Your last chance to get drafting advice for Conference motions…

The dates for the Scottish and Federal Spring conferences have been set as we reported last week.

Scottish Conference will meet virtually from 5-6 March and Federal Conference will meet virtually two weeks later 19-21 March.

The great thing about our Conferences is that even in their virtual form, members have been able to submit policy motions and amendments for debate. In our party, we give our members actual power to make policy and set the direction of the party.

This is your reminder that if you want any of the nice people from the respective Committees to help you draft a policy motion, you only have until Tuesday (Scotland) and Thursday (Federal) to request it.

You don’t actually have to get drafting advice and you will still be able to submit motions by the deadlines of 6th January (federal) and 8th January (Scotland).

The Scottish LIb Dems have a really useful guide on how to draft a well-structured motion which you can see here.

1. What does the Committee look for?

A motion should be easy to understand, logically argued and well presented. If the Committee finds it difficult to understand the purpose of a motion or to follow the case it argues, it is likely that conference will also have problems. Equally – though this is harder for anyone drafting a motion to predict – the motion should be in a subject area where it is desirable for the party to develop new policy or make its existing policies or achievements known. Other things being equal, a shorter motion usually has an advantage over a longer one.

2. What features will reduce the chances of a motion being chosen?

A motion’s chances of being selected will be reduced if: it is unnecessarily long (e.g. a long shopping list of detailed points); uses too many words to convey its message; is incoherent or unclear in parts; or seems to be making a speech (try reading it aloud); or if it says nothing new, restates existing policy, is on an area of policy which has recently been fully debated by conference or is about to be subject of a policy paper debate.

3. How should we go about deciding what our motion should say?

Generally, motions should be drafted around the three Ps: • the Problem(s) which need to be solved;
• the Principle(s) which underlie the solution; and
• the Proposals which must be the heart of the motion.

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