the battle for democracy at Lib Dem Conference

It is very nearly time for Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference, but many of us who would normally know by now that they are attending do not. Some know that the Party that they have served for years does not now want them to attend on the advice of the Greater Manchester Police. One of those is Gareth Epps, a longtime attendee, and I thought well respected party member, has said on his blog:

The concept of ‘processing’ party members is anathema to many: we are Liberals and against this sort of thing.  However, the incompetence of the police system (fuelling suspicions that it is a job-creation exercise for Greater Manchester Police, without any genuine basis in providing security) is endangering the basis of having a democratic political conference itself.

As readers will know, I find myself unable to answer the stupid questions in the registration form for police accreditation. I am intending to travel to Birmingham to make my voice heard. We need to stand up to those who are attempting to bully our party into submission.

Those of us who have been elected as representatives of our local parties at our local AGMs have the right to represent our local parties at Federal Conference each year. What right has the constabulary to tell us we cannot attend. This issue has now hit the national press (see The Independent). This is a mighty big row, and it is not going to be allowed to settle down.

I’m sure that, like Gareth, I shall be posting on this issue a lot more in the forthcoming days and weeks.

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