If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about conference, its that there needs to be more than one of you to enjoy attending all the events which go on. One thing I didn’t want to miss, however, was the vote on Refounding Labour.
I’ve blogged before about my initial thoughts on it, and how I think it was rushed through without consideration. The answer of the Conference Arrangements committee (the group that determines the timetable for conference) was that there had been quite a bit of consultation before hand. While true, this was a bit disingenuous, to say the least.
There was a show of hands on whether to split the Refounding Labour proposals (technically on rejecting the report of the CAC). While I think there was a majority in favour of keeping it as a single vote, it was a slight one. I voted in favour of splitting.
Then there was the debate on refounding Labour itself. I had heard that the unions had agreed in advance to support. As they are 50% of the overall vote at conference, it would have to be a pretty big revolt by the CLP delegates to reject it. There were a succession of speakers called, and they were all in favour (although some did mention reservations, such as the UNISON delegate).
Many delegates spoke of the value of community organising and the supporters networks they have built up – especially in places like Edgbaston and Oxford East. Others spoke of the financial help they would get, such as the delegate from (I think) Wyre Forest who are in debt at the moment, and who can’t afford Contact Creator. A situation I can certainly sympathise with – Angus isn’t much better, although we aren’t in debt. Another message which came through was the idea of no no-go areas for Labour. Again something I can sympathise with.
In the end, I felt that a vote in favour was in order. Despite my misgivings, I agree with a majority of the proposals. We cant delay implementing these things for another year, especially if we are to fight the 2015 election on the boundaries rigged by the Tories (another fringe event I attended today).
We wont know the result of the card vote until tomorrow – but judging from the votes I saw going into the ballot boxes (votes are on different coloured paper depending on whether they are yes or no), I think the vast majority of other delegates thought the same.