Some Green Party members have expressed concern that the Holistic Review report doesn’t contain enough detail. Others have told us that there is too much detail in certain areas. That’s how it is in life – some people focus on the details while others want to talk about the bigger picture. We need both, of course, but why has the commission included rather a lot of detail in some areas, but very little in others?
First off, I should come clean and say that I love details. I once had a two-hour long row with my husband (who as our local party returning officer also has some form on detail) about the use of apostrophes in headlines. However, the purpose of detail is to ensure that we achieve what we set out to achieve. The details DO matter, but they only make sense if there is already agreement about what we are actually trying to accomplish – you can’t get the details right if you don’t know what the big picture is supposed to look like.
So why the detail in some areas?
Some of our proposals are the result of a long and complicated process of research, ideas-testing, debate and deliberation. We had to wrestle with the details to get there so we have details to share and think others may need them to understand what we are getting at. For example, the make-up of the proposed new governance bodies only made sense once we had talked it through several times. The detail here is important to understand the kind of balance we are proposing between representative democracy, direct democracy and direct service.
Other proposals were just obvious from the first set of member interviews we conducted. For example, everyone agreed that we need to do more to share skills and best practice throughout the party. There are many ways to do that, but the concept is easy to grasp so we’re just sharing it for others to take forward.
We also decided early on not to attempt to re-draft the party’s constitution in time for Autumn conference. We are proposing some big changes to take effect as soon as possible, but we also want to ensure that the party can respond to future needs more quickly and simply. That requires a really careful focus on the details and skills of a specialist lawyer, who will work with the transition group to get the wording just right. But none of those people can fill in the details until we have agreed, together as a party, just what we want the big picture to look like.