conference Report Back

An interesting contrast to the Green Party Conference in Liverpool that ended on Sunday is being provided by the Lib Dem Conference. While the Green conference had a set-piece debate on whether or not the Party should have a single or co-leader (with the Yes side arguing that it would give us better media profile and Green Empowerment arguing that it wouldn't necessarily and would bring other dangers)the Lib Dem conference seems to have sparked a media frenzy of attacks on the Lib Dem's leader, Ming Campbell. Whilst the mainstream media payed little attention to the Green Conference's excellent motions and did not even pay much attention to the leader debate, with the Lib Dems they have (at least the BBC and broadsheets) uncritically reported the Lib Dems latest tranche of environmental policies but overshadowed this with constant referrals to their leadership issues.

I thought that the Green Conference in Liverpool was quite well attended (the leadership debate brought quite a few people) and there were a range of very good, well attended fringes and workshops. There was a moving speech from a Kurdish representative and the two principal speaker speeches were solid. The venue, The Cornerstone at Liverpool Hope University, was impressive (though one wonders about the carbon footprint of all those high ceilinged rooms in winter!)

Green Left, the Green Party Trade Union Group and Green Empowerment fringes were all well attended and interesting, with contributions from a Romanian Green, Paul Cooney of Unison in Huddersfield and a former leading Lib Dem activist respectively. Green Empowerment's "Party Leader - No Thanks" stickers went down very well.

The Revue had some hilarious sketches including a reworking of Monty Python's Three Yorkshiremen Sketch into a "Greener than thou" competition (laughing at ourselves is a useful corrective to taking ourselves too seriously)and a sharp satire on the "George Monbiot quote affair" from Shahrar Ali.

The tasks for the coming period are now quite clearly set out -
* from a Green Empowerment POV to get through the leader referendum with maximum unity (whilst hoping, and working hard, for a rejection of the proposal) and try to work to develop further the membership empowerment and mobilisation that is required.
* from a GPTU group point of view to build around the NHS campaign and seek a big mobilisation for the 3rd November demo, support the Remploy campaign and also work for maximised support for the February TU conference on climate change.
* from a Green Left POV to have a successful presence at the forthcoming International Ecosocialist Conference in Paris and continue to build the links and profile of the current - also to maintain Green Party presence and involvement in the anti-war movement.
* for the Party as a whole we must be as ready as we can for Brown calling an election, but also work towards maximising success in the coming London and European elections. The current high profile of Climate Change related issues, financial instability and international affairs gives us the best chance to get our ideas across for a long time.

Here is the GPTU group report on the conference and the text of some of the motions we put forward.

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