FFAC chair Greenland acknowledges LDV accreditation article was “unhelpful”

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The chair of the Federal Finance and Administration Committee, Duncan Greenland has written an article in the Conference edition of Liberator on the highly controversial issue of Conference accreditation. A Liberal Democrat Voice poll in June, consistent with every other test of party opinion on the issue, showed that a majority of respondents opposed the system, which requires conference attendees to undergo police checks.

Mr Greenland felt that the Liberator coverage on the issue had been “misleading” and wanted to put the record straight about the process by which accreditation was approved. He stated that FFAC had become involved after a request by the Federal Conference Committee and passed a motion approving accreditation with one dissenting voice. He says that their rationale was based on perceived financial and commercial risks should an incident take place and insurers not pay out because police advice had not been followed.

Although he staunchly defended the decision, he did acknowledge flaws in the process of telling members the news, in particular an article co-authored by himself,  Party President Tim Farron and FCC chair Andrew Wiseman which appeared on this site on 21st May. Many people were angered by its inference that they did not care about the safety of Conference attendees, when in fact their opposition was based on there being no evidence that accreditation would make anybody safer.

The FFAC chair wrote:

The rather hastily prepared Liberal Democrat Voice article issued immediately after the decision was taken was in part clumsily worded and so unhelpful.

Although the arguments in the party about accreditation are bound to continue as many members are deeply uneasy about the system, it is good to see that its supporters may have learned lessons about the tone and language they use to defend it.

You can read the whole article by subscribing to Liberator here.

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7 Comments

  • The trouble with this argument is that, you must take police (or, no doubt, insurance company) advice , is that it is fundamentally illiberal. This is much more so than the current right of centre Lib Dem obsession with “getting the state off our backs”. What it means is that unless we fit in with their mindset (essentially conservative, take no risks etc) we will lose out every time. Surely we should be on the side of breaking the bands of conformity etc? None of us would argue that that means throwing common sense precautions out of the window, but it does mean responsible bodies sometimes getting in there, and essentially throwing out such advice where it conflicts with our deeper societal aims.

    AND, it means campaigning for the removal of restrictive adherence to private sector – set rules in some cases.

  • Mark Smulian 19th Sep '12 - 11:37am

    Copies of the issue of Liberator concerned will also be on sale at our stall at Brighton.

  • jenny barnes 19th Sep '12 - 11:59am

    no-one shall be enslaved by conformity….

  • Mike Falchikov 19th Sep '12 - 12:35pm

    Th e Liberator article seemed to be saying that it wasn’t crime or terrorism that sold the idea of police checks, but the prospect of some(unspecified) compensation claim i.e. if some injury befalls me at conference, I would rush to sue the Party. This is pandering to the wretched compensation culture, yet another woeful feature of present-day Britain.

  • Simon Titley 19th Sep '12 - 2:45pm

    @Dave Page – The precise wording of the reference to LGBT+ Liberal Democrats in Duncan Greenland’s article reads as follows:

    “The very specific concerns of a small number of members who have previously lived under another identity were expressly recognised and addressed by an ‘opt-out’ scheme, the details of which were worked out in full consultation with LGBT+ Liberal Democrats.”

  • Tony Greaves 19th Sep '12 - 8:24pm

    I wonder what is the more unhelpful – the wording of an article (ie blame the message not the substance) – or the willingness of leading committees of a titular Liberal party to kowtow to this kind of nonsense?

    Tony Greaves

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