Opinion: Time for change. Time for a Liberal Revival: my manifesto for Party President

I joined this party because I believe in the power of every individual to take power and use it – use it to shape their own lives and communities and to help change the world.

I joined this party because I’ve seen brave people face down threats from large powerful corporations, from their own governments, and from conformity – everything for which we stand.

And I joined this party because ours is the only political philosophy that believes in trusting, enabling and freeing people. We want to lift people out of poverty and ignorance. We want them to have a safety net so they have the confidence to take risks, to innovate and make bold decisions. And we want to create a system of governance that serves people and communities, from the grass-roots up.

We were right to adopt community politics as an ideology of social transformation in the 1970s, and we were right to re-state our commitment to it in 2011. But as I said then – to the nodding heads of Paddy Ashdown and Tim Farron – it must once again become the foundation of our identify and our approach. In 2011, Conference agreed “A renewed strategic emphasis on ‘community politics’: our role as political activists is to help organise people in communities to take and use power, to use our political skills to redress grievances, and to represent people at all levels of the political structure.”

We want every individual to take back power and use it. This is our distinctive message. And this should be the golden thread that runs through everything we do, say, and pledge to deliver. An unambiguous commitment to giving back power –  for example, by raising the proportion of government spending and tax revenue that is managed through local government over a Parliament – should be the starting point of our 2015 manifesto.

I have huge ambitions for our party. I’m 32 and I’m prepared to spend the next 50 years of my life fighting for our political beliefs. The next few months will be critical but they also present an unrivalled opportunity for us to lay the foundations for a Liberal Revival.

Our councillors and grass roots campaigners are the forgotten army on which our future depends – in this party, our place is front and centre.

As President, I would:

1. FOCUS ON WINNING. We must use May 2015 as an opportunity for every member to experience winning, gain confidence to campaign on our messages, and develop their campaign skills. For me, every member counts. That’s how I believe we’ll motivate members to go out and win.

2. INSPIRE DONORS TO SCALE UP SUPPORT. Donors need confidence to invest knowing we’re a political force that’s here to stay. I would showcase the party’s finest campaigners and new talent to show we’re the future of British politics.

3. RE-BUILD & RE-LAUNCH. After May, we must launch an ambitious national scheme to recruit members in such numbers that we will within 20 years wipe out all ‘black-holes’, be as diverse as the UK, and re-build our local government base and membership from community level up.

If you share my vision and want to help it happen, please join my team today and help elect me as the next Liberal Democrat Party President.

For more information about me please see my website, email [email protected] and  follow me on Twitter at @daisy4change.

* Daisy Cooper is the Liberal Democrat MP for St Albans.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Bill le Breton 30th Aug '14 - 9:39am

    ” I believe in the power of every individual to take power and use it – use it to shape their own lives and communities ”

    Don’t need that cup of coffee to get me going now. THanks Daisy.

  • Hey Daisy,

    Welcome to the race! What do you think makes you different from the other candidates? What do you offer that the others don’t? Much of what you’ve written is similar to the the other applicants LDV posts, so it’s hard to understand why you’ve thrown your hat into the ring at this stage, maybe you could clarify?

  • Joshua Dixon 30th Aug '14 - 12:28pm

    Another brilliant woman in the race. Can’t help but feel very inspired by this election!

  • Tony Dawson 30th Aug '14 - 4:00pm


    “Much of what you’ve written is similar to the the other applicants LDV posts”

    To quote John Patrick MacEnroe: “You can not be serious”.

    It ain’t what you say but the way that you say it. 🙂

  • Ruth Bright 30th Aug '14 - 5:10pm

    At last! An All-Women Shortlist!

    Daisy – how would you attempt to bring back to the party women who have left because they feel that “the inadvertent encroachment of personal space” has not been taken seriously?

  • Eddie Sammon 30th Aug '14 - 5:55pm

    I feel inspired by the campaigns of Liz and Daisy. I think Sal could also do a good job, but Linda Jack is not in consideration for me because she is a member of Liberal Left.

    The focus on winning is important to me. Partly due to selfish reasons, but also selfless ones due to the damage on sections of society that I think the other parties cause. They are stuffed with prejudice.

    It’s also about fairness – what’s the point in giving up valuable time if you know you are probably going to lose? Most will just become demoralised and give up.

    The presidency is about operational duties such as dealing with the membership, but it is also about representing and leading the party. The president is awarded a powerful media role and their opinions become more important. Therefore, I would also like to know more about what each of the candidates believe.

    On a smaller note: I think community politics is a good way of communicating values by showing the state isn’t the answer to everything, whilst showing it doesn’t mean that nothing should be done. Norman Lamb has communicated this very well in government, but it is important not to do it too much because we all have other time commitments.

    Best regards

  • Ian MacFadyen 30th Aug '14 - 6:52pm

    We can’t wait till next May to rebuild. We must do it now.

  • Stephen Howse 30th Aug '14 - 7:46pm

    “Another brilliant woman in the race. Can’t help but feel very inspired by this election!”

    That they are all women is, for me, a secondary concern to their competence and aptitude for the job. We have a good range of candidates now, representing different views and with different backgrounds and experience. That is excellent. I’m inspired by the fact we have people of substance who want to do this job and, in Daisy’s case, by the positive and enthusiastic way in which she has kicked off her campaign.

  • Stephen Donnelly 30th Aug '14 - 9:17pm

    There is nothing in here that I disagree with, but it is all pretty meaningless. I don’ t you have said anything that most people involved in politics could not sign up to. Community activism is used by all the main political parties now. The SNP are using as part of the yes campaign, the green to oppose Fracking, the Tories have become good at using local issue in their campaign, even Labour have been know on occasion to allow local people a say in things.

    What do you think about the economy, the NHS, public spending. How do you apply you views to these issues?

  • “Daisy – how would you attempt to bring back to the party women who have left because they feel that “the inadvertent encroachment of personal space” has not been taken seriously?”

    I have very little sympathy for the allegedly inadvertent encroacher, but the idea that this is the most important issue in sight gives the impression of a party turning in on itself.

  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/10214326/One-to-watch-Why-political-campaigner-Daisy-Cooper-is-going-places.html

    An interesting article on this very articulate candidate. This really is a tough presidency campaign, but I like the focus of this positive article on localism (the thing our party has which the others do not, even when they pretend they do).

    However, a few points about campaigns and other specific things you would like to get involved would be interesting to hear. I notice you have a real interest in international affairs and law, so is that something you will utilise to help revive our party’s international outlook?

  • Community politics is NOT community activism. Please read the original pamphlet online.

  • Eddie Sammon 31st Aug '14 - 6:34am

    A liberal revival needs to involve Lib Dems listening to each other and the public more. I don’t always succeed at this, but it is something that needs to happen more often. Lib Dems have been good at leading on issues in the past, but not so good at listening.

    It’s easier for me to speak my mind because I am not standing for an internal election any time soon, but I think this is one thing that needs to change and it has been a factor in the presidential campaign. I’ll elaborate on the general principle in future.

    Best wishes

  • Daisy Cooper 31st Aug '14 - 8:29am

    Just to say thanks for all the comments everyone – I’ll respond to each one later today . Thanks!

  • Angela Davies 31st Aug '14 - 9:50am

    At last a candidate who speaks my Language! I joined the Liberals when I was a little younger than you I a now 75.
    I have arthritis in most joints from pounding pavements climbing stairs etc. I still believe in all the reasons I joined especially the freedoms of the individual. We need to get back to community politics and the bread and butter issues
    that affect ordinary people every day.
    You got my Vote Lady

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 31st Aug '14 - 10:02am

    Thanks for your positive attitude towards a Liberal Revival, Daisy. I like your style too – as well as those of other candidates and will study how the campaigns develop. My comments below are written in support of all candidates. I do believe our president needs a first-class communication network to all members, possibly with a website with some of LDV’s potential to communicate. However, LDV is not set up to do the job of president and I would suggest it is essential for this leader to have her own site which is supported by the party as a whole [without interference of course].

    Slightly off topic but connected – one thing which has to be solved for the party is to have good communication via LDV itself [and with any presidential website] without the distracting negative comments of non-members. Most of us don’t have time and inclination to battle through these distractions and access should be for LDs only. Yes we know we have forum but it doesn’t work easily for many of us to contribute and debate and see how members are ‘voting’ or recommending in the manner of CiF on the Guardian. At present, any LD president would have difficulty working out, from a current website, what large groups of members believe. Generally, even better interactive websites *for members* are needed – which lead towards clearer and cumulative promoting of the issues which members believe in. I’m concerned that too many of our leaders promote issues *in the dark* – to which members have not been able to show any reaction *before* they hit the headlines. But our president should be able to draw together our majority views into beneficial directions for the party as a whole to pursue.

  • Sounds O.K. to me. It’s getting that message to the people that never hear what we have to say that is the hard bit!

  • “Yes we know we have forum but it doesn’t work easily for many of us to contribute and debate and see how members are ‘voting’ or recommending in the manner of CiF on the Guardian.”

    Whyever not?

  • Eddie Sammon 31st Aug '14 - 11:36am

    Hi Daisy, I’m not a member, so you don’t need to respond to me, I just like to provide guidance and see myself as a liberal voter.

    I’ll try to leave these debates to members more from now on.


  • Eddie Sammon 1st Sep '14 - 9:47am

    Thanks Daisy. 🙂

  • Nigel Cheeseman 1st Sep '14 - 1:44pm

    Daisy, much of what you say I can agree with and, as others have said, it sounds similar to what the other candidates are saying. I’m not sure yet about increasing funding in local government, whether that involves more tax raising powers locally or not. I have been a local councillor and although I think my council was relatively well run, partly I think due to not having been continuously run by one party for decades, I have grave misgivings about local authorities in several areas. I think what is needed is to separate local government from service provision. I.e. licensing, planning and legislation through bylaws would be the role of local government. Education, social services, refuse collection, parks, amenities and basically everything that is currently funded locally should be looked at on the basis of how best it can be delivered. This could help to stop, for example, Labour councils unnecessarily implementing cuts in services in order to blame central government. Much of service provision is not party political. Why should the frequency of bin collection influence the make up of a council?

  • iantha kirkup 3rd Sep '14 - 4:48am

    Hi Daisy, pleased to learn you are standing for president, locally I find your enthusiasm contagious and I am sure that will carry over to the rest of the party.

    Over the years within the Liberal and later Liberal Democrat party I have always been impressed by our local campaigning because this is what is important to people. But now we are also a party of government regardless of the outcomes of next year’s elections. So now I think it vital to link the two, to address the common question what do LibDems stand for? With the right wing splitting and Labour seemingly unsure of itself I belive the electorate are looking for a vision, how do they as individuals exist within an ever more globalised world? How can it benefit them rather than be a threat?

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