Social Liberal Forum (Scotland) plans busy year

On Saturday 21 January,  a dozen or so members of the Scottish arm of the Social Liberal Forum, including former parliamentarians Robert Brown and Elspeth Attwooll,  braved a bright but raw Scottish morning to meet in Partick Burgh Hall in the heart of Glasgow’s West End.  This steering committee’s job was to plan the advance of the Forum’s work in Scotland in the coming year and beyond.

Two hours of lively discussion ensued.  Discontent with some aspects of coalition policy was taken as a given.  A number of speakers gave examples from across the country of the loss of members from local parties.  These were often members of long standing on the left of the Party who found coalition politics uncongenial.  It was felt that SLF(S) could help to retain such members by giving a meeting place and a voice to those who might otherwise leave.

The main issue that the meeting grappled with was how best to translate Social Liberal values into action in the Scottish context.  Ultimately, those present agreed with Robert Brown, who felt that we should acknowledge that the coalition is a fact and in consequence we should develop a critique of coalition policy by posing our own set of questions arising from Social Liberal values and centring on subjects such as how to address the growing inequalities in society; Europe’s financial crisis; pay inequality; the right to work and the danger of an underclass; social enterprise and mutualism; and combating poverty.

A list of three aims emerged from discussion:

  1. Raise the profile of SLF(S)
  2. Develop the case for social liberalism
  3. Influence the direction taken by the Party

A rough plan of action was agreed:

  1.  We will hold a fringe meeting at Scottish Spring Conference on Friday 2 March.  Full details will be available in the final Conference Agenda.
  2. It is planned to hold a Summer Event sometime in June.  This will be a one-day event with an ambitious agenda, aiming to both raise the profile of the Forum and to consult the membership on our aims and strategy.  We also hope to present a draft constitution for SLF(S), putting our organisation on a regular footing with an elected committee and officials.
  3. There are tentative plans to put the draft constitution to an AGM to be held at the Scottish Autumn Conference.

I will keep you up to date on developments under all these heads.  Meanwhile, if you are interested in the Forum’s activities in Scotland, please contact me by email [email protected] .

* Norman Fraser is the Scottish Organiser of the Social Liberal Forum

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