Saturday, 27 August 2011

Time for FCC to get the Picture #ldconf

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
Apparently there are a growing number of people whose submitted picture to Liberal Democrat Conference has been turned down by Greater Manchester Police (GMP). Over the last 24 hours I have heard of a number of them. Either the pale background wasn't to their liking, ie not white, off-white or grey, or the picture was in black and white or some other reason.

Most of those I have heard of are not first time attendees. One is a former councillor, one is a prominent Liberal Youth member. But with just three weeks to go to conference people who will have paid for travel and accommodation are being turned down because their pictures aren't up to spec. Why?

The only reason that a picture would need to meet the 12 carefully laid out criteria (and I have yet to hear about mine taken at conference for 2010 election purposes) as in the situations above is that the GMP are you face recognition software on our delegates as elected by their local party to represent them at Birmingham. This is Big Brother going too far for the attendees at our own conference. This is the police with very little time left telling certain members of our party that they cannot attend conference, and it is far too late into the process.

Or course in July of this month this process started. Some of those mentioned were dual applications, that is they applied and attended in March, along with September conference. They were then given a whole lot of new hoops to jump through to comply. People have been receiving emails to confirm that they will allowed to attend conference having been proved acceptable to GMP, others are being told now that their application is not sufficient at this late stage. Some, like me are waiting to find out.

On Tuesday when the conference team are settling into their new surroundings in Great George Street they will be inundated with angry conference delegates if this sample of my friends is anything to go by. When it comes to the debate on Sunday 18th September, providing many of us can actually get into the debate, there is a debate to discuss this issue, which is proving to be too late, too draconian and leaving too many good Liberal Democrats scratching their head about how they will get to conference and if they need to look at getting money back for travel and hotel fees out of the party's coffers.

Update As I was eating breakfast I was listening to the Kaiser Cheifs who were in town here this week. I think I might adopt some of their lyrics.

We are the democratically elected angry mob of conference reps,
We read our papers every year,
We vote how we like
Oppose what we hate
We're not so easily waylaid.

The author has yet to have his accreditation confirmed or rejected yet. But flights and hotel were booked months ago and as a claimant attendee (still claiming JSA) I cannot afford to be out of pocket to this amount. There are other issues which I may yet have to write about should there be another reason/s that I fail.

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