Tag Archives: spring conference 2020

Accountability in the age of Covid

 

So now we know: no new leader for at least another fourteen months. This comes on the back of the cancellation of the Spring Conference, and talk of the cancellation of this Autumn’s conference as well.

Cancelled along with the Spring Conference, of course – and up for re-cancellation if Autumn is indeed cancelled as well – were the party’s sorely-needed consultative sessions on our values, on the 2019 general election, and on our 2019 manifesto, as well as the regular opportunities to hold party bodies and office-holders to account. The decision to cancel the Spring Conference, and any similar decision to cancel Autumn (as currently feels likely) means that we will not have a meaningful forum to discuss, debate and scrutinise the party’s general election performance until long after that election has receded over the horizon behind us.

The decision to postpone the leadership election again, this time for an unprecedented fourteen months, is a remarkable departure from the letter of the constitution, Article 18.2 of which only allows for a maximum extension of one year, and no article of which allows the Federal Board to vary this provision. Perversely, this means that our acting leader will not only remain in position for over a year, but will be acting leader for three times as long as the woman who beat him in the last leadership election. More concerningly, it means that we will not have a permanent leader in place for the huge round of local, regional and devolved elections scheduled for 2021.

Any one of these things – the catastrophic performance in the 2019 general election; the shocking loss of a popular newly-elected party leader in a general election; the decision to cancel Federal Conference at next-to-no notice; the decision to postpone a leadership election beyond the period set out in the Federal Constitution, leaving us vulnerable in the largest round of non-Westminster elections in a political generation; potentially, the decision to cancel a second Federal Conference on the trot – should rightly merit a great deal of introspection, and robust and extended scrutiny from party members.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 35 Comments

Opening up party conferences for all

If you would like to attend the Spring Conference in York from March 15th – 17th and are worried about the cost of attending, then the Conference Access Fund may be able to help you.

The fund is taking applications up until January 22nd.

If you would like help with the accommodation, travel, childcare, disability or access-related costs related to attending the conference, then please do apply using this form.

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

Conference Early Bird Discount extended until 7th January

Last month, when registration opened for York Conference, I noticed that the discount for booking early finished just one week after the election and before Christmas. I felt that this was unfair:

Now, most of us are knocking ourselves out campaigning for the General Election. We’re out in the cold and dark on a daily basis. Campaigning is not cheap. You have to pay to travel -and many of us are travelling to our nearest target seats. And we’re all getting asked to contribute to local and national campaigns.

This election is an unexpected and added expense just before Christmas. If you add to that the cost of registering for Conference as well, it might mean that some people just can’t afford to go.

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Spring Conference is to take place in York

Next year’s Spring Conference will take place in York from Friday 13th – Sunday 15th March. Federal Conference made the announcement a short while ago just to give us something to think about while we wait for the leadership  election result.

York for me is a perfect venue for Spring Conference. It’s easy to get to, gorgeous, has some excellent pubs and restaurants and a Lib Dem council to boot.

I don’t know about you, but the hour and a half since 1pm has felt like seven years.

Only an hour and 29 minutes to go…… 

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