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Green Liberal Democrats Summer Conference 2018

August 20, 2018 9:26 PM
By Tom Sutherland

On the 19th of May I attended the Green Liberal Democrats Spring Conference celebrating 30 years of the organisation. The event was hosted by founder Keith Mellon and featured a number of prominent Liberal Democrats including Simon Hughes who kicked off proceedings, Wera Hobhouse, Ed Davey, Lyne Featherstone and party leader Vince Cable who gave an insight into the Green future within the Lib Dems.

Simon Hughes gave 10 top tips / key points when opening which were:

Tom Sutherland with Simon Hughes

Local member Tom Sutherland with Simon Hughes

During Wera Hobhouse's talk at the conference she gave the attendees an insight into her constituency in Bath which faces a number of transport and pollution issues. Wera was part of a session which was on Managing Air Pollution and its implications which impacts on her constituency and many others across the country. Some of the points which were raised included the need for clean air zones within the city of Bath as well as greener public transport. These are issues that effect most constituencies and ideas from here can be replicated and placed within local campaigns.

The key issues on the public agenda included:

Regarding the next general election and challenges that the environment faces Vince Cable and Wera Hobhouse made a number of important points. Vince emphasised that there was success during the coalition with things such as the Investment Infrastructure Board, wind turbine factory built at Hull and strategies to encourage the use of electric vehicles all being introduced to the agenda. However, at the same time there are many challenges that were faced and that we continue to face, most notably the Heathrow expansion (which seems to be going ahead), fracking (which is a major issue in certain regions) which is an issue that the Lib Dems have campaigned against and new rail infrastructure. Another successful although controversial point that was evident at the last election was the formal arrangement the party had with the Green Party where in certain seats one would stand aside for the other. This was seen in Twickenham as the Greens stood aside there while the Lib Dems returned the favour in Caroline Lucas' Brighton Pavilion seat.

Tom Sutherland with Vince Cable

Local member Tom Sutherland with Vince Cable

In summary, the event encompassed what is great about the Liberal Democrats; good range of views, extensive debate and progressive policies. It is clear that the party wants to be seen at the forefront of Green policies as it's becoming increasingly important for the need to leave the planet in a better shape for our children. Green issues have been highlighted thanks to David Attenborough's Blue Planet which raised the need to cut down on vast amounts of wasted plastic which effects the Ocean on a daily basis. The conference filled me with a sense of optimism that we as a party can make a huge difference to the Green agenda and stand out by offering pragmatic solutions rather than just being an echo chamber which other parties seem to be on these issues. The main point which I can take from the conference is the need to focus on green issues locally and think how becoming greener can have a positive impact within my area.