Tag Archives: #ldconf

Anti-TTIP protestors reach #ldconf. A reminder of why they are wrong

At a previous party conference back in the autumn of 2013, Lib Dem party members voted overwhelmingly for a motion committing the party to wholeheartedly supporting the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

As we all (particularly parliamentary candidates, thanks to 38 Degrees) know, a massive campaign has appeared since then opposing the agreement, ostensibly over concerns that the NHS will somehow be threatened. Protestors were out in force outside the conference centre here in Liverpool, and given the number of members I saw signing the petition they were handing around, I thought it might be useful to set out again why those protestors are so wrong, not just in their opinion but on the facts.

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The Guardian’s “10 things we’ve learned from the Lib Dem conference”

The Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow has once again collected together his thoughts on the ten main things we have learned from the last few days in Glasgow.

Here are the first three:

1 – The Lib Dems have no desire to give up power. Given that the experience of being in coalition has been so electorally catastrophic, you might expect the party to have some regrets. But they don’t, and there’s no appetite for a spell in opposition. As well as a desire for another try at government, the Lib Dems are also assuming there’s a good chance it will happen. If it doesn’t, the party is in for a psychological shock.

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Conference agenda published; deadline for amendments and emergency motions extended

Party members should last night have received an email from David Laws with an update on next month’s conference. The majority of the agenda and the directory have now been made available on the party website (some items will be published following the rescheduled launch of the pre-manifesto next Monday).

To reflect the delayed publication the deadline for the submission of amendments and emergency motions has also been extended to Wednesday 24 September.

Here’s David’s email in full:

Important documents for the Glasgow Conference, including the Agenda and Directory, have just been made available on the party website – please click to see them.

The Pre-Manifesto, which I have been leading on as chair of the Manifesto Group, will now be published next Monday along with the policy papers on Public Services and an Ageing Society (which also include some of the same new policy proposals)

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Sarah Ludford MEP writes… Emergency Motion 6 will promote Schedule 7 reform and protect civil liberties

The last time I wrote a piece for Lib Dem Voice I asked for the assistance of conference voting reps to ensure that party conference debates the detention of David Miranda and the reform of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism 2000 – Labour legislation – under which he was detained.

A very big thank you to those who responded with support for Emergency Motion 6: Schedule 7 of Terrorism Act 2000 to be in the ballot for debate in Glasgow next Wednesday (Sep 18th from 9:00 to 10.30, item F38). I’m sure the handsome volume of signatures – due …

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15 things to look out for at the Lib Dem conference

The Lib Dems have published the agenda for our autumn conference — I’ve uploaded it to read at the foot of this post. It’s a pretty meaty agenda, too, with big issues up for debate. This, after all, is the penultimate autumn conference before the 2015 general election, which means it’s important for determining what makes it into the party’s manifesto.

I’ve skim-read the agenda this morning. It seems it can be read in alternative ways. My main impression was “How different is this to what a Conservative agenda would look like?” I don’t just mean that Lib Dem conferences give our members a real say in our policy-making (compare that with the Tories who won’t even publish their official membership numbers). I mean that if you look at the topics being discussed and the recommendations arising you wouldn’t for a moment confuse this with a party that’s a sub-set of the Tory party. Which is more or less the impression you’d get if you relied on Patrick Wintour’s reporting in The Guardian.

Anyway, here are 15 things which caught my eye based on a quick skim-read (so apologies in advance if I’ve missed out the bit you think’s most important):

1) Commitment to a living wage:

Saturday afternoon’s debate on policy motion F4, A Balanced Working Life, calls the establishment of an official living wage, one that it is paid by central government (with local government encouraged also to lead by example), and making companies that employ over 250 people be transparent about how many of their employees are not paid the living wage.

2) Extending free childcare:

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Last chance to book for conference at reduced rates

Tomorrow – 26 July – is the last day on which it is possible to book to attend conference at reduced rates. A full week at full price is, until tomorrow, £96 – after that the price rises to £134.

You can book here.

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Nick, Vince and Danny lead Lib Dem charge to “balance the books, find new ways to create jobs and growth”

Nick Clegg addresses Birmingham Liberal Democrats conference. Photo courtesy of the Liberal DemocratsBe warned: we’re under starter’s orders for the general election. Today, the Lib Dem leadership sets out its plans on the economy for approval by the party conference this autumn, striking a neat balance between a strong defence of the Lib Dem record in government and a recognition that much still needs to be done to get the economy growing.

The motion to be debated in Glasgow in September can be found at the foot of this post. Tabled by …

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Nick Clegg’s speech to conference: what I’ll be looking out for

nick cleggHuhne, Pryce, Rennard, Eastleigh. A mass of events converge this weekend as Brighton once again becomes centre of the Lib Dem universe for a weekend.

These topics will inevitably dominate conversations in the conference bar. But when Nick Clegg stands up on Sunday lunchtime to make his speech he has to look beyond the short-term events that have dominated Liberal Democrat discourse for the last few weeks and months.

It’s often said of a speeches that they are “one of the most important X has made in the course of his leadership”. …

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Ian Swales MP writes…The crucial role of education in a manufacturing revival

The Lib Dem Spring Conference will debate the motion: Creating a strong manufacturing sector in a stronger economy. Part 3 of the motion calls for: ‘Government to continue its commitment to apprenticeships, and, additionally, to promote science education in schools and science and engineering degrees at universities – these are essential for building the skills sets necessary to support a strong manufacturing sector.’

Science and engineering education is an issue close to my heart as I actually graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from Manchester University.  My science based degree opened up many doors to me, leading to a career …

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The Independent View: Low borrowing rates signal economic weakness, not strength

As the head of an independent economic research institute, it’s not my job to attend the Liberal Democrat conference (or indeed that of any other party). But, following up this FT article, I’d like to share some thoughts on this line from a motion you will be debating at conference:

Conference recognises that the difficult decisions taken by the Coalition Government have ensured the credibility of the UK government’s position in the financial markets allowing the UK to borrow at record low rates.

and on an amendment to the motion which you’ll also debate:

Conference also notes that it would be a mistake

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Opinion: Economics will rightly dominate conference

A fairer, more sustainable economy – that’s what Lib Dem conference will be about
I’d like propose a new hashtag – #IAgreeWithSimon. Hughes, that is, specifically I agree with this:

At the next election we will be judged by whether relative to the rest of the western developed world we have steered our way through these difficult waters.

The government’s record to date is not encouraging, and with Liberal Democrats gathering in Brighton on Saturday to debate how the to shape the nation’s political economy, conference fringe will once again be where it’s really at.

The Social Liberal Forum has an excellent

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Eluned Parrott AM writes… Lib Dems should say no to regional pay

At our Autumn Conference, members will be offered a chance to influence the party’s policy on regional and local pay. The Pay Review Body has been asked by George Osborne to look into the possibility of paying public sector workers differing amounts based on where they live. As Liberal Democrats, we must ensure that this policy does not go any further. This is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats, in partnership with the South East Cornwall Liberal Democrats, have tabled a motion designed to send the strongest possible signal that the party does not support any extension of regional or local …

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Round-up of initial reactions to the Lib Dem conference NHS Bill vote

There’s been no shortage of reaction to the vote by the Lib Dem conference this morning to vote by 317-270 to approve an amendment which implicitly calls on the party leadership to drop its support for the NHS Bill.

I say “implicitly” because the motion as passed — pasted at the foot of this post — does not call on Lib Dems to ‘Kill the Bill’. However, conference did vote (albeit narrowly) to remove the call for Lib Dem peers to support the Bill. This follows yesterday’s pre-debate conference vote (again narrowly) to choose not to debate the motion which would …

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Text of Nick Clegg’s speech to the Lib Dems’ 2012 spring conference

Nick Clegg is currently speaking to the Lib Dems’ spring conference at NewcastleGateshead — here’s the text of his speech:

This year will show the best of Britain. The Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, a nation proud of our past, but with our face to the future. A nation that treasures liberty, honours hard work and values fair play and fair chances. That is the character of our country: strong, confident, united.

And our character as a nation is being tested, because even in this year of celebration families are under pressure, worrying about paying their bills, about keeping their jobs,

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LDVideo: Nick Clegg – “If I thought this Bill was about privatising the NHS, it would never have seen the light of day”

Nick Clegg took part in an afternoon Q&A at today’s Lib Dem conference, and vigorously defended the changes to the NHS being implemented by the Coalition as amended by the party. Conference representatives earlier voted, by a slim margin of 309 votes to 280, to debate tomorrow morning Shirley Williams’ motion, ‘Saving the NHS’, rather than the ‘Drop the Bill’ motion put forward by Winchester Lib Dems.

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Do Lib Dem members’ views differ from conference representatives’ views? Here’s what our survey says…

We published yesterday the results of our survey of Lib Dem members’ views of the Coalition’s NHS reforms. Given the importance of this weekend’s debate at the party’s spring conference, we have also tried to test how Lib Dem members who are conference representative might vote on Sunday, when there is likely to be an emergency debate on the future of the Health & Social Care Bill.

All party members registered on the LibDemVoice forum were able to vote: 507 did so, including 147 who said they would be attending the conference as a voting representative. To compare their views …

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What Lib Dem members think about the NHS Bill: 57% opposed, but majority might back it if significantly amended

We’ve been surveying the views of current Lib Dem members this week on your views on the NHS Bill. Over 500 responded, and here’s what you told us…

  • A majority of Lib Dem members – and a majority of Lib Dem members who will be voting delegates at the party’s spring conference at NewcastleGateshead this weekend – oppose the Coalition Government’s NHS reforms as they currently stand. By 57% to 32%, Lib Dem members reject the Health & Social Care Bill.
  • However, that does not automatically mean the Lib Dem conference will vote to ‘Kill the Bill’ if
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    Gareth Epps writes: Don’t fix the conference accreditation process – break it!

    I am writing this from the position of having – after two false starts – finally been ‘processed’
    or ‘accredited’ by the police in order to exercise my right as a member of this proud and democratic party. This has come after delay, rejection of my form, and increasingly agitated discussion with various people wasting vast amounts of time. Suffice to say that in my 11 years on Conference Committee, I would never have accepted the imposition of such a system. I am possibly luckier, too, than some Conference-goers in knowing how Conference is organised, and who has the ultimate responsibility …

    Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

    Liberal Drinks / #tweetup at #ldconf

    LibDemVoice have for the last few years nominated a time and a place for an informal drink and meet-up for internetty Lib Dems to let their hair down and have a chat.

    This time around, we weren’t quite fleet enough of foot to get any such event in the conference directory, so we will have to rely on word of mouth helping to spread the details.

    After a quick chat on the topic in Lib Dem Voice’s private members’ forum, we settled on meeting at the Wellington pub, a short distance from the conference centre itself, on the Monday night of the conference week. Kickoff will be around 7.30pm.

    If you’d like to come along, why not click here to let your twitter friends know.

    In addition, Lib Dem Voice have our usual strong presence at the conference, with the following events planned:

    Posted in Conference and Events | Also tagged | 8 Comments

    LibDem conference accreditation: what others have been saying

    Despite its length, my blog post over the weekend about the security checks being carried out for Liberal Democrat conference, didn’t go through all the issues in equal detail. So here to make up for some of the areas I wrote less about are some excellent blog posts written by others:

    Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

    LibLink: Mark Pack – The missing ingredient from Liberal Democrat conference

    The Voice’s Mark Pack has been guesting over on the Huffington Post again, this time writing about what he thinks is missing from the Birmingham conference agenda:

    There are many weighty issues on the agenda for the Liberal Democrat autumn conference in Birmingham, as well as some potentially significant debates overthe party’s medium term strategy and policy outlook. There is also, however, a curious omission: tax.

    The word tax is not completely absent from the agenda, but aside from a reference in one motion calling for the party to look at its tax policy as part of a big policy review, there

    Posted in Conference and LibLink | Also tagged | 7 Comments

    LibLink: Mark Pack – What to watch out for at Liberal Democrat conference

    Mark Pack has been going through his conference documents and over on the MHP blog he has highlighted the bits that are likely to be most controversial and/or interesting.

    Here’s just a sample of what Mark has picked out:

    An early chance to catch the mood of the party will be the session on Saturday morning looking back on May’s elections and AV referendum. Unhappiness is to be expected. What to watch out for is who speaks out and where their comments are directed.

    A common theme is likely to be the need for the party to present itself as distinct from the

    Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 8 Comments

    What’s in the bag?

    Hello from Liberal Democrat Conference in Sheffield.

    Many of you will have been to party conference before. Many of you will have experienced the delights of the goody bag attendees receive. To help Liberal Democrat Voice bring you the true conference experience even if you can’t make it here yourself, Will Howells – you may remember him from such blogs as this one – has made us a quick video checking out his junk. Enjoy.

    Posted in Conference and YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

    Paul Burstow writes: I will be listening to members on NHS at #ldconf

    This is the first spring conference since we entered Government. In all the years I’ve been a Liberal Democrat I’ve never known of such a potentially explosive spring conference. Or at least that’s what the media would have you believe. Debating policy is part of our DNA. And it shouldn’t change now that we’re in Government. This spring conference we’ll be debating the coalition’s proposals to update the NHS. And unlike in the media, it won’t be a case of who shouts loudest wins.

    I understand why people are so concerned. Every time I meet party members …

    Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

    Lib Dem conference 2010: open thread #ldconf

    The thousands of Lib Dem members who made it to Liverpool this week for the party conference will be arriving home now, probably tired, in need of a healthy square meal, and perhaps a tad hungover. Here’s your opportunity to tell Voice readers what you made of it all: the highlights (and any lowpoints), the surprises (and disappointments)… in fact, anything you like.

    The Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow, who’s been live-blogging the conference all week, has set out his ’10 things I’ve learned from the Lib Dem conference’ here (you’ll need to scroll a bit down the page). They’re well worth …

    Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 15 Comments

    LibLink: Chris Rennard – Lib Dems must stress where they stand out

    Over at the Financial Times, former Lib Dem chief executive Lord (Chris) Rennard surveys the political scene and suggests policy areas where Nick Clegg can show how the party is making an impact in government. Chris notes the problems of being the junior party in a Coalition:

    Junior coalition partners in many countries are familiar with getting the blame for what is unpopular and failing to get the credit for what goes well. Nick Clegg’s first priority has to be to show that the coalition works – even with unlikely partners – while maintaining the party’s distinctiveness. If he cannot demonstrate

    Posted in Conference and LibLink | Also tagged | 3 Comments

    What did you make of Nick Clegg’s conference speech?

    As the music fades, and the hoardes of conference delegates file out of the Liverpool hall, what did Voice readers make of what he had to say? Here’s my first impression…

    First, and above all, this was a sober speech. It wasn’t a barn-stormer, it didn’t grip by the throat or tug the heart-strings. This was a serious analysis of why the Lib Dems have gone into government, and what the party wants to get out of it for the country. Nick was careful to go through the famous four pledges — fair taxes, a fair start for children, a fair …

    Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 97 Comments

    Jo Swinson invites Lib Dems to join campaign for fairer voting system

    An email to Lib Dem members, signed by Jo Swinson, is promoting the Lib Dem rally taking place on Saturday evening, with some high-profile guest speakers, as the party gears up for next May’s referendum:

    On Saturday, join Nick Clegg, Art Malik, Martin Bell, some surprise special guests and myself as we launch our campaign for a fairer voting system.

    As you know , Nick Clegg is leading the fight in Parliament to secure the United Kingdom its first ever referendum on electoral reform.

    Fighting for fairer votes will be one of the top priorities for the Liberal Democrats this coming year –

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    Tweetup / Liberal Drinks at Special Conference

    Plans are emerging for a Liberal Drink / Tweetup at tomorrow’s special conference.

    It’s been a long old while since I was at the NEC (we had a fab time at a printing exhibition ten years ago when we were replacing a folding machine. Going to a conference that included machines that could turn trees into decks of playing cards was a little OTT for a standard folding machine)

    However, a bit of a look at the NEC website suggests there is a Wetherspoons on site – and it’s not terribly far from Hall 3 where the special conference …

    Posted in Conference and Events | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

    Can conference exhibitors find a little sparkle?

    The exhibition hall is an important part of conference, along with the debates in the main hall, fringe events, training and, of course, the conference bar.

    So why are so many of the stands so dull?

    Exhibition, Lib Dem Spring Conference 2010, Birmingham
    (not necessarily these ones, I hasten to add).

    I know it’s not easy to come up with a novel and interesting stand, especially on a limited budget, and I’ll certainly plead guilty to being as unimaginative as the next man (probably more). But conference after conference the stands look much …

    Posted in Conference and Op-eds | 9 Comments

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