Tag Archives: party policy and internal matters

Open up the Leadership and relax the rules

The current political climate, with the two main political Parties further apart in their ideologies and policies than they have been for many years, together with the division engendered by Brexit, afford a great opportunity for the party to reinvigorate its place and image with the electorate.

To date, the Party has not persuaded the electorate that its Liberal values and principles make it their natural political home. Supporting Remain has not delivered a magical formula. The spectre of a new independent party should be a wake-up call to all Liberal Democrats.

The Party is too often seen as excluded from the battleground of British politics, not a vibrant and existing choice for disillusioned voters. The Party presents as a monochrome image of middle England. Labour is the party that has captured the passion of the youth vote. Local parties run as retirement pastimes or as an alternative to the allotment, will not make the Liberal Democrats the voice for the centre ground voter.

I agree with the proposals to open up membership and the leadership of the Party. At a recent International Women’s Day event Liberal Democrat peer, Floella Benjamin, made the point that no one group of people have a preserve over politics and that it is for everyone. Opening the pool of persons eligible to stand as Leader gives the Party the best chance of attracting a potentially exceptional leader. We need to focus on persons who can ignite Liberal democracy in the mindset of voters.

Love or loathe his politics, Nigel Farage has managed to secure a prominence and influence on the political landscape which any Lib Dem politician would die for. Vibrant and in-touch leadership is crucial. Gina Miller is an example of the type of leader the Party needs in the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and diverse society that the UK in the 21st century has become. We need to be led by a leader who mirrors our society as it is today and one who can send the message of inclusivity that is at our core; one who can bestride the global stage with true credibility to propel the Party to a position akin to Justin Trudeau of the Canadian Liberal Party.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 31 Comments

Why we need the Supporters’ Scheme

On Saturday I was at a Lib Dem Women event for International Women’s Day, and in a few of the excellent breakout sessions, found myself sitting next to a highly engaged and articulate woman who I presumed was a Councillor or PPC. It transpired that she was not even a member of the Lib Dems, but “still considering” whether to join, due to time constraints and not being sure if she was ready to commit. When I mentioned the prospect of a Supporters’ Scheme her eyes lit up. “That sounds ideal,” she said.

It’s not the first time I’ve met someone who considers themselves to be a Lib Dem supporter but doesn’t feel ready to join the party. Indeed, on the doorstep over the past few months, from Streatham to St Albans, I have spoken to countless people who have told me they will deliver leaflets, perhaps consider coming along for a canvassing session, and certainly vote Lib Dem – but they’re not actually members, and they’re not ready to be. Making that commitment to joining just seems like a step too far for those who consider themselves to be politically aware but are time poor, or maybe just not quite ready to stand up and say they’re a Lib Dem.

There are then numerous reasons to endorse the Supporters’ Scheme. It’s been well documented that I was previously a Labour supporter – I didn’t join the Lib Dems until last August. But in the two years leading up to that decision, even though I was leaning towards the Lib Dems and am very much a Liberal in every sense, shaking off the tribalism that had been part of my life since I was old enough to understand that people had different political views felt like an enormous step.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Managing staff – a chance to show liberalism in action

There has been much in the news about MPs and, in Scotland, MSPs behaving inappropriately towards staff – whether this be bullying or inappropriate sexualised behaviour. Many of the current examples relate to other parties but most of us will be aware that we too have had our problems and can be no more complacent than any other party. For example, I can think of one former Parliamentarian (who, to this day, I greatly admire) who, when stressed, could shout at staff in ways that fell far short of good HR practice. There are many other stories within our party of much worse behaviour from other Lib Dems towards staff and volunteers. This is simply not good enough.

This all makes me wonder if every Lib Dem who employs or engages with staff (whether at a party level, directly as their own staff or as staff of the body on which they serve) or manages volunteers should undertake a training course on how to manage staff in accordance with the law, good HR practice and, importantly, our liberal values.

The late, great Maya Angelou told us “When people show you who they are, believe them.” What we do is a showcase for what we believe liberalism looks like in practice. While no one is perfect and we all have times when we fail to live up to our ideals, how we behave shows people what we truly believe.

Posted in Op-eds | 4 Comments

Post-Christmas musings on the R word

The Queen has in her Christmas speech welcomed new members into the royal family in 2018.

Prince Harry will soon have a mother-in-law who is African American and the young couple’s future children will be of mixed race heritage. The society pages lap up the fairy-tale love story and we all cheer ourselves on how liberal we have become as a nation.

Vogue Magazine has a new editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, and we can’t help but notice the change in the complexion of many of the supermodels that grace the glossy pages. Sir Mo Farrah has not only been knighted but has also …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

Inquiries into Rennard allegations must be as public as possible

The party’s investigations into allegations against its members are traditionally internal, confidential affairs. There are good reasons for this, particularly as confidentiality can be necessary for people to be willing to given evidence and as the simple existence of an allegation can kill someone’s political career, even if the allegations are subsequently found to be groundless.

They are often so confidential, in fact, that the last time I was asked to provide evidence for an inquiry, I did not know what the precise allegations were, who was investigating them, who the range of people being investigated were, whether or not the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Opinion: The importance of party unity over the economy

There has been a rise in factionalism across the Liberal Democrats during their time in the Coalition Government – with the Liberal Left, Social Liberal Forum, Liberal Reform and other groups, all promoting their different perspectives. At Party Conference a left/right divide over economics and fiscal policy was very noticeable.

My thesis is that this divide is a serious one which is widening, not narrowing, and without measures to halt the fragmentation,

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 127 Comments

Opinion: Farewell to Lib Dem News

As a former Editor, I’m sad to see that Liberal Democrat News is now compiling its final issue.

The idea of a weekly newspaper began in 1947.There were numerous attempts to axe it. I fought off at least two, and it was only thanks to the likes of David Steel, John Pardoe, and the ALC, that the treasurer was persuaded otherwise in the 1970s. Then, the party was financially bust, despite Trevor Jones delivering a string of remarkable by-election successes that

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMick Taylor 23rd Mar - 3:38pm
    May T can be replaced very quickly if a successor is agreed. All it requires is to kiss the Queens hand and get a vote...
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 23rd Mar - 2:45pm
    Patrick Maxwell looks back to a time when economic liberalism and social liberalism lived side by side in the Liberal Party. If the Liberal Democrats...
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 23rd Mar - 2:27pm
    Notoriety gets you on the media but does not win constituency parliamentary elections.
  • User Avatarexpats 23rd Mar - 2:12pm
    It isn't just the media that seem to have 'lost interest' in the LibDem party it is the leadership. Both Cable and Parron missed vital...
  • User AvatarGlenn 23rd Mar - 1:55pm
    Jayne I never said anything about fish. I don't care what the EU does or doesn't do. I'm against it as a political concept on...
  • User Avatarfrankie 23rd Mar - 1:14pm
    David you have obviously not met my wife. It would be a foolish man or woman who tries to coerce my wife. Like us all...