Linda Jack to announce Lib Dem party president campaign

Linda JackLib Dem activist Linda Jack will shortly announce that she will be a candidate for the post of Party President in the all-member election that will take place this autumn.

To date, two candidates have declared their intention to run: Baroness (Sal) Brinton and Pauline Pearce. I understand Linda will officially throw her hat into the ring after May’s local and European elections.

Linda Jack has twice been a parliamentary candidate for the party: in Luton North in 2005, and in Mid-Bedfordshire (up against Nadine Dorries) in 2010. She also served as a a councillor on Bedford Borough Council for five years. She famously brandished a set of pink fluffy handcuffs to warn against the Lib Dems going into Coalition with the Conservatives in May 2010, and is Chair of Liberal Left. She was elected to the party’s Federal Policy Committee in 2006, serving on it until 2012. A former analyst in special intelligence (H.M. Forces), teacher and youth worker, Linda was most recently Youth Policy Adviser at the Money Advice Service. She blogs at Lindylooz Muse.

All three candidates who’ve declared so far – and any others who come forward – will require 200 nominations from conference representatives of at least 20 local parties to be eligible to have their name on the ballot. Given the dominance of white men in the party leadership – our leader, deputy leader, party president and all cabinet ministers – I’d be surprised if Lib Dem members didn’t choose a party president who breaks that pattern.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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35 Comments

  • Radical Liberal 19th Apr '14 - 12:08pm

    So is it the case that every party member gets a vote in this election but only reps can nominate?

  • If members did not want her on FPC then how does she expect to be voted President?

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 19th Apr '14 - 12:41pm

    It might be better if candidates could get nominations from ordinary members, but the number of nominees would need to be increased somewhat, and candidates don’t get a membership list. At least this way, the nominations can be got fairly quickly and easily, leaving more time to campaign.

    As a particularly interested bystander – I’ve been part of the core team in a winning Presidential campaign in the recent past – I’ll be watching to see if any of the candidates show signs of understanding what is necessary to put up a good showing…

  • Harry Hayfield 19th Apr '14 - 12:48pm

    I am intrigued by the comment “Given the dominance of white men in the party leadership – our leader, deputy leader, party president and all cabinet ministers – I’d be surprised if Lib Dem members didn’t choose a party president who breaks that pattern” and am wondering if this means that is a BME woman is not nominated should there be a mass RON campaign to ensure that a BME woman is nominated?

  • Brenda Lana Smith 19th Apr '14 - 1:33pm

    It’s about time whomever Lib Dem members be allowed to nominate their good selves as candidates for All (Yes, All…) Lib Dem party membership PR elected Lib Dem party executive positions…

  • Stephen Howse 19th Apr '14 - 2:04pm

    Far too polarising a figure.

    As for this:

    “Given the dominance of white men in the party leadership – our leader, deputy leader, party president and all cabinet ministers – I’d be surprised if Lib Dem members didn’t choose a party president who breaks that pattern.”

    I hope we have a wide range of candidates but I hope that whoever ends up getting the job gets it for what they have to say, not what they happen to have between their legs or what colour their skin happens to be.

  • Radical Liberal 19th Apr '14 - 3:26pm

    Stephen Howse writes ‘Far too polarising a figure’.

    But, of course, Clegg isn’t. One rule for the right wing leadership, another rule for everyone else – again.

  • Stephen Howse 19th Apr '14 - 3:40pm

    Clegg wasn’t when he won the leadership, though…

    I wouldn’t want anyone, left or right, who is this polarising as President. They need to be able to speak for the party as a whole and enthuse the activist base as a whole.

  • Stuart Wheatcroft 19th Apr '14 - 3:45pm

    Nick Clegg isn’t running for Party President.

  • Rabi Martins 19th Apr '14 - 3:49pm

    @ MarkValladeres
    ” I’ll be watching to see if any of the candidates show signs of understanding what is necessary to put up a good showing”
    I would have liked to see you tell us all what traits you expect your indeal “worthy candidate ” to display before putting themselves foreward
    Given your unique understanding of what our Party President actually does and the demands (physical, financial and emotional) that the role is likely to put on the eventual winner, you could do the aspiring candidates a great service by giving them “an insiders view” of the job . Alternately you could sell your consultancy services on running a winning campaign for Party President to the highest bidder . But I suspect that might cause the candidate to fall foul of the election rules.

    As for the anticipated announcement by another ordinary member, Linda Jack, that she is to make a bid for this important role that can only be good ne ws for the Party Having a non parliamentarian elected to ths important office will bring a fresh perspective to how ourParty is run and managed

  • I agree with Stephen Howse!

    I do hope we have a wide selection of candidates, including men!

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 19th Apr '14 - 4:08pm

    @ Rabi,

    I did, less than four months ago, and nothing has happened since then to change my views on the subject.

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/2014-looking-for-a-dark-horse-or-a-safe-pair-of-hands-37695.html

    Here’s something I wrote four years ago too…

    http://liberalbureaucracy.blogspot.com/2010/09/party-presidency-job-description.html

  • David Evans 19th Apr '14 - 6:53pm

    Bearing in mind we have Nick as leader, Stephen’s “Far too polarising a figure..” comment makes me think “Stable Door …”

  • Stephen Howse 19th Apr '14 - 8:12pm

    Indeed. So do we really need another one in a position of power and influence?

  • Radical Liberal 19th Apr '14 - 10:01pm

    ‘Indeed. So do we really need another one in a position of power and influence?’

    Don’t you believe in balance and a diversity of views? As a liberal I do. It is because Clegg is polarising that we need someone to challenge him head on. Why do you appear to want an echo chamber as a political party?

  • A Social Liberal 19th Apr '14 - 11:33pm

    She’s got my vote so far !

  • Stephen Howse 20th Apr '14 - 12:35am

    “Don’t you believe in balance and a diversity of views? ”

    Yes, I do indeed! I believe we are stronger for our diversity and for the open way we are able to debate and bounce ideas off each other.

    I also believe that the role of the Party President is to gee up everyone ahead of what will be a very tough general election battle next year, and that someone as polarising, if not openly antagonistic towards a huge section of our party, is absolutely not what we need in this vital role. I believe that having someone in such a key role who will spend their entire time trashing our entire record in government is not conducive to us having a coherent campaign.

  • Stephen Howse 20th Apr '14 - 12:37am

    This isn’t even about not wanting someone from the “left” of the party in the role – the current president is very definitely of the “left” and has done a damn fine job. (Indeed, it’s a shame he can’t have another term!)

  • Stephen Howse
    Did you pause to think ? before writing that sentence which ended — “…trashing our entire record in government is not conducive to us having a coherent campaign..”
    It would be entirely possible to have a completely coherent Liberal Democrat general election campaign based on trashing this government’s record.
    It could start by trashing the failure to reform the House of Lords, the failure to reform the electoral system, the falure to tax wealth rather than income, the falure to stem the growth of food-bank Britain, the failure to make this the greenest government in history etc etc.
    it would look remarkably like Liberal Democrat general election campaigns up to and including 2010.

  • Duncan Greenland 20th Apr '14 - 9:07am

    Perhaps a completely coherent manifesto in a theoretical fantasy universe, but one on which no sitting Lib Dem MP could stand and expect to be re- elected and which the majority of Lib Dem members (who you may remember approvef going ibto coalition ) could not possibly support.
    A recipe for electoral suicide !

  • David Evans 20th Apr '14 - 9:21am

    I would contend that a manifesto based on the leader’s “everything is perfect and we could have done nothing better” is the fantasy, and is the one that if supported by MPs would guarantee their defeat in droves.

    In contrast, a manifesto based on “We agreed with going into coalition to save the country, but Nick (who has now left acknowledging his mistakes) totally screwed up being in coalition” would regain support from so many who supported coalition but have been dismayed with his dismal failure in it. A recipe for renewal!

  • Or, of course, “we were wrongly persuaded at the time we were going into coalition to save the country”. I think it will take a long time to regain credibility a a campaigning, green, localist party, aiming at a more equal society, with a realistic international dimension, but the sooner we start the better.

  • David Evans
    “, a manifesto based on “We agreed with going into coalition to save the country, but Nick (who has now left acknowledging his mistakes) totally screwed up being in coalition”

    It would definitely have the merit of being an honest assessment of the last four years, just as soon as he goes.

  • JohnTilley: the danger of such a strategy would be to become little more than a Labour party pressure group, which at times in the past we have been with variable degrees of success. The bigger picture is our Liberal, social and democratic outlook, to which from time to time the other parties pay little more than lip service.

    My hunch is that in 5 years time, much of what Lib Dems have achieved in government will be seen more positively, but with acknowledgement of important strategy failures.

  • Rabi Martins 20th Apr '14 - 12:58pm

    @John Tilley – Rubbishing everything Liberal Democrats have achieved in government through the coalition just because you have a pathological dislike for Nick Clegg is unhelpful to our cause I thing our team in government have punched above their weight and given us a solid platform on which to fight the next General Election Linda Jack has contributed much to Party Policy over the years on the FPC, in conference speeches and through particiaption in the Manifesto Group deliberations If elected Party President I think we can count on her to ensure our 2015 General Election Manifesto reflects Lib Dem members wishes And in the event of a hung parliament, which is very likely, I can see her use the lessons we have learnt from the current experience to secure a deal that works much better for both the Party and the Country than the current Colaition Agreement does

  • David Evans 20th Apr '14 - 1:05pm

    I would agree with a good bit of what Martin says. To impartial observers, what we have done is very laudable and like the curates egg, good in parts. However, it will have destroyed the party’s prospects (and consequently any hope for the defence of our values) for the next twenty or more years. On balance a totally disasterous strategic situation.

  • jedibeeftrix 20th Apr '14 - 1:16pm

    @ Martin – “My hunch is that in 5 years time, much of what Lib Dems have achieved in government will be seen more positively…”

    Very much agreed.

  • Stephen Howse 20th Apr '14 - 1:49pm

    @ Martin – “My hunch is that in 5 years time, much of what Lib Dems have achieved in government will be seen more positively…”

    Including by our own party.

  • 5 years might be too long for some of us. It also will be too long for the party at the present rate of decline.

    The last four years has resulted in the party regularly failing to up candidates in 75% of principal local authority byelections.
    Party membership has declined dramatically and despite over-enthusiastic spin around the numbers, membership is at best stuck at an historically low level since the Liberal Democrats were founded.
    The party spin around the present election is that if we hang on to half a dozen MEPs it will be a major success.
    For next year’s general election even loyalists predict a reduction in the number of MPs.

    People can kid themselves that voters will be very pleased with us in 5 years time. But it sounds like whisltling to ward off loneliness.

  • David Allen 21st Apr '14 - 7:33pm

    “Far too polarising”

    What will kill our party is quite the opposite, it is a “steady as she goes” president. Seven percent and falling….

  • Colin Strong 21st Apr '14 - 9:32pm

    @John Tilley “Party membership has declined dramatically and despite over-enthusiastic spin around the numbers, membership is at best stuck at an historically low level since the Liberal Democrats were founded.”

    You may be interested to know that I resigned September 2013 and in the last week I received an e-mail from Lib Dem membership services signed by Austin Rathe informing me that my Membership had been cancelled.

    Presumably this:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/lib-dem-hq-tweets-dear-twitterbots-we-are-happy-with-our-2000-new-party-members-we-do-not-need-your-offers-of-5000-new-followers-37667.html

    where a tweet (dated 31/12/2013) claims 700-800 rise in membership in 2013 is simply spin because mine and I presume other peoples memberships was not cancelled until 2014.

    Well as a former member I can say if the party wants to delude itself then fine go ahead.

    I will not be voting Lib Dem in 2014 or 2015.

  • A Social Liberal 21st Apr '14 - 10:19pm

    Thanks for the Hitchhikers quote David. I used it on a Towel Day post on facebook and cocked it up completely :O(

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