Smells like team spirit

Now it’s all over I can write about it and what a few weeks it was. Signing up with team Layla was one of the best things I have done in a long time.

Having met Ms Moran back in 2017 at a local party AGM I had pledged to support her in the event that she decided to run for the party leadership so impressed was I by this charismatic young Liberal Democrat MP. I should say I am not easily impressed, starting out in politics aged 16 has led to a certain level of cynicism in this 50 something guy. So I signed up and over the course of the contest made my contribution which mainly consisted of watching the hustings and phoning members. The latter gave me a fascinating insight into our party in various parts of the UK. Hundreds of calls to Scotland failed to uncover another Warren. I know they are there just maybe not in the Liberal Democrats.

The campaign was good for me because after years as a family carer it gave me a purpose. Everyday I was able to make my contribution and the only thing that got put on hold was the gardening. Most evenings we had a zoom event get together organised by the excellent Jason Johnson which really helped build team spirit. We got to know each other and bonded in a way that helped us strive to achieve more in the days ahead. Relationships were built which I hope will endure and our skills were utilised in a way that led on to discussions about how a lot of us felt underused by the party. I very much hope that will change in the future.

There were so many good things about the campaign but for me the best was the fabulous women we had in key positions. Elaine Bagshaw as Head coach was inspirational and always had the right words needed to spur us on. Liza Franchi who led on training and provided many activists with the skills they needed to be first class telephone canvassers. Stephanie Ouzman who dealt with endorsements, provided phone bank support and imparted valuable local knowledge.

These women were the leaders in a team that grew throughout the campaign and has ended up as a model for ones in the future. It was a joy to be a part of Team Layla and a bit of me is sad that it is all over now. However my final message is to our party the Liberal Democrats, you have some brilliant activists in your ranks please use them.


* David is a member of Horsham and Crawley Liberal Democrats

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • I voted for Ed Davey, this time and the last; this was not because I am a big fan nor believe that he has the charisma and vision necessary to create a much needed ‘buzz’ throughout the country. Sadly, he was the best there was.

    However, it is time to move on and we must start now – this very second. For too long the Lib Dems have been the bland, centrist party, cherry-picking policies from red and blue. Now we must look at ourselves, develop radical LIBERAL policies and then tell the world. The Lib Dems (perhaps we should think about becoming Liberals again??) need to let people know what being a Liberal means: what drives us, how we want to change society and how we are DIFFERENT from the others.

    I want to be part of a radical, Liberal movement not a sleepy, stale and rather beige party of the centre.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Aug '20 - 2:38pm

    Day in day out we as members experience the negativity in politics. But we get it less from within the party, more from without. A campaign such as the one we have just experienced leads to negative attitudes between members. In our party there is not say I and most, a fraction of the negativity in other parties. Though there are divisive types, they are a handful, in many senses.

    The piece here is highly positive. It comes from a very constructive author. As someone involved in the campaign for Layla to be leader, I know the effort put in by David. Layla ought to be glad of such effort. She deserves it, she personally behaved in a way that builds her reputation and the party’s.

    We need to join together. I suggest Layla becomes deputy immediately, mps can do no better.

    We need to be bold and yet cautious a moment. What this result for Ed means who really can be sure. We must support him. We have to be open minded.

  • Alan Collins Rosell 27th Aug '20 - 3:11pm

    Very well put, David!

    And if I might say what a pleasure it has been to meet you and so many other wonderful people on this campaign and enjoy the regular Zoom chats keeping me sane (particularly over the last week or so).

    Now time for a well-earned rest before the next campaign (whatever or wherever it is) begins in earnest…

  • Paul Barker 27th Aug '20 - 3:20pm

    Thank You for a positive article & thanks to the positive commentors.

  • @ David Warren “Hundreds of calls to Scotland failed to uncover another Warren”.

    It would be interesting to know what you did find in Scotland, Warren. Serious question.

  • Nigel Hardy 27th Aug '20 - 3:43pm

    Well done David for all the many calls you made, you’re an asset to Layla’s team and the party. It is a huge disappointment Layla didn’t win the leadership, but her moment should come next time around by which time she will be even more experienced with a bigger reputation. For now she should be elected as deputy with immediate effect and give the leadership the publicity that it badly needs for the party to become relevant.

    Layla has a clear plan for the direction of the party, and the country, and she should be given a significant influence in where the LibDems go now as a party. There’s a divide between the business as usual older membership and the youthful activists who we need to embrace to bring more twenty and thirty somethings into the membership if we are to be around for the future.. If she is not promoted that will send out a message that contradicts Ed’s “I’m listening to you” acceptance speech which could end up in a loss of membership.

    The thing that’s stood out to me about Layla’s campaign is that she wants a cleaner more tolerant and less tribal politics. Her big majority in a normally loyal Conservative seat didn’t come from nowhere, she earned it by listening to all opinions and conveying the message that she really is listening, and that’s why she would be a brilliant leader. Someone who will move us away from London orientation and help win us represenation in the fed up so called red wall towns.

  • David Warren 27th Aug '20 - 4:07pm

    Thanks for all the comments.

    @DavidRaw The main issue that came up in Scotland was concern about the future of the Union.

  • Great article David, I really felt valued and supported by team Layla which gave me the confidence to get involved in the small way I did, really looking forward to helping out more in future campaigns

    I do hope that the enthusiasm that Layla showed throughout the huge amount of hustings/media appearances infects the whole party and a few more of us feel like we belong a bit more

  • Stephanie Ouzman 28th Aug '20 - 12:01am

    Thank you so much, David. It was a pleasure working with you and all the team. So many people deserve praise more than I, of course – it has truly been a team effort, with everyone being valued. And that ethos was very much down to Eaine and of course, Layla herself in setting the tone. We were a family with everyone supporting and encouraging each other – and, last but not least, it was huge fun.

  • Rural Liberal 28th Aug '20 - 11:15am

    Nigel Hardy:
    “Her big majority in a normally loyal Conservative seat didn’t come from nowhere, she earned it by listening to all opinions and conveying the message that she really is listening, and that’s why she would be a brilliant leader.”

    As a local I’m not sure I buy much of that. It was always a lefty-Tory/Liberal flipper (not quite a marginal) under the current boundaries – indeed it was one of the few that went Lib-Tory in 2010.

    The proposed boundary change for OxWab IIRC slices off all the Oxford bit of the seat (giving it to safe Labour Oxford East) and leaves it back as a much more rural/shire Tory seat focused on Abingdon. To be honest, one of the scenarios I worried about in this leadership round in the event of Layla victory was that regardless of how much she re-energised the party if she didn’t find a new constituency we could have been looking at the second GE in a row that led to the leader losing their seat…

  • David Evershed 28th Aug '20 - 12:32pm

    David Warren

    If you are feeling underutilised by the party why not get more involved with your local party in Crawley?

  • marcstevens 28th Aug '20 - 1:26pm

    So come and join a new social liberal party. If I can get funding as a low income council tenant I will set one up and it really will be built from the bottom up which is exactly what Layla stands for.

  • David Warren 28th Aug '20 - 2:47pm

    Very glib comment @DavidEvershed

    I am involved in my local party which is actually Horsham and Crawley. However like many others in the Layla campaign I have skills that can be used wider than simply locally.

  • Martin Boffey 28th Aug '20 - 4:05pm

    David Warren is an important part of the Horsham & Crawley Lib Dems thank you very much. And in the Southern half of the Horsham District where he lives we need all the help we can get!

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