Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Replying to SLF blog on OMOV

The Social Liberal forum website has published this 

http://socialliberal.net/2014/09/17/conference-voting-reps-and-omov/

I'd like to reply as someone that's been involved in the process. I've also submitted this as a comment but it's awaiting moderation and I wanted to get my response out as soon as possible.

1. This isn’t about bypassing activists, it’s exactly the opposite. Ask around on twitter or at conference itself, and you’ll find many people that want to particpate MORE, not less by voting in motions.
2. It’s not a “very small problem of people wanting to attend and not be able to vote”.
People that aren’t able to vote include
a. Younger members in bigger established parties where certain “known faces” take the conference spaces. This can also cause some people to take those spaces but not attend conference, which seems perverse and counterproductive
b. People in quieter local parties.
c. Younger people again who move house frequently because of our rental market which means landlords can turf people out at a couple of months notice. As you then may have to join another local party and get the coveted conference space, this may not be a possibility. This very thing has happened to me in the past and will happen more and more as the % of renters compared to homeowners begins to increase.
3. In the consultation I think it’s actually mentioned that people are joining through other means rather than activists. It is of course important for local activists to recruit and the party has done a lot to make it easier for them to do so, to motivate activists and to make sure they see the fruits of their recruitment back in the local party. And apparently it’s working w
wonders.

4. Also, by putting so much in the hands of local parties that are primarily concerned with getting elections won (of course!) and also are unpaid volunteers, why are we exposing ourselves to people who have actually signed up as conference reps being not submitted by their local party for one reason or another, and therefore as such they, and the local party are disenfranchised? According to information received from the Membership Services team, this amount of people can be nearly 20 at conference time, so could be the case for a significant amount of policy decisions that people have been disenfranchised. 
5. I think the final point, that nobody had heard of OMOV in the writer’s local party, rather counts against his argument. If the local party isn’t informed enough, why should it be the ONLY way of one getting to be a conference rep ?

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