Compass want Lib Dems at its conference

As a visitor to LibDemVoice you may or may not be aware of the work of Compass – the influential pressure group that campaigns for a more democratic, equal and sustainable world. Compass is about building a broadly based Liberal Left politics and as a Liberal Democrat activist we wanted to introduce you to our important work and to invite you to attend our National Conference on Saturday 13 June.

We believe that both the Tory and Labour leaderships want to turn back as soon as possible to the failed politics of the pre-crash – both in terms of the old economy and old democracy – we think this would be a huge mistake and wasted opportunity. So we recently launched a major No Turning Back campaign to kick start a national debate about the future of progressive politics and we really want Lib Dem activists to take part in this important discussion.

In a recent New Statesman essay Compass Chair Neal Lawson and The Guardian’s John Harris got the discussion off to a start – this has already generated a vigorous response within the wider progressive movement.

The essay suggested ten reform ideas that would make the society we want to live in a real possibility. Six of these were Lib Dem manifesto pledges in 2005 – one of which included electoral reform. The roots of a progressive alliance are already established!

For too long the ideas and energy of progressives have been trapped in an archaic first-past-the-post system. New times demand new politics. If we don’t want to turn back to the old political economy of market fundamentalism or simply tinker with a defunct Westminster system then we need a conversation with individuals and groups who want to build a better society: not just the Labour movement but NGOs, faith groups, Liberal Democrats, Greens and others – aimed not at any kind of electoral pact, but a popular movement that could shift the terms of debate and reconnect politics and real life.

That’s why we very much welcome you as Lib Dem activists to come to our National Conference in London on Saturday 13 June. It will feature prominent speakers from across the progressive movement including Liberal Democrats such as Dr Evan Harris MP and Dr Richard Grayson, as well as high-profile social and democratic reform advocates such as The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee and human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy QC. There will also be sessions run by leading organisations including the Social Liberal Forum, the Electoral Reform Society, Make Votes Count, Amnesty International, Demos, Oxfam, Jubilee Debt Campaign, The Fawcett Society and many others.

Held in association with The GuardianNew Statesman and CWU and with over 1000 in attendance this will be the No Turning Back event of the year – where a coalition for change will come together to discuss and debate the ideas, policies and campaigns needed to build the good society. Have a look at the up to date agenda, see what you think and book your place online today at:

We hope to continue the debate on how we build the good society and the new politics of the future with you at the conference.

Gavin Hayes is General Secretary of Compass.

Read more by or more about , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , or .
This entry was posted in The Independent View.


  • Sounds like an interesting event.

  • “For too long the ideas and energy of progressives have been trapped in an archaic first-past-the-post system.”

    We’ve just had 12 years of supposedly progressive government under FPTP. The fact that they failed to live up to some peoples’ hopes has more to do with public opinion (which isn’t as progressive as you’d like it to be) than the electoral system.

  • Yes, but New Labour’s policies don’t accord with public opinion. Even when they think it does, as on their authoritarian schemes, the public change their minds fairly quickly once the full horrors start unveiling.

  • Wasn’t PR in Labour’s electoral programme back in 1997, or am I mistaken? And if I’m not, why didn’t they implement it during these 12 years?

  • I wonder if Plaid Cymru and the SNP will be welcome as well.

  • This looks well dodgy to me. Labour are about to get slaughtered and suddenly their think-tanks start trying to resurrect the Blair-Ashdown days. I hope the LDs dont fall for that one again…

  • We shouldn’t just ignore ideas because they come from an organisation that leands towards one party or another- its not like we don’t share any ideas with anyone else.

    But a group that only attends Labour conferences, run by labour party members and that only labour party members can join. Well, its just an internal party group under another name, and theres no point pretending otherwise. Its hard to see why attending its conferences would be useful for liberal democrats.

    Now, thats not to say we should completly ignore them- we can support nationalist motions, ALTER can work with Labour Land Tax campaigners, and I’m sure there are places where we might want to work with compass- but only in a limited, issue based fashion, not with them “leading the liberal-left”.

    If they want more, perhaps they could ask us to join up and properly participate, and maybe come to our conferences as they expect us to do to theirs?

  • Gavin, you still only allow people to join if they are Labour party members or non-members. Members of other parties are not allowed to have a say in its running. Thus we can be sure you will always support Labour electorally.

    You may be an internal group that is happy to talk with people from other parties and put them on platforms. But as long as we can’t vote why should we view it as anything other than a labour run talking shop for us? Call a spade a spade.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Mary ReidMary Reid
    @Graham Jeffs - yes, I am fortunate to be living in a target seat, although I was campaigning for about 20 years before we won it. It's a long game. My point...
  • Alex Macfie
    The mistake made by Clegg & co wasn't going into coalition, it was the way they did it, going in too quickly and conducting it as a "love-in" rather than a ...
  • Mark
    I wouldn't normally encourage people to spend time reading Conservative Home website, but this article is well worth a read:
  • David Garlick
    Given in his speech his dismissal of action of climate change, so appropriate that the climate chose to give him a good soaking. A drip being dripped on....
  • Peter Martin
    @ Steve, "Might it help.if our party were to assertively oppose Neoliberal socio-economics...." Of course it would. It's unlikely any establishm...