Tag Archives: Special Conference May 2010

An open letter to the Lib Dem Federal Board ahead of tomorrow night’s meeting

Dear Board Members,

In a very friendly way I am writing to suggest that you should not at this stage agree to have a special Party Conference in early January to discuss amendments to the Party Constitution.

I am saying this not only after many discussions with Lib Dems in the North West and my own City of Liverpool but also in places as far apart as Taunton and Cambridge and with fellow Leaders from Local Government.

I have some key questions for you before you make the decision. I am expecting the answers to these questions to be publicised:

Firstly, do you not think that this will interfere in our work for the biggest round of local elections in England? The idea that early January is handy because it is before we start is risible. We started our campaign for next May, last May. We have been out every weekend and a lot during the week since August. This will take activists out of the front line at just the time we need them to be fighting for us and pushing our way into more power and more influence via more votes.

Secondly, do you not think that it sends all the wrong messages. Some people may think that the UK is going to hell in a hand cart and all we can do is talk about ourselves at this crucial time. That is how it will be portrayed.

Thirdly, do you really think that there is a great thirst in the Party for all the changes? 

I personally believe that there is much support for a Supporters organisation. It builds well on what we do locally. I’d love to involve more people in our policy discussions both locally and nationally; I’d love to have a larger pool of people advocating on our behalf; I think it great to have people giving us information about local and national issues. There are some things that need sorting out but these are details. The Federal Board can make these decisions and we can get on with them. In fact, we already are!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 46 Comments

+++Breaking: Tim Farron calls on Chris Rennard to step down from the Federal Executive

Tim Farron has issued the following statement calling on Chris Rennard to step down from the Federal Executive position to which he was elected by Liberal Democrat Lords last week:

As you know, Chris Rennard’s election to the Federal Executive has prompted party members to call for a Special Conference.

I have not spoken out until now as I have been giving Chris time to reflect on the party’s reaction to his election.

I have decided it is time to make clear publicly that I do not believe it is in the interests of the party for Chris to take up his position on the FE.

Chris was entitled to stand for election and the Lords were entitled to elect him. That does not mean his decision to put himself forward was in the best interests of the party.

Helena Morrissey’s review threw the spotlight on our party’s culture and working practices. We have made major changes to the constitution and to the rules we use to apply its values.

For example, we have ensured that for instances of alleged discrimination, bullying, harassment or intimidation, we now operate to the standards you would expect in most modern workplaces.

However, I also believe that the call for a Special Conference shows we still have some way to go to convince our members that the party’s culture has changed.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 33 Comments

Opinion: Parliament needs our help on the NHS Bill

We are in real difficulty over the NHS Bill.  Spring conference showed the party at its best.  The membership expressed concerns and the leadership responded deftly with the “listening exercise”.  This aimed to reassure NHS and public opinion by securing substantial changes to Andrew Lansley’s proposals, without too much loss of face within the coalition.

We have not succeeded.  The changes to the Bill have failed to quell fears that the NHS is being fragmented in pursuit of market dogma.  There is no serious support or enthusiasm for the Bill within the NHS; indeed opposition among the health professions is hardening.  …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Everything you ever wanted to know about… Policy and the Parliamentary Party (part 3)

In the first two parts of this mini-series, I looked at how policy is made, and how its creation is managed. Today, I want to look at its failings, the implications of those failings, and how future policy making might be shaped.

As a party of perpetual opposition, our inclusive but often ponderous policy-making regime allowed members to influence core policy, in the knowledge that it would be a means of attacking the Government, but was unlikely to be applied. Occasionally, that led to somewhat populist ideas being espoused but, if a Government did something in a field where our policy was obsolete, or overtaken by events, our spokespeople had a set of principles to fall back on.

Such an arrangement worked, for the most part, especially in small Parliamentary Parties. However, its weaknesses became more apparent as Labour’s mania for legislation produced a plethora of technical changes in need of detailed scrutiny.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

How much will coalition change Liberal Democrat conference?

Party conference rumour season is well underway, with more special guest speculation than last month’s Glastonbury. But whoever’s doing the briefing, it doesn’t seem to be coming from the Liberal Democrat side.

The story that David Cameron might address Lib Dem conference seems to have originated from the Independent:

David Cameron and Nick Clegg are drawing up plans for closer links between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats and senior figures from the two parties will address each other’s party conference this autumn.

The two leaders are keen to cement the coalition and a special meeting of the Cabinet next month will discuss a joint approach to the party conference season, including co-ordinated policy announcements. One option is for Mr Cameron to address the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool and Mr Clegg the Tories in Birmingham. More likely, at present, is that other Cabinet ministers will “change places” and speak at their coalition partner’s event.

The Guardian also ran a similar story the same day: David Cameron could speak at Liberal Democrat conference.

– Well, yes he could,* but here are some things to consider:

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , , , , , and | 11 Comments

LibLink: Mark Pack – Lib Dems revel in a share of power

At Comment is Free, Mark Pack shares his impressions of the Liberal Democrat Special (not-so-secret) Conference held yesterday in Birmingham.

In an atmosphere I described yesterday as “more wedding than wake” more than a thousand party members met to debate the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition agreement.

Mark captures the mood of a party who now have their hands on the levers of power:

Travelling by train to the Liberal Democrat conference yesterday, I did what I usually do on my way to party conferences – read through the agenda and background policy information.

Except this time there was one key difference. I

Posted in LibLink | 7 Comments

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
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRoss McLean 17th Sep - 12:34am
    Jayne - I'm sure you are familiar with the preamble to our constitution. Those are our values and principles, just as they always were. What...
  • User Avatarfrankie 17th Sep - 12:19am
    What is Fiat Money? Fiat money is government-issued currency that is not backed by a physical commodity, such as gold or silver, but rather by...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 16th Sep - 11:36pm
    Would we have seen such a duet when Glee Club sang ' Tony Blair can F-ck off and Die? It seems that the Liberal Democrats...
  • User AvatarRodney Watts 16th Sep - 11:13pm
    @ Peter Martin Yes, some do try to conflate the two but anti-zionism is NOT antisemitism as explained in the video by Prof. Illan Pappe,...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 16th Sep - 11:13pm
    Antisemitism is a wart on the face of humanity. I am with my Labour Party Supporting (alleged self- hating) Jewish friends. That politicians have used...
  • User AvatarSandra Hammett 16th Sep - 11:06pm
    Call me cynical. My first rememberance of Chuka was him pulling out of the Labour leadership race, claiming his girlfriend's grandmother was under scrutiny or...
Thu 10th Oct 2019