Sunday, January 29, 2017

Federal International Relations Committee meets - some personal thoughts...

I spent most of yesterday either travelling to and from, or in, the first ever meeting of the Party's Federal International Relations Committee (FIRC). At least, as now constituted - the old International Relations Committee was a rather more pallid creature - it is a new, rather more defined, structure. It is, if you like, under construction, as members attempt to define its place in the wider Party structure beyond those tasks assigned to it by the Federal Constitution.

It would not, then, be unreasonable to ask what FIRC is for, and how is it relevant. You might also expect me to report on that. But before I do, I want to reflect a little on our first day. Indulge me for a moment...

To hold a strategy meeting whilst today's events in the United States and elsewhere unfolded might feel like a peculiarly Liberal Democrat exercise in rearranging deckchairs, and you may be right. The timing was, how shall I put it, unfortunate, but you do have to start somewhere, don't you?

Featured on Liberal Democrat VoiceFor FIRC to be effective, it needs to define its locus and decide upon how its various resources can be allocated to fulfil its constitutional and political objectives, working within the confines of the strategy as set by the Federal Board. That's dull, but likely to have benefits later. At least, that's what I tell myself, even if I have a sneaking feeling that I might not have much company in that view. Structure, organisational design and constitutions are, how can I put this, not why people get involved in international politics.

I wanted to be the Committee's Secretariat, partly because I'm good at that sort of thing, and partly because I do understand the role that 'ordnung und verwaltung' have in achieving good outcomes. And, actually, it annoys me to see such things come badly, as they can be sometimes in our beloved Party.

The problem is that, having got a job that nobody else wanted anyway, I have a nagging sense that being the organisational conscience of a committee is akin to being the one Roundhead in a Civil War re-enactment society. Hell, the Cavaliers lost, but their outfits were so much better. And, as it has been pointed out to me, you can be a bureaucrat anywhere, so why FIRC in particular?

I have, it seems, something of an existential dilemma. And now, I have to find a way of dealing with it...

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