York Conference 2019 - A Delegate's Report
By Frances Lindsay-Hills
Over 1,000 Liberal Democrats traveled to York and were rewarded with some beautifully crafted and delivered speeches and some from nervous first timers but they were all united in their passion for justice. Delegates from all over Europe spoke about their sadness at the possibility we might be no longer a part of the European Union and all speakers were united in their anger that we will be cast away from the biggest market in the world and the union that had brought peace, solidarity and free movement to so many diverse nations.
The conference started with a very moving tribute to the late Paddy Ashdown by Baroness Brinton followed by a minute's silence.
Jo Swinson spoke with real anger about the omnishables that is the present government. Ministers standing at the despatch box extolling the virtues of government policy and minutes later voting against it. Our MP for Kemptown Lloyd Russell Moyle going through both lobbies so neither vote counted. MPs being constantly lobbied, whipped, pressured and endlessly confused and vacillating. She said how grateful our team are to have a clear policy that has not changed since the Liberal Democrats were founded.
Following is a potted version of the agenda but if you would like to read the full wording of the motions click here.
Saturday 16th March
Policy motion: Eradicating Race Inequality
Speech Christine Jardine MP
Question and answer session with Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable MP
Policy motion: Cleaning Up the Air We Breathe: How to Tackle Road Pollution
Policy motion: A registered Supporters Scheme
Sunday 17th March
Policy motion: Access to justice for all
Emergency motion: Knife Crime and Youth Services
Policy Motion: Town Centres Fit for the Future
Policy motion: No to Unpaid Internships
The conference ended with Vince's speech (with some very good jokes) and you can read the full speech here.
There was an excellent debate written by by and spoken for by the Association of Young Liberals. One of the speakers was Emily Tester who stood for us in Brighton Kemptown at the last parliamentary election. She pointed out most employers are looking for people with experience. If you are fresh out of University you can often only get this by doing an internship nearly all of which are unpaid. Unless you have a family able to support you financially, you are severely disadvantaged in the job market. She told how she had had a paid internship with a Lib Dem MP and that had enabled her to get the job she now had and loved.
Paul attended a morning long session on the responsibilities of an agent. I attended a fringe meeting on how to help rough sleepers and we both regretted that there was so much going on in so many different buildings that we only scratched the surface.
I left York feeling proud to be a part of such an energetic, inclusive, fare minded party fighting hard to counter injustice and working so hard to keep us a part of a United Europe.