Applications are now invited from potential LibDem Mayoral and Assembly (GLA) list candidates for London, which will hold its next round of city-wide elections in 2012. Interested individuals can request an application pack from the Returning Office, Patrick Mitchell, at [email protected] or 6 Palfrey Place, London SW8 1PA. Completed applications must be received by 24 September.
London has benefited from a big influx of new members over recent months – by far the biggest growth of any UK region. Moreover, London Liberal Democrats have moved campaigning and capacity up several notches with the launch of Team London, a new approach to dealing with the challenges of politics in this vibrant, diverse capital city.
At one level, this means more effective targeting of human resources from across London at winnable local by-elections, such as the current Earl’s Court ward contest in Kensington & Chelsea. But Team London will also be swinging into action in the Tower Hamlets mayoral election too (polling date 21 October), where we can really help the resurgence of a local party that made a significant advance in May’s general election.
An important aspect of the Team London approach is the recognition that the London Mayoral, GLA list and European elections are all organised city-wide, which means that in those contests every local party – however strong or weak – can be part of a winning team, in the short-term boosting our GLA members up from the current level of three. We are promoting the idea of a Vote Harvest, in which each local party will be challenged to garner targeted numbers of votes in every area.
But Team London is not just about winning elections, important though that is. It is also about sharing best practice across the region and building local parties’ capacity through training, mentoring and other means. It also must involve making London Liberal Democrats more representative of the multicultural city in which we live. About a third of London’s population belongs to ethnic minorities (BME).
Mirroring the Party’s practices relating to gender balance, we have introduced a measure whereby at least one of the top four GLA list candidates must be BME and two in the top six, which should guarantee greater diversity within our excellent GLA team. But we also want to develop a coherent strategy to embrace and engage all the various ethnic and faith communities across London. That will involve building links, training candidates, recruiting new potential candidates and other steps aimed at ensuring greater awareness, participation and relevance, while strengthening the party across London.
Jonathan Fryer is Chair of London Liberal Democrats