Tag Archives: party organisation

Could you be a local party officer?

The whirlwind of politics isn’t going to stop for very long this year, but you might want to take some time over the Summer to think about how you could become more involved in the Liberal Democrats.

One way you could do that is to stand for a role in your local party. This Autumn, every local party will hold its AGM and elect its committee for 2019. Now is the time to think about whether you could take on one of these roles.

You could choose to stand for one of the Officer roles – Chair, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Data Officer, Diversity Officer, Treasurer or take on a role on the Executive. If you are not sure about what these roles involve, why not have a look at the Members’ area of the website? 

They have some very handy guides to each of these roles and more in the Training section.

It would be really helpful if people who have done these roles would like to write about them for LDV, too, to encourage people to take them on.  Some people can be put off by the idea of being Treasurer, for example. I certainly was when I was asked to be Scottish Party Treasurer. I kind of had to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing it, but I stuck around for six years and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would – and that was with the challenges of two General Elections, a Holyrood election, two referenda and two Council elections. It wasn’t just about numbers, it’s about leading the discussion on how we use our all too scarce resources and making sure we get some more.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Reform the Reformers – Part 1 Policy making

The business world has its special expressions for what politicians call ‘reform’. ‘If you are standing still you are going backwards’ for example. In Japan there is the business concept of ‘kaizen’, translated as ‘continuous improvement’.

The UK Liberal Democrats are a reformist party. People join the party because they wish to improve things and solve problems.

By contrast some people join political parties to preserve the status quo, or a prior status quo. It’s not so common in business. I sometimes wonder if the CEO of the communist East German state company that made the famous plastic 2-stroke Trabant car, had a business philosophy of ‘continuously staying the same’.

The Liberal Democrats might find even greater success if they focused even more on their primary job of ‘reforming’. That means doing even more to solve problems and make improvements for the general public. Liberal Democrats are keen to tell the public about their liberal values and democratic principles. It is not always easy for the public to make the connection between Lib Dem values and principles, and improvements to their lives; how those principles and values solve real problems.

There is scope for improvement here.

The Lib Dems will surely do better if they are perceived more as a problem-solving service for the public. Indeed, at a recent Liberal International meeting in Berlin a spokesperson for the German FDP explained that this conclusion at a strategy meeting a few years ago led to their revival as a political force.

With the UK Lib Dems the deployment of our values and principles in solving problems, is undertaken by a relatively open policymaking system. This is where one might look for the scope for improvement.

The rules of an organisation reflect its culture.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Introducing Liberal Democrats for Prison Reform

Prisoners get a bad rap. They get pushed around by politicians because it is politically popular to beat them with a rolled-up copy of the daily.

Just because this happens doesn’t mean it is okay. In fact, it is a fundamental abdication of our moral duty not to stand up for the human rights of our fellow human beings.

As such I been conducting some informal polling within the Young Liberals and by a landslide of 92% in favour, 8% opposing, they backed prisoner voting. Further questioning of the group indicated a 96% …

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The first results in the party internal elections are in

As we have publicised a couple of times, a new round of party elections is taking place. The electorate is the Federal Board.

The following people have been elected unopposed:

Registered Treasurer & Chair of Federal Finance and Resources Committee:     Peter Dunphy

Party Treasurer:                                               Lord Mike German

Chair of Federal Campaigns and Elections Committee:                               James Gurling

Chair of Campaign for Gender Balance:                                             Candy Piercy

Vice Chair of Federal Board:                                               Neil Fawcett

Federal Board Rep on Federal International Relations …

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Ensuring that committees can be elected by One Member One Vote

I know this is a very “party report” heavy couple of days on LDV with Zoe’s and Sal’s excellent reports on the Federal Conference Committee and the Federal Executive respectively, but there is yet more.

Last September, Conference approved Constitutional Amendments bringing in One Member One Vote for Conference.

However, the Federal Executive subsequently received advice from the Chair of the Federal Appeals Panel that the Committee Election Regulations would need to be changed in order for the next set of Committee elections to be conducted by One Member One Vote. That’s why local parties were advised to elect Federal and Regional Conference representatives for this year.

I’m part of a small group of Federal Executive members who are looking at the regulations or the Leadership, Presidential and Committee elections. The first stage of our work is to change the Committee Election Regulations to permit elections by One Member One Vote. You can see the draft changes here. The current version is here

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments

Reminder: How to contribute to the Federal Policy’s Agenda 2020

The Federal Policy Committee (FPC) is presently in the process of a major review exercise called ‘Agenda 2020’ to consider,

  • The challenges that the United Kingdom will face over the coming years, (economic, social, environmental, political), and, in the light of it, to prepare,
  • A statement of the distinctively Liberal Democrat approach and,
  • A map of the policy development that the FPC needs to carry out in order to achieve it.

Given what happened to the party in May, it is now more important than ever that we assert our own identity and project to the electorate what it means to be a Liberal Democrat and why the country needs Liberal Democrats.

The Agenda 2020 group (of which I am a member) has put together a paper for discussion.  It was the subject of two very lively sessions at conference and now it is out for wider consultation from members of the party.  We really want to hear your views.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

URGENT: Deadline for notifying LDHQ of Conference reps extended till Monday 7th September at midday

There was great disappointment amongst Liberal Youth members earlier this month as they were told that they were too late to notify LDHQ of their voting reps for Federal Conference. The organisation has a number of voting places allocated to it as young people often find it difficult to get elected to the role by a local party as they are more likely to move home or to be away studying half the year.

They had not been aware of the original deadline and over the past few days have made their case to LDHQ and the Federal Conference Committee. Some local parties also missed out because they hadn’t realised there was a rush.

This afternoon, Party President Sal Brinton announced that the deadline would be extended until Monday 7th September at midday.

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Shhh! Keep this secret

Everyone knows that the Federal Party committees do important business and that this business has to be kept absolutely secret. So I can’t really say anything about Monday’s Federal Executive meeting.

But if we are to move to OMOV (one member one vote – essentially the abolition of conference representatives) there need to be reports capable of being seen in the public domain and hopefully – unlike some reports I have seen within the Party about Federal Committees – uncoloured by the standpoint of the observer.

So let’s have a go.

We talked about OMOV itself. There is now a working party including both enthusiasts and sceptics and this has gone through the necessary amendments again and is hoping that this time it’s watertight. There are some very important loose ends, like how to ensure that people can afford to attend conference, and how the members of committees are to be held properly to account. There will be some consultation work on these at the spring conference.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Federal Committee candidate lists announced

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderIf you are a party member, you might want to head to this thread on our Members’ Forum to see the lists of people standing for the Party Committees. The ballot will be conducted predominantly online with links to the ballot being provided to those Conference Representatives for whom the party has an email address. Those emails will be being despatched imminently. Ballots will be sent by post to those for whom there is no email address. The postie will be struggling up the path with the weight of the mailing – there are over 100 candidates for the 42 places on the three committees.

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A Liberal Democrat membership revolution

We know that the Liberal Democrats, in common with other parties, have  been looking at declining membership figures for some years now. Tim Farron alluded to this in his conference speech at the weekend.

Three times as many people entered the X Factor this year than joined a political party.

In the Liberal Democrats it has been a tough three years. People have not felt confident about recruiting members because of the wider political environment. Also, many local parties feel that there is no incentive to put time and effort into recruitment when there is little or no reward for them. …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

Three things the Liberal Democrats must learn from Eastleigh

Liberal Democrats are entitled to a weekend of being incredibly pleased with ourselves. I have never been as proud of this party as I am now. The way we calmly and professionally got on with delivering a brilliant campaign on the ground was astonishingly good. Activists put their lives on hold and dedicated themselves to Eastleigh for three weeks. My eternal regret will be that I never made it there, due to a horrendous Flu and its lingering aftermath. However, Team Scotland and many others across the country phonebanked their hearts out. Yesterday in Edinburgh, we even had to have …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 50 Comments

Last chance to stand for important internal elections – deadline 5pm tomorrow, 18th January

Do you have a head for figures and financial management, an interest in international relations, diversity, SAOs or campaigns?

I wrote last week that there were some important internal elections next week. The electorate is very small, the newly elected Federal Executive of which I am a member. However, you don’t have to be a member of that body to stand. Many of the positions up for grabs are open to any member of the Liberal Democrats.

The posts to be elected are listed in full on the members’ only website.They include posts such as five members of the Federal Finance …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion: We should elect all Liberal Democrat nominees to the House of Lords

In 2012 House of Lords reform failed. In 2013 it’s time for Liberal Democrats to show their continuing commitment to democratic reform.

We clearly can’t get the law changed at the moment but we can make a clear, unambiguous statement of intent. It’s just simple democracy and it’s easy; the membership should elect the Liberal Democrat candidates for the Lords. One simple motion at the party conference and a bit of commitment from the leadership is all it takes.

Well of course it’s not that simple, so let’s examine a few of the arguments against and the counter arguments:

This is just internal

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMartin 16th Oct - 11:34am
    I think that this is an important provision that LDV can do. It is quite a simple task, at least easier than writing original articles....
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 16th Oct - 10:57am
    Yes jayne mansfield, balance. We do know that society is often a mixture of interest groups all competing for resources, but balance is key to...
  • User AvatarDarren Marin 16th Oct - 10:55am
    @Michael - Thanks for the links! I think unfortunately the direction of travel is not towards working less even though it should be. The potential...
  • User AvatarDarren Martin 16th Oct - 10:44am
    @Nick the France example is a good one and you are right, this needs to be looked at in detail. I would say, however, it...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 16th Oct - 10:33am
    @Peter Watson Clearly it takes time from when a political party to recover from a difficult time - especially when that time has been in...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 16th Oct - 10:30am
    David Agree that there should be wide distribution elsewhere, but we often publish posts which are based around party press releases on LDV and will...