Author Archives: Richard Gadsden

Self-identification, a Returning Officer’s Perspective

There was a constitutional amendment on the agenda for the recent York conference (item F15 on the agenda) that sought to amend the rules for ensuring gender diversity on the party’s committees (clause 2.5 of the constitution). The part of the amendment that has attracted most attention was the removal of non-binary people from the text, but the other proposed change was much more concerning from a practical point of view as a returning officer. This was the removal of the words “self-identification” as the means of determining whether a candidate is a man or a woman.

I’ve conducted internal elections within the party for more than twenty years for a variety of bodies – affiliated organisations, state parties, local parties. I’ve never conducted federal elections, but the vast majority of bodies within the party incorporate the federal rules on diversity into their own elections so I’m very familiar with how these rules are operated in practice.

On the most basic practical level, each candidate submits a nomination form, either on paper or online, and there are tick boxes on the form for each of the four diversity criteria, that is sex/gender, ethnicity, disability and LGBT+. The way that the sex/gender rules are implemented in practice is that there are three boxes, “man”, “woman” and “non-binary”. If you tick one then you are treated as being in that category for the purposes of applying the rules in clause 2.5. If you don’t tick any or you tick more than one, then, rather than invalidating your nomination, you are treated as being of a fourth category (ie of unspecified gender), where you would always be disadvantaged by the application of the rules. That is: there must be 40% women/non-binary, and 40% men/non-binary; you would have to get into the other 20% if you didn’t validly designate yourself.

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 12 Comments

How to get a refund for Advance Train Tickets to Conference

Like many Liberal Democrats, I booked train tickets for the just-cancelled Conference in Brighton many months ago to save money. Advance tickets are not normally refundable, so when conference was cancelled, I was concerned that I was going to be out of pocket for the price of return tickets.

When I checked, though, it turns out that there is still a COVID policy until 30 September 2022: Advance tickets can be exchanged for rail travel vouchers for any reason, so you get a full refund for the value of the ticket. I’ll be using my vouchers to travel to York in the Spring, and I hope this will help more of you to be able to afford to be there so I can see you all, and in the words of the Queen: “We’ll meet again”.

Posted in News | Tagged | 5 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Jeff
    David LG 19th Apr '24 - 5:18pm: …right now the top rate of capital gains and dividend tax are significantly lower than the higher rate of income ta...
  • Jeff
    Katharine Pindar 19th Apr '24 - 7:53pm: Poverty and bad insecure housing for families breed ill-health, both physical and mental. How would th...
  • David Blake
    John Wyatt, who contested Bridgwater in 1974, later joined the Conservatives and I believe he became the Conservative leader of the council in Weston-super-Mare...
  • Katharine Pindar
    P.S.on the 'sick-note culture' question. Daisy Cooper MP, our Deputy Leader, has just been on the Any Questions Radio 4 programme. Asked about the position wit...
  • Nom de Plume
    Smoking tobacco is an evil that needs to be removed. Personal choice does not come into it. Well done to those brave enough to vote for the Bill....