Motion: I propose that this conference should resolve to invite the Social Democratic Party and the Cooperative Party, currently merged or in alliances with the Liberal Democrats and Labour parties, to an open dialogue with us on what core values we hold in common and whether we could negotiate towards an expression of our core values essentially in unity and enough to form a new alliance, without any party having to compromise on our core values.
The motion before you today is only at this stage that we should invite the SDP and Cooperative parties to an open dialogue, to thresh the issues in an open meeting and discern whether an alliance might be the right way ahead.
If the dialogue leads to a shared draft consultation document, then we would bring this back to the next party Conference next year, allowing two years and a further party conference for all our members to fully consider detailed issues or difficulties in the draft consultation document to renew our Core Values and Philosophical Basis texts from scratch.
If this draft is acceptable to the membership of our party and the memberships of the SDP and Cooperative parties, then we might hope to ask Conference 2015 for final approval on a new textual formulation of our Core Values and Philosophical Basis documents.
If we collectively felt an alliance would be the right thing, we would most probably retain distinctive Philosophical Basis documents in each party in the possible alliance, and we could also retain Core Values expressions with distinctive but compatible emphases, or we could end up finding ourselves so surprisingly close in values and philosophy that we might wish to have one Core Values formula and different party philosophical workings out of it, or one set of Core Values and Philosophical Basis (or equivalent title) documents shared between all three parties in the possible alliance.
None of these possibilities are predetermined in the current proposal: it is only a proposal to open a dialogue with our closest natural political allies with open minds and see where it leads us, or if it leads us anywhere at all.
The timeframe for this ultimate hope of a Green-Social-Democratic-Cooperative alliance would ideally be the next General Election 2015, but if the process requires more time then I believe it would be worthwhile even it runs over into another election cycle.
The present motion is meant in the context of hoping an alliance might be possible, but I do not mean to propose that we definitely should aim for an alliance with the SDP and Co-operative parties at this stage, and definitely not any compromise in our values, but at this stage only asking for this Conference’s authorization to open a dialogue with our nearest natural political allies, who are both in dire political straits in their current alliances as the LibDems and in the Labour party, on the understanding that it could be of great mutual benefit, and not just for our parties.
Social Liberal Forum, a campaigning organisation within the LibDems representing the Social Liberal part of the LibDem alliance – this is a long-ish article on their values and identity: http://socialliberal.net/2009/02/12/what-is-social-liberalism/
Green Liberal Democrats -one of the official organisations within the LibDem party:
Co-operative Party 2010 General Election manifesto – http://www.party.coop/files/2011/07/2010-manifesto.pdf
Compare with Green Party documents:
Core Values http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/core-values
Philosophical Basis http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/philosophical-basis
Compare ‘Threshing Meeting’ : http://www.quaker.org.uk/sites/default/files/threshing-meetings.pdf