There’s going to be some passionate debate at Scottish Conference….

The preliminary agenda for Scottish Spring Conference, which takes place in Aviemore from 20-21 April, has been announced and it’s going to be a bit of a cracker.

Sure, there is going to be a bit of motherhood and apple pie – I mean, who on earth is going to vote against a motion regulating the sale of puppies? However, the Scottish Young Liberals have made sure that there is likely to be some intense debate.

The party hasn’t debated abortion law for a while, but with its devolution to the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Conference Committee has, to my surprise, selected a motion for debate. I have to be honest and say I thought they’d find a way not to take it, but it’s there. The SYL motion, Establishing Real Freedom of Choice, calls for safe zones around abortion clinics, funding so that anyone can access abortion, regardless of nationality and full decriminalisation. It stops short of calling for the ending of the requirement for two doctors to authorise an abortion. I perhaps see potential for an amendment there. There may also be a feeling that we shouldn’t be making policy on what has been traditionally an issue of conscience.

The party can be at its best when we discuss motions like this, with thoughtful and passionate arguments for and against. In 2010, there was an excellent debate, which was similarly contentious, on equal marriage. We adopted that policy and that helped build the case for change. 

The other issue put forward by the Young Liberals is a motion calling for people to be allowed to stand for Council or the Scottish Parliament at 16. It is only logical to debate this as 16 and 17 year olds have been able to vote for a full slate of Scottish referenda and elections now and that’s gone very well. There will be some debate around the legalities and the fact that people can’t legally sign up to things and take oaths until they are 18.

The agenda also includes debates on Police reform, immigration, animal welfare, cervical cancer screening and support for local economies.

There will also be a consultation session on education. There are a fair few radical ideas for reform floating around the party at the moment so this will be very interesting.

If you haven’t registered yet for the event in Aviemore, you can do so here. 


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.

One Comment

  • Richard Underhill 24th Feb '18 - 10:38am

    Women from Northern Ireland may need financial help, whatever their religion or political preference. As in law delay causes denial.

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