Federal Board is the election, forward planning is the watchword

Our party has elections to 67 positions on 6 different committees and two directly elected positions coming up. Conference will be awash with the people vying for our votes. But we can’t lose focus of the need for experience, good governance and forward planning.

The committees up for election are admittedly an odd mix, from the fairly obvious Federal Board (to provide strategic overview to our party), to the opaque Federal International Relations Committee.

However, a running theme throughout these elections must be a steadfast focus on what we want to achieve as a party and how we achieve it.

With that in mind, it is important to note that the opinion polls are increasingly pointing toward a hung parliament with us as potential kingmakers. Don’t just take my word for it, Ian King agreed in his recent Times writeup about our conference.

It goes without saying that this would be a fantastic position to be in. As a party we exist to win elections then use that power to improve people’s lives. Any opportunity we have to do so should be carefully planned for.

However, we can only carefully plan if we have done so ahead of time. That is where our Federal Board, President and Vice Presidential elections come into the fore. Whoever gets elected to these offices will have a huge job come the next election in appointing the group that leads the discussion.

We will walk out of negotiations with a substantially better deal if we have been planning for years. Any person vying for the roles of President, Vice President or as a member of the Federal Board needs to have a clear plan to help gameplan out every scenario.

A failure to do so leaves us open to a deal with another party that may leave people worse off.

None of this, of course, takes away from other governance responsibilities. Our party leadership has many responsibilities but forward planning is one where we must pay special attention. 

Let’s make sure we don’t overlook this crucial part of the federal board, by planning from day one of the next term.

* Callum Robertson is a teacher and former Chair of the Young Liberals

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters.


  • Tristan Ward 23rd Aug '22 - 10:07am
  • A hung parliament ? “A fantastic position to be in “? Really ? We can’t go into coalition after what happened last time. Labour are saying no to a confidence and supply arrangement and while @Tristam’s point is valid, could Labour deliver PR ? Would there have to be a referendum which we are not guaranteed to win ?

  • Kevin Langford 24th Aug '22 - 9:33am

    thanks Callum

    I am a party member – and going to conference. Where do I find details of the 67 positions that are coming up for election?

  • Tristan Ward 24th Aug '22 - 12:42pm

    @ Chrs Cory

    We can’t rely on Labour to deliver PR on their own: Starmer has said he doesn’t want it and it is a low priority f.

    As to a referendum on PR, we can expect most of the the press press to cheerlead for a Toriy campaign against PR and many Labour people to campaign against it to. That’s what happened last time and we lost. I’d expect to lose again.

    We have to be absolutely ruthless and determined and say – no PR by government legislation – no support from the Lib Dems, whether in coalition or by confidence and supply.

  • Callum Robertson 24th Aug '22 - 1:23pm

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Tristan: totally agree, PR needs to be implemented as a red line priority!

    Chris: I’m afraid I totally disagree with “no coalitions because the last one didn’t go well”. We got a lot of good stuff done (Pupil Premium, FSM and Equal Marriage to name a few). But that aside, it’s really important that we get into power and implement our liberal values. This can’t be at any cost, but it needs to be our objective.

    Kevin: here’s a link to the roles up for election. I believe there’s more information going to be released though. https://beta.libdems.org.uk/internal-elections

    If you want to drop me an email to ask questions, please do. It’s [email protected]

  • Peter Watson 25th Aug '22 - 8:24am

    @Callum Robertson “Pupil Premium, FSM”
    Not necessarily great examples of what can be achieved in Coalition!

    A Pupil Premium was in the Conservative manifesto in 2010 (and Labour’s) so was not a uniquely Lib Dem policy and could have been implemented by a 100% Tory government.

    And Universal Free School Meals was not a Lib Dem policy at all! It was originally trialled by Ed Balls and Labour when it was opposed by Lib Dems. Then Nick Clegg sprung it on the party out of the blue as part of a deal to support David Cameron’s married couples’ tax allowance (something else Lib Dems opposed!). It is possible that a Tory government would have implemented it anyway since, despite not being the best way to spend £500 million a year on education, it was the one that could be pitched (as it was was by Nick Clegg) as being worth £400 per child per year and sound horribly like a bribe to middle-class voters.

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