And I’ll say that I wrote it myself dum-de-dum
It’s interesting which bits of one’s knowledge one takes for granted. I have been asked by several people how to write a motion. It would seem despite what may have been reported elsewhere that much of today’s Left have not grown up with experience of NUS student politics, thankfully, nor come from a Trade Union background which is where I learnt this stuff, initially at mandating meetings.
Policy motions come in three parts, a notes section, a believes section and an instructs section. The notes section is used to provide context and frame the problem, otherwise, when younger it seemed to me that the important piece was the instructions, but the believes section defines long term policy which may outlive the instructions. In some cases, one might have to amend the instruct verb and replace it with a calls on or strongly advises. This would occur when the meeting has no right to mandate actions such as if calling on MPs or Councillors to take actions. The rest of this article consists of an example motion and Life of Brian’s guide to committee procedure.
Here’s an example
This meeting notes
- The announcement of something bad
- The effect this announcement/programme will have on people
This meeting believes
- The contents of the announcement is bad
- The announcement should be overturned
- And replaced with an alternative which may have multiple points
This meeting calls on
- Our representatives to vote against these measures
This meeting instructs
- The officers or executive committee to “do something Reg!”
For those who don’t get the “Reg” reference, here’s a video of how [not] to do it.