Saturday, June 11, 2011

North East Lib Dems

Lib Dems from across the North East came together today for the Spring Conference, delayed by the local elections, so perhaps better described as an Early Summer Conference.  Despite some losses in the council elections members were upbeat, keen to plan future campaigns and to get on with the job of representing people and campaigning on the issues that matter.
The achievements of the party in coalition mean that there was lots to celebrate, while acknowledging that there's still a long way to go and that many people are suffering as a result of the financial problems in the country.  There were young people there, newly joined since the general election, as well as some old stagers.  There was robust debate, including one on the need to ensure that scrutiny of executive decision making in councils is done properly, with genuine challenge.  There was general agreement that having an executive member and the chair of the scrutiny committee from the same party is unlikely to lead to constructive challenge.  While some councils, of all political colours, have accepted that and acted on it others have not.  Lord Shipley promised to take the issue back to the House of Lords on Wednesday when the localism bill is being amended. 
Being in government brings opportunities as well as challenges, and it seems that our representatives in both houses are very keen to take them up.
So now we're back to the grindstone but with a new spring in our steps and looking forward to the Federal conference in September.

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