4 key things in the Lib Dem autumn conference agenda

The agenda for the Lib Dem federal conference coming up in Bournemouth, the first with Jo Swinson as party leader, is now out.

You can read it in full below, and when doing so watch out for the following in amongst the other important items:

  1. Motion F4, “Continuing the Fight for Gender Equality”, has plenty of substantive policy to it. It also – potentially – sets out the framework for the party to run campaigns much more in the style of a pressure group. That is, building coalitions with others to bring about substantive changes in how our country is run, as opposed to ‘electioneering’, which is about winning votes to get political power as the way to change how our country is run. Both are important, but too often in the party we treat campaigning as if it is electioneering, without embracing that other meaning. Topics such as the one in this motion are a great opportunity to put that right – and to make progress in implementing our ideals.
  2. Motion F9, “Equal Marriage”, highlights why Liberal Democrats should be careful to talk about having achieved the legalisation of same-sex marriage during the coalition rather than equal marriage. That’s because issues such as the spousal veto in England and Wales mean marriage is still short of being equal for all. (Getting that distinction right is one, I hope, I have got much better at on this site although you will see that speeches I quote from other Lib Dems still often talk about equal marriage having already been achieved.)
  3. Motion F19, “Education is for Everyone”, follows up the work Vince Cable kicked off when party leader on providing life-long learning opportunities. As he rightly points out, the political focus on post-18 education is on those who go to university. Those who are nearly as numerous but on average less well off who don’t go to university get far less political attention – and all the more so older people who are in need of retraining to keep up with a changing job market. This motion aims to put that right.
  4. p.41 lines 29-32: yes that’s me at work, hoping to follow up my previous triumph.

Here is the Liberal Democrat conference agenda in full.

UPDATE: Here also is Conference Extra, including details of the debate about revoking Article 50.

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