UNISON Scotland Conference Guide 2017

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Conference Briefing 2017Welcome to National Conference from UNISON Scotland convener Lilian Macer

Who’s who, or handy folk to know.

Scotland policy guide on all the main issues

What’s happening? Guide for new delegates (and old ones who were afraid to ask

Conference briefings and website service

End of an era as Jane steps down after 30 years at the top

A wee bit about Brighton

For other reports see the UK pages.

Scottish Branches Meeting
Monday 19 June 5.30pm – An essential meeting to get last minute news and updates.
The Old Ship Hotel
Kings Road Brighton BN1 1NR

Local Government Branches Meeting
Saturday 17 June 4.30 – 6.00pm
Syndicate Room 1
Brighton Centre


Who’s who, or handy folk to know

Lilian Macer and Stephen Smellie, Scotland Delegates

Stephen SmellieLilian MacerLilian and Stephen are elected as Scotland’s reps to Conference by the union’s Scottish Council of branches. See page 6 for details of what they do at Conference and how they can help.

Lilian is from Lanarkshire Health Branch and is UNISON Scotland Convener.

Stephen, from South Lanarkshire Branch, is Depute Convener.

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary

Mike KirbyMike Kirby is Scotland’s top full time official.  Mike took over as Scottish Secretary in December 2010 after serving as Scottish Convener – Scotland’s lead lay activist – since the merger that created UNISON in 1993.

Mike was also for many years one of Scotland’s lay Regional reps to National Conference. He was 2011/12 STUC President.


Alison Jaconelli, Standing Orders Committee Rep

Alison Jaconelli

Alison Jaconelli from South Lanarkshire Branch is Scotland’s rep on the Standing Orders Committee which sets out the business for the week.

Alison will be the source of information on what’s going on and whether your motion has any chance!




Vice Presidents

Margaret McKee
Margaret McKee
Carol Sewell
Carol Sewell

Due to the sad and untimely death of Eric Roberts in his presidential year, Conference will be chaired by vice presidents Carol Sewell and Margaret McKee.

Carol Sewell has worked in local government in the West Midlands for 41 years and been a benefits officer since 1983.

She joined Nalgo when she began her career with the local authority and has been a member ever since.

Margaret McKee has been a catering assistant for 37 years in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

She was awarded the TUC women’s gold badge at the 2016 Congress in recognition of her union and community work.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary

Dave PrentisDave Prentis was elected in 2000 and then re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2015.

Born and brought up in Leeds, he took a BA in history in London, followed by an MA in industrial relations at the University of Warwick. Dave is a member of the TUC General Council and its executive committee.

On his re-election he said: “The last few months have been challenging, but now the whole union must come together and work relentlessly to fight for public sector workers, their rights at work, their jobs and their pay. I am proud that members have put their trust in me to lead that fight.”


Scotland policy guide on all the main issues

Lilian Macer and Stephen Smellie were elected by the Scottish Council as UNISON Scotland’s delegates to Conference.

Delegates should use them as a source of information and they have a key organisational role.

They can help you liaise with other branches and regions. They will know how debates are organised, who to speak to and, more importantly, how to get to speak.

They will advise on Scottish policy and will speak for UNISON Scotland in debates.

Here, they preview the main debates at Conference, offering comments and advice from a UNISON Scotland policy perspective.

The briefing cannot mandate branches who may have different policies, however it may assist delegates in taking an overview of Conference.

Conference 2016 has 109 motions (19 fewer than 2016) and a pathetic three rule amendments (down by 13 on 2016).

UNISON Scotland and Scottish branches have submitted 16 motions and amendments which is two up on last year. Edinburgh, for the second time, has submitted no motions at all which suggests they are quite happy with the way things are thank you very much.


The experience of recent years is that conference will manage to discuss 30 to 35 or so of these motions.

Therefore if your favourite is not discussed below, it is unlikely to be debated first time around and the only alternative will be in the re-prioritisation exercise. This will take place on Wednesday evening/ Thursday morning, for Friday afternoon’s agenda.

The Standing Orders Committee (SOC) has balloted regions, the NEC, self organised groups, National Young Members’ Forum and the National Retired Members’ Committee on what motions should be prioritised for debate. The Scottish Council meeting in April agreed Scotland’s priorities.

Scotland motions and amendments

The following motions and amendments involving Scotland have been prioritised.

2. Organising and growing our membership in private contractors Lanarkshire Health Amendment 2.3

3. An organising strategy for the Social Care workforce Scotland

17. Dying to Work Campaign, South Lanarkshire.

Composite B (inc motion 22). Pensions and Climate Change, Scotland moving

74. The Great Repeal Bill – Protecting Devolution, Scotland and Lanarkshire Health amendments

84. EU Exit – Protecting the Northern Ireland Peace Process, Scotland Amendment 84.1

85. Standing together for LGBT equality Scottish Electricity Amendment 85.1

Composite D (inc motion 52) Automation Police Staff Scotland

Composite G (inc motion 91) Stand up to Racism, Glasgow City

96. Climate Change and a Just Transition, South Lanarkshire with Glasgow City Amendment 96.2

Composite E (inc motion 65) Turkey, South Lanarkshire moving.

69. New Threats to Cuba from Trump Administration, South Lanarkshire

47. Defend Whistle Blowing, Police Staff Scotland

107. Advice on In-Work Benefits, South Lanarkshire

Scotland priorities

As a reminder for delegates the priorities for debate agreed at Scottish Council on 1 April were…
3: An Organising Strategy for the Social Care Workforce, Scotland
22: Pension Funds: Divestment from Fossil Fuel Extraction, Scotland
84: EU Exit – protecting the Northern Ireland Peace Process, Northern Ireland
74: The Great Repeal Bill – protecting devolution Northern Ireland
96: Climate Change and a Just Transition, South Lanarkshire
65: Turkey, South Lanarkshire
17: Dying to Work Campaign, South Lanarkshire
91: Stand up to Racism, City of Glasgow Branch
69: New Threats to Cuba from Trump Administration, South Lanarkshire
47: Defend Whistleblowing, Police Staff Scotland
107: Advice on ‘In-Work’ Benefits, South Lanarkshire
52: Automation in the Public Sector, Police Staff Scotland

Recruiting and Organising: Motions 1 to 15

Need to develop organising approach never been greater

Motions in this section of the agenda around recruiting and organising will focus on the union’s organising strategy ensuring we are fit to cope with the onslaught of savage cuts to public services.

This section includes motions and amendments from 1 through to 15 and is supportable from a UNISON Scotland perspective.

Austerity cuts have reduced the number of activists and put further pressure on facility time; while increased fragmentation of the workforce has made organising more difficult. Meanwhile the need for us to develop an organising approach has never been greater.

Motion 1 Developing an organising branch from the National Executive Council and amendment 1.1 from Tower Hamlets, focuses on the increasingly hostile environment in which UNISON branches are operating and sets out the organising strategy for the union.

Motion 2 Organising and growing our membership in private contractors is from the newly established Private Contractors National Forum: Following last year’s rule change to establish the new National Private Contractors Forum the forum is giving our private contractor members a real voice in UNISON and a route to engage in the democratic structures of the union.

This is a unique opportunity for the union to reach out into our membership in private companies, building our power and our ability to protect these workers.

Amendment 2.3 from Lanarkshire Health Branch puts the private contractor rep at the heart of the branch structure.

Motion 3 An organising strategy for the social care workforce: from Scotland sets out the work UNISON has done to develop a ‘Fair Work’ agenda which has included a commitment to pay the Living Wage to all workers providing social care and ensure that a range of workforce matters are included in procurement.

Comp A (motion 11 and 12) Support for Activists from Worcestershire, Coventry and St Cross Hospitals and Coventry City, notes that our activists are the backbone of our union. They are in the front line of all our battles with employers, our campaigns and they are the first people members turn to when they have a problem

Motion 13 Mental health champions from the National Disabled Members’ Committee recognises the work undertaken by UNISON Cymru/Wales over many years.

Last year, with the help of Mind Cymru and Time to Change Wales, Cymru/Wales Disabled Self Organised Group launched their mental health awareness training. They have developed a mental health champions training programme for members and the first champions graduated in April.

Negotiating and Bargaining: Motions 16 to 27

Celebrate Scottish Young Members anti-bullying campaign award

Motion 17 Dying to work campaign, South Lanarkshire Branch. This motion has been agreed by Scottish Council and highlights the current position for workers with a terminal illness who are not classified as having a Protected Characteristic and therefore have very limited legal protection against employers dismissing them due to illness. The motion sets out a campaign strategy for the branches to follow using the TUC campaign materials.

Motion18 Stepping up the campaign against bullying and harassment from National Young Members’ Forum, reaffirms its policy of a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment.
The motion welcomes the development of the work by UNISON’s young members to raise the issue of bullying and harassment of young workers.

This motion would give an excellent opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Scotland Young Members Committee in winning the TUC award.

Motion19 Tackling stress from Gateshead recognises the large scale of harm to members caused by work related stress, including sickness and serious illness, and the personal cost to members and their families, and even premature death.

Motion 20 Pay – Tackling In-Work Poverty from the National Executive Council, calls for the NEC to continue campaigning for an end to the public sector pay cap.
It further highlights the consequent falling living standards for staff and the need to campaign against cuts to in-work social security such as tax credits and Universal Credit.

Comp B includes Scotland’s Motion 22 Pensions Funds: Divestment from Fossil Fuel Extraction, and Norfolk County’s Motion 23 Making Pensions Safe in a time of Climate Crisis.
This addresses the issue of how we protect our pensions from poor investments in fossil fuels that cannot be used if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Campaigning: Motions 28 to 57

WASPI campaign tops the priorities

Motions 28 to 57 in the campaigning section will cover the broad range of issues in our campaigning agenda, defending and supporting our members to deliver high quality public services to our local communities, with a number of motions dealing with the crisis in social care.

Motion 28 The integration of health and social care – responding to the challenges is the NEC flagship motion highlighting the crisis in health and social care. Together with the corresponding amendments it raises our deep concerns that, as a direct result of the actions of the UK

Conservative government, plans are taking place at a time of prolonged austerity, with the NHS experiencing its poorest settlement for a generation and social care continuing to be run into the ground by years of chronic under-funding.

Motion 30 The crisis in health and social care from Yorkshire and Humberside, highlights the survey by UNISON which found that 65 per cent of homecare, residential support and day services staff said they has less time to spend with those they care for because of staff shortages and 36 per cent said rationing of supplies had increased as a result of budget cuts

Motion 33 STPs – the future of the NHS? from Colchester Health opposes austerity-driven cutbacks in hospital, community and mental health services, whether these be presented in the form of Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) or less overt moves towards reconfiguration, cost-cutting and consolidation by trusts.

The motion agrees to support national campaigns on this issue and campaigns to defend local access to hospital services until new, superior, alternative evidence-based services are developed, properly staffed and funded, that ensure safe and improved services for patients.

Motion 36 Why we need to build a new housing consensus for affordable and decent homes for all is from the Greater London Housing Associations. This motion and the amendments highlight that millions of workers and their families live in expensive, overcrowded and insecure homes. Often these homes are long distances away from work or family and involve many hours of daily commutes.

Conversely UNISON research has shown many families have grown up children living with them not out of choice, but of necessity as they cannot afford to buy or rent a home of their own. The motion calls for mass investment in a house building programme to meet current and future needs.

Motion 39 getting the public on our side – public service campaigning is from National Executive Council. This motion and amendments set out the work the union needs to do as we get close to a decade since the beginning of the global financial crisis.

The pressure on public services and those that provide them remains unrelenting. Despite the unprecedented cuts that our members and the communities they serve have already experienced, a raft of further measures now threaten to push services to breaking point.

Motion 41 Challenging the TU Act 2016 from Cymru/Wales continues to condemn the Trade Union Act 2016 in Great Britain and its various restrictive and draconian regulations to hamper the ability of unions to bargain and to advance pay and conditions in the workplace.

The motion welcomes the work undertaken in Cymru/Wales to mitigate the excesses of the Act and calls on the NEC to continue to oppose the Trade Union Act and seek its repeal at the earliest opportunity.

Motion 42 Media portrayal of older people from the National Retired Members’ Committee, draws attention to the attack on older people in our society. Far from enjoying gold plated pensions and untold wealth, millions are living in poverty or fear of poverty. Services on which the majority of older people disproportionately rely have been cut or are under threat. Pensions and benefits have so declined in value that even basic needs cannot be met and thousands die each winter from cold related causes.

Motion 55 UNISON and the WASPI Campaign from National Women’s Committee, was the top scoring motion in the priorities. It builds on the excellent work UNISON has been doing to advance the WASPI campaign.

The Conservative government’s Pension Act (1995) included the provision to raise the pension age of women from 60 to 65, in line with men’s retirement age. The subsequent Pension Act (2011) implemented a much faster timetable for bringing in the changes which have discriminated against women.

Motion 57 A living pension National Retired Members’ Committee. The UK State Pension is rated as one of the worst in Europe.

Pensions are not benefits but are in fact deferred wages from previous National Insurance payments and deductions from work and taxable income.

The motion and amendment calls for a single tier pension for every pensioner increased in line with the triple lock that is the better of average earnings, prices or 2.5%, and to continue to seek changes to the index used for calculating prices to include housing costs.

International: Motions 58 to 84

Government has ignored devolved administrations on Brexit

Motion 59 Child marriage is child labour from National Women’s Committee, welcomes the initiative by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) aiming for a world without forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour which it is anticipated will also address other sustainable development goals, including gender equality.

Motion 61 Working globally for LGBT rights from the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee, celebrates our union’s rich history of international work and recognises that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group has incorporated this into its own work.

UNISON continues to raise LGBT issues in the different international forums in which we work and raise trade unionism in all LGBT forums in which we engage

Motion 73 Exiting the EU – a fair deal for workers and public services from the National Executive Council, recognises that the triggering of Article 50 in early 2017 is a decision that affects working people, their families and communities in the UK, the European Union and broader Europe.
The motion and amendments insist that these negotiations must be transparent, open to trade union consultation and involve parliamentary scrutiny and accountability.

Workers need a fair deal from these negotiations with provisions for investment in quality jobs; protection of living standards and employment rights.

Motion 74 The great repeal bill – protecting devolution is from Northern Ireland. The motion and amendments from Scotland and Lanarkshire Health raise the issues affecting the devolved nations.

The motion also highlights the way the government has consistently shown a disregard for the views of the devolved administrations in relation to the protections necessary when leaving the EU.

Motion 75 Immigration and the effects of the EU referendum and the Brexit vote from the National Black Members’ Committee, recognises the need for the issue of immigration and free movement of people to be high profile and calls on the NEC to liaise with Regional Black Members’ Committees to share best practice and ideas on how to support members impacted by this and highlight the positive influence of immigration both to our public services and wider society

Motion 84 EU exit – protecting the Northern Ireland peace process is from Northern Ireland: The current position of the UK Government for a ‘hard’ exit from the EU places the Northern Ireland peace process in severe jeopardy and has serious implications for the island of Ireland as a whole.

The amendment from Scotland recognises that the reintroduction of a hard border in Ireland would have an impact on Scotland, Wales and England in relation to freedom of movement, trade and solidarity within these islands.

Equalities: Motions 85 to 92

Integrate LGBT issues into champions campaign

Motion 85 Standing together for LGBT equality from the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee highlights research carried out for UNISON in 2013 which found that LGBT people were facing greater financial hardship, problems finding safe accommodation and increased marginalisation and invisibility.

A reduction of specialised LGBT services, including housing support and homelessness services, anti-hate crime and youth services, support and help-line services, mental health and sexual health services, and gender identity services, are happening at exactly the time these services are more needed than ever.

The Amendment from Scottish Electricity Branch asks that the NEC continues to integrate LGBT equality issues into our Public Service Champions campaign

Motion 86 Race inequality in the workplace highlights that despite efforts to bring further equality into society, evidence shows that Black workers are still being held back in the job market.

The amount of Black members holding senior posts still remains low while unemployment among Black people remains high, particularly among young Black people, and Black workers are also more likely to be in less secure forms of employment than white workers.

Motion 87 Challenging racism and xenophobia, from the National Executive Council, asserts that the only real answer to low pay and exploitation for all workers is stronger employment rights protections, stronger collective bargaining and trade union solidarity against racism. The trade union movement must stand at the forefront of tackling racism in the workplace and in our communities.

Motion 92 Human rights under attack, from East Midlands, highlights the despicable acts of the Conservatives who have re-stated their commitment to repeal the Human Rights Act (HRA) and replace it with a British Bill of Rights. This, like the Trade Union Act, is an ideological attack on our rights and freedoms. Workers’ rights and human rights are inseparable.

Effective and Efficient Union – Branch Funding

Motions 101 and 102 on Branch Funding are similar to Motion 123 which Scotland opposed last year and which fell. They are quite far down the list but if it looks like they will be heard, further advice will be issued in our daily briefings.

In 2016, UNISON Scotland supported the alternative strategy in Motion 121, Gateway to the Future: Stable and Sustainable Branch Resources, which was carried.

The motion and the report with 11 recommendations was designed to secure the financial stability of the union, while giving immediate support to branches that are struggling to support members.
Scotland also took the lead in piloting Activity Based budgets which brought valuable information to inform the process.

Motion 103 Activity based budgeting from Salford City believes these recent developments in activity-based budgeting are unwelcome and will not strengthen branches in the ways anticipated.
The motion therefore calls upon the National Executive Council to ensure that Motion 121 is implemented as passed by National Delegate Conference 2016.

Amendments to Rules

The Briefings Team will distribute a separate Scottish briefing on Rule Amendments to delegates on the Wednesday of conference. Disappointingly for some of us with anorak leanings, there are only three.


What’s happening? Guide for new delegates (and old ones  who were afraid to ask)

With up to 3,000 delegates and visitors, Conference can be a daunting prospect, especially if you don’t know what’s happening.  But now you will, thanks to SiU’s handy guide.

Scotland Meeting
Monday’s Scotland delegates’ meeting gives last minute information and discusses Scottish input. It is also your chance to push your issues. 

Seating Plan
There should be a seating plan in this pack.  We traditionally get at least one seat wrong – so if you find yourself sitting on someone’s knee, it’s likely to be a mistake.

Credentials Bar Code
No this is not a secret sign to get a drink. Your credential card has a bar code which will scan you in. You must wear the card at all times. Wearing it at your waist is not helpful to the stewards, will lead to delays and may end up with more than you expected being scanned!

Conference Guide
This prints all motions submitted. It also has more detailed useful information. You will also get a booklet with composite motions, listed by letters of the alphabet (usually with the numbers of the motions in brackets).

Speaking, speakers lists, timings
Seats for speakers FOR and AGAINST are labelled at the front. If in doubt, staff at the Rostrum Control will help.

In any case it is best to tell them you want to speak because they will have a list – and with amendments it is not always clear which seat you should be in. It also helps to speak to the Scottish Regional Delegates first!

Speakers can speak only once in a debate (except for the right of reply). Movers get five minutes.

However, Conference sometimes reduces this. You will get warning to chainsaw all those bits you loved dearly out of your speech. Subsequent speakers get three minutes.

Always start your speech by giving your name and your branch.

HANDY HINT: Have a brief closing remark ready in case you run out of time.
Right of Reply

The mover of a motion is allowed a Right of Reply at the end of the debate or before voting on an amendment (but not both). This is a reply to points raised in the debate and cannot be abused by introducing new stuff (although many try it).

Normally votes are taken by holding up brightly coloured cards and the president will decide whether a count is needed.

If it is close, or a major issue is involved, the chair can call for a branch card vote.  Delegates can also call for a card vote but only if 10% of us shout out with voting cards up immediately. If this is on an amendment, the debate is suspended until the result is known.

Branch card votes are stamped with the voting entitlement of your branch and with either FOR or AGAINST.

The correct number must be used for the particular vote. Get a colleague to check it.

Like any other formal meeting, Conference is run by a series of rules. This often seems very bureaucratic but the system ensures some semblance of order is kept.  The president chairs Conference and their ruling on any issue is final.

Blinkin’ lights and points of order

Timing for speeches is shown by lights on the rostrum…
… but even if you don’t notice the light, there is always some bright spark who will shout ‘time’, usually when they’re not agreeing with you.

It can be useful to have an ‘escape clause’ in your speech to cut to so you can finish on a good note.

The lights mean…

Yellow: means the speaker has a minute to go.

Red: means ‘zip the lip’ now, not after you’ve made ten more points.

Green: means a point of order has been raised and will be heard before the next speaker.
Points of Order

You can move ‘next business’, ‘adjournment’ or ‘private session’ but the most used is ‘that the question be put’.

The president must put this to Conference and, if carried, we go straight to the right of reply, and the vote on the motion or amendment. (The chair can caution there has not been enough debate.)

This move is especially helpful when there are a host of speakers for a motion and none against.

You can only move most points of order if you haven’t already spoken in the debate.

Handy Hints
Card Votes
– If you split your vote, make sure the figures add up. Get someone to check.
– make sure you’ve SIGNED it.
– and that the branch name is on it.

Get your photo in advance
– If you haven’t done it online, get your credential photo in advance. Photo booths are few and far between.

– We hope the briefings will be of some use to you. But for safety, do not leave papers on the floor.
– Don’t leave mobile phone ringers on.
– Don’t walk in front of the signers.
– Lots of people will be pushing papers at you as you come to Conference. Not taking one does not make you a bad person!

Rough Guide to Conference

After years of being caught out by jargon and sneaky procedural wheezes, your SiU scoop brings you a rough guide to help you out.

Standing Orders Committee (SOC)
Comprises reps elected by each Region (ours is Alison Mitchell) and three from the NEC who organise the order of business, composites and so on.  A report will be issued each morning on the day’s business and probably future business – this is really important to understanding what is going on. Sometimes their rulings are challenged but it rarely makes sense to do so since the committee reflects regions’ priorities.

NEC Positions
Most motions haven’t got a chance of being heard and will be referred to the NEC, or somewhere. So it is worth looking to see what position the NEC has taken on your motion.

Agenda and Priorities
The running order (you’ll get one at Conference) is set after consultation with regions on priorities. Motions are grouped into ‘themes’ to avoid duplication and the risk of voting against what we’d voted for earlier (yes we’ve done that before!).

Friday priorities
Come Friday (oh, come, come Friday), there is a chance to re-prioritise your pet motion that was not reached. On Wednesday we will circulate branches with a form to pick their priorities for Friday afternoon. These will be collated and go to the SOC which will set out a Friday pm agenda that reflects Conference’s wishes. That can be an eye-opener!

Emergency motions
Conference has to vote to hear emergency motions in the first place (after the SOC has decided it is an emergency and is relevant and competent). To qualify for an emergency, it must have been impossible to submit the motion’s subject matter before the deadline.

An amalgam of similar motions drawn together into one motion that nobody likes! Not fair really, because many composites do succeed in combining areas of agreement through negotiation. You will get a composites booklet before Conference and new ones issued throughout the week.

Suspending Standing Orders
A super wheeze (needing a two thirds majority) to do something that’s not on the agenda. To be avoided in most cases because it cuts across agreed priorities and of course stops Conference making decisions.

Grouped Debates
Where a pile of similar motions and amendments are all moved one after the other, there is an all-in debate and we vote on them one after the other at the end.

Reference Back
Reports, such as the annual report or standing orders report, are presented to conference for approval. If someone is unhappy with part of the report they can ask for ‘reference back’, meaning the committee or working group that prepared the report should reconsider that section.

When the NEC asks for a motion to be referred to them for further clarification, elaboration, or investigation.

Scottish delegates
Lilian Macer and Stephen Smellie are this year’s Scottish Regional delegates.  They are there to help, especially if you want to get into a debate – they’ll tell you how, who to see, and if you’re not careful (or lucky), what to say! Sincerely folks, they are an essential source of advice, information and help.


Conference briefings and website service

The Scottish Communications and Campaigns Committee, along with the Regional Delegates, will issue daily briefings during Conference week (new rules mean we are only allowed one briefing a day).

It is not a ‘News’ service after the event (after all you were there), it is for briefing delegates before the event.

However, we will issue some special reports as a basis for branch reports back home. We will also be updating the website with most of what goes out in print so you can get easy access at www.unison-scotland.org/news/conf2017.

The service is also there to be used by branches to promote motions within Scottish policy.

In exceptional circumstances we can also help from our own resources with typing and communications with branches, media etc back home.

Your contact is John Stevenson, SiU editor, along with Kate Ramsden and Jane Aitchison. Other committee members will be helping out too. It would be really helpful if speakers could let the team know when they are speaking (so we can get a photo) and provide a copy of their speech for the reports.


A wee bit about Brighton

by John Stevenson
BrightonIf you find you have any time off (after 5pm of course) and you find you’ve exhausted all the fringe meetings here is a brief guide of what Brighton has to offer.

Brighton has plenty of trendy bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as traditional British pubs and restaurants. There is a lively LGBT scene.

The Lanes
The Lanes, an area of winding alleys and hidden squares and passages, are the historical heart of the fishing town of Brighthelmstone which is easy for me to say.

There is a wide range of ‘new age’ shops and up-market jewellery.  They also boast coffee shops and specialist restaurants, as well as the traditional pubs.

North Laine
North Laine is known as the ‘cultural quarter’, with 300 or so shops, as well as cafes, bars, pubs and theatres.  The Royal Pavilion, Brighton museum & art gallery and theatres are all around here.

Beachfront and Piers
Famous for its pebble beach and piers, the beachfront area offers a host of attractions and you can hire deck chairs (contact the Briefings Team for instructions on how to knot your hankies!).

The fishing quarter has a museum, modern art trail and seafront artists’ quarter.

The Sealife Centre is also on the seafront near the pier.

The Palace Pier is the only pier in England to be open year-round. Deckchairs again with amusement arcades and fairground rides and games, souvenir shops, fish and chips and even a pub.

By night, the beachfront clubs are jumpin’ (we’re told). There is also open-air cinema, music on the beach, and shows and concerts at the seafront near Brighton Centre.

Brighton Pavilion
Building on this Regency But ‘n’ Ben in the elaborate Indo-Saracenic style began in1787 as a retreat for the somewhat decadent George IV, then the Prince of Wales.

The pavilion is home to the finest collections and examples of the chinoiserie style in Britain.

History/ Politics
A branch of the Social Democratic Federation was first formed in Brighton in 1889. Organised trade unionism had begun long before with the arrival of the railway and railway engineering in the 1840s. But it wasn’t until 1986 that the Labour Party won control of the council.

The party also won control of the unitary authority from 1997 to 2003 when Brighton and Hove went to no overall control with the Tories as the biggest party.

From 2007, the Greens were famously the biggest party but in 2015 they lost 12 seats while Labour increased their tally by 12 making it the biggest party on 23 seats and it now forms the minority administration.

..and finally
Chris Eubank, ex-boxer, holds the purchased title of ‘Lord of the Manor of Brighton’ and Eleanor Marx, the daughter of Karl Marx, lived here.


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