This evening saw a vote on an intriguing constitutional amendment. Intriguing, because the prospect of a proposal on internal Party governance supported by both the Liberator Collective and the Federal Executive is so unlikely, that it must surely be a good thing, shouldn’t it?
I’m a suspicious soul at heart, and the scheduling of a constitutional amendment as part of a thirty-five minute slot containing the reports of the Federal Executive and the Federal Finance and Administration Committee, as well as a business motion making the Liberal Democrat Lawyers a Specified Associated Organisation, might lead one to believe that the matter at hand wasn’t terribly important, just mere housekeeping.
“And what was the proposal?”, I hear you ask. Put simply, the proposal was to decouple the job of the President from that of Chair of the Federal Executive. Naturally, I have a view on the matter, although that really isn’t that relevant in this instance. The more interesting aspect was that the proposal failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority to pass.
My concern is that, if it was a conspiracy to push something through under cover of darkness, the Federal Executive, with its acknowledged ‘payroll’ vote, wasn’t able to successfully deliver the desired outcome. This does not necessarily inspire confidence in their collective competence. On the other hand, if it wasn’t a conspiracy, the fact that the ‘non-payroll’ vote probably at best voted narrowly in favour of it indicates how out of touch the Federal Executive has become. It is true that all but half of its membership is not directly elected. It is also true that, in internal Party elections, members of the Federal Executive who are well known personalities tend to do better than their performance might merit, simply because of their ‘celebrity’. As a result, there is a decided possibility that the Federal Executive is less well connected to the membership than it might otherwise (and really ought to) be.
Perhaps a few of them, especially those publicly arguing that removing the President from their role as Chair of the Federal Executive enhances the internal democracy of the Party, might like to consider whether or not they retain the confidence of conference delegates and the membership at large…