Monday, April 16, 2012

The Liberal Democrat FCC should stick to party policy on the accreditation of conference representatives

In the middle many people's local election campaigns and with a post on one blog, the chair of the Liberal Democrat Federal Conference Committee (FCC) has launched a consultation on conference accreditation.

This is an odd way of doing things, particularly as it is rumoured that the exercise came as a surprise to some FCC members.

But it is even odder than that. The subject was debated and decided at the party's last Autumn Conference. Andrew Emmerson has the text of the motion that was passed in Birmingham last year.

So my reply to this consultation is that FCC should abide by the democratic decision of the party.

It's not as if the arguments put forward in the Lib Dem Voice post are very good. Take this:
Two senior officers of Sussex police attended an FCC meeting in late March and outlined the reasons they are asking the party to use accreditation. It is their clear view that party conferences, including ours while we are in government, attract people who wish to cause serious harm and violence to conference-goers (and also to those working in the venue and other residents of Brighton, whom they also have a duty to protect). This includes large international terrorist organisations, but also individuals who are able to make bombs or other equipment. 
They gave some examples of lone individuals who have caused serious violence, or attempted to, ranging from the 1984 Brighton bombing to the Norwegian gunman at a youth political event.
The 1984 Brighton bomb was placed in the Grand weeks before Conservative Conference. There was no need for the IRA bombers to register for the event. Nor was Anders Behring Breivik registered for the event on which he opened fire. It is hard to see that conference accreditation has anything to do with these two outrages.

According to the Lib Dem Voice you have only until Saturday 21 April to send you views to the chair of FCC.

There are some good blog posts on this subject:
You may also be interested in an article on the accreditation that I wrote for the Guardian's Comment is Free site just before the Birmingham Conference last September.

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