Conference season is once again upon us, and CAF’s Policy & Campaigns team have headed north of the border to Glasgow for Liberal Democrat party conference 2013. With the next election approaching fast, political parties of all colours will be trying to work out what makes ordinary people tick. Our conference theme this year is people power, and we’ll be speaking to Liberal Democrat politicians and members to explain to them what we’ve learned from our research into the background of people that support good causes.
Whilst party conferences have recently tended to take place in the big cities away from the classical seaside resorts, for some reason Scotland has been consistently neglected by conference organisers. In fact, this is the first time for almost twenty years that one of the three largest national parties has held their annual conference in Glasgow – the previous time was also the Lib Dems, in 1995 under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown (now Lord Ashdown) – with neither Labour nor the Conservatives venturing to Scotland for conference in the post-war era.
With less than two years until polling day, the Lib Dems arrive after a year of stability which has seen Nick Clegg’s position as leader of the party strengthen, and a slight resurgence in the polls. However it is clear that much work remains ahead for the party if they are to convince the public that they should remain a party of government, and Clegg will use his speech to champion policies designed to connect with the public based upon his message of a stronger economy and a fairer society.
The Lib Dems derive a healthy number of their Members of Parliament from Scottish constituencies (20%), and with the referendum on Scottish independence scheduled to take place next year, the news agenda promises to include a healthy dose of Scottish politics for the foreseeable future. Whilst the Lib Dems haven’t been quite so successful when it comes to elections to the Scottish Parliament, they will be keen to improve their polling position north of the border to ensure the safety of party stalwarts and key representatives in the Government such as Danny Alexander, Michael Moore and Jo Swinson at the next election.
With Lib Dems focusing on how they can reconnect with people to power them to success at the polls, we’re keen to get them along to our stand where they can find out more about people power in action – specifically how people can power charities. We’re here in our gym attire to put top Lib Dems through their paces and we’ll be informing though why we need to harness people power to support good causes and increase the size of Britain’s Civic Core – the minority of the public responsible for the majority of charitable activity.
We’re also holding a fringe event to discuss the ways that people can power charities in more detail, and we’ve got some of the top Liberal Democrat parliamentarians coming along to debate how we can get millions of people backing Britain’s charities. If you’ve got a conference pass, why not come along and hear about our research, as well as how the experts think we can get more people giving to good causes?
CAF’s Lib Dem Fringe:
Tuesday 17th September
Barra Room, Crowne Plaza, Glasgow
Speakers: Stephen Gilbert MP, Baroness Jolly, Mike Thornton MP, Dr John Low CBE (Charities Aid Foundation)
Chair: Toby Helm, Political Editor of The Observer