Friday 8 March 2013

If I was a delegate at LibDem conference, I'd....

Lib Dem conference gathering again eh?

A conference. That's nice. They'll all be having them, a little political animation in an otherwise lifeless, twitching Westminster corpse. Bright lights. Warm words. Scripted battlelines.

And small food with warm wine.

Nothing will happen, nothing will really be said but a million air-puff words.

So LibDems, if I had a lanyard like you, and Sky News in the lobby and the world's cameras a heartbeat away, I'd get a box. I'd take it somewhere everyone has to pass and make a quiet, heartfelt speech. The quieter I started, the more would strain to hear.

And I'd say

"What are we doing friends?

Stop! Just for a minute! I want to speak to the you that signed the membership forms.

I want to speak to the teenager you were, delivering leaflets in the rain.

I want to speak to the student who debated with fire in the union bar.

I want to say pause here now, just for a second.

Those set phrases and pyramid facts - constructions of wonder - let them all go. Be you. Just for a few minutes, here with me now, be you.

We focus on our wins - and rightly so - at Picasso angles, never to turn to the blue, the grey.

And every night, when the lights go off, are they enough? Because they HAVE to be enough.

Every day, the compromise becomes a loan. This compromise cannot be equal, but it must be fair, or it is debt. And we are falling heavier in debt every day.

They loan us freedom from tax for millions of those who most need our help, but in return they take the heavy interest of security from our disabled constituents and their carers.

They loan us a vote on electoral reform, but they demand chaos in our NHS, a destructive economic policy most of us didn't support and secret courts.

They loan us Lord's reform, but then they foreclose on that debt completely, without reason or recompense.

Are we SURE? Can we live with the debt or are the payments just too high.

We ALL know why we're here. We ALL know what we came here to achieve.

We all know the well rehearsed lines to explain beliefs held so deeply, cherished so dear.

But always in coalition and compromise there has to be a reckoning and if the balance tips too far we must know how to recognise it.

If I stand in a room with students and pensioners, workers and those not in work, disabled people and those more able, doctors, nurses, bankers, priests, parents can I still say, with my head high and my eyes clear that the compromise is right? That it's enough?"

I'd beg them to throw away their set lines and speak the words their hearts believe - just while conference is on. Can you IMAGINE the impact?

Update : I should have known the AMAZING Mr Potter would be the one. The one with the lanyard and the belly full of truth and fire. 
Oh, he'll get in trouble for this post. I've been where he is and I feel his pain. But he's there everyone. All the while there are still George Potters at conference, we're going to be OK 


  1. A wonderful analogy of debt and consequence. So sad that when the chips are down, so many MPs care more about their salaries and expenses than their principles. I'm still in touch with many in the party I once supported, and until they are in office they are behind you all the way - and then.... Here is someone who categorically will NEVER support a Liberal Democrat candidate again.

  2. Sadly, we seem to be in a time where those that should be speaking up for us have lost courage and the ability to empathise with the vulnerable in society.

  3. It is desperately sad. It seems that politicians live on a planet where the real lives of their constituents and politics with a little p doesn't matter.

    1. We must make them care and Sue is leading the way.

  4. he's one for George if he can get his head around it and be the first person in a conference to talk about the many deaths and stand his corner as he wont have long to speak but if he gets lucky the sick and disables might get somewhere

    Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients

    This statistical release presents the number of deaths of recipients of incapacity
    benefits, that is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and its predecessors
    Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA). For those who
    have moved from IB/SDA to ESA and then died and for new ESA claimants who died
    the figures are split into those who were in the Support Group (SG) and those who
    were in the Work Related Activities Group (WRAG). The figures are derived from
    administrative data held by the Department for Work and Pensions.

    In October 2008, existing benefits paid on grounds of incapacity and disability, that is
    IB, SDA and Income Support (IS) on the grounds of incapacity, were replaced with
    Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for all new claimants. Starting from
    October 2010 most claimants who receive IB, SDA and IS paid on the grounds of
    illness or disability will be assessed to see if they qualify for ESA.
    A key part of the ESA regime is the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process,
    which is used to assess capability for work and eligibility for benefit. Those claiming
    ESA are initially put in the assessment phase. Following the assessment phase the
    claimant can have three possible outcomes:
    Individuals can be found fit for work – in this case their claim closes and the
    claimant can move to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or it remains open pending
    recourse against the decision, via reconsideration from DWP or appeal to Her
    Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.
    Individuals can be found to have limited capability for work – in this instance
    they are allowed the benefit and placed in the Work Related Activity Group.

    Those in this group are not expected to work, but are provided with help and
    support to prepare for work where possible. They receive a higher payment
    than those on JSA; and
    Individuals can be found to have limited capability for work and in addition,
    limited capability for work related activity – in this situation they are allowed the
    benefit and placed in the Support Group. Those in this group have the most
    severe functional impairments and so are provided with unconditional support
    and receive a higher premium than those in the Work Related Activity Group.

    hopefully sue or Someone good with the maths will be able to work out the overall death rate that runs into thousands ... s_0712.pdf

  5. We'll soon see Atos assessors jumping ship by the cartload too when they realise the appeals have been knobbled. They can no longer salve their consciences by saying to themselves people can appeal as they can't now. Instead, when they try, they starve and they freeze. This needs to be brought home to the Atos assessors as I'm sure many simply won't know.