AGM 2022 Minutes

AGM 2022 Minutes

Minutes of libertarian AGM 2022 10/09/2022

Liam Harkness (Treasurer, “LRH”) welcomed people to the AGM and set out the ground rules.

Tam Laird (“TL”) gave an introductory speech.

LRH ran through the minutes of the last AGM. There were no actions to follow up and no updates required.

LRH reminded members that the deputy leader, Stef Johnstone, had resigned and that a new deputy leader would require election. The first party business was the election of the successor to Stef.

Caz Paul was the only candidate for the position of deputy leader. Caz was questioned for approximately 30 minutes by members and leadership on his position and credentials. In particular, he was challenged on the time required for such a role. After questioning, a vote was held on whether to approve his candidacy or to leave the post vacant, pending a new candidate. Caz was appointed with 15 votes in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions.

Peter Sidor (Membership Secretary, “PS”) gave an update on membership. We have seen a steady rise in members, with peaks in joining around the Marcus Meechan affair and around election times. Member retention is strong. At the time of speaking, PS reported membership numbers of 266, down from a peak of 283 in November 2021, but up on 54 in June 2019.

LRH gave a the Treasurer’s update. Finances in the year were good, with income of £14k and net income resources of approximately £2k. These added to previous years’ surpluses to build resources of over £7k at year-end. At the time of the meeting, we had approximately £6k in reserves.

LRH noted that our premises in Kilmarnock were an onerous lease now that Stephen McNamara was no longer involved with the party. The premises are not practical but we are locked into the lease until October this year. They cost £217 per month. Antony Sammeroff and others asked whether we had considered moving to other premises. Antony suggested the desk he leases in Glasgow as an example of what could be opted for. The leadership team acknowledged that it was one of a number of options being considered whereby the party could keep a postal address whilst minimising costs.

LRH also noted that the McNamaras had financed the party for a number of years, but not everything they spent money on would be continued, as he felt it was not a good use of party resources. Consensus was that this was the right approach.

The financial statements and the update were passed to members for approval and were voted on with unanimous approval.

Tam Laird (Party Leader, Nominating Officer, “TL”) gave an update on the campaign just gone.

He commented how we had actually performed better in the last election than some critics had claimed and that it was not simply the objective of the party to stand as many candidates as possible.

The constitutional committee update was provided by Antony Sammeroff who praised the attendance and dutifulness of members. This was the most challenging time in the committee’s history.

The committee members were reelected without opposition.

From the floor (from party member Sandy Wallace) came a proposal to acknowledge the severity of the events of this year (the expulsion of a notable member and the departure of the Deputy Leader) and pass a vote of confidence into the current leadership. The vote was passed unanimously.

Other agenda items discussed:

Various policies were proposed. The full text of what was proposed is included in the agenda. These were debated thoroughly and then voted upon. The results of those votes were as follows:

1. Proposal to amend the policy on self defence:
7 for
6 Against
7 Abstentions

The motion was defeated. Members were supportive in general of changes to the current policy, both to emphasise leniency toward those who use “excessive” force in their own homes and regarding the policy around owning weapons, however, consensus could not be reached on how to amend the policy.

2. Proposal to create social media manager role within the constitution:

The proposal sought to regulate the party’s social media presence, which had caused irritation to some members.
3 for
8 against
9 abstentions

The issues raised were recognised, but members could not decide on the way forward. For many, it seemed that a constitutional amendment would not be the way to go, and an informal solution would need to be worked out. Tam currently posts for the party and it was suggested he would continue until someone was willing to take over who would not post controversial material and would stick to a simple, party line.

3. Proposal to remove the party’s official position on independence:

This is a massively controversial issue for the party. It was pointed out that due to our MOA with the LPUK, no other Libertarian party can stand in Scotland. Equally, the Electoral Commission would not permit another party as similar to stand candidates. Therefore any libertarian in Scotland must vote for the SLP, even if they oppose independence. This is clearly hindering the recruitment of members.

On the other hand, members currently active within the party are, on balance, pro-independence and some are massively so. Therefore, altering this policy may adversely affect the current membership and leadership of the party.
8 for
6 against
6 abstentions

The motion was defeated. There was an the understanding that the party would continue to take a soft line on independence and emphasise it was pro-liberty.

4. Proposal to amend policy on NGOs
20 for
0 against
0 abstentions

Passed unanimously. Proposal to emphasise opposition to NGOs and supragovernmental bodies was well received and had no objections.

5. Proposal to change policy on taxation to state “taxation in all forms should be abolished”.
The motion had ideological support from anarcho-capitalists, but it was challenged unworkable within the framework we campaign for as a political party.
6 for
8 against
6 abstentions

Motion defeated. It was not considered desirable to remove all taxation, for practical, political and economic reasons.

6. Proposal to add passage on opposition to central banking, generally in line with mainstream libertarian thinking.
15 for
3 against
2 abstentions

Motion passed. The wording of the motion was loosened, so as to permit acceptance though it was agreed that we should explicitly oppose political control of money, with either the gold standard or free-banking being preferable to the status quo.

7. Motion to state that we support natural law and no government can make laws for the land. Gregor Masson, proposer of the policy, suggested that the party move to recognise competing legal frameworks that were not beholden to the state. This was challenged as being politically difficult and would create huge legal uncertainty.
2 for
11 against
4 abstentions

Motion defeated. The members felt that it was too sweeping a statement. Many were in favour of an anarcho-capitalist system. However, it was felt that a political party needed to keep broad appeal and this would not be possible if we went down this road. There were also objections to the policy as unworkable within our legal framework.

8. Other motions – AOB

A further motion was proposed by LRH. Following from discussions earlier, the members were called to vote on a motion to amend the constitution, such that constitutional committee members were obliged to recuse themselves from matters where there is a conflict of interest. Members were also called to vote on whether or not to explicitly state that the constitutional committee members would serve terms of one year, but would automatically be reappointed should there be no challenger. If there is a challenger or a resignation, members would be called to vote for appointments to the committee at the next AGM. This was not explicitly stated in the constitution and earlier discussions indicated that members would appreciate clarity on those terms. As such, members were called to vote on this additional matter by the meeting chair.

The motion passed unanimously.

There being no other business, LRH thanked members for attending and for their hard work and attention during the meeting. The party leader did likewise in his short closing statement.

The AGM for theScottish Libertarian Party for 2022 was then called to a close at 16:45 on 10/09/2022.

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