miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
A few notes before we start.
  1. I've done this in the form of tables because it would have been confusing in any other form, I think. If you need them in screen-readerable format, or if your display is too narrow and they slip under the sidebar, they are on a google doc here.

  2. I have tabulated how I initially thought I would vote as well as how I actually voted to show that arguments made in committee do have an effect.

  3. I have not tabulated how anyone else voted, or what the exact numbers were for any of the votes, because that information is not up to me to reveal.

  4. You will notice that the two motions I marked as essential both fell, albeit one of them by only one vote. Just in case any of you thought I was enjoying untrammeled power and influence...

  5. I really hope the way I have done this is clear, but if you want anything explaining, do ask in the comments*

  6. Because of the presumption towards taking motions from Federal Policy Committee (FPC) and Federal Board (FB), and because we had to take the two constitutional amendments, even after cutting the keynote speeches down to two (The Leader and A.N. Other) and skimming a few minutes off the lunch break, we were only left with enough space for two, possibly three member submitted motions**. This is obviously sub optimal, and is only going to get worse next conference because of how far FPC are backed up after the snap general election***.

I think the thing I am most bothered about is that we took the NHS at 70 motion over the Mental Health Detention motion - which did eventually go down to a run-off vote. I want to emphasize that I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with the NHS at 70 motion, and the NHS winter crisis is a timely topic to highlight, and all that. But:
  • Everybody, especially in the party, knows that we like the NHS, we want to fund it better, and thus the "debate" will be really dull because nobody in the party is going to disagree with anything in the motion. I bet we get a tonne of "this motion doesn't go far enough" cards.

  • The mental health detention motion would have highlighted an injustice that is not widely known and would have given us a distinctive policy platform which none of the other parties have - with all due respect to the submitters of the NHS at 70, there's little in there that is distinctive.

  • We already had a load of big slices of apple pie from FPC and FB, and putting in yet another one risks the entire agenda being deathly dull. This is not going to attract people to a conference that is already struggling to attract people due to a difficult location for many members to get to.
However, what do I know? My position was the minority position, albeit by only one vote.

The other big discussion I was on the losing side of was who to give the keynote speech to. That vote also went to a knife edge and a majority of one. Several of FCC felt that as the agenda was light on Home Affairs content, we ought to give the one non-leader keynote speech to our home affairs spokesman. Several others of us felt that would mean that the only two keynote speakers at our conference would be middle aged cis het white guys, and this would look really bad, especially after recent furores in the LGBT and BAME sections of our membership and supporters. I (and some others) felt we really really ought to have someone who was demographically divergent from Vince*****, and who could speak on equalities, which was also completely absent from the agenda after motion selection.

"But we haven’t given Ed a speech since we were in coalition" won. Just. And you know what? I could see their point. We haven't given Ed a speech since we were in coalition. It's just that I think the unfairness of giving our only two keynote speeches to middle-aged cis het white guys after what has gone on the last couple of months is worse than the unfairness of not giving a middle-aged cis het white guy his turn at a speech. Sorry, Ed.

And I'm hitting post on this in the hopes that my openness about what happened and what part I played will outweigh the offence I have caused to people whose motions I didn't vote for when it comes to the next set of committee elections...

*I suspect that one thing that needs an immediate explanation is "Snowball test" - the Snowball Test (©Zoe O'Connell) is "does this motion have a Snowball's chance in hell of getting onto the agenda given the various other things that are already on there and everything else that needs to be considered". If a motion fails the snowball test then there is no point in putting energy into arguing for its inclusion, even if you really like it.

**There was an attempt by some of us to drop one of the federal board motions, because it just seemed utterly anodyne and pointless, but the weight of tradition is heavy and it got taken.

***A really clever person, were they thinking of submitting a motion to autumn conference, would already be looking at which FPC papers are due to come forward for it, and picking topics not being covered by FPC. This information is publicly available... That person would also, obviously, have their motion written in plenty of time to be pimped by the drafting advice service****.

****yes, I know I go on about that a lot.

*****no, I'm not going to name any of the people suggested, as that would be unfair.

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 03:18 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (eyebrow)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I can't actually work out which column indicates if the motion ended up selected for debate or not...

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 03:20 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
Oh, is that the vote results for/against Round 2?

ETA: Ah, yes, that must be it. Could you highlight/bold/whatever the motion names that did end up selected?
Edited Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 03:21 pm (UTC)

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 06:07 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
Doesn't make any difference to me now, cos I've worked out what's going on :-)

I guess for the benefit of others as dopey as me, you could just paste a list of selected motions into the post, or just format differently next time (autumn).

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 03:20 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Watercolour of barn owl perched on post. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
Thank you for the explanation of the snowball test. It's a useful one.

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 03:40 pm (UTC)
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
This is going to be the most boring conference, isn't it.

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 04:42 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
Yup. Nothing there where I'm not sure if it'll pass or not; mostly rubber-stamping FPC's output.

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 04:58 pm (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
Not even much we can put in fun amendments for.

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 06:05 pm (UTC)
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
This is not your fault or your responsibility. I know you've done all you can and I really appreciate you telling us the details like this. <3

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 07:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] https://www.complicity.co.uk/blog/
A few people (And not necessarily the ones you'd suspect) were convinced the sky would fall in the moment I said even one word about what happened in FCC. I'm glad that not only has it become relatively accepted, the culture of timely reporting has spread to other committees.

This does make it harder for me to claim credit for it all come reelection next year, unfortunately!

Date: Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] theandrewhickey
Don't worry, it's *abundantly* clear that you and Jennie are the people who actually care about being democratically accountable on that committee -- and as far as I can tell you're the *only* ones who do. Assuming both of you stand for re-election, you're getting my top two votes like last time (unsure yet what order you'll be in on my ballot, but you're both absolutely in those two slots).

From Matt (Bristol)

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I am having difficulty reading the entire table as for some reason your right hand menus are hiding it but I get the gist - thank you for this. This sort of thing is why I think I voted for you (sorry, that's a combination of STV vagaries and a fuzzy memory)

In view of your Ed Davey problem (yes, this is going to be dull, isn't it?) -- there is huge irony on insisting the home affairs spokes person speaks, and denying him a clear liberal policy issue to speak on that relates partially to his brief (ie the MH detention issue). It also materially impacts on one of the biggest issues coming in health care policy, which is going to cost the NHS and local councils a ton of money - the overdue upcoming review and reform of the Mental Capacity Act and the Mental Health Act.
I have just read the Beaconsfield motion and I agree with every word of it. Why are we not doing this???

Motherhood and Apple Pie can go do something naughty to itself. I work in this sector and we need this legislation.

Matt from Bristol

Re: From Matt (Bristol)

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 06:10 pm (UTC)
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
there is huge irony on insisting the home affairs spokes person speaks, and denying him a clear liberal policy issue to speak on that relates partially to his brief (ie the MH detention issue).

This is a really good point.

Re: From Matt (Bristol)

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Me again: Ooh, ta.

Hope the motion or something similar comes back next time.


Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 07:01 pm (UTC)
hilarita: stoat hiding under a log (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
Thanks for doing this. It's very informative. (Also means that any slender chance of my attending Spring Conference has evaporated.)
Thanks for voting for the MH debate - it would have been way more distinctive, useful etc. than a general I WUV THE NHS one.

Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sassy_scot
Is there any potential for an amendment on mental health to the NHS motion?

More From Matt (Bristol)

Date: Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 11:12 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think there would be scope, given the pending, long mooted reform of the entire MHA / MCA, to add into any 'mental health is important too' sentences, which I anticipate will be somewhere in there, a commitment to enshrining and defending the concept of capacity as having precedence over diagnostic tests when decision-making is being done on behalf of a patient across the NHS (and if anyone tells me this is happening already so don't bother, I will anecdote them to death).

I do fear that under the guise of 'making the Court of Protection less draconian' and 'streamlining too much red tape' we are in risk of a land-grab on the entire mental capacity question by the 'I'm a doctor, I know what I'm doing' brigade, who never really went away.

However, I'm not planning to be at conference. But I'd be happy to talk to someone who is.

Date: Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 09:52 pm (UTC)
nickbarlow: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nickbarlow
One old thought this has reawoken in me is wondering whether we as a party would be better off abolishing the FPC and instead creating a mechanism for members to create policy working groups directly. It just feels to me that we're stuck with a model that doesn't really work and only lingers on because we've always done it that way.

I can see why we need an FB and a FCC because there's essential work that needs to be done and needs to be accountable - I'm not convinced the sky would fall in if we had to find a way to make policy without the FPC, not least because it would ensure that MPs and Lords would have to take responsibility for their own policy wheezes rather than than shuffling them through FPC.

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