Thursday, July 21, 2022

Never mind abolishing the royal family, did Liz Truss vote to decriminalise cannabis?

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The media has picked up on the 1994 Liberal Democrat conference where Liz Truss unsuccessfully moved a motion calling for the abolition of the royal family.

A glance at Liberator 224, the first issue published after that conference, reveals that Truss's motion was very much a sideshow.

What really annoyed the party leadership that September was conference calling for the establishment of a royal commission on drug policy. 

Though this fell some way short of the call for the decriminalisation of cannabis the original motion sought, Paddy Ashdown, then the party's leader, was said to be furious.

In later years he admitted that the idea of decriminalisation had proved much more popular with the public than he'd expected. Today, it is Liberal Democrat policy.

But there were two brief mention of Liz Truss's royal family motion in that issue.

Radical Bulletin reported:
No party serious about constitutional reform can shy away from the future role of the monarchy, and the Liberal Democrats were right to debate it, But then the Youth and Students motion was predictably defeated, a group of right-wing youths started waving Union Jacks and singing patriotic songs. If these sad gits are this bad in their early twenties, what on earth will they be like in middle age?
I imagine they're all in the Conservative Party and looking forward to voting for Liz Truss

Meanwhile, Lord Bonkers commented in his diary:
One disappointment is that the Conference declines to order the immediate transportation of the entire Royal Family.
Back to the motion calling for the decriminalisation of cannabis, which was moved by the Saffron Walden branch of the party and enthusiastically supported by LDYS (Liberal Democrat Youth and Students - then the party's youth wing).

So what I really want to know is: did Liz Truss back the call for the decriminalisation of cannabis in the original motion?

Later. This post has been slightly revised as it originally said the drugs motion came from LDYS.


Richard Gadsden said...

The original decriminalisation motion was from Saffron Walden Lib Dems (curiously enough, Kemi Badenoch is now the MP for Saffron Walden) not from LDYS, though we certainly supported it.

IIRC, Chris Davies (later MP and MEP) proposed it.

Liz's personal vote will not be easy to know about - you'd need someone who was sitting next to her to say for sure, but her vote in the LDYS conference earlier that year will have been easy to identify; there were only 200 or so people at LDYS conferences in those days.

Jonathan Calder said...

Thanks for the information.