Conference Countdown: Agenda 2020: The final stage

Agenda 2020 paperSunday morning at Brighton will see one of the most important debates at conference. It probably won’t be terribly controversial (though one never knows …), but it is party members’ chance to say what they think – not about specific policies the party should adopt, but about what the party stands for: its basic philosophy.

This is the final stage in the Federal Policy Committee’s ‘Agenda 2020’ process, which has featured many times before in the pages of Lib Dem Voice. Over the past year we have published two consultation papers, organised two consultative sessions at federal conferences, commissioned a set of essays and organised an essay competition within the party (all available at

The outcome of all this is the policy paper The Opportunity to Succeed, the Power to Change. Its first purpose is to explain the basic underlying beliefs of the party and what, in broad terms, is the point of us. So the first main chapter sets out the case for the Liberal Democrats – the essence of what we are trying to do and why it matters. We’ve phrased this round two objectives: giving people the opportunity to succeed, and enabling them to take the power to grasp those opportunities. Too many people in today’s Britain lack the opportunity to live their lives as they want, and too many people feel powerless in the face of change.

This basic approach is underpinned by the last chapter, which describes the Liberal Democrats’ underlying philosophy – our core beliefs and values – in more detail. Readers of the previous Agenda 2020 consultation papers will be familiar with this, as we’ve reprinted it from them, modified to reflect the responses we received during the consultation process.

The rest of the paper then describes the agenda for policy development which the FPC will follow in the next few years, in the run-up to the 2020 general election: finding Britain’s place in the world, in the wake of the EU referendum; modernising the economy; enlarging liberty; building a fair and cohesive society; and promoting communities. Each chapter identifies a number of topics where our existing policy is out of date or no longer fit for purpose and where the FPC will be submitting policy papers to conference to debate.

They don’t cover every possible policy area – there is a limit to how many policy papers we can produce and conference can debate! – but of course party policy is not solely our preserve. We want to see party spokespeople, local parties and ordinary party members develop new ideas, discuss them within the party and submit them to conference for debate.

I hope people will take the chance to read the paper; particularly for those new to the party, it offers a concise description of what the party they’ve joined is all about. And I hope those of you in Brighton will take the chance to speak in the debate on the paper (it starts at 9.45am on Sunday). It’ll be a bit different from other debates during the week, because it won’t be about particular policy proposals. It’ll be about what is in some ways more important: what ties our policy proposals together into a coherent whole.

* Duncan Brack is a member of the Federal Policy Committee and chaired the FPC’s working group that wrote Rebuilding Trade and Cooperation with Europe.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Conference.

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

  • Peter Martin
    @ SimonR, There some other advantages. Such as: you can't be sacked if you own your own business! You can put your partner and children on the payroll even i...
  • Andy Daer
    Tom, thanks for this excellent summary. Steve, it was hubris that led that "London adult" to think his hurt was so important - he was on the radio shortly afte...
  • Simon R
    @Katharine: 3 year default tenancy and no evictions other than for breaking the contract? Umm... how does that work if - say - for some reason, I have to move a...
  • Simon R
    @Peter Martin: Yes you're correct that, if you run a small business, taking your income as dividend will typically mean paying less tax than if you take it as a...
  • Katharine Pindar
    Thanks for the support on the share buybacks proposed policy, Peter Martin. Just now I want to add a few facts about what we want to offer young people on housi...