Category Archives: Events

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

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Final details for our Fringe tomorrow

Many many thanks to Lib Dem Voice editor Helen Duffett for organising our major fringe event tomorrow. She’s been hunting around the country for the best talent to speak to us, and has overcome many seemingly insurmountable obstacles to bring a stellar event to the conference.

Hall 1B is a lovely room with a giant set of seats sitting on an enormous turntable, for reasons that will probably become clear if you come and see the fringe.

Without further ado, our speaker lineup is:

Evan Harris
Susan Kramer
Will Straw

The title is:

Fairer? For Whom?

As will all our fringe events, we are planning …

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Help spread the news about the BOTYs tonight

LibDemVoice are hosting four events at conference – fuller details are available here.

The first of these falls tonight, at the Blog of the Year Awards.

If you’d like to come along, why not click here to let your twitter friends know.

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Once again, Lib Dem Voice have a varied and exciting programme at the Lib Dem federal conference planned for Liverpool next month.

Some of our events are still taking form; others are now so well established they are almost traditional.

And don’t worry if you are unable to join us in person at conference – we will be making recordings of the events and making them available right here on the blog, so that you can get the conference feel coming in your ears wherever you are in the nation.

For your delight and delectation, here are some details.

Blog of the Year Awards

Join …

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Have you signed up yet for the Lib Dem fantasy football league?

Do you like football? Are you a Liberal Democrat? Do you want the opportunity to win a small prize?

Well in that case why not join the unofficial Lib Dem fantasy premier league? Here’s an opportunity to put together a team with some of your favourite players in, and compete against other Lib Dem football fans.

To set up a team go to ( from a smart-phone) and follow the instructions to register. Choose your team name and design your club’s strip, then pick your squad for the season.

Once that’s done, you can choose to join a private league …

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Tweetup / Liberal Drinks at special conference

We’re thrilled to be having such a busy day here at LDV with a lot of opinion articles scheduled from a wide spectrum of writers.

In all that, there’s a good chance we might lose sight of our early morning post proposing a Tweetup / Liberal Drinks meeting at the end of the special conference on Sunday.

Full details are here:

To keep our discussion tidy, comments on this post are closed. Please comment on the first blog post from this morning.

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Tweetup / Liberal Drinks at Special Conference

Plans are emerging for a Liberal Drink / Tweetup at tomorrow’s special conference.

It’s been a long old while since I was at the NEC (we had a fab time at a printing exhibition ten years ago when we were replacing a folding machine. Going to a conference that included machines that could turn trees into decks of playing cards was a little OTT for a standard folding machine)

However, a bit of a look at the NEC website suggests there is a Wetherspoons on site – and it’s not terribly far from Hall 3 where the special conference …

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Lib Dem Flashmobs nationwide

Just a few weeks ago we brought you the news of the unofficial Lib Dem Facebook group that was growing by 1,000 members an hour.

Now its members are enthusiastically promoting a series of flashmobs. There’s been one scheduled for London for some time, but I know many of us discounted going to that on the simple horror of getting to London on a bank holiday, whilst we should be shoving leaflets through letterboxes in our various provincial locations.

The prospect of a series of nationwide flashmobs, however, makes attendance just a little easier, no? Here’s the …

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Video: Sarah Ludford MEP at Mass Photo Gathering

Campaign group I’m a photographer not a terrorist held a Mass Photo Gathering in Trafalgar Square yesterday, in defence of street photography. Thousands of photographers came together to assert their rights and to protest against the misuse of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Section 44 allows uniformed police officers to stop and search people in designated areas if it is considered “expedient for the prevention of acts of terrorism.” I met Grant Smith, who was stopped under Section 44 by police in December. Sarah Ludford, Lib Dem MEP for London, had written a letter to the Independent in protest at his treatment.

I spoke to Sarah and Grant about the incident:

Video also available on YouTube.

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Mass gathering in defence of street photography #phnat

The campaign group I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! invites photographers to gather in London this Saturday in defence of street photography.

The Mass Photo Gathering is in Trafalgar Square at 12 noon on Saturday 23 January. (Map here.) Over 1,400 people have already confirmed their attendance via this Facebook page.

We’ve covered many cases, here at Lib Dem Voice, of anti-terrorist legislation being misused, particularly to detain photographers. Prompted by incidents like these, PHNAT calls on photographers, whether amateur or professional, as well as anyone who values visual imagery, “to defend our rights and stop the abuse of the terror laws.”

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Opinion: One day to save the world

December 5th will see the Copenhagen climate change summit get underway, for two weeks of talks that must lead to a successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and perhaps something as binding and successful as the 1987 Montreal Protocol that led to the phasing out of harmful CFC and HCFC propellants.

The talks are a long time coming; 2009 is the tail-end of the deadline for agreement already set by world leaders in Bali in 2007.

But we’re already seeing problems with what is being proposed. China and the USA, between them responsible for 42% of the world’s CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, have proposed uninspiring emissions targets based on high 2005 figures, and Barack Obama has raised the possibility that no agreement will be reached.

Frankly, this is unacceptable, and we think it’s time for a bit of old-fashioned co-ordinated civil action to remind world leaders that actually, the people of this planet want to see radical action on a bold, even savage, scale. The time for talking is over – we need firm commitments on what will happen and how, before it’s too late. So why not join us and thousands of others this Saturday to help save the world?

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Where next for Lib Dem Bloggers’ Internetty Meetup Thing?

John Barrett MP at Lib Dem Bloggers' Unconference

Just two weekends ago, we helped run a moderately successful Bloggers’ Unconference in Edinburgh, the guests of the Scottish Liberal Democrats at their HQ in Clifton Terrace. The Scottish Lib Dems were generous with their facilities and their time, giving us a room for a day, feeding us, and making sure lots of interesting senior Scottish Lib Dems came to talk to us. In the end four English bloggers made the …

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Opinion: Nation’s campaigners kickstarted

ALDC Kickstart: Councillor @alexfoster in a feedback session with his local team

Yesterday saw the conclusion of ALDC‘s annual training event Kickstart, designed for councillors and campaigners who are defending and targetting council seats at next year’s local elections.

Next year is a special year indeed, because in all probability the General Election will happen on the same day as local elections. Whilst this is nothing new, the councils that are facing election this time are …

Also posted in Local government and Op-eds | 1 Comment

Liberal Youth: a successful Bootcamp weekend

After our most successful Freshers on record, with nearly 900 new people recruited to the party, Liberal Youth this weekend took a group of our new recruits and branch chairs to Malvern for Bootcamp. The event was designed to make sure that our activists were given the skills they’ll need to get through the General Election. We covered everything from time management to direct mail to the basics of campaigning. It was an intense weekend with delegates from Portsmouth to Glasgow and everywhere in between!

Alex Royden, Chair of Liverpool Liberal Youth and General Executive Member for national Liberal Youth, thought …

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Edinburgh, brace yourself: the first Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference

Just under three weeks to go now – but there’s still time to register for the feast of blogging talent and advice that is the Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference.

I’m pleased to announce that Tavish Scott, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has agreed to give a Bloggers’ Interview around lunchtime.

Also joining us: Jo Swinson MP, John Barrett MP, Mike Crockart (newly-selected PPC for Edinburgh West), leading Scottish bloggers, Andrew Reeves (prolific blogger and Deputy Director of Campaigns for Scotland) as well as Lib Dem Blogfather Jonathan Calder and members of the Lib Dem Voice team.

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Earthwatch debate

News reaches the Voice of a debate about crises around water planned for later this month. If you’re able to attend, why not write it up for a post on Lib Dem Voice? See our notes for contributors for details.

Earthwatch Debate: From Tsunami to Drought

Thursday 19th November, 7.00pm – 9.00pm at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR

Chaired by award winning broadcaster Andrea Catherwood.

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John Stuart Mill symposium – Saturday 14 November, LSE, London

One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1859, the great Liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill published his most important and enduring work, On Liberty. Used today as the symbol of office of the President of the Liberal Democrats, On Liberty emphatically vindicated individual moral autonomy and celebrated the importance of originality and dissent. It set out the principle, still acknowledged as universal and valid today, that only the threat of harm to others can justify interfering with an individual’s liberty of action.

Mill himself was not only a philosopher, but also an economist, journalist, political writer, social reformer, and, briefly, …

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British Muslims for Secular Democracy plan counter demonstration

News reaches the Voice about a demo planned for next Saturday.

British Muslims for Secular Democracy today announces the launch of its plans to organise a demonstration on Saturday 31st October to counter a demonstration by Al Muhajiroun, at which they will call for the abolition of democracy in Britain and the imposition of Shariah Law on all.


Lib Dem Bloggers Unconference – sign up now

Some weeks ago we asked for your initial views about a “Lib Dem internetty meet up thing.”

Some good ideas emerged from the comments, and I am pleased to announce that after weeks of work for m’colleague Helen Duffett, we are able to set up the first of these meetings.

Some of the details are a little sketchy, but here’s what we know for sure:

Venue: Edinburgh – Scottish Lib Dem HQ, 4 Clifton Terrace EH12 5DR. Map here.

Date: Saturday 21 November 2009

Time: 10am-4pm

Facilities: Wireless network will be available, meeting room and (tbc) a smaller breakout room

Transport: …

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Event: Party conferences – who needs them?

I’m speaking tomorrow, Thursday, at a lunchtime lecture at the RSA with the timely title, Party conferences – who needs them?, alongside Stephen Pound MP, Iain Dale and Michael White. Here’s the blurb:

The annual party conferences attract hordes of the party faithful and mark the start of the political calendar for the Whitehall establishment. The news teams and cameras will be there poised to cover events. But what impact do the party conferences really have in Britain, or indeed the wider world?

Policy is no longer made here – arguably the party conference has become a triumph of stage management over

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Open thread: Lib Dem internetty meetup thing

A few years ago, a group of us decided to organise a Liberal Drinks at federal conference in Brighton. We were building on James Graham’s simple but successful model: nominate a pub, decide a date, publicise it; then have convivial chats with whoever turns up. In Brighton, we followed the same model, deciding on that nice-but-tiny real-ale place near the station. We arrived, a small but respectable number of people turned up, chatted the night away, and at some point moved on to a Chinese restaurant in the vicinity before winding up back at the conference …

Also posted in Online politics | 16 Comments

Nick Clegg at Reuters: the highlights #askclegg

Nick Clegg received hundreds of questions yesterday during his “Ask Clegg” event with Reuters. It was an online version of the Lib Dem leader’s Town Hall meetings, where members of the public were invited to ask Nick any question they liked.

These were received in a variety of ways, including via the Reuters website, on Twitter and even from Christian Payne (aka @Documentally) in the back of a London cab:

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Online event: Reuters social media Q&A with Nick Clegg (13/7/09)

An email drops into the Voice’s inbox asking us to alert readers to the following event:

Just wanted to give you a heads up that on Monday, Nick Clegg, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, will be joining the Reuters UK team to take questions live for one of the first purely social media events of its kind. No topic is off limits. Should you wish to post a question, read the comments thus far and get a firsthand account of Nick Clegg’s take on the importance of social media in politics, please click here.

The event will take place from 12.15 – 2pm BST on Monday July 13th. Should you wish to participate, you can find the live video stream on the link above.

Event co-host explains a little more about the event:

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Event: Future Challenges and Opportunities for Faith Communities (30/7/09)

Faith communities are increasingly playing a role in civil renewal and regeneration activities throughout the UK. From the provision of social services, through to policy development, faith communities are shaping their interaction with a number of key bodies and individuals and this conference looks at creating a space for dialogue around the future challenges and opportunities that there are for faith communities.

Creating Spaces for Dialogue Programme: What are Future Challenges and Opportunities for Faith Communities? A half-day conference for practitioners, organisational leaders and social change activists aimed at creating dialogue with policy shapers and makers on faith and faith communities

This …

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Opinion: Get Activated

I’m not really going to comment on the Lib Dem Voice piece by Richard Wilson about Liberal Youth being stuck in the proverbial headlights; with 600 new members since March, a new website being launched and a brand new executive team taking over next week, we need a youth party that looks to the future and prepares for the battles to come, like the Norwich North By-election this summer, and beyond to the upcoming General Election and the next parliament.

The first step to building those future successes will be Liberal Youth’s comeback training event, Activate, taking place …

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European elections: rolling results news

National vote share projections (BBC): Con 27% (n/c), UKIP 17% (+1), Lab 16% (-7), Lib Dem 14% (-1). Although not all regions yet in, looks extremely likely that the party will get the same number of MEPs elected as it had going in to the election.

South East: Sharon Bowles re-elected and joined by Catherine Bearder. (Emma Nicholson retired at this election.)

East Midlands: Bill Newton-Dunn also set to be re-elected.

London: Sarah Ludford re-elected.

Wales: Conservatives do indeed top the poll. Lib Dems miss out on our first ever Welsh MEP by just 2%.

Scotland: awaiting figures from Western Isles, but Lib Dems set …

Also posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged | 84 Comments

WED: Green Lib Dems annual conference

News reaches the Voice of the Green Lib Dem’s annual conference, unfortunately just a little too late to promote it in time for the early registration rates:

SESSIONS INCLUDE: “The Great Nuclear Debate”; “Greening Your Council”; “Transition Towns”; “Eco Housing”; “Green Campaigning Workshop”

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: Simon Hughes MP; Chris Huhne MP; Heather Kidd PPC; Donnachadh McCarthy, Media Environmentalist; Lembit Opik MP


Registrations received after 5th June

GLD members £22 (for both days) £14 (single day rate)

Non members £28 (for both days) £18 (single day rate)

Conference fees include lunch. A separate Saturday evening

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Walk with Brian for equality

An email drops into The Voice’s inbox from Brighton & Hove Lib Dems, which we are very happy to share:

Liberal Democrats in Brighton and Hove are calling on colleagues from across the South East to join Brian Paddick as he leads the Stonewall Equality Walk. The annual 10km walk takes place on Sunday 3rd May from 1pm meeting at the Royal Pavilion grounds. Last year Lib Dem campaigners raised over £1,200 for Stonewall.

Lib Dem Council Group Leader Paul Elgood said: ‘Come to Brighton and help support Brian as he leads the Stonewall Equality Walk. It’ll be an enjoyable day for

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ALDC’s “Local Solutions” conference – book now!

An email arrived yesterday reminding me that today, 31st March, is the last opportunity to register for early bird rates for ALDC’s Local Solutions conference in June.

Last year, LDV made recordings of the plenary sessions – still available here, here and here – if you want a flavour of the day. We intend to be there in June – and our aim will be to ask councillors across the UK to write more for LDV on how Lib Dems are making a difference on the ground.

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On being a councillor

Last night, I joined Steve Hitchins and Laura Willoughby at Birmingham Council House for a training event all about encouraging local parties and council groups to recruit a new generation of councillors.

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New voting system proposed: Majority Judgement.

Do the voting systems of the world’s democracies elect the candidates the electorate really wants? Voting theorists Michel Balinski and Rida Laraki say that often they don’t, and that this raises serious questions about legitimacy to rule.

Voting Power and Procedures is presenting a series of lectures this week at the London School of Economics by Professors Balinski and Laraki, who will introduce their new voting system, Majority Judgement.

From the Voting Power and Procedures press release:

“From political and corporate elections to wine and figure skating competitions (and Strictly Come Dancing), the speakers claim their system succeeds where others fail.

Lecture 1:


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 16th Dec - 1:45am
    Sorry, I mean of course 'a Liberal ' in his youth, he wasn't psychic too!
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 16th Dec - 1:41am
    Well, Peter, the absurdity was just not taken account of, it seems. Yet a shrewd friend of mine, a Lib Dem in his youth and...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Dec - 11:55pm
    But David I seem to remember you were a fan of Bevan's quote about rats. That was a man who through bitter experience knew what...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 15th Dec - 10:52pm
    @ Martin Typo, not intended
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 15th Dec - 8:35pm
    I wish he was !!
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    The cinema site in Tunbridge Wells has been cleared and covered with broken bricks. A new cinema cannot legally be built precisely where the previous...