For the avoidance of doubt I set out below the results of Saturday’s conference voting along with some comments to put these in to context.
All of the motions except motion 6 relating to the use of specified words in Clarion promotional material, were approved. Whilst motion 6 achieved a majority in its favour, it was insufficient to meet the requirements set out in the standing orders for approval and is therefore counted as lost.
Given the chatter on Facebook, I thought it might be helpful to examine the consequences of the Tuxford motion for the club, when measured against its activities. For many years the National Clarion, as distinct from its sections, has been apolitical. It has neither made donations to, nor received money from any political parties or similar such organisations. It has been the committee’s view that members’ subscriptions should be devoted wholly to the running of the club and should be sufficient for that purpose without us seeking contributions from others. The club has supported no political campaigns and has not, as far as I am aware, been under pressure from members to do so. In that respect the outcome of the Tuxford motion will make no difference to the way that the National Clarion operates.
Will it make any difference to sections? Only if you want it to. Sections are autonomous bodies each with their own constitution. If sections wish to include the promotion of Socialism in their section constitutions, then they are free to do so, subject to their members’ approval. Equally sections may embrace political activity which is agreed upon by their members.
I am aware that many members feel that the revised wording of the constitution in some way devalues the history of the Clarion and its socialist past. I would draw your attention to the wording of motion one which went through unopposed, and which placed a preamble into the constitution setting out very clearly where the Clarion had come from.
I have been asked if there is any appeal against the Tuxford motion. The answer to that question is no. It was properly made and voted on and information about it was circulated to all sections. The motions were all posted on the club website. Conference was covered in two editions of Extra and in emails sent directly to secretaries at their most recently held email addresses, the most recent not long before conference. It is open to any member or section to bring motions to conference on any matter and I am happy to provide advice on the process.
It has been my long held wish that the club should be more connected to its history and one of the final motions from Bury requested that the committee explore ways to do this, particularly using the website. The committee has agreed that it will do so, but we cannot do this without help. Perhaps some of you who hold the history of the Clarion close to your heart might consider contributing to this project in some way, either with information or technical assistance, so that we have a record of important events and people in an easily accessible place. If you feel that this is you then do please contact me.
With Kind regards