Liberal Youth Elections 2014… Policy Officer: Ryan Mercer

liberalyouthLiberal Youth policy matters. It’s how we, as young Liberal Democrats, can make a clear and credible case for change on the issues we care about. The disengagement from politics by so many young people has made it easy for the views of our generation to be overlooked. Despite this, the Liberal Democrats have long been the strongest advocates in both tackling the challenges young people face and building the future society in which we want to live. The unique perspective Liberal Youth provides can help to ensure the party will continue to listen to young people and be that advocate for our generation.

In May, I stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate in a Norwich City Council Ward formerly held by Norman Lamb MP. The ward has a young population and standing gave me a real insight into how big a challenge we face showing other young people what we stand for and that we’re on their side.

I’m standing as a candidate for Liberal Youth Policy Officer partly because I believe in the essential role that Liberal Youth policy needs to play, but also because I believe more has to be done to engage our members in our policy making. With more young members adding their voices our policies will be better informed and have the support behind them to be taken seriously.

To achieve this I will ensure that:

  • Liberal Youth continues to put forward professional, well researched but still radical motions to Federal Conference, keeping our issues high on the party’s policy agenda.
  • Through intelligent use of the Nation Builder website, we give all our members the chance to put forward ideas for policies, and then help them develop these into motions for our conference.
  • Produce manifesto-style summaries of Liberal Youth’s extensive policy platform that can be easily accessed through the new website,  provide a clearer picture of what Liberal Youth policy is, and make it easier for our members shape campaigns around it.
  • Fight to ensure that Liberal Youth policies play a role in the party’s manifesto for the general election.

For the last few months I have been Liberal Youth’s East of England Chair though which I’ve met many of our members. I’ve also recently attended this year’s Activate, at which I spoke on a variety of policy motions and proposed an amendment on the Gaza motion. From these experiences I’ve been struck by the passion and ideas that our members have, ideas we can develop into innovative policy.

As someone who has worked in Policy Development at a national adult education charity, helping to research policy and lobby the government, and who now works for one of our Lib Dem MPs, drafting policy correspondence, I have firsthand knowledge of how to shape ideas into policy and then fight for them.

With my varied experience both within and beyond Liberal Youth, I have a lot to offer in this role, so please give me your support in this election.


Voting in the Liberal Youth elections opens on 7 September and continues until 12 noon on Monday 22nd September. All candidates for the contested officer positions have been offered a 500 word piece on Liberal Democrat Voice. You can find out more about the elections and read all the candidates’ manifestos on the Liberal Youth website 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.






* Ryan Mercer is Liberal Youth's Policy Officer

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