Tag Archives: 2019 spring conference

First Time at Conference – York

As a new member, my first experience of a Liberal Democrat conference was by and large a positive one. I loved York, and the place I stayed was beautiful and, thanks to the Lib Dems, not at all costly. I am not at all well, having had recent serious health problems, but I hoped to get a few clues as to what the Lib Dems are about, and I did.

What I noticed most about my first experience was the under-representation of the country’s poorest and neediest and the abundance of the middle/upper middle classes. I wasn’t at all surprised – it’s a problem politics seems to have across the board. The people who should be making their voices heard the loudest, shouting and crying about deprivation and poverty, were not. They’re not anywhere, not present in the public discourse, not present on TV or only in passing. Its a deafening absence.

It`s an absence that’s been hitting me particularly hard since I started watching all Charlie Chaplin`s films. The tramp character he portrays represents the current state of the working classes better than any public figure in or out of politics. With his ragged clothes, tiredness, hunger and constant way of searching all his pockets for money in hope rather than expectation.

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Vince Cable’s Leader address to Lib Dem Spring Conference

It is a sobering thought that just under 2,000 years ago there were people gathered on this spot no doubt complaining about a treaty from Rome.

…with tiresome regulations about daily baths and straight roads; muttering under their breath that these legionnaires should go back to Gaul or Carthage.

And you would have heard lots of people saying Interum sumo inferium. For those amongst you who don’t converse in classical languages, that means: take back control!

It then took them over 300 years to get their ’Rexit, when the Romans went home.

That’s the kind of timescale Theresa May seems to …

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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

So, we had the big debate about a supporters’ scheme on Saturday. I personally found it rather sad that the biggest attendance for a debate on the eve of the biggest round of local elections in England should be for an internal matter with no resonance with the public.

So why am I sad that the vote went, with one tiny exception of the minor vote on membership of policy groups, my way? Because I believe it showed just how badly our Leader is supported and the bungling incompetence of the Federal Board and HQ.

So, for the benefit of those that …

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Welcome back to York!

As we mark the beginning of 2019, the countdown to Spring Conference has begun! And on behalf of the York Liberal Democrats, I would like to say how pleased I am to be welcoming everyone back to York in March.

For those who have not been to York previously – York is a beautiful, well-connected and unique city, with a lot to offer.

Visit York estimates that this year’s Conference will provide a substantial boost to the local economy, valued at more than £600,000. Combined with the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I know that the city’s wonderful pubs, hotels, B&Bs and restaurants will be packed out – so remember to book in advance! 

Conference will not only provide a short-term economic boost and provide national exposure for the party, it will also showcase York as a destination for large events and conferences. I know from my own experiences that Conference provides members with an excellent opportunity to meet our MPs, peers, Councillors and campaigners from right across the country and, of course, the chance to debate and decide national party policy.

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Would you like free rail tickets to conference?

Fancy you and a friend travelling to Conference in style? London North Eastern Railway have kindly given us two First Class tickets to give away for use on their trains!

To be in with chance of winning a pair of tickets, just join the Liberal Democrat Federal Conference group https://www.facebook.com/groups/ldconf/ and “Like” the post announcing this. You must be a party member to be eligible.

The lucky winner will be picked at random on 15th February from those who liked the post, and announced in the comments below.

Not registered for conference yet? It’s running 15th-17th March in York, and you still have time to book! https://www.libdems.org.uk/spring-conference.

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Spring Conference agenda published

It’s that time of year again. Today the Spring Conference agenda has been published.

So, if you are sensible, you can start planning your way through the weekend, working out when you want to be in the hall, which fringe meetings (hint: LDV’s homelessness and Universal Credit on Saturday at 1pm in the Walmgate Room at the Hilton) to attend, when you’re going to fit in the exhibition, which training sessions you need to go to. You can work out when you are going to catch up with your friends.

If you’re like most people, you’ll start off with good intentions and then end up doing most of it on the train to Conference.

But there are advantages to doing it early. Looking at the policy motions now means that you have nearly a month – until 4th March at 1pm – to come up with a suitable amendment. 

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What will the party debate at Spring Conference?

The party meets again at its Spring Conference in York on the 15th-17th March, and if you have not registered yet there is still time! Federal Conference Committee has also now met to decide the agenda so we can reveal what topics will be up for debate.

Motion selection proceeded in the usual fashion that by now will be familiar to many readers – in the first round, members of the committee debated the suitability of each motion for debate considering how well it was drafted, how recently the topic was last debated and so on. Once that has happened, timings are allocated to each motion, and the committee considers the relative priority of the remaining motions.

Of the 19 motions submitted, 6 were eventually selected for debate. Constitutional amendments must be selected for debate if they are in order, which applied to one of two submitted amendments. A 105-minute slot has also been reserved for a later deadline on Europe, as given the current state of politics any motion submitted now would certainly be old news by March!

Posted in Conference and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 30 Comments

Can’t afford to go to Conference?

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Did you know about the Access Fund which supports members who want to go to Conference? I expect you think that it provides resources for people with disabilities – and that is indeed true, because, amongst other things, it funds the BSL signers.

But it also offers grants to individual members who can’t afford the full cost of Conference. It can cover childcare costs and also accommodation and travel.

The deadline for applications to the Access Fund for Spring Conference was a couple of days ago, but not many applications had been received by that date so they are happy to receive late submissions this year. Full details are to be found on the Conference Access Fund page.

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Financial support to attend Conference

Have you ever wanted to attend our federal party conferences but been discouraged because of financial or access issues?

The Federal Conference Committee (of which I am a member) wants to enable everyone to attend, so some years ago we set up an Access Fund to provide support.

This is how it works:

  • Everyone who registers for conference is asked if they would like to contribute to the Fund.
  • Anyone with relevant needs can apply to the Access Fund for support. In short, it can cover childcare, accommodation and travel for anyone who could not otherwise afford it, plus specific costs for those with disabilities (such as sign language interpreting and mobility scooters). You can see more detail about what can be covered and how to apply here.
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