With the conference season now over and done with, the British Humanist Association has declared it a successful season with good showing at all three major party conferences. However, perhaps the scariest prospect is the dominance of UKIP in recent political discourse. We know they are pretty much very right-wing with their own collection of Christian loons. Perhaps they will calm down as they become more mainstream, who knows. But for now, it seems like, all things equal, the Lib Dems offer a safe haven for humanists. Nick Clegg even mentioned the “A” word in his closing speech! That is the present deputy head mentioning good ole atheism in a major spot.
Here is what the BHA have to say:
Taking the party conferences by storm
Our Head of Public Affairs, Pavan Dhaliwal, and our Chief Executive, Andrew Copson, were at each of the three main party conferences over the past few weeks – the last ones before the general election in May 2015 – where they flew the flag for Humanism and met with MPs, journalists, political activists, and campaigners from across the political spectrum.
Attending party conferences is an essential event in the calendars of most NGOs, and a crucial time for making alliances. This is especially so for groups like the BHA, whose campaigns have overwhelming public support from people of all sorts of political persuasions, but which isn’t often matched by political will among senior parliamentarians. Reaching out and making links at events like these proves invaluable, as it allows us to present the facts to politicians in a setting where they can automatically see just how engaged their own voters are with the issues we campaign on.
At the first conference, in Manchester, Labour Humanists hosted a No Prayer Breakfast (an alternative event to Christian on the Left’s established Prayer Breakfast) with a big-name guestlist, which was warmly received by attendees at Conference – you can track the discussion over breakfast that day using Labour Humanists’ Storify of the event. Next up, at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, we were delighted by the positive conversations and discussions we had with senior Tory officials on a number of issues, and we made ourselves seen and heard at a variety of events.
The conference season was then rounded off by a major victoryin Glasgow as the Liberal Democrat membership backed a motion by the Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats and the party subsequently announced it would back an end to to collective worship and discrimination in employment by ‘faith’ schools– a massive cause for celebration.
This has been one of our most successful conference seasons ever as we ring in the last quarter of a brilliant year for the BHA. We hope for this trend continues into 2015.