Inspiring Lib Dem women: Elaine Bagshaw

Today on International Women’s Day, we are celebrating some fantastic Lib Dem Women.

Remember back in 2015 after that devastating General Election when we all just wanted to hide under our duvets and make the next five years go away? Well, Elaine Bagshaw didn’t have time to do that, because she had to fly the Lib Dem flag in the Tower Hamlets mayoral by-election caused by the disqualification of the previous incumbent.

She made progress in that election and since then she has led her local party from strength to strength. As the candidate for Poplar and Limehouse, she is out there campaigning most days. Her local party membership is over 550 and she is working hard for her community. Late one recent Saturday night, she featured on local Bengali channel NTV talking about the Lib Dem perspective on Brexit and Trump and did such a good job of explaining our position.

In her March newsletter she reveals that March is very much Membership Month on her patch:

As we move into March we start the month breaking the 550 member mark! This month I’ll be helping the team with a Members Induction event towards the end of the month – a new idea we’re trying which will introduce members to how the party works; our local campaign plan and how they can get involved.

There are also plans to deliver thousands of leaflets in the area and there will be a sizeable delegation of Tower Hamlets Lib Dems at Conference.

Elaine is also on the party’s Federal Board, so her experience and efforts will help to shape the strategy for the party’s continuing development.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Richard Underhill 8th Mar '17 - 6:20pm

    I have just read Body and Soul by Anita Roddick. She campaigned with various pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, including a massive demonstration outside the Brazilian Embassy, broadcast to Brazil, to change policy on native “Indian” communities. She considered Green politicians ineffective and thought that the Body Shop would become a political party.
    Challenged to do something about Easterhouse her husband went to have a look. They decided to set up a soap factory there and create some employment. “Unions were only needed when the management were bastards”. 25% of the profits went back into the community.
    When testing on animals became compulsory they campaigned against the regulation and overturned it. There was no mention of Jonathon Porritt.
    Winning the Queen’s award for exports and listing the company on the Stock Exchange did not alter the ethos. ” Look to see what the consensus of the competition is and do the opposite.” When they opened in New York with a company-owned store (not a franchise) she was worried that they were “not zany enough”, until a striking 35-year old woman arrived on roller-skates and said “Hallelujah! At last you’re here!”

  • Our candidate in Gorton, Sarah Olney and Dawn Barnes, PPC in Lynne Featherstones old seat, three great examples of Lib Dem woman 🙂

  • Hear hear. Elaine is a constant inspiration. 🙂

  • My Inspiring Liberal woman is the late Baroness Seear. As a teenager I saw her graciously but comprehensively demolish a Tory Cabinet member on Question Time, I was about 14 at the time and we were at the time of the merger (and on 3% in a national opinion poll). I phoned party HQ the next day and joined. That was getting on for 30 years ago!

  • Great call Gary. I’m just a few years older than you but I had a similar experience in the mid-80s of watching Nancy Seear on QT and thinking, ‘Who is this wonderful woman?’ She was a true inspiration. So sad that she was around before social media because I think she’d have been great with it. She had that gift that Charles Kennedy had, of being able to use humour in a very natural way to communicate important issues.

  • Good to hear Nancy being mentioned.

    It was a real joy when she came to campaign for me in Richmond, Yorks, back in 1983 when I tried to give Leon Britton a run for his money. I’ll never forget the wonderful dialogues that formidable woman had up Swaledale (the land of my ancestors) with the awestruck locals.

    Excellent article on Nancy by Mark with a link below.

    Nancy Seear: a forgotten liberal hero – Mark Pack

    Caron, I share your sadness that she didn’t see the advance post 1997, but much as I miss her, I’m glad she didn’t have to see the debacle in 2015.

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