Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett writes…Why do I want to be President of the Liberal Democrats?

Many of you may be asking the same question and I’m going to be honest. When I came to conference last weekend we only had two candidates Mark Pack and Richard Kemp – two very able, respectable and hardworking members  to which I’m not going to criticise in any way shape or form. 

However, the optics from a diversity and media perspective were awful – no diversity, no women, no ethnic minorities, no visible disability or invisible disability known and with the current furore over our LGBT+ group no candidate standing up for our party as the leading LGBT+ campaigning  in the race – so sometimes you have to stick your head above the parapet and say it’s time someone does …. 

So that’s what I decided to do on Sunday afternoon and thankfully we now have both Prue Bray and Jo Hayes In the race too.. 

So what is my platform going to concentrate on –  I’m going to be decidedly frank.

Our outgoing President Sal Brinton has done her best and I thank her for all she’d done but there are elements where I believe the internal machinations of our party have overwhelmed the role – and I believe the role should be split in two. There is a  fundamental role for dealing with the difficult internal party dynamics alongside chairing the internal Federal Board – as well as the external representation to the media and membership around the country. These two are profoundly different roles and I will thank Gordon Lishman for his insightful Liberator article which really got me thinking. 

Secondly, I will of course lead with two main themes, internationalism and inclusion- the two areas that mean most to me and why I joined the party. My networks in both these areas can bring new people to the party -it’s already happening recent work colleagues have joined  and new activists have too. Those who attended the Humanists & Secularists Fringe event will know I spoke very carefully on a sensitive topic but allowing a permissive debate to ensue – if anyone asks then speak to new Member Imtiaz Shams one of our guest speakers for his view. 

And finally, I want to ensure our candidates are given greater pastoral support. Many of us put our lives on hold for the party and my experience as with others who’ve we lost from the party as candidates is that there isn’t sufficient care for them at all levels and I believe we need to find ways to mentor, look-after and when crisis’s arrive, (which happens to everyone in life), the party has a place for people to find support, help and guidance not ignore, ridicule, and reject. We can do better than that and that must start at the Top with the President.

More detail to come on the specifics over the course of the campaign – but I can sum up in a few words – governance reformer, internationalist, inclusionist and finally a pastoral President.

 

* Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett is a candidate for Party President.

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