I've written many times of my concerns about the new accreditation procedures for Liberal Democrat conference. I feel that they are unnecessarily intrusive, expensive and will not make our Conference safer. They are to my mind fundamentally illiberal. No way should the state's law enforcers have the right to determine the extent of my political activity.
For Federal Conference Committee, this is an issue of process, not principle. They argue they can't get insurance if they don't take Police advice. Without insurance, no self respecting venue will take us, they argue. No venue means no Conference of course.
So my question to Federal Conference Committee is what they'd say if the Police started demanding biometrics, fingerprints, retina scans etc, from all attendees. I'm not so sure, from the evidence of this year, that they would resist it. They have already ceded too much power to the Police and some of its advocates have sought to accuse those of us who have opposed them of not caring about safety.
There are internal elections to the Committee coming up after Conference. I hope to see a majority of candidates opposed to these accreditation procedures elected. That's a majority of the Committee, including the ex officio places.
Nick Clegg took a brave and principled stand on ID cards. The party should be inspired by that & act accordingly.
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