Category Archives: Party policy and internal matters

Anything to do with Lib Dem internal business, including policy development, consultations, rules and constitutions.

Reducing the size of the Federal Board and giving power to the members

Last week Mark Valladares wrote an article – ‘How the Party is managed – can you be democratic and efficient’ and some in the comments called for a smaller Federal Board.

The Thornhill 2019 Election Review talks of a Federal Board of 40+ members (page 34) which is too large to be a ‘realistic decision-making body’ (page 22) and implies that during a governance review this should be reduced (pages 24 and 49).

Mark Pack in his report on the July Federal Board meeting states that the Federal Board has a membership of 43. The Constitution sets out a …

Tagged | 25 Comments

Leadership election ballots hit doormats and inboxes

Leadership email and paper ballots have been going out over the last 24 hours.

Party members have until 1pm on Wednesday 26th August to place “1” or “2” or “blank” against the names of (listed alphabetically) Ed Davey and Layla Moran, or to abstain.

I received my email this morning from Alan Masters, the returning officer. The email included a unique number which I should use to place my vote.

It included the following links for those who are yet to decide:

Tagged | Leave a comment

Register now for our first online conference!

Members are just receiving an invitation to register for the first Liberal Democrat online Autumn Conference, being held from 25th-28th September 2020.

The email from Geoff Payne, chair of the Conference Committee is as follows, minus my membership number (if you’ll forgive me!):

It’s official: Registration is now open for our first-ever online conference!

You’ll need your membership number.

Tagged | 2 Comments

How the Party is managed – can you be democratic and efficient?

As something of a governance geek, and a veteran Party bureaucrat, I tend to take an interest in how my Party is run and led. Policy is interesting yes, but you can tell a lot about any organisation by whether how it operates is in accordance with its declared values.

The “problem” with that is, if your values refer to democracy, transparency and accountability, you might not achieve optimal efficiency, if efficiency is defined as “getting things done”. It is a more pressing concern if you want to change things, and most, if not all, Party Presidents are elected on a mandate of changing things. The catch is that there are very few levers that a President can pull that actually do anything – they rely on people skills to persuade those who actually have operating authority to act as they wish them to.

Also posted in Op-eds and Party Presidency | Tagged , and | 19 Comments

Report from Federal Conference Committee – motions to Conference

The Federal Conference Committee met via Zoom call on Saturday, 11 July for the agenda selection for our first virtual conference. The meeting was a lengthy one, which was in part due to the large selection of varied motions we received, but also to give us breaks from staring at computer screens for a number of hours.

As you will be aware, this year we will not be heading to the sunny beaches of Brighton, but instead you will be able to take part in Conference from your own home via our third party provider, Hopin. You will be able to find more information about the virtual conference.

The FCC wants to pay its thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Conference Office team and members who have worked so incredibly hard to make our first virtual conference happen. It is been a long and challenging process, as we wanted to make sure that we are able to replicate – as much as feasibly possible – the physical conference for our members. I also understand that Glee will also be happening virtually; although we will not all be crammed into one room at the conference hotel to enjoy it.

You will see from the timings of Conference that it is slightly different to the usual format, and we hope that this will give more people an opportunity to attend virtually.

A total of nine conference motions (plus two emergency slots, two later deadline motions on COVID and Europe.) In addition we have reserved time for two consultation sessions as requested by the Federal Board and the Federal Policy Committee.

Tagged | 34 Comments

New party director of strategy appointed

The Liberal Democrats have appointed Mimi Turner as the Party’s new Director of Strategy, Messaging and Research.

Mimi started her career as a journalist, and has since worked across PR, brand and strategy roles for digital and media organisations.

Tagged and | 14 Comments

Report from the Federal Policy Committee meeting on 24th June

We met again on Wednesday 24th June, with a focus this time on motions we plan to submit for the virtual autumn conference. As previously reported, for a combination of reasons we don’t have any full policy papers this year, but are putting forward stand-alone motions in a few areas we’d like to raise.

It is of course up to the Federal Conference Committee which, if any, of these they select for debate, and if they do then of course they will be published in the normal way in due course, so I’m not going to lay out here their detailed content, but will give a general report.

First up was a motion written by our working group already looking at the “Nature of Public Debate” about information and how it has been used and misused during this crisis, and claims made by the government. We discussed the right way to get more accurate information, and also to hold the government to account. This also includes the role of the press, its regulation and how we can support good quality journalism.

Second was a motion that some Federal Policy Committee members have drafted in discussion with Liberal Democrat Campaign for Racial Equality and some other BAME representatives in the party, entitled ‘Racial Justice Cannot Wait’.  This makes a wide range of distinctively liberal and urgent proposals in response to the current debate, for ways in which Britain can really confront and make a difference on race equality.

Tagged | 7 Comments

Move Forward Together

In the aftermath of this crisis, our country has an opportunity to change.

Watch video here

And we must change. Going back to normal means continuing to damage our planet. It means entrenching educational inequalities before a child even steps foot in a classroom. Treating people differently because of the colour of their skin, and prioritising GDP over wellbeing.

Change is in the air; no matter where you go, you can feel it. Communities are coming together to help those in need. More and more young people making their voices heard on climate change. And when you turn on the news, you see statues of slave owners and supremacists finally coming down.

This is a once in a generation chance. We must be brave and use this energy to be better; to build the society that we want to see. The Liberal Democrats, and progressive ideas must be at the forefront of this.

At the heart of my leadership campaign is a vision to make this happen.

Also posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | Tagged and | 24 Comments

Nominations for leader open tomorrow at 9am!

Tomorrow morning at 9am, members will be able to begin nominating candidates for leader.

Members will also get an email with a confirmation of how they’ll receive their ballot (or if you need to renew).

The emails are going out over the course of the day and if you haven’t had one by 9am on the 25th June, please email [email protected] and we can take a look and make sure you don’t miss out.

To nominate a candidate, you’ll need to go to www.libdems.org.uk/nominate

Tagged | 1 Comment

A Message from the Young Liberals’ executive: Get involved!

The Young Liberals is not a perfect organisation – there, we said it – from its lack of institutional memory to the difficulties it’s faced in gaining better representation amongst young professionals, there are many things that could be improved about the organisation.

This being said, it’s been encouraging to see many use the platform of Lib Dem Voice to suggest ways the organisation could change and improve. This clearly shows that many people really care about YL and to these people, and to anyone else reading who meets our membership criteria, we have one message. Please, get involved!

Also posted in News | Tagged | 5 Comments

Federal Policy Committee report – 20 May and 3 June 2020

This is the time of year when FPC meetings normally come thick and fast, as we finalise several policy papers to propose at autumn conference. This year of course we aren’t doing that, both because of the current crisis and also because during the autumn when key work on developing them would normally have been under way, attention was also elsewhere.

However we are still meeting very regularly as planned, because we have another significant project of a different kind up our sleeves. We expect the policy challenges facing us all in the wake of the virus to be very …

Also posted in Blogger Interviews | Tagged | 2 Comments

The new complaints process – our first year

Embed from Getty Images

When the Lib Dems’ new members’ complaints procedure went live on 1 July 2019, we committed to an independent, fair, member-led process. The Federal Board agreed to review how the system was working at the end of its first year and I’m pleased and proud to say that the first steps in that review has identified some clear positives.

The system is independent. The Federal Board has no role in – or knowledge of – individual complaints. Instead, the Senior Adjudicators’ Team (SAT) leads and advises our volunteers. This team of four specialists, lead by our Lead Adjudicator, Neil Christian, reflects the federal nature of our party and it means there are up to three people from outside the state party of the complaint to provide impartial advice to our volunteers.

It is well-staffed: since our volunteer call last year we’ve trained over 100 volunteers to act as adjudicators, mediators and investigators. That’s well in excess of the 55 volunteers Conference originally agreed we needed, and we are working to train more.

The rules are much more transparent and flexible than they have been in the past. We have spoken to members and party bodies across all the state parties since last July to ensure it works – and to make amendments where it doesn’t. These changes are drafted by the Disciplinary Sub-Group and agreed by Federal Board as needed. The procedure is published on the party website and we welcome input from all members on how we can improve it.

Tagged | 23 Comments

Further reflections on the English Party

Embed from Getty Images

Recently, as a new member, I became flummoxed when trying to work out what the English Party is, does and who makes up its committees. I wrote up my frustrations here at Lib Dem Voice. Having started with no axe to grind, I have become near axe-wielding now that responses have come in from that article. Members of as long as thirty-five years have admitted not knowing anything about the English Party and others have pointed out how it resists change or even blocks progress. Yet, there is an alternative and one that may help kick-start the reform that our recent Election Review has called for.

My main gripe with the English Party had been that they didn’t appear to have a website (it turns out that they do but it says so little about what the English Party is and does that in Google rankings terms, it’s basically on the ‘dark web.’) And they didn’t have social media or the other indicators of transparency and openness one might expect from a liberal, political institution.

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 23 Comments

What is the English Party?

If you’ve seen the recent Election Review, you’ll have read that the Lib Dems have obscure processes and committees that seem to get in the way of democracy and/or effectiveness. In this, we’re probably not much different to many other parties and groups but if we want liberalism to flourish we should probably aim to liberate our party from such things where possible. As a new member, I thought I’d try to work out the makeup of the party and hit a wall: the English Party. What is it? Who runs it? What do they do?

Google indicates that the …

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 20 Comments

The party President writes…Key party decisions coming up at the Federal Board meetings next week

How do we improve as a party and achieve greater success in future elections? That’s the theme running through the bumper set of key decisions the Federal Board is looking at next week at our meeting. (Or rather meetings, as to avoid Zoom fatigue, we’re splitting one long meeting into halves on consecutive nights.)

Included in that will be the Board’s first considerations of the independent election review, headed up by Dorothy Thornhill and coming out later today. Thank you for all their hard work to her, her colleagues and everyone who contributed evidence to the review.

Even without that review, there are some things we already know we need to change, in particular our use of technology. That’s why the Board will also be looking at major plans to overhaul our approach, learning from the best of those outside politics and from politics overseas. A big part of the plan is much better use of volunteer expertise.

Tagged , , , , , , , and | 17 Comments

A review of federal committee elections – your chance to comment

Readers of Lib Dem Voice with good memories might remember, in early February, an article from me about the review of the Federal Committee elections. We put the process on ice over the past couple of months, due to the lockdown and the cancellation of the spring conference, but now we’re getting it going again.

Last year’s elections to the federal party’s committees – the Federal Board, Policy Committee, Conference Committee, International Relations Committee and ALDE council – broke new ground, especially in the efforts to engage as many party members as possible, and also through the management of the process …

Also posted in News | Tagged | 31 Comments

Our President welcomes new and renewed members

Our Party President, Mark Pack, has posted the following upbeat message on Instagram today:

Tagged and | 7 Comments

Welcome to Sir Ed Davey as new patron of Chinese Lib Dems

Ed Davey with Cllr Sarah Cheung Johnson, Vice-Chair of CLD

In April, Ed Davey talked to Tunbridge Wells Borough Councillor and Secretary of the Tunbridge Wells local party, Marguerita Morton, about green growth and his new role as patron of the Chinese Lib Dems. Over Zoom, Sir Ed explained how the UK must stand up for the rights of Hong Kong’s people and fight coronavirus-driven spikes in anti-Chinese racism at home.

Sir Ed would uphold the recommendations of Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights in March 2019 to monitor and take appropriate measures, for any unwarranted excessive force and erosion of autonomy, rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and Basic Law. He also deplored the arrests of the 15 lawmakers against the background of the Coronavirus pandemic together with any calls for pressure on the HK judiciary or on legislators. In order to resolve the crisis of confidence of the HK people in its administration, we must call on China to uphold the “one country, two systems” rule enshrined in the Basic Law.

What are the UK’s prospects for green growth?

Tagged and | 2 Comments

+++Update on the Leadership Election

Last month, the Federal Board decided to postpone the party leadership election, due to kick off in May, until May 2021, so that the party can focus on dealing with the coronavirus crisis instead.

Following this decision, an appeal against it was made to the Federal Appeals Panel (our internal Liberal Democrat equivalent of the Supreme Court). The Appeals Panel has agreed that the Federal Board can suspend the leadership election while exceptional circumstances exist, but not delay to a fixed date next year. It has asked the Board to keep the timetable for the leadership election under review, as circumstances continue to develop.

Tagged and | 14 Comments

I have high hopes for the next three years – let’s get to work!

It’s been just weeks since Brexit ended my brief term as an MEP, but today I’m very happy to announce that I’ve been elected as Chair of the Federal People Development Committee.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the outstanding training and support offered by the party.

Like many of you reading this, I’m a relative newcomer to politics and to the Lib Dems. I joined in 2016, so I think I bring a fresh perspective to this role as a newbie. I’m eager to help the party expand and improve on its strategy, structures and processes for recruiting, engaging …

Tagged | 7 Comments

Not the Spring Conference – F16: Welcoming Child Refugees

So, as promised, here is one of the policy motions scheduled to have been debated in York over the weekend, something that probably isn’t that controversial in Liberal Democrat circles, but I never fail to be surprised by Liberal Democrats, so let’s see what comes in…

Conference believes that:

  • Child refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and separated from their families are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. We must do all we can to protect them.
  • The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative Government is turning

Tagged and | 1 Comment

How to send your views to the Lib Dem elections review

Over 22,000 (yes, twenty-two thousand) submissions have already been made to the party’s independent review into the general and European elections. But that’s not stopping the review team, headed up by Dorothy Thornhill, from wanting to hear more…

One opportunity to do that in person is at the party’s spring conference in York, from 10:10am on Saturday 14 March in the main conference hall.

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to the party conference.

Tagged and | 8 Comments

Lib Dem spring conference in York and coronavirus

We’re keeping under close review our plans for the York conference in the light of the spread of coronavirus. Based on the health advice from the NHS and government, along with that from York Council, there are no current plans to cancel the conference.

We will, however, be ensuring that those coming to conference are reminded of health advice, such as the need for regular hand washing and the circumstances under which people should self-isolate. Hand sanitizers will also be made widely available.

Obviously if the advice we receive changes, we may have to revisit these decisions as the health of our colleagues and our suppliers must come first. It would be a decision for the Federal Board to take.

Tagged and | 17 Comments

Scottish internal elections

We’ve got a raft of vacancies open on various Scottish Liberal Democrat committees.

Being on a committee is a really potent way of having your say on how our party is run. If you’re keen to get more involved, why not take a look?

Scottish Executive Committee – responsible for the day-to-day management and conduct of the party.

8 vacancies remaining to be filled

 

Scottish Policy Committee – responsible for researching and developing policy, as well as putting together election manifestos.

2 vacancies remaining to be filled

 

Scottish Conference Committee – responsible for organising Scottish conference

3 vacancies remaining to be filled

 

Never stood before? Don’t worry – the federal party has put together a guide to the process that you might find useful: https://www.libdems.org.uk/getting-nominated

Also posted in News | Leave a comment

Shaun Roberts stands down as Lib Dem director of campaigns & elections

Writing in a public Facebook post, Shaun Roberts has announced his departure as the party’s Director of Campaigns & Elections:

Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Federal Policy Committee report February 2020

Our latest meeting covered a range of policy issue discussions and future planning items.

One of our main discussion items was on potential topics for future policy motions and spokespersons’ papers beyond the scheduled policy papers being developed through our working groups. The Federal Policy Committee is keen to support and encourage other parts of the party to develop policy motions to enable a range of current issues to be taken to conference. Recently we’ve worked in collaboration with spokespeople to take forward motions on tourism, rehabilitation of offenders, and rail. We considered a range of policy topics including modern slavery & trafficking, international development, childhood, planning policy and housing, specific areas of transport policy, small business, tech/AI, and arts/culture.

We discussed these options and others considering what could be worked up in time for Autumn conference and what would provide strong messages to support us in the elections in May 2021. Based on the feedback we’ll engage with spokespeople and relevant SAOs/AOs and other party bodies to progress the ideas. We also looked ahead to start thinking about some future topics for working groups and this is a discussion that will continue.

We had an initial discussion about an idea tabled by Tony Greaves on a piece of work to address the so-called left behind areas of the country, taking a bottom up approach led by our councillors and campaigners in these communities. There was a lot of support for such an initiative but some questions around timing and resourcing that will need to be considered further.

Tagged | 21 Comments

Andy Corkhill selected by LibDems to be Liverpool City regional mayor

Good luck to Councillor Andy Corkhill who has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Metro Mayor

Selected by party members for this May’s Metro Mayor contest, Andy Corkill stood in Wirral West at the 2019 general election and has been a councillor in Wirral since May 2019.

Tagged and | 1 Comment

Isabelle Parasram elected as Vice President of the Liberal Democrats

Late last year members elected the majority of members to our Federal Committees, included the Federal Board. More recently nominations were invited for a range of other positions, and the elected members of the Federal Board held a min-election to fill them. On Monday we reported the results.

One late announcement is that of the Vice-President of the party.

Congratulations to Isabelle Parasram! She was re-elected having previously been elected last March to that role when it was first created. Caron Lindsay shared that news with us then.

Isabelle is a PPC …

Tagged | 1 Comment

Fascinating stuff at York!

It’s not too late to register for the York Spring conference, which is happening on the weekend of March 13-15th. You can register here.

We’ve already covered the main policy motions which will be debated in the main hall.

But there will be oodles of other stuff going on – both in the main hall and in rooms around and about the conference venues of the York Barbican, the Novotel York Center and the Hilton York.

Tagged and | 19 Comments

The spring conference motions explained

Over on the party website, Conference committee chair, Geoff Payne has provided a helpful rundown of the motions to be debated at the spring conference in York in the weekend of March 13th-15th.

Here are his summaries of the motions, which party members can access in full via this page on the party website:

F4 – Hong Kong
This motion introduces new party policy on the human rights situation in Hong Kong. It calls for:

15 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Easter 6th Aug - 8:22am
    Personally the more I think about it, the more I find the idea of a Moran led Lib Dems working with a Starmer led Labour,...
  • User Avatartheakes 6th Aug - 7:40am
    Silly idea: we don't form alliances with anyone. We stay independent and vote according to each issue. Do we never learn? It leaves me is...
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 6th Aug - 7:32am
    We have to be prepared for some level of co-operation with Labour particularly around issues like electoral reform but a progressive alliance is a bit...
  • User AvatarSteve Trevethan 6th Aug - 7:31am
    Might one way to address this matter rest in considerations of attitudes to and understandings of the currently powerful theories and practices of Neo-Liberalism? If...
  • User AvatarRichard Easter 6th Aug - 7:19am
    Peter Martin - you raise a good and difficult issue. I'd call it the "culture war" more than anything else. I was listening to Ian...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 6th Aug - 7:16am
    @Katharine Pindar "Presumably the voting turnout would increase if there were considerably fewer places to fill, concentrating minds" Why? The issue is the sheer number...