How you can have your say on Vince’s proposals for party reform

Over the next 10 days, there will be a number of opportunities for party members to express their views about Vince’s ideas about party reform.

These are:

To set up a registered supporters’ scheme and give those supporters the right to vote in leadership elections

To allow non MPs to stand for Leader

To allow people to stand for election as soon as they join the party, subject to approval.

There has already been one session in London  and another takes place tomorrow.

Other events take place in Edinburgh, York, Birmingham, Lancaster, Tiverton, Wokingham and Aberystwyth. You can find full details of times and places here.

If you can’t get to any of them, there is a webinar on Wednesday night for which you can register here.

The consultation booklet is available here.  It contains 13 questions and you need to respond by 14th October. Federal Board then meets on 15th and 22nd October to discuss what to do next.

Vince intends to ask the Federal Board to conduct a ballot of all party members. If this happens, it’ll be the first in almost 30 years. Back in 1989, there was a ballot on changing the party name from the Social and Liberal Democrats (the infamous Salads) to Liberal Democrats.

The most important thing is to take part and have your say. It’s a great opportunity to think about what is going to take this party forward. The challenges our party faces can’t be solved by process alone but the leader clearly feels that this is part of the solution.



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  • David Ackermn 5th Oct '18 - 8:12pm

    It’s highly discriminatory that only party members can have their say on Sir Vince’s proposal to open up the party to anybody off the street who wants a go at being leader. Come on Sir Vince, Sir Sion, Sir Ed etc. it’s only fair to open up the debate to anybody – after all they may be your boss next week. P.S. There must be a sub-committee under the constitution to address such discrimination?

  • A Social Liberal 5th Oct '18 - 9:18pm

    I will now make a prediction.

    In the next leadership contest, an ex leader will put his name forward and will be supported by the economic liberal faction of the party.

    A play for power by the centre right?

  • The first meetings I went to when I joined the Liberal Party in 1959 were very much concerned with constitutions. There were many discussions about those, both local and national. We weren‘t winning elections of course.
    Forward to 2018. Here we have a political party engaged in a strange meaningless debate about nothing. I have read the material that I have been sent as a member. I am also a member of the Co-op – not the party but the shop. They do this sort of thing too only much better. They have meetings. They appear to at least attempt to look for the views of members.
    I am afraid that if this is the idea of a participative democracy of those leading the party it is certainly not mine.
    I suppose that if we have lots of meetings on nothing it will take attention from the need to involve all members in developing a real policy on our relationship to the rest of Europe. The issue of what exactly we do in the coming few months is one that we cannot have an answer to, but this should be the focus of our attention. It is a rapidly changing situation, and there will be real decisions to make by everyone.
    We need to explore every way of building a participative democracy in our own party. I certainly do not feel that I am a member of such a party.

  • Neil Sandison 6th Oct '18 - 10:45am

    Having read through the consultation document i find it full of unclear statements of where power sits in terms of leadership nomination and selection and candidate ratification it makes statements and assertions that we will not make the same mistakes of Labour and the Tories but no evidence base on how that will be avoided .Labour has had 2 periods in its history of significant entreism took place ( now we see they have Derek Hatton a former leader of militant tendency back in their fold) .and we know UKIP have retrenched within the Conservative party under the umbrella of the ERG .
    It is clear politics has moved on from a “movement of moderates ” and it alludes to a continuation of the social democratic tradition of class based consensus politics .when we clearly need to move onto a a more radical edge party of Progressive Liberalism with fresh ideas on the social market ,engaging with the army of small businesses and the self employed, change attitudes on home ownership and that it is not the be all and end all of tenure because with an aging population continued care and support will have to be paid for ,move to a free market in jobs not defined by national boundaries or income levels but an even playing field for job applications and breaking up the cartels of employment companies that exclude people from the jobs market. Theseare but a few of the challenges a progressive liberal movement will face lets make sure we are led by a membership of conviction and not a fuzzy supporters club and leadership with no sense of direction.

  • Peter Chambers 6th Oct '18 - 1:47pm

    There are many aspects to reform, at all levels, to make the party a more effective political force. However many of them return to having enough people do the work that needs to be done. Getting more people involved is non-negotiable. That is the first question.

    The form of democracy necessary to get the people meaningfully involved is the next question. However if you do not answer the first question, you never need to ask the next.

  • Peter Watson 6th Oct '18 - 3:37pm

    I am not a party member (though I was a very long time ago) so mine is a something of a view from the outside.

    Talking about Vince Cable’s leadership and these proposals for reforming the organisation of the party seemed to consume a lot of time, energy and publicity for the Lib Dems during and in the run up to the party’s conference.

    Initially I thought it was a forward and outward looking strategy: talking about opening up the party and leading a moderate/centrist political movement, and building upon behind-the-scenes plotting to work with subsequent high-profile defectors from Labour and the Conservatives that would be announced during their conferences (especially given the publicity associated with the mysterious meeting attended by Vince Cable when he missed an important Brexit vote in the Commons).

    Now, as time has passed and nothing seems to have happened it is starting to look more like a disappointingly introspective activity, a bit like a student spending hours constructing a detailed revision timetable in order to avoid doing any actual work.

    Are these proposals addressing genuine and urgent problems for the party? Is there really a paucity of potential leadership ability in the parliamentary party or potential parliamentary candidates in the wider party? Did the massive surge in membership under Tim Farron really not bring in enough useful people? Does the party really have enough time and space to talk about this as well as Brexit, education, health, etc.?

  • paul barker 6th Oct '18 - 5:40pm

    Given the uncontraversial nature of the article I was surprised it attracted any comments at all, let alone such waspish & gloomy ones. Anyone who didnt know would think The Party was dying on its feet whereas the facts are that our membership as about as high as its ever been while our performance in Local byelections & Opinion Polls has been steadily improving for 6 Months.
    Slow improvement in the present context is not enough but its a lot better than weve seen over most of the last 8 Years.
    There is a weapon that could shatter the mould & transform British Politics but its not in our hands. Our Leadership have done their best to encourage Labour & Tory MPs to defect or breakaway but that all they can do. We have to just keep keeping on.

  • Philip Knowles 7th Oct '18 - 9:01am

    I attended the consultation meeting at York yesterday hosted by Sal Brinton – so Peter Watson, things are moving forward, and quite quickly.
    The meeting was both helpful and informative and most of the concerns people haf were addressed and satisfactorily answered.
    HQ are listening but we need to tell them how we feel – so complete the online survey and attend one of the meetings or webinars.
    Sal was very clear that this is consultation and not a done deal. My only concern is that she said if the consultation showed strong opposition to something it may not be on the ballot. I feel that’s wrong. Sometimes we need confirmation not to do things as much as agreement to do things. Ignoring it leaves it open for debate still.
    Ian and Sal did a great job yesterday. Sometimes HQ are poor in both communicating and listening but not this time.

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