My latest post on the Liberal Democrats English Council is now live on Liberal Democrat Voice; “Report on the June 2012 meeting of the English Council”.
To supplement that here are a few, more personal, observations:
This was a much better and less grumpy meeting than the first one I attended at the beginning of last year. It gave me more hope that the English party structures are being operated effectively.
I was glad that the constitutional amendment allowing greater freedom in drawing up the boundaries of local parties was passed. If the implementation is done right, which isn’t an easy task, then the opportunity exists for the party structure on the ground to work more efficiently and to fit better with our campaigning objectives in different areas of the country. If we end up with a patchwork, with areas of lower membership and activity being combined into more workable local parties based on local government boundaries and seats with a realistic chance of getting an MP elected having local parties organised around that parliamentary constituency, then I think it will be better than what we have now. This change should go ahead irrespective of whether the proposed changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries takes place. This will of course require regional parties to provide a fairly strong steer about what they want in their areas.
Finally, I thought I’d mention a little item that will be of interest to those concerned about the accreditation of conference attendees. At the end of the day there was an interesting exchange between Geoff Payne, the English Council’s representative on the Federal Conference Committee, and David Grace who had asked a question on his report. This brought some welcome clarification about just how the recent decision-making (or internal dispute) on this issue had been resolved. It is clear that as far as the Federal Party is concerned the body within the Party that will make decisions about accreditation, now and in the future, will be the Federal Finance and Administration Committee.