Parties up and down the country are calling for radical changes to current Government policy including an early military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan; the scrapping of Britain’s nuclear deterrent; a freeze on the building of new nuclear power stations; an elected head of state and the phasing out of faith schools.
Other motions also reflect concerns over NHS Foundation Trusts; rising fuel prices and the future of Northern Rock, so delegates appear to be in for some lively sessions when the debates take place over the weekend of September 11th to 13th.
The attack on the Government’s foreign policy is led the Co-operative Group’s North London Party. A motion tabled by the party demands the removal of nuclear weapons from Britain; withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan; no war against Iran; an early solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and an enhanced role for the United Nations as the world’s peace-keepers.
The motion says US and British aggression has destabilised Iraq and claims that both countries are part of the problem and therefore cannot be part of the solution. On Afghanistan, the motion calls on conference to demand that UK troops be confined to barracks and withdrawn as quickly as possible.
In a separate motion on energy, Midlands Society Leicestershire Party urges conference to encourage more investment in renewable energy sources as opposed to the nuclear option, while an amendment tabled by the Co-op Group’s North West & North Wales Party urges the Co-operative Parliamentary Group to oppose the building of nuclear power stations.
A pithy 12-word motion from the Co-op Group Bristol Party calls for an end to the monarchy in its current form by asking conference to endorse the view that the next head of state should be elected (as opposed to the current hereditary principle which automatically hands the role to a member of the royal family).
An amendment to one of the motions on education tabled by Hertfordshire & Home Counties Co-op Party asks conference to press for the removal of the requirement for a daily act of worship in state schools and says the Government should consider phasing out faith schools.
Midlands Society Leicestershire Party has called on the Party’s NEC to conduct an inquiry into the NHS Foundation Trusts to establish how effectively co-operative values and principles are applied while a composite motion on the Northern Rock saga supported by four Party branches calls for the troubled Bank to be converted into an Industrial Provident Society once the organisation’s current position has stabilised.
Meanwhile two separate motions are critical of the decision to hold the conference in London for the second year running. North West and North Wales Party says the event should be rotated between Scotland, Wales and each of the English regions, while Midlands also says conference should be held around the country and should “concern itself with motions rather than workshops”.