...a blog by Richard Flowers

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 4112: Oh Dear Federal Conference Committee


Please, please, please read this GOLDEN posting from Mr Dave and then take the time to write – POLITELY – to the FCC ( about their BLITHERING proposals to let the POLICE decide who can come to OUR Conference.

Please remind them that we're the Liberal DEMOCRATS and not the "Liberal DO-WHAT-THE-FUZZ-SAYS-OCATS".


Here's what Daddy Richard wrote:
I am distressed to learn from Andrew Wiseman's article for Liberal Democrat Voice of 14th April that once again you are considering conceding to the police the right to conduct checks on which of our members are permitted to attend Federal Conference.

The most important concern is that this is clearly an unwarranted constraint on the right of Party members to attend and participate in conference. The ability of the police to deny access to the democratic process – no matter what safeguards and party committees are required to give their approval – is illiberal.

If the police wish to stop you voting in a General Election, they are required to arrest you, and convict you by presenting evidence to a court. The proposals outlined by Andrew in his piece make no mention of whether the member in question will even be informed that the police have raised an objection, much less afforded the right to make a defence, which is clearly against natural justice.

We should be opposing this, not making it a part of our processes.

Second there is the question of intrusion. It is in the nature of state bureaucracies to gather more data simply because they can. I note, appalled, that it is necessary to "insist" on data being deleted after it is used. The routine assumption being that the police are entitled to keep data on private citizens once they have gathered it, just because! Again, we ought to resist this on principle. And on top of the general point, there are particular issues concerning the privacy of some LGBT+ members that are really not properly addressed by the proposals. As the Party that would like to think of ourselves as the most inclusive and welcoming, are we really happy to be seen closing the door to an important community?

Thirdly, but perhaps most likely to carry you, it seems that this proposal would be expensive and counter-productive, diverting limited police resources into performing background checks and away from measures that might have a measurable effect on the security of the conference. The examples Andrew listed in his piece as given by the police – the Brighton bombing and the Norwegian gunman – were both committed by individuals who were not registered for the conference and would therefore not have been prevented by any background check. Indeed, I should be grateful to know if accreditation has prevented any terrorist attack. Has any terrorist ever registered for the event which they intended to attack? Were they picked up by a review of their past associations?

I am highly concerned that the purpose of accreditation is to give the impression of security while not actually making anyone any safer. And indeed, by diverting resources, actually making the conference less safe.

Fourthly, I am sure that I do not need to remind you that conference passed a motion at Birmingham that specifically said:

"Conference therefore calls upon... The Party President to ensure that conference arrangements respect Article 6 of the federal constitution which provides that Local Parties elect representatives and that no other body within or without the party has the power to exclude in advance their attendance at conference."

(see: HERE {pdf})

To summarise: the proposal for conference accreditation is illiberal, anti-democratic, intrusive, unlikely to deliver any increase in security and quite possibly dangerously wasteful of police time and money and against the Party Constitution and the express will of Federal Conference.

I therefore ask you to please think again.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Flowers
Tower Hamlets Conference Representative


More on this from Auntie Caron and Uncle Stephen O'the Glenn

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