Scottish Conference Countdown: The values document (relevant to all Lib Dems, not just Scots)

On Saturday October 24th, the Scottish Liberal Democrats hold their Autumn Conference in Dunfermline.

One of the items under discussion will be a Values document. This is an attempt to find that elusive melody, the narrative on which all our policies are based, a statement of who we are and what we’re for.

Have a look at it here.

A lot of this isn’t Scotland specific so even if you’re not Scottish, it’s worth taking a look. What do you think of it? Here’s a summary of the main principles:

Scottish Lib Dems Values Document

There are bits of it I love, especially the bit about using the power of the state to sort out injustices. That’s right up my street.

The civil liberties stuff is not punchy enough for me. That “when we can safely do so” phrase is a bit too woolly for me. We really need to get with the idea that the state can abuse its power as much if not more than big corporations.

The white on pink writing is terrible, by the way.

I also think the section on gender, race and socio-economic disadvantage really needs beefing up. It’s a narrative point rather than a grab you in the gut “we want to sort this” vibe. It needs a bit of passion in it and it also needs to say that tackling this should be a theme in every aspect of government and policy.

There’s a lot of good stuff in there. It’s still a bit of a work in progress and needs a bit of tweaking.

Over to you for your comments.


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

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  • Sorry to say it, but apple pie and motherhood generalities are no substitute for detailed policies. The electorate (Scottish and UK generally) need radical specifics if the party is to be listened to again especially given the current state of the party’s support and representation.

    For all we may legitimately criticise their top down centralism, the SNP are being heard on anti-austerity and tax credit cuts at the same time that the Tories are planning to renew Trident at a cost of at least £ 100 billion. They’re split on fracking in the Forth – and so are we – but it’s a live issue and needs sorting.

    Suggest folk watch the BBC iplayer for Thursday night’s Question Time on the issue of working family tax credits – Amber Rudd reduced to confused silence.

  • Can you improve the quality of the Values imsge? It is very difficult to read.

  • Bill le Breton 17th Oct '15 - 12:22pm

    We used to say that we wished to help people take and use power and refer to the communities (not exclusively geographical) in which they acted.

    It is this appreciation of how people achieve their potential and can only achieve that potential within communities that used to differentiate us.

  • “the section on gender, race and socio-economic disadvantage really needs beefing up” that sounds like something for the deckchair new fabric material committee on the Titanic. Only 7 out of 100 choose lib dems, 50 out of 100 choose SNP and even 14 out of 100 choose the tories despite them having no appeal in Scotland.

    the whole of the Lib Dem national politicians can get to the conference in a single taxi. 10 out of 11 lib dem MPs lost their seats and the remaining one was shown to have lied on TV about a political issue which he as a government minister should have been nowhere near. His presence could cause problems for the remaining two constituency MSPs.

    what is needed is to find out what went wrong and ways to fix it. the average voter is not interested in socio economic psychobabble they want to know about services and tax

  • John Bennett should have explained himself: the spelling refers to the linked document where Stuart is written as Stewart – not good from Scottish Lib Dems. Why JB makes the remark about Rawls is unexplained, the comment makes it appear as simply a matter of taste.

    David Wallace is barking up the wrong tree; this is about the values that set the terms for discussing these questions; the problem with discussing the questions on a piecemeal basis is that the underlying values and hence the sense of identity get lost. In fact Liberal values, such as those described, could lead to opposite conclusions on almost all of the questions (that is why there should be a debate), but the values would ensure that the reasoning would be Liberal.

  • I don’t understand David Raw’s criticism. “Sorry to say it, but a head is no substitute for a hat.” A Values document is not meant to contain detailed policies. The policies should flow from the values. Without a clear idea of values, the policies will be confused, incoherent and reactive. If he’s saying the Values document is fine as far as it goes, but Scottish Liberal Democrats lack detailed policies, I have no way of telling if that’s fair, but it’s hardly relevant to the subject on which Caron has posted, which is their values.

    I don’t buy the Liberalism = Optimism thing, which is stated in the Agenda 2020 draft too but not quite so baldly. Standing at the gates of Auschwitz, on the Cambodian killing fields, in cities like Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow that grew rich on the slave trade, we confidently assert that humans are basically good and need only to be given the chance to make their own decisions, to do good? No, if we’re honest, we don’t believe that, but we do believe liberating people is right and there is always hope to be fought for.

    How does this Scottish document relate to Agenda 2020? I think it’s absolutely right that the Scottish Liberal Democrats have their own document and they need it rather more urgently than the rest of us except the Welsh. But each process should be feeding into the other.

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