Tag Archives: internal party democracy

One lesson worth learning from the Greens…

Anyone who knows me will know that I am no great fan of the Green Party, indeed, I have written for these pages before about why the Liberal Democrats have been right to continue to reject the idea of a ‘progressive alliance’ between the two parties. However, pluralist that I am, I admit that it would be naive to refuse to ever accept lessons from our political rivals. As Spring Conference in York approaches, there is one particular lesson from the Greens that Liberal Democrats should bear in mind.

Buried within the amendment to the party constitution set to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 27 Comments

So what exactly will the Liberal Democrats do if involved in coalition negotiations?

As Nick Clegg had the good grace to say in his email to members yesterday, that the decision about whether the Liberal Democrats go into coalition or not if in a position to do so is not in his gift.

We’re a democratic party. In the end, the decision to form a coalition rests not with the leader but with the party.

That is kind of true. I thought it would be worth taking you through what will happen should Liberal Democrats be involved in coalition negotiations after the election. The process is different from last time. Then all the leader had to do was to get the approval of the parliamentary parties in the Commons and Lords and the Federal Executive. The Special Conference which took place was not actually a requirement, but it was thought to be good practice. It overwhelmingly endorsed the Coalition Agreement.

This time, things are different, due to a motion passed at Spring Conference in 2012. Now, this will deliver a clear answer on whether to go into coalition or not, so the markets need not worry themselves, but it would be wrong to overlook the potential for longer term chaos it could ignite in the party. What conference was thinking of when it passed this, I have no idea. Here’s the motion:

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Opinion: Decision making in the Liberal Democrats

libby on the wall3

The Liberal Democrats could be on the verge of a major change in the way in which we conduct our internal business.  We have already decided to move to OMOV for Federal Conference, and that will result automatically in all members of the party being eligible to stand for the elected positions on our Federal Executive.  We have also already decided to move to no less than 30% female representation for the elected seats on the FE, which will automatically weight the FE to at least 15% women (a token gesture by people who don’t understand the issue).

I have proposed, as a part of my agenda for election to the FE that we should move to having all seats on the FE directly elected and on a 50/50 +1 split of male to female members.
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments

How you can support One Member One Vote for Party Committees

lib dem conf votingIn March, Sue Doughty invited members to take part in a consultation on the idea of allowing one member one vote for party committee elections and on party policy at Conference. The Internal Democratic Reform Working Group, which Sue chairs, then looked at the submissions they received and the feedback at a consultative session at York Conference. They have now drawn up some radical proposals which will give every  member the right to vote on policy at Conference and in Committee elections which they want to submit for debate at …

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LDV Debate: Could One Member One Vote work for Liberal Democrat Conference?

Autumn 2012 conference - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsSue Doughty and Gareth Epps discuss the issues.

Sue: During the consultation at conference and before conference there were many positive reasons to support this. For example, younger members who may not have a permanent address find it difficult to maintain links with a local party and so don’t get elected as voting reps and sadly some parties didn’t notify HQ of their voting reps.  Although conference can be expensive the work by Federal Conference Committee with York Local Party meant that there …

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Opinion: Secrecy, federal committees and a lack of democracy

meetingNearly all the debates about Liberal Democrat federal committees and democracy hinge on who the electorate for committee elections should be – conference reps or all party members?

However these debates miss a big problem, which is simply that the electorate, whoever it is, knows very little about the performance of incumbents. Democracy isn’t just about the right people having the vote, it’s about them being able to cast their votes in a meaningful way.

If you don’t know what people have done, it is hard to hold them to account.

Currently there …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Making our party more democratic and participative

We Liberal Democrats pride ourselves on being the most democratic Party in the UK. We were the first (and so far the only) major party to have members electing the leaders in a one member, one vote, election.  Our Conference is not just a rally; it actually makes Party policy and key committees are elected by members, not appointed by the Leader.

But we are failing to make use of technology to deepen our members’ participation in the Party.

Firstly our main conference is still dependent on people travelling from around the country to stay for 5 days debating policy, but this disenfranchises many …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 28 Comments
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