Tag Archives: autumn conference 2015

Liberals gather in Bournemouth to pioneer new strategies to rebuild and win again

International Office_with textFollowing the UK General Election on May 7, the Liberal Democrats have taken stock, rallied the membership and elected a new Party Leader, Tim Farron. With 20,000 members having joined the Party since May and 3 recent council election victories, the #libdemfightback is well underway. Liberal parties across Europe have faced challenging elections in the recent past, and it is essential that we share our experiences and learn from both each others’ mistakes and winning strategies.

In order to kick-start this debate, the Liberal Democrats International Office brought together a distinguished panel, including Hans van Baalen, ALDE Vice President, MP and MEP for VVD and former President of Liberal International, Annelou van Egmond, the D66 Director of Communications and key architect of the Party’s revival, Hans Stein, the Head of International Relations for the German FDP; Khatuna Samnidze, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Georgia, and Victoria Marsom, the Head of Strategic Seat Operation for the Liberal Democrats. In the chair was Iain Gill, Head of the Liberal Democrats International Office. 

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The battle for a better Europe starts in Bournemouth

International Office_with textWith the EU-referendum likely to be less than a year away and the prospect of a Brexit a real and frightening possibility, the question of Britain’s role in Europe is more pressing than ever. The European Union was one of the most widely discussed issues at the conference, including the official launch of the Lib Dem Remain campaign.

In order to bring a more international perspective and explore the issues further, the Liberal Democrats International Office brought together a distinguished panel consisting of Sir Graham Watson, President of the ALDE Party and former Liberal Democrat MEP, Andrew Duff, Former Liberal Democrat MEP, Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP and Lucy Thomas, Campaign Director for Business for a New Europe (BNE). The event was chaired by Baroness Julie Smith, Lib Dem Spokesperson on Defence in the House of Lords.

Opening the debate in front of a huge audience in a packed room, Iain Gill, Head of the Lib Dems International Office, emphasised the importance of EU membership to the UK, and the crucial role that liberal networks such as ALDE and Liberal International will play in campaigning for Britain to stay in the EU.

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Jim Hume questions Scottish Government on gender identity clinic waiting times

If you are a young transgender person still at school, struggling to come to terms with your gender identity, you need specialised help pretty quickly. You should not have to wait a minimum of 7 months to see a specialist. If you are older, you should not be told that the waiting list is a year.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume has highlighted this as another area in which the Scottish Government is failing to meet its 18 week target for referrals. This one will take a lot of thinking about as there are so few specialists in the gender identity field. They will have to come up with some long term plans to recruit and train more.

Kaleidoscot reports on Jim’s call for the Scottish Health Secretary to review provision for transgender people:

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Hannah Bettsworth’s speech to the Liberal Democrat Voice fringe meeting at Conference

20th Sep 2015 conference LDV fringeOne of the highlights of Conference for me was the Liberal Democrat Voice fringe meeting. We wanted to do something a bit more serious this year and, as foreign policy is a key interest of several of our team members, we decided to discuss how we forged a liberal foreign policy in these challenging times. What is liberal interventionism all about.

We are extremely grateful to our four speakers. Baroness Julie Smith stepped in at the very last minute so we especially appreciate her thoughtful contribution. We also heard from Lord William Wallace, from our Lords Foreign Affairs team, Nick Tyrone, now at British Influence, and Hannah Bettsworth, President of Liberal Youth Scotland, who specialises in international relations and has as special interest in gender mainstreaming, ensuring that the interests of women and girls are considered in every aspect of policy development.

Hannah’s speech was described by one member of the audience as one of the best on foreign policy he’d heard in a long time, so we thought it might be a good idea to reproduce it here. Hannah wants to credit Tim Oliver for his help and advice in pulling it together. Enjoy.

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A tale of two conferences in Bournemouth

It was a little weird leaving Bournemouth a week past on Wednesday to think that the Greens would be moving into the same space a couple of days later.

The Liberal Democrat Conference had a super atmosphere and was always very busy. I couldn’t believe the number of people who attended those 9am sessions to do such things as scrutinise the financial accounts and most times when I went into the hall for speeches or policy debates the only seats left were in the gods.

All the fringe meetings were packed to capacity as the Conference was the biggest we’d ever had in terms of members attending. It was great to meet so many new members, too and all I spoke to were having a great time.

Lib Dem member Ryan Lailvaux, attending his first Conference, said:

What an amazing conference it had been. An opportunity to meet great human beings and take back wonderful memories. Never have I been so inspired or so proud to be part of a movement. A liberal movement.

Compare and contrast with this article on Bright Green which talks about the Greens event:

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Why we need to make conference accessible

 

This year conference was the most attended, compared to previous years. I myself attended conference for a day or two. As a student I did find it somewhat grudging to pay nearly £500 for three days to attend. I did however not find it massively damaging to my wallet, this is not the case for many members of the party.

Due to the fact I could afford to go (and as a voting rep) it meant that I as an individual had more of a voice than those who couldn’t travel to Bournemouth. One member one vote passed which is great! But it still means that only those who can afford to take time off work, and the cost, will be able to make use of this. As a democratic party surely conference should be accessible. Why should members not be allowed to use their vote because they can’t afford sky high travel prices or a hotel in a tourist town or even to take time off work?

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

VIDEO: The three minutes of Tim’s speech where he speaks with raw rage about refugees

People have been requesting this clip. Click below for the three minutes of Tim’s conference speech when he spoke about refugees. The video starts when the passage starts. The passage ends at 31’32 with a standing ovation and then the video continues with the rest of the speech if you want to see it.



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