Let’s spark some new liberal ideas with a writing competition

Like many Liberal Democrats I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today, and I’ve come up with an idea I’d like to share  – It’s something a bit different  but given the situation some ‘different thinking’ is going to be required.  So I’m sharing my idea here to see if people think it’s a go-er and maybe one or two other places, while the idea is still fresh in my mind.   Then I may write to the Party Presidents office with the idea.

I’d better start by saying that I am a wannabe writer in my spare time and have written short story and have one completed novel and a few new ones on the go!

So here is the idea – A writing competition for members and supporters. My initial idea was for a short story competition, but to open up the idea to members who are not so sure about writing fiction, I would suggest a parallel competition for non-fiction pieces.

And what would we gain from this?  To get members really thinking about what sort of party we want.  Back in 2006, when I was a little more active in the party and occasionally went to conferences, I attended a regional in Leeds where one of the party high-ups, Duncan Brack, spoke of the need for a narrative. I’m not sure we found one then, and we are in need to one now to keep the party fighting in the difficult post-coalition days.

So, I propose two streams:

A short story competition where the story has a theme some aspect of our party’s philosophy. Preferably your protagonist would be a normal person – by that  I mean not a political activist;

A second competition would be for non-fiction opinion pieces on what the narrative of the party should be.Forward thinking rather then retrospective.

It could be free or with a small fee to cover costs. Shortlisted winners (Nationally or by region?) of both categories could published on a blog somewhere and the writers be invited to a day’s workshop to discuss the ideas presented, and maybe a prize and heaps of honour for the winners.

* Chris Read is a Liberal Democrat member from Pudsey

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9 Comments

  • A creative suggestion… (∪)

  • Well, this is fresh thinking, Chris! And something I could perhaps offer some help with. I’m a published novelist and journalist, for what that’s all worth, and would be more than happy to lend a hand in some capacity were you to greenlight this. Click on my name which should take you to my website and you can see all the stuff I’ve been up to. There’s a contact form there too if you want to shoot me an e-mail to chat about it all further.

  • Jeremy Morfey 10th May '15 - 5:07pm

    Great idea!

    Liberalism is all about education and freedom from conformity. Now that the shackles are lifted, let nothing be excluded, and have as many varied and interesting pieces as there are members. We love variety!

    The only limiting factor is our imagination, and our imagination should be limitless.

  • ‘The only limiting factor is our imagination, and our imagination should be limitless.’

    Love that, Jeremy!

  • Gaetano Russo 10th May '15 - 7:34pm

    Fantastic Idea! Surely a perfect prize would be inclusion in a compilation book, much like we saw with the 2 books north of the border in Scotland; “Unlocking Liberalism; Life after the coalition” and “The Little Yellow Book”. This book would be fantastic as it would feature only entries from activists/members which would offer a strong insight into the thinking of those on the ground about the next 5 years. Just a thought.

  • This to me is indicative of what’s wrong with the image of liberalism. I’m sorry to be the dark cloud – but I think we need more heated debate and clarification than a writing contest can offer.

  • Phil Beesley 11th May '15 - 6:40pm

    Alan Gee: “This to me is indicative of what’s wrong with the image of liberalism. I’m sorry to be the dark cloud – but I think we need more heated debate and clarification than a writing contest can offer.”

    We can do both things. Sometimes the most illuminating descriptions of UK society in recent times derive from fiction. Ian Rankin, writing about immigrant children in detention centres, kicked New Labour between the legs.

  • Of course I wasn’t suggesting a competition INSTEAD of heated debate; I’m hoping that my idea will uncover able communicators from the parties membership that we were previously hidden; I do rate our failure to communicate the purpose of our party, especially while playing a role in government, as a prominent factor in the recent election disappointment. I don’t think Liberalism has the literature is should have and its often through literature and theatre that hearts and minds are won. We need as many ways as possible to reach out to people who don’t usually think of politics, and when they do, get their news from print media which is biased against our party. Its the image of Liberalism that I care most about, and what led me to having this idea

    By the way, does anyone have a contact e-mail address for our party president

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