Author Archives: Ed Fordham

Lessons from Lincolnshire

Elections come and go, but the memories and the camaraderie live on.  The telling of old by-election stories and hearing them re-written over time and years is part of the fun.  But they can also be sad and hurtful.  

It has taken me years to get over the deep personal trauma that I now realise I suffered in the aftermath of years of campaigning to win Hampstead and Kilburn, and the impact of losing on a recount.  And I probably will never fully lose that trauma.  Yet I am sitting here now in the wreckage of a by-election HQ and I’m beaming.

Here in the HQ it’s down to just me and the agent Ian Horner. Even Ada our host has gone shopping, and yet neither of us feel sad.  There is a positive mood about what we achieved and a satisfaction about a job well done.

You all know the result. You had predicted it and over analaysed it before the count had even commenced so I won’t attempt to drag over it again here.  But  let me offer some thoughts that I think are important for the Liberal Democrats, and for me, issues we urgently need to address and tackle.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 35 Comments

Emotion, mischief, hard work and an absent friend: inside the Sleaford & North Hykeham campaign

Yesterday, sitting at my desk here in Sleaford and North Hykeham two of the best activists I have had the pleasure of working with over my 28 years in the party, were somewhat surprised to see me holding my head in my hands and crying.

The morning had been busy, too busy, the press have just noticed that this by-election is happening, and I have lots to do. Too much to do. In fact we are doing massive amounts and it’s going well. But I had a wobble and so went out delivering a round of leaflets or two. It’s cold here in Lincolnshire on these December mornings and it’s clears your head a little. But nonetheless I was thinking too much and making little progress. As I got back in the car and went to come back to the HQ we put the radio on and out came Snow Patrol’s Run.

Let me explain – my best mate Cllr Neil Trafford was killed in a car crash 8 years ago and at his memorial service – 8 years ago on 6 December 2008 (!) we played a recording of his sister Hannah singing Run.

Now this by-election in deepest Lincolnshire is going on and Neil is one of the people I would have turned to for help, advice and assistance. He would have loved it and been here and amusing us all, and he would have been causing mischief. As it is, I am causing enough mischief.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

What do these by-elections mean for your own constituency?

And so it looms – polling day is always tough, for the teams, the candidates and to be fair for the media and journalists who try and understand the event, pick out the story and filter through the spin and analysis. But Richmond Park will vote on Thursday 1st December and your input will decide whether Sarah Olney I elected.

Witney was rightly proclaimed as a surge forwards for the Liberal Democrats and a tribute to the astoundingly impressive Liz Leffman. As I write this Sarah Olney and her team are being tested in the final week for what …

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Sleaford and North Hykeham: Lighting a beacon of liberal democracy

ross-pepper

So what have the following years got in common? 2007, 2005, 1999, 1935 and 1937.  It might seem a bit unlikely, but they are the year of birth of five of our activists who came out, fed and watered activists, wrote envelopes, stuffed and folded and delivered in Sleaford and North Hykeham.

Yes, this is a snapshot insight into the most unlikely and optimistic by-election campaigns that Lincolnshire and, indeed I would venture, the East Midlands has ever seen.

On paper the odds and the basis for such optimism is very very low, but let’s go through a few elements.  We have two county councillors in the constituency and those seats successfully defended in 2017 should see us elect up to 7 councillors on North Kesteven District in 2019.  So that would be progress.  But it’s not enough.  So we are also working very hard in Sleaford Town.  That campaign, translated up in 2019, would elect a further 6 district councillors.  So that too would be progress.  But it’s not enough.  So we are working to activate our traditional Lincolnshire support base in some of the larger villages.  This is being done through contacting, motivating and empowering our members and critically our new members.

The means of doing this is very intensive, but the by-election is a great trigger and excuse so we are starting it all now.

Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

London’s LGBT Vigil to be sung and sung loudly

If it didn’t exist would you create it? Well based on last night, the answer for the London Gay Men’s Chorus was a resounding Yes.

As thousands of members of the LGBT community poured into Soho, supported by friends, family and a host of straight allies – everyone was very uncertain. The nervousness was palpable with no-one clear what was going to happen. There were a few attempts to get a political chant going, but the crowd was more contemplative. As the hour of 7pm approached there was a hanging sense of expectation.

And sure enough as 7pm there was a raft of whistle blowing then then the cloak of silence fell over everyone – Soho is said to be the only identifiable district in London which has no buses through it and when the silence fell you could hear a pin drop.

The silence was held for what seemed to be an age and the tension was real and then slowly, quietly and determinedly the joyous noise gathered pace and rose up. Here was London Gay Men’s Chorus singing ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’. Conducted by the deeply impressive Simon Sharp the Chorus absolutely delivered. Clad in their distinctive blue t-shirts this community chorus – which operates an open access policy – totally filled the yawning void of emotion, anger and optimism. The men next to me were openly crying, holding each other tight. It was a wave of song, of love and of gratitude: a surge of shared affinity for the heartache being witnessed in Orlando.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

Remembering Charles Kennedy’s character, wit, ascent and triumphs: a report from today’s London service

This was no wake, this was a celebratory thanksgiving to the Charles Kennedy we knew and loved.  Held, not in Westminster, but in Charles’ own London parish church – the Catholic Cathedral of St George, Southwark.  As one Liberal Democrat peer wisely observed after the service – Charles would have liked that the residents of the Village of Westminster had had to come down to his manor here in Southwark.

So often with memorial services of people whom we have lost untimely there is a sense of what might have been.  Instead this celebration marvelled at just how much Charles had achieved so young, and with apparent effortlessness.  This was a welcome and deserved recollection of the character, the wit, the ascent and triumphs of Charles.

There were elements that were not highlights of the service – but rather illuminations of the brilliance, the reach and nature of Charles himself: Jim Naughtie (BBC World at One and Today) reflected just how special and unique a politician Charles was; Ian Hislop, at the request of the family, read the serious and challenging Death shall have no dominion by Dylan Thomas; and former Intern in Charles’ office, Eleanor Sanderson-Nash held the cathedral spell-bound with her performance of Vissi D’Arte, from Puccini’s Tosca (and evoked a spontaneous round of applause).

Leading politicians from all parties – but largely drawn from the Liberal Democrat family – gathered as a clan to remember, smile and laugh.  But for me the real stand out feature that credits Charles the man, was the sheer number of Liberal Democrat former Westminster parliamentary staff in attendance.  This was not just their affection for him, but the truth that Charles had noticed them in their time at Westminster.  And so today they came in huge numbers to pay their respects.  Prayers from Revd Canon Mark Soady for example – clergyman yes – colleague and friend yes – but longstanding front-line staffer of 4 Cowley Street, well known to Charles, who acknowledged all staff in HQ whenever he was there.

Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Comments

Proud of Pride in Belgrade

Belgrade-Pride-1

International Office_with textI have been working with the LDP (Liberal Democrat Party of Serbia) for a few years now through the International Office and we have been concentrating on human rights and LGBT issues for the last 18 months. The first stage of the work the International Office and I have been doing, focusing on building LGBT competency within the wider LDP and supporting them to create their own LGBT specific committee in the Human Rights Council, culminated last month when I joined the Human Rights Council and LDP leadership at Belgrade Pride.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarmatt 11th Dec - 1:35pm
    Latest Yougov poll http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/bg3iahmaw8/TimesResults_161205_VI_Trackers_W.pdf In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the European Union? Right 44 Wrong 42...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 11th Dec - 1:33pm
    Talk of EU punishing the UK is rubbish. We decided to leave, the rest of the EU are right to look after their interests and...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 11th Dec - 1:29pm
    This is the type of exploitation that our party MUST ensure is wiped out, it is an affront to our society and too many global...
  • User Avatarmatt 11th Dec - 1:01pm
    @CassieB " A small majority voted Leave. But they didn’t get to choose the detail. I don’t see how holding the government to account on...
  • User AvatarFiona 11th Dec - 12:50pm
    Thank you for posting this. I am a member of IES, and would have loved to attend, but it wasn't possible this year. I'm hoping...
  • User AvatarMartin 11th Dec - 12:37pm
    Before the referendum polls showed that something like half or more of the electorate did not believe that Brexit would harm the economy. Clearly, most...