Chris Rennard: Youth is not a barrier to being anything in our party

Chris RennardChris Rennard spoke to the Liberal Youth Conference at the weekend. Courtesy of The Libertine here is an extract from his speech:

Party youth groups were always crucial in the key by-elections that I was involved in during the 1980s and later when some of the great by-election wins that I helped to deliver rescued our party and helped it to gain many more parliamentary seats. Active Liberal youth helped to make the difference in many of the seats that we now hold at different levels.

I often talk to sixth form and university groups about young political leaders who inspired me and I say that youth is not a barrier to being anything in our party. People in other countries have been imprisoned, tortured or killed fighting for democracy. Steve Biko was just 27 when he was murdered because of his campaign to bring democracy to South Africa. Martin Luther King was only 25 when he led the march on Washington to demand civil rights enabling black people to vote and he spoke of his dream that one day people would “not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character“.

 

 

* Mary Reid is the Tuesday Editor on Lib Dem Voice.

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4 Comments

  • Chris did a huge amount as Director of Campaigns and then Chief Exec not just to support the youth & student organisations but also to encourage and enthuse the development of a vast number of young campaigners. I remember being how impressed he was to take time to talk to me at the first conference I ever attended when my only background in the party was having helped at a few Parliamentary by-elections.

  • Paul Pettinger 27th Nov '12 - 3:13pm

    It was a shame that Liberal Youth had its funding severely cut when he was Chief Executive.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 28th Nov '12 - 8:58am

    Given yesterday’s reports about Sir Cyril Smith MBE (titles surely to be removed in the not too distant future) it would appear that the barriers are pretty limited. Why when LibDemVoice is happy to report any indiscretions about politicians from other parties at pretty much the drop of a hat is there silence on this matter?

    Where are the apolgies from the former LibDem agent for Rochdale who was happy to attack Chris Paul, Rochdales Alternative Paper and others who were brave enough to continue to air the allegations. When will the LibDems acknowledge that Cyril Smith acted improperly in defending the interests of the asbestos industry rather than standing up for its victims.

    Given that all this happened in the local Liberal Party that gave us John Bright it truly is a mark of great shame and should be acknowledged rather than ignored.

  • Chris Rennard 28th Nov '12 - 12:03pm

    @ Paul Pettinger

    But to be fair Paul, the English Party had greatly increased its funding for LDYS by automatically allocating to it all subscription income from members known to be under 25 so that there was a significant overall net increase overall in this period (which is why the FFAC and FE took the decision to reduce their contribution). Whilst I appreciate that it must have felt hard at the time not to retain full funding from both sources, the Federal Party was also generous in other ways.

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