It seems my blogging about the peers panel election has stirred up a minor discussion. From what I have seen, those who have commented have broadly been in agreement with what I wrote last night on the train between Victoria and Crystal Palace.
It may be worthwhille looking at another one of our democratic processes. The selection of emergency motions for debate at conference is meant to put conference members in control of the process. The theory is right. But in practice, the process can be very different. With around 2000 elected conference reps entitled to vote in a ballot to decide emergency motions, the fact only a handful did last week in Brighton suggests that the overwhelming majority of conference members are happy to let the decision as to what is debated be left to others (after all we have the FCC taking the decision as to what is on the rest of the conference agenda and no one hopefully is going to press for that decision to be taken by conference as a whole). The problem with the current system is that it is easy for a well organised but very small grouping to decide which emergency motions are debated by conference. FCC is elected by conference members. Why can't we leave the selection of emergency motions to them? FCC can have a reasoned discussion before reaching a decision. Under the current balloting system, just how much reasoned discussion takes place about which emergency motions to take? Well just about none.
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