Green Party conference – Saturday morning motions
Conference opened today with one word: “bankers”.
And how apt. The first motion – “cuts and local public services” – committed the party to fighting public spending cuts at a local level, opposing the current round of mass privatisation, and supporting initiatives such as participatory budgeting. It also suggested that all services should be accountable to the public. It passed with no opposition.
Joseph Healy proposed the next motion with similar flare: “We are hearing on the radio this morning that The King’s Speech is going to win a lot of Oscars, but the point of this motion is that we are no longer in 1939”. The power to declare war should, we were told, reside with Parliament not the monarch and government: “During the Napoleonic wars, William Pitt’s government had annual votes in Parliament on the cost of the Napoleonic War. It’s amazing that today, our Parliament doesn’t vote on the war in Afghanistan”. The motion passed without any opposition.
Next up, John Whitelegg told us that people need to know what we think about High Speed Rail 2 (HS2). And he thinks that we should be against it: “This is a classic neo-conservative economic growth project” “we cannot lend our weight to HS2″…”What will HS2 do to air travel and car travel” …”17bn, will lead to an 8% move from air to train, and a further 8% shift from car travel from car to train”. “HS2 is very unfair. What stands out is that 30% of users will earn more than 70k a year. It has to be a rich person’s railway because the business case only stacks up if the time saved is ‘very valuable’.” Or so we were told.
The motion was opposed by Alan Francis, Party transport spokesman. He outlined that the party support High Speed Rail in general. Arguing in favour of High Speed Rail in general (while accepting some problems with the current proposals), he said ‘we need extra capacity on our rail system if we want to fulfil our other commitments to switching freight and passengers from roads and air onto rail’. The motion (opposing the specifics of High Speed 2) passed.
We then approved some nice marine policy. Because we like the sea.
Next up, Adrian Ramsay’s speech.