Author Archives: Iain Donaldson

North West Liberal Democrats Conference Spring 2016

Members attend regional conference to debate policy, receive training, question the decision makers in the party, and, of course, to socialise with old friends over a cup of tea or an excellent lunch.

On Saturday, following the opening of North West Liberal Democrats Conference by the Deputy Leader of Stockport Council, we heard an upbeat presentation from Sir Vince Cable about the work the Liberal Democrats did in Government, and where we go from here.  This was followed by a presentation by former North West MEP Chris Davies on the progress of the #intogether campaign to keep Britain in the EU.  …

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Will North West Region choose to become a state party?

The Liberal Democrats are a growing party and week on week new colleagues join us in the battle to create a democratic and liberal nation in which success is founded on merit, policy is founded on evidence and citizens are treated equally.

This party has always championed the concept of subsidiarity, decisions being taken as close as possible to the people they affect. We were the party that pressed hardest for a North West Regional Parliament, and we are the party that in government delivered Devo-Manc and real prospect of Devo-Merseyside. It is not our preferred option of devolution and it does not devolve enough powers, but it is a beginning in the quest to achieve the Liberal Democrat ambition of a Federal United Kingdom within a Federal European Union.

The North West Region finds more General Election candidates than the Party in Scotland, the Party in Wales or the Party in any other region in England. We not only fill our own seats but we also export candidates to other regions and train candidates for other regions.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

All women shortlists

At Liberal Democrat Conference in York this weekend I have been told by a number of women that they would not want to be the candidate for a seat that selected from an all women shortlist.  I have some news for them, most of them won’t be.  The motion passed means that of the around 580 seats that the Liberal Democrats will contend 8 must have all women shortlists.

I will now issue a direct challenge to those women, don’t walk away from the party but instead as there are up to 572 seats not selecting on all women shortlists so choose one of those seats and get selected as a Parliamentary Candidate.  However, my challenge goes much further than that because right now we only have enough approved candidates who are women to fill a quarter of those seats so at the same time convince another woman who is capable of standing for parliament to do the same.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

The counter bias proposed in the All Women Shortlist motion will not in itself be enough to achieve balance

Spring Conference Agenda 2016The membership of the Liberal Democrats is almost 50% male and 50% female (I say almost because we have a number of members who are non-binary (they do not define as male or female) and I will say up front that when I refer to “all women shortlists” this does not mean I am excluding these non-binary candidates, I want and would strongly encourage them to seek selection.

The Liberal Democrats also instinctively seek parity between men and women (it is noticeable that not one man felt he could do a better job than the excellent women candidates who stood for election as Party President in 2014.  This was not out of some arranged plot visited upon us from Lib Dem HQ, it was simply a conclusion that we all reached of our own volition.

Why then can we not achieve gender balance in our parliamentary candidates by the same gut instinct?  Well actually we want to but there is disagreement as to how we go about it.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 25 Comments

Community Politics – putting people first

Liberal Democrats believe that the state exists to serve and enable individuals to live their lives to the full.  Our starting point is the individual. We want to find ways of enabling and encouraging each person to fulfil his or her own potential.

We believe that men and women have an immense, largely unrealised capacity for self-direction, self-cultivation, self-understanding and creativity.  People are not sheep to be flocked, cattle to be herded or oxen to be led; it is inhuman to reduce people to the status of objects to be manipulated, directed or discarded.

It is the right of every human to share the liberty and the opportunity to experiment, to experience, to learn and to influence his or her surroundings. This is the ethos that drives the Liberal Democrats.  It is not about having one’s own way; it is about having a way that is one’s own.

A liberal community does not dictate how people should live, but liberates people to live as they please so long as that in doing so they do not impinge upon the freedoms and rights of others.  It does not provide for the needs of the citizen, but rather enables the citizen to provide for their own needs.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 10 Comments

It is time to press for full gender and sexual equality in our law and administration

The case of Tara Hudson, a transgender woman who has been sent to one of the most violent all male prisons in the country for an admitted assault, highlights once again the need for British law and administration relating to gender dysphoria to be overhauled.

As a cysgender gay man I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to live with a condition where you experience discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between your biological sex and gender identity, but I don’t have to live with medical condition in order to understand the impact …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 9 Comments

Conference: what worked, and some suggestions for improvement for the future

I believe in giving praise where praise is due, and so I would like to congratulate all the party staff, companies, businesses, volunteers and particularly the members of Federal Conference Committee (FCC) on their delivering the most enjoyable, welcoming and member friendly conference I have attended in my 27 years in this party.

I particularly liked and would like to see at all future conferences:

From the moment you arrived people explained what was happening and when, FCC and Federal Executive members were available front of house to hear what members wanted to tell them;

In the conference hall every technicality of the debate was clearly explained as it happened so nobody felt out of their depth;

In the fringe meetings every acronym and every bit of jargon was explained, it isn’t just the new members who are helped by that everyone benefits.

On the whole this conference gave us a lot to build on, and here are some of my suggestions for the future:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 30th Apr - 5:59am
    Tsar Nicholas, I sort of agree. To me what's happening is that, for want of a better word, progressive politics has cut itself of from...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 29th Apr - 11:17pm
    Good stuff. This is something the party needs to do a lot of thinking about. I suspect that the more thought there is, and the...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 29th Apr - 11:07pm
    @Jane: "We could have done this ourselves outside the EU." No we couldn't. Or only for calls made in the UK. We could not regulate...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 29th Apr - 9:37pm
    @John Marriott I wonder if you have ever served on a jury. If you have then you should understand the necessity of making the grave...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 29th Apr - 9:37pm
    Andy Allen Tax rates are an important part of fiscal and monetary policy , now devolved , as for constitutional matters the only one the...
  • User AvatarEd Maxfield 29th Apr - 9:33pm
    :-)