This post was originally published on Lib Dem Voice and can be found here :
Friday, 7 March 2014
Let’s Move to OMOV
Following on from Sue Doughty’s excellent invitation to the consultation session on OMOV for our party’s important committees, I’d like to give my perspective as a young(er) member on why I will be supporting this move at conference this weekend.
Sometimes people on the inside of the party can forget what it’s like to be on the outside, and also what it’s like to be a new member. Imagine for a minute you’ve just joined the party, your eyes and ears full of ideas. You’ve joined the party because of a shining commitment to involving the whole party in policy, something the party is rightly proud of and you’re likely to have heard about from the leadership, your local party and conference itself.
Then conference time rolls around, you excitely sign up and you find you can’t vote on policy, or even the make-up of the committees as you’re not a conference rep, a concept you’ve may not have heard of! Perhaps you’ve joined through the website as an every growing number of us are now, and haven’t been able to get in touch with your local party yet? How disappointing would that be? Unmet expectations are at the bottom of a lot of dissatisfaction with politics. So, let’s take a moment to contemplate how much worse it would be if you’re that rare breed, someone with enough oomph to join a political party, especially the one that prides itself on member involvement and is looked on with envy by the others?
Some might say this detracts from holding the leadership to account, but I can’t see how - as the committees will still be there, only elected from a more comprehensive franchise - it’s the same structure but with a more inclusive franchise, a more modern one. It would be a very conservative view to assume there aren’t any improvements to be had from where we are, one looking back and not forward. I want to be part of a progressive party.
Some might say that they don’t understand our motives, but in reality they are clear - we want to improve the membership experience, include more party members in the franchise and stand up for democracy and an egalitarian approach to our party.
I look forward to this debate, because I hear from my younger friends, newer members and people that for whatever reason can’t be part of their local party structure, how frustrated they are with not being able to vote on policy or party committees. Let’s go forward to the future, and understand every liberal and democratic voice, through working to make more of our decisions mandated by more of our members.