Tag Archives: conference

Bring a friend – they might even enjoy it

2015 policy pitch autumn conference by Paul Walter

Conference has a buzz and many local parties have suggested that it could be a good way of encouraging someone who is supportive to drink in the magic conference potion and become a full member – or even better.

But it hasn’t been easy to do this under the existing conference registration rules. Until now.

There is a new scheme designed to make it much simpler. You can find details here.

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Want to go to Spring conference and can’t afford it? Apply to Conference Access Fund by Friday

2015 policy pitch autumn conference by Paul WalterOur Spring Conference in York between 11-13 March is the first to be held under the new One Member One Vote rules. That means that every single party member could have a say as we make our policies.

I say COULD, because not every member can afford to go. Travel, accommodation and childcare costs put going to conference beyond the reach of many members.

This time, however, people can apply for a grant from the Conference Access Fund:

We have established a Conference Access Fund to improve accessibility for members attending conference. The fund consists of a contribution from the core Conference budget as well as donations from party members. Any contributions made by party members are ring-fenced for this purpose only and where applicable, any unused donations will be carried over to the next conference.

All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If there is high demand, priority will be given to members who are attending Conference for the first time and members from underrepresented sections of society.

To do so for this Conference, you have to apply by this Friday. The online form is here.

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Open letter – please reinstate the creche

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Dear Tim

Yesterday you were campaigning in Faraday, my old ward in inner city Southwark. Way back in the 90s I was councillor for Faraday for eight years. Councillors’ expenses were meagre at that point and it took many thousands of pounds to win and keep that ward. My two ward colleagues and I dipped into our own pockets many a time. I can say without any shadow of a doubt that I could not have afforded to be a councillor had I had a family to provide for at that time.

When I was selected as a PPC and with a baby on the way I gave up work to combine my roles as candidate and parent. My husband reduced his hours to share childcare with me and be a mainstay of our 2005 General Election campaign. Our annual income at the time was £18,000 and we put £9,000 of our savings into paying for leaflets etc. In no way is this a personal whinge. My family’s financial sacrifice is not unusual. I knew another PPC who had remortgaged his house to pay for his campaigning.

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Let’s all make conference more financially diverse.

Tackling inequality is one of my greatest passions, it quite literally gets me out of bed in the morning.

It’s also quite well established now that the more representative decisions making bodies are, the more all of us benefit, no matter if we belong to an underrepresented group or not. The past decade has been a historical time in politics for minorities and activist groups have many proud achievements to celebrate in the name of diversity (yet of course, we still have so very far to go), but there’s one spectrum of diversity that’s not doing so well lately, and we don’t really appear to be tackling it head on, and that’s financial diversity.

Politics favours the rich. Not just because we aren’t doing enough to create a more fair society, but because Parliament is the most unrepresentative forum you could imagine, and by design: unless you’ve got a spare £34k knocking about, as Isabel Hardman estimated in the Spectator last year, you’d better be prepared to work 50 hours a week and volunteer maybe 20 on top of that if you want a chance of ever standing as a parliamentary candidate.

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Willie Rennie MSP writes… Trident: We must consider effect of disarmament on our international relationships

Our party has always had a sceptical view of nuclear weapons. Whether we personally adhere to a multi-lateral or unilateral route to disarm, few members feel comfortable with the concept or reality of such a powerful weapons system.

There are issues of geo-diplomacy and security and not just party positioning at stake. Although not in power now, we need to consider our policy as if we were in government not just a party in opposition hunting for differentiation.

The United Kingdom is a stable partner amongst the nuclear defended nations of the world. The importance of stable partners should not be understated especially when the Non Proliferation talks take place every five years. Britain has been an important cog in the reduction of nuclear capability across the globe through these talks.

We need to consider the effects on geo-diplomacy if we unilaterally disarm. It is a delicate balance and we should be extremely careful when seeking to change that balance.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Andrew Wiseman writes…Introducing the Policy Pitch

We are trying a new session at this year’s conference. The idea behind the session is to encourage policy discussion in a different way to a formal motion or FPC policy paper.

Members will put forward ideas in the form of a ‘policy pitch’. These ideas should not be current party policy, they should be new ideas or ideas that develop existing party policy in an innovative way. Rather than having to set out a more formal motion where there is a debate and a yes/no vote the member will submit their idea in a less formal pitch of up to 400 words. Those chosen by FCC will be given a two minute ‘pitch’ to conference where they will get the chance to present their idea to a panel. The panel will discuss the idea with the proposer before giving their views.

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The Independent View: Looking at ways to help student entrepreneurs

The slogan ‘Stronger Economy, Fairer Society’ is only as strong as the policies that support it.

We, at the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE), are pleased that the Liberal Democrats, in partnership with the Conservatives, have introduced a series of measures to put meat on the bones of this catchphrase.

Vince Cable’s Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) department has been busy beavering away on initiatives that help small businesses, including young entrepreneur start-ups. Young people like Arnold du Toit, who is worth £8 million in his mid-twenties after inventing a motorised golf trolley, and Jamal Edwards, whose YouTube videos progressed to a TV channel, show the kind of innovation Britain needs more of.

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments
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  • User AvatarSimon McGrath 28th Aug - 9:29am
    Given that there isnt going to be an October election would be not have done better to allow members to actually choose who their PPCs...
  • User AvatarRobert Wootton 28th Aug - 9:29am
    My apologies for the unstructured comment above.
  • User AvatarRobert Wootton 28th Aug - 9:27am
    It seems to me that people voted "Leave" because of the unremitting claim that "they-Brussels" are "telling us what to do". IMO, most people resent...
  • User AvatarD. Howitt 28th Aug - 9:23am
    I work in the industry, i wont comment about the problems in industrial relations as i be sacked. The issue is that companies own nothing...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 28th Aug - 8:25am
    Stuart, it seems highly unlikely that women wearing the burkini see it as a "symbol of their oppression and misery". The burkini, despite its name,...
  • User Avatargrahame lamb 28th Aug - 8:03am
    Happy Birthday LDV !