miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
At something of a rough time for the party, the FCC was perhaps wise to pick a series of Bread and Circuses motions for conference. Although some of what was said in debate might have been controversial outside the hall, not one of those votes was going to cause real ructions among the party faithful. I suspect, with a heavy heart, that this is why no Immigration motion was on the agenda again. The possibilities for adverse publicity are just too high with that one.

But no true Lib Dem was going to seriously argue against saving the NHS, or DLA, or Linda Jack's brilliant Youth Justice reforms. Yes, there were some scuffles over bits of each of these motions, but none of them was really controversial. The Strategy motion was always going to be adopted with whoops and cheers, and the Access to Justice motion was similarly loudly and enthusiastically adopted.

The thing is... Lib Dem Conference is about robust debate. And without it, it all felt a bit flat. Motherhood and apple pie is all very comforting, but I wanted some fire in my belly. For the first time ever the media are actually paying proper attention to what happens at conference, and while they are still doing their best to misrepresent us, we don't really help ourselves by not showing them the principled and glorious debates we can have over stuff we don't all agree on. The Diversity motion is a case in point. We seem to have one every conference, and usually it is a source of very interesting debate between the pro and anti positive discrimination camps. But the motion this time was such a flaccid fudge that nobody could really object to it. Not even me.

I can understand why, with the hordes* of protesters outside, there was the urge to hunker down and support the tribe. I just wish we hadn't given in to it completely.

* up to a thousand, but mostly just a handful, and on Sunday, for most of the day, just one



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