Tag Archives: leadership

Lost Leaders. Get me outta here!

I had hoped that Theresa May would be a “good” Prime Minister – she used to be my MP so have met her on a few occasions. But she fell under the same spell as her predecessor David Cameron, she did not listen to the voters, she gambled and lost. She said;

the Government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the rich and powerful, but by the interests of ordinary, working class people

Yet she never followed through, never put forward a strategy for achieving this, she had many chances to do this, but nothing. The party manifesto …

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Jo Swinson MP writes..The role I want to play in our party’s leadership

It feels like an age since I was knocking on doors in the pouring rain in the final hour before polls closed, then hearing the shock of the exit poll on the car radio heading home to a hairdryer and somewhat less bedraggled attire for the count.

Yet here we are just a few days later, embarking on an election for leader of the Liberal Democrats.

I went to see Tim on Wednesday afternoon to tell him I thought he should definitely stay on, and I was excited at the prospect of putting myself forward to be Deputy Leader.  I was stunned when he told me he would be resigning that evening.

Listening to Tim’s dignified statement, outlining the personal turmoil he felt during the election, I can’t fault him for deciding to step down, but I feel very sad that it came to this.  Tim has done so much for our party.  In the devastating aftermath of the 2015 election, to build a record membership and increase MPs by 50% in just 2 years is a massive achievement.  Just as important, is that we now have our most diverse Parliamentary Party ever.  We owe Tim a massive debt of gratitude.

Since his shock announcement, I have been overwhelmed by so many lovely messages from people I know, and from many members I have not yet met, encouraging me to stand for leader.  I am touched and flattered that you look to me – and I am determined to play a key role in our party’s leadership.

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A warning from the Labour party: The difference between leadership and management

Politicians think government is 90% policy and 10% management, in reality it’s the other way round.’ Civil service aphorism

As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens  another.’ Proverbs 27:17

A lot is being written about the Labour leadership election and rightly so. That a candidate unable to get the support of more than 20 MPs from the fringe left may be about to become leader of the opposition is astounding. Good reasons have been given for this state of affairs but I fear one more than any other has been glossed over.

Jeremy Corbyn is a far better candidate than Yvette, Andy and Liz.

Objectively he makes the best speeches, is the best communicator, has the clearest message and has the most coherent and (at least within the party) popular ideas for changing the labour party. Now whether the rest of the country will warm to him is another thing but one question that has to be asked is how a parliamentary party with 231 MPs to choose from has picked such mediocre mainstream candidates? Compare it with the recent Liberal Democrat leadership election and Norman Lamb and Tim Farron’s impressive campaigns.

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Opinion: What is leadership and how to choose the next leader

With a leadership contest now underway we may want to ask ourselves what it is that we are looking for in a leader for us to be able to decide who to vote for. We cannot underestimate how important the next leader is for the development of the party and the defence and promotion of liberal values.

We may have all joined the party at different times for different reasons but there are many things which bind us as a social group – we all have a common identity as members of the party. This identity is crucial for both ourselves (as commitment to the identity leads to greater involvement in the party and rejection of the identity means people leave) and others (if non-members identify with it they may vote for or even join the party while if they do not they will reject or even ridicule us). Our next leader is inherently linked to our shared identity and for them – and therefore us – to be successful they would do well to follow these principles as set out by Alexander Haslem, an Australian professor in psychology:

Leaders are one of ‘us’: To lead us, leaders must represent us

We must listen carefully to what and how they say things to decide if they represent one of us. It is easy to know if they are not. Miliband talked about the ordinary working people making a distinction between us and them (or more precisely him and them). He did not say ‘we’ work hard and ‘we’ are struggling. That was the other people – the country – which he wanted to help out. He was not ‘one of us’. Great leaders talk about ‘we’ because they are ‘of the people’ as much as they are ‘for the people’. We should look for someone who clearly shows they are one of us.

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Cambridge Liberal Democrats back Nick Clegg and reject leadership ballot

Cambridge spires - P1030926Cambridge Liberal Democrats have tonight rejected a resolution calling for a leadership  ballot by 45 votes for 32. The Liberal Democrat Constitution makes provision for a leadership contest if 75 local parties vote for one at quorate general meetings.

The Cambridge News has the story:

Cambridge Liberal Democrats have decided to back Nick Clegg’s leadership.

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John Pugh MP writes…Liberals must tackle rising social inequality and improve social cohesion

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKThe nice thing about Lib Dem Voice is that they print what you say rather than what they want you to say.

After the disappointing General Election of 1987 I made the press ,when as Party Chairman of the only constituency in the England we had gained, I suggested it would be good for the party if David Steel  stepped down and Paddy Ashdown took over. I think I got that one right.

So understandably I thought long and hard before saying …

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Opinion: We must ask the right questions

Question markIn an era of increasingly presidential-style politics, it’s very tempting to fire the party leader when things go wrong – but would this actually help us for next year’s general and local elections?

To answer this, I feel we need to ask what made us successful pre-2010, what is actually going to work for us next year, will doing this be enhanced by having a different leader, and is there a better leader than the one we’ve got?

There are two obvious reasons for our pre-2010 rise. One was that we were …

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Opinion: An anti-Liberal Democrat press isn’t going to go any easier on any Liberal Democrat leader

Sun newspaper - License Some rights reserved by vapour trail Liberal Democrats 4 Change have a point about one thing. They are right to say that the Liberal Democrats do not get a fair hearing. However, they are mistaken to think that a leadership change would alter anything in this regard.

It is instructive to recall the moment Clegg began to get a bad rap from voters. At what point was this? The answer is not as obvious as you may think, It didn’t start with Secret Courts, Bedroom Tax or Tuition …

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Opinion: Did SLF call for leadership ballots in The Times? Er, no.

Social Liberal ForumI do not buy any of Rupert Murdoch’s products as a general rule, and this decision seems to have been vindicated by their printing a fictionalised account of a letter printed in today’s edition, actually the Social Liberal Forum’s first statement on the events of recent days.

Our statement  calls for a serious re-examination of party strategy which many of us feel is the key factor behind last week’s appalling election results. It was agreed by the SLF Council who have a range of views about the LibDems4Change petition. For the record, …

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Opinion: Setting the record straight

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 08.06.08 Liberal Democrats LibbyI was misquoted on BBC radio 4 on Monday. They said I had asked for Nick Clegg’s resignation. Would that it were as simple as asking for a leader to resign–as if that would change everything. But it isn’t. And I don’t feel in any way that I am being evasive or woolly by not asking for a change of leadership. What I am asking for is a root and branch review of our campaign strategy.

Let’s examine the facts.

We have just suffered a disastrous set …

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Opinion: We need discipline and compromise from both leadership and members

Autumn 2012 conference - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsLast week’s local and European elections were truly awful.

Those of us who joined the Liberal Party back in the dark days of the 1970s remember the many false dawns and disappointments that followed local and General Elections.

We built our base bite by bite from the bottom up and fighting Labour it was tooth and nail.

The loss of all our Councillors in Manchester or seeing Liverpool reduced to just three Councillors or in my own Rochdale where we have gone from 33 to …

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Opinion: Political scalps grow back

Nick Clegg listening York Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsUntil Friday, I was a Lib Dem Councillor in the London Borough of Haringey, where I enjoyed a reputation as an effective local representative. As one constituent put it

I have never been able to fathom why for example, people express their anger at the government in Westminster by voting out of office the guy in  the next street who gets your drains unblocked or your broken windows  fixed. And the same here is true of David. I hope that when election time comes around, people

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Opinion: An open letter to Nick Clegg

Nick-CleggDear Nick,

When I joined the party in 2006, one of the first things I did was to hit the streets of Dudley, my hometown, delivering Focus and canvassing voters. I’ve been an active, campaigning party member ever since.

Another of the first things I did was to locate and read a copy of the Orange Book. And I liked it. I agreed with a lot of it, and “Orange Booker” has been a badge I have worn with slightly perverse pride ever since.

I like what you’re doing, Nick – and I like …

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Opinion: Let’s not throw away all we have worked for just as it’s starting to pay off

nick clegg rally 1

As a working-class Northern lad it would be fair to say that in terms of personal background I don’t have much in common with Nick Clegg. And like Carl Minns and Richard Kemp I’ve been on the wrong end of some tough election results in recent years.  But I totally disagree with George Potter – I passionately believe Nick should lead our party into the next General Election and beyond.

 I’ve probably had more arguments with Nick than most commentators on

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Paddy Ashdown: This is moment we need to campaign through Summer and get good message out for the General Election

paddy ashdown - paul walterPaddy Ashdown, not surprisingly, came out strongly in Nick Clegg’s defence on the Sunday Politics this morning.

He said that we had a good message to proudly proclaim in the run up to the General Election.

Ditching Nick now would irreparably damage the party, he said, as it would show that we can’t hack being in Government.

He reminded us of his drubbing 25 years ago at the first European elections the party fought where we ended up as an asterisk.

He has upset some of the people who are unhappy at the moment by appearing to trivialise their concerns by suggesting that more people had signed up to Lib Dem Friends of Cake than had signed the letter. However, he later clarified on Twitter that he thought they were wrong but respected them:

You can watch the whole interview here.


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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoeB 19th Aug - 1:03pm
    Michael 1, I think this is the key issue "Marketing political parties is about communicating values that undermine your detailed policies." "Land and Liberty" would...
  • User AvatarFiona 19th Aug - 12:27pm
    It was a problem at the last general election, because people were fed-up with voting, but a lot has happened since then. Most recent polling...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 19th Aug - 12:18pm
    Phonetically it's not a million miles from "Dim and Bitter" :-( (which does make me wonder if Lib Dem HQ is populated solely with people...
  • User AvatarPeter Davies 19th Aug - 11:46am
    Lib Dem Pint: Demand Bitter.
  • User AvatarPeter Davies 19th Aug - 11:36am
    If we pass this motion, we will have a much more radical and liberal policy on migration than either of the main parties or a...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 19th Aug - 10:44am
    It is essential that we do all we can to maintain the closest possible links with our european friends whatever the outcome of the post...