miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Apologies for the slightly ineloquent nature of this entry. I write this still quaking with anger at what I witnessed in the hall just now. The number of people who voted for amendment one terrifies me, it really fucking terrfies me.

Anyway, the motion was passed, sadly without amendment two, but it was still passed. This gives me some hope. For what it's worth, here's what I would have said had I been called to speak:
Conference, those of you who know me will know that I don't like mornings. I really don't like having to get out of bed before lunchtime if I don't have to. None the less, I am here, and I am speaking. Why? Because I deplore the fundamentally illiberal security theatre I have had to go through to be here today.

We have all of us had to submit personal information to the police in order that they can inspect our papers and "make recommendations" to the top brass as to whether we can attend or not.

The excuses put forward for FCC's craven acceptance of this made my blood run cold.

"Well, the police reccommended it" - they also asked for 90 days detention of suspects. Did we support that? No
"We wouldn't have got insurance!" - because there's only ONE insurance company, and they don't need the party's money at all, so obviously they call the shots.
"They do it at Labour and Tory conference" - yes, and they throw out respected activists for disagreeing with Jack Straw too, are we going to adopt that approach next?

and worst of all...

"If you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear". I'm going to repeat that one. "If you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear"

The idea that ANY Liberal could see that as an acceptable statement to make just boggles my mind.

There are many, many reasons for not wishing to submit one's personal information to the police. There are many many reasons to not trust them with it. Almost all of them relate to being in an underpriveleged group. Being a battered woman, who wishes to keep her location secret from an abusive former partner. Being black, and having been singled out by the police before. Being trans, and not wishing to be outed to unsympathetic and prejudiced people. We are supposed to be the party that CHAMPIONS the rights of these people, not colludes in their further oppression.

As a member of Delga I have seen the number of LGBT members - my friends - who have not even bothered to apply to come to this conference because of this system, because of their previous ill-treatment under police vetting schemes, and the idea that they should apply and then if and when it all goes wrong they can complain speaks of massive privelege. For trans people who might wish for their status or former name to remain a secret it is far too much to ask them to take the risk of being outed and then ask them to accept an apology afterwards. The damage will have already been done in that case. Who can blame them for not wanting to take the risk?

If you are one of those people who can't see what the fuss is about, I urge you to read the Delga Transgender working group's papers on this. If you have an ounce of empathy you will see how wrong and discriminatory this accreditation system is.

And after all this, what do we get? A conference pass that could be easily forged by anyone with an inkjet printer. How in the name of sanity has this accreditation system increased our security? It hasn't. It's security theatre of the worst kind, and it discriminates against those we as a party are supposed to fight for.

Conference, I urge you to reject amendment one, which waters down the motion and is frankly just apologia for this farce, accept amendment two, and vote for the motion as a whole.

Thank you
[personal profile] magister, had he spoken, would have backed up the discrimination argument with tales of what happens in his office when they get applications from trans, gay, and abused people. This is not a light matter, and it is not something that FCC should just dismiss, as they have been doing, even to the extent of lying directly from the stage about the involvement of Delga in the negotiations, and trying to tell us that the make-up of this conference is no different than any other when we all know people who are not here because of the accreditation process.

Rachel Coleman Finch and Jenny Barnes and David Grace were all magnificent, and Jenny in particular was outstandingly brave in her speech. I am sad it didn't have more effect.

Anyway, you all know me. I'm not one to rage against the dying of the light if there's something substantive I can do about it. To that end, FCC elections are next year. If I can't affect their thinking from the outside, I'm bloody well going to try and do it from the inside, and I'm going to stand for election.

This party has become my family. I am NOT going to see it turn into the tories by stealth or otherwise while I still have breath in my body.

Date: Sunday, September 18th, 2011 10:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You completely fail to address the point that it is the party not the conference who decides who attends.
Also you offer no evidence at all that the process discriminates against anyone. The FCC agreed all the changes suggested by delga.

If you would rather not have a conference rather than have this process that fine, but the motion and the amendment were not honest enough to admit that was the choice.

Simon McGrath

Date: Sunday, September 18th, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
Given the shoddy under the counter manner in which this has been handled, I hardly think it becomes you to accuse others of a lack of honesty.

Date: Sunday, September 18th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
"you offer no evidence at all that the process discriminates against anyone. "

My wife was refused accreditation and had to spend several hours queuing up on Saturday in order to eventually gain entry. This is because she is not a British national, and so her passport wasn't on file. Right there, that's one group discriminated against.

I have seen at least two transgender party members, one of them a councillor, post on their blogs that they're not attending because the process requires them to out themselves to the police (not generally considered the most institutionally trans-friendly of organisations). That's another group discriminated against.

Chris Davies MEP posted on Friday that he'd not yet received his accreditation because "Some 10 years ago I stood outside Stockport police station talking to TV cameras while holding up a postage stamp with a tiny amount of cannabis stuck to the back. Apparently this suggested to the police that I might pose a threat to the Deputy Prime Minister, although unlike Nick I’ve never even had a smoke." - in other words, he broke a law as part of his political activity. How many other party members have done that in the past? How many of them have been flagged for it?

It discriminates against the poor - who already have a more difficult time getting to conference anyway, but who are now being asked to gamble money they don't have on hotel reservations, conference bookings and train tickets they may well end up not being able to use.

It also, as Jennie points out, discriminates against those who don't want to be found by e.g. abusive ex-spouses.

In fact, the only group of people I can see who *aren't* discriminated against are financially solvent cisgender people with no criminal record, a British passport and no history of bad relationships.

I *think* I'm the only one of those I know in the party, so it's certainly nice of conference to make me feel so welcome. Shame I couldn't make it this year - it would have been nice to go to a conference where all the undesirables and plebs were put in their place, and proper respect was shown me for being better than them...

Date: Sunday, September 18th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
And quite right too :-p

Date: Sunday, September 18th, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
You completely fail to address the point that it is the party not the conference who decides who attends.

Each local party chooses who to send to vote on its behalf. Specifically, as a membership secretary, making sure we send a full delegation is part of my duties. the police have no right within the party constitution to stop me choosing any local member I see fit to choose. FCC do not, constitutionally, have that right. They have taken it on themselves without asking for a change in the rules.

Also you offer no evidence at all that the process discriminates against anyone.

You are ignoring all the evidence already presented to you, it exists extant all over the place, why repeat yourself to someone who wants to pretend to be an ostrich?

The FCC agreed all the changes suggested by delga.

Factually wrong, when FCC reps say this as if it's true they are lying. Either you have been lied to or are knowingly repeating a lie. Given this has alreayd been pointed out as false to you, I suspect the latter.

the motion and the amendment were not honest enough to admit that was the choice

It wasn't the choice. You're wrong. Given you're ignoring facts and repeating lies while trying to assert this calumny, it doesn't make me sympathetic to that viewpoint either.

Date: Sunday, September 18th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
Just for the information of anyone who hasn't seen the debate, this is how it went as described to me on the phone just a minute ago by a member of the LGBT+ Lib Dems exec:

"Simon McGrath said that DELGA had got everything we wanted, so [DELGA exec member] and [other DELGA exec member] shouted out that he was a liar, because we didn't and he knows that. And when he said he didn't like being called a liar, [DELGA member] shouted that if he didn't like being called a liar he should stop lying."

So it's not as if, when he came on here and started lying, the liar McGrath hadn't already been told, publicly, that he was lying.

Date: Monday, September 19th, 2011 11:04 am (UTC)
daweaver:   (pluralism)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
Having watched the footage from the hall again, I think two incidents might be conflated here. Simon McGrath's speech made the point that the FCC had over-ruled the police, insured people have to act prudently, and amendment 2 was dishonest. If there was heckling, it wasn't heard on the broadcast.

Geoff Payne, summarising for Amendment 1, was interrupted by shouts from the floor, both when he said that "conference is the same as it always was" and that "we agreed a system with DELGA for trans people".

For the benefit of Mr. Payne, and previous speaker Chris White, this blogger has declined to attend the present conference, precisely because of the vetting process in operation. From the tenor of their speeches, it's evident my insights and experience are not of any value to the party.

Date: Monday, September 19th, 2011 11:11 am (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
In that case I apologise to Mr McGrath - I was apparently misinformed by the person I spoke to who attended the debate.

Date: Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Is this the same lying Simon McGrath that told me I was a liar when I told him the police had advised me not to apply for accreditation as I would be turned down?

Turned down I might add because I have a protection response marker on me in case my stalker threatens or attacks me again?

Date: Monday, September 19th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stephensliberaljournal.blogspot.com
Simon you clearly were not listening to my summation on amendment 2 when I directly addressed you point that there was no evidence. I refered to the blogs of some who, like Jenny in the hall, were brave enough to express their fears. There has been evidence of others on LDV that you have rejected.

If the next time I visit the largest democracy in the world and have issues entering I will be sure to let you know.


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