Tag Archives: liberal democrat conference

How you could make Lib Dem policy

Have you got a burning idea that could make a positive difference to people’s lives?

If so, then why not write it down, get some supporters and submit it as a motion to Liberal Democrat Spring Conference.

The lovely people at the Federal Conference Committee will even give you drafting advice.

The motion deadline for Spring Conference isn’t till 9th January, so why am I telling you this?

Well, FCC, lovely as they are, don’t give drafting advice over Christmas. Everyone deserves a break, after all. So you have to ask for that by 19th December. That’s less than a month away, and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll procrastinate for ages before actually writing anything down.

All you need to know can be found here.

If you have never written a motion for Conference before, have a look here

There are years’ worth of examples.

Basically the first part of your motion outlines the problem, then you say what we believe, the underlying principles that we’ll use to develop our solution and finally, a section calling for various actions to sort it all out.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

So what happens at Lib Dem Conference? #1 The debates

in just three weeks’ time, thousands of Liberal Democrats will descend on the wonderful seaside town of Bournemouth for four days of debating, networking, discussion, dancing and singing.

I thought it might be a good idea to give first-timers a bit of a flavour of what happens at Conference.

One of the main things we do at Conference is decide the party policy. Every party member who is registered for Conference is entitled to vote. This year we will be discussing topics ranging from Brexit to terrorism and civil liberties to climate change to small business to gun and knife crime.

Members will be asked to vote on motions which are published in the agenda. If you have a read of the motions and think that there is something that you would change about it, you can submit an amendment, with the support of a local, state or regional party, federal committee, SAO or 10 memebers. You have to do this by 1pm on 4th September.

A debate starts with a speech proposing the motion. The next speeches will be proposing any amendments to the motion. Then speakers for and against motion and amendments will be called to argue out the issues. Finally, at the end of the debate, someone will sum up for each amendment in turn. The last speaker will sum up for the motion as a whole. Those summing up will rebut the arguments made against their motion or amendment and highlight good points made in their favour.

There can be a few surprises. If you like a motion but can’t live with one particular clause, you can ask for a separate vote on that particular line.

Also, if you think that we need policy on something but the motions and the amendments miss the point in some way, you could ask for it to be referred back to some party body, most often the Federal Policy Committee, to have another look at. There is a special procedure for dealing with that request.

If you want more detail about how Conference works, you would be well advised to read the Standing Orders.

There’s nothing like actually sitting in a debate to get a flavour of how it works and thanks to the wonders of You Tube, you can do just that. Below is the recording of the Sunday morning session of last year’s Conference in Brighton. There are debates on combatting racism, a policy paper on the Liberal Democrat vision for 2020 (when we thought the next election would be, silly us) and European research. There is also a keynote speech from Alistair Carmichael and a question and answer session on education.

If you watch nothing else, go to 1 hour 28 in and watch the wonderful Alex Wilcock eviscerate the Agenda 2020 policy paper with a typical establishment busting, radical analysis that we all need to hear. Enjoy.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

It’s time to change the distinction between voting and non-voting members at Conference

A couple of years ago, when we moved house and constituency, I had the new experience of going to Conference with a second class label hanging around my neck. I did what I could to carefully adjust my pass so that my picture and name was facing out. But these passes have always had a mind of their own and I would walk from Hall to Fringe all too often as someone labelled as ‘Member’ rather than the important or well-connected ‘Voting’ people.

And now we have thousands of new members, some of whom will be looking forward to their first conference. Pretty well all of them will be unable to vote. Nor will a good chunk of the party’s activists who have stood locally in May.
This distinction between voting and non-voting members doesn’t separate the activists from the sleeping members. It seems primarily to protect privilege, to protect the well connected, those with the ear of the constituency officers. It is a privilege in a thoroughly conservative sense.

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged | 20 Comments

Conference controversy guaranteed – Renewal of Trident to be debated

Full details of the agenda for Autumn Conference will be released in due course, but reports on social media say that a motion calling for Trident not to be renewed at all will be debated.

If passed, this would mean an end to a succession of fudges on the issue in recent, and not so recent, years.

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged , , and | 42 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 22 Comments

Independent says “Lib Dems go beyond meaning well”

Today’s Independent editorial has some heartening words about the approach of Liberal Democrats within the Government and our ongoing policy making process.

The background to the motion on childcare is explored:

Hence the party’s plan to extend free childcare to all one- and two-year-olds, which we report on today, is no well-meaning wishlist, but a battle-hardened piece of legislation-ready policy.

The plan emerges from the struggle between the coalition partners over the last spending round, which was announced by George Osborne, the Chancellor, in June. Nick Clegg pushed for a better childcare deal, but eventually had to concede that NHS, schools and

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Scotland’s Day of Destiny clashes with 2014 Federal Conference

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond announced today that the Independence Referendum would be held on 18th September 2014.  Three and a half years of preparation and campaigning will come to an end and Scotland will decide whether its future lies within the UK or out of it. At the moment, the polls are looking pretty good for staying in the Union, but that is no cause for complacency. Every vote will have to be fought for across the whole country. It will be a very different sort of campaign.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that when you were deciding on …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

Opinion: Reflections of a first timer at Conference

What a first conference! From Friday evening through to Sunday afternoon it did not stop. Sleep seemed to be one luxury too many.

The organisation was far better than I expected. Every event started on time and there were stewards everywhere to help direct you and answer your questions. It was very smooth and professional throughout and everyone I met seemed friendly.

Friday was International Women’s Day and the first event I attended was the Conference rally. Nick Clegg came on and delivered a very good speech addressing the problems of recent weeks. The following speakers (Shirley Williams, Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Caron Lindsay previews Nick Clegg’s speech on Radio 5 Live

Yesterday morning, at a ridiculously early hour, as some Conference goers were only just going to bed, Lib Dem Voice Co-Editor Caron Lindsay spoke to Radio 5 Live about Conference in general and Nick Clegg’s speech in particular. You can judge for yourself how accurate her predictions were by listening here from about 8 minutes in.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

The state of the party as we head to Brighton for Spring Conference

By the time you read this, I’ll be in London, no doubt bleary eyed after a night on the sleeper, on my way to Spring Conference in Brighton. I’ve been thinking about how we are as we gather at the seaside. It’s been an eventful six months but has the good outweighed the bad?

Things to smile about

Since we met in Brighton, our ministers in the Coalition Government have done some excellent things. Here’s just a selection:

  • Plans for shared parental leave announced;
  • Equal (ish) marriage Bill unveiled;
  • Stopping the Tories capping Child Benefit at 2 children and taking Housing Benefit off

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Opinion: Conference showed Liberal Democrat heart, soul and backbone

I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2009 in the fug of the expenses and media scandals. The media wasn’t giving me a window, just leading me into a maze of distorted mirrors. With a slap to the forehead, it finally dawned on me that democracy is not something we wait to have thrust upon us at an election every 4-5 years, but something which we do. If I wanted to find out what was going on, I would have to go and look for myself. And if I wanted to change any of it, I would have to put my …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 17 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
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRob Parsons 19th Dec - 12:21pm
    The sentence that reads "However, it has its" should read "However, it has its own food bank".
  • User AvatarP.J. 19th Dec - 11:55am
    @Mark Argent @John King I agree entirely. Problem is that we have to be realistic. Given the human condition, it is unfortunately, quicker and easier...
  • User AvatarWilliam Le Breton 19th Dec - 11:33am
    Of course I welcome the fact that we have finally come round to the obvious course of tabling (almost) our own vote of no confidence...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 19th Dec - 11:26am
    @David Raw ! I am not as you know saying that PCSOs are equivalent to full-time police officers. To say that is to completely and...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 19th Dec - 10:32am
    On second thoughts, perhaps that sentence should have read ‘Intellect 1 Common Sense 0’. And no, I’m not going to name the MP, although I...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 19th Dec - 10:13am
    @Jayne Mansfield The trouble with all Representatives, from Parliament down (or should it be ‘up’) to Parish Council, is that you don’t need any qualification...