Spring Conference 2018(Written by J.Spottiswoode)

10 March 2018

There was a big question whether we could even get to Bournemouth.  Heavy snow arrived on the Thursday and the A31 was blocked overnight into Friday.  The trains had similarly become stranded and no trains were going to Bournemouth even on Saturday.  However having checked the forecasts and state of the roads five of us crammed into a car and made it to Spring Conference.  More joined from Eastleigh on the Sunday.


As usual the workshops and fringes were great.  As only half the people had been able to make it through the Climate Change induced bad weather (around 250 rather than the 500 who had booked) there were great opportunities to put in our views and to get fully involved.  There is a new fiscal policy in draft which is important because we need to show how to finance our programme, especially a decent Basic Income for everyone.  Land Value Tax is the big headline.  There was also a session on Universal Basic Income, based on the UN’s Article 25 that says that everyone should have the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter and access to healthcare.  Universal Basic Income would give this and enable economic migrants to stay at home to help build up their own local communities. 


There were so any interesting fringes that it is impossible to cover them all, but I left feeling re-invigorated and enthused.  The Plenaries where we debated formal motions were very dry this year, with a great long time spent on the details of how the Disciplinary Committee will work.   However we slogged through it and passed the relevant motions and referred contentious ones back.


The other big thing was the new Political Strategy.  Unfortunately our attempt to form a Radical Alliance was a failure as others refused to join it and instead took advantage of our generous openness.  So now we must fight our unfair electoral system and emphasise why the Green Part is distinctive and why we are the only real way forward.  As before the Political Imperative of our time is to save our planet and safeguard the future of our species, which no other political party takes seriously.  But if we are to do that we also need social and economic policies to share the available wealth and meaningfully to tackle the massive inequalities that have developed.  That is why the fiscal policy is important, especially as, again, we are the only political party with policies to tackle these inequalities properly (despite the pretence of the Labour Party even under Corbyn).


So it was very much worth the struggle through the snow caused by the arctic cold air moving over us, leaving the arctic worryingly warmer than Bournemouth.  We need to make sure that our green policies are implemented before the whole environmental system (Gaia) goes into meltdown and the ridiculously rich enclaves arm themselves further to keep out the starving millions.