Get your Conference motions in for 1st July

There’s going to be a massive Conference shaped hole for many of us this September. I love heading to the seaside – Bournemouth being my favourite by far – to catch up with the Lib Dem family. Whether it’s causing trouble for the leadership in the hall or indulging in late night irreverent singalongs, taking part in training, wandering round the exhibition or just catching up for a coffee or a cocktail, those few days are a whirlwind of activity.  I’ve taken to staying an extra night at the end to have a  a quieter meal out with friends and a walk on the beach.

So the cancellation of both Spring and Autumn conferences this year was really disappointing. By the time York was cancelled in Spring, I had already decided not to go because I felt it was too risky. And given that a fair proportion of the friends I would have spent time with all came down with  an illness that had a startling resemblance to Covid-19 very shortly afterwards, that was the right decision for me.

While I will miss going to Brighton in September – and in particular dinner at Smokey’s  with its rather excellent cocktails – I am glad that we will at least have the opportunity to attend an online event from 25-28 September. The Federal Conference Committee has put a huge amount of work into identifying and customising a digital platform. They’ve had so many meetings and have been determined to be as faithful as possible to what we think Conference should be.

I did wonder about how the exhibition would work, but watching this demo from Hopin, the platform we are using, explains it all. You are not going to get all the random bumping into people and the buzz of a physical event, but you will be able to take part in debates, vote on policy motions, attend fringe meetings, go to training and catch up with people in the networking room. I liked the feature in there that it only swapped contact details if both people wanted to.

There will  be BSL interpreters on the main stage as happens at a physical conference.

This platform will also be available for other party bodies to use for their events.

One feature of all conferences is the motions deadline. If you have an idea for a policy  that you want to put forward, you have to get it in by 1pm on 1st July. If you aren’t an SAO, English region, local or state party or Federal Policy Committee, you’ll need to find 10 party members who agree with you. If you want to write a post about your idea to try and get support, please submit up to 500 words to us in the usual way.

This event will enable more people to take part. Those who can’t afford 5 days by the seaside or who can’t go because, for example, they are teachers, will be able to participate. If this event works well, then there will be a strong argument for having some sort of virtual element to future conferences.

You can read more about the plans here on the party website.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Laurence Cox 21st Jun '20 - 12:48pm

    I must say that I liked the Hopin demo; it certainly looks like it should cover our main requirements.

    I just have a couple of questions:
    1) It says that it is limited to 100,000 people viewing, but we have more than 100,000 members and there will presumably be non-members present, from the media and commercial organisations in the expo. Can the system distinguish between Party members and non-members?
    2) When it comes to voting on motions, will there be proof of identity?

  • Nonconformistradical 21st Jun '20 - 7:15pm
  • Paul Barker 22nd Jun '20 - 3:56pm

    I really hope that our activists can rise to the magnitude of the Crisis. We seem to be entering a period of Deflation, far more dangerous than low Inflation. Japan spent Decades trying to escape Deflation & its not clear if they are out of the woods yet.
    Comparing the present crisis to the 1930s is actually quite reasonable.

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