Look. We all pretty much agree that in an ideal world we wouldn’t need any vetting procedure for the #ldconf. In fact I believe we don’t need any even in this day and age. With bag searches and metal detectors et al the venue should be secure. Yes I know that it is relatively easy to sign-up with a fake name so nothing wrong with someone checking who you are via NI, Passport or Diving License. My problem is clearly that the police can vet who goes and as far as i’m aware they can turn you down without having to explain why. I wrote a blog post on it here and you can sign a petition to Keep Liberal Democrat Conference Liberal behind the link.
Now whilst it is important that the police should not be allowed to veto attendance and even more so not have to explain why. In the grand scheme of things do the people of this country want to hear lots of lib Dems bleating about something that doesn’t concern them or do they want to hear the Lib Dems talking about the economy, the NHS or education?
As Lib Dems we generally are more insular and care about things that the general public aka the electorate do not give two hoots about and in bad times concentrating on the things few people outside of Lib Dems give a damn about is neither popular nor is it wise.
Whilst all three parties had House of Lords Reform in their 2010 manifestos it is generally seen as a Lib Dem policy. Both the Tories and Labour would let it slide knowing it was not a priority. Electoral Reform was important to us and whilst there was a groundswell of public opinion behind a change that died away quickly leaving us flogging a dying horse and losing the referendum badly.
It is a problem the party and the people in the party have always had. However in these times the little things are not on the electorate’s minds. So we need to be seen to be prioritising the important issues that people care about. If we get those right as part of this coalition government then we can get the little things right later. When you start cleaning out your wardrobe you don’t start with which shoes go with which top – you start with find out out what fits and what you like – then the other factors can weigh in on the clothes that are left over.
So to sum up – whilst this petition and worry about the vetting procedure to attend #ldconf are worth debating – they shouldn’t become the focus of the party because if they do then suddenly the public at large will once more believe that the Liberal Democrat Party care only about themselves and not the important issues facing the country today.
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