Executive action

One of the apparently minor, yet nonetheless significant, debates at conference was over the composition of the executive. This debate follows on from the special conference last summer that dealt in part with the constitution. Many comrades were unhappy that regional organisers were no longer given a place on the executive. This is understandable, given the important logistical and political role of these comrades and also the effect this could have on party centre's relationship to the regions. A motion from branches in Aberdeen and Dundee called for the executive to be composed of national convenor, secretary, chairperson, treasurer, publications officer, Scottish Socialist Voice editor, trade unions organiser, women's officer and youth organiser, together with eight regional coordinators and eight lay members - one from each region (of the opposite gender to the regional organiser!). The motion was in effect a proposal for a federal executive rather than a quasi-centralised one. But, not only that, it looked at the process of electing an executive in the wrong way. Why not devote an entire conference session to the executive elections under an elections preparations committee chair? This would allow for the open consideration and questioning of the executive and its factional, gender, geographic balance and the pros and cons of various comrades. Instead of electing them on the basis of a particular remit, why not leave the job of allocating particular responsibilities to those who in general know them best and work alongside them: ie, the executive itself? Comrades could then be replaced without fuss or bother if they fell short or were required for other, more pressing, tasks. This would provide greater flexibility and therefore effectiveness. For example, at the present time a core team of executive members should clearly be given tasks relating to the anti-war movement, but there is certainly no need for conference to determine who exactly the comrades should be. Particular issues do not necessarily arise to coincide with the SSP's annual conference, so delegates can hardly be expected to foresee all the various tasks that will present themselves during the forthcoming year. Best to leave that to the executive itself. Sarah McDonald