Daily Archives: 12 September 2006

URGENT: Support needed from Lib Dem Conference Reps

I’m urgently trying to get conference representatives to propose the following amendment to the Diversity and Equality motion being debated on Monday at Conference:

Insert between lines 15 and 16:

“Conference reaffirms existing policy on gender balance, in particular its call for ‘The Federal Executive to ensure that the Campaign for Gender Balance is adequately funded in order to carry out its function in finding, training and developing female candidates.'”

In line 16, delete “the initial recommendations of”.

In line 29, replace “Gender Balance Task Force” with “Campaign for Gender Balance”.

It’s a deceptively simple amendment, so let me explain. I have deep concerns that the motion is being used to effectively sideline the Campaign for Gender Balance, just one year after Conference reiterated its support of it. While in principle the motion merely adds to existing policy, Simon Hughes and Chris Rennard’s hostility to the CGB is well known and I believe passing this motion unamended will be used as justification for them to do whatever they want.

The motion, for example, asks us to note a set of recommendations that Conference has not even seen (line 16) – they aren’t published in the Conference Reports, or anywhere else.

The motion goes on to “welcome … plans to provide greater staff resources at party headquarters for promoting diversity and equality”* and yet the reason used for not supporting CGB/GBTF in the past has been a lack of resources.

So, this amendment seeks to make it absolutely crystal clear that the strategy adopted by Conference 5 years ago, and then again 12 months ago, is to be not dropped.

To be honest, I’m not completely convinced that an amendment such as this will be enough. My inclination is that nothing less than throwing out the entire motion will cause sufficient embarrassment from the party leadership stop playing games on this issue. This amendment however gives them the benefit of the doubt.

If you ARE a voting conference rep, then I will need the following from you:

  • Your full name
  • Your membership number
  • The local party/SAO you are a voting conference rep of

Please email all three of these to semajmaharg@gmail.com.


*Actually, if you read the small print (the FFAC report to be precise), you will find that absolutely no provision has been made to pay for this.