Tag Archives: 2016 autumn conference

Thank you to everyone who supported the Conference Access Fund

matthew-clark-conference

We have been telling you about the Conference Access Fund and how it has helped members to attend. Before we got to Brighton, Matthew Clark told us his experiences in a post titled ‘Young, disabled and believed in‘. By happy coincidence, I was delighted to be able to call him to speak in the debate on ‘Mending the Safety Net’ (the Social Security policy paper) which I happened to be chairing, and he was an impressive first time speaker. You can watch …

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Young people and grammar schools

 

This is the slightly edited text of the speech to party conference on Sunday 18th September, moving the motion with the same title. The text of the motion can be seen here.

We believe in social mobility, but social mobility is more than simply plucking a few from disadvantaged backgrounds, by unreliable assessment and unfair procedures, at the age of 11.

In any case, all-embracing division at age 11 sends a damaging message about how we value each young person.

Actually, we believe in more than social mobility; we want even people who choose to stay in particular social groups to be better educated and better off. Not only is that good for them, it is necessary for our economy.

Gone are the days when unqualified youngsters from secondary modern schools could walk into a good job.

Gone, we hope are the days when an educated elite takes charge of everything and the rest are merely simple-minded servants.

Likewise we need more education for our society and our democracy; local and national governments and voluntary organisations have more complicated decisions to make, requiring greater understanding and participation on the part of all our people.

Posted in Op-eds and Speeches | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Europe motion at Conference

Federal Conference Committee has published the text of the Europe motion it has selected for debate. This motion is open for amendment and amendments should be submitted in the usual way by 17.00 on Thursday 15th September. The amendments selected will be published in Conference Daily.

You can download the motion here.

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How you have helped the Conference Access Fund

 

Last week I reported that the Conference Access Fund has helped a good number of people to attend conference. A few days later, Matthew Clark told us about his experience as a disabled young person and how the fund helped him.

Conference goers are remarkably generous. 30% of them this time have contributed to the fund. A big thank you to all of them!

What we haven’t mentioned so far is how you, Lib Dem Voice readers, have helped – to the tune of £3000. That’s the amount we have been able to contribute to the fund this year: £1000 for Spring Conference and £2000 for Autumn Conference.

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Conference Access Fund helps more members to attend

Rally entertainment Spring Conference Liverpool March 2015 Photo by Liberal Democrats

Spring Conference 2016 saw the launch of the Conference Access Fund, which makes grants to members to enable them to attend conference. It was pretty successful at York, and is proving to be even more popular this time round for Brighton.

When members register for Conference they are asked if they would like to make a donation to the fund and they have been amazingly generous. The fund is ring-fenced and any that is not spent is carried over to the next conference.

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Conference Directory published

directory2016If you are planning to attend Autumn Conference in Brighton then you need two documents – the Agenda and the Directory. The Agenda sets out all the debates and speeches that will be happening in the Main Auditorium, and that was published last week.

But the public business in the Auditorium, whilst the most visible,  is only one part of what is on offer at Conference. Layered over and around it are the fringe meetings, exhibition and training sessions. At the exhibition you can chat with members of the many special interest organisations within the party, as well as external groups, and join them if you like.

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Deadline extended for motions on Europe for Autumn Conference

agenda2106Given the fast moving political context, members have been allowed more time to construct a motion on Europe for Conference. A 90 minute slot has been allocated on the Monday morning for a debate, but the deadline for submission of motions on Europe will be 1pm on Monday 5th September.

The text of the motion that is selected will be published in Conference Extra, which is published during the week before Conference. You can then submit amendments right up until 5pm on Thursday 15th September.

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Conference agenda for Brighton now online

agenda2106The main agenda for the 2016 Autumn Conference in Brighton has now been published online.  This year, for the first time, the conference will begin at 9am on the Saturday, 17th September. It will end, as usual, with the Leader’s speech, which is expected to finish by 3.30pm on Tuesday, 20th September.

The deadline for amendments, emergency motions, requests for topical discussions and for online questions to Federal Committees, Parliamentary Parties and the Leader’s and Education Q&As is 1pm on Monday 5th September. That is also the deadline for submitting  requests for separate votes on motions that are being debated on the Saturday. For debates on other days the deadline for separate votes is 9am on the day before the debate. You can also submit late questions to the Speakers’ table at conference – see the agenda for individual deadlines.

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Motions selected for debate at Federal Conference in Brighton

 

Whilst UK politics is in barely-controlled chaos, the Liberal Democrat policy-making process rumbles quietly on – with Federal Conference Committee (FCC) meeting in London on Saturday to select motions for Autumn Conference. I have described the decision-making process in previous posts so I will not go on at length, except to repeat my usual caveat that non-selection of a motion does not mean FCC does not think the topic is suitable for debate. Many motions are dropped in round one because of drafting problems, constitutional issues, timing in the electoral/policy making cycle or because the issue is covered by another motion or working group.

More detailed feedback has been given to those who submitted motions, often including suggestions for improving motions. This is not something I will try to repeat here as I only have my own notes of the meeting to go on, and errors would be inevitable. The task of rapidly providing feedback requires a lot of effort and is split amongst a dozen members of FCC.

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The Conference Access fund is up and running for Brighton …

 

… but would like to help even more people this time. The Conference Access fund was set up at the beginning of the year to provide financial support to people who otherwise might not be able to afford to attend Federal Conference.

The fund supported 19 people at the Spring Conference in York.  A good proportion of these were first-timers, one of whom wrote about the experience here on Lib Dem Voice.

Registrations for the Autumn Conference in Brighton are well underway. Once again, when you register you are asked whether you would be willing to make a donation to the fund, and a good number of generous people have already contributed. Watch out for the request if you haven’t yet registered – the more money donated, the more people can be supported.

So how do you apply for a grant?

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Andrew Wiseman writes…Why we are trialling a shorter autumn conference

lib dem conf votingFederal Conference Committee is very mindful of the cost of attending conference. The cost of coming to conference as well as the overall length is often raised in feedback from members. As well as keeping registrations rates as low as possible to members, launching the conference access fund and negotiating discounts on travel costs we have been looking at the length of the autumn conference. The main costs of attending conference, for most people, is having to take time off work and the cost of accommodation. Many members are not able to take the time off work. There is also increasing pressure on all political parties to reduce the length of all political conferences to minimise the impact on parliamentary time.

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