Author Archives: Luke Graham

Conference Success for Radical Association

Members of the Radical Association Executive have had a significant impact at this year’s Autumn Conference. I’m extremely pleased with the work that the Executive and our supporters have put into this Conference and thankful for all the time that you have given. Thanks to those efforts we managed to pass a significant policy amendment on each day of the Conference.

Our Director, April Preston, managed to significantly strengthen the party’s new disciplinary processes, with the addition of a proposed AIR (Anonymised Incident Reporting) system. This will allow encrypted initial reports to be made in which both the complainant and accused would be anonymous. The party can then inform the anonymous complainant what actions would be needed and who would need to be de-anonymised in order to turn the report into a formal complaint, and what support might be available to the complainant.

Similar systems in the US have greatly increased reporting rates and we’re proud to say that this will make the Liberal Democrats a forward-looking beacon of best practice when it comes to building a welcoming movement that can take effective action against those who drag our movement down. We are extremely grateful to Becca Plenderleith, Chair of Scottish Young Liberals, for bravely sharing her own experience of being let down by the current system and making a strong case for AIR.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Weak immigration paper needs to go back to the drawing board

The immigration motion (F16) and policy paper coming to Conference has already rightly drawn the ire of Lib Dem Voice commentators.  It’s weak, indistinct, and includes some seriously objectionable language and ideas. I and the Radical Association, of which I’m proud to be the current chair, will be opposing F16 at conference and demanding a full rethink of this poorly produced and inadequate policy paper.

We’re at a point in rebuilding our party from some bad electoral losses where it’s crucial that we build a clear, separate identity as voices to empower the voiceless, and being proudly pro-immigration is a vital part of that. Passing F16 would undermine rather than support that.

Let’s think about the debates we could – and should – be having over our immigration policy.  We shouldn’t need a conference debate to argue over whether ripping families apart for no crime other than being poor, a system maintained by F16’s ban on recourse to public funds for immigrant families, is wrong. Nor should we need one to tell us that migrants are our fellow human beings and that a motion with calls to “reap economic benefits from the diasporas” is utterly and shamefully inappropriate in its rhetoric.

Liberal Democrat debates on immigration should focus instead on how to best support and empower migrants. We need to show many families struggling with spousal income limits or visa processing fees, or getting wrapped up in red tape just for wanting to live with their loved ones, that we’re in their corner and taking their side. It’s time, too, for a serious discussion on enfranchising permanent non-citizen residents, from whom the UK state happily takes its tax share but who get no say in the system they live under – as sadly borne out in the Brexit vote.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 24 Comments
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  • User AvatarDavid Raw 12th Dec - 7:19pm
    Well that cheered me up no end as we approach Christmas. As fracking enthusiasts might say, 'The earth certainly moved for me'. It's just the...
  • User AvatarMeher Oliaji 12th Dec - 6:42pm
    Thank you Joseph Bourke for reminding us that the question will be determined by the Electoral Commission, and that it will need to be free...
  • User AvatarGlenn 12th Dec - 6:34pm
    The question will be decided by the sitting government and main opposition parties. Not by pressure from a hard-core of Remainers trying to overturn both...
  • User AvatarDavid Davis 12th Dec - 6:21pm
    'The PM's deal or stay in the EU on the current terms', that's my simple, binary choice. But should it be advisory, like the first...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 12th Dec - 6:03pm
    it's a good question. The government has the privilege of drafting a referendum question and the electoral commision the responsibility of deciding if the question...
  • User AvatarDavid Davis 12th Dec - 5:56pm
    Useful article and comments. I've just posted a similar comment on Facebook when copying Ed Davey's Lib Dem message calling the Tories 'utter hypocrites' for...