Party members: Your chance to help shape the party’s strategy

Over the last couple of months, every Wednesday lunchtime and in another few meetings too, a group of us have been getting together to start the process of building the party’s future strategy which will be voted on at Autumn Conference in Bournemouth.

I don’t say very much in these groups because there are people much cleverer than me with much more useful things to say, but one of the things I wanted to make sure of from the start is that we involved members in the quest to shape our future direction. This is something that we must build together. It can’t be imposed. The group agreed that we would consult our members fully and we are doing just that.

The culmination of a lot of hard work popped into party members’ email inboxes late on Wednesday night. In the email, Party President Sal Brinton said:

At Spring Conference in York, our Leader Tim Farron outlined his vision for our Party:

“To replace the Labour Party as the main opposition to the Conservatives… so that we can replace the Conservatives as the Government of our country.”

This is a bold vision, which needs a bold strategy to deliver it.

We want to hear your views on how our Party can work to achieve Tim’s vision, and have set out some ideas of our own:

We want to hear your views on how our Party can work to achieve Tim’s vision, and have set out some ideas of our own:

We have also compiled an online survey for you to complete. It will only take a few minutes of your time.

Part of ensuring we deliver Tim’s vision is the need for every member to play their part to build a liberal society. Our country needs us now more than ever, and I know so many of you are taking part in some fantastic campaigns across the country, and I’m looking forward to seeing more gains on May 4th. So, don’t worry if you don’t have enough time to do it right now, because the closing date for the consultation is Monday 15th May at 12 noon.

We want to see an Open, Tolerant and United country, and we need you to help us build it.

In that email there is a unique link to the survey and a link to the consultation document. You’ll need to be logged in as a member on the party website to access it.

What we need you to do is basically mark our homework for us. We are bound to have missed something. What is it? Give us your feedback.

We know that everyone is in the middle of elections right now so you may well not have the chance to look at this until after May 4th – which is why we have deliberately given you two full weekends after polling day to respond.

I want to give a bit of a shoutout here to Chris Adams. He is the wonderful member of staff who makes your average  saint look grumpy and impatient. He has to deal with several federal committees, which can’t be good for anyone’s health, and is the soul of calmness and tact. He has had to pull together the survey, which is great when the questions have gone through about 734 incarnations before they were complete. He’s had to deal with things that were changing about the document until the second it went live and we couldn’t alter it any more. He has done such a good job and we really appreciate the fact that he has never complained about any of this. If I were him, I’d probably have locked us in a cupboard by now. He is a true Lib Dem hero and committee survivor.

So, if for no other reason, fill in the survey just to make Chris’s effort worthwhile.

Update: What to do if you are a party member and haven’t had the email. First, check your spam and the other Gmail promotions and social folders. It’s amazing what ends up in there. You are looking for an email from Sal Brinton headed “Help us set our direction.”

If you still haven’t got it, email [email protected] and he’ll check things and resend the unique link if necessary.

Don’t expect him to reply before office hours, though. I emailed him very late last night to ask what people should do as a few had said that they hadn’t had the email. I did say not to reply before Monday, but he said it was an easy answer so he replied before 8:30 this morning. I feel a bit guilty for intruding into his space and very grateful for a reply to pass on to you.

Round of applause for our hard-working staff, please…..

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

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  • Tony Dawson 7th Apr '17 - 4:11pm

    SInce, in my view, the Party has never ever had anything remotely resembling a strategy, then to have one would be a welcome ‘first’. To be worthy of the name, any strategy needs to be flexible enough to deal with “events,dear boy. . . ” while still having a coherent and clear central core.

    Any ‘strategy’ of a political party which is to be effective surely requires a degree of confidentiality. I am dubious, therefore, of the value of discussing it in any open forum.

  • Tony Dawson 7th Apr '17 - 4:14pm

    I also did not receive any presidential email on Wednesday or since. Does being a Party member for 40 years qualify one for communication by thought transfer?

  • Absolutely right about Chris – a real star.

  • I didn’t get the email either. But then I’ve only been a member for 32 years.

  • Allan Brame 7th Apr '17 - 11:33pm

    Just to balance things up, I did get the email.
    Then I have been a member for 43 years!

  • Now I’m wondering if everyone called Tony was missed off. Wonder if Tony Greaves got it…. This is how conspiracy theories start.

    I’ll ask and see what the advice is if you haven’t got it.

    I would recommend checking your spam, though, cos it doesn’t take much to tip party stuff in there…

  • Ok, I am feeling really guilty now. I emailed Greg, the member of staff responsible after midnight last night saying that I didn’t want him to look at this until Monday but I was sending it because I’m off to the Highlands today (yay!). He has actually just got back to me (before 8:30 this morning). He says that any member who hasn’t got the email should email him at [email protected] and he’ll check the records and resend them their unique link if necessary.

    Round of applause for our hard-working staff, please…..

  • Sue Sutherland 8th Apr '17 - 1:36pm

    I got the survey even though I’ve only been a member for 32 years! I also enjoyed filling it in even though to start off with it felt as if I was dealing with a two year old. “What do you think about abc? pause. Why?”
    It’s brilliant that members are being involved so much and that we are putting our party’s beliefs into action.

  • I’m a mere stripling with less than 10 years membership, but I got it 🙂

  • Thanks for that. Will do.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Apr '17 - 11:54pm

    Sadly I have not yet been able to access this important document, despite scrutinising the website AND mailing help@libdems!

  • Roger Pryor 14th Apr '17 - 8:31am

    I will never ever vote or support a LibDem again as long as I draw breath. The 2012 Health & Social Care bill which Lib Dems supported while in office was the turning point for me. I had been a Lib Dem supporter, councillor and even a Group Leader, but no more. The ravages the Bill has inflicted on the NHS, the funding reductions which the Tories can easily make now, are a disgusting result of LibDem support. No one talks about this publicly now, but I remember it. I see the results in incompetent and wasteful privatised services, millions being siphoned off into private companies, and of course the new complicated infrastructures the Conservatives have built to eventually destroy the NHS. You may say this was part of the deal, but you have let down the British Electorate. You were not supported in the same way over voting reform by the conservatives with the excuse they could not get the backbenchers onside. You were incompetent or possibly already closet tories, and I am still disgusted by your actions in Government. There was and is no excuse. I am disgusted with myself pounding the streets, delivering Focus leaflets, month after month, working to raise the LibDem profile, only to have the cornerstone of British Democratic Life effectively voted away by a coalition which included LibDems.
    And I never see any comment on this from LibDem leaders, or supporters. Why? Am I the only one who is disgusted?

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