Willie Rennie’s speech – Lib Dems are a Third Way for Scotland

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Willie Rennie’s speech to Conference was broadcast on his birthday on Sunday. It had been recorded in North Queensferry a few days before.

They filmed the speech twice, the first time outside, but there were interruptions from a flypast, a potato lorry and runners from his local club – no amorous pigs or other assorted livestock, though as has happened in the past.

Watch here. The text is below:

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Prue Bray becomes chair of ALDC

Wokingham Councillor Prue Bray in the new Chair of ALDC, the Association of Liberal Democrats Councillors and Campaigners. She takes over from Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson.

Prue said:

This is a particularly important time for ALDC and for Liberal Democrat local campaigners and councillors. We have made good progress in local elections in recent years and that needs to continue. ALDC is working hard to get more Liberal Democrat councillors elected and to help support our councillors make a positive difference in their local communities and on the Councils that we run.

We have a great team leading ALDC. I want to thank Mayor Dave Hodgson for leading the organisation so effectively through the challenges of the last four years.

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The NHS Track and Trace app is here to stay, what should Liberals say?

The NHS Track and Trace app is here to stay. Even if Covid-19 were to disappear from the planet tomorrow, there is no turning back from this point; track and trace apps will become a permanent fixture of the health service. And now that we know what an app should be able to do, why would we rely on one for Covid-19? If it helps to save lives, then surely an app could help us to guard against annual winter flu pandemics; what about chickenpox and a whole host of other infectious diseases? Thinking ahead, it is not inconceivable to imagine that we will have all be required to have a permanent mobile app, which can be used to track our exposure to deadly diseases, but also hold our personal medical records.

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Welsh Liberal Democrats response to Plaid Cymru’s Independence Commission report

Responding to Plaid Cymru’s Independence Commission report which has been published on 25 September, Welsh Liberal Democrats described the report as a mix of fanatical politics and pie in the sky economics.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

Politics isn’t working for Wales or the UK as well as it could right now, I understand why independence looks attractive, but it isn’t the answer.

There are far too many uncertainties, too many unknowns and too many risks with independence. We don’t know nor are Plaid proposing solutions to questions such as: What currency we would use? Would we still have

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My son can get a COVID test result in 90 minutes. And that’s a disgrace.

Last week my son, who is two years old, developed a fever. Anyone who has children knows that toddlers are naturally inclined to do this every now and again and, in normal circumstances, it’s not a cause for concern. But it’s 2020. Normal circumstances are a distant memory.

Government guidelines required getting my son tested for coronavirus and isolating the household until the results came back, or alternatively for 14 days. Having to quarantine the whole family for two weeks for a fever likely to be caused by a cold or teething didn’t sound like the most productive solution …

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Party’s new European policy – reaffirming our values

For the past few months via numerous zoom calls and countless redrafts, I have been heavily involved in formulating the Europe motion that was debated at Conference and fully endorsed the party’s new policy which was adopted overwhelmingly and stated our long term commitment to membership of the European Union unequivocally, that we believe Brexit to be wrong and that the EU is the UK’s natural home. I know for some that position probably doesn’t go far or fast enough, but as hard as it is to say – as someone who spent the past five years trying to prevent …

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25 September 2020 – conference day 1 press releases

  • Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference
  • Failure on test and trace is putting public health at risk
  • Liberal Democrats back proposals for “world class” mental health support for health and care staff
  • Liberal Democrats urge Government to tackle spread of fake news
  • Time to campaign for Universal Basic Income has come, Liberal Democrats declare

Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference

Speaking on the opening of the Liberal Democrats’ first digital conference today , Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has warned the coronavirus crisis is taking an “enormous toll on people’s lives and livelihoods” and urged his Party to listen, challenge Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and …

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24 September 2020 – the day’s press release

I’ve taken a break from the press releases during conference in order to allow the story to tell itself, so to speak. But now it’s time to catch up, allowing those of us who didn’t attend conference to catch up on the main themes. But first, a piece of unfinished business…

Chancellor’s Job Support Scheme “falls short of what people need”

The Liberal Democrats have warned that the new Job Support Scheme outlined by the Chancellor “falls short of what people need” and are calling on the Chancellor to outline financial support measures for people still excluded from the Government’s schemes.

Liberal …

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How we improve Covid-19 care for care home residents

Having just spent several hours wading through the final report of the “COVID-19 Social Care Support Taskforce” one wonders how those working in the service will ever find time to read it – let alone implement all 42 recommendations which are designed to make bad practice safer!

Care homes are not, and were never intended to be, hospitals. The residents are just as entitled to hospital care, if that is what is needed, as are the rest of us. That so many have been left to die in Care Homes, rather than being admitted to hospital, and thereby denied the benefit of oxygen, ventilators and intensive care which might have saved their lives is the real concern. The minute a resident exhibited symptoms they should have been tested and if positive admitted to hospital. The discharge of older people from hospital to care homes, without testing, in order to free up beds for coronavirus patients may also have spread the virus. That not all older people have an “assessment of need” and “verification of wishes” by a social worker prior to admission to a care home whether or not they are self-funders, as envisaged by the 1990 National Health Service and Community Care Act, is a real concern. Admissions to care homes should have been stopped from the time relatives were stopped from visiting.

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WATCH: Ed Davey’s speech to Liberal Democrat Conference

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Ed’s first Leader’s speech took place not in a packed hall but broadcast as he stood at a lectern in LDHQ.

You would have to have an incredibly hard heart not to be incredibly moved as he described caring for his terminally ill mum, his Nana and his 12 year old son John.

We know that there are around 700,000 young carers in the UK today,  but how much thought have we actually given to the reality of their daily lives.

Ed described giving his mum tumblers of oral morphine before heading to school to help with her agonising cancer pain.

I spoke to a friend of mine who cared for their mum and they told me how they had learned to do all sorts of medical things, including giving injections by the time they were 11.

The first time I nursed someone who was terminally ill, I was 20 and there was a whole family team of us. That was incredibly stressful and I will never forget the heartbreaking toughness and the heartwarming lovingness of that time. Ed was so much younger when he was in that situation.

It was an incredibly moving section of the speech. My WhatsApp was going mad as he was speaking.

Anyway, watch the whole thing here and read the words under the cut.

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So how was Virtual Conference for you?

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I am feeling a little delicate this morning. The Conference may have been virtual, but the hangover certainly isn’t. At my age, you would think I would know better than to sit up drinking with my friends in a virtual pub until 4am, but it certainly gave an authentic feel to the last night of our virtual Conference.

A week ago, I felt really gloomy as Facebook reminded me of Conferences past. I was really sad that I wasn’t packing up …

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Our first online Federal Conference

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Well, we did it; our first online Federal Conference!

We had over 3,200 attendees and I am really proud that we managed to offer the full experience usually on offer in the Conference Centre. The agenda ranged from racial justice to the BBC; from COVID-19 to Universal Basic Income and from Europe to the rule of law. We had debates, procedural motions, reports, votes, speeches, and questions – even the (virtual) conference fund raising buckets were passed round – and we were honoured with a visit from the Taoiseach.

There was a live chat in every session. It was lively and interesting throughout. We were able to meet old friends and new in the networking space – which many people said was strangely addictive! We noticed a much higher than usual attendance in our fringes. The training programme was extensive and well-received.

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The only way is Hybrid!

A few years ago I stood (unsuccessfully!) for election to the FCC on the basis that we needed to look at allowing people to take part in Conference remotely. I was given all sorts of reasons why it would not work – but it only took a few minutes on Friday afternoon to be abundantly clear that this was very much an idea whose time had come.

As the Conference went on that feeling only strengthened -fantastic speeches from first time speakers (my impression was more than usual), a vibrant chat box, far more people watching the debate and voting …

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What now is our “Path forward” to rejoin the European Union in the future?

Following today’s debate on our European position and deciding as I had hoped that we would move away from an undemocratic “revoke line” which did us as a party no good, and also stepped away from an immediate “hostage to fortune” rejoin line which would also bury us deep into oblivion, and yet we agreed to the strategic and wise move to hold back, listen to the voters not to our hearts and steadily rebuild our support on the matters of today – Covid being the most important to all our lives with a long term commitment to be a Member of the European Union in the future.

However, as a party we now have to build a message which will in time change hearts and minds on the value of our European membership. That means, emphasising from January onwards when we will have according to the withdrawal treaty properly brexited and on January 1st 2021 when we have to interlink the things we have lost to Brexit and gradually bring those issues to people’s attention.

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Lib Dems back long term aspiration to rejoin EU

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Well, that was tense!

Of all the votes to have technical issues, it would just have to be the one between two hotly contested amendments, wouldn’t it?

Thankfully, the outcome wasn’t even close with 331 backing the more emphatic “Rejoin now” Amendment 1 and 1071  backing Amendment 2 proposed by Duncan Brack and eventually accepted by the leadership. It’s a huge number of people taking part and was the outcome I thought most likely but at times did not seem assured.

The debate was at times a bit fractious, with speeches on both sides going a bit over the top.

However, there were some very thoughtful and measured contributions which probably did more to persuade people.

There was a small moment of drama when Wera Hobhouse MP was called. It had been reported that she would support Amendment 1, but she confirmed straight away that she was supporting Amendment 2.

So what have we passed? You can read the main motion on page 11 here.

It’s as you would expect, pointing out the problems with Brexit, the Government’s appalling handling of it and affirming our support for freedom of movement, EU Citizens and all manner of food and environmental and security co-operation.

The contentious bit was this:

In the longer term, conference resolves to keep all options open for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, including membership at an appropriate future date to be determined by political circumstances, subject to public assent, market and trade conditions and acceptable negotiated terms.

The amendment passed changed that last bit to:

In the longer term, Conference resolves to support a longer term objective of UK membership of the EU at an appropriate future date to be determined by political circumstances, subject to public assent, market and trade conditions and acceptable negotiated terms.

So here are some of the highlights of the debate in tweets:

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Speeches that got away – Supporting the Europe motion

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Written a speech for Conference and not been called? Send it to us at voice@libdemvoice.org and we’ll try and put it up during the debate so that your effort does not go to waste.

Over the years, our party line on the European Union has been consistent and resilient. Indeed, of all of our policies, it’s the one for which we are most known. Our credentials on Europe has led us to becoming the principal pro-EU party of the UK in the eyes of many. Our MEPs proudly wore anti-Brexit messages to the European Parliament. It is codified in our party’s constitution that we affirm the values of federalism and integration within the EU. Our dedication to pro-European values is not under threat.

But what is under threat, conference, is our message. Our presence in the minds of the public, already tenuous, may well be moribund should we neglect to represent those who would be hurt by a no-deal outcome. Conversely, should we abandon our commitment to Europe, I worry that it will be perceived as yet one more breach of trust. It is our steadfast and durable commitment to the anti-Brexit movement which sets us apart. That is why I believe that we should oppose no-deal now, and not rule out rejoining the EU in the future.

This is bigger than us as a party, and it is more than just our place in Europe that is under threat. It is the lives and livelihoods of Europeans in Britain, and Britons in Europe. It is our voice on the world stage. It is our poorest and most left-behind communities. Our values. Our security. It is even our human rights. That European values fall so closely to our own, conference, ought to encourage us to seek as close an alignment as possible with our friends on the Continent. That our future lies with Europe ought not to be under question.

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Fringe reports: Generous Society

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I feel slightly guilty because I haven’t found time yet to write about the beautiful and joyful Generous Society pamphlet that Julian Huppert wrote about recently.

This is a wonderful contrast to our recent habit of being as nuanced as we can to try to avoid upsetting people. It’s an antidote to the paint by numbers, soulless, brand based, dull centrist mush that we have been prone to cling to. Maybe one day we’ll learn that subtlety never won anything and that we need the sort of liberal heart and sprit that The Generous Society contains.

It has some superb illustrations and does not pull its punches:

No economist can calculate the beauty and wonder lost from our world because of the restrictions our society has placed on the freedom to create and contribute. We must reduce the burden on those who want the dignity and peace that comes with a secure, well-paid job – but instead find themselves ripped off, spied on, or otherwise mistreated by their employers. In a liberal society, you will not have to spend excessive physical and mental energy on basic needs.

I also liked the acknowledgement that in a liberal society, we recognise that there will be a small amount of  abuse of social security systems, but that the wider aim of ensuring that people have enough to meet their basic needs is more important.

In a fringe meeting on Friday, Julian Huppert chaired a discussion between Polly Mackenzie of Demos, Ailbhe Rea of the New Statesman and Generous Society author Tom King.

You can watch it here.

Ailbhe Rea said that her experience of her first Lib Dem conference was that we had a whole stack of policy but no underpinning vision.

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Ed’s first Q and A as leader

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Ed did his first Leader’s Q and A yesterday afternoon. Under normal circumstances, he would be wandering around the stage, addressing a packed hall. He was at the podium in LDHQ taking questions from menbers in a way that you don’t often find from  other party leaders. We allow supplementaries to pre-submitted questions which mean that he can be faced with just about anything, from the random to the policy to the personal.

You can watch it here from around 5 hours in.

Here are some of the highlights:

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Observations of an ex pat: Shifting goalposts

If evidence was required of shifting global goalposts then diplomatic observers didn’t need to look any further than the start of this year’s UN General Assembly.

For a start, the General Assembly Hall was sparsely populated with socially distanced diplomats. Coronavirus has kept away the heads of state, government and foreign ministers who normally gather in the UN building on the west bank of New York’s East River. Instead, the speeches have been pre-recorded and displayed on the giant screen.

No politicos means no chance for the usual annual flurry of bilaterals where the real diplomatic business is done. It also means fewer opportunities for world leaders to make the 214-mile plane journey to Washington for a photo-op and short chat with the US President.

But all of the above are relatively speaking cosmetic changes compared to the rapidly moving substantive global shifts pushing the world down uncertain paths.

This is a big anniversary for the United Nations. It is 75 years since the organisation’s founding in October 1945. Europe had been devastated by World War Two. Politically the world was still Euro-centric with the end of the colonial era yet to be confirmed. Asia was a backwater. China was riven by civil war. The Soviet Union was threatening and the United States had emerged as the number one military, political and economic power.

The formation of the UN formally ended the roughly 150 years of American isolationism and catapulted Washington into the position of world policeman and bastion of democracy, capitalism and free trade.

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Speeches of #ldconf: Layla Moran’s first as Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

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Layla Moran made her first keynote speech since taking over the Foreign Affairs spokesperson and showed that she has mastered her brief very quickly. She was as passionate and compassionate as you would expect and called out the Government on its failure to do enough to support human rights around the world.

 

Here is her speech in full:

And the text is below:

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Time for acceptance and respect: Trans Rights at Conference

I am trans and about as out as it gets. I’m not ashamed to be trans and I’m not ashamed to be out.

But I am afraid to be out.

Perhaps there are trans or non-binary people in the UK who are not afraid to be out at the moment, but I don’t know any. Being trans or non-binary and out in the UK is a scary thing as attacks on who we are (as well as attacks on us for who we are) have skyrocketed.

Trans and non-binary people in the UK live in a country where the media is, for the greater part, hostile to us—hostile to the very idea that trans and non-binary people should exist without being questioned about our right to simply be ourselves.

The older LGBTQ+ community in the UK have seen this all before, of course. Hit pieces that depicted queer people as being dangerous to “normal” people. For the most part such attack lines in the mainstream press have all but gone.

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Speeches of #ldconf: We are liberals. We give people the tools to make their own choices

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Harrow’s Adam Bernard proposed the Universal Basic Income motion last night. Here is his speech in full:

Conference,

In the preamble to our constitution, the basic statement of our values, we aspire to a society where “no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity”.

——–
In a motion about Universal Basic Income, you’d expect me to talk about poverty — and I will — but I’m going to start by talking about conformity.

I’m going to talk about conditionality and why it’s bad.

Conditionality is where we say “We’ll help you if you’re poor, but *only* if you’re the *right kind* of poor person”

It’s where we say: “Of course we’re nice. Of course this is a caring society. Of course we’ll help you. BUT first you have to prove that you’re poor enough. Prove that you’re disabled enough. Prove that you’re mentally ill enough. Prove that you’re looking for work in the right way, apply for jobs in the right way, jump through all the hoops, take what you’re given and don’t answer back.”

THAT’s conditionality. And this motion says we should get rid of it.

——–

Over the last few decades, conditionality has increased. It increased under Thatcher and Major. It increased under New Labour. It increased — to our utter shame — under the coalition. And it’s still increasing now under the Tories.

And every increase has a nice, *rational* explanation — reducing fraud, maybe, or incentivising work.

But in fact every increase in conditionality means more stigma, more pain, more families unable to put food on the table.

——–

William Beveridge — one of our great Liberal success stories — identified his Five Giant Evils: “Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness”.

He attacked Disease not by setting up “poor hospitals” only for those deepest in poverty, but by laying out the framework for the NHS, which provides care to all, rich or poor, no questions asked.

Now, in the 21st century, we are calling for the same approach to Want. A regular payment, sufficient for basic needs, to everyone in society. No stigma, no questions asked.

Yes, this will mean to rich people as well as poor people. And you should feel the same outrage at that as when rich people use the NHS, send their kids to state school, or receive a state pension.

Yes, this will be expensive, just like the NHS is expensive, like state education is expensive, like the state pension is expensive. But we know that we can’t afford *not* to have those services in a modern, fair society – and we can’t afford not to have an absolute solution to poverty either.

——–

And what about Beveridge’s giant of Idleness? Aren’t we encouraging people to be lazy?

Our society has a myth that, say, cold-calling people to ask if they’ve been in a motor vehicle accident is paid work and *therefore* is a valid and *dignified* way to spend your life, but bringing up your child, caring for your elderly parents, or volunteering to help your community is not.

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Have you tried the #ldconf Networking function?

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You know how when you are at a physical conference and going from event to event you randomly bump into people and end up chatting? There is an alternative to that at the virtual Conference.

There’s a Networking tab on the left hand side of the screen. If you click it, you will end up talking to a random conference attendee.

I had a few minutes to spare between fringe and this afternoon’s debate so I tried it out – and ended up chatting to an old friend, Lucy Care from Derby, who gave me her permission to take our pictures to share.

Why not try it out?

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Lib Dems pass motion calling for constitutional reform and a Federal UK

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The UK is in danger, said Wendy Chamberlain in her proposing speech for today’s motion calling for a federal UK. We’ve already seen one union disintegrate on the basis of divisive nationalism, she said, and we need a liberal offer to fix the union and give power back not just to state governments but to communities. The motion was about building a collaborative, constructive and consultative relationships between the nations of the UK and we will end the current structural inequalities of the Union.

Federalism has been a key part of our constitutional reform plans for as long as I have been involved in the party, but we haven’t been very good at showing how this would work in practice.

One of the biggest issues has been about how England would fit into a federal structure. The motion before Conference didn’t address this and it led to calls for it to be referred back for that to be resolved. They certainly do need to be resolved and the people who raised concerns were justified in doing so. The issue is that time is not on our side. WIth elections in Scotland and Wales less than 8 months away, we have to have something to counter the pro-independence argument.

In the end, Conference chose to pass the motion today by an overwhelming majority of 681-96 on the understanding that the Federal Policy Committee does the work on sorting out how this would work for England.

It was a very good debate, but only two women were called. Session Chair Geoff Payne said that reflected the balance of the cards submitted. So what is it about constitutional issues that causes that sort of imbalance and how do we talk about them in a more inclusive way?

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WATCH: Jane Dodds on why the Welsh Lib Dems have the answers to help Welsh people

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Last night was the first time I’ve been able to see Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds’ Conference slot live. Before I’ve always had to be elsewhere, much to my annoyance.

The interview format suited her really well. She is such an asset. Her warmth and compassion shines through and she shows that she understands the struggles that people are facing and has the answers to help. Her commitment to tackling poverty and isolation has been a hallmark of her leadership.

Watch her interview in full here:

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Virtual Conference shows how Lib Dem members can change our policy

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Adam Bernard, who was our candidate in Harrow East at the last General Election, and James Baillie, a leading voice in the Radical Association have spent much of the past five years trying to persuade the party of the merits of Universal Basic Income.  They campaigned and networked and worked with others, including the Social Liberal Forum to build the case for UBI. They have put huge amounts of energy into persuading people that this was the way to go.

When Coronavirus exposed the inadequacies of the social security safety net, they tried again to get this issue debated at Conference.

This time, it was not only chosen, but it had the full backing of the Parliamentary Party.

Last night, Adam proposed the motion which called on the party to campaign for a regular payment to all UK residents, funded in a socially just way and to ensure that people who need it still have access to support for housing and disability support.

He had the support of Jane Dodds, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and long term advocate of UBI and Wendy Chamberlain, our DWP spokesperson. Christine Jardine had been making the case for UBI all over the media. She wrote in the Mirror yesterday that UBI could be our generation’s NHS:

A basic income will be the best, fairest and simplest way to safeguard the most vulnerable in society and care for those who need it.

At the time of the creation of the NHS, doubters opposed the idea at every turn, yet now we treasure it.

Through this crisis, our pride in the institution and in the principles which created it have been palpable.

That post-war generation’s achievement has been the salvation of so many in this one.

Providing a fixed universal income to everyone with no stigma attached has the potential to be our generation’s National Health Service.

We need the states role to be helping people out of poverty and creating the equality of opportunity that leads to a prosperous life.

We must free people from the insecurity and anxiety that this virus has created and will be with us long after we have beaten it, and instead empower them to live their lives with security, dignity and freedom.

There were some fantastic speeches in the debate on both sides. Concerns were raised about affordability and whether the payment would be sufficient to meet people’s needs. Sheffield’s Laura Gordon had technical problems and was cut off mid speech and had to come back in for her 90 seconds but made her concerns about practicality really well.

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Ten former MEPs write….Why now is not the right time to campaign to rejoin the EU

This weekend at our party conference we will debate our Europe motion, clarifying the party’s policy on our relations with and towards the EU.

The main focus of debate between members is likely to be around  ‘r’. Not the COVID ‘r’, which we have all become used to, but the Brexit ‘r’ word – rejoin. 

We all remember the joy we felt last May when our representation in Europe went from one solitary MEP, Catherine Bearder, to a surprisingly fulsome group of 16 from right across the country – several of whom had not expected to be elected. 

It was a symbol of how strongly people felt about Brexit, and, thanks to a proportional electoral system, their commitment to EU membership was reflected in our election result. 

I can honestly say no one in the party, or outside it, regrets our departure from Europe more strongly than the 16 of us. 

But the world has changed since 31st January beyond what any of us could have imagined.

Hard though it is to accept, for those of us who fought tooth and nail to stop Brexit, most people’s attention is now far more  are now far more focused distracted by on COVID and the implications it is having for their families and jobs, the economy, education and our health and social care services. 

As a party, it would be wise for us  to focus on the fact that only 2% of UK voters now think Brexit is the most important issue facing us. We are back to the sort of numbers seen before the EU referendum was even a thing. Remember that? When no one ever talked about our relationship with Europe – except the Daily Mail!

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Conference gets off to a good start

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Party President, Mark Pack, opened the Conference this afternoon, paying tribute to members who had lost their lives, or the lives of people dear to them, through the pandemic.

Before that Geoff Payne, the Chair of Federal Conference Committee, introduced us to the studio set at HQ, and I must say that it had all the feel of a real-life Conference, if in miniature, and is far removed from our all-too-familiar Zoom experience. This was followed by a scene setting video showing places all over the UK.

We have our wonderful signers in the corner of the screen – I love watching them. I clearly remember the time, some years ago, when one of them demonstrated the BSL for bullshit, not to mention “I’m not a happy bunny”.

The first business item was to agree the revisions to Standing Orders that were needed in order to carry out the Conference remotely. Voting was really simple – just a click under the Polls tab.

During gaps between items we were shown short videos. I caught one from the Council group at St Albans talking about what they had done for their residents during lockdown.

The chat function is being put to good use – people are diving in to answer questions from first timers , while others are simply meeting and greeting. As far as I can see, chat is specific to where you are, so when you are in the Auditorium you can discuss the motion under debate – something we couldn’t do very easily in real life!

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Winning for Britain: Rebuilding the Lib Dems to change the course of our country

Today, we have published a new report with the Social Liberal Forum “Winning for Britain: Rebuilding the Lib Dems to change the course of our country“. We have done so because we passionately believe the Lib Dems must learn from last year’s catastrophic election defeat, not only for the good of the party and Liberalism, but because if we don’t the Conservative will rule for another decade.

We present evidence of the scale of what went wrong last December and ideas on what needs to change. Some of this is about data collection, analysis and improved message testing. But our report is also about the party’s strategic positioning, relative to the voter groups we need to win over.

The challenge in front of us is to build a coalition that spans voter tribes labelled in the report as the Green Left, Older Establishment Liberals, Progressive Cosmopolitans, Young Insta-Progressives, Centre-Left Pragmatists, Mainstream Tories and into the Younger Disengaged and the Older Disillusioned. In the latter two groups, the majority currently do not vote at all.

Our argument is that this coalition can only be built by a fundamentally progressive and socially liberal turn that consigns Cleggism and “equidistance” to the past. The Lib Dems must fight from the centre left but rather than being a pale imitation of Labour, must offer our own distinct, Liberal alternative to the Conservatives. The research in the report shows that the voter tribes we need to attract will support us on social justice, environmentalism, and internationalism. It shows we will get support if we attack unaccountable and over-concentrated private sector power. It shows that we can tap into new sources of support in disillusioned communities, young and old, if we challenge over-concentrated public power too. It shows we can win if we expand citizen voice and use it to erode the toxic perception that politicians are out of touch, a perception that helps drive support for right wing populists who claim to speak for ‘the people’.

But our report also shows that we should move on to territory that some in our potential voter coalition care about and that we often ignore. Issues like patriotism and social order matter to some voter tribes where we have strong potential to grow our support.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 11 Comments

Logging in to Conference

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home


Well, I’ve done it, and it works!

If you have registered for our very first Virtual Conference then you will have been sent an email with the subject line “Your ticket to Lib Dem Conference”. Click on the link and our Virtual Conference is revealed in all its glory.

It’s very easy to navigate. Over on the right you can edit your profile and upload a photo.

As I write 296 people have logged in already. You can see who is there under People, and if you click on a name you can invite them to a video call.  Alternatively you can just add a general comment under Chat.

The left hand menu takes you to the main elements of the Conference – Auditorium, Fringe and Training, Networking and the Exhibition. And below the main banner on the home pages you will find a “What’s Happening Now” section.

We are advised that the best way to view Conference is by using Chrome on a laptop or tablet. In the comments perhaps you could let us know if you have managed it successfully using any other hardware/software platforms. You can download Chrome here.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments
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