On Saturday I joined around 300 fellow Liberal Democrats at the LSE for what has now become the annual one day policy conference. This year the day was titled “Creating a Progressive Society” and focused on economic issues, social mobility, and poverty.
I was impressed by the venue. The LSE’s New Academic Building is a stylish and well thought out piece of architecture. I imagine it works really well as place to learn. However, we were only using that building as the original, and cheaper, venue allocated to us was out of action due to, of all things, a student sit in. Some attendees suggested to me that we ought to join them in solidarity. However, the day was one not for action but for thinking.
Nick Clegg’s opening speech has received some good media coverage and I thought it set the scene for the discussions that followed rather well. My overall impression of the conference was that it seemed a more serious, a more academic, exercise than the previous ones. This may be a reflection of the times or of the seriousness of the issues under discussion.
For me the conference was an interesting contrast with what I have seen being written and debated on the web recently. It very much had “social liberal” flavour to it. Two themes seemed to dominate; a desire to reaffirm the party’s commitment to tackling issues of social justice and our struggle to identify the proper role of the state in meeting that objective.
My reports on the four sessions I attended are below:
- Political challenges and opportunities for the Liberal Democrats
- Who are the UK’s poorest?
- Social mobility
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.