Agenda 2020 update

Readers will remember the essay competition run by the Federal Policy Committee as part of our Agenda 2020 exercise; Liberal Democrat Voice was good enough to publish several of the entries. We asked participants to write no more than 1,000 words on what it means to be a Liberal Democrat today. We received a total of sixty entries, cut them down – after much debate! – to a shortlist of nine, and invited party members to vote for the winner.

Today we can announce the winner: Edwin Burrows, a member from Monmouth. He only joined the party in May after the election, and the spring conference will be his very first. He says that although for many years he had campaigned for liberal causes, after the election he felt that he needed to stop sitting on the sidelines and get involved. Tim Farron has just awarded him his prize.

In his essay he aimed to boil the Liberal Democrat approach down to one key simple message, to relate it to everyday life, not to abstract principles, and to move people, to serve as a battle cry for our fightback. I think it does all of those things. You can read it here.

The votes were in fact pretty evenly spread, so we are also announcing today two second places, who tied, with exactly the same number of votes: Richard Flowers  and Paul Kennedy. 

We also want to give an honourable mention to Robert Adamson, who contributed a poem, a Liberal Democrat version of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’. It’s neither strictly an essay not strictly original, so we didn’t shortlist it – but we think people will enjoy reading it.

The Agenda 2020 exercise itself has published a second consultation paper,  a development of the short one we produced last summer. As well as articulating the party’s core beliefs and values (with a section rewritten in the light of the comments and responses we received last year) this goes into more detail on the challenges the UK will be facing over the next five years, and the extent to which existing party policy is fit for purpose in the light of those challenges. As before, we hope party members will respond to this paper, organise their own discussion meetings and tell us what they think.

The consultation session at the York conference on the Saturday lunchtime (in the conference hall) will give you another chance to contribute to the Agenda 2020 process. Instead of just repeating the format from the Bournemouth sessions last autumn, we will be organising this session round the theme ‘Your Liberal Britain’.

A number of speakers from across the party have been invited to give short speeches laying out their visions, and any other participants at the session are welcome to make concise (maximum one-minute) interventions from the floor, in response to the prompt: ‘For me, Liberal Britain is a country where …’

Participants are asked to consider:

– What motivates them individually to be Liberal Democrats.

– What distinguishes our vision from those of other parties.

– How a truly Liberal Britain would meaningfully improve peoples’ lives.

Submissions are welcome online at, where members will also find simple steps for organising their own ‘Your Liberal Britain’ events at home.

* Duncan Brack is a member of the Federal Policy Committee and chaired the FPC’s working group that wrote Rebuilding Trade and Cooperation with Europe.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • *vaguely wondering if Duncan is in an Oldest Photo competition with one G Epps*

  • Duncan Brack 12th Mar '16 - 5:03pm

    I think Geoff Payne has a better claim … See page 6 of conference agenda.

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