Author Archives: James Bliss

Why we need to hold the biggest autumn conference ever

When the members consultation for the big question over Autumn Conference came out and I then heard from those already asked to make decisions on behalf of Federal Board on the matter, I was confused that one of the core arguments from HQ was around the effect that holding Conference could have on the party’s election expenses if it is too close to a General Election.

A very quick google search led me to what the law has to say on the subject, which is that in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 Schedule 8 (Campaign expenditure: qualifying expenses) 1. (8) states “For the purposes of section 72(2) the expenses falling within this Part of this Schedule are expenses incurred in respect of any of the matters set out in the following list…. (8) Rallies and other events, including public meetings (but not annual or other party conferences) organised so as to obtain publicity in connection with an election campaign or for other purposes connected with an election campaign.”

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 38 Comments

Betrayal of a generation

In the aftermath of the 2010 General Election, in which the party stood on an explicit platform to abolish tuition fees and many MPs made the doomed NUS pledge, the party took the catastrophic political decision to reverse track within the coalition to raise fees. Regardless of the individual merits of the tuition fee reforms as a policy, and however much the party went blue in the face shouting “graduate tax” at anyone that would listen, the decision – the betrayal – tainted the party in the eyes of young people and the wider electorate and was an early domino to the inevitable 2015 collapse.

However, the real lasting damage that tuition fees made to the party was not the policy itself or the 2015 election result, but that the party stopped trying to appeal to young people and many young people stopped bothering to even consider the party as a possibility.

Anyone who has been a student in the past 13 years knows the degree to which young people just do not care about the party, it isn’t anger or disgust, it’s indifference. I have spent years sitting on fresher’s stalls in vain and organising anti-Brexit activity through vapid “cross party” groups, because the party fails to hit through with young people. On paper the party should be exactly what young people want, progressive, anti-Brexit, pro-LGBTQ+ rights, pro-drug reform, pro-PR, you could go on endless ways the party aligns with the views of young people – except housing.

Housing is yet another issue that young people, by which I don’t primarily mean students but young professionals going up into their 30s, are massively affected. Decades and decades of failures around housing, be it overall numbers, density in urban areas, house sizes, planning committee nimbyism, lack of renter’s rights – I could go on for hours, literally – have left young people at the mercy of private landlords and with no prospect of ever owning a home of their own.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

Young, liberal and free?

The Young Liberals are delighted to finally announce the dates and preliminary agenda for our Online Conference, which will take place between Sunday 19th and Sunday 26th July.

We’ve had over 150 people pre-register and near 40 submissions, making this by far the largest conference we will ever have held! The conference will be totally free for Young Liberals members, including those between 26-30 who have opted in (which you can do here). This is a really exciting opportunity for policy debates, socialising with other Young Liberals and some great speakers.

You can sign up to Conference here!

There are plenty …

Posted in Events | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Young Liberals online conference – drafting deadline approaching!

Over the past month or so, the Young Liberals Executive and Conference Committee has been working hard putting together plans for an online conference, in the place of our regular in-person Activate/Conference. In the last 2 weeks we have started to announce some details, including opening up submissions and drafting advice for motions and constitutional amendments. The drafting deadline is quickly approaching, but there is still ample opportunity to draft a motion, and plenty of time to submit one before the final deadline!

This is a fantastic opportunity for people who have not previously been directly involved in the Young Liberals to see how we work, get involved in policy discussions, scrutinise our Executive and get to know other Young Liberals from across the country.

The drafting deadline for policy motions, business motions and constitutional amendments is at 1pm this Sunday (the 31st), if you are planning on submitting something and want help/advice, please try and get in contact with me by then, as I won’t be able to guarantee help after this point (but will likely still be able to on a case by case basis).

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