Links of the day

In case you’ve missed it, OurKingdom has Henry Porter’s speech at last week’s Lib Dem Conference Rally.

Mark Pack has some sage, if counter intuitive advice to bloggers (especially grumpy ones): in short if you’re in a hole, keep digging.

Richard Kemp is concerned about how the party’s policy making process is increasingly being subverted and ignoring the views of local government.

Oh, and can I just say I’m starting to like the pattern that is forming opinion poll-wise. More please.


  1. James,

    With my Head of Policy and Research hat on, I’m slightly concerned about how you describe Richard Kemp’s piece. At no point does Richard talk about the party’s policy making procedure being ‘subverted’.

    Chris Huhne’s motion was not a formal FPC paper, and like any Local Party/10 delegates, his motion was put on the agenda in the correct way by submitting the motion to the FCC. The motion attracted amendments which were voted on and accepted and rejected as conference wished.

    It so happened that Chris had produced a paper to support his motion which was placed on the website and distributed at conference. A request was made to send the paper out with the final mailing and/or put it in conference delgates packs but that request was refused by the FCC as it was not a formal FPC policy paper. So Chris had little choice but to distribute himself.

    All the best


  2. Greg, that’s an awfully defensive comment given that it is over the differential interpretation of one word. At the end of the day, all I’ve done is provide a link and included some window dressing.

    Wouldn’t you be better off taking the matter up with Richard rather than using me as a proxy?

  3. Hi James,

    I’m sorry, I am not using you as a proxy. It is your caricature of what Richard’s article is about that I am challenging.

    You provide a link to how “Richard Kemp is concerned about how the party’s policy making process is increasingly being subverted and ignoring the views of local government.”

    I’m sensitive to this because to some extent I am one of the ‘guardians’ of the party’s policy making process and the charge of subversion is significant to me in a professional capacity.

    I’m defensive because you (not richard) have charged that the party’s policy making is being increasingly subverted – in particular relation to the debate that Richard discusses.

    I have posted to reassure you that the submission of the Cutting Crime motion that was debated at conference followed all the rules as set out in the Party Constitution and Conference standing orders – just as did all the other non-FPC motions that were on the confernce agenda.

    I hope that clarifies.

    All the best


  4. Okay, well, clearly you aren’t going to let this drop. Fair enough then. I will spell it out.

    Richard Kemp makes the following charges in his article:

    1. That the paper and motion were only debated in the AOB section of a Shadow Cabinet meeting.
    2. That most MPs hadn’t seen it until a week before conference.
    3. That the paper itself was not made available to delegates until the night before the debate (it has since been clarified that the paper was available online before that but I was only commenting on the article itself and even notwithstanding that you had to be aware the paper was there in order to comment on it).
    4. MPs were paged three times to vote in the debate.
    5. The handling of the debate alienated councillors.

    Now, you can argue about the veracity with any or all of those points but what you cannot deny is, taken together, the process could be described as “subverted”. It was an “unofficial-official” policy motion and that is an uncomfortable position to be in and an even more uncomfortable precedent to set.

    To be honest, of all the events last week, I’m not particularly bothered about this. I thought it was an interesting article and I paraphrased it. Maybe I could have done better, but given that the whole intention to linking to it here was to encourage people to read the thing, I struggle – really struggle – to understand your prickliness here.

    Now, if we are going to talk about “subverting” the policy making process, let’s talk about Make it Happen, where a major shift in taxation policy has signalled clandestinely with no costings (a first for the Lib Dems) and with the movers of the motion directly contradicting the party leader’s interpretation. We could talk about the balance of the debate, why so few women were called and why the movers of the amendment weren’t allowed their full slate of appointed speakers, whereas the movers of the motion were. As a “guardian” of the policy making process, I suggest you look into that particular debacle instead of getting upset about the interpretation of a single word.

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