Tag Archives: liberal democrats constitution

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 …

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Changes to Lib Dem leadership rules – what the constitution says…

Can I just make a very polite suggestion to those who are briefing the press about potential changes to the way we elect leaders and who can stand in those elections to make sure that they understand our party’s processes for doing these things?

Because some things that the journalists are writing are just wrong.

Over the last week, we’ve seen a number of stories in the press which seem to be drip-feeding out some sort of process to change the rules for the election of a leader. There’s an article in Buzzfeed today which says that the rules for all this will be changed by a membership vote in November.

Lib Dem members will get the chance to debate a “supporters’ scheme” during a lunchtime session at the party conference in Brighton in September.

The rule change allowing non-MPs to stand as leader, which was first revealed in The Mirror last week, is expected to be formally announced to the press in early September and put to a vote of the membership in November.

This actually conflates two very different ideas.

We already know that Vince is keen to have a registered supporters scheme. There is a debate going on at the moment about what rights those registered supporters would have. Federal People Development Committee Chair Miranda Roberts looked at some of the issues in her latest report. 

Would they, for example, be able to vote in leadership elections? That’s what happened in the Labour party and that didn’t exactly work out well for them.

It would be really ironic if those people displaced by Corbyn’s election by registered supporters’ Momentum takeover of Labour then came to us and used our registered supporters scheme to turn our party into New Labour mark 2. While they are a million times better than the irresponsibly destructive government we have now, they are no respecters of individual and civil liberty. There is a big danger that the Liberal Democrats as we know it would end up as the smile on the face of the tiger of some new flaccid centrist affair which won’t change much and we need to think very carefully before we take such a move. This country is in such a dire state that radical change is vital to heal divisions and make it a kinder and fairer place.

There will be a consultation on all of this at the Brighton conference, with provision for those who can’t go to Conference to take part.

The other piece of the jigsaw is that there may or may not be a plan to allow a non-Parliamentarian to stand for leader. That may or may not have its merits but, as I said the other day, is all this process stuff where we really want to be as we approach the most intense time in the anti-Brexit campaign?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 19 Comments
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