There are two new stories up on the main Liberal Democrat website about the views of party members on topics that are currently very much up for debate in the party.
First, on Europe, where the party is working out how to flesh out the route between where we are now and the party’s long term aim of seeing the UK return to the European Union. As Duncan Brack writes on the party website:
You may remember, last November, taking part in a survey on members’ views on Brexit and the party’s campaigning on the future of UK–EU relations. Thanks to everyone who participated – 6,500 members, more than any previous survey of this type – and thanks to Greg Foster and Dan Schmeising at party HQ who organised it on behalf of the Federal Policy Committee. This article gives you the results.
Second, on party reform there’s a story from me reporting on the views of party members on the future of the Federal Board:
After the disappointment and failure of the 2019 general election, an independent post-mortem was carried out into what went wrong. The findings of the Thornhill Review set a broad and challenging reform agenda for the party, which we’ve made good progress on implementing so far.
On the role of the Federal Board itself, the Thornhill Review found that:
– The lack of connection between operational, political and governing parts of the party has created structures which foster a lack of collaboration and isolated decision making. (p.35)
– A fragmented organisation led to low collaboration and isolated decision making. (p.33)
– There is no clear ‘leadership team’ where the three pillars of the party – political, operational, federal – can make cohesive decisions, simply, quickly, and effectively. The Federal Board – 40+ members – is not, cannot, and should not be that team. (p.34)
– The Federal Board was often a ‘rubber-stamp’ and is too large a group to be a realistic decision-making body. (p.22)
Having a well-functioning Board is not only crucial therefore to our future successes. It’s also crucial to make our internal democracy work – because when committees aren’t working well, power seeps away into unaccountable corners, behind the scenes.
That’s why the Federal Board has run a series of consultation sessions at conferences in 2020 and 2021 on possible reforms, and then carried out a more detailed and specific consultation survey before Christmas.