With the Liberal Democrat (federal party) spring conference coming up in Sheffield on 11-13th March, I am going to be doing a series of posts previewing some of the main items up for debate, expanding on my previous whistlestop tour of the conference agenda.
First, however, is a look at the fringe meetings being held over the weekend. These meetings may not have the power to decide in the way that conference debates can, but they do often give a great chance to hear issues discussed in greater and more expert detail than the rather staccato main hall style of 3-5 minute speeches back to to back.
The highlights I’d pick out are:
Lords Reform 1911-2011: A century after the veto power of the Lords was broken in 1911, democracy has still been kept out of the Lords. The History Group’s fringe meeting will look at both past and present attempts to reform the Lords. Friday, 8pm, Jury Inn Suite 3.
Vince Cable and Evan Harris in discussion over further and higher education: It is a smart move by the Social Liberal Forum to get two prominent people with very contrasting views together – and in a format that should shed more light than heat if Evan’s previous ‘in discussion’ with Nick Clegg is anything to go by. Saturday, 1pm, Mercure St Paul’s Hotel, City Suite A.
Breakthrough or breakdown? CentreForum looks at the electoral prospects for the party with Tim Farron (briefly, as the new Party President is continuing the Simon Hughes tradition of doing two fringes at the same time), Chris Huhne and academic polling expert Paul Whiteley. Saturday, 6:15pm, Mercure St Paul’s Hotel, City Suite A.
Who runs the internet? The Voice’s own fringe meeting with James Blessing, Evan Harris, Jim Killock and Mary Reid as trailed here. Saturday, 8pm, Mercure St Paul’s Hotel, Meeting 6.
These are of course only the four best fringe meetings in my own view – your own view, especially if you have different interests, may be different. So do check the full list of fringe meetings including in the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference agenda and directory:49086177-Liberal-Democrat-Spring-Conference-Agenda-and-Directory-2011
Further information about the Liberal Democrat federal conference is available in the Party Conference section on the main party website and the official Lib Dem conference Twitter account is @LibDemConf.