Nick Clegg’s letter from the Leader: ‘Keep winning’


The latest in Nick’s Letter from the Leader pinged into our emails yesterday just as his speech finished in Brighton. [Well done LibDem HQ!]libdem-ltr-from-nick-clegg

I’ve just had a wonderful three days with Liberal Democrat members at Conference in Brighton.

Until today, I have spent nearly three years asking you to hold firm. Three years urging you to remain steady under fire. And you have.

But in my speech today, I gave you a different message: Win.

Get back out there. Tell our side of the story. And we will win again – on the doorstep, in town halls, in Government. Keep fighting for what we believe in. Keep winning. Building a stronger economy, a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg

Do you know someone who would like to get Nick’s weekly email? Forward this message and they can sign up here:

Of course, here in Northern Ireland, we Liberal Democrats don’t stand [currently] despite Nick’s telling us that we (LibDems) would be standing everywhere in the UK at the next general election at conference a couple of years ago. But we get his message from yesterday about what is being achieved by the Parliamentary Party in Westminster. [Not of all it is really liberal of course, but that’s another story.]



NI is abroad now… @libdems ?

Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats

Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest issue in a long-running saga with the Federal Party of the Liberal Democrats has raised its head today.

At least one of our Northern Ireland members received an email today regarding the selection of candidates for election to the European Parliament.

Jonathan Davies, Senior Returning Officer writes, (with my comments in RED appended)

This autumn we will be selecting our candidates for the next European elections, which take place in 2014. (Oh good, that’ll help us all be able to campaign effectively.) I know these are elections in which many members living outside the UK have a special interest, (I’m sure that members who live outside the UK do have such an interest) so I am pleased to be able to tell you how you can take part in the selection. But to participate, you need to take action now.

All Liberal Democrat members living outside the UK who are registered to vote in UK elections can vote in the selection. (Northern Ireland is not outside the UK.) If you are not already registered, click here to find out more.

To take part in this autumn’s selection of European Parliamentary candidates, you must register with Party HQ not later than 31st August. Please click here and complete your details to register. You will then be able to vote for the selection of the Euro candidates for the Region where you are registered to vote. (Except that in our region (in the UK) does not field candidates.) Ballot papers will be sent out at the beginning of November.

It seems that the Federal Party has failed to recognise a few key things:

  1. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.
  2. The Northern Ireland local party of the Liberal Democrats is not in any region.
  3. At present the Liberal Democrats do not select candidates for the European Election in Northern Ireland.

So, as at least one member is asking,

What about those of us who live in the UK and aren’t allowed to vote for a Lib Dem candidate !

When is the Federal Party going to wake up to our existence – and truly integrate us into the Party. Understanding us is not difficult. And there are many local Lib Dems who have told me that they want to be able to field candidates in Elections, and furthermore, there are voters who have told me that they would like to be able to vote for the Liberal Democrats. So please, could someone from Lib Dem HQ please get back to us. Simon Hughes told us that he would sort out getting a meeting with the Chief Executive well over a year ago. Still nothing.

I’m getting really fed up now.

Northern Irish name checked at Scottish Conference

Nick Clegg with Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie

Nick Clegg with Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie

Nick Clegg in his speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference this weekend mentioned the Northern Irish.

The people of the United Kingdom have a rich shared heritage. We share a culture, a history and an identity. We live side by side in towns and cities across the British Isles. Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish people are together every day, in offices and factories, school classrooms and playing fields. We have rallied together in hard times. Our forefathers fought together and died together, just as brave Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish service men and women are fighting side by side in faraway lands right now. For centuries we have crossed each others borders, married each other, raised families together. What Scot doesn’t have any English, Welsh or Northern Irish in their family tree? I believe the bonds that bring us together are stronger than the forces that would tear us apart.

I do not recall a leader of any of the other UK wide parties name checking our wee country in such a way in a keynote speech to conference. No doubt this is in part due to the presence that the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats have had in recent years of shaping the Liberal Democrat narrative, making our voice heard to the leadership and Ministers in Government and standing up for liberal values in Northern Ireland even though we do not contest election here.

Our course our local party here has also had connections to England, Scotland and Wales with members having strong connections familial and otherwise. But all of us continue to stand up for the principles in which we believe.

Federal Conference registration open – but do we really want to apply

Logo Liberal Democrats UK

Image via Wikipedia

Normally I would support information from the Federal Party getting out – so even though I have major concerns, which I seem to share with Stephen Glenn and Caron Lindsay, about the security arrangements for our Federal Party conference in September, here is the information on how to register.

Registration for the upcoming Autumn Federal Conference in Birmingham is now open.

Whether you are a first timer or a long-standing conference attendee, voting or non-voting member, Lib Dem Federal Party conference has something for everyone.

Five days’ worth of lively policy debate – all the more important as we seek to keep the Parliamentary Party in check.

Fantastic networking opportunities – where else do you get to meet so many movers and shakers within our Party?

Wide Variety of fringe events, including the ever-popular Glee Club.

Registration is possible for the full week, just the weekend, or even just for a single day (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday).

The quickest, easiest and most secure way to register is
online at

If you register early, there is a saving – so do think about it. The first ‘Early Bird’ cut off is June 10.

Key Information:

Date: 17–21 September, Birmingham
Conference Centre: The ICC, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EA
Conference Hotel: Hyatt Regency Birmingham – opposite ICC
Fringe & Training: Jurys Inn Birmingham, Broad Street

a passion for ending injustice


What is the Social Liberal Forum?

David Hall-Matthews writes:

The Social Liberal Forum is a group within the Liberal Democrats run by members and activists.  Its aim is simple.  It is to make sure that party policy and direction develops and retails a Social Liberal approach.

This may sound rather esoteric.  But it is quite simply about making sure that our party maintains its passion for ending injustice and for working towards a fair society and ensuring that no one is “enslaved by poverty”.

We’re all aware that both in Government and in local councils up and down the country, the party has difficult decisions to take.  But it’s important that those decisions don’t create more unfairness or create more poverty.

We also know that it is the Social Liberal beliefs of our party that keep us distinctive – quite a challenge when working in coalitions.

You can find out more about the organisation at

Continue reading

a lot to cover: in 33 minutes

Logo Liberal Democrats UK

Image via Wikipedia

Last night, the Annual General Meeting of the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats was held having been postponed from two weeks prior to that.

Not just the usual…

Apart from the usual business of AGMs – that of receiving reports, approving accounts, election of officers – we listened to Stephen Glenn, Regional Organiser for Northern Ireland, for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign. I am sure that all in the Northern Ireland local party will be doing as much as they can do to support him in his role as we volunteer to help ensure that a Yes result is obtained in the Referendum on the Voting System.

We looked back over the last year – and noted some achievements.

General Election 2010
We made donations to the campaigns in three different seats, helping one candidate to be elected.

We have gained members particularly since the General Election in May, and are still growing.

This blog was kicked into life thanks to the repatriation of Top 20 Lib Dem Blogger Stephen Glenn in late summer. This blog was then ranked 75 in the Total Politics Liberal Democrat blogs list.

Other blogs which are run by Northern Irish Liberal Democrats include:

Both Stephen’s Liberal Journal and Gyronny Herald have made it into LibDemVoice’s Golden Dozen a number of times since September.
Liberal Drinks
Started Liberal Drinks events which have been noted for their success at getting some of us sitting down and talking, as well as featuring Linda Jack of the Liberal Democrat Federal Policy Committee on occasion. We look forward to more of these in the New Year.

Responded to NIO consultation on Donations and Loans to Northern Ireland Political Parties. Read it here.
Responded to OFMDFM consultation on draft Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration, which was supported by the DELGA Executive. Read it here.

Looking forward
All in all, the local party seems to be in a pretty active state, and I am looking forward to working, as Chair of the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats, with the rest of the Executive elected for 2011 as we move ahead

to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity*

33 mins
We managed to get through all of the above in just 33 minutes. Is this a record for a Lib Dem AGM?

* from the Preamble to the Federal Constitution of the Liberal Democats

posted elsewhere: Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes – get the drivel checked first


Like many people last evening, I received an email from the leader and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats on the subject of voter registration. Whilst I agree that we should encourage everyone that can / should be on the electoral register to be on it. I feel that I must point out that the letter as sent out has fatal flaws in it: for once again, Northern Ireland is different.

read the rest of the post on GYRONNY HERALD