Author Archives: Rajin Chowdhury

Always Speak up to be Selected

On 15th October, Sheffield South East selected me as their parliamentary candidate. The city has six constituencies. Sheffield Hallam members selected Laura Gordon to replace Nick Clegg last year, leaving five Sheffield constituencies needing candidates selected that evening. Though Sheffield Central was contested (congratulations to Shaffaq Mohammed), the remaining four were not.

Sheffield South East is not a target seat. Although 40 members were present, only two were eligible to vote in my selection. Had I not attended, I may still have won.

In uncontested selections at both council and parliamentary level, candidates understandably do limited preparation for their speeches at hustings. Why bother when you know you’ll probably win anyway and you’re essentially doing the party a favour? Well, I chose to do things a little differently, and I think you should too.

Firstly, the standard of public speaking (even amongst some of our MPs, somewhat shockingly) is often poor. This is a chance for you to practise. Set-piece political speeches are not the same as delivering a work presentation or running a seminar – they are all about persuasion. It’s a different art and one that takes practice.

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

Why we should “Stay” and not “stop Brexit”

Much of our campaign since the 2017 general election has revolved around the “Exit from Brexit”. We need to win over Remainers; by having a clear and repeated anti-Brexit position, the electorate will know what we stand for.

There are a few problems.

Firstly, we are not “anti-Brexit”, we are pro-EU. Every time we say “Brexit”, we evoke certain thought patterns within the minds of voters, particularly the so-called ReLeavers (those who voted Remain but feel we should Leave because of the referendum).

We normalise Brexit. We make it seem mainstream. In an effort to be radical outsiders, we make Liberal Democrats seem like they want to do something weird that nobody voted for. As such, we should avoid the term at all possible costs. For starters, Tom Brake should no longer be our Brexit Spokesperson but our EU Spokesperson.

Secondly, “stop Brexit” terminology forces our current campaign to be negative.

Thirdly, in many areas of the country, we are trying to win over Leave voters.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 22 Comments

Put People in Power!

Networked peopleDevolution is boring. Nobody understands it. Nobody knows why it is important. Above all, nobody cares. Why on earth should Liberal Democrats consider put devolution front-and-centre?

At an Autumn Conference event run by a centrist think-tank, Radix, a floor member asked Norman Lamb a question. She said one word that stuck: powerless. The three most successful electoral campaigns in the Anglosphere in the last 10 years are, to my mind: Trump, Vote Leave, Obama.

Agree with them or not, they had two things in common. They were positive campaigns (whether or not …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Be under no illusion – the BMA screwed this up.

Prior to previous set of strikes, there was an emphasis on patient safety. The contract was unsafe, argued doctors, and Jeremy Hunt’s plans were unrealistic. Chair of the Junior Doctors’ Committee (JDC), Johann Malawanna and a number of other doctors in the BMA did a superb job of appearing reasonable, measured and yet passionate. Junior doctors looked like professionals being harried and hampered by government from trying to help patients.

At relatively short notice, a ballot with a turnout of 72% gained 98% support for strikes. This is unheard of. The strikes were announced well in advanced, were each two days long and went ahead safely without incident. They had the support of the vast majority of consultants, other healthcare professionals and royal colleges. The BMA had shed its reputation for incompetence.

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarmatt 18th Mar - 4:57pm
    @Mark We were told that a vote to leave would mean leaving the single market and leaving the customs union. We were told we would...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 18th Mar - 4:47pm
    @ Matt, It’s not clear to me that, even were it to be the current will of the people that we should leave, that a...
  • User AvatarAndrew Brown 18th Mar - 4:42pm
    If we're now staring at the prospect of a crash Brexit, we must move to revoke Article 50. Parliament can then consider the best way...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 18th Mar - 4:41pm
    So far, May hasn't even asked for a delay. With only 11 days before we crash out we have to make it clear that its...
  • User Avatarmatt 18th Mar - 4:41pm
    Quite simple. Democracy should prevail and we should now leave with No deal to honour the referendum result.
  • User AvatarAndrew Hickey 18th Mar - 4:38pm
    This means that the only options which are in the power of the UK -- rather than something to be granted at a whim of...