Maybe the Lib Dems really do believe in the politics of consensus

My interest in politics came late in life. I
always voted, but didn’t get personally involved until the Make Poverty History
rally in 2000. Since then I’ve been on a demo, done a couple of sleepouts in
solidarity with destitute asylum seekers, and joined the Lib Dems three years ago.
Within two weeks of my joining, there had been two major scandals involving senior Lib
Dem politicians, and I wondered what I had done. Now, aged 61, I’m enjoying my
first party conference, thanks to an NCVO bursary.

I chose the word enjoying rather than just attending.
I haven’t heard all that much, and have only seen the main speeches on TV, but
despite the gloomy economic prognosis and the crises in Europe and beyond, I
have to say that I’m impressed so far – and for two main

Firstly, the MPs I have heard and seen so
far are a pretty good bunch. Tim Farron is a really passionate guy who speaks
his mind – very unusual for a party president, and definitely no ‘yes man’. I’ve
always liked Vince Cable, because he makes economics comprehensible to the
ignorant like me. What can you say about Paddy Ashdown, the elder statesman of
the party? He just keeps on going, still as measured and thoughtful as ever,
still wanting to make a difference to the world. And Lynn Featherstone did the
unthinkable yesterday, giving fulsome praise to Labour for a policy they
introduced in the last government.

That leads me on to my second point, and
one of the main reasons I joined the Lib Dems – a comparative absence of spin
and mudslinging. I know it’s all relative, but I hate politicians who
manipulate truth and rubbish opponents rather than talk policy. So far I
haven’t heard any cheap jokes and jibes at the expense of Labour and the
Tories. Maybe the Lib Dems really do believe in the politics of consensus.

Dave Smith, Director of the Boaz Trust, a Christian organisation serving destitute asylum seekers in
Greater Manchester.

  • mk mky

    J-OC,is as slick as a Time Share salesman on the Costa Del Crime,ask anyone in the WP (not just A4E) what do they actually provide such as training,retraining and the mysterious “Black Box Method” crawls out,question what is this? It is a new delivery approach to tailor to the individual a personal programme in order to help them gain employment.Great and this consists of what? We interview the “client” and find the appropriate help and guidance for them,And this would be? Based on the “clients “need.Do you have a list of Training available? It is against policy to provide a list.Even to the “client”……Supervisor enters…What is your problem? I would like to see what Training is available.Due to a Ministerial gagging order we are unable to discuss the WP,as this would breach our contract….The Emperors New Clothes, the provide less help than the Job Centre…(E-mail on file to back this up)

  • Karl Wilding

    Hi Richard,

    There are two approaches to this – either we stick our heads in the sand and hope the private sector goes away or attempt to engage in constructive dialogue and build partnerships that work for both sides, but most importantly for users.

    I think we’re doing the right thing with this guidance – we are not endorsing the prime-sub model, but simply saying that where government chooses this route then we want the sector to be treated fairly.

    We’ve consulted widely with NCVO members on this guidance and they have been overwhelmingly positive about us doing this. The guidance remains in draft form and we would welcome anyone (including you Richard) to submit your views. http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/networking-discussions/blogs/18683/12/05/21/ncvo-serco-building-code-practice-co-operation-public-se

    The guidance is not intended to water/down or replace the compact and we remain alert to the issues you touched on around blurring the lines between the sector and the profit making companies we might work with.

    As always, happy to discuss.

    Head of Policy and Research, NCVO