Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Green Party Conference Blackpool Spring 2009

Phew. Green Party Conference Blackpool Spring 2009 is over, vanishing only slightly slower than a dream evaporates on waking. What did it mean?

A few hundred (400?) determined people, old friends and new, meeting to exchange information about their common purpose, the aim of securing a worthwhile quality of life for our children and succeeding generations. 400 humans expending huge amounts of time and energy to achieve that end by struggling against enormous odds to get onto the first rung of political power by persuading ordinary people to vote for them.

Masses of information exchanged, and my head is saturated with words, so I will only report a few. There is an official report here.

My own main job was to help get the acceptance of the economics voting paper, including the amendment on monetary reform. This clears the way for the Green Party to press Government to take over from the banks the power to create new money, specifically for the benefit of environment and society.

The second pleasure was to find that Darren Johnson, one of the Green representatives on the London Assembly, has been taking forward a suggestion I made a couple of conferences ago, that mains water pumps should be installed in high buildings in London, allowing water pressure in the London mains to be lowered, thus reducing losses from the leaks in the system. He has been on the case, and it is happening.

Second, Darren has been pushing forward the collection of used cooking oil from London's deep fat frying establishments. Instead of going down to clog London's sewers, (just as the rest of the oils have been going to block Londoners' coronary arteries), the oil will be used to power the taxi fleet. Darren assures me that the processing is so good that the taxis will not smell of fish and chips. Pity, that, I would like London to smell of chips, it would bring more tourists in.

So - a five minute conversation with a Green Party representative leads to significant improvements in the system.

This time I suggest that he should get London Underground to display "Keep Left" signs prominently throughout the Underground walkways, to ease the flow of walking travellers. Darren listens, and says "It Shall Be Done". This is the power of Green Politics In Action.

I will not take up your valuable time with a detailed account of the rest of the three days, except to say that the best bits for me were conversations with people like Bill Rigby who is running the Marine Reservations Campaign, which aims to remedy the falling fish stocks in our waters, and conversations with Samir Chatterjee, who has been campaigning successfully to get a wind farm accepted near Rochedale. The LibDems and Labour opposed the farm, but in the end, Samir’s campaigning won the day. At the ribbon cutting ceremony the wind farm company invited the Lab and LibDems to the photo-opportunity, but failed to invite the Greens.
Charming. A vignette of our position in the political world. Greens do the real work, and the Greys get their photos in the paper. Ah well. Twas ever thus…

Last note: At one stage I thought that the anti-leadership section of the Party had boycotted the Conference, due to the absence of several prominent faces in the anti-leadership campaign. However, I have checked, and can now report that there was no such boycott. I can understand the feelings of people who prefer a grassroots Green Party without a leadership, but they have to admit that the Green Party is getting more national coverage with Caroline as Leader. She had several (4?) broadcasts over the weekend, and is on Question Time this Thursday. Unless the programmers pull her off at the last minute.


Green Gordon said...

Is that true? Did they boycott the last one? Why now?

Matt Sellwood said...


Are you sure that is true? I saw a number of people who were prominently anti-leader there.


P.S. Including me. No-one told me about a boycott. Maybe I'm not in the club...

DocRichard said...

Well, I just heard it mentioned in conversation, did a mental check list of traditionalists, and decided that they were a bit thin on the ground. I may be wrong.

Green Gordon said...

I'd be more inclined to blame it on geography.

DocRichard said...

ell, I'll ask around...

Noel Lynch said...

Where did you get the silly idea of a boycott? A casual glance at the agenda motions, the fringes or even the Revue would have proved you wrong. There has been no boycott, so why are you 'shit-stirring'? In my case, I was not there because I could not justify the cost.
Furthermore, Green Empowerment were never 'the anti-leadership faction' We opposed 'a leader' not 'leadership'
Another mistake is the reference to the Greater London Assembly. There is no such body. It's the London Assembly, which is part of the Greater London Authority.

Finally, where did you get the idea of all this great publicity? We are getting no more publicity now than when we had PSs. However, things have changed for the better recently, with the new regime in the media office.
You really do need to be more accurate in your postings

DocRichard said...

OK, OK, I'm sorry! I was wrong. I misinterpreted the absence of Brig, Penny, Jenny and David. I have checked with one in the know, and there was no organised boycott, though my source tells me that there is a sense of disappointment and slight demotivation among the ranks of the anti-leadership group.

Joseph said...

I would echo Noel's points. As a prominent anti-leader person I played an active role in this conference, even having coffee with you at one point and telling you that I read your blog.

The anti-leader group was a broad church. Green Left were strongly represented at this conference. There were others who were not. Gordon is right that georgraphy is a factor. And yes we lost many good activists over the issue and some people are still demotivated. What did you expect? Dancing in the aisles?

DocRichard said...

Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa

Will that be enough? I can do more if you like.
I have amended the blog.

weggis said...

WRT to Joseph’s comment above.

I would like to point out that the Green Party itself is also a broad church. I would not describe myself as “left”, but I am a member of the same party as Joseph, Derek and others. There is something, perhaps intangible, perhaps the core values, that binds us together. Maybe it’s just a question of language?

It is a sad fact of life that those who put in the work and the hours expect to get their own way, and when that doesn’t happen, because occasionally armchair members like me stand up and are counted, they throw a wobbly and go off to sulk.

I find this rather surprising with “Green Party members” who should realise that human endeavour and evolution are all about adaptation and adjusting to the circumstances.

Green Gordon said...

2 quick questions:
1. How has the media office changed for the better?
2. Why has the Leader situation led to demotiviation? It shouldn't make that much difference to the day-to-day in the grass roots.

p.s. Richard, I enjoyed your chairing. Can you believe we got through all business? I actually had a dream last night that we still had one more day of policy plenaries.

Green Gordon said...

(point 2 should have said 'in my opinion')

Hen Blackpool said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DocRichard said...

Spam deleted. Apols for not responding, Gordon. Too late now.