Oxfordshire party at national conferenceby WestOxon Greens Editor on 10/18/12
The 2012 Green Party Autumn Conference was attended by members from all over Oxfordshire, including West Oxfordshire, Oxford City and the Banbury; Cherwell area.
The conference, which took place in Bristol this autumn, is a chance for rank-and-file members to vote on the policies adopted by the national party. Members discussed the party's policy on disability and roundly condemned the current Government's attacks on disabled people. The updated Green Party disability policy now starts with an acknowledgement that disability is a social phenomenon. In other words, improving the lives of people with disabilities means challenging the systemic barriers that make life tough for them, rather than trying to fix the person themselves. Sounds obvious, but the concept has yet to gain mainstream acceptance. Putting this idea at the centre of Green Party disability policy represents a subtle but important shift. Many people with disabilities were consulted on the policy to make it as fit-for-purpose as possible.
Members voted on many other policy areas at the conference, including working hours, crime prevention, nuclear waste, copyright law and end-of-life care, to name just a few.
Witney gained a special mention during a fringe event about road campaigning, run by the charity Roads to Nowhere. Speaker Sian Berry praised the work of local campaigners who succeeded in defeating the Cogges Link Road. Witney Greens were among several groups who joined forces to fight the useless and expensive road.
The conference was also an opportunity for members to meet new leader Natalie Bennett and deputy Will Duckworth. Leader and deputy faced a grilling during a Q&A session which included serious questions about policy alongside more light-hearted questions such as "What is your favourite biscuit?"