Mark Pack writes…How we can do better than ever before

I’m the son of immigrants, one parent from Germany, the other from Poland. My family history is in miniature the troubled history of Europe, scarred by the horrors of extremism and war – and then my parents making a new home together in our country. 

It’s why our liberal democracy, despite all its flaws, is so precious to me. And why we have to protect it against the extremists and populists. 

To do that, we need to build a grassroots liberal movement, mobilising the millions who share our values. Such a movement can continue our successes this year winning more power, through campaigning and elections.

Winning elections at every level gives us more of that precious power to stop Brexit, to protect our planet, to heal the divisions in our society and to meet the needs of our local communities.

That’s why winning is so important – and that’s why I’ve put helping you win at the heart of my pitch to be President. 

The key task for the next President is to ensure we have the right strategy and the right organisation to win bigger than ever before – in local government, in the London Assembly, in the Welsh and Scottish governments, in Westminster and in future European elections too.

That’s a task well-suited to my record and my skills, including:

  • Creating with David Howarth the core votes strategy that underpinned our recovery since 2015
  • Co-author of the party’s handbook for general election agents
  • Supporting the group doing the hard graft on reforming our disciplinary process, getting an improved and independent system in place
  • Working with colleagues to introduce gender-balanced selection rules when the London Assembly was created
  • Always listening to and informing members, such as running the popular Liberal Democrat Newswire emails and regular member surveys

It is, to borrow one of our favourite phrases, a record of action… and a promise of more.

Of course, our President needs to champion us in the media, taking the flack if things go wrong. I’ve got plenty of experience of surviving trial by media, whether Channel 4 grilling me over a Lib Dem minister up on police charges, the early morning rigours of Radio 4’s Today programme, getting interviewed by Jeremy Paxman or surviving Andrew Neill’s questioning. 

What I can also be is a President who keeps us focused on what will bring long-term success for us in elections at all levels.

Our federal party HQ, understandably, gets drawn into focusing on the next Westminster general election. But for success we need to think broader – remembering all those other elections and campaigns which matter too – and we need to think longer-term – remembering that there will be a general election after the next one too. 

That’s where our next President can help us win and, if you elect me, I will focus single-mindedly on this as my only role in the party.

To find out more or to sign up as a supporter, see

* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.

One Comment

  • David Evans 24th Oct '19 - 3:48pm

    I really do wonder when Mark Pack says things like “To do that, we need to build a grassroots liberal movement, mobilising the millions who share our values.” In fact we are a Liberal *Democrat* movement, and it was those Social Democrats who came to us in the early 1980s who gave the party the kickstart it needed to cease being merely an insignificant minor party isolated for many years at the edge of political power, and instead helped us become a left of centre national movement.

    It did get us up to 62 MPs before Nick Clegg tried to turn us back into a classical liberal, centre right party in 2008, when we found that 5 years of trying to make the Tories less of the nasty party did us no good whatsoever.

    As for the core votes strategy, I think it is a road back to insignificance. While there are a significant proportion of the population who are liberal, when it comes to deciding how to vote, most put a much, much greater weight on the NHS, Schools and other more Social Democratic issues than classical Liberal ones. Hence when faced with a choice between Liberal and Labour, they make the decision Labour (or SNP) unless the Liberal is the only one who can beat the Conservatives.

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