I wrote about this earlier and so have many other people. I believe that what the police are asking is way over the top, nor will it make anybody safer. I believe that the Federal Conference Committee should stand up to the Police and say that it will not allow them to veto our members. Ordinary members have to be accepted by their local parties, so there's some contact there, but conference representatives are elected at an AGM, so there will have been an even greater opportunity to get to know them.
Anyway, a few of us are circulating an open letter to the Federal Conference Committee asking them to think again. If you would like your name to be added to it, then please put let me know in the comments. Others will be blogging it as well, so please only add your name on one of us, otherwise it'll mess with our heads. Thanks to Spidey for coming up with pretty much all the wording.
Here it is:
Dear Federal Conference Committee We wish to make clear our disappointment at the way in which the registration process for the Liberal Democrat Conference in Birmingham is being carried out as agreed by the Federal Conference Committee in conjunction with West Midlands Police. The new registration process requires that those who wish to attend conference provide Greater Manchester Police (on behalf of West Midlands Police) with their personal information such as passport and NI numbers. As a liberal party with a strong history and record of protecting civil liberties, we are gravely concerned that such an illiberal registration process has been allowed to take place by the party’s Federal Conference Committee without direct consultation with those directly affected, i.e. members. We also wish to make clear our disappointment and disagreement with the declaration that “These details will be passed onto the police to carry out their own accreditation procedures.” For a party which has consistently fought to protect and re-instate civil liberties and freedoms, we cannot support a decision which removes our right to keep our private information private. We strongly disagree with the decision that West Midlands Police have the power to disallow any member of the Liberal Democrats from attending conference should they wish to do so. It is every party member’s right to attend conference and only the federal party has the right to refuse access with justifiable reason. Furthermore the federal party’s constitution states that local parties shall elect local representatives for conference. We feel it is unacceptable to allow the Police to over-ride the wishes of local parties by having a power of veto over attendance. This new requirement may also restrict other members from attending due to their personal circumstances such as;anyone under 16 will not have an NI number or Driving LicenceSpidey has also started a petition here so if you agree please go and sign that too. It will ask you for money after you've signed it, but just come away from the page. You don't have to give them anything. Especially when their default is $25.
members whose membership is in a different name from their official ID. (Pseudonym, transgendered or just plain got married) We ask that the registration process for conference be urgently re-evaluated by the Federal Conference Committee and that they consider with immediate effect the removal of such an illiberal requirement on its members.
And watch this space for Episode 3. What will it be? The Raffle? The Reference Back?