Author Archives: Elaine Bagshaw

You’re the Lib Dem Chief Exec – what three things would you do first?

When I joined the Liberal Democrat ExpandTeam as Honorary President in August I said I was “looking forward to bringing together people and groups that want to make it easier for members to get involved and give them a great experience when they do”. At our workshop, on 1 September that’s exactly what we began doing. We invited a small group of Lib Dems from our network to discuss Liberal Democrat Expand’s work and to ask the big questions about how we can all do something to improve member experience in the party.

We began by looking at some of the sources of inspiration for Lib Dem Expand, which launched in 2016 following a strong set of local election results in certain areas. The question then was: how do we replicate this across the country? What is it that makes certain seats thrive, and what can we do to transplant that into other areas?

The 50 State Strategy of Governor Howard Dean was the inspiration then. This committed the Democrats to invest in training and development across the country. And since then, new models have emerged: from Ship Creek in Alaska (read more here) to Onward Together (the video is recommended watching!).

Posted in News and Op-eds | 6 Comments

International Women’s Day – #AskHerToStand

100 years since women got the vote, and Parliament still woefully lags behind in terms of gender equality.

Whilst there are more women in Parliament than ever before, we are still on 32% of the Commons. We languish at 49th in the world for the number of women in Parliament. At this rate it will take 50 years to achieve gender equality in Parliament. 100 years after women won the right to vote 50:50 are aiming to achieve better gender balance in Parliament sooner than this.

I was thrilled to

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 9 Comments

The other things this FE election should make us worry about

This week has seen a lot of heated debate about the party’s governance and how well we’re implementing (or not) the recommendations from the Morrisey report. Personally, there are three other things about the election last week that should concern us, and that as a party we need to work together to address.

The first is our diversity problem. Or should we start calling it a tragedy? Our peer group is one of the more (if not the most) diverse official groupings within the party. Yet when it came to people putting themselves forward as their rep on Federal Executive, who were the only people willing to step up? Yet again it was two older white men. At every single level of the party, if this is the case it has to be questioned. There are so many talented people from underrepresented groups in our Peer group. Why aren’t they putting themselves forward? And more worryingly, why is no-one asking that question?

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Taking the #libdemfightback to Tower Hamlets

bagshselfieIt’s been an incredible four weeks for me and the team here in Tower Hamlets.

When I got selected for this campaign during the General Election, like many of you I expected to be fighting in the shadow of a hung parliament and coalition negotiations. That all changed at 10.01pm on May 7th when the exit poll came through.

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#NewMembersDay New member Anna out on the Tower Hamlets campaign trail already – and how you can help

Elaine & Anna campaign in Tower HamletsThe #libdemfightback has been incredible since last Thursday. As well as being astounded at over 100 people joining Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats in less than a week, we’ve been straight back out on the doorsteps talking to people as part of my campaign to become Mayor on 11 June. We’re finding that we’re getting a great reception, as Thursday’s result has driven people to realise that we share so many of our core values. Our new members are joining us at each event as well – full of enthusiasm, energy, and new ideas that will help reinvigorate our party. The photo shows us out with new member Anna Ovsyanikova, who is holding the clipboard.

Tower Hamlets has always been a borough full of contradictions. We live in the shadows of the City and Canary Wharf yet we have the second highest unemployment rate in London and 49% of our children are living in poverty. With a Tory government now in power preparing to slash the pupil premium that brought over £70 million to our local schools and further cuts to welfare, it’s even more important that new ideas and liberal values are at the heart of our Town Hall.

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Opinion: the Browne report should be voted down

The recommendations coming from Lord Browne are contrary not just to Liberal Democrat policy, but to our principles.

Education is vital to liberty and democracy. ‘Great improvements in education … are the only thing to which I should look for permanent good’ said John Stuart Mill and so highlights Nick Clegg’s special advisor, Richard Reeves. So how can we support Lord Browne’s report?

It is simply not possible to hide the shock that we feel, in response to Lord Browne’s proposals to saddle students in need to loans with absurd levels of debt by lifting the fee cap altogether.

We are both frequent …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 82 Comments

Opinion: Budget Day, and the light at the end of tunnel

It was never going to be an easy day. No-one enjoys having to make the kind of cuts the Coalition had to yesterday, but the consequences of doing nothing would have been far worse. I recall sitting in meetings of the Lib Dem Federal Policy Committee as we were costing the manifesto, and quickly realising that even on the generous economic forecasts of the Labour Government, it would be impossible to deliver every policy that we wanted, due to the incredible mess that the public finances had become.

There are a number of things we can take from the budget, Liberal …

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Liberal Youth: a successful Bootcamp weekend

After our most successful Freshers on record, with nearly 900 new people recruited to the party, Liberal Youth this weekend took a group of our new recruits and branch chairs to Malvern for Bootcamp. The event was designed to make sure that our activists were given the skills they’ll need to get through the General Election. We covered everything from time management to direct mail to the basics of campaigning. It was an intense weekend with delegates from Portsmouth to Glasgow and everywhere in between!

Alex Royden, Chair of Liverpool Liberal Youth and General Executive Member for national Liberal Youth, thought …

Posted in Events | Tagged | 6 Comments

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