Opinion: What should the new leader do in his first 100 days? #4

We all know that our real power base is in local government. And it is here that some of the most interesting initiatives in community politics are being played out by Lib Dem run councils.

So I want to challenge the new leader to capitalise on our distinctive style of leadership out beyond Westminster.

He could begin by a fact-finding tour of the country, and, guided by local knowledge, align himself with the greenest or most citizen-centric initiatives that have been introduced by our councillors. Each one will be accompanied by a challenge to the other parties to show whether they have done anything similar.

Of course, this will only capture national press interest if it is planned with sufficient razzmatazz and imaginative photoshoots.

This could have both internal and external benefits – it will raise the profile of councillors in the party, and will demonstrate to the country that it is possible to bring about significant changes at a local level. It will also portray the new leader as someone who understands the real local issues that people care about.

But first, he needs to give himself a recuperative break over Christmas, and spend precious time with family and friends, because he won’t be seeing much of them in 2008!

* Mary Reid is a Liberal Democrat councillor in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, and blogs at www.readmyday.co.uk/maryreid
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7 Comments

  • Hywel Morgan 18th Dec '07 - 10:38am

    Getting elected as leader then going on your Christmas break is a terrible idea and will just enable the press to run “disappointing first few weeks” stories over Christmas and New Year.

    Another reason why this was a dreadful time to have the election finish – though that boat has long since sailed 🙂

  • Hywel, this is the British Media we are talking about. There is NEVER a good time. Try, as a seasonal exercise writing how, say, The Sun, the Mail and the Telegraph would have reported the Sermon on the Mount.
    We just have to accept the peculiarities of the British political system where so many political parties, The Newspaper Owners Party, the Senior Civil Servants Party and the Council Officers Party are all exempt from the rules and regulations that we have to abide by.

  • He should ignore all unsolicited advice!

  • ‘He could begin by a fact-finding tour of the country, and, guided by local knowledge, align himself with the greenest or most citizen-centric initiatives that have been introduced by our councillors. Each one will be accompanied by a challenge to the other parties to show whether they have done anything similar.’

    So he won’t be coming to Kingston then…

  • and don’t be photographed peering down toilets . . .

  • Mike Falchikov 21st Dec '07 - 12:27am

    Dan – what a stirrer you are.
    I really don’t know where you get it from.

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