ALDE Party Council preview: remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue…

Whilst most of you will either be at your count (and good luck to you all!) or sitting in front of a television set or a computer watching the results come in, your correspondent will be in a hotel room in Oslo. Yes, it’s time once again for liberals from across Europe to gather and tell the British how sorry they are for the result/share the love and tell us things will get better/express surprise at how well we did (delete as appropriate). And despite exhaustion and uncertainty, a small, depleted and wholly male delegation will be there to fly the Liberal Democrat flag.

So, what are we there for, apart from the joy of discovering that a second mortgage is required to buy a beer?

Council will be opened with a speech from the Prime Minister of Norway… who isn’t a member of our host party, Venstre, but is leader of the Conservative Party. That said, the ruling minority coalition of the Conservatives and the Progress Party has a confidence and supply arrangement with Venstre and the Christian Democrats in the Storting to ensure its survival (and you thought that British politics was complex?).

The agenda for Council itself is unlikely to generate much excitement, although the membership application from the Liberal Party of Gibraltar is a welcome one, especially given their performance in the European Parliamentary election last year (the Liberal Democrat list – Gibraltar is part of the South West England region – gained 66% of the vote). There will also be a rationalisation of the Slovenes, as three of the five member parties there are expected to disaffiliate (they have, effectively, ceased to exist).

ALDE has, increasingly, begun to seek ways of adding extra value in terms of party building and campaign assistance, acting as a conduit for experience sharing between the various sister parties, and Council will be discussing ways of increasing efforts in this field, given the success of similar efforts last year. I suspect that Liberal Democrat fundraising techniques will be the subject of much interest.

And, on the subject of finance, ALDE will be considering the redrafted code of conduct for sponsorship and donations, with a member of the Financial Advisory Committee readied for sacrifice to appease some of the Northern European liberals. There are only two of the appointed members scheduled to be present in Oslo…

The Council fringe looks to be an interesting one, with opportunities to discuss the crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, agriculture and energy policy and how a Liberal Europe might be built. For me, the most interesting event is the Ralf Dahrendorf Roundtable Discussion entitled, “You can’t change the heart without telling a story – Liberals and the far right”.

Afterwards, delegates will celebrate Europe Day with a buffet dinner sponsored by the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and the Norwegian Seafood Federation. Apparently, there will be drinks provided. I might need one by then…

Mark Valladares is one of the Party’s elected delegates to the ALDE Party Council and a member of its Financial Advisory Committee.

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14 Comments

  • the most interesting event is the Ralf Dahrendorf Roundtable Discussion entitled, “You can’t change the heart without telling a story – Liberals and the far right”.

    I hope you can do a report back in LDV on that one, Mark?

  • I really don’t think this should have been posted up here today.

  • Graham Goldsmid 8th May '15 - 12:42pm

    Hope you have a nice time just a little bit of other business going on here at the moment
    why is this on here now?????

  • paul barker 8th May '15 - 1:12pm

    Thank you for the report, this is a good time to remind ourselves that we are very small part of a big world & life goes on.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 8th May '15 - 1:44pm

    @ John Tilley,

    Oh, don’t worry, I most certainly will – anything that can be absorbed for future use can only be helpful.

    @ Ian/Graham,

    It was written on Tuesday and submitted for publication at that time. I assume that the Editorial Team were busy – not unreasonable, I suggest. But as the event starts today, there you go.

    @ Paul Barker,

    We need to start thinking, and where better to do so than amongst our fellow European liberals?

  • Mark Valladares 8th May ’15 – 1:44pm
    “…We need to start thinking, and where better to do so than amongst our fellow European liberals?”

    Indeed, our European friends are one of our few remaining assets as a party. We will benefit from our links with them. Some of them still know how to win elections, form governments and prosper in coalitions rather than be destroyed by them.

    I look forward to the next report.

  • Graham Goldsmid 8th May '15 - 2:04pm

    Fair point

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 8th May '15 - 2:59pm

    @ Graham,

    Besides, I am directly elected by Federal Conference delegates to represent them on ALDE Party Council and reporting back via Liberal Democrat Voice is the only means I have, apart from my blog, to let people know what I am doing.

  • Could have used the title “fiddling while Frome burns”

  • … beautiful plumage…

  • Rex Hilburn 9th May '15 - 2:16pm

    No soul-searching; no analysis. The election result (the most farcical in my more than sixty years of political awareness) defies any rational explanation. No good whinging; even Richard Nixon was bright enough to know they don’t like a bad loser. But the irony of a substantial part of the electorate choosing to sack Cinderella, and vote for one of the ugly sisters, should be lost on no-one. Apart from the odd individual having the courage to rise above party politics, the LibDems have been, and must remain, the voice of moderation in UK politics.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 9th May '15 - 4:49pm

    @ Alistair,

    And the connection to Oslo would be…

  • Does the UK’s Party of Moderation being targeted in this way NOT have relevance to those of similar disposition throughout Europe?

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th May '15 - 4:00pm

    Rex,

    Our situation is unusual, in that most of our European sister parties operate within a proportional voting system and, given the likelihood of coalitions afterwards, it can be counterproductive to attack the very people you will probably need to do business with afterwards.

    That said, liberal parties have good years and bad, the FDP’s experience in Germany in 2014 being one of the worst – they lost all of their seats in Parliament. They are having to rebuild too and, whilst we do have some major policy differences, some of the structural issues are shared.

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