If English Council meets and nobody knows, did it really meet?

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, but whilst most people heading for London were on their way to Pride, or Lords for the cricket, or Wimbledon for the tennis, a few dozen hardy Liberal Democrats were heading towards the St Alban’s Centre near Chancery Lane station for the first of 2010′s two meetings of English Council.

Unusually, the first item on the agenda was a speech by the Party President, Ros Scott, who talked about the challenges facing the Party in the weeks, months and years ahead, as well as some of the work being done at Federal level to address them. She noted that, whilst the Special Conference had been an expensive affair, it had been vital to allow members from across the country to have their say about such a critical decision.

She also touched upon issues such as diversity, the importance of maintaining the Party’s independence of thought and action beyond Westminster, and the opportunities for Regional Parties to feed into polict making, before fielding questions on subjects as diverse as security at future Federal Conferences and how policy defence and attack lines can be fed to local campaigners from Government. And then she was gone, to join the Liberal Democrat cohort at Pride.

Reports from the Chair and Treasurer of the English Party followed, although most of Jonathan Davies’s best lines had been spoken by President Scott before leaving (that’s why he normally goes first…), before we moved on to the first piece of serious business, the motion calling for ratification of the new Selection Rules for Westminster. The case was made by two members of the Working Group that had produced the document, Sal Jarvis and myself, noting that issues of administrative burden, diversity and candidate campaigning had been addressed as far as was possible, producing a twin-track approach which left a rigorous process in place for target and priority seats, whilst allowing development seats to apply a rather more ‘cut down’ version. Despite some misgivings, with a few present suggesting that potential priority seats might try to manipulate the position to avoid the more onerous process, the Rules were ratified with no more than four votes against.

Reports from various English Council representatives to other bodies followed before lunch, leaving the afternoon session for a review of the General Election campaign. This saw an English Council first, with Andrew Stunell becoming the first Minister ever to address such an event. Andrew’s key role in the campaign allowed him to give a very candid overview of what happened, including the strengths and weaknesses which influenced the final outcome.

I have to confess that some of the comments that followed verged on whinging, with a number of quite barbed attacks on the performance of the Campaigns Department. These were rebutted to some extent by Ian Horner, East of England’s Campaigns Officer, with support from others, but there is no doubt that there are reservations as to the efficacy of our campaigning methods. And with the likelihood of a reformed second chamber to be elected by regional list-based STV, our target-orientated strategy may need a major overhaul.

And so, the meeting broke up, leaving us to head back to our Regions and reflect on the work to be done…

Read more by or more about , , , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/20166 for Twitter and emails.

4 Comments

  • Thanks Mark for the report

    Mind you I still dream of the day that English Council is abolished and the English regions given the same status as Welsh or Scottish state parties. With some things like PPC rules being decided at federal level for all of Britain

    but that is just me…

  • Lloyd – Problem for you guys is, can the english regions afford financially to have the same infrastructure as the welsh and scottish parties?

  • Yes, please please abolish the English Party and the wasteful travel allowances for the immeasurably tedious English Council meetings. The sooner the better …

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Allen 1st Aug - 12:39am
    Clegg should have been forced out for that and for any number of other errors and betrayals. But he wasn't, because too many of us...
  • User AvatarMatGB 1st Aug - 12:10am
    Jackie, 19 Tories, 6 LibDems (including the neutral mayor who'll vote with the cabniet to break ties by tradition), 25 Labour and one Independent. One...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 1st Aug - 12:08am
    @Steve, So where are all the black managers then? There have been so many excellent. Black players who have served their club or their country...
  • User AvatarJames Brough 31st Jul - 11:59pm
    Richard, as the page I linked to said, the party was known as the Liberals at that point. But, you know what? I suspect you...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 31st Jul - 11:58pm
    Happy birthday Caron. I hope that you didn't stuff yourself at the celebratory meal and end up feeling sick as a parrot.
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 31st Jul - 11:41pm
    @James Brough. Time travel is here! The LIberal Democrats were formed 13 years after you say they started working on the policy! At that time,...