Category Archives: Party Presidency

Mark Pack’s April report – What does a successful Westminster general election campaign look like?

Seats… and capacity

We may not yet know when the date of the Westminster general election will be. But we do know what success will look like.

For older readers, please think of 1983. For younger readers, please think of 2019. Neither of these Westminster general elections are remembered as a triumph for us or our predecessors. In 1983 we got 25% of the vote… but only 23 seats. In 2019, our vote share went up by a chunky 4%… but our seat tally fell by 1.

Tagged | 3 Comments

Mark Pack’s March report

Why we need more council candidates

When we debate party policy, strategy or election tactics, questions about what might attract or put off voters often – and rightly – come up.

But there’s one sure-fire, 100% guaranteed, rock-solid way of repelling voters from us, and it’s one we use far too often.

It’s not having a Liberal Democrat on the ballot paper. Zero votes for the party guaranteed.

Leave a comment

PSA: Reddit AMA with Mark Pack on 3rd March!

Following the success of r/UKPolitics, a subreddit dedicated to discussion of current affairs in the UK, and their regular “Ask Me Anything”, or AMAs for short, the r/LibDem subreddit mod team, of which I’m a new member of, have reached out to Mark Pack, our Party President, to trial an AMA of our own on Sunday 3rd March at 6PM.

The thread to ask questions went up on Sunday Afternoon, and anyone, member, supporter or a curious individual, will have the chance to submit questions to Mark to answer on the Sunday. You’ll have the opportunity to ask …

Also posted in Social Media | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Party President on our long term plan

Mark Pack’s report for February:

A familiar trio

By now, you’re most likely very familiar with the idea that we are concentrating our campaigning for the next Westminster general election on the NHS, the cost of living and sewage. You may well have heard that on Zoom calls with our Chief Executive, seen it in leaflets you’ve delivered or said it yourself in conversations with voters.

The prime reason for this trio is the humility that’s essential for a political party in an electoral democracy: the humility to listen to voters and to take their concerns as the starting point of our …

Tagged , , , , and | 44 Comments

Mark Pack’s December report – the challenges of 2024

Bigger stakes, harder choices: general election year

It now looks pretty certain that 2024 will be a general election year. Or perhaps I should say that 2024 will have at least one Westminster general election, because if there is a close result…

We do, however, know for sure that regardless of what happens with general elections, there is an important round of local elections – and Police and Crime Commissioner contests – in May.

It will therefore be an important year in which everyone can play a part in our success, whether it is about winning a target local or Westminster seat near where you live, or helping to build up the party locally while supporting our target seats elsewhere.

Tagged , and | 74 Comments

How the Party is managed – can you be democratic and efficient?

As something of a governance geek, and a veteran Party bureaucrat, I tend to take an interest in how my Party is run and led. Policy is interesting yes, but you can tell a lot about any organisation by whether how it operates is in accordance with its declared values.

The “problem” with that is, if your values refer to democracy, transparency and accountability, you might not achieve optimal efficiency, if efficiency is defined as “getting things done”. It is a more pressing concern if you want to change things, and most, if not all, Party Presidents are elected on a mandate of changing things. The catch is that there are very few levers that a President can pull that actually do anything – they rely on people skills to persuade those who actually have operating authority to act as they wish them to.

Also posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , and | 19 Comments

LibLink: Our new President/Co-leader on the surprising number of elections coming up in May

Embed from Getty Images

Over on his blog, Mark Pack, our new party President and co-leader, gives us a timely warning about the magnitude of voting opportunities this May:

This year’s round of local council elections are only in England and are the smallest round of that cycle of elections. Which may make you think that it’s a small set of elections and one in which many or even most parts of the country will not be voting.

But…

Also posted in Local government | Tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Why I’ve decided to support Mark Pack for President

I know, some of you may think that an old troublemaker like me must have had a Johnsonesque exercise – write both a ‘for’ and an ‘against’ piece and then see which one to print, But no, it’s much simpler than that. I want to pick the winner and ensure he carries the full message and excels in the role.

Comms – Some people may find Mark a bit too ubiquitous, but he is the consummate communicator? Complaining you hear too much from Mark Pack is like saying we deliver too many leaflets in a by election!

Strategy – It has taken …

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Want to get involved in running the Federal and State Parties? The clock’s ticking…

There are just eleven days left to get your nominations in for the candidates you’d like to see elected to Party committees.

If you need a reminder of which roles are up for election, here it is:

Top of the bill is Federal President, to take over from Sal Brinton on 1 January and serve for 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is a major role chairing the party’s Federal Board, protecting and representing members, and acting as guardian of the party’s interests. Hustings will be held throughout the country during the two-month campaign, and candidates may raise and spend £20,000 campaigning …

Also posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Party Presidency: the challenges for the incoming President

So, we know how to run, we’ve taken a look at the history of the post and, last week, I offered some thoughts as to the skills required. Today, I’d like to dust off the old crystal ball, and look at what might be the possible challenges when candidate X takes over the reins on 1 January.

Party Presidents tend to be most successful when they are either bake to work closely with the Leader, or when the Leader simply allows them to get on with their work without interference. Admittedly, the job of Party management is one that tends to …

Tagged | 5 Comments

So, what might we be looking for in a Party President?

I rather allowed myself to be distracted last week, but I did promise to offer some thoughts on what skills an incoming President might need.

I’ll start with something rather dull, but critical. The ability to manage meetings is imperative. As President, you’ll be chairing Federal Board, a body which can be fractious at the best of times, and moulding it into an effective decision making entity is critical. You can’t just turn up and go, you need to determine potential flashpoints, decide how you might deal with disagreements.

That in turn will require good communication skills and a sense of empathy. …

Also posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 7 Comments

So, you want to be Party President?

It is easy to forget that, for many of our Party members, Sal Brinton is the only Party President they have ever known. In that sense, they’ve been pretty fortunate, because (at least in my view) she’s been a good one. But all good things come to an end eventually, and Sal is now in her last year before term limits kick in.

Now I’ve heard rumours of possible candidates for the succession, and whilst I wouldn’t want to name names just yet, perhaps it is time to start thinking about what members …

Also posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 22 Comments

A farewell from Tim Farron as party president

So, it’s a matter of days now before I hang up my boots and pass on the baton to our new president (its important to mix your metaphors at a time like this!). I want to congratulate my friend and colleague Sal Brinton as she takes on the Party Presidency on 1 January and to wish her every success in the role. Sal will be an outstanding President, over the last four years she has been a regular source of wisdom and support to me – and I hope I can return the favour when she takes over.

I also want to pay tribute to both Liz Lynne and Daisy Cooper. They have both ran exciting campaigns which helped to energise the party and raise important challenges.

12 Comments

A chance to say thank you to Tim Farron

Tim Farron Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 Photo by Paul WalterThe Lib Dems now have a President-elect: yesterday it was announced that Sal Brinton had won the only post other than that of party leader subject to an all-member ballot. Congratulations to her; and a big thanks to runner-up Daisy Cooper as well as Liz Lynne for ensuring a healthy debate.

However, this post isn’t about them, it’s about the current President (until 31st December, when the second of his two-year terms expire), Tim Farron.

Tim might not have been party president. Initially he stood for election as the Deputy Leader in June 2010, following Vince Cable’s decision to quit that post when he entered the cabinet. He lost out to Simon Hughes, himself a former president. So when a few months later, Baroness (Ros) Scott unexpectedly decided not to stand for a second term as party president, Tim threw his hat into the ring, and beat off tough competition from Susan Kramer to win. He was elected unopposed for a second term in 2012.

Also posted in News | Tagged and | 21 Comments

++ And the new President of the Liberal Democrats is…

Sal BrintonSAL BRINTON!

Many congratulations to her and well done to all three candidates for competing in an excellent campaign. This post will be updated with fuller details and reaction in due course.

Special thanks also to the staff and volunteers who have been counting in Liberal Democrat HQ since early this morning. It’s been a bit of a marathon with initial problems in getting the votes verified but they’ve all done a great job.

Tagged , , , , and | 46 Comments

Election for Lib Dem Party President: who will win, according to our exclusive survey

libby on the wall3Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. The survey closed at 10am today. 747 party members responded – thank you – and we’ll be publishing the full results here.

Tim Farron’s four-year stint as Lib Dem Party President finishes at the end of this year. The contest to succeed him was a three-way election between three female candidates: Sal Brinton, Daisy Cooper, and Liz Lynne.

We asked a series of questions about the party presidency in our survey…

91% in our survey say they will vote! (That won’t be the turnout.)

Three candidates are standing for the post of Party President, an election which is being decided by a ballot of all party members. Do you plan to vote in this election?

Also posted in LDV Members poll | Tagged , , , and | 12 Comments

The 3 Lib Dem party president candidates on what they’d do in my “It’s 8th May 2015” scenario

libby on the wall3A couple of weeks ago I asked all three candidates for the Lib Dem party presidency a deliberately provocative question:

It’s 8th May, 2015. The Lib Dems have lost some MPs but are still a force to be reckoned with in the House of Commons. Nick Clegg announces he will step aside to let a new leader take over. No single party has an overall majority. What will you do in the next 7 days to maximise Lib Dem influence and keep the party united?

As I wrote then:

My guess is all three will be reluctant to be drawn by the premise of the question (Lib Dems losing MPs, Nick quitting). Fair enough, that’s how politics works. You’re not allowed publicly to think through the Plans B, C and D you need to be thinking through, or the media will tear you to shreds. So I’m not necessarily expecting their real answer.

The reason I’m asking it to them is simple. That scenario, above, is the most likely one to play out in six months’ time, and I really want them to be thinking now about how they handle it. Their response will likely determine not only the success of their time as party president, but also how the party handles it.

To their credit, all three answered. Quick snippets from each below, but well worth reading in full what they said, I think.

Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Presidential candidates respond to Rock the Boat

rocktheboatReaders may not all be familiar with ‘Rock the Boat – Lib Dems against sexual harassment’ given our semi-unofficial status within the party. We are not a formal association or SAO and we are mostly organised through networking and a private facebook group.

Launched in early 2013 in response to the first Channel 4 allegations about Lord Rennard’s behaviour, the group was a response from grassroots members to a fervent desire that the issues raised be thoroughly addressed in the party.

Tagged , , , and | 11 Comments

Voting for the next Lib Dem party president starts a week today

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderA week today, Wednesday, 29th October, ballot papers will be sent to all c.44,000 Lib Dem members enabling us to vote for the next Party President in succession to Tim Farron, who’s held the post for the past four years. Other than the party leader, the presidency is currently the only other post in the Lib Dems determined by a vote of all its members.

Three candidates successfully secured nomination — click on their names to follow the links to their campaign websites:

Tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

A new Lib Dem presidential candidate enters the race

daisy cooperThis is the text of the email I received this morning from Daisy Cooper:

Today, I’m delighted to announce my candidacy for Liberal Democrat Party President, with the backing of Catherine Bearder MEP, Norman Baker MP, experienced councillors and some of the party’s finest campaigners.

I have huge ambitions for our party. I’m 32 and I’m prepared to spend the next 50 years of my life fighting for our political beliefs. The next few months will be challenging but they also present an unrivalled opportunity for us to lay the foundations for a Liberal Revival.

Our Councillors and grass roots campaigners are the forgotten army on which our future depends – in this party, our place is front and centre.

As President, I would:

Tagged | Leave a comment

Pauline Pearce: “Why I am not running for Lib Dem president”

Until yesterday, there were four candidates for the post of Party President, which will become vacant later this year when incumbent Tim Farron’s term of office expires: Sal Brinton, Linda Jack, Liz Lynne and Pauline Pearce. However, Pauline has now withdrawn from the race – as she explains in this five-minute video:

Tagged | 48 Comments

Liz Lynne to stand for Party President

image001After being asked by many people from different parts of our party, I have decided to stand to be Party President.

These last four years have been tough and no more so than in the last week. We have seen too many good friends and colleagues defeated as councillors and most recently as MEPs. I know what that feels like. I fought my first parliamentary seat in Harwich for the Liberal/SDP Alliance in 1987 and came second. I then went on to win the seat of Rochdale in 1992. Sadly, I narrowly lost in Tony Blair’s 1997 General Election landslide following boundary changes. I look back with pride on what I achieved in Parliament as our spokesperson on Health and then Social Security, including representing disabled people in the fight for equal rights.

Also posted in News | 24 Comments

Linda Jack to announce Lib Dem party president campaign

Linda JackLib Dem activist Linda Jack will shortly announce that she will be a candidate for the post of Party President in the all-member election that will take place this autumn.

To date, two candidates have declared their intention to run: Baroness (Sal) Brinton and Pauline Pearce. I understand Linda will officially throw her hat into the ring after May’s local and European elections.

Linda Jack has twice been a parliamentary candidate for the party: in Luton North in 2005, and in Mid-Bedfordshire (up against Nadine Dorries) in 2010. She also …

Also posted in News | Tagged , , and | 35 Comments

First two Lib Dem presidential hopefuls declare themselves

Party president Tim Farron’s second (and non-renewable) term of office finishes at the end of this year, after four years in the role. He doubtless expected most of the challenges that come from the Lib Dems being in coalition with the Conservatives. He wouldn’t have expected to have to manage the fall-out from the allegations of sexual impropriety made against Lord Rennard a year ago.

The post of party president is the only Lib Dem role other than that of leader elected through an all-member ballot, and it will take place this autumn. This mandate (along with the requirement to deal …

Also posted in News | Tagged , , and | 8 Comments

2014 – looking for a dark horse, or a safe pair of hands?

I mentioned yesterday that there were two elections that might pass uncommented upon for the most part, one of which was internal to the Liberal Democrats. Yes, we have a Presidential election to look forward to, and given that Tim Farron is term-limited, somebody new is going to be leading the voluntary Party into a potentially tough General Election.

Six years ago, everybody knew that Lembit was going to run for the Presidency, whilst Ros Scott was emerging as a likely opponent. What wasn’t clear was what the Leader’s Office wanted, or who they would back, or whether further viable …

26 Comments

Lib Dems’ internal elections: your guide to where we’re at (UPDATED)

Every couple of years the Lib Dems hold internal elections in which conference representatives choose members of key party committees. As one of the seemingly few Lib Dems neither standing for election nor with a vote, I thought our readers might like an update on where we’re at…

Federal Executive

What does it do?
The formal answer: ‘The Federal Executive is an elected committee responsible for directing, co-ordinating and implementing the work of the Federal Party.’ (From the party website.)
The informal answer: What does the Federal Executive do? by Alison Goldsworthy
Who’s standing?
There are 36 candidates (26 men, 10 women) competing for …

Also posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

Nick Clegg: re-elect Tim Farron as Party President

Neither is quite so gauche as to say it explicitly, but you hardly have to peer between the lines to work out what message is meant to be imparted by a piece from Nick Clegg praising Tim Farron’s record as President, especially when it’s contained in a leaflet handed out at conference by Tim’s re-election team and with a form asking people to sign Tim’s nomination papers tucked inside.

It is looking like it will be an uncontested re-election so far, but credit to Tim for still taking it seriously. …

Also posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

Has Tim Farron got a prayer against the Advertising Standards Authority?

In a rather unexpected departure from the usual activities of the Party Presidency, Tim Farron, in his role as a Vice Chair of the ‘Christians in Parliament’ group, has co-signed a letter to the Advertising Standards Agency;

Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury
Chairman, Advertising Standards Agency
21st March 2012

We are writing on behalf of the all-party Christians in Parliament group in Westminster and your ruling that the Healing On The Streets ministry in Bath are no longer able to claim, in their advertising, that God can heal people from medical conditions.

We write to express our concern at this decision and to enquire

Also posted in News | Tagged and | 45 Comments

Lib Dem Presidential Contest: Result

Also posted in News | Tagged , and | 26 Comments

LDV survey: The qualities members want from the Lib Dem party president (and whose campaign reached most members)

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of the contest for the party presidency, the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Almost 600 party members have responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results.

As today is the day the result of the contest to become party president is declared, here’s a Wordle illustrating what party members feel are the most important qualities whoever is successful should bring to the role (click on the image to enlarge)

Also posted in LDV Members poll and Online politics | Tagged and | 6 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Peter Martin
    "..the proposed new policy of a 4% tax on the share buy-backs of big corporations listed in the London Stock Market." is a step in the right directio...
  • David Symonds
    It is depressing in my view that this dying Government have decided to declare war on those off work sick and it is a smokescreen to deflect from their own fail...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Katharine, " ...young people should be informed that, with the present Labour leadership, they should not expect too much from a new Labour government...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Well posted Mr. Gray!!! Why is it that an adult being offended in London gets lots of publicity while children in Gaza having limbs amputated without anaesth...
  • Chris Lewcock
    Seems a facile and false parallel is being drawn between imposing seatbelts and banning cigarettes. Requiring use of a seat belt doesn't ban driving, doesn't re...