Tag Archives: party policy

16-17 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

Liberal Democrats demand a Clean Air Act

The Liberal Democrats have today demanded the Conservative Government bring forward a Clean Air Act enshrining the legal right to unpolluted air.

The proposals, set out at the Liberal Democrat conference in York, are based on World Health Organisation guidelines and would be enforced by a new Air Quality Agency.

If successful, the Clean Air Act would also demand air pollution testing took place more widely and frequently, with warning signs displayed in pollution hotspots and sensitive areas, such as near schools.

Speaking after the debate, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

The

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Time to drag party policy making into the 21st century?

Before we start, let me make something clear. I’m not a policy wonk. It’s not that I’m disinterested in policy, far from it. It’s just that, as a bureaucracy geek, I’m interested in how things work.

When the recent governance review took place, I found myself wondering if it was going to look at how we could engage more members in what interests many of them – policy. And, in truth, I was disappointed. It was mostly about reordering the committee structures and, whilst I have my views on that, it didn’t really do anything that would engage ordinary members.

Our policy …

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What will the party debate at Spring Conference?

The party meets again at its Spring Conference in York on the 15th-17th March, and if you have not registered yet there is still time! Federal Conference Committee has also now met to decide the agenda so we can reveal what topics will be up for debate.

Motion selection proceeded in the usual fashion that by now will be familiar to many readers – in the first round, members of the committee debated the suitability of each motion for debate considering how well it was drafted, how recently the topic was last debated and so on. Once that has happened, timings are allocated to each motion, and the committee considers the relative priority of the remaining motions.

Of the 19 motions submitted, 6 were eventually selected for debate. Constitutional amendments must be selected for debate if they are in order, which applied to one of two submitted amendments. A 105-minute slot has also been reserved for a later deadline on Europe, as given the current state of politics any motion submitted now would certainly be old news by March!

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Vince is right: we must revisit our rules

Vince is most definitely right: our party’s 12-month rule is arbitrary and should be removed. The randomness of such a timescale before a member can stand as a candidate for MP, mayor or the GLA is exposed by the fact that Scotland’s rule is only nine months. It also makes new members feel unwelcome, their commitment automatically doubted.

I hope no-one would doubt my loyalty or my passion for our party, which is my natural home. Since joining the Lib Dems in December I have campaigned and spoken at innumerable associations across the length and breadth of London, helped out in St Albans and have been asked to speak and assist in Cheltenham, Leeds and Stratford-upon-Avon. I have probably met more Lib Dems than many lifelong members.

Someone like myself, who has campaigned at grassroot level for months for the London local elections, who stood for council within six months of joining the party, should also have the opportunity to stand as an MP, London mayor or the GLA.

Yet the 12-month rule says, in effect, that I do not know the party well enough to do so. If that is the case, why has the party appointed me as Vice-President of the Liberal Democrats Campaign for Racial Equality or elected me Vice-Chairman of Lib Dems in Business? Or Mike German sought me out to be the Treasurer’s envoy?

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Demand Better: Liberal Democrat Priorities for a Better Britain

For as long as I’ve been active in politics people have complained they don’t know what we stand for. We may have a reasonable profile for our position on Brexit, but the fact that we’re only the fourth party in terms of MPs makes it even more difficult than usual to gain media attention.

On top of that, the party has more than doubled in size over the last two and a half years, so we have a large number of new or newish members who aren’t as familiar as many of us with the details of party policy or our key priorities for action.

So over the last six months the Federal Policy Committee has worked to produce the paper Demand Better: Liberal Democrat Priorities for a Better Britain, which is available here and will be debated at our autumn conference at Brighton.

We’ve written the paper in close cooperation with the party’s campaigns and communications committees and staff, and we’re using the party’s new slogan as the paper’s title. Demand Better summarises the Liberal Democrat approach to politics in 2018 and highlights our key policy priorities. Should a general election take place in the next year or so, it will provide the core of the Liberal Democrat election manifesto.

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A Fairer Share for All Working Group: The road to a liberal Britain

I joined the Liberal Democrats in November to help to create a more liberal United Kingdom. At a time when protectionism and populism are on the rise, not just in the UK but around the globe, it is crucial that we have liberal answers to the difficult questions.

Despite being 10 years on, we are still hungover from the financial crisis. There has been a major squeeze on incomes, structural changes that have damaged towns and the generational divide has grown.

Because of this, I decided to apply to join the A Fairer Share for All working group. Even though populism is …

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Vince talks to Voice Part 4: Liberal ideas for the modern world – open, liberal, green

Here’s the final part of my chat with Vince Cable just after his keynote speech to Conference on Sunday.

I wanted to know what he meant about having a party “fizzing with ideas”

We’ve got these structures for policy making and they can be a bit clunky but they often produce some good creative stuff.  Instead of this just being confined to the usual small minority of policy wonks we open it up to the wider membership and get much more feedback. The whole point of being more digital is that it’s easier to engage people.

I set out some of the areas in the speech we should be thinking about. There are whole swathes of stuff I didn’t even begin to talk about – what you do about national defence in the new era of Russia. I hinted at tax but that’s a mega area. We’ve got to rethink the principles of it.

I think in a way the principles come before the policy. It’s easy to be geeks about policy but policy is something people in the party care about. I just want it opened up.

You might remember yesterday I was asked about universal basic income. My starting position is that it’s a seriously bad idea but if other people in the party care about it and can make the argument, let’s have that debate?

I asked if we have too much policy and not enough big picture stuff about who we are?

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