Author Archives: Huw Dawson

Time to debate policy whilst the house burns down? Perhaps we should smash the boards instead

That the decision by the Federal Board to delay the leadership contest to 2021 was controversial amongst members is itself a non-controversial statement. WhatsApp groups and email chains have been filled with sometimes sweary complaints regarding the decision, comments about dissatisfied members at risk of leaving the party, and an overall despair at the lethargic and doubt-ridden approach the party has taken to 2020.

That the report into the 2019 General Election car crash was hard-hitting and well-sourced is also non-controversial. It is a good bit of commentary on the reasoning behind the weakening of the Lib Dems since around the time of Kennedy’s removal as leader. It covers a lot of topics familiar both to those who have observed Lib Dem fortunes academically and have had to deal with those fortunes on the ground.

The consistent underpinning theme of the report is the institutional rot that has occurred in party infrastructure, which has been aided – but critically, not caused by – political decisions by various leadership members during the last fifteen years or so.

This is why the U-turn by the Federal Board this week, to take a panicked approach to the leadership election, replacing a longer-term strategic decision which was well articulated by the Party President and others in several places, is so exceptionally concerning. It illustrates the dysfunction outlined by the report perfectly, and does nothing but, at best, delay real action and debate on the report’s themes until the autumn.

What is clearly needed during this extended stint in the political wilderness is time for the lessons of 2019 to fully sink in, and for an empowered President, new CEO and an acting leader (without the distractions of enacting a mandate) to action the recommendations of the report. It requires a strategic approach, not a tactical one.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Thinking Too Hard About Plaid

This election has shaken up many people’s conception of politics. For the time being, we as Lib Dems have succeeded in what we’ve always attempted to create – a political triangle of us, Labour and the Conservatives.

As my first election – and indeed my first opportunity to experience politics as an adult – it’s been an interesting campaign. But I’m not in my home territory of Accrington. I’m in western Wales, on the fringes of our island. I’m not fighting Red or Blue, because I’m fighting Green, or to put it another way, I’m fighting the Welsh Nationalists. And …

Posted in Op-eds and Wales | 20 Comments

The second biggest fight in Wales: Ceredigion

The Liberal Democrats have four seats in Wales. Everyone’s heard of Lembit Opik, MP for Montgomeryshire. Then you have Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central. Roger Williams is the MP for Brecon & Radnorshire and Mark Williams is the MP for Ceredigion. Most people in Britain wouldn’t be able to find these places on a map, but that doesn’t really matter. I’m only going to talk about one – Ceredigion.

Mark Williams won a victory in 2005 that, quite frankly, was a complete surprise. You might have caught Kirsty Williams AM (Who is totally unrelated, I hasten to clarify) bursting into …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Opinion: We Must Fight Against the End of Our Internet

Our Internet is a place that we, as individuals, have built for ourselves. It is a place where anybody can, with a little bit of money, build their own house and hang whatever curtains they like. It is a place where knowledge, art and music (rightly or wrongly) can be freely shared across the globe, and where we can connect with people of all shapes and sizes and of all walks of life.

I am only a youth, but I know Australians, Americans, Canadians, French, Dutch, Swedes, Finns, and many more nationalities besides. Think back to when you were young …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments
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