Sorry we've been quiet for the last few weeks - for reasons that will become apparent below. We had a tremendously successful conference season and would like to welcome everyone who signed up to this newsletter at one or other of our fringe meetings. CONTINUITY AND CHANGE The Social Liberal Forum executive has undergone some significant changes over the past couple of months. Sadly, Richard Grayson and Alison Goldsworthy have resigned from the executive. Alison has had to leave due to other work commitments while Richard is working hard on the party's Federal Policy Committee and Manifesto Working Group. We wish them both the best of luck and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for helping to get the SLF on its feet during its first few months. The remaining executive members - Director Matthew Sowemimo and Secretary James Graham - are being joined by David Hall-Matthews and Peter Kunzmann. David is a respected academic and a former Lib Dem candidate (Leeds North West, 2001) who readers of Reinventing The State may recall contributed a chapter on international development. He takes over from Richard as the Chair of the organisation. Peter has worked for the party and a number of MPs over the years and has a special interest in using public policy to promote happiness. The one thing our change in personel has highlighted is the need for the SLF to get itself on a firmer democratic footing. This has always been part of our plans after the general election, but we have decided to bring these forward. Watch this space for more information. MANIFESTO PRIORITIES The new Social Liberal Forum executive has published a joint statement on what we see are the key priorities for the next Liberal Democrat manifesto. These include:
- A firm commitment to reduce income inequality over the course of the next Parliament;
- The richest in society should take a greater part of the strain in reducing the budget deficit and we should present ourselves as the party of fair, redistributive taxation;
- A low carbon economy and a global climate change agreement based on the principles of contraction and convergence;
- Youth unemployment should be another priority - the party is right to stick with its commitment to scrap tuition fees.