Monday, May 17th, 2010

miss_s_b: (Default)
Lots of people have already written about special conference, so I'm not going to rehash everything that's already been said. I do want to thank [personal profile] po8crg for being such a lovely chauffeur, and buying me breakfast. It was lovely to see so many of the Lib Dem Massive, even if there were a lot of white heterosexual blokes in suits called David (some of them far sexier than others - my my, doesn't [personal profile] djm4 scrub up well?). There were loads of people not called David* too, and I lost count of all the hugs and kisses I got from people who I really do consider to be part of my family these days.

Ros chaired with her usual grace and humour. Evan moved a brilliant amendment (which I signed! :)) complete with Woddy Allen reference, as did the gravelly-voiced sex pot and Dave Page, the world's most activist activist. But my wildest cheers were reserved for [personal profile] djm4 and [personal profile] sashajwolf's amendment on the Digital Economy Act, Daddy Alex's fabulous and witty intervention, and everyone's favourite eMP Lynne Featherstone, who did an absolutely barnstorming speech about working on the Equalities brief. I'm afraid I giggled through Simon Hughes's speech because he sounded more and more like Davros as he carried on, and the fact that the person next to me (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) saying ... and with this coalition, I SHALL HAVE THAT POWER!!!! in Davrosian tones did not help stifle my giggles.

Anyway, I came away from the conference feeling pretty euphoric, despite being ripped from the bosom of my family by an impending shift at work. We're not in any danger of losing our identity, or being subsumed by the Tories. We've not lost our radicalism, our integrity, or our sense of humour. We're a vibrant, diverse party with a determination to do good that I have never seen in any other organisation. I think the guys at the naughtily-named Nick Clegg fan blog said it best:

Whatever the eventual result of this coalition, I'm proud that we've taken the risk to get our policies implemented, I'm proud to be a part of this family, and I'm proud to have voted in favour of the main motion and all of the amendments to it. We're doing the right thing, and it feels good.

* aside from all those mentioned above, shouts going out to El Presidente and Lady Mark; Sian, Emma and Manny; Adrian, Jason, Romer, Crofty and the rest of the stewarding crew; Mummy Helen, Daddies Richard and Alex, and Millennium; Tessa Munt, Lynne Featherstone and Linda Jack; Susan Gasczack (one day I shall learn to spell your name) Jon Ball, Ian and the rest of the FCC and FE gangs; Ali G, Dazmondo from Bracknell Blog, Mark Reckons, Lloyd Harris, Andy Strange, James Blanchard and Gareth Epps; and most importantly of all the smallest conference delegate, Steph Ashley's daughter Alex, who is AMAZING and very cool, and I want to introduce her to Holly as soon as possible, because I think they would get on like a maison en flambé.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
I am in favour of Lords Reform, but not of an elected upper chamber. This is not because of the nascent campaign to get me enobled, but because of the function I think the upper house should be performing. The upper house should be scrutinising the proposed legislation of the government, weeding out badly drafted and impractical legislation, and amending wording as necessary. Given my background (law degree, bar vocational qualification, five years doing voluntary work at the CAB) I actually reckon I'd be fairly well qualified for that, but I don't think I would get elected to an upper house. I think people who get elected to the upper house will be overwhelming skewed towards the rich, white, heterosexual men called David who also feature disproportionately in the commons. People vote for what they think a politician looks like, and that is what a politician looks like in many people's eyes.

Neither, though, do I think that the current appointment system is anything like good enough. Each incoming government frantically packs the chamber with its cronies, some of whom have allegedly paid for the priviledge, and it looks like we are going to be no different in that regard. The excuse that we are rebalancing the house to fit the wishes of the electorate will not wash with them; they will see it as further proof of the venality and corruption of all politicians, and telling them we are doing it for their own good will only infuriate them further. We have hundreds and hundreds of peers, and it really isn't necessary.

Why not abolish the current house altogether, and have an independent committee to appoint a small number of working peers - say 100 - after extensive job interview style testing to do the job that needs doing? No need for Lords Spiritual. No need for packing - no OPPORTUNITY for packing - and proper scrutiny and examination of candidates before they get appointed.

Sadly, I think an elected house is an easier sell, and that is the way we will end up going. And the Tories have insisted on grandfathering existing peers. So the House is only going to get bigger, not smaller, as we "balance" it with people who are on our side. This is why #jennieforbaroness discomfits me so much; I think I could do it, I'd like to do it, but the whole system is so rotten that I feel dirty just thinking about it, and it will be very easy to paint me as believing in lots of things I don't if it happens... A bit like being in coalition government with the Tories, then. ;)
miss_s_b: (Who: Six (ot3))
I finally got around to watching this week's Doctor Who, and I think you're all going to know what I'm going to say. Why can't she SPOILER! )

Looking forward to next week, though. Especially after Special Conference, and the holes in the floor showing the cavernous space millimetres beneath us...

About This Blog

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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