Author Archives: April Preston

What IS the point of the LibDems?

This Saturday we ask the question that many of us have heard, whether it’s the opposition to our social values or people who feel forgotten by the party after our 2005 heights – “What IS the point of the LibDems?” – at the Radical Association’s first fringe.

It is vital that we have a frank discussion about the party- what it has been and achieved in the past, and how best it can be a vehicle for change and improving people’s lives in the future. (Radical association co-chair Natasha Chapman)

We encourage all to query, despite how basic it may feel – as we often see this question is posed by bad faith actors, many of whom sideline fundamental liberal issues as “niche” or not credible to the voters at large.

We saw this with Iraq, Brexit, we see it currently with LGBT+ rights, as transphobia attempts the mainstream. We as Liberals are right on these issues – and without us who else will oppose authoritarian parties which who refuse evidence, compassion and even basic reason?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 18 Comments

Organised, radical liberalism is winning liberalism

Big, radical messaging works and when we do it, we win.

That’s the message we should all be taking away from our stunning successes in recent weeks, where saying “bollocks to Brexit” and focusing on the result we want rather than on process and detail has won us MEPs in numbers we could never have dreamed of in January, including an amazing two wins in my own North West seat.

This didn’t happen by accident though. Many of us within the party have been campaigning for the clearest possible anti-Brexit line since 2016, and helped get policy and message in the place …

Posted in Lib Dem organisations | Tagged and | 11 Comments

Anonymised incident reporting – a way forward for our disciplinary processes

Last Spring, I spoke against our party’s disciplinary motion. “Our party aims to be agents of change and we do so by producing progressive policy’, I nervously spluttered, my first ever time speaking in that bright-lit yet mustardy stage-space. So it is a natural progression then, that this Autumn conference I have submitted my first ever amendment. Heart palpitations aside, I am hoping to positively reform the Party’s disciplinary procedures, so that we can take an innovative and user-led approach to tackling the scourge of sexual harassment and assault.

My proposed system, Anonymised Incident Reporting (AIR) maximizes complainant control when reporting or logging an offence, offering victims a variety of ways to anonymously detail what has happened to them or what they have been witness to. 

To summarise, AIR allows survivors of sexual assault to securely create encrypted, time-stamped records of their assault, and to only formally hand their report to the party as a full complaint when they’re ready to take action. It encrypts all information on both the complainant and assailant, and offers victims multiple options in how they handle their report and whether to turn it into a formal complaint. 

Callisto describes itself as “a non profit organisation that develops tech to combat sexual assault and harassment.”

A year after deciding to report my assault, I ended up finding the process of reporting to be more traumatic than the event itself. Feeling not believed by the people who I thought were there to project me was incredibly destabilizing.

said its creator Jessica Ladd.

An AIR system would allow the party to offer some initial support and advice to anonymous victims both about how they move forward with their report and what other support they can seek.

I, along with others, have developed these ideas along similar lines to the Callisto system used on US college campuses – the technology is now available and using encryption we can give more and better options to survivors. This amendment is nonetheless intentionally open-ended about some of the precise details of the system, in order that we can move towards an AIR system that is well researched and workable for all those concerned. It therefore offers the party scope to see what they are able to adopt, whilst pushing for a radical new approach that puts victims’ agency and their choices at the heart of our disciplinary procedures.

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