miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-09-19 11:17 am
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Well, I survived.

I did GLEEEE and it felt like it was a good one and I got a whole four hours' sleep and I chaired the first debate of the morning (link here for those in the UK) and it didn't all go horribly wrong and nobody tried to suspend standing orders on me.

The next thing is Not The Leaders' Speech. Which, the way things are going, will be in the sodding directory by Spring.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-09-18 07:02 pm
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Report from #ldconf... what day is it today? Monday?

Running round like a blue arsed fly.
Have chaired first thing - health spokesperson Q&A with Liz Barker, Joan Walmsley, and Norman Lamb. I think it went quite well. Have also done MOAR aideing, HSLD AGM, and am now preparing for GLEEEEEEE.
I voted on some stuff, but none of it was controversial.

I have also undertaken to do a post (after conf) on How To Fill In a Speaker's Card, with examples. I am looking forward to doing this. Right, must dash...
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
2017-09-17 09:00 am
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Yesterday at #ldconf: what I did and how I voted

I went to the Opening of conference, and was impressed by how quickly El Presdente got it done - because she knew what was coming. The FCC report was passed, as is custom, and then the debate about suspending standing orders happened. There was a counted vote, despite some idiot protesting it wasn't necessary (IMHO on these contentious things you don't want to leave ANY room for doubt) so we know the exact margin, and it was 4-1 in favour of suspension. Obviously I voted in favour of suspending standing orders. I voted to pass the FPC report, and then it was time for an FCC Meeting. Now that we knew what was going to happen in F17, we had to plan it.

Then, because I was going to be stage aide on F6 The Paris Agreement, Zoe (who was chairing it) & I went to plan the session - deciding what order to call speakers, etc. When it came to The Paris Agreement debate itself, as I got on stage I suddenly realised I had parted my hair the wrong side, and every time I looked at the speaker I was presenting a curtain of hair to the audience. Also, if I needed further incentive to lose a little weight, I can only just fit my ample derriere into the chair provided...

I grabbed a (rather manky) toastie, and then lurked in the back of the First timers' Q&A session, mainly to check that the sort of answers I have been giving when newbies ask me stuff had some congruence with official answers. Then there was more debate planning, this time for F10 The Natural Environment. Apparently while I was doing this I missed some barnstorming speeches in the Impact of Brexit on Public Services debate. Still, as I was Hall Aide rather than Stage Aide for the Natural Environment motion, I actually got to vote in the debate - my first policy vote of the conference. I voted in favour of the amendment, then in favour of the motion as amended, as did pretty much everyone else.

Then, while everyone else was at the rally, I had Safeguarding Training - compulsory for FCC members - followed by a quick dash to the pub to obtain food. We dragged a journo along with us and talked to him about trains. I think he secretly quite liked being at conference. Then there was the First timers' Reception -this is another thing I have to do as a committee member. Go and wander round looking approachable and asking people how they are finding conference. I think I was actually helpful to some people - showing them a speaker's card and explaining how to fill it in and things.

Then, for the first time ever, I was inveigled into going to the lib dem Disco. It started with headbanging to rage against the machine and ended with a drunken impromtu rendition of Poisoning Pigeons In The Park on the street outside.

All in all a reasonably successful day. Today is a bit less full on, although I do have ALL THE LGBT+ THINGS tonight... Now have to dash to the venu to get to (you guessed it) an FCC meeting.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-09-16 07:45 am
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Report Back from FCC Friday Sept 15th (very brief)

Per my last report back from FCC, for various reasons the contentious vote was retaken, I voted the other way, and it went the other way, by 6 votes to 7 this time (there were more of us attending).

So there's going to be a mini debate on the suspension of standing orders, with a maximum of six speakers with a maximum of two minutes' speaking time each. It's going to be chaired by Mary Reid, who is absolutely scrupulous about debate balance and fairness. Whatever happens, I think it's going to be interesting.

Other things that happened included boring stuff like checking everyone knew which debates they were chairing/aideing/hall aideing, people covering stuff that other people could suddenly not do (I'm going to be chairing a spokespeople Q&A session now as well as a debate), a tour of the venue so we know where all the backstage bits you guys don't get to see are, and then chair's training, which is always huge amounts of fun.

For the first time I got one with absolutely no clue as to what the problem I was going to be faced with was, and I think I did OK. SO I'm a tiny bit less nervous about debate chairing...

Now off to have breakfast, and then going to the hall for The Contentious Vote.

If you're in Bournemouth and you spot me, do say hi. My hair is bright purple this year, and today I am wearing this t-shirt.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2017-09-12 07:07 pm
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Report Back from FCC Saturday Sept 9th

So, as promised in my election campaign, I am reporting back after FCC. Zoe's factual report on which amendments etc were and were not selected has gone up on LDV. If you have any questions about any of them, do feel free to ask and I'll answer as best I can.

cut for non Lib Dems, who I am sure don't want to hear all of our internal wranglings )

Anyway, at some point, this party is going to have to decide whether it is in favour of representative democracy or endless plebiscites. I would rather we decide that as soon as possible, and to that end I would urge you, if you are going to Lib Dem Conference, to be in the hall, bright and early on Saturday morning, to vote IN FAVOUR of the suspension of standing orders so that we can have the debate. Please. There needs to be a 2/3 majority for it to pass. The payroll vote (or what's left of it, at any rate) will doubtless be rolled in to vote against, and I really would like to see it pass. I do not understand why the leadership of our party is so utterly dead set against us having a proper debate on the most important issue facing our country for generations, but as things stand conference is still sovereign and can still tell the leadership to sod off.

I would like to see it do so on Saturday morning.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Terrified)
2017-09-04 01:51 pm
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I have received final assignments for what I will be doing at conference for FCC...

So at spring conference in York I did a bit of Hall Aideing. This time I was expecting more of that and a bit of Stage Aideing. Maybe get my first actual thing to chair next Spring - possibly chair a speech first, to break me in easy, before chairing a debate.

So I'm Hall Aide in two things, and Stage Aide in two things.

Then I got to Tuesday morning in the schedule. Tuesday morning 9am. Tuesday morning being the morning after Glee, that Tuesday morning.



The notation for who is doing what in an agenda item for FCC is chair/stage aide/hall aide.
I'm down to chair a debate. At 9am. On Tuesday Morning. After Glee.

There now follow a couple of reaction .GIFs:

Deb from Dexter is astounded to realise you mean what you say

Blue from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, looking terrified

Now, there are two possible interpretations of this. The first is that I have performed well enough (so far) that the officers of FCC have developed confidence in me quickly, and have chosen to push me forward into chairing reasonably early as I had expressed an interest in doing it. The second is that I was one of the (more than 200) signatories to something that has caused a significant headache for the officers of FCC, and they know I host Glee, & this is the equivalent of being sent to the pantry to peel all the potatoes in the army barracks.

Myself, I'm choosing to embrace the power of "and". And also hoping like hell I don't fuck it up. And also slightly, secretly, hoping for at least one opportunity to ask somebody waaaaaaaay more powerful than me if they could please draw their remarks to a close, like my chairing idol Susan Gaszczak :)

Also, I'm really really glad I am booked in for my ritual pre-conference hairdressing appointment, and I hope Erin does as amazing a job as she normally does because OMG you guys autumn conference is televised and I'm going to be on the telly in a position of responsibility and OMG I have to not swear and shite-onna-stick this is terrifying. I mean, I am determined to do a good job, and I really want to do this, and I'm looking forward to it, but AAAAAAARGH.

Alisdair better be ready with the hip flask for me when I'm done is all I'm saying.

tl;dr: YAY but also OMG and AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-04-14 11:17 am
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FFC report from the 11th April Meeting

Sorry this is a bit late, folks, have had a bunch of stuff to do since arriving home (inc local party exec and various other things) which have meant a lack of laptop time.

ANYway...

This meeting was the debrief after conference - going through all the feedback and working out what we can do better next time, what was good, etc. I don't propose to go through everything, but I'm going to pull out some of the bits that interested me.

I'm also going to put it behind a cut for the non-LDs among you who probably don't want to exercise your scrolling finger this hard ;) )
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-04-12 09:05 am

Quick Update

- FCC report coming soon. Am currently sitting on m'friend Mary's spare bed in Surbiton having stopped over here after the meeting yesterday, tapping away on my new-to-me laptop, which I'm thinking of calling Ken (because it's very very red).

- Prior to the FCC meeting yesterday I had a somewhat more informal meeting with one of the Shadowy Gay Men Who Secretly Rule The World, which was lots of fun (because he's lovely) and very useful (because we had some interesting exchanges of information now I've become Acting Chair of LGBT+ LDs). I now have pages and pages of Stuff To Do, though...

- Next few trips to London are:
  • June 3rd (FCC) - for which I have a place to stay lined up
  • June 17th (LD English Council) - for which I could do with a place to crash on Friday the 16th
  • July 8th (FCC and Pride) - for which I'm thinking possibly make a weekend of it with [personal profile] matgb and daughter
  • July 23rd (Women's Krikkit World Cup Final)
If any of you Londonny types wish to arrange any meetings for any of those trips, do let me know :)

- Like [personal profile] solarbird I am now getting f-list slide when reading! Woo! I know it's harsh for those who have recently moved to DW from LJ, but it's almost gleeful for me. It's like LJ used to be in days of yore! Like, I might actually join some comms! Or revitalise ones I'm already in! It all feels very hopeful.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
2017-03-22 12:11 pm
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What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part three, by Jennie Rigg Aged 39 and a quarter

You may have noticed that the previous two posts were somewhat light on my usual "we debated this motion, and I voted this way on it" details. That's mostly because after I had done the reporting-back-from-FCC bits (which I pledged to do upon my candidacy for FCC - I keep my promises, me. Mostly...) the posts were already stupidly long, but also in part because my lovely friend Andrew has done an excellent summary of the salient points here, and given that I am his evil twin (or he is mine - honestly, basically the only difference between us is that I really like beards and he merely has one) I don't feel the need to reiterate his points.

For the avoidance of doubt, though, here is how I voted:
  • Emergency Motions Ballot: can't actually remember, except that I put the second Scottish referendum motion bottom (we can't mandate our MPs how to vote so it was utterly pointless, AND it's not up to English MPs to tell Scotland what to do anyway IMHO) and the Trump one next to bottom (he's not coming till October. Put a (better drafted) motion in for Autumn conference, when it will be a live and salient issue). The others I was happy to see a debate on.

  • A Rational Approach to Harm Reduction (aka the Sex Work Motion): I voted against the (mildly wrecking) amendment and for the unamended motion

  • Tackling Overcrowding in the Prison System: I voted for the amendment and the motion.

  • Britain in the EU: I went for lunch during this motion as hell would freeze over before anyone voted against it, and during the scheduled lunch break I would be prepping to aide in the health and social care debate.

  • Crisis in health and social care: I voted for the amendment, and then for the motion as amended, from my shiny shiny "seat reserved for FCC Hall Aide" seat.

  • The Biennial Trident Fudge: I Paired with Alisdair and went to the pub since we would have voted exactly oppositely on both the motion and amendment and thus cancelled each other out. The England/Ireland match was nailbiting.

  • Emergency motion: Unaccompanied Child Asylum Seekers: I voted in favour of us taking in more of them.

  • Faith Schools: We had to vote between three options, then for the amendment, then for the motion as amended or not with whichever option we voted for. I'm going to use Andrew's characterisations here: I voted against "YAY faith schools" & for "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them". Then I voted for "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them" and against the horrible and nonsensical fudge which tried to split the difference between the first two. Then I voted for the "ban all faith schools" amendment, but not enough other people did, so it fell. Then I voted for the motion unamended with the option "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them" being the winning option. And I am not ashamed to admit to shedding a tear during Sarah Brown (Cambridge)'s very moving speech. I am glad Julian and Zoe were there to give her hugs when she had finished.

    As you can tell, this was quite a complicated vote. Small FCC note: I am glad Geoff Payne was chairing it. Although I have had my disagreements with him, he has just the right sort of forensic, nitpicky, legal mind for this kind of thing, and is a very clear and non-waffly chair. He's one of only about four people I would trust with such a contentious debate with so many options, and two of them are no longer on FCC.

  • Associated Membership of the EU: I voted in favour.
I think that covers everything. So... after three long posts... Any questions?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2017-03-22 09:30 am
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What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part two, by Jennie Rigg Aged 39 and a quarter

Following on from my previous post on York conference, I thought people might be interested in how we plan the debates and how cards get chosen and things like that.

I also recognise that many of you will NOT be interested in this in the slightest, so am putting it behind a cut )



And then of course, we had Not The Leader's Speech. The tradition of Not The Leader's Speech started when Cleggy was Our Glorious Leader. I went to a couple of his leader's speeches and found them excruciating. In the pub after, a Bad Influence who must perforce remain nameless asked me why I hadn't just walked out and gone to the pub, because that's what he had done. The next conference, I walked out (after 7 minutes, as I recall) and found this same person in the pub. The conference after that... well, we just cut out the middle man and went straight to the pub, downloaded the text of the speech, and worked out at which point we would have walked out had we bothered to go in. At the height of coalition the record occurred: we both agreed we would have walked out in the second sentence of the speech. By that point, though, word had got around somewhat and there were a reasonable number of us in the pub for Not The Leader's Speech.

When Farron was first elected Glorious Leader he was fully aware that this had become a tradition. I made him a personal promise that I'd go to his first leader's speech, but with the proviso that if there was anything I didn't like I would walk out. There wasn't, and I didn't. In fact it was a really really good speech. The thing is, I still don't like leader's speeches (or for that matter, The Rally, which I always feel has a silent Nuremburg in between The and Rally). I don't like sitting there being spoonfed and not participating. I don't like the enforced conformity of the expectation to applaud in the right places (and in some cases standingly ovate). IMHO it's Just Not Liberal. So the only one of Farron's leader's speeches I have been to, and probably ever will go to, remains his first. I no longer feel the need to read the text and work out at which point I would have walked out, because I don't have that sort of fractious relationship with his leadership, but it's still nice to find a good pub, claim a room in it, and have beer and food instead of listening and clapping.

The problem this time was that the group of people going to Not The Leader's Speech has grown to more than 30. And we hadn't booked. Admittedly there were only six of us queueing outside the door waiting for the pub to open, but the rest had DMed or texted me asking for a venue and turned up in short order after. As a former barmaid, I felt really bad about doing this to the pub. I think that next time I will have to at least warn the selected pub in advance... And as Zoe said in the comments to the previous entry, now I am on FCC this is in danger of becoming an officially unofficial event... If it gets any bigger it may have to be in the Fringe guide... You can tell how uncomfortable I am with that idea by the number of ellipsis LOL.

This conference we were biefly joined by a not-Lib-Dem friend and segued off into a discussion about cricket for a while, which was lovely I don't think we terrified her too much.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my officially unofficial reports from conference: next FCC news will probably be from the Shadowy General Purposes And Resources Sub Committee, which I suspect will be quite vague and heavily redacted, so I apologise for that in advance. I will, obviously, explain exactly why I'm having to be vauge and heavily redacted if and when I am.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
2017-03-22 07:58 am
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What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part one, by Jennie Rigg Aged 39 and a quarter

The short version of What I Did At Lib Dem Conference is:

Attended lots of FCC meetings and training; co-hosted Glee for the second time; hall-aided my first debate as a member of FCC; "organised" Not The Leader's Speech.

click here for more detail on the first three )

Coming soon: What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part two: structuring an actual debate: this time it's personal PLUS Not The Leader's Speech.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
2017-02-01 11:45 am
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What I Did At Federal Conference Committee, by Jennie Rigg Aged 39 and a quarter

You may or may not have already seen the factual reports on Lib Dem Voice provided by Geoff and Zoe; I wanted to write something a bit more... human? Both of those reports contain lots of useful information, but it all seems a bit dry, and the relevance of it to the ordinary member might not be readily apparent1. I'm going to try and inject a bit more colour into things.

It was the best of committees, it was the worst of committees; it was the committee of wisdom, it was the committee of foolishness... )

ANYway...

I think I've gone long enough. Questions? Comments? Huge bottles of gin? Do feel free to pass them along...

oh, yeah, there's footnotes too )
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
2017-01-24 05:37 pm
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FCC hurdle 2: the paperwork

Guys, if you've been to LDConf you've surely seen the bundles of papers you get in the full conference pack? Imagine, oooo, about double that. And from what I have heard from more seasoned FCCers, this is not a particularly hefty meeting.

Going to need a ring binder per meeting by the looks of things. I mean theoretically I could do it all electronically, but between their insistence on using formats I don't use and therefore the lack of ease of note-taking, it was easier just to print it all out. YAY the environment!

FCC: not for the dyslexic.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
2017-01-24 02:13 pm
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FCC hurdle one: Getting to the meeting

Airy Fairy LD assertion: London is easiest for meetings! Everyone can get there, and if you're poor you can always claim expenses!

Reality: In order to claim expenses, you have to:

1, have enough money to be able to pay out in the first place in the hopes that you'll get your money back at some unspecified date;
2, have enough money that the risk of your claim being rejected is bearable;
3, get receipts for everything. Getting receipts for Oyster Travel is FUN! Especially if you only use Oyster a couple of times a year and are crap at remembering log in details.
4, if you're far enough away that you can't do the travel and get to the meeting same day*, find a place to stay that falls below the nightly allowance cap**;
5, find the cheapest tickets for your travel; in central London, this necessitates using Oyster (see point 3) because Oyster is by far the cheapest way to travel.

Now, I don't know, maybe I'm being picky here, and maybe that's because of my various brain weasels (travel anxiety being high up on that list) and, yes, those ARE hurdles I CAN get over, but it's not the MOST accessible a meeting could be...

Anyway, meeting is on both Saturday AND Sunday, so I shall report back after.



*that's on occasions when the meeting doesn't run over 2 days anyway, OfC
**good luck doing this if you don't know anyone in London with a spare room or sofa, and eternal gratitude to the person letting me have their spare room this time - the only places I found that fell below the cap were 12 bed dormitories
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-01-02 11:53 pm
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Attn London Lib Dems: Crash Space Required - updated

So, having read through the expenses regulations for federal committee members, I'm going to say two things:

1, I can see why they don't get many applicants from outside London or from the less-monied classes. I need written permission from the chair of my committee to claim for accommodation? Seriously? I live in Yorkshire, dudes. It's a two day meeting. What am I supposed to do, pick a bench outside King's Cross? FFS.

2, Any Londinium types, if you have a spare room that I could have for the evenings of Friday the 27th and Saturday the 28th of January, I would be most grateful. Because I cannot afford central London prices for a hotel on the off chance that the party might deign to reimburse me. And I'm NOT staying in a mixed dormitory for 12 people, which appears to be my only option to stick within budget even if I DID assume permission from the chair.

At least I'll be able to claim back for my train ticket…

UPDATE: Have now obtained crash space with a fellow committee member, thanks all xx
miss_s_b: Abby Scuto says Awesome (Feminist Heroes: Abby Scuto Awesome)
2016-12-17 03:40 pm
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Um. So. Quite a lot of you voted for me then?

Wow.

Genuinely 1, stunned and 2, honoured to have been voted onto federal conference committee.

I'll do my utmost to be the best rep my electorate could wish for.

Seriously, guys, thank you.