These details will be passed onto the police to carry out their own accreditation procedures. Please note that Police Accreditation will be carried out by Greater Manchester Police on behalf of West Midlands Police.
In the unlikely event that your accreditation is unsuccessful, you will be issued a full refund of your registration fees. The Liberal Democrats will not accept liability for any additional costs incurred by the applicant.
I'm still in a dilemma to be honest. There's nothing in the procedures outlined which states exactly on what basis the police will make their decision. I mean, are they going to read my blog? My Twitter account? Will they take public dissent from party policy as an indicator of risk? If they did decide that this leftie peace loving hippy was too much of a danger to be let in, would the Party stand up for me? What would the right of appeal be?
The Police will by their nature be very cautious, and might well turn people down on the slightest pretext. The Party simply can't allow that. The Police don't have to balance liberty with security - they are only concerned about security. The Party, on the other hand, has to inject the liberalism into the process. If we don't, who ever will?
I'll have to make my mind up mighty quickly, though. The cheap registration rate ends a week on Friday, and after that date rises from £64 to £91. It's unacceptable to give party members such a short turnaround time, especially at a time when many will be on holiday.
And spare a thought for people like Callum Leslie, who's just completed his first year at Edinburgh University. He doesn't yet have a Summer job (potential employers, he's got the gift of the gab, is very creative, and very hard working, snap him up while you can). Anyway, he registered for Conference 8 months ago, a year out. He's now been given just 10 days to provide a passport photo - and it has to comply with Home Office guidelines. They cost £5 minimum. He doesn't have a spare £5. He's given me permission to say that he's e-mailed the Conference Team saying:
I am currently moving house and without a job or student finance, so my situation is very difficult. I am disappointed that if I do not manage to complete this within two weeks, 3 months before the conference, I will have to pay again!The response of the Conference team was (and I'm paraphrasing here) along the lines of "Hard lines, mate, you can have an extra week, or your pass will be delayed."
So, what can we do about it? Well, I guess the appropriate thing to do is to contact the members of Federal Conference Committee. They are the people who have the political and organisational accountability for Conference. They are good, liberal people and we need to be aware that some of them at least will have struggled with this. However, if anybody wants my vote in the elections next year, they will have to oppose these sorts of illiberal measures. Here is a list for you.