Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with the new Chair of FCC – Geoff Payne – Part 3 of 3

 

Do we need to have more radical fringe meetings – i.e. Invite more thought provoking / radical guests to fringe meetings;

Yes! I would love to see more radical fringe meetings.  Without wishing to be seen to cop out though, I should add that FCC is not directly responsible for running the fringe.  We make the rooms available and promote the opportunities to book but we are dependent on party members and other bodies coming forward with radical ideas.  I would like to see more fringe meetings focussed around controversial items on the agenda.

 

Do you feel the different number and variety of …

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Interview with the new Chair of FCC – Geoff Payne – Part 2 of 3

Geoff Payne

Repeatedly I hear from members that they want more policy motions to be discussed at the conference and to hear directly from more of the senior figures in the party

Given that we only have a finite amount of agenda time, there can be a tension between those two things!  I agree that those are the priorities of many of our members though.  People do enjoy speeches from spokespeople but they also attend to debate policy.  I am committed to wringing as many minutes as we can from the agenda.  That said, there are other important aspects of a conference such as the fringe and training.  The challenge we have is to balance the competing demands of them all

What will you do to encourage more AO’s and SAO’s to be at the party conferences especially as a lot of them are tight for funds

I completely understand the pressure on funds having chaired an SAO.  When I was Vice-Chair of FCC, I developed an agreement with many party bodies to enable more of them to take advantage of the concessionary party body rate for the exhibition and fringe.  We are going to continue that and are always interesting in hearing ideas about how we can make the experience better for them.  Many of them hold their Annual General Meetings at the conference and I really want to encourage that.  SAOs and AOs are part of the lifeblood of the party and they belong at the conference.

Do you have any plans to assist new members or members who have not attend a conference to attend?

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Interview with the new Chair of Federal Conference Committee – Geoff Payne – Part 1 of 3

Members at a conference
Congratulations on being elected the new FCC Chair

Thank you! It is a really exciting job to have; one of the very best in the party.

 

What changes do you think that Andrew Wiseman brought to the FCC as Chair?

Andrew was a great chair.  He steered us through the immediate pre-coalition period, though the years we were in government and then the period of re-building afterwards.  He oversaw increases in attendance, vast increases in commercial revenue from 2010 and more recently the attendance of huge numbers of new members at conference.  One of the most significant changes that he successfully navigated us through was the abolition of conference representatives and the move to one member, one vote.  He will be a very hard act to follow.

 

What attracted you to put yourself forward to be Chair of FCC as compared to another representative body of the LD?

The simple answer is that I love party conference.  We are unique in having a conference that actually makes the policy of the party.

Any member, from a person who joined just a few weeks ago, to the Leader can submit a motion to the conference and make a case for it being passed. All votes are equal.  Success depends on the power of argument and the strength of the idea.  The same goes for individual motions on particular issues, wide-ranging policy papers and indeed election manifestos.

The FCC plays an incredibly important role in refereeing conference, ensuring debates are fair and selecting an agenda that is interesting, varied and which contains things that members actually want to talk about.

We have a great committee comprised of members elected from across the party.  It is a real privilege to be its chair

 

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Jo Swinson interview: part 5 – contemporary politics and what she’s doing now

This is the fifth and final part of an interview which took place during the Party’s Spring Conference in York. Events have somewhat overtaken it, as you will realise when you get to the end… The first part of the interview can be found here, the second part here, the third here and the fourth here.

As I’m sat opposite a prominent Scottish Lib Dem, I must ask you about the recent call by the SNP for a second Scottish independence referendum. What are your views on independence for Scotland and is Theresa May right to refuse

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Jo Swinson interview: part 4 – the battle for greater equality

In yesterday’s third part of the interview, Jo talked about a range of issues from Easter eggs to body image. Today, it’s the turn of equality issues, both in society and within the Party. The first part of the interview can be found here, and the second part here.

Perhaps, what you are best known for is your continual fight for gender equality. You were the Minister for Women through much of the Coalition. In your recent article in the Huffington Post, you paint a bleak picture of the current state of the road towards gender equality and what, as a society, we need to do at both macro and micro levels. In your heart of hearts, do you ever think equality for women will be achieved?

I challenge the premise of your question slightly. It’s not just about equality for women, but it’s also about equality for men. Gender inequality harms men as well as women. The words ‘gender’ and ‘women’ are not interchangeable. If you think about men’s role as fathers and about the pressure on males in terms of masculinity and what it means to be a man, the stats on male suicide rates and male mental health issues are really worrying.

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Jo Swinson interview: part 3 – campaigns, social media and a political hero

In yesterday’s second part of the interview, Jo talked about how she entered politics and, subsequently, Westminster. Today, the conversation turns to Easter eggs and body image… The first part of the interview can be found here.

Throughout your time in office, one of your bugbears appears to be excessive Easter egg packaging. Seeing as Easter is upon us, I thought it would be an apt topic to discuss. At face value, this doesn’t seem a particularly important issue, but when you realise that the excessive packaging causes thousands of tons of waste each year, it clearly is a reasonable concern. You started campaigning on this in 2007 and have even named-and-shamed the main culprits. Has the situation improved in ten years?

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Jo Swinson interview: part 2 – first steps in politics and what it’s like to be a young woman at Westminster

In yesterday’s first part of the interview, Jo spoke of how she entered politics and why. In today’s excerpt, she talks about what it is like to be a young woman in politics and how she dealt with it….

TIME IN POLITICS

From watching you on YouTube and from sitting opposite you here listening to you speak, you come across as very confident and it’s difficult to imagine you suffer from nerves. When you were 21 years old and stood for parliament, were you nervous? And do you still get nervous nowadays?

Of course. I was nervous going up

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