F15: Ambitious for our Country, Ambitious for our Party: Liberal Democrat Party Strategy
Mover: Baroness Brinton (President of the Liberal Democrats)
Summation: Mark Pack
Our aim is 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.
Our ambition for our country and the wider world is set out in further detail in the Vision for a Liberal Britain drawn from thousands of party members over the last two years, the paper on party philosophy, It's About Freedom, and the policy overview paper The Opportunity to Succeed, the Power to Change (2016). Now we need a strategy to deliver that vision.
Conference believes that the best way to deliver that vision is to:
- Create a political and social movement which encourages people to take and use power in their own lives and communities at every level of society.
- Win elections at all levels from local government through to Westminster, so we can use political power to bring about change from within the political system.
- Run issue-led local and national campaigns to help create a liberal society and secure immediate change though combining pressure from outside the political system with our own power within it.
Conference further believes that we can best achieve this by:
- Creating a much larger base of long-term loyal supporters (a 'core vote') for the party, based on people who share our values.
- Building beyond our growing core vote with successful local campaigning, combined with effective targeting as the electoral systems require it, to win at all levels of local and national government.
- Developing a mass campaigning movement both within and outside the party that is of a scale and effectiveness to match the scale of our ambitions, which supports both elections and issue-led campaigns.
- Working with those on all sides of politics who share goals with us to achieve them.
- Generating political momentum through tangible signs of progress, including membership levels, fundraising totals and council and Parliamentary by-election successes.
Conference agrees that we stand for an open society, social justice including an economy which challenges inequality and for powerful communities at every level, and that in order to build our wider party appeal, we must focus the communication of what we stand for on:
- Restoring fairness as the basis for our society and politics, in which everyone plays a fair part and is treated fairly.
- People and communities increasingly controlling their own lives and the direction of our society and politics.
- Our belief that a better future is possible, if we work together.
- The need to heal the nation's divides.
In order to deliver a party organisation fit for these objectives, Conference further agrees that our five organisational priorities are:
- Communicating our values effectively, through our key messages, issue-led national campaigns, and signature policies which symbolise what we stand for.
- Increasing our capacity, through:
- Empowering our members and providing them with a rewarding experience.
- Improving training, support and management of party staff.
- Promoting a culture in which people bring in new ideas, experiment and share best practice both from the grassroots and from the centre.
- Recruiting, motivating, and supporting local leaders.
- Promoting greater commitment and success in fundraising by the party and candidates at all levels.
- Improving our diversity and inclusion so that we demonstrate our values in practice, as well as bringing in new approaches and skills and enhancing our electoral appeal.
- Digitising the party, maximising our effectiveness in using digital opportunities to make the most of our supporters' skills to overcome the traditional biases against us in the ways politics is funded, the media is owned and our electoral system works.
- Local campaigning, developing and supporting local leaders, working with our communities on the issues and problems they care about, listening to them, helping them directly, campaigning with them in innovative and effective ways, and representing them.
Conference notes that while this motion sets out a strategy and priorities for the party as a whole, it is for state, regional and local parties as well as party bodies to make their own decisions on how best to contribute towards our democratically agreed strategy.
Conference affirms that while the party organisation has a crucial role to play in implementing this strategy, we will ultimately succeed when it inspires every member to find their own way to put it into practice and help bring about our vision for a Liberal Democrat society.