Where drinking meets thinking…

The Liberal Democrats have recently kickstarted the process for its next general election manifesto – which might be needed at any time between June 2009 and May 2010. Chaired by Danny Alexander MP, the process kicks off formally this weekend with a one day conference taking place at the London School of Economics.

2009 marks the centenary of the People’s Budget and the 101st anniversary of the Pensions Act (effectively the birth of the welfare state). With this in mind, the team behind Reinventing the State, a series of essays published in 2007  are keen to encourage the working group to develop distinct social liberal approaches within the manifesto.

They are hosting two workshops at the conference entitled “Who are the UK’s poorest and how can we best help them?” – this of course ties directly in with the publication of the Social Mobility Commission’s full report earlier this week.

Hopefully these workshops will prove stimulating and useful – but the process shouldn’t end there! With this in mind, the Reinventing the State group have approached me, as the convenor of the Westminster Liberal Drinks, as well as the person responsible for the local party discussion pack developed for the “Meeting the Challenge” policy review in 2005/6, to help co-ordinate a wider debate.

The way we plan to do this is this: each month we will be hosting a discussion evening in Westminster with a different speaker, which is open to anyone to attend. And since not everyone will be able to attend this meeting, we will also be producing a short discussion paper written by the speaker which local parties will be encouraged to use for their own “pizza/popadom/pie/delete-as-applicable and politics” discussion evenings. Local parties can then either submit the feedback from their meetings to the manifesto working group directly, or they can send it to us ([email protected]) and we will compile the responses we receive into a single document for the manifesto group to consider.

Kicking off the series, Steve Webb will be speaking on “a liberal state” on 7.30pm-8.30pm Wednesday 21 January (Committee Room O, Portcullis House – booked by Evan Harris MP). Then, at the same time on Wednesday 25 February, Paul Holmes MP will be leading a discussion on education policy (also Committee Room O). Future events (which will be on the third Wednesday of every month) will be posted nearer the time.

But wait! I hear you cry. What about Liberal Drinks? I’ll still be co-ordinating the Westminster Liberal Drinks (at the Silver Cross as before), but starting at the later time on 9pm after the policy discussion evenings. People are welcome to come to the discussion evening and then retire to the pub, go to the pub early or just turn up at 9pm – whatever suits you best.

Meanwhile, I am in the early stages of developing a new Liberal Drinks website to make it easier to set up a local drinks evening in your area. Watch this space.

Wherever you are, I hope you will be able to take part in this new project of ours. We hope to post regular updates of our progress, including the discussion papers themselves, on Lib Dem Voice.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Party policy and internal matters.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/10318 for Twitter and emails.

11 Comments

  • Huw – why not volunteer to set them up then?

  • Sounds great, James. Will try to make it along to one or both.

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 AvatarFrank Little 30th Jul - 9:56am
    What are the accruals and deferred income? I see that total has gone up. (I think I understand the concept, that this is money that...
  • User AvatarRoland 30th Jul - 9:40am
    >" The government is currently in the process of building 170,000 new social and affordable homes, whilst we have set out plans for a further...
  • User AvatarCaracatus 30th Jul - 9:20am
    Well for a party with an income of £7.3 million - one might have hoped that somewhere on the party website there would be an...
  • User AvatarKaren Wilkinson 30th Jul - 9:14am
    I came across this yesterday: "arguably, the most disturbing manifestation of the politicisation of parenting is the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act. This grotesque...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 30th Jul - 9:13am
    Chris I think the simple answer is no. My assumption is that Ed Davey simply buckled under the power of the nuclear lobby and Tory...
  • User AvatarAlistair 30th Jul - 8:29am
    Its not actually the government building most of these homes anyway is it??? What houses does the government actually build these days? Perhaps some MOD...