Minutes of the Annual General Meeting, 21st March 2019

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 21 MARCH 2019
Location: Room 103, Arts Building

Present:
Sophie Thornton (Chair)
Sam Maude (Vice Chair)
Alicia Butteriss (Treasurer)
Adam Belcher (Secretary)
Hermione Peace (Communications Officer)
Alexander Helliker (Events Officer)
Edward “Ned” Hilton (Campaigns Officer)
Samuel Boardman
Emily Chomicz
Ishbel Macpherson
Charles Michael
Nicholas Molland
Lewis Nash
Benjamin Roughton
Lily Todd
Juliano Saunders
Anna Worthington
Total: 17 (56.7%)

Voting by proxy:
Ben Sculfor

Welcome from the Chair
The meeting started shortly after 6pm. Sophie Thornton welcomed the members to the meeting and briefly ran through the agenda. Free pizza was distributed.

Minutes of the previous meeting
There were no questions regarding minutes. The motion to approve minutes was taken; results:
To approve: 17
To reject: 0
The motion was carried. There were no matters arising from previous minutes.

Chair’s Review of the Year – Sophie Thornton
S. THORNTON: We have had weekly events including several cross-party collaborations. Alistair Carmichael MP came to speak in November; thanks go to Hermione Peace for organising that. We also had a webinar with Layla Moran MP, but unfortately Christine Jardine MP had to cancel due to the ongoing Brexit votes in the House of Commons. We had more new people in the second term. We raised £88 for the homeless shelter and lots of food for the food bank at the pub quiz in October and £120 at the second quiz in February; thanks go to Adam Belcher for organising that. We went on a trip to the EU Parliament in Brussels; thanks go to Sam Maude for organising that. We also went to the party conference in York where we had a lot of first-time attendees, and Adam Belcher and Alexander Helliker both made their first conference speeches. Thanks go to the whole committee.

Sophie Thornton then presented gifts to the other members of the committee. Hermione Peace presented a gift to Sophie Thornton.

Treasurer’s Report – Alicia Butteriss
A. BUTTERISS: There hasn’t been much expenditure besides reiumbursing people for attending conference. The bank balance at the start of the year was £312.76 and the balance at the end of the year was £380.26, although some claims are still pending. This is not too little but not too much.

Secretary’s Report – Adam Belcher
A. BELCHER: There are 30 members of the society which is a drop of 6 from last year. 10 members are women, which is a third exactly; this is an improvement on last year but there is still a long way to go. I wish to put it on record that I consider it absolutely ridiculous that the Guild did not give me access to the society admin panel, as the committee member who needs to use the admin panel the most, even though other committee members did have access; I enquired about this problem on multiple occasions but was only told that there was a significant backlog. I have continued to update the society blog.

Campaigns Officer’s Report – Edward Hilton
E. HILTON: We have been metaphorically hungover from the Birmingham City Council elections last year so there haven’t been too many campaigning opportunities. Thanks go to Emily Chomicz and Juliano Saunders for helping in Ladywood. We also went to the Leamington Spa action day. I helped to run the West Midlands Liberal Democrats regional conference and we have good relations with the South West Birmingham local party. Coming up we have Solihull Council elections in May, and the West Midlands mayoral election next year.

Vice-Chair’s Report – Sam Maude
S. MAUDE: We have had a smashing year and thanks go to Sophie Thornton.

Other officers chose not to present reports.

Constitutional Amendment #1
Moved by: Adam Belcher (Secretary)

1. The title of the Constitution is amended to: “UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM GUILD OF STUDENTS LIBERAL DEMOCRATS SOCIETY – Student Group Constitution”
2. Replace the numbers of all Sections with the format “X.0”, where X is any number, with “X.”.
3. Replace Section 1.1 with the following: “The name of the group shall be the University of Birmingham Guild of Students Liberal Democrats Society, which may be abbreviated/shortened to “University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats”, “Liberal Democrats”, “UoB Lib Dems”, or “UBLD”, and shall for the rest of this document be referred to as “the group” or “the Group”.”
4. In Section 1.2, replace “University Of Birmingham Guild Of Students” with “University of Birmingham Guild of Students”.
5. In Section 1.3, replace “Guild Council, or the Student Groups Committee [SGC], acting on its behalf,” with, “The Student Groups Executive.”
6. In Section 1.4, replace “a group” with “the group”, and after “Extraordinary General Meeting”, insert “by two-thirds majority vote”.
7. Replace all references to “the Student Groups Committee”, “Student Development” or “the SGC” with “the Student Groups Executive.”
8. Replace all references to “Vice-President (Activities and Development [VPAD])” and “VPAD” with “Activities and Employability Officer”.
9. Replace all references to “Liberal Democrat” with “Liberal Democrats”.
10. At the end of Sections 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3 and 2.1.4, add “;”, and at the end of Section 2.1.5, add “.”.
11. Replace all references to “Liberal Youth” with “Young Liberals”.
12. In Section 3.1.3, replace “Edgbaston and Selly Oak” with “South West Birmingham”.
13. At the end of Sections 3.1.1, 3.1.2 and 3.1.3, add “;”, and at the end of Section 3.2, add “.”.
14. Add the following:
“3.1.4 English Liberal Democrats;
3.1.5 English Young Liberals;
3.1.6 West Midlands Liberal Democrats;
3.1.7 West Midlands Young Liberals.”
15. From Section 4.1, remove “Student Development,”.
16. At the end of Section 5.1.1, add “.”.
17. Add the following:
“6.1 The responsibilities of committee members are as follows:”
18. Renumber 6.2 to 6.1.3;
6.3 to 6.1.4;
6.4 to 6.1.5;
6.5.1.1 to 6.1.6;
6.5.1.2. to 6.1.7;
6.5.1.3 to 6.1.8;
6.5.1.4 to 6.1.9.
19. At the end of the new Sections 6.1.1 to 6.1.8, replace all “.” with “;”.
20. Renumber 6.6 to 6.2;
6.7.1 to 6.3;
6.7.2 to 6.3.1;
6.7.3 to 6.3.2;
6.7.4 to 6.3.3;
6.8 to 6.4;
6.9 to 6.5;
6.10 to 6.6;
6.11 to 6.7.
21. In the new Section 6.5, after “Student Groups Executive,”, insert, “and”.
22. At the end of Sections 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 and 9.4, replace all “.” with “;”.
23. Delete Section 10.0.1.
24. Replace Section 10.1 with the following: “Vice-Chair / Non-Portfolio Officer, referred to henceforth and elsewhere as Vice-Chair – To deputise for the Chair, to assist all other committee members with any matters which may require assistance, and to take responsibility for all matters which do not fall under the responsibility of any other committee member.”
25. In Section 10.2, replace “+” with “and”.
26. At the end of Section 10.3, add “ – To assist the committee in the organisation of social events and all other society events not related to campaigns.”
27. In Section 10.4, replace “lib dem” with “Young Liberals”, and replace “the societies” with “the society’s”.
28. Renumber 11.5.1 to 11.5;
11.5.2 to 11.5.1;
11.5.3 to 11.5.2;
11.5.4 to 11.5.3;
11.5.5 to 11.5.4;
11.5.6 to 11.5.5;
11.5.7 to 11.5.6;
11.5.8 to 11.5.7;
11.5.9 to 11.5.8.
29. In the new Section 11.5, replace “format” with “agenda”.
30. At the ends of the new Sections 11.5.1 to 11.5.7, replace all “.” with “;”.
31. Add the following:
“11.7. The Annual General Meeting, by simple majority vote, may approve any decision of the group, including, but not limited to, the approval of minutes and the adoption of policies additional to this constitution, by simple majority vote, not including constitutional amendments and the election of officers, provided that any such decisions are lawful under this constitution.”
32. At the end of Section 12.1, add “.”.
33. Add the following:
“12.5 The Extraordinary General Meeting shall have all the powers of the Annual General Meeting under Section 11.7.”
34. At the end of Sections 13.1.1 to 13.1.6, replace all “.” with “;”.
35. The Section between Section 13.1.3 and Section 13.1.5 incorrectly numbered 3.1.4 shall be corrected to 13.1.4.
36. Delete Section 13.3, and renumber Section 13.4 to 13.3.
37. After “Date approved by group,” replace “_________________________” with “21st of March 2019.”
38. Delete “(Standard constitution template approved by Guild Council, March 2010)”.

Explanatory notes: this constitutional amendment seeks to:
-Correct grammatical mistakes;
-Replace old names of bodies with current names (such as Liberal Youth to Young Liberals);
-Give proper definitions to the roles of Vice-Chair and Events Officer;
-Affiliate the society with the state and regional parties of both the Liberal Democrats and the Young Liberals.

Questions

A. WORTHINGTON: What are the proposed definitions for the roles of Vice-Chair and Events Officer?
A. BELCHER: Vice-Chair / Non-Portfolio Officer, referred to henceforth and elsewhere as Vice-Chair – To deputise for the Chair, to assist all other committee members with any matters which may require assistance, and to take responsibility for all matters which do not fall under the responsibility of any other committee member. Events Officer – To assist the committee in the organisation of social events and all other society events not related to campaigns.

S. BOARDMAN: Does the affiliation with the state and regional levels of the Young Liberals indiciate an intention to work more closely with the Young Liberals, or is this simply a technical change?
A. BELCHER: The latter; it is down to the committee of the day and the society-at-large to decide how much it wishes to work with the Young Liberals, not the constitution.

E. HILTON: Could we give an officer responsibility for alumni relations?
A. BELCHER: That is a good idea but it would have to be proposed as a separate amendment.

The society divided:
FOR: 17
AGAINST: 0
Thus the amendment was passed.

Constitutional Amendment #2
Moved by: Edward Hilton (Campaigns Officer)

1. At the end of Section 10.3, delete “.” and add “and maintain a line of contact with former members of the group and arrange an annual “reunion event” so that they can maintain involvement.”

The society divided:
FOR: 16
AGAINST: 0
(1 recorded abstention)
Thus the amendment was passed.

Election – Chair

Nominated candidates: Adam Belcher, Hermione Peace

A. BELCHER: Most of my best friends are in this room so it goes without saying that I love this society. It has also boosted my confidence and given me the opportunity to develop my public speaking skills and do networking. I believe every liberal and social democrat on this campus should have that opportunity. We have a duty to nurture young politicians; you never know if the next Nick Clegg or Jo Swinson could be on this campus. This is my motivation; I have a couple of key ideas. Debating is a big part of what we do, but a lot of people find them intimidating and I want to make them more accessible. We also have to address the the fact that this has been the second consecutive year of declining membership. I want to work on how we engage with new members after freshers week and how we integrate new members into the friendship group.

H. PEACE: This society is my main friendship group and I love everyone here. I feel that I have good experience from being Communications Officer. Through being Vice-Chair of the Young Liberals I have experience of leadership and organising events. This time last year me and Ned were the only freshers in the room. We have more new people this year but we need to do more. As Adam said in his Secretary’s Report, the Guild have not made communications with members easy; I will work with the guild so that we have full access to the control panel. I am also interested in a cross-society social, potentially with the University of Nottingham Liberal Democrats, who are fairly new and reportedly view UBLD as an example of a good society. Please vote for me.

Questions

E. HILTON: How would you delegate roles to committee members?
H. PEACE: Delegation is important, it better to spread the roles and not have one or two people doing everything. I would hold more committee meetings.
A. BELCHER: I would try to delegate as much as possible in line with their job descriptions as is reasonable depending on their free time. I’m always happy to take on work from other committee members. If I lose this election I will run for Vice-Chair and it is my understanding that Hermione intends to do the same; whichever combination we are in, I believe we will both be happy to help other committee members with their roles.

S. BOARDMAN: You will both be in your final year. How will you manage your time?
A. BELCHER: I don’t forsee too many time issues. I’m not on any other committees, whilst I do have hobbies such as my micronation they would come second to this society.
H. PEACE: I am the Vice-Chair of the Young Liberals but I will not be seeking re-election in the autumn so that I can focus my energy on this society. I am in other societies but not on committee so I will have enough time.

S. THORNTON: As Chair I have done a lot of cross-party work, including cross-party diversity events. What would you do on this front?
H. PEACE: At the party conference in York I ran a fringe on young women in politics which went well. I would like to do something like that here. I want to continue the cross-party events.
A. BELCHER: We don’t have a diversity officer, so we could start by talking to the Conservative and Labour diversity officers to see if they want to do something; we could also do something with the Lunar Society.

S. MAUDE: What do you think is the most difficult part about being Chair?
A. BELCHER: The large number of people you have to deal with, such as the other political societies, the Guild, the other committee members and the members of the society itself; you have to juggle a lot of interpersonal relationships but I think I’m prepared for that.
H. PEACE: Working with the chairs and committees of other societies; the Chair also has separate training to undertake and they have to listen to and work with their own committee. They are also the face of the society and people look to them; that comes with responsibility. I would be good for this because I have leadership experience with the Young Liberals; when things have gone badly in terms of welfare I’ve managed to get through it and organise some good events. I have made some mistakes but I have learned from them.

Voting then took place. Results:
A. BELCHER: 7
H. PEACE: 11
R.O.N.: 0
Hermione Peace was duly elected Chair of the University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats.

Election – Secretary

Nominated candidates: Alexander Helliker

A. HELLIKER: It’s no secret that I have been a terrible Events Officer. However, I was doing the wrong job the entire time. I’m doing a Masters, and Secretary is something that I can actually do – handling emails, payment forms, and the society’s constitution.

Questions

A. WORTHINGTON: Will you take over the blog from Adam?
A. HELLIKER: That depends on what Adam wants to do; I am happy to work on it.
A. BELCHER: We can work out the details of this later.

A. WORTHINGTON: Will you sign off every email with XD?
A. HELLIKER: No.

C. MICHAEL: Will you continue to fight the Guild to get hold of membership lists?
A. HELLIKER: Yes, I was annoyed by this as Events Officer.

S. BOARDMAN: If you had to pick a post-war Prime Minister to take over the Brexit process, who would it be?
A. HELLIKER: I have no idea because nobody can salvage this mess.

Voting then took place. Results:
A. HELLIKER: 16
R.O.N.: 0
Alexander Helliker was duly elected Secretary of the University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats.

Election – Treasurer

Nominated candidates: Emily Chomicz

E. CHOMICZ: I was going to make a poster but could not due to austerity. Money is important in today’s world. When it comes to finance you know somebody is doing a good job when you don’t hear about them. I am good with money and will bring some fresh blood to the committee. I am in a foundation year so I will probably be in the society for the next four years.

Questions

E. HILTON: Would you support a moneyless society?
E. CHOMICZ: I did A-Level Economics, so no.

A. HELLIKER: What is 1+1?
E. CHOMICZ: 25. I’m joking.

Voting then took place. Results :
E. CHOMICZ: 16
R.O.N.: 0
Emily Chomicz was duly elected Treasurer of the University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats.

Election – Vice Chair

Nominated candidates: Adam Belcher

A. BELCHER: Basically what I said when standing for Chair. Me and Hermione are very good friends and we have a strong working relationship. I’ve been Secretary for 18 months and have become slightly bored so I would like to try something else.

Questions

S. BOARDMAN: What do you think is the most important task of the Vice Chair?
A. BELCHER: To support the rest of the committee with their tasks.

Voting then took place. Results:
A. BELCHER: 16
R.O.N.: 0
Adam Belcher was duly elected Vice Chair of the University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats.

Election – Campaigns Officer

Nominated candidates: Ishbel Macpherson

I. MACPHERSON: I joined the Liberal Democrats because I believe in its policy and want to see it implemented at the national and local level; this can only be done by winning elections, so campaigning is important. I have worked on campaigns back home including for the last general election. I think I would be a good campaigns officer.

Questions

S. THORNTON: Would you prioritise campaigns on-campus or off-campus.
I. MACPHERSON: Both are equally important. Young people aren’t very politically engaged but to win a People’s Vote or any other campaign we have to get out around Birmingham and around the country.

H. PEACE: Will you get contact details for the local party from Ned?
S. THORNTON: That will be part of the handover.
I. MACPHERSON: It would be really good to do campaigns with local parties.

J. SAUNDERS: Campaigning for the Liberal Democrats is important but what other campaigns should we work on?
I. MACPHERSON: Stopping Brexit, the environment, and engaging women and minorities in politics.

Voting then took place. Results:
I. MACPHERSON: 16
R.O.N.: 0
Ishbel Macpherson was duly elected University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats Campaigns Officer.

Election – Communications Officer

Nominated candidates: Charles Michael

C. MICHAEL: I wasn’t planning on standing but Sophie persuaded me to. I didn’t get too involved last year but I went to Brussels this year. I do enjoy the society and I have very staunch liberal politics. I guess I would make an alright officer, I have some graphics design experience so I can make banners, memes should also be fine.

Questions

H. PEACE: How committed to memes are you?
C. MICHAEL: I’ve already posted a few memes in the society chat. I prefer more traditional memes rather than Hermione’s abstract modern memes. I’m better at using Twitter, less so Instagram.

A. BUTTERISS: What is your favourite meme?
C. MICHAEL: Hermione made a meme within a minute of being elected Chair.

S. BOARDMAN: What is your favourite subreddit?
C. MICHAEL: /r/GamingCircleJerk.

Voting then took place. Results:
C. MICHAEL: 16
R.O.N.: 0
Charles Michael was duly elected University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats Communications Officer.

Election – Events Officer

Nominated candidates: None

The position of University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats Events Officer was uncontested and subsequently falls vacant.

Any Other Business

S. THORNTON: The Trans Women in Politics panel is on the 26th.

S. MAUDE: The yellow forms are for those who went to the conference in York. Please make sure you provide me with receipts.

S. THORNTON: The new committee’s welcome drinks will be at the Bristol Pear on Thursday the 28th at 6pm. The Conservative Society is holding Port and Policy tomorrow at 6pm at Bournbrook and Selly Oak Social Club.

Sophie Thornton then adjourned the meeting.

Group photographs were taken of the outgoing committee and the elected committee. Most of the members present then went to the Goose at the OVT for drinks, followed by the Nightingale nightclub.

Meeting chaired by Sophie Thornton. Minutes taken by Adam Belcher, except for when Belcher stood for election, at which points minutes were taken by Sam Maude. Ballots counted by Sophie Thornton and Alicia Butteriss.

Advertisements

Liberal Democrats Spring Conference – 15th-17th March 2019

UBLD sent its largest ever delegation of past and present members to the Liberal Democrats Federal Conference in York. Present were current members Sophie Thornton, Adam Belcher, Alicia Butteriss, Hermione Peace, Alex Helliker and Ned Hilton, along with recent alumni James Cox and Callum Gurr (both Chairs-Emeritus) and Asher Bond.

On the morning of Friday the 15th, Adam, Alex and Sophie gathered at Hermione’s house where a taxi was booked to the coach station. We then took the coach from Birmingham to Leeds. At Leeds coach station, we happened to bump into Fergus Turtle, a friend of the society from Liverpool, who was also making the trip to conference.

Upon arriving at York, we left Fergus but shortly thereafter bumped into Ned, who had taken the train instead. We made our way to one of the two Airbnbs booked by Sophie and Sam Maude (who unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute), dropped off our stuff, and then headed to the Barbican centre. Here, in the lobby, Sophie immediately set about chatting to her many friends in the party, whilst others took a look at the exhibition. At around 6pm, we all gathered in the auditorium for the opening rally. Here, we were reunited with our former members Callum, Asher and James. The opening rally consisted of speeches from Jo Swinson, Ed Davey and others.

After that, it was of course time for all the Young Liberals to head to Wetherspoons, specifically the Postern Gate; the pub was heaving with liberals from all over the country, but we were able to carve out a little corner for ourselves by dragging in chairs from outside, allowing us to eat and to chat to various friends of the society, such as Tom Crawford of Sunderland, and others. This essentially served as the pre-drinks for the YL night out at the Flares nightclub organised by YL Accessibility Officer Katharine Macy, which we headed to at around 10pm. Flares, described to us as “Popworld on steroids”, certainly lived up to this description and we all had a very enjoyable night, though some of us had a simpler journey home than others.

53769975_10217739265380853_702279865029623808_n
At Flares. L-R: Alex Helliker (Events Officer), Adam Belcher (Secretary), Ned Hilton (Campaigns Officer), Hermione Peace (Communications Officer), James Cox (former Chair), Sophie Thornton (Chair), Callum Gurr (former Chair), Fergus Turtle (friend of the society), Asher Bond (former Social Secretary), Alex Wagner (friend of the society).

It was a very hungover UBLD contingent which slowly made its way to the Barbican on Saturday morning/afternoon in its ones and twos, some going to training sessions, others eating lunch at Spoons. Attention returned to the auditorium at 2pm with Vince Cable’s Q&A session, followed a couple of hours later by perhaps the most controversial part of the conference agenda: the constitutional amendments. It was in this debate that Adam made his first ever conference speech, arguing against allowing non-MPs to run for leader. His speech can be seen in full here. As a whole, the UBLD contingent were divided on several of the key amendments, although in the end all of the votes went the way yours truly wanted them to, so one cannot complain.

55453738_2337819669790076_666897473473609728_n
Adam makes his first ever conference speech.

With the day’s official business concluded, there was a brief opportunity to grab food; yours truly cooked garlic bread back at the Airbnb (although sadly Ned reviewed it as “undercooked”); Alex on the other hand was lucky enough to secure a free dinner by attending the Lib Dem Lawyers fringe event. Several of us then went to the Young Women in Politics panel hosted by Hermione in her capacity as Vice-Chair of YL, featuring Wera Hobhouse MP. Unfortunately, due to the fact that there was a sugar tax / eating disorders fringe happening in the adjacent room, the event was rather poorly attended, with more men than women in the room, so the event morphed into a more general discussion on disadvanted groups in politics, with respect to gender, race, class, et cetera. Nonetheless, the insights of Wera and the other members of the panel were quite eye-opening for all of us.

After that, it was back to Spoons for another quick round of pre-drinks before it was time to head over to the Novotel for what is the highlight of conference for many – the Glee Club. Here things deteriorated rapidly. Hermione became very drunk and, by the end of night, had managed to get Ed Davey, Jo Swinson, Layla Moran and Christine Jardine to dab with her; Alistair Carmichael was somewhat more reluctant. It was slightly disappointing that the setup of the room meant that the acoustics of the room were poor (Adam was very upset that he missed On Ilkley Moor Baht ‘at despite being at the bar in the same room) and also unbearably hot. However, we of course belted out the usual renditions of The Lib-Lab Lie and the de-facto party anthem, The Land. Once Glee Club had ended, Adam and James hung around at the bar for a while longer, and later worked our way back to the Airbnb for a final drink before calling it a night.

53747571_1973416142785970_8614352133912788992_n
UBLD comandeers our Deputy Leader. L-R: Ned Hilton, Adam Belcher, Hermione Peace, Sophie Thornton, Asher Bond, Jo Swinson MP, Alex Helliker, James Cox, Callum Gurr.

Most of us had a pretty slow start on Sunday morning as well, apart from Alex who was up bright and early for the 9am legal aid debate, in which he made his first ever conference speech (not bad considering it was also his first ever conference). His speech can be seen in full here. Sophie then spoke on the emergency motion on knife crime.

55600261_10218580631849330_1917558586762854400_n
Alex Helliker’s debut conference speech.

Once we had all checked out of our Airbnbs, we headed to the auditorium for the motion on unpaid internships (the first YL motion to be accepted for debate in quite a few years), in which many friends of the society spoke; this passed almost unanimously. This brought us to the finale of conference – Vince Cable’s big speech. This, we agreed, was somewhat better than his Brighton performance the previous autumn.

And with that, conference was over; we had a final meal with a few YL stragglers at the Postern Gate, before dashing back to the train station to catch the coach back to Leeds and, from there, to Birmingham.

Guild Awards – 12th March 2019

A small delegation of UBLD members attended the 91st annual Guild Awards at the Aston Webb Great Hall on Tuesday the 12th of March. Present were Sophie Thornton, Sam Maude, Adam Belcher, Alex Helliker and Jonis Liban.

Sam, Adam and Alex had a drink beforehand at the Goose before meeting the others at the Great Hall at 7pm. We had not nominated ourselves for any awards this year, going off of our hypothesis that political societies never win awards lest the Guild be accused of bias, so we were mostly just present for the entertainment, the food of debateable quality, and of course the after party at Joe’s. Following a healthy amount of wine and gin consumption, we were able to have ourselves a merry time, albeit some of us having more interesting times than others.

53764477_345026139448422_7598121824676741120_n
L-R: Jonis Liban, Alex Helliker (Events Officer), Sophie Thornton (Chair), Sam Maude (Vice-Chair), Adam Belcher (Secretary), Hermione Peace (Communications Officer)

UBLD members also gathered for Liberal Drinks at the Bristol Pear on Thursday 14th of March starting from 7pm, which served as a nice pre-conference social for those of us going. Unfortunately there are no accurate records for attendance at this event. This night ended relatively early for us, given the early start for conference the next day.

Spirited Discussions – 7th March 2019

The University of Birmingham held Spirited Discussions on Thursday the 7th of March, at 6pm in Lecture Room 5 of the Arts Building.

The first motion for debate was that “this House believes that British citizens who go to join terrorist organisations abroad should be allowed back into the UK.” The initial votes were as follows:
AYE: 17
NO: 3
ABSTAIN: 3
The opening speech in favour was given by Billy Thompson (LAB). The opening speech in opposition was given by Cameron Simpson-Allsop (LD). The order of speakers was then as follows:
Tiffany Idle (IND/LD)
Ned Hilton (LD, UBLD Campaigns Officer)
Sam Boardman (LD)
Peter Tutykhin (LAB)
Cameron Simpson-Allsop (LD)
Ollie Stanley (CON, UOBC Secretary)
Billy Thompson (LAB)
Tiffany Idle (IND/LD)
Sam Boardman (LD)
Ollie Stanley (CON)
Hermione Peace (LD, UBLD Communications Officer)
Tiffany Idle (IND/LD)
Cameron Simpson-Allsop (LD)
Peter Tutykhin (LAB)
Emily Chomicz (LD)
Sam Maude (LD, UBLD Vice-Chair)
Megan Wright (IND)
Aymen Aulaiwi (LD)
Charles Michael (LD)
Peter Tutykhin (LAB)
Charles Michael (LD)
Ollie Stanley (CON)
Peter Tutykhin (LAB)
Aymen Aulaiwi (LD)
The closing speech in opposition was given by Ollie Stanley (CON, UOBC Secretary). The closing speech in favour was given by Peter Tutykhin (LAB). The final votes were:
AYE: 21
NO: 2
ABSTAIN: 0
So the proposition side won on swing.

The second motion was that “this House believes that custodial sentences for non-violent crime should be abolished.” The initial votes were:
AYE: 4
NO: 11
ABSTAIN: 11
The opening speech in favour was given by Billy Thompson (LAB). The opening speech in opposition was given by Chavonne Brown (LAB). The order of speakers was then as follows:
Charles Michael (LD)
Hermione Peace (LD, UBLD Communications Officer)
Sam Boardman (LD)
Peter Tutykhin (LAB)
Aymen Aulaiwi (LD)
Tiffany Idle (IND/LD)
Billy Thompson (LAB)
Emily Chomicz (LD)
Chavonne Brown (LAB)
Peter Tutykhin (LAB)
Aymen Aulaiwi (LD)
Cameron Simpson-Allsop (LD)
DJ Hanson (LAB)
Sam Boardman (LD)
Tiffany Idle (IND/LD)
DJ Hanson (LAB)
Ben Lockley (LAB)
Anna Humphreys (CON, UOBC President)
Emily Chomicz (LD)
Tiffany Idle (IND/LD)
Billy Thompson (LAB)
Sam Boardman (LD)
David Walsh (CON)
The closing speech in opposition was given by Sam Boardman (LD). The closing speech in favour was given by Billy Thompson (LAB). The final votes were:
AYE: 5
NO: 20
ABSTAIN: 2
So the opposition side won on swing.

The final, less serious, open debate was on what Britain’s national drink should be. The suggestions included:
Vodka (Aymen Aulaiwi)
Gin (Chavonne Brown)
Beer (Billy Thompson)
IPA (Peter Tutykhin)
Small beer (Tiffany Idle)
Coffee (Sam Boardman)
Tea (DJ Hanson)
Strongbow Dark Fruit (Adam Belcher)
Kopparberg (Ben Lockley)
Crisp Harrogate Spa Mineral Water (Ned Hilton)
Thatcher’s Gold (George)
Fruit Shoot (Aymen Aulaiwi)
Wine (Alex Helliker)
Foster’s (Emily Chomicz)
Human milk (Chavonne Brown)
Guinness (Sam Boardman)
Pimms (Sam Maude)
Bailey’s (Grace Ashworth)
Buckfast (Tiffany Idle)

The winning suggestion was beer with 8 votes.

D1FFwlbX0AAI9UY.jpg large
A healthy turnout at Spirited Discussions.

Afterwards, a number of the attendees went to Chavonne’s house for more drinks, and then later went out clubbing (although Sophie and Adam decided against clubbing and instead retired to Sophie’s house to listen to Pink Floyd and consider potential dresses for the upcoming Guild Awards).

UBLD members running for Lib Dem leadership!

The recent announcement of Vince Cable’s imminent resignation as Leader of the Liberal Democrats has opened up opportunities for many members of UBLD as they join the race to succeed Vince as party leader. This comes following the recent Conference decision to allow non-MPs to run for party leader, despite a powerful intervention by Adam Belcher.

First to throw their hat into the ring is Chair-elect Hermione Peace, who has been working hard to get key party figures on her side. Ed Davey, Jo Swinson, Layla Moran and Christine Jardine have all been seen performing Hermione’s famous “dab” gesture in support of her campaign, although Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael has reportedly been less keen. She has recently gone on the record saying that memes are the way forward for the party to connect with the Generation Z youth of today.

Other contenders have been joining the race thick and fast. In a speech from his palace in Dorset, Alex Helliker announced that his role as UBLD Events Officer had been the wrong job all along, and that the perfect role for him was obviously Leader of the Liberal Democrats. Helliker has already attracted a number of supporters who believe that the best way for the Lib Dems to win the next election is for the party to do absolutely nothing for the next two years. Meanwhile, Asher Bond has announced his candidacy, banking on his experience of working for the party to carry him to victory (did you know he works for the party?)

Some hopefuls have already had their ambitions scuppered by their pasts. Ems Simpson, who has proposed to take the party in a more anarcho-communist direction, has been forced to deny claims that she tortures men in The Sims. Adam Belcher has been running on a rather ironic platform of reversing the decision to allow non-MPs to be leader, but has been let down by his poor networking skills at previous party conferences.

A potentially popular choice is outgoing Chair Sophie Thornton, running on a platform of having the party adopt the policy of a nation-wide ban on baked beans. Her running mate is a relatively unknown figure who is apparently called Chames Box, who claims to be a former Chair of UBLD, although very few people seem to know who he is.

Whoever emerges as the most popular candidate will of course also be dealing with competition from the York Clique, as well as the Oxford mafia and RhI Cymru, and that’s just in YL. That being said, numerous senior figures in the party such as Mark Pack have already had their chances blown, having angered the substantial YL voting bloc by referring to the Young Liberals as Liberal Youth one too many times.

UBLD Charity Pub Quiz – 3rd March 2019

The UBLD Charity Pub Quiz returned to the Indie Lounge on Sunday the 3rd of March, starting at 7:30pm. UBLD Secretary Adam Belcher hosted the pub quiz as always, but he was joined this time by co-host Hermione Peace, who wrote and presented the second and fourth rounds. Sophie Thornton and Sam Maude also helped to arrange prizes and run the raffle in parallel with the quiz.

The rounds were:
1. General Knowledge (Adam)
2. Film & TV Trivia (Hermione)
3. Flags (Adam)
4. General Knowledge 2: Electric Boogaloo (Hermione)
5. Politics and Current Affairs (Adam)
6. Music (Adam)

A total of £107 was raised, setting a new record for UBLD quizzes. Winning team Rafa Benitez Appreciation Society chose to donate this money to Mind UK. A total of 35 players took part. Our thanks go to the Labour Society for sending a large cohort of players, and of course to the Indie Lounge for hosting us.

The final rankings are as follows:
1. The Rafa Benitez Appreciation Society (Alex Hawkins, Ali Cheyne, Alex Young, ???) – 51.5 points
2. Let’s Get Quizzical (Alicia Butteriss, Will Gould, Sam Maude, Alex Read) – 50.5 points
3. Pablo’s Hippos (Peter Tutykhin, Kate Robertshaw, Megan Cole, Aled Hanson, Billy Thompson, Alex Binnie) – 46.5 points
4. Quiznce Cable (Jessica Wood, Abi Kirkby, Lucy Cullimore, Manon Hughes, Charlotte Pollard) – 44 points
5. The So-called Quizlamic State (Sam Boardman, Joe McColl, Sophie Thornton, Nick Molland, Megan Wright) – 43 points
6. The Independent Group (Ben Lockley, Emilia Fletcher, Jonny) – 22.5 points
7. Norfolk and Chance (Ben, Grace, Zara, Lauren, Susie) – 22 points
8. The Three Muskequeerz (Alex Clark-Michalek, Cara, Owen) – 11.5 points

quiz1
The So-called Quizlamic State, looking excited about something.

quiz2
Teams prepare to tackle a night of challenging trivia.

quiz3
Co-hosts for the night, Adam Belcher and Hermione Peace.

List of media used in the quiz:
Soft Cell – Tainted Love
Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
AC/DC – Back in Black
Queen – I Want To Break Free
Kitchen Gun (Round 1 intro)
Initial Duck (Round 2 intro)
John Williams – Cantina Band
Adam’s Vine playlist
Toilet Grenade (Round 3 intro)
Best pirate I’ve ever seen (Round 4 intro)
Band of the Grenadier Guards – On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at
The Killers – Somebody Told Me but Brandon Flowers keeps breaking his back
Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
In The Air Tonight Spiderman slap (Round 5 intro)
Rainbow Trololo (Round 6 intro)
Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun (Round 6 Question 1)
Jeff Wayne – Eve of the War (Round 6 Question 2)
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – Summer Nights (Round 6 Question 3)
Nirvana – Come As You Are (Round 6 Question 4)
Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Round 6 Question 5)
System of a Down – Chop Suey! (Round 6 Question 6)
Basshunter – DotA (Round 6 Question 7)
Johannes Brahms – Hungarian Dance No. 5 (Round 6 Question 8)
Elvis Presley – Hound Dog (Round 6 Question 9)
Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer (Round 6 Question 10)
The Human League – Don’t You Want Me but all the lyrics are You Were Working as a Waitress in a Cocktail Bar
Smash Mouth – All Star
Toto – Africa
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Coalition of Chaos – 28th February 2019

Thursday the 28th of February saw the second annual Coalition of Chaos bar crawl, courtesy of the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Green and Politics Societies. Wearing the yellow shirts were Sophie Thornton, Adam Belcher, Hermione Peace, Ned Hilton and Charles Michael, as well as the Lunar Society’s Ben Sculfor and new member Alex Clark-Michalek.

The bar crawl began at Circo in Selly Oak, where T-shirts were distributed. At around 8:30 we got Ubers to Bierkeller on Broad Street. Here, Adam was pleasantly surprised to discover it was possible to buy double pints of Strongbow Dark Fruit. The next stop, at around 10pm, was Reflex. Here, Charles bought a cowboy hat, became very drunk, and began wondering around trying to convert people to the Lib Dems. Adam, meanwhile, ended up discussing the pros and cons of HS2 with a fellow Wakefield native from Polsoc.

After a quick pit-stop at a food establishment on Broad Street (which served Ned with blatantly raw chicken which they insisted was cooked), we arrived at our final venue, Rosies nightclub. Here, UBLD mostly stayed within the Retro room, and didn’t leave until the DJ finally played our anthem, Don’t You Want Me.

All in all, everyone seemed to survive the night, which for Adam is a substantial improvement over previous cross-party nights out.

52950146_426194518118178_941493136641753088_n
Sam, Ned and Hermione, with a rather drunk Charles in the background.