Monday, 30 May 2011
|A gentleman's agreement|
The Facts About the Annual Conference, the Constitutional Proposals and the Forthcoming EGM
The Annual Conference that was held last December considered four constitutional motions, one of which would be considered at an Extraordinary General Meeting:
Option 1 - leave the present constitution as it is at the moment.
Option 2 - an elected committee that would be able to advise the Chairman but would have no executive powers.
Option 3 - an elected committee that would have executive power, shared with the Chairman.
Option 4 (Arthur Kemp’s proposal) – an indirectly elected National Executive comprising regional organisers and which would have executive power over the administration of the Party and which would elect its own Chairman, separate from the directly elected Leader of the Party. The Leader would have a vote on the National Executive.
The Conference voted overwhelmingly for Option 4 (Arthur Kemp’s proposal). This would involve an indirectly elected executive, with executive power, shared with the Leader.
Eventually, after six long months, an EGM has been announced for July. It will consider a constitutional proposal for the Advisory Council to be reformed so that it would contain indirectly elected regional organisers. We are told that this proposal was overwhelmingly supported at the Annual Conference. It was not; there was no mention of an Advisory Council in Arthur Kemp’s proposal. The term Advisory Council is used in the present Constitution to refer to a body that has virtually no powers but has the function of proffering advice that can be accepted or ignored by the Chairman, at whim. We are not told whether or not this reformed Advisory Council would have any power but we are entitled to presume that an advisory council would only advise!
To suggest that a proposal for an indirectly elected body without any executive power is essentially the same as a proposal for an indirectly elected body with executive power would be simply untrue and dishonest. To suggest that they are the same would be to treat the membership with contempt. Is it thought that the members will not notice or will not understand the difference?
The EGM has a right to consider the proposal recommended by the Annual Conference. Any attempt to prevent it from considering that proposal would be an attempt to contradict a democratically-taken decision of the Party.
Andrew Brons MEP