Liberal Youth Elections 2013… Chair: Callum Leslie

Callum Leslie reclaim the nightFor the past 18 months, I’ve been wrestling with the possibility of leaving the party. As the party leadership continues to ignore party policy and members’ wishes, we have to sit through the bedroom tax, secret courts, the NHS debacle, shares for rights, tuition fees and more. The position of conference as the sovereign body of the party by which all are bound is all but extinguished.

About two weeks ago, I came to a realisation. Having been a party member since I was 14 and a candidate twice, I’m not someone who can ever not be involved. I decided that it was far better to fight from inside the party than be outside the tent. So I did something many people have found controversial, and joined the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts. I’m no communist, and NCAFC is an organisation with serious problems, but it is the only remotely organised opposition to the worst of this Government’s attacks on the poor, the disabled, and the education system.

I also decided to stand for chair, because I want LY to become an effective voice at the forefront of the fight for our party’s principles and policies. I firmly believe that Liberal Youth can no longer be taken for granted by the party as leaflet fodder to be trotted out to campaign for any MP the party wants. We need to be campaigning for true liberal MPs who put party policy and principles ahead of appeasing the Tories. We also need to stand with all groups opposing the evil bedroom tax, that punishes the poor for successive Governments’ failure to build housing and will make people homeless, and other horrendous policies like cuts to disability benefit, and despicable ATOS work assessments.

But I’m much more than an anti-cuts candidate. I’m a passionate liberation campaigner. I want to put liberation and equality at the heart of LY and the party as a whole by introducing autonomous liberation groups, putting LY at the forefront of fighting misogyny on campus, and making all Lib Dem events safe spaces.

I also want to create a new generation of independent thinking activists, who can do so much more than deliver leaflets and make phonecalls. We must equip our branches to challenge misogyny, to fight student union elections, and to take an active part in NUS.

Importantly, I’m the only candidate talking about the independence referendum, the most important poll on these isles in decades. I want to establish Liberal Youth as a critical supporter of Better Together, independent of the party’s support, pushing for a more liberal and fair Scotland.

I am the candidate with the experience and the ideas to make these things happen. I have a proven track record of campaigning, both in elections and otherwise, and have the skills to make a radical change in the way Liberal Youth is headed.

Liberal Youth needs  change, not more of the same. Let’s make Liberal Youth the radical heart of our party again.

Voting in the Liberal Youth elections opens on Friday 3 May and continues until 12 noon on Wednesday 29th May. All candidates for the contested officer positions have been offered a 500 word piece on Liberal Democrat Voice to be published by the opening of voting. You can find out more about the elections and read all the candidates’ manifestos on the Libertine and if you are a member of  Liberal Youth you can ask them questions on their National Liberal Youth Chatbox on Facebook. Discussion also takes place on the #lyelects tag on Twitter. 

* Callum Leslie is standing for Chair in the Liberal Youth elections

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

  • Callum Leslie 3rd May '13 - 2:47pm

    Just to say I forgot to put my contact details on here! My twitter is Callum_Leslie, and my FB page is Facebook.com/CallumForChair.

  • Kevin White 3rd May '13 - 3:09pm

    What a great platform. Good luck.

  • Callum Leslie 3rd May '13 - 3:12pm

    Thanks Kevin, I really appreciate that!

  • “We need to be campaigning for true liberal MPs who put party policy and principles ahead of appeasing the Tories.”

    Oh dear, so basically campaigning for either not being in government or not trying to cut the deficit

    “We also need to stand with all groups opposing the evil bedroom tax, that punishes the poor for successive Governments’ failure to build housing and will make people homeless, and other horrendous policies like cuts to disability benefit, and despicable ATOS work assessments.”

    Great, so how are you going to bring down the UK’s growing benefits spending, which is the main reason cutting the deficit is so damned hard? What limits are you going to impose to stop it rising?

    It’s wonderful to have people involved in the party that are full of youthful enthusiasm and idealism, but can’t we have people who are also grown up enough to realise two main things: (1) Promises in opposition have to be paid for when you get into government; (2) The role of a party is to try to get its policies into practice by being in government, not shouting about stuff ineffectually from the opposition benches?

    It seems the transition from a party of opposition to one of government is still further off for some people in the party than others.

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