• conference voting reps and OMOV

    September 17, 2014 6:22 PM

    I’d like to raise a concern about something to be decided at Conference, especially as I can’t be there.

    Conference in Glasgow will consider two proposals from the party establishment lumped together under the title of OMOV – one member, one vote – and both apparently aimed at bypassing those unreliable activists. The first of these, to throw open elections for key party committees to all members instead of conference voting reps, is the one that has generated most debate. I don’t have strong feelings on that: there is a real danger that the great and the good would be elected and have little time to give to Federal Policy Committee and so on, but it would be easy to require that the attendance record of candidates standing again be shared with all members and easy also to require brief statements from candidates of the sort union members will be familiar with. The change could make policy positions and voting record of candidates much more widely known.

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  • Glasgow confererence preview for SLF

    September 03, 2014 11:53 PM

    The last Autumn Conference before a General Election always looks a little different, perforce. Eager Parliamentary candidates queueing up to make a campaigning point to win a few votes, perhaps to save a local post office? Check. Debates more about nuances of strategy than big issues of policy? That too. An absence of major controversy from the agenda? Frequently.

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  • I agree with Tim: Why we need a new consensus

    August 08, 2014 7:51 PM

    On Saturday 19th July, Tim Farron gave the third annual William Beveridge Memorial Lecture at the Social Liberal Forum conference in London. The title of his lecture was "building a new consensus" and it was a direct challenge to the Thatcherite consensus of the last 35 years. I agree with Tim that the contemporary political consensus has failed and that we need a new one.

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  • Our behaviour has to reflect our values - reflections on Nick Clegg's speech

    June 11, 2014 11:41 AM

    This post first appeared on Lib Dem Voice    One thing about Nick Clegg, rather like those inflatable Humpty Dumpties some of us had as kids – thump him and he bounces right back. Monday seems to be one such occasion. An upbeat, earnest speech, designed, it seemed to most commentators, to speak to the party as much, if not more, than to the country. For the Soc

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  • Long term gains from short term arguments

    June 05, 2014 1:48 PM

    This post first appeared on Liberal Democrat Voice Most participants in the post-election debate have concentrated on specific changes they want now: the Leader, his advisers, the communications team, the detail of policy issues etc.  I firmly believe that the underlying issues are systemic rather than one-off and that we should use the opportunity

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  • Statement following SLF AGM

    June 01, 2014 4:35 PM

    Yesterday the SLF AGM was held in Reading. Despite reports to the contrary no emergency motions were submitted and no resolutions passed. The claim in Andrew Rawnsley's piece in the Observer today stating that the SLF are planning to

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  • Letter published in The Times, 29/05/2014

    May 29, 2014 9:44 AM

    There's no escaping just how strongly the electorate has rejected our party's offer in the European and local elections, with a few welcome exceptions. Such heavy losses can't be attributed just to no longer being a party of opposition, even if governing as a junior member of a coalition means supporting policies many of us disagree with. Nor is it just down to the Lib Dems being an isolated voice in taking on UKIP's dangerous populism. So it's right that the party seriously re-examines its stra

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  • Action on welfare and food poverty

    May 16, 2014 10:34 AM

    Work to write the crucial Liberal Democrat pre-manifesto will be stepping up as we move into summer.  Social Liberal Forum campaigns on welfare and food poverty illustrate the need for that document to

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  • Independent, 14/05/14: Nick Clegg under pressure from Lib Dem activists to water down Coalition’s welfare reforms

    May 16, 2014 9:26 AM

    The Social Liberal Forum (SLF), the biggest left of centre pressure group inside the party, is pressing Mr Clegg and other Lib Dem ministers to make changes after a wholesale review of the Coalition’s approach to welfare. “The so-called ‘bedroom tax’ should certainly be reviewed, and the evidence I have seen supports radical reform if not outright abolition" said Gareth Epps, [SLF co-chair] Kelly-Marie Blundell, the Lib Dems’ prospective parliamentary candidate in Guildford, said:

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