Author Archives: Duncan Brack and Julie Smith

Conference Countdown 2015: Agenda 2020 at conference: your chance to have your say

We’ve written here before about the Federal Policy Committee’s ‘Agenda 2020’ exercise – a major consultation within the party on Liberal Democrats’ basic beliefs, values and approaches. Our political philosophy is the backbone around which we build our policies on specific issues, and a vital part of our fightback.

A short consultation paper, Agenda 2020, and an accompanying set of essays setting out the personal opinions of a range of individuals within the party are both available on the party website.

The paper sets out a brief description of the Liberal Democrat philosophy and outlines the policy challenges the country, and the party, will face over the next five years. Responses to the paper can be submitted via the website, but we are also discussing it at two consultative sessions during the Bournemouth conference. Each of them will give you an opportunity to give us your thoughts on what’s in the paper, what you like, what you don’t like, and what’s missing.

It’s not terribly obvious from the conference agenda how the sessions will be run, so we thought it would be useful to outline them here.

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Consultation opens on Liberal Democrat values and beliefs

agenda2020

Why are we Liberal Democrats? What do we mean by liberalism (or, if you prefer, liberal democracy)? What do our beliefs and values have to offer the country over the next five years?

Every member will have their own answers to those questions, but the party hasn’t attempted to describe its basic philosophy in full since the paper It’s About Freedom, published in 2002. As we wrote here on Liberal Democrat Voice two months ago, given the catastrophic result of the 2015 election, coupled with the huge, and very welcome, influx of new members, the Federal Policy Committee thinks it’s time we did so again. Discussing and articulating our basic beliefs – the backbone around which we build our policies on specific issues – is a vital part of our fightback.

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What does the party believe?

 

The aftermath of a general election is always a good time to reassess what the party is about – why we are Liberal Democrats, what we mean by Liberalism (or, if you prefer, Liberal Democracy) and what this implies for our politics over the next five years. The party carried out this exercise after the 2005 and 2010 elections, but the catastrophic result of this year’s election, coupled with the huge, and very welcome, influx of new members, make it a vital part of the fightback this time.

So the Federal Policy Committee is proposing a series of activities to set a framework for discussion and debate throughout the party. In agreement with the Federal Conference Committee, we plan to use a number of sessions of the autumn conference to discuss the basic beliefs and values of the party – its philosophy. These will be structured round a consultation paper we’re working on now and which will be available in July, soon after the conclusion of the leadership election.

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