by Chris Wiggin on 16 September, 2017
Liberal Democrats from across the country are meeting for their Autumn Conference in Bournemouth.
Local Lib Dem activist Chris Wiggin attended a packed fringe event with Your Liberal Britain and former party leader Paddy Ashdown where members were invited to pitch suggestions for both party policy and how the party could be better run.
Chris pitched his policy priority to Your Liberal Britain at a previous conference – more devolution of power to local and community councils – and this has become one of Your Liberal Britain’s key priorities for the future policy direction of the party.
This time Chris pitched his idea for improving internal party democracy. To increase participation in policy debates, and to make policy decisions truly representative of the membership, Chris proposed online voting on policy debates.
Chris said, “I love coming to party conference to debate policy with fellow Liberal Democrats, but there are many people who can’t come for many reasons including cost, getting the time work or care arrangements for those they look after. Now we have one member one vote in place, allowing online voting after debates would allows everyone to have a say rather than just those who can come to conference.”
“My student union at York introduced a system like this when I was an elected officer over ten years ago to boost participation in union decision making. Previously debates could not occur at all unless the meeting was quorate, with votes only padding when large single interest groups turned up. With online voting, the debates were guaranteed to take place, and the debates were recorded to ensure everyone could access them before voting. This ensured much larger participation overall. I believe something similar could benefit the Liberal Democrats as we will know that our votes are more representative of the membership as a whole.”
Chris met afterwards with another activist with similar ideas for increasing participation, and they will work together with a view to proposing this at a future conference.Leave a comment