Minutes of the 6th meeting of Left Unity Leamington Spa,
3 October 2013, at LAMP
Present: Ally, Anna, Colin, David, Liz, Lynn, Nigel, Pauline, Peter, Phil, Kate, Skip, Stuart, Tim
Apologies: Mary-Ann, Maureen, Rob, Roger, Sharon, Trevor
Minutes of previous meeting: Agreed.
- Bedroom tax campaign. Ongoing. Roger still waiting for information from Freedom of Information request. Stuart has done leaflets (see blog, under ‘Resources’, and will get full-colour glossy ones printed ASAP. Approx cost: £30 for 1,000) and will look into getting a banner and table and other materials. Skip continues to organise weekly protest outside Leamington town hall, every Saturday, 12pm. Will discuss public meeting next time. Colin to put the word about and drum up support in Labour party circles.
- Spirit of ’45 film showing. At the meeting I (Stuart) was unable to tell you anything new, but after the meeting I met with Pip of LAMP. These are the main points of note. The date of the showing has changed to Thursday 7 November, 7.30pm, at LAMP. (Better for LAMP, agreed Thursday probably best night for a film showing.) Entry will be free – we will try to cover costs by passing a hat round, and split any costs not covered equally between ourselves, Leamington Underground Cinema and LAMP. It’s not out of the question that the event will sell out, so we will if possible put up a second screen in the bar area at LAMP for anyone not able to get into the main hall. Pip of LAMP will organise press and publicity – he will let us know how we can help with that. Possibility of getting someone involved in the making of the film to do a Q&A afterwards – Pip to look into this for us. Jim of Leamington Underground Cinema to look into showing some short films as introduction to the main event (this worked well at Jim’s film festival event).
- Demonstration against NHS sell-off in Manchester at Tory party conference. Many of our members were present and gave a report of the day – a great success all round, by all accounts, although shockingly (or not) underreported by the mainstream press.
- Left Unity policy conference/general discussion. Ally gave a report of his impressions of the day. For all our criticisms and disagreements, everyone who has had experience of the national meetings of Left Unity were agreed that what was going on was lots of hard work and good-faith attempts to get things right and do things differently (ie, openly, democratically, non-sectarianly, etcly). Encouraging developments. Having said that, Ally had many criticisms to make, especially of the policy commission that is drawing up a party constitution that will be considered and voted on at the founding conference in November. It seems there is a proposal for a leadership to be directly appointed (ie, not elected) by an elected body – Ally and everyone who expressed an opinion were strongly against this. We also discussed the idea of quotas for underrepresented groups, particularly women (everyone fully in favour of equal or at least proportional representation, of course, but opinion divided about whether quotas best way to achieve this); potential party policy on immigration (open borders? Whether or not open borders, need to radically alter how we treat immigrants once they are here, etc); and the new party’s policy on elections, particularly the issue of ‘splitting the left vote’ and the relative importance of elections versus building campaigns and solidarity and so on. In short, lots of agreement on fundamentals; friendly disagreement on many specifics.
At our next meeting, we will be discussing all proposals, statements and resolutions, and will be able to move amendments for vote at the founding conference in November. So if you feel strongly about issues discussed at this meeting, please come to the next one where we can help determine what party policy will be.
- Tim had kindly looked into other potential venues for meetings – thank you! Agreed that everyone liked it at LAMP and future meetings would be held there.
- Bonfire of the Vanities. Agreed that we should support and get involved in the People’s Assembly’s day of action (http://thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/5nov/). Ideas to be discussed over our email discussion list (if you’re not on it and would like to be, please just email email@example.com).
Founding conference: We will be discussing all proposals, including moving and voting on amendments, next time. You must become a founding member AND pay an attendance fee to attend and vote at this conference. (Please note that, whether or not you decide to do this, you will remain very welcome at our meetings and able to play a full role in local activities.) Amounts are very modest. See the home page of the website (http://leftunity.org) for details. The conference will only decide on the new party’s:
n Aims – including voting on platform statements and so on – and party name.
n Campaigning priorities – anti-austerity, anti-racism, and so on.
n Policy on elections.
n Internal democratic structures and election procedures.
Next meeting: Tuesday 29 October at 7.30pm at Leamington LAMP (http://leamingtonlamp.co.uk/info-media/where-is-lamp/).
Collection/funds: £9.30 (from last time) + £17.58 (collection at meeting) = £26.88. Agreed to discuss electing treasurer and setting up bank account next time.
Notes and links
Become a founding member:
Contact email addresses here (just write and say that you’d like to be involved and the convenor will contact you to tell you more): http://leftunity.org/policy-commissions/
Discussion forum here (you’ll need to register before contributing, clink on ‘Register’ link in top right hand corner, just under the banner): http://forum.leftunity.org/main/
11 October: Deadline for submission of statements, resolutions, etc, for founding conference.
16 October: All statements and resolutions and so on will be circulated to local groups for discussion, amendment and compositing.
19 October. London: NCG. Ally is our delegate.
29 October. Leamington meeting, 7.30pm, LAMP.
7 November. Spirit of ’45 showing at Leamington LAMP, 7.30pm, free entry.
16 November: Deadline for submission of amendments.
22 November: Statements, resolutions and amendments circulated to local groups.
30 November. London: Left Unity founding conference.
December: Regional Christmas meet-up and social? Date to be confirmed.