Constitution – Sean’s revised 2nd draft

In response to some to the comments posted by comrades, in particular  by Richard and Geoff, this revision of my version of the draft constitution contains a number of alterations.  The most significant are as follows: 

  • I have inserted ‘radical’ and deleted ‘of the means of production distribution and exchange’ (sob) in section 2 (aims). 

  • I have added two new clauses to 3a (eligibility for membership) to deal with a minimum age and membership of other organisations.

  • I have in effect folded the conference arrangements committee into the standing orders committee.

  • I have changed the basis of representation on the National Council from branch to regional delegates. Having read Richard’s comments, it became clear that having branch delegates would make the NC too unwieldy (and expensive). However, I think that Richard’s formula for the distribution of regional places would result in too few rank and file delegates and puts into the body of the constitution a formula for regional delegations that is based on a very rough guesstimate of the distribution of current signatories to the original appeal rather than a realistic assessment of our actual likely membership in twelve months time.

I think that it is important that the constitution gives clearly defined powers to National Conference or other relevant party bodies rather than getting clogged up with lots of necessarily transient figures into it. For example, what is important is that National Conference has the power to set subscription levels, and that is what should be in the constitution rather than what the levels should currently be. Once the constitution is in place, Conference can then set subscriptions (or the number and distribution of regional delegates etc.) whenever it wishes on the basis of a simple resolution. My form of words would give us a viable NC for this year with a clear majority of regional delegates and would enable future National Conferences to allocate places on a more rational basis without having to go through the necessarily rather cumbersome process of changing the constitution every time.

  • I have added my model standing orders as an appendix (although they could simply become a new section on the face of the constitution instead). The safer spaces policy document is, to put it charitably, something of a parson’s egg, and I think that these model standing rules incorporate its spirit while being much more concise and, well, standing orders that could actually be used to run meetings.

Constitution – Sean’s revised draft 2


3 responses to “Constitution – Sean’s revised 2nd draft”

  1. SeanT says:

    I know, I know, I’m a very fickle person. However, having changed the basis of representation on the National Council from branch to regional delegates, I’m now changing my mind.

    While branch delegates to to the NC will result in it being larger than the both model proposed by the draft above and that proposed by Richard and James, I have realised that whether or not we believe that indirect representation from regional committees is a good thing, from 1 December we will have to have a National Council in place but we will not have any regional organisation in place, except possibly in London. Therefore, the only constitutional way of creating a National Council capable of meeting early in the New Year is to have some of its membership (the proposed executive committee) elected at our founding conference with the rest of the NC being made up of branch delegates.

    So, as far as the structure of the NC is concerned, its as you were!


    • peteg says:

      I am firmly of the view that regional structures as a vehicle for electing delegates to a national body are a bad idea (having had that experience in then old Natfhe I am very aware of how detached regional delegates can becoem from local branches – and I also note the problems of the Greens in this respect accordign to Sean himself. Better an expanded nationally elected steering group or executive or whatever combined with regular meetings with delegates fromn local groups.
      As far as the immediate situation after November is concerned perhaps Sean is not aware that the Birmingham NCG voted to refer Kate Hudson’s proposal to the next meeting on October 19. That was for an interim arrangement whereby the current structure continues until the spring 2014 policy conference which avoids any q of voting for national positions at the November conference itself – a wise move in my view given that the structure itself will only be determined at that point.

      • SeanT says:

        That would be my preference Pete, but I’ve been convinced by Richard’s argument that for every branch to have at least two delegates (one woman and one man) the National Council would be too large and unwieldy right from the start, and once we are up to (say) 300 branches the arrangement would be impossible. So while there are many problems with regional delegates and I’d prefer something else, at the moment it seems that some sort of regional representation is on balance the least unworkable option.

        It would obviously be impossible to vote for any national positions at our founding conference and it would clearly be a very sensible idea to extend the life of the NCG in some form up to our first ‘proper’ conference next spring. However, constitutionally, the NCG can’t make that decision for an organisation that has not yet voted itself into existence. Therefore, I have suggested that when we vote on the constitution in November it should contain an appendix which determines that the NCG should become the new party’s ‘transitional national council’ until the next national conference and then is dissolved and replaced by the elected National Council which will come into office at that conference.


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