Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Would a vote against Trident have undermined FPC?

I have been pondering this question all day, since it was raised last night at FPC. It was pointed out that it could have been damaging for FPC, having heard all the evidence, coming up with a motion and putting it to conference to have it fall.

Discussing the issue with a friend this evening I posed the question, would a vote against Trident have undermined the authority of FPC? No, said she, it would have underlined the authority of conference. I liked that. We so often laud the fact that we are the only party who still trust our members to make policy. Dissent is the lifeblood of democracy so we should welcome, rather than try to avoid, it. To rely on arguments about competence, or lack of it, to make decisions is rather like the argument going on about trial by jury at the moment.

FPC is a representative body of our party. We should, on the whole, be in touch and in step, with the members we seek to represent. However, democratic executives of all kinds tend to default to more establishment positions, which can bring them into conflict with their members. If this was happening all the time then yes, it would seriously undermine the FPC, however if it never happens and the expectation became that it should never happen, it begins to undermine our alleged sovereign body, conference.

Maybe because I tend to have an irritatingly challenging nature I find it healthy when the establishment doesn't automatically get its own way, so as for FPC, keep us on our toes, that's what I say!

Or have I got it completely wrong?

1 comment:

Disgruntled Radical said...

The Future of Trident Working Party voted 6 to 3 for the Ming position.
The Parliamentary Party didn't vote !
FPC didn't actually vote but 15 spoke in favour of the Ming position and 4 against. The conference voted roughly 554 for the Ming position, 514 against. If 20 people had voted the other way (or if a few more Scots had turned up) FPC and the parliamentary party's authority at representatives would rightly have been undermined. However, the whole process was a better example of democracy that the House of Commons, where not a single MP proposed not replacing Trident. By the way, the Ming position can be found at page 862 of the Kama Sutra.