Tuesday, 27 September 2011

How to summate in a debate #ldconf

Last Sunday morning at about 8:50 I entered the conference hall in Birmingham and was asked by Gareth Epps if I could summate on amendment 2 on the Accreditation for Conference Motion. I did have a card in to speak on the motion, but knew that being asked to do this I would be throwing out a lot of what I had to say and dealing with arguments raised by a lot of people during the debate.

I was shocked by the number of people who said well done, either in person, on twitter or text. Yes my pocket kept vibrating as soon as I sat down after leaving the podium. One thing that even some respected speakers said was how well I had done in raising points from everyone in the debate, and naming them by name, something that Geoff Payne summating on the other amendment failed to do referring only to the first time speaker from Cambridge. On the right is page one of my notes from that morning. Here is what I was doing.

At the top are the main points that I would have made if I were speaking in the motion itself. These were the main points of my speech. One of them the Transgender element was so well covered by Rachel Coleman-Finch (that first time speaker from Cambridge) and Jenny Barnes that I only mentioned them in passing, but the issue that LGBT+ Lib Dems (Delga as was at the time known) had been consulted was something that I did speak on, and got the new less than 14 hour old renamed organisation its first mention from the platform.

As each speaker was called, I took a quick note of their name on the right hand side of the page. Then any point that they made that need commenting on either rebutting or praising was written on the left. There are heiroglyphs and scribbles as I try and link together speakers and create a flow to what I am about to say. If you notice from the top and recall all of my points as intended were raised in my summation of the amendment.

I also over the page have just one comment next to Chris White "being blown to pieces" this made me start with my current party positions as part of the Northern Ireland party. I had to lay out just what authority I had on the terrorism issue. At the point that was brought into the debate with both the speakers before me, my grand opening line got cut and and my speech took on a whole different structure.

These notes are but an aide memoire, most of what had been said was still fresh in my mind. I never even transcribed my speech from BBC iPlayer and it is too late to do so now. But I hope this may be helpful if you ever find yourself required to summate on a motion or an amendment. Although one final word of advise, don't try and do this unless you are able to improvise on the spur of the moment and have some idea where you want to go to anyway.

Update Thanks to Zoe O'Connell I managed to upload the speech unto my YouTube channel so you can watch it there.

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