Monday, 28 November 2011

Boom or bust? Championing a revitalised Green Party Executive

One of the savviest investments by the Green Party in nurturing it's democratic health over the last couple of years has been to invest in the Member's Website. As I wrote earlier in the year, using this private space to lay out all potential policy motions to our conference has allowed members to more easily input into honing and redrafting these so that they are smarter and more likely to be passed at conference. Whilst the Member's Website is still finding it's audience (I'd encourage all members to visit and subscribe to the LGBTIQ Greens section!), it has been heartening to see policy motions each receiving a solid audience and in some case, forensic analysis that can only improve the quality of debate within the party.

Amongst the usual diverse mix of policy and campaign motions, what has struck me has been the push for new roles for the Green Party Executive (GPEX). Alongside the agreement at last party conference that the Welsh Leader become a member of GPEX, both the Young Greens and Green Party Trade Union group have called for representation on this body. This does lead me to wonder whether members feel there is an absence of support for these sections of the party. Are these motions a reflection that GPEX is failing to champion the priorities of parts of the membership? Could there be lessons for our policy-making process, that people feel unable to effect change without being "in the room" at the Executive level?

Some experienced activists are already warning against inflating the membership of GPEX further, arguing that it makes it harder to manage the party. Whilst I'm still undecided on how I feel about these motions, I do wonder whether this would necessarily be so problematic: additional members of GPEX could increase accountability across a wider range of areas, improve access to ordinary members into the decison-making process and could ensure that roles are more manageable in size for those people interested in serving the party. Presenting a plurality of viewpoints and ideas in these debates, when chaired effectively, could produce more a more participatory organisation.

Either way, with a consistent inability to fill all the roles on GPEX or to contest the majority of positions sufficiently, shouldn't we begin with reforming those positions we currently have to ensure they are fit for purpose, attractive to a greater number of serious candidates and are supported sufficiently to enable hard-working officers deliver on their responsibilities?

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