How to get the most out of Conference – key deadline coming up

Every year I swear I’m going to read all the Conference papers in good time, carefully craft speeches before Conference begins and be well prepared. I’d sort my diary well ahead of time so I knew what I’d be doing and when.

Every year the reality is somewhat different. For in-person conferences, I’d be reading the papers and motions and writing speeches on the train on the way down, having panic-thrown every item of clothing I possess into a suitcase to take with me. I suspect that I may be far from unique in this.

This year’s Conference begins in just 17 days’ time. You can find all the papers, including reports from the party’s committees, and policy papers on subjects such as the nature of public debate, federalism, universal basic income, tackling the climate emergency and what Liberal Democrats believe here.

There are several ways you can participate in Conference. The first is to make a speech in any of the debates that you are interested in. If that sounds daunting, just pick a paragraph in any of the motions and try and think of three points to make about it. You don’t have to take up all the time. In fact, the Chair of the debate will probably thank you if you don’t, because they will fit more people in.

The second is to propose an amendment to a motion. If you think a motion doesn’t quite go far enough, or calls for the wrong things, or misses something out, you can submit an amendment. Federal Conference Committee then chooses which amendments to put forward in the debate. The deadline for doing that is next Monday, 6th September, at 1 pm.

The third is to ask a question. Each of the party committees has produced a report and you might want to ask a question about it which the Committee’s chair will have to answer. For example, the party has a new Equality, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, so you might want to ask the chair of the Federal People Development Committee about how that is going to operate and what it plans to achieve.

What generally happens is that questions are printed in the Conference Extra and when the Chair answers, you then get the chance to ask a follow-up question. This is a really important part of our internal democracy – holding to account those in positions of power.

The Parliamentary Parties also submit written reports and their Chief Whips answer questions, so if you want to find out more about how the party’s position on Afghanistan for the recall of Parliament was arrived at, for example, you can ask them.

The sooner you prepare for Conference, the more serene and unfrazzled your experience will be. Take it from one who knows.

So, spend some time this week reading the papers, thinking about potential amendments and crafting questions. Then submit them here before 1pm on Monday, 6th September.

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

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

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.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

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 ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares
    @ Laurence, I’m going to do something unexpected, in that I agree with Brad. If the Scots want to do this, they should have the right to and the obligation...
  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares
    @ Paul, I may cover it later but we always (within reason) welcome contributions…...
  • Laurence Cox
    @Brad Barrows I don't suppose that you even think about the consequences of what you write. I really should not have to remind you that for over 50 years ...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Paul Barker, You're cherry picking. In other words you're choosing a time when the Tory lead was at its recent highest, ie June, and simply saying tha...
  • Paul Barker
    Just on The Polls, The Tory lead has been steadily coming down since June & is now averaging between 3% & 4%. The most recent polling is now 4 days old ...