Author Archives: Prue Bray

Outraged about failure in the party’s complaints system?  Try this…..

Ed: I am sure you will understand why we are pre-moderating comments on this post. We will not publish comments that name an individual, nor ones that clearly reference specific cases. 

As a party the Liberal Democrats believe firmly in evidence-based policy-making. We put huge amounts of effort into collecting and triangulating views and information, into scrutinising and testing ideas and suggestions, and into ensuring whatever policy proposals we put forward are robust and properly thought through, with all the consequences understood.

Given all that entirely rational, logical behaviour when it comes to policy. what on earth happens to the critical faculties of Lib Dem members when it comes to other issues within the party?  And specifically, just why is it that so many people simply lap up anything they are told if it is critical of the party’s complaints system?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am certainly not arguing that the complaints system is infallible. Nor am I arguing it should not be criticised.  All I want is for the criticism to be well-founded, and – preferably – constructive, rather than confrontational, which will improve nothing and generally just makes matters worse.

I am on record as not being a fan when the complaints system was originally set up in 2019. I thought the principle of having an independent system was right, but that the rules by which it was going to operate were not going to be effective. And even though It has evolved over the past 3 years, there are clearly still issues.

According to the report that was due to go to Federal Conference, the overwhelming majority of complaints are dismissed. This suggests that either people are submitting trivial or spurious complaints, or that they don’t understand how to submit a complaint or what evidence they need to provide. Much more needs to be done to explain the system to would-be complainants.

But also, panels sometimes come to some very odd decisions, not always corrected on appeal. But the fact that panels may sometimes make the wrong judgement doesn’t mean they always make the wrong judgement.

And, more pertinently, the fact that I or you may personally disagree with a decision doesn’t mean the decision must be wrong.  What makes us so sure we know better than the panel? They have seen all the evidence and heard from both sides. We haven’t.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 17 Comments

Federal Board reform – structures are nothing without good people

I am here to support option 3, because I think it is the least worst option of those offered. It has guaranteed local government representation. Councillors need a louder voice in the party. They are used to doing scrutiny, and will be able to use that to our benefit.

My lack of enthusiasm is not due to being resistant to change. It’s that this is not the change I am looking for.

Consider how professionally we approach campaigning – the training, the use of data, the effort that we put in. Consider how diligently we approach our policies – the use of evidence, the attention to detail. And then look at how we approach running the party – largely as an inconvenience that gets in the way of the campaigning and policy-making. But all the campaigns and policy in the world are useless without a party that can deliver them.

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 3 Comments

Prue Bray writes, “We need to talk…”

If I am elected as party president I want to weld the party together to form an unstoppable force to fight for liberalism. I believe the way to achieve that is by applying our principles: championing the rights and well-being of individuals, and helping them to grow and contribute to the party.

It’s all very well for me to lay out what I want to achieve. Now I need to answer the obvious question: how would I actually do it?

I think our Federal Conference showed that under Jo’s fantastic leadership we have a shared sense of purpose, …

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Prue Bray writes: Why I am running for President

In all my 25 years in the Liberal Democrats I  never imagined that we would reach a point in 2019 where not just our membership of the EU but parliamentary democracy itself would be under threat, with us as the only UK party offering any sane solutions.  People are flocking to us, as our fantastic local and European election results show.  They are looking to us to provide hope and to stop the mad descent into the nightmare that British politics is rapidly becoming.

It is absolutely crucial that we continue to rise to the challenge.

We have had a huge influx of members.  We welcome them to our army of activists, and now need to harness their skills and enthusiasm alongside the knowledge and experience of our existing members.  If we can succeed, and can equip everyone with the tools they need in the 21stcentury, we will have built an unstoppable fighting force of activists.

To weld the party together, from Penzance to Lerwick, from Cardiff to Margate and everywhere in between, is not an easy task.  We need more multi-way communication, we need to use information better,  we need to spread knowledge and best practice, raise money, and support each other’s campaigning across England, Scotland and Wales.  We need to attract even more members and voters by looking more like the country we wish to represent, and we need as a party to show that we embody our values of fairness, openness and respect for others in our own behaviour and practice.

A president cannot do all that by themselves.  But they can lead the way.  I want to be a president who enables others, who encourages, facilitates, and builds teams.  A president who empathises and listens to individuals but holds the line on rules and procedure, needed to protect us all.   A president who wants decisions at all levels to be based on evidence, sound financial practice, expert knowledge and risk assessments.  A president who ensures that all voices are heard and all views considered.

I have already led a major committee in the party, as well as having had a wide range of roles from Local Party Chair, to Council Group Leader and parliamentary candidate. You can judge my ability to deliver on these aspirations on my record and my past actions and behaviour.

The Preamble to the Federal Constitution says that as a party “we champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.“

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Simon Atkinson
    Thank you so much for these wonderful comments everyone, and for the smashing tribute, Mary. He would have been so chuffed to read your kind words. Max wasn't a...
  • David Raw
    It's a funny sort of democratic organisation that requires members to pay £ 90 or £ 130 to get a democratic vote in its policy decision making, and that's bef...
  • Mick Taylor
    It appears that the gremlin has been banished and I am now registered!...
  • James Fowler
    Hi Tony, I completely agree with your analysis of Reform voters but culturally and pragmatically we are the worst placed of all the Parties to try and reach out...
  • Jennie
    Always up for cuddles as long as people ask first...