Author Archives: Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett

Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett writes…Why do I want to be President of the Liberal Democrats?

Many of you may be asking the same question and I’m going to be honest. When I came to conference last weekend we only had two candidates Mark Pack and Richard Kemp – two very able, respectable and hardworking members  to which I’m not going to criticise in any way shape or form. 

However, the optics from a diversity and media perspective were awful – no diversity, no women, no ethnic minorities, no visible disability or invisible disability known and with the current furore over our LGBT+ group no candidate standing up for our party as the leading LGBT+ campaigning  in the race – so sometimes you have to stick your head above the parapet and say it’s time someone does …. 

So that’s what I decided to do on Sunday afternoon and thankfully we now have both Prue Bray and Jo Hayes In the race too.. 

So what is my platform going to concentrate on –  I’m going to be decidedly frank.

Our outgoing President Sal Brinton has done her best and I thank her for all she’d done but there are elements where I believe the internal machinations of our party have overwhelmed the role – and I believe the role should be split in two. There is a  fundamental role for dealing with the difficult internal party dynamics alongside chairing the internal Federal Board – as well as the external representation to the media and membership around the country. These two are profoundly different roles and I will thank Gordon Lishman for his insightful Liberator article which really got me thinking. 

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The holistic Need for the Ask an Expert Stand at Conference

At our last two conferences, the Ask an Expert stand has gradually been expanded and developed. Many people have asked me why we need this facility? My answer would always be that sometimes a one to one conversation can be a really good way to solve a nagging question or issue.

On the stands previously, we’ve had experts in compliance, Connect, communications, campaigning, Diversity & Inclusion to name but a few, and all have had detailed conversations – sometimes quite private and confidential – to overcome those issues which wouldn’t necessarily have been possible to explain or detail in a general training session.

The stand is a great addition to the programme of training that goes on at conference. For those that perhaps find large training sessions intimidating, or suffer from difficulties in learning, or feel awkward asking questions that they feel they probably ought to know, then the volunteers on the Ask an Expert stand offer support on a one-to-one basis. This means they can help in a far more intimate way to explain, cajole, reason and support our members and activists. If the activists learn more skills on the ground, then they can spend more time using the new skills they’ve been shown, or the ways they’ve learned to support critical issues in their local party, region, Council group, SAO (Specified Associated Organisation) or AO (Associated Organisation). 

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We should be ashamed of UK inaction on refugee crisis

David Trett refugees

On a bleak windswept desolate morning in mid February, I walked through puddles of mud whilst alongside me a community of refugees, desperate to re-start their lives, remain near the French /UK border hoping to escape the situation and get to the UK, or some other place of sanctuary. I visited along with my Lib Dem colleague Councillor David Chalmers. I’m left wondering what will become to all those that I met this weekend.

I believe in showing humanity, care and love for our fellow citizens wherever they come from in the world, especially those escaping from lives of persecution, violence and discrimination. We, as a country, should be utterly ashamed of ourselves, as should the French authorities, for allowing a situation to develop only 20-25 minutes by travel from our shore, where a group of harmless, fear stricken people are left looking for sanctuary.

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Opinion: Lib Dem MPs: Vote for equality, human rights and love today

The culmination of more than three years of heartfelt campaigning by the LGBT+ Lib Dems finally comes to the final hurdle in the House of Commons battle for equal marriage this week, with votes today and tomorrow.

It will sadly see the ultimate opportunity for those MPs who remain implacably behind the times in opposition to equality and fairness in the United Kingdom to block progress. It is also the opportunity for the sun to shine on those MPs who vote in favour of equality, fairness, human rights, respect and love. LGBT+ people want to celebrate and share their love just …

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URGENT: Less than 6 hours to respond to Scottish Government’s Equal Marriage consultation

We need your help to deliver another Lib Dem win in the Scottish Parliament. We’re on a tight deadline – we need you to act before 5 pm today.

The Liberal Democrats were the first party to support gay rights in a General Election manifesto. For decades, we’ve always been there for equality. The Scottish Liberal Democrats led on equal marriage, before the Federal Party became the first major national party to support the policy.

The Scottish Government are consulting on the details of implementing equal marriage, for a Bill later this year. You can help ensure that the Bill is liberal, well thought out and promotes equality …

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Opinion: Equal marriage legislation proves that Liberal Democrats have equality in their DNA

Equality has always been at the core of our party’s values, and is one of the main reasons why I joined the party in 2006. However, until 2010, Liberal Democrats had not been able to prove to the wider public that we had always been ahead of the curve on sexual equality simply because we hadn’t been in Government for 80 years. In opposition, though, we were adopting policies on these issues way before previous governments had done anything. In many cases governments had only acted because of the threat of

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Opinion: Lynne is our Champion for equality and everyone should know it!

Contrary to the pernicious article in the Guardian on Saturday, Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister for Equalities has worked her socks off to put equality and women’s rights at the top of the agenda for this Coalition Government.

And not only at the top of the agenda, but driving in every possible direction to ensure the rights of women (and also in particular the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people) are catapulted on to the front page of every tabloid and broadsheet paper and into the mainstream political debate and discussion.

So with all this extraordinary work, you would hope …

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Opinion: Don’t believe everything you read in the papers…

I’ve learnt again this week that it’s not a good idea to believe everything you read in the papers. In this case, it was a story in the Sunday Telegraph suggesting that the Government were changing the wording of “Academy Funding Agreements” on the teaching of marriage. Thankfully, it turned out to be a non-story.

Academy Funding Agreements are the governing documents for academies and Free Schools and are agreed between the Secretary of State and the governing body of the Academy, and the story suggested there were “strict new rules” about marriage.

However, a bit of digging …

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Opinion: HIV Restrictions on NHS workers are “Out of Step”

As Chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, I welcome the government’s announcement to consult and determine whether restrictions on NHS workers with HIV, should be relaxed, after a review found an “extremely” low risk of the disease being passed on to patients.

Alongside the Blood Ban announcement in July, which for me was only a small step in the right direction (as there is further work to do); because the stigma remains for men who sleep with men and their partners, with a 12 month deferral ban, the signal from government strikes the right tune at how current policy is being determined. …

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  • User AvatarDavid Sheppard 14th Nov - 9:20pm
    Thanks Mark for thinking of those not so well packed full of Liberals places like mine. We have had to fund from our own meagre...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 14th Nov - 8:27pm
    @ Mick Taylor, 13th November,7,31pm Whilst pacts are understandable given our FPTP system, maybe I am being obtuse , but don't they also reduce voter...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 14th Nov - 7:43pm
    @ Chris Moore, "It never occurs to him that Labour candidates could stand down in Lib Dem/Con marginals." It probably does. In 2010 I set...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 14th Nov - 7:37pm
    Mark, after my own experience as a pregnant PPC I suggested the party formalised protection and support to PPCs who are pregnant or have very...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 14th Nov - 7:23pm
    @ Roland, ".....without the EU being there to uphold such standards there is nothing that prevents a Westminster Executive, doing whatever it wants…" Yes there...
  • User AvatarMike Read 14th Nov - 6:52pm
    Graham, you have made a very good point. One of the reasons we get squeezed in the opinion polls during the middle of GE campaigns...