Tag Archives: vince talks to voice

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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Vince talks to Voice Part 2 – The message to young people – I’ve got your backs

Another snippet from my chat with Vince on Sunday.

He talked a lot about young people in his speech, showing that the Liberal Democrats have a lot to offer the younger generation who stand to lose so much from Brexit. I observed that he seemed to be saying to young people: “I’ve got your backs.”

Exactly. That partly reflects the new membership in the party – as you know it’s doubled and most of the new members are young and they came into a party that’s relatively old. But the average is now lower than the Labour Party and the Conservatives, which is good.

We see that as positive. I was very struck with the polling data that says that 25-30% of young people are considering voting for us and there’s a much bigger majority amongst young people and it’s reinforced whenever I go round universities. Despite that there are some tricky issues for us at universities as you know, actually the reception is very good, lots of people with an open mind.

I think the Brexit issue is probably number one on their list of priorities and we are the only party that’s giving them what they want and thinking about their future. I’d say that for many of those, things like climate change and environment are way up there and we are the only one of the major parties with a strong green message.

One of the other things that polling showed was that Remain vote has huge subset hasn’t yet forgiven us for the coalition. How do we get over that?

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Vince talks to Voice Part 1: Open primaries

Twenty minutes after Vince finished speaking yesterday, I was sitting in a room with him,  his wife Rachel Smith eating delicious egg sandwiches.

We only had a few minutes to chat, but we covered a fair bit of ground.

I did the geeky party hack thing and started by asking him about his ideas for the party. I mean, he was talking about open primaries, wasn’t he, when he said this?

Our sister Liberal Party in Canada, under Justin Trudeau, leapt from third to first in a ‘first past the post’ system every bit as unforgiving as ours.

I have turned to them for advice on modernisation on how we can apply their successful model here.

The Canadian liberals engaged all their registered supporters – their voters – as well as their members in leadership elections and candidate selection.

They became a new party; a movement.

Building on our own traditions, we must address how we in the Liberal Democrats can become a movement for those who are alienated by the Conservatives and Labour.

He reckons it’s worth a try to connect with more people:

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