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I worry that we will rush through an unsuitable draft constitution that we are then unable to amend, because either we have set an impossibly high quorum for general meetings, or because we are unable to agree on amendments in future by a two-thirds majority. Rushing now could hamper us later by locking in structures that don’t work for us, and we could waste a lot of time in future trying to fix it when we will need to be campaigning.
I think we need to work on the draft constitution to address points raised in this discussion, then call an inaugrual general meeting to ratify it in the new year. At that inaugrual meeting, we can set the date of our first AGM, which doesn’t have to be a year after the ratification meeting (eg it can be at a time of year which is more suitable for travel and takes into account May elections and autumn party conferences).
We need to answer Tim’s question about who gets to vote on this draft constitution whenever we do meet to ratify it. Is it an initial group of activists or the whole membership?. Is the membership everyone in the facebook group, as the name of the group implies, or is it some smaller list somewhere?
I think Paul’s point about whether or not we can merge the roles of the Council and the Committee is worth discussing. I can think of some pros and cons. What do other folks think?
Whenever we do hold our inaugrual general meeting to ratify the constitution, can we agree some rules for that meeting? Here are some suggestions:
1. Quorum & eligibility: Who is entitled to attend and do we set a quorum?
2. Majority required: Do we ratify the constitution by a simple majority or something bigger like two thirds?
3. Election of officers: Presumably we need to choose our first office-holders at the meeting.
4. Agenda & other business: Do we need to have some other reports at the meeting, eg finance and membership reports?
5. Date of AGM: Our inaugrual meeting doesn’t have to be our AGM, and doesn’t need to create a precedent for future AGM dates. The inaugrual meeting is effectively an EGM. We can decide when to hold our first AGM at a more suitable time of year (any time within the first 18 months, I think). I’d suggest setting our AGM date to a warmer time of year as we don’t want bad weather to prevent our far-flung members from travelling to it.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by Steve West.
Some thoughts on the draft constitution:
Section C – Objects (I agree with Paul, “Objectives” is better)
I think we should have an explicit objective of standing up to anti-English racism in Scotland, whatever its source.
Should we also have an objective of countering false claims of anti-Englishness? (eg when unionists accuse the independence movement or SNP of being anti-English)
I think clause 5 is way too detailed for a constitution – it’s getting into detailed policy. We could have something much more general about being internationalists and agreeing that all self-defined national groups have the right to self determination.
Section J – Meetings and Proceedings of the AGM, National Council and National Committee
“3. For all English Scots for YES meetings, the quorum will be at least one-fifth of the members entitled to be present. Decisions made by an inquorate meeting must be ratified by a subsequent quorate meeting to be valid.”
I think a 20% quorum is way too high for a general meeting and we might be unable to hold a quorate AGM. For general meetings of ordinary members, I’d suggest 5% is more realistic. Lots of members sign up to organisations and political parties then never go to any meetings – a typical party conference is attended by 2-5% of party members.
For Committee/Council meetings, I’d suggest a much higher quorum, say 40%. People standing for election to positions on Council/Committee should be giving a commitment attend meetings.
I don’t think we should rush this draft through on the assumption that we can easily change the constitution later. It won’t be quick or easy to amend later. Also, we don’t want lots of our time at our future AGMs taken up discussing the minutiae of the constitution – we will have more pressing business.
It would also be breaching our constitution in spirit before we even agree it, if we were to call our first AGM at such sort notice:
Section E – AGM
“3. Notification of the venue and time for the AGM will be sent out
electronically to all members at least four full weeks before the AGM takes place.”