Party Conference Motions

June 25, 2000

As is usual at this time of year many constituencies have debated and put forward motions for the Party Conference.   The only problem is, they will not be debated.   In a letter to Constituency Chairmen the Chairman of the Party (Michael Ancram MP) and the President of the National Convention ( Raymond Monbiot) have jointly said "We will not this year, be asking for the normal range of motions for Conference to be submitted"
The reason for this is the Pre Manifesto.    This "will be drawn up by the Shadow Cabinet by the end of July following extensive consultations with the Party, in the eight weeks preceding, through comprehensive Policy Forums around the country".   "the main elements of the Manifesto are to be published at the end of August"
"All Party members will then be invited to ballot on proposals during the second half of September".   We will announce at the Conference the result of the promised Ballot of members on the main elements of our eventual Manifesto which will be published in what will be called the Pre-Manifesto".
"rather than debating three month old motions it would be sensible if the Conference used the opportunity to discuss the key aspects of the draft Manifesto."
Have I missed something?   The Conference is going to debate a document which has already been sent to Party members and on which a ballot has already taken place.   Would it not have been more sensible to debate the document at Conference and amend it if necessary and then to put the amended document to a ballot of members?   But that would be democratic.   Heaven forbid, we cannot expect that in a Party where the Chairman is appointed so unaccountable to the members, so democracy is squashed again.

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