It’s that time of year again, Lib Dem Autumn Conference is nearly upon us. If you want to speak at or vote at conference, and haven’t registered yet, there is still time. Go to www.libdems.org.uk/conference to register.
It is probably fair to say that the biggest agenda items for radical liberals are:
- F8: Universal Basic Income (at 19:50 on Friday 25th Sept)
- F23: Europe (at 17:25 on Sunday 27th September)
UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
Whilst the party leadership are backing Universal Basic Income (UBI), we anticipate that radical voices are going to be crucial to ensuring that the party does not shy away from the radical overhaul of the tax and benefits system necessary to make UBI achieve its intended goals.
We encourage everyone who is supportive of the idea to put cards in to speak in favour of the motion, and to underline the importance of ensuring that the basic income is properly funded and set at a level where it will make a real difference to those living in poverty and on low incomes.
This motion is a "statement of principle" with the exact details of our UBI policy to be fleshed out in a motion which the Federal Policy Committee will bring to a later conference.
As no amendments on the UBI motion have been accepted for debate, we urge you to vote in favour of the motion.
Meanwhile, the motion on Europe looks set to be a passionate debate.
The text of the motion seeks to keep "all options open" on the issue of the UK's future relationship with Europe, and briefings to the media from party HQ have presented the motion as being about ruling out Lib Dem support for rejoining the EU.
We don't yet know what amendments will be accepted for debate on this motion but we have grave concerns that the impact if the motion passes will be disastrous to the fortunes of the Liberal Democrats.
With a No Deal Brexit looking increasingly likely by the end of the year, and Labour firmly retaining a stance of centrist equivocation on the issue, there is a real risk that by adopting a non-committal stance we could end up alienating pro-European voters, as well as many of our members and supporters, without gaining much additional support from elsewhere.
We urge our members to pay particular attention to the debate on this motion and to support any amendments which seek to preserve the identity of the Liberal Democrats as an unashamedly pro-European party.
SPEAKING IN DEBATES
You can submit a speakers’ card at www.libdems.org.uk/speakers-card, make sure you submit your card before 16:00 on the day before the debate you want to speak in.
You should then be emailed to let you know if you are being called to speak in the debate by 21:00 on the day before the debate.
If you’d like help with your speech, on these or any other motions, please let us know: we can offer a sympathetic ear to provide feedback and potentially tips on how to bolster your arguments.
OTHER ITEMS WE URGE SUPPORT FOR
- F7: Nature of Public Debate During COVID-19 (at 18:40 on Friday 25th September)
We would urge members to support Amendment 1 replacing the idea of using citizens’ juries with more active surveying methods, recognising that it is vital to get input from marginalised groups (who have been among those most affected by COVID-19 and who have least access to public engagement events).
- F18: Racial Justice Cannot Wait (at 10:50 on Sunday 27th Sept)
We would encourage support for both Amendments 1 and 2 to strengthen the motion.
- F21: A Green Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic (at 15:05 on Sunday 27th September)
We would encourage members to support Amendment 1 on the importance of access to green space and linking up habitats.
- F32: Supporting Trans and Non-Binary People Within the Liberal Democrats (at 19:40 on Monday 28th Sept)
We would imagine this should command broad support from conference, but the graveyard timeslot at the end of conference could mean that a combination of low general attendance and committed attendance from transphobes could threaten it, so we would urge our members to attend and support the motion.