Author Archives: Mark Valladares

ALDE Congress preview: day 3 – it’s make your mind up time…

The final day of Congress is when the decisions get taken – electing Bureau members, determining policy, agreeing statute changes. Everything builds up to a frenzy of voting, as delegates are asked to vote for or against as many as twenty-five resolutions in one rather manic one hour session.

This is only possible because the big arguments take place in working group sessions on day 2, where compromises are reached and recommendations made to the plenary session the next day. For Liberal Democrats, this is a source of some wonderment, especially for those who have been to too many Federal Conferences. …

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ALDE Party Congress preview : Day 2 – an energised delegation hits the dance floor…

Another snowy dawn in Warsaw, made rather brighter by news from home, and whilst some of our delegation are paying the price for staying up to wait for the result from Richmond Park, there’s a definite spring in our step.

And so, what do we have to look forward to today?

It’s all about policy, with working groups looking at a range of resolutions, as well as the proposed reforms to the Party statutes (think constitutional amendments on steroids). Our delegation will be active participants, discussing Brexit, aspects of European democracy, economics, environmental issues and civil liberties.

In terms of the big, set-piece stuff, Congress is formally launched with speeches from the likes of Cecilia Malmström and Margrethe Vestager, two of the Liberal Commissioners, Guy Verhofstadt.

There is also a plenary debate on “Brexit and the Politics of Fear”, which includes our Willie Rennie, which may be slightly different in tone after last night’s success.

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ALDE Bureau elections: the runners and riders

alde-congress-2016Yes, it’s election time again, as the ALDE Party elects different positions in alternate years, the Presidency and some Vice-Presidents in odd-numbered years, the Treasurer and a few more Vice-Presidents in even-numbered years.

This year, there is no British interest, with Ros Scott having been safely elected as a Vice-President last year. As for the Treasurer, it looks as though there will be a intra-Slovene handover, with outgoing Treasurer, Roman Jakič, expected to be replaced by the sole candidate, Gašper Koprivsek from SMC (Modern Centre Party).

There are five candidates for three Vice-Presidential slots;

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ALDE Party Congress preview – day 1: a gentle warm-up before the drama commences

alde-congress-2016Welcome to Warsaw, where the cranes are busy bringing new skyscrapers to the city’s skyscape (don’t try to say that quickly…), and a thousand liberals from across Europe are meeting over the next three days.

To some extent, the event is dominated by Brexit – our sister parties are keen to adopt a common position on a European negotiating position, whilst simultaneously showing their support for pro-European forces in the United Kingdom (that would appear, given the Labour Party’s dithering on the subject, to be us). The welcome so far appears to be …

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ALDE Party Council preview – rewriting the rules, but not in triplicate…

Yes, it’s that time once again, when liberals gather from across Europe to renew old acquaintances, make policy and debate the burning issues of the day. Hang on, wrong introduction, that’s the one I meant to write for the Congress taking place alongside it.

It is fair to say that the Council meeting isn’t as exciting, focussing as it does on rule changes and membership applications.

First, the rule changes. There have been some concerns expressed that the way that individual parties are represented in the ALDE Party is not as fair as it might be. Accordingly, a small group of crack diplomats has been assigned the task of coming up with a new system. Needless to say, it combines a complexity that makes it hard to explain with a lack of salience to our readers that makes trying to do so fairly futile. I’ll give you a summary though…

The new system rewards successful parties and national influence, whilst rebalancing the membership dues system to ease the burden on small parties from small countries, something that, as a member of the Financial Advisory Committee, I had attempted to do a few years ago. Obviously, I support that. Whether or not the new allocations of Council and Congress delegates achieves the stated aim is another matter.

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The end of an era as International Relations Committee faces a new dawn…

irc-meetingYes, this week saw the last meeting of the International Relations Committee in its current form, as the Governance Review has renamed it the ‘Federal International Relations Committee’ and given it a perhaps sharper focus than hitherto. And, whilst the agenda wasn’t exactly a full one, there were matters of import to discuss.

International Office have been, as usual, busy, with work being done in Kenya, Georgia, Morocco and South Africa. Our International officer, Harriet Shone, has been busy, focussing particularly on improving campaigning techniques, engaging under-represented groups and more effective voter outreach. …

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The end of another day. Next week, hopefully, you’ll have Caron back…

And so, another eventful day is over. I placed my first correspondent into permanent moderation, and kept the show on the road as far as possible. I leave you with the thoughts of the President of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, who is clearly looking forward to negotiations on Brexit…

It does appear that Boris hasn’t worked out …

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    "The LibDems might explore the possibility of a policy of putting the fire service into the independent sector". No thanks. Sounds like it's straight from...
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    I've got no problem with Gove going to America to interview Trump. In fact I'd be deliriously happy if he stayed there.
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    @Peter "@Peter Watson How would you like being told that you didn’t understand what you were voting for and got it all wrong, so you...
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    @Peter Watson How would you like being told that you didn't understand what you were voting for and got it all wrong, so you will...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 16th Jan - 6:36pm
    @ Peter Watson That's fair comment, Peter. Being nicey, nicey and all things to all men (and women) eventually butters no parsnips. It is not...
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    @Andrew McCaig My evidence would be that if you a person were aged 18-21 when voting in the 1975 referendum you would probably have voted...