So that was the first Respect National Conference and a good time was had by all. It was both a privilege not to mention something of an honour to be a delegate on this occasion. I hope to be able to fulfil my functions as such by reporting to the local branch when we next meet. I have kept a list of what I voted for and against and when I abstained to maintain transparency.

At something such as a party conference no matter how small one may be called upon to make decisions based around a compromise of one’s position and it is up to each delegate to decide with his/her conscience on that. Much of the initial wave of goodwill and optimism from the January founding meeting has continued with the same dissenting voices outside the organisation in particular the CPGB. I have some concerns about the party as it now is, not concerns great enough to make me believe that I do not want to be working inside the movement but nonetheless questions that I hope will be answered. I did give in my speaker’s slip for the afternoon session today, I got at least that far, sadly there was no debate on those resolutions other than a move for and in some cases a move against, had I known this I would have put my point across in one of the other discussion times but irritatingly on one of the largest blocks of resolutions there was no discussion time and so my maiden speech was never heard. I had thought that by the time it got round to making it I was sure someone would have already pretty much done so but in actual fact I think it was a point that I could have made more generally and not just to one particular motion. My issue with the current set-up as it stands is that there were a number of motions moved based around for example Open borders, a secular party, workers wage for workers representative etc. which were rejected by the majority based more on the fact that they were not practical now and that in some cases the motions were put forward as spoiling motions designed to target certain individuals or groups. I find it quite acceptable for example that we did not put forward a concrete timetable that we would introduce the capped wage by x time but I do not feel that this point is therefore adequately represented. My greatest disappointment is that some of the things that I believe in and clearly am not alone in believing were stymied not because people were against the principle but that they voted in block form against based on the ability to implement concrete policy there and then.

Now I am not the most radical there, nor am a a spoiler or a wrecker, nor do I wish the party to be exclusive rather than inclusive, quite the contrary. But there are certain things that I think a proper left-wing party should believe in and they should be part of the fundamental principles, the actual practical implementation of such things is different and can be debated and looked at but to deny these points any influence because either of whence they came or because of the risk of offending someone or because of the actual practicalities I feel is concerning. For example the open border policy motion was defeated. This means now it is not going to be part of the constitution nor will it be something looked into by the National Council and therefore the sort of principles that people claim to stand for will b=not be at the forefront of our movement. This does make me feel things are watered down and that does worry me. Furthermore on the issue of democratic accountability I am concerned at the adoption of a slate for the National Council, this means we were presented with a list of nearly 50 names and asked to approve them. There has not been a large amount of involvement in the fashioning of this list altho’ maybe our branch is just too small I don’t know but I am aware of the allegations that the party is not accountable and not transparent and I think it is important to ensure that these allegations can be disproved. I do not feel any problem with the council as we have it I think it is a good set of people but it is the mechanism that needs looking at.