14 August 2009

Greens and NAMA

Over on IrishElection Mark Coughlan has an interesting post on the current proposals to hold a Green Special Conference on NAMA, doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations on how any vote would go if a convention was held:
"Approximately 400 members voted at the recent Green special convention on Lisbon II. Of that number 170 (220 minus 35%), under my dodgey calculations, would have been from one of the six overtly NAMA-sceptic branches...

...So that leaves 230 members from other non-NAMA-sceptic or covertly, thus far, NAMA-scepetic branches who are active voters. Considering that these members are part of a generally non-NAMA-sceptic group and that the majority of remaining Greens have followed the leadership’s line since entering Government, I’m going to take 20% of these as potential anti-NAMA voters. That’s 44 votes.

So, 44 plus 86 gives a total of 130 anti NAMA-support votes from a figure of 400. That verges on the 1/3 needed to defeat the 2/3rd majority required for an internal Green vote to pass."
A couple of thoughts:

1) Learning from last month's Special Convention on Lisbon II, I would imagine that if a special convention on NAMA is held, the smart money would be on the leadership angling for a motion to be phrased in such a way as to require a 2/3 majority vote in order to mandate the TDs to reject NAMA, rather than requiring a 2/3 majority in order to mandate support for it, assuming the leadership don't want to use this as their get-out-of-jail-free card (god knows they've turned down enough opportunities to use one thus far). It all depends on who gets their motions in first and how they are phrased, but the leadership are unlikely to want to have as close a vote as the Lisbon II one, which passed by exactly a 2/3 majority, a single vote could have seen it defeated.

2) This all assumes that a special meeting is actually held, for already in Dublin South Central there is a move afoot by some members to hold a new vote on withdrawing the consistency group's support for the motion to hold a special NAMA meeting that the branch itself instigated. I doubt this second vote will be successful, if it even procedurally is allowed, but it goes to show that just because a constituency group proposes something it doesn't hold that the all their members, even a majority of their members, will support that motion at a national convention, just that a majority of the members that voted on the day supported the motion.

History is written by those who show up, something especially true at Green meetings.

My 2-bits - gazing through my crystal ball I foresee a special convention happening, nothing very exciting coming out of it, and it all being a bit moot thanks to the Supreme Court.

However this grassroots movement does show that despite their defeat in the recent Special Convention there still remains a vocal minority that opposes the continuing participation of the Greens in government, and this group will continue to take action to have its voice heard.

Background to Mark's post



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