Brian Paddick: It is vital that we maximise our vote for the London Assembly

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The fantastic Sage conference hall was the venue for Brian Paddick’s speech to the Liberal Democrat spring conference.

Or rather, his co-speech. Because for the purposes of the London 2012 campaign, Brian Paddick is no more. Instead he has been merged into Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon.

It is one of the lessons from previous London campaigns that the party needs to be far better at turning profile for a Mayor candidate into votes for the London Assembly list, the best prospect for the party to gain new seats.

This then was not Brian Paddick’s speaking slot. It was the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon speaking slot, preceded by the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon video. Both in the film and in the speechmaking, it was Caroline that came first.

“It is vital that we maximise our vote for the London Assembly,” said Brian Paddick when it was his turn to speak. He echoed the campaign’s previous theme that when the votes are counted in May, it’s likely to be a close call between Lib Dem list candidate Shas Sheehan and the BNP. A female, liberal, Muslim versus the extremism of the the BNP – a deeply symbolic and practical choice.

He had particular criticism for Boris Johnson over phone hacking. Johnson initially criticised the police for putting too much effort in his eyes into investigating it. Johnson wasn’t alone in that – so too (although Paddick didn’t mention it) did Green Mayor candidate Jenny Jones. But as Brian Paddick pointed out, they got that judgement test badly wrong.

On policy, Paddick majored on policing – a sensible move given it is his area of major expertise and given that the Mayor of London has major (and expanded) powers over policing.

You can sign up to support the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon here.

* Mark Pack is a member of the Federal Board and editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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5 Comments

  • “He echoed the campaign’s previous theme that when the votes are counted in May, it’s likely to be a close call between Lib Dem list candidate Shas Sheehan and the BNP.”

    An interesting illustration of the fact that abolishing first-past-the-post wouldn’t have done away with tactical voting!

  • I hope we do better in the assembly than Paddick is likely to for Mayor!

  • Paul Catherall 10th Mar '12 - 3:14pm

    LibDem contributors on here should be aware that 38 Degrees are currently running a campaign to buy enormous posters to pin up around London to encourage voters to reject coalition candidates, the posters mostly seem to display NHS doctors stating their opposition to the NHS reforms.
    It’s hard to think of a similar precedent in the past where social activist lobby groups have fought the LIbDems in this way. 38 Degrees is a very popular organisation, using social media to get its message over via Facebook, Twitter and other means.
    The conference needs to take this unprecendented mass social activism very seriously, not just in terms of the NHS reforms but also in relation to other deeply unpopular reforms which for years were opposed by LibDems, but which we now see enacted by LibDem minsters in government, such as the triple fee, rise of academies and sidelining of green policy or opposition to Trident.

  • @Chris: A list system where the number of seats to be filled is small, as in the additional members in the London Assembly, does have some propensity for tactical voting (as well as some chance of it backfiring). First past the post can be thought of as a regional party list system where the nunber of candidates elected in each region is 1 (one). The effectiveness fo tactical voting in a list system decreases as the number of seats to be filled rises. STV would further decrease the possibility of tactical voting, to the extent that any tactical voting campaign becomes too risky with the rewards too small.

    @Paul Catherall: I don’t see on the 38 Degrees site site any campaign to reject “coalition candidates” at the London or any other local elections. And anyway there is no such thing as a “coalition candidate” for any UK elections. There is no electoral arrangement between the Tories and Lib Dems (and the only people who support such a thing are a few Tories who are keen to abolish the Lib Dems by absorbing some of them as ‘National Liberal Democrats’). There is also no agreement or working arrangement between the two parties in the London Assembly. There is no “Coalition” (as opposed to local small-c coalitions) in local government. And the London Assembly doesn’t work like that.

  • Replacement of FPTP with AV would, for all practical purposes, have done away with tactical voting by making it too risky.

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