Paddy wants your big ideas

It’s Sunday name is the “Ashdown Prize for Radical Thought.”  The Party’s first leader, after whom it is named,  prefers to call it “Paddy’s Power to the People Prize.” The winner will win £500 and could have Paddy championing their plan on the Conference stage.

He has teamed up with those nice people at Your Liberal Britain to set up a competition for briefly expressed radical ideas to sort out the country’s problems.

He explains the premise in this video:

Here’s what you have to do if this takes your fancy:

To enter, you’ll need to write:

A six-word summary of the problem you’re trying to solve.

A solution to your problem that is bold, it must be new to the Lib Dems, and it must empower the citizen.

A six-word summary of your solution

A clear idea how your idea empowers people

A clear idea how you’d convince someone your idea is a good one

And of course, you’ll need a bold, new, radical idea – that will empower citizens and tackle one of the big issues facing Britain today.

Paddy will lend his support for the winning idea to be discussed at Conference so it could be adopted as party policy.

One of the great things about this party is that ordinary members can drive forward policy changes. Our raising of the tax threshold policy, in its 2010 manifesto incarnation, was suggested by Chester’s Lizzie Jewkes to Vince Cable. You can read her story here.

That policy was so popular that the Tories, who were totally opposed to it, keep claiming the credit for it to this day.

When I first got involved in politics, it was the radical and transformative ideas put forward by the Alliance that really appealed to me – the citizens’ income (though I am a bit more agnostic on that these days), proper democracy in the workplace, changing the voting system to make it fairer, giving real power to people, a Scottish Parliament. All of these things were about giving people more power.

Now, as our divided country wobbles on the brink of disaster, we need bold ideas that will enthuse people and give not just hope but a better and easier life to those who are struggling.

So, if you have an idea to put forward, enter by Sunday 8th April.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News.


  • How does Paddy guarantee that this will be debated at Conference?

  • Peter: he can’t, which is why that is glossed over.

    I’m really REALLY uncomfortable with this, as a member of FCC. Either we select the eventual winner for debate, which shows we can basically be bought, or we don’t select it for debate, which will be seen as a lack of respect for Paddy and/or the winning submitter.

    I’d also like to know where the prize money came from, and why it isn’t being spent on something other than bribing people to do something which any member can do anyway, especially when the party is so skint.

    I’d also also like to know who the judging panel are, how they were chosen, and how the process was fair, open, and transparent?

    But I suspect that this will just be seen as me being curmudgeonly…

  • Yeovil Yokel 3rd Mar '18 - 11:37am

    Sorry, couldn’t resist –
    The problem: ‘May, Johnson, Davies, Fox and Gove’.
    The solution: ‘The Twelve Lib Dems plus Lucas’.

  • @ Jennie Be curmudgeonly and change the prize to get a new hat for Paddy.

  • John Roffey 3rd Mar '18 - 12:08pm

    Leaders and members to be be provided with a thorough explanation of the Gini Coefficient?

  • David Evans 3rd Mar '18 - 2:14pm

    Problem (in six words) – Since coalition no-one listens to us.

    Solution – In coalition we lost so many people’s trust and now have so few MPs we are considered to be of no consequence by the media and the vast majority of the population. We have to get their attention and regain that trust so that they will once again consider voting for the one party that believes in empowering people.

    Summary of Solution (in six words) – Our leaders must apologise for coalition.

    How it empowers people – It will give them a radical centre left party they can actually start to believe in and vote for once again.

    How to convince someone – The alternative, denying there is a problem and simply hoping that in time people will come to realise we were right all along, forgive, forget and turn to voting Lib Dem once again has failed totally for the last seven years. New policies and new ideas count for absolutely nothing unless the people listen.

    Also we now have only one year left to stop Brexit.

  • John Roffey 3rd Mar '18 - 3:19pm

    @ David Evans – “Also we now have only one year left to stop Brexit.”

    It seems very unlikely that Brexit will be stopped now David – if it is stopped it will be through the complexity of the journey any deal agreed with the EU has to make though the UK parliament – not via a second referendum.

    No one has commented on the Gini Coefficient video I posted – however, it seems to me [based on this] that the UK is ready for a revolution – a peaceful revolution that the policies included in the Party’s next manifesto might aspire to achieve.

  • David Evans 3rd Mar '18 - 4:05pm

    John, I fear you may be right, but a key reason is our unwillingness to ask ourselves the question “Why did we ignore them when people stopped voting for us in coalition?”

  • David Evans 3rd Mar '18 - 4:25pm

    Oh yes and Gini (despite my concerns about her several inadequacies) and the fact that we chose to bail out the Bankers while imposing austerity on the poor.

  • Yeovil Yokel 3rd Mar '18 - 4:55pm

    Here’s another one –
    Problem: ‘A crumbling reactionary post-Imperial legislature.’
    Solution: ‘Move it to Derby or Leeds.’

  • Jennie, as a member of the FCC you rightly sum up the issue. Paddy is attempting to bypass the Party’s democratic processes. Not a good look and comes across as something that he as an unelected Lord feels he is entitled to do. Is this something that Vince has endorsed?

  • Martin Pierce 4th Mar '18 - 8:16am

    And who are ‘those nice people at Your Liberal Britain’ anyway? I’ve never heard of it.

  • Martin: YLB is basically a very nice and very earnest young man called Jim, and some of his friends. They all seem very pleasant, but I am uncomfortable with the lack of transparency about their funding and running, and if I express this to them they agree that it’s a shame they’re not more transparent but don’t ever say they are going to do anything about it…

  • The video is quite clear that the winning idea ‘might’ get discussed at Conference, with no guarantees. I’d like to think that if there is a particularly strong idea that space will be made in the proceedings to give it an airing, even if that’s a fringe event. As much as I appreciate that there are established procedures in place for suggestions for conference, I am going to go against the grain here and say that I am in favour of anything that encourages members, especially new members, to present their ideas for wider debate.

    Some here are concerned that protocols may not be correctly followed, and yet it’s those very protocols that will scare off a lot of people who might otherwise present an idea. Finding a way to fast-track ideas is a positive thing, and so long as this is open to all, then I don’t see any good reason for anyone to go in the huff about it.

  • Fiona: I have no problem with encouraging the generation of ideas from members.

    I remain unconvinced that this is the way to get them engaged, even despite my other misgivings: if several hundred submit ideas and only one is selected then surely that’s going to be several hundred disappointments?

  • Has the shortlist been announced then? It was meant to be 14th May wasn’t it?

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