Tag Archives: new members

Former Telegraph journalist Tim Walker joins Lib Dems

We have another new member!

Tim spent 10 years till 2014, editing the Telegraph’s diary column and wrote diaries for the Mirror during the last two elections.

He has previously spoken of his concern that right wing …

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Discovering Conference

Last Saturday, 11th November, the Scottish Liberal Democrat Autumn conference was held  in Dunfermline. It’s fitting our conference returns to this historic Scottish town as Scotland has always been a liberal country at heart: Braveheart, after all, was about freedom, more than nationalism.

This was my first party conference and I was immediately struck by how homely and welcoming the event was. The Scottish Liberal Democrats are a close-knit party – one advantage of being small in number (in comparison to other parties) – where old friends are reunited and strangers are simply undiscovered new friends.

The agenda was packed and diverse. One of the highlights included hearing from the WASPI women. They told us their personal experiences when they unexpectedly discovered they would not get their state pension when they thought they would after the age was raised to 65 to align with mens’. Many women are now struggling and having to take up part-time jobs or take out loans to get by until they can receive their pension. The conference rightfully voted for measures to put justice for the WASPI women on the Lib Dem agenda.

Willie Rennie, Jo Swinson, Alistair Carmichael, Christine Jardine and Alex-Cole Hamilton invigorated party members with articulate, powerful speeches – all of us returned to our constituencies with a renewed sense of purpose and belief in Liberal Democrat values.  

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For our 4000+ Newbies: The Lib Dem Lowdown: How the party works and what it has to offer

Welcome to the 4000 people who have joined the Liberal Democrats over the past month.  This is basically a revision of a post that I first did in May 2015 when many joined the party in the wake of the election result (and revised after the Referendum) in the hope that it might be useful to tell you a little bit about how our party works and give you a bit of an idea of the opportunities open to you. If you are not yet a member, read it and if you think it sounds appealing, sign up here.

What do we believe?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of organisation, the best statement of who we are and what we’re about can be found in the Preamble to our Constitution which underlines how we believe in freedom, opportunity, diversity,  decentralisation and internationalism. Here’s a snippet:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

We look forward to a world in which all people share the same basic rights, in which they live together in peace and in which their different cultures will be able to develop freely. We believe that each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long term continuity of life in all its forms. Upholding these values of individual and social justice, we reject allprejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality.

We have a fierce respect for individuality, with no expectation that fellow Liberal Democrats will agree with us on every issue. We expect our views to be challenged and feel free to challenge others without rancour. We can have a robust debate and head to the pub afterwards, the very best of friends.

Your rights as a member

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

“Don’t forget the congregation…”

As a long time supporter of the party, through good times and bad, I was, like thousands of others, finally spurred to join the party on 8 May 2015. My contact with the party had, until this point, been limited to the odd email initiated by donations made during the 2011 and 2014 referenda. The tone of these communications was correctly pitched and gave potential and actual supporters plenty of good reasons to lend the party their vote – I can’t say the same about the (particularly electronic) communication with party members.

Confession time; I haven’t been at all active since …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 24 Comments

I should have joined the Lib Dems years ago

One of my earliest memories is sitting on my father’s shoulders, protesting the poll tax. I don’t remember much, just the feeling of all those people being together, a community outraged by what was happening.

A few years later, I stayed up with my parents to watch the 1997 election. When the exit polls came through, they popped champagne. I remember my mum crying: “it’s over and we’ll have socialism again”. Sometimes people live a stereotype all too easily.

As I grew up, it seemed preordained. My parents became more and more disillusioned by Blair, but for me any time before New Labour was a distant blur. When I could vote, I voted Labour without question – who else would I vote for?

When the coalition came to power, my parents prophesied doom. Many of my friends had voted Lib Dem, on the strength of their promises about tuition fees and in the thrall of Cleggmania, but I hadn’t. I voted Labour, of course. It was in my blood. Not being able to imagine anything else, I joined the party.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

New Members: 15,000 join the Lib Dems since the referendum

A milestone reached tonight:

This is a 10 year high for the party.

Party President Sal Brinton said:

Only the Liberal Democrats are left to make the positive case for Britain remaining in the heart of Europe. We respect the result of the referendum but the Leave campaign failed to present any kind of plan for post-Brexit Britain. For the sake of British jobs, services and the freedom of young people to live, work and study across Europe, Britain needs a pro-European voice more than ever.

With Conservative leadership contenders fighting over who will drag Britain out of Europe first, and Labour leadership contenders simply fighting among themselves, only the Liberal Democrats are focusing on the vital issues facing the country at this moment of national crisis.

If you like the fact that we are the only party at UK level to be unequivocally saying that we stand for this country’s future as part of the EU, if you like the fact that our Tom Brake today filed a bill to give EU citizens already here the indefinite right to remain, then why not join us too?

Posted in News | 10 Comments

For new members: The Lowdown: How the party works and what it has to offer

Welcome to the thousands of people who have joined the Liberal Democrats over the past few days.  This is basically a repeat of a post that I did last year when many joined the party in the wake of the election result in the hope that it might be useful to tell you a little bit about how our party works and give you a bit of an idea of the opportunities open to you. If you are not yet a member, read it and think it sounds appealing, sign up here.

What do we believe?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of organisation, the best statement of who we are and what we’re about can be found in the Preamble to our Constitution which underlines how we believe in freedom, opportunity, diversity,  decentralisation and internationalism. Here’s a snippet:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

We look forward to a world in which all people share the same basic rights, in which they live together in peace and in which their different cultures will be able to develop freely. We believe that each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long term continuity of life in all its forms. Upholding these values of individual and social justice, we reject allprejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality.

We have a fierce respect for individuality, with no expectation that fellow Liberal Democrats will agree with us on every issue. We expect our views to be challenged and feel free to challenge others without rancour. We can have a robust debate and head to the pub afterwards, the very best of friends.

Your rights as a member

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

From new member to candidate – the Lib Dem newbies fighting their first election

Snow doesn't stop Becca Plenderleith and team campaigning Inspired by a post in one of those Lib Dem Facebook groups, I thought it would be a good idea to give a special shout-out for these wonderful new members of the party who have become so involved that they are standing for election this year. This is by no means an exclusive list, so please feel free to add to it. The enthusiasm of our new members has really invigorated the party the length and breadth of the country this year. In Scotland, people like Rebecca Plenderleith, a fantastic campaigner for mental health who has written for us about why she became a Lib Dem, Charity Pierce, Giovanni Caccavello, Bryn Jones, Lauren Jones, Kaitey Blair are flying the Lib Dem flag. Rebecca and colleagues are pictured above campaigning in the worst snow the Scottish Winter had to throw at us. Another of our regular contributors Alex H is standing and co-ordinating campaigns across his town. Greg Webb is running for the Council in Derby and gaining valuable experience for the future. In London, Rachel Waitt is standing in a Council by-election in Figge’s Marsh ward in Mitcham tomorrow. Julie Ireland is standing for the constituency of Bexley and Bromley.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

“I realised my vote was not enough” – why Wendy Chamberlain joined #libdemfightback

One of the highlights of Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference last Saturday was seeing new member Wendy Chamberlain introduce Willie Rennie for his keynote speech.

This is what she said:

Firstly, may I offer my thanks to Sheila Thomson and the Conference Committee for asking me as a new party member to speak and introduce Willie to you to deliver his leader’s speech.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Changing lives from the bottom up

Bristol Lib Dems supporting refugees eventAs one of thousands who joined the Liberal Democrats after that fateful day in May, I was wondering if I could make any difference in the rebuilding process. The Bristol Lib Dems were welcoming from the minute I joined. Not knowing anyone at my first meet-up was daunting but everyone went out of their way to make me feel part of the group. When I volunteered to arrange a pre-conference meet up it took an interesting turn. Tim Farron was going to be in town that day.

‎Helen Cuéllar was another new member with boundless energy and a positive attitude. The local party placed trust in the both of us to be responsible for this important function. With the clock ticking we met up for a drink after work to plan everything. We decided to make the day about the refugees and for all proceeds to go to Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarnigel hunter 20th Nov - 12:27am
    When will the Tories publish the facts and figures? I trust they will show them quickly so they cannot be hidden for ages.
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 20th Nov - 12:06am
    We called for the abolition of the Benefits Cap in the far-reaching motion, Mending the Safety Net, passed at the Brighton Conference in September 2016,...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 19th Nov - 11:31pm
    There is much truth in what you write there, Glenn.
  • User AvatarMichael BG 19th Nov - 11:30pm
    We must never forget the part our MP’s played in the cutting of benefits between 2010 and 2015, it is no consolation for members to...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 19th Nov - 11:29pm
    Nonetheless, Jayne, the waste and distraction of Brexit has perhaps helped to inhibit the Opposition parties from allowing the policies of austerity to go on...
  • User AvatarGlenn 19th Nov - 11:23pm
    The problem grew because the consensus of the centre was really the consensus of the economic right. The markets will solve everything, weed out the...