Lib Dems love their leaders

Last night, a post from Stephen about our current survey degenerated in the comments to a rather ill-tempered argument about whether Clegg should be proposing now to cut taxes in general when he didn’t mention that he wanted to when standing for the leadership.

All that aside, the key interesting thing the comments generated from my point of view was the following list of times when Lib Dem leaders wanted one thing and Conference sent them packing.

1994 – party debates motion on setting up a Royal Commission to review drugs policy. Motion carried, despite clear steer from leadership. Ashdown storms off stage.

1994 – Party supports minimum wage despite Alex Carlile stating that the entire parliamentary party supported an alternative option

1996 – Student finance policy heavily amended despite opposition of Education Spokesman

1998 – party front bench argues for abandonment of minimum wage policy (also adopted in 1994). Defeated.

1999 – motion on HE policy calling for benefits to be restored to students. Passed. Both members of front bench education team speak against it in the debate.

2006 – party debates policy on taxation. Proposal to abandon line on a 50p rate on incomes above £100,000 passed – endorsed by leadership. Big debate. Broad consensus that the party had had a proper debate and that people had voted on the principle, not out of some craven desire to keep the party happy.

2006 – party throws out local government paper.

2007 – party rejects proposal for Community Land Auctions despite clear steer.

Did we really go five years without disagreeing with the leader?

It is a useful reminder that – results of our other poll notwithstanding – the party conference is one of the best things about being the Lib Dems.  It is our real opportunity to hold our leadership and parliamentarians to account.

With thanks to James Graham and Hwyel Morgan for, er, doing most of the work on this posting.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/3549 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

6 Comments

  • Simon Titley 8th Sep '08 - 7:47pm

    James – Here we go again.

    For the record, it is not Liberator’s line that party leaders “should adopt a Trappist vow of silence until after conference”. It is Liberator’s line that significant changes in party policy should be debated openly and agreed by the party.

    Apart from being more democratic, open and honest debate has two other advantages. It swings the party behind a new policy. And the process of debate achieves clarity, which is essential if a policy is to be newsworthy or any use as a campaign tool.

    The way the new tax policy has been slipped into ‘Make it Happen’ is not a satisfactory way to change policy. It suggests the promoters of this policy have little confidence in their ability to win arguments.

    If you can’t convince your own party through open debate, what chance do you have with the electorate?

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 ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMike S 1st Jul - 12:57am
    In the time it's taken me to write it - your post is now 6 up from here. Notice a few other's are just as...
  • User AvatarMike S 1st Jul - 12:53am
    Phil "The issue of trust will never go away as long as people in this party persist in believing that it’s acceptable to go around...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 1st Jul - 12:53am
    Yet another attempt to rewrite the disaster that was Nick Clegg and tuition fees by the usual suspects. Nick promised "An end to broken promises"....
  • User AvatarJane Ann Liston 1st Jul - 12:44am
    @Kevin Manley '… every single Lib Dem MP pledged to their voters in their constituency to vote against a rise, if and when the issue...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 1st Jul - 12:33am
    @Joe Otten, This is the language as drafted by you; ", and subject to the Leader's right to veto the inclusion of any specific policy."...
  • User AvatarTpfkar 1st Jul - 12:26am
    We just can't move on from tuition fees - one of the biggest internal challenges facing the new leader. How do we live with what...
Tue 30th Jun 2015
Wed 1st Jul 2015
Thu 2nd Jul 2015
Fri 3rd Jul 2015
Sat 4th Jul 2015
10:00
10:00
Sun 5th Jul 2015
03:00
Mon 6th Jul 2015
Wed 8th Jul 2015
Thu 9th Jul 2015
Fri 10th Jul 2015
Sat 11th Jul 2015
Sun 12th Jul 2015
Thu 16th Jul 2015
Sat 18th Jul 2015
Sun 19th Jul 2015
Thu 23rd Jul 2015
Sat 25th Jul 2015
Sun 26th Jul 2015
Mon 27th Jul 2015