Tag Archives: Gateshead 2012 Conference

Conference heroes and heroines

Shirley Williams – for rejecting the title of living deity with characteristic common sense in her Sabbath day speech to conference.

Evan Harris – for cutting through the cynicism of christening motions after national treasures by teasing conference with his “William Beveridge” amendment speech on the Shirley Williams motion. What next – the Conrad Russell memorial welfare reforms or the John Stuart Mill cuts in Sure Start? That’s enough naming stuff after deities living or dead thanks very much.

Pamphleteers Prateek Buch (Plan C – social liberal approaches to a fair, sustainable economy published by Social Liberal Forum) and Jo Ingold (Challenges …

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Liberal Youth storm Spring Conference

Last Friday night Liberal Democrat conference was blown away by 19yr old Londoner Yahaya Kiyingi’s heartfelt and incredibly delivered rally speech about Liberalism, opportunity and the next generation.

Yahaya talked about his family moving from Uganda to London, growing up in one of the poorest areas of his borough, but aspiring to where he is today through the principles of opportunity and empowerment which define our Liberal identity.

Everyone, starting with Nick Clegg wanted to meet him and sing his praises afterwards, and as Simon Hughes told conference “You are why we are in politics Yahaya”.

But Yahaya’s narrative wasn’t just a …

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Gossip from Gateshead #1

This is a brief foray into the lighter side of Liberal Democrat Conference in Gateshead. There may well be more issues before the weekend is out but that depends on the amount and quality of the information I receive.

The most pressing matter, of course, is the mystery of the missing chocolate. Yesterday, I put a box of Celebrations and a bag of Minstrels in the Liberal Democrat Voice office. By the time Mark Pack arrived here at the crack of dawn this morning, it had disappeared. What could possibly have happened?  I’m sure that we could run to a small …

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Opinion: We need to talk about the NHS

Later this week , at spring conference in Gateshead, the Liberal Democrats will have the opportunity to debate issues and define party policy. Now, more than ever, this internal democratic process has the opportunity to actually influence what the government does. The NHS is likely to be on most people’s minds, and possibly on the agenda as an emergency motion.

I’m a member of the Liberal Democrats, but as a doctor, I’m also a member of a number of other organisations too. I’ve become acutely aware of the very different ways that these organisations have responded to the health …

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The Independent View: You should be worried about the NHS changes

I am a consultant paediatrician* (I am writing under a pseudonym to protect family, colleagues and patients) with over 20 years experience. I work with parents, many of whom have problems with mental health, substance misuse or learning difficulties. My job is to help protect their children and prevent them from following a similar life path.

I know what the effects of the Health and Social Care Bill will be because I can see it happening already. Looking after vulnerable children who are at risk of harm is becoming much more difficult because of the needless reconfiguration of services, whilst simultaneously …

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Opinion: A broad church of the religious and the secular

For the party to be strong, we need to be a broad church, and not just in our political views. This is why I think the most important fringe meeting at the coming Spring Conference is the first joint fringe meeting of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum and the Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats. This is a chance for us to demonstrate that, even where we fundamentally disagree, Liberal Democrats can debate with mutual respect.

These last two weekends, I have seen concrete examples of the way Christians and atheists can work together: at the two most recent …

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Opinion: Civil Liberties or taking liberties?

On 11 March we will debate at our Spring Conference in Gateshead an innocuous- sounding motion about Civil Liberties, but it needs to be looked at carefully to see if it is not more about letting people take liberties, than protecting our right to protest.

I know the Liberal Democrats do not support anarchy and mob rule, but you could be forgiven for thinking they do if you just read the motion, to be moved by Dr Julian Huppert, the MP for Cambridge and summed up by Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington.

I cannot see why the offence of aggravated …

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LibLink: what to look out for at Lib Dem Spring Conference

The Voice’s Mark Pack has a post over at Total Politics, discussing the issues likely to dominate the upcoming Lib Dem Spring Conference in Gateshead.

The first thing to note, says Mark, is that some of the most contentious political issues of recent weeks such as the reforms to the NHS and to the welfare system don’t appear on the conference agenda as it was drawn up some time ago:

There is a slot for emergency and topical issues to cover this eventuality, but with only time for one motion, not all of the controversies can be aired. Unless a

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