Tag Archives: party presidential election 2019

Mark Pack writes…Thank you, candidates and agents

As you read this, the final rounds of nomination papers are going in for Liberal Democrat candidates around the country. Between candidates and agents, that is well over a thousand people who have volunteered to add even more burdens, strain and work to the next few weeks above and beyond even what all the rest of us are going to go through.

Even in the most fantastic election result for the Liberal Democrats, at the end of it many hundreds of them will not have a victory to show for it. The party, and our cause, will however, thanks to them, have much to show for it. 

Losing campaigns can still be the step to winning next time – whether that is more victories in the next local government elections, more victories in the Scottish, Welsh and London elections or even moving on to win in the general election after this one. Those campaigns too help spread our message, grow our party and increase our political relevance.

So thank you, those who are leading the political and organisational charge to help achieve that. Especially as you will see, and I am sure understand, so much of the party’s attention, resources and assistance be diverted increasingly tightly to those who are in with a chance of winning.

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

Mark Pack writes…Parrots, canvassing and factsheets

Parrots feature more often in canvassing that you might expect. 

A few years back, Kelly-Marie Blundell revealed her canvassing experience one day in Guildford:

“Canvassing flats, often elderly people will call out through the door before opening as a measure of precaution. When I was canvassing some flats in Guildford, I knocked on one such door, or so I thought.

“‘Excuse me, can I help you?’ came the thin, elderly lady’s voice. I replied, ‘Yes, my name is Kelly-Marie Blundell and I am your…’

“But then she repeated it, speaking over me. So I spoke a little louder and clearer, presuming she was hard of hearing. ‘Yes, my name is Kelly-Marie…’ Then I heard it again, ‘Excuse me can I help you?’

“Rather baffled, I started again. ‘My name is Kelly-Marie…’

“And then I heard a squawk. That’s right. The repeated phrase was clearly coming from a parrot!”

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Mark Pack on “the other elections”

Quite rightly, nearly all our attention now is on winning public elections: winning those council by-elections coming in before the general election and winning then in the general election too.

There is also the tail-end of the party’s internal elections, with voting closing at 5pm on Friday next week (8 November) and most likely, given some of the problems with the voting system, quite a few members still to vote. (If you haven’t yet received your ballot paper, [email protected] can assist.)

Those internal contests matter. They will determine, for example, who is on the Federal Policy Committee (FPC), the group that will …

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Mark Pack writes…How we can do better than ever before

I’m the son of immigrants, one parent from Germany, the other from Poland. My family history is in miniature the troubled history of Europe, scarred by the horrors of extremism and war – and then my parents making a new home together in our country. 

It’s why our liberal democracy, despite all its flaws, is so precious to me. And why we have to protect it against the extremists and populists. 

To do that, we need to build a grassroots liberal movement, mobilising the millions who share our values. Such a movement can continue our successes this year winning more power, through campaigning and elections.

Winning elections at every level gives us more of that precious power to stop Brexit, to protect our planet, to heal the divisions in our society and to meet the needs of our local communities.

That’s why winning is so important – and that’s why I’ve put helping you win at the heart of my pitch to be President. 

The key task for the next President is to ensure we have the right strategy and the right organisation to win bigger than ever before – in local government, in the London Assembly, in the Welsh and Scottish governments, in Westminster and in future European elections too.

That’s a task well-suited to my record and my skills, including:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Three reasons to back Mark Pack for President

When I first met Mark Pack almost three decades ago he made quite an impression. I was campaigning to become Chair of what was then the Young Liberal Democrats and attempting to secure his support. Unlike most others at the conference, Mark did not seem particularly interested in the hackery of student politics, but wanted to know what I was going to do, rather than simply what I thought, or what faction I was in.

I’ve no idea if Mark voted for me, but I’d like to think he did.  And 28 years later, with the roles reversed, I’m delighted to say I will certainly be backing Mark to be our next President.

There are three main reasons why I believe Mark is the stand-out candidate.

Firstly Mark is a born campaigner and communicator. His record within the party is unrivalled, both as a trainer and advisor and also as a foot soldier. There aren’t many places across the country where Mark hasn’t delivered an expert training session or a bundle of leaflets, or in many cases, both. I’ve attended his sessions and also trained alongside him. He motivates people and knows his stuff.

Our party is at a crossroads, with so many members, both old and new, impatient to grasp the current political opportunities and meet the social, economic and environmental challenges facing us today. With his core vote strategy, Mark has been ahead of the curve in seeking to build our support across the country.

Secondly, Mark knows the party inside out. He understands the different needs of members geographically, demographically and politically. Importantly to me as a councillor for the past 24 years and now a council leader, I know that Mark recognises the huge role of local government. He understands localism and knows that much of the excellent campaigning going on in the Lib Dems is outside any Parliament. 

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WATCH: Second online presidential hustings

Yesterday a second online hustings took place between party Presidential candidates Christine Jardine and Mark Pack.

You can watch the whole thing here.

This weekend, there are in person hustings in Plymouth, London, Lancaster and Bedford. You can find details here.

And if you can’t get to a hustings, you can question both candidates in the official Lib Dem Internal Election Discussion Group on Facebook here.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Why I am backing Mark Pack to be President of the Liberal Democrats

Mark has a wisdom, experience and detailed knowledge about the Party. He knows the party at all levels: federal, state, regional and local. He understands the different issues facing Wales, Scotland, England – he gets devolution and is hungry to support local government across the UK. I know Mark will understand the need to listen to members and not assume he knows best.

I’m am invariably involved running campaigns, advising on strategy, mentoring candidates as well as delivering leaflets and knocking on doors. In by-elections over ten, twenty years and in every General Election since 1992 Mark has also been involved offering advice, sharing knowledge, providing training.  His commitment to the success of the Party is total.  And I trust his judgement.

Mark is one of the people I ring for advice. I have been an activist for thirty years and have known Mark since 1992. I know that when I ring him, text him, email him he responds thoughtfully, honestly and helpfully. He teaches and leads – his leadership is faithful, genuine and sincere and I value that.

I have been a parliamentary candidate in a black hole seat, in a target seat, a councillor, a candidate, I have run and led parliamentary by-elections, been an agent – at every step of the way I have learnt from Mark, Sharing knowledge with him brings within it the energy and the spark of a new idea,  When I speak to Mark, work with Mark, ask for advice, I learn something new and explore a new avenue and am more successful and more innovative.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Online Presidential hustings at 7pm tonight

There is an online hustings for the two Presidential candidates tonight at 7pm until 8pm.

Here are some relevant links:

RSVP form for the event

Put forward your questions for the candidates

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 2 Comments

Christine Jardine writes: A president who listens

Waiting for the outcome of the nomination count for Party President felt a wee bit like that scene from The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon explains about Schrodinger’s Cat.

You know, where as long as the box is closed the cat is both dead and alive.

The relief when they cat was actually alive, and I was nominated, was huge.

Now is when the work really starts, in listening to what you want from your new President, and whether I fit the bill.

I have no illusions about how much work is involved, or what it will take to continue to build the wide movement we all want.

But I also know how important it is that the membership has a strong, clear, effective voice. A president who speaks for the members, but more importantly, one who listens to what they want and communicates that to the leadership.

We have a fantastic team at HQ with so many bright, capable people whether it’s in campaigns, fundraising, policy or the press team.

I see the President’s role there as facilitating what they do.

Not directing the operation, after all they are the ones with the expertise, but supporting and making sure that they have what they need from the party infrastructureMost of all I see the President as the link between the members, the staff, the parliamentarians and the public

Communication is the key, both within the party and to the outside world.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Mark Pack writes…Winning at every level: the Lib Dem recipe for success

We should never forget that elections at all levels matter. They directly give us the chance to implement our vision for a liberal democrat society in more communities, and they also are the springboard to future success in elections at other levels. We saw that so clearly this May, where put more Lib Dems into power and set us up win a record number of MEPs, not to mention putting us very much back on the national political map.

But the truth is too much of our organisation, especially at the federal level, often defaults to acting as if only the next Westminster contest really matters.

It’s understandable why over-stretched staff, tight budgets and busy volunteers can fall into this trap. But to build sustained, long-term success across all of England, Scotland and Wales, and to get even more Liberal Democrat policies put into action in even more communities, we need to think broader and longer-term. The next general election is crucial. But so too are the local elections coming next May, the next Scottish Parliament elections and the next Welsh Assembly elections – not to mention the general election after next. 

Seeing all these elections as part of one overall mission for the party is a central part of the core votes strategy which David Howarth and I pioneered after the 2015 debacle and which has underpinned our recovery. Concentrate on those who share our values so that we build a durable, sustainable bedrock of support across all elections – and on which specific campaigns can then add the personal votes of candidates and tactical support. Stick with that task and we’ll be ready to win bigger, year after year.

That political strategy requires an organisation to match. That’s why improving and enlarging our organisation is at the heart of my pitch to be President and the five priorities I’ve set out (read them here)

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Catherine Finnecy – why I’m running to be Party President

Whilst the parliamentary party is rightly focuses on finding a way through this crisis there is also serious work to be done internally if we are to capitalise on our growing army of members.

I worry that lean times in recent years have hindered policy development. In some important areas I feel that whilst solid decisions are taken, some of our policies could be much more cutting edge, ambitious and better reflect our collective expertise.

We must find a way for associations to be better consulted and for working groups to be more diverse, inclusive, and meritocratic. Good social policy …

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

Christine Jardine: why I’m running to be Party President

Ok. I know I said that I wasn’t going to do it.

And as recently as conference I was adamant that I was not going to change my mind.

But I have.

The first thing of course that I have to say is that I am sorry for the delay and to explain that it was a family thing.

It’s well known that my husband died during the General Election in circumstances which were difficult, particularly for my daughter and the people close to me.

I’m sure you all appreciate that without her support I would have found it impossible to put the time, energy and commitment into this that the members deserve.

And those are three things that this role will need. In spades.

At a time when we have become the rallying point for the vast numbers of people in this country looking for an open, diverse, forward looking party, we need a President who has the status and authority to speak to that image publicly.

Just as importantly they will have to commit the time to listening to what the members have to say, and then ensure it is heard. Personal contact and availability will be key.

But members also need the right support and encouragement. The Alderdice report challenged us to create a culture that is inclusive. That is more important now than ever.

We cannot allow any possibility of retreating to what was comfortable and easy for some members and excluded others.

The President will have to lead, with all the committees and SAOs, on reaching out to those new members and build relationships which will sustain the next generation of activists, councillors and parliamentarians.

As a member of Federal Board, an MP and previously a member of the executive of the Scottish party, I know how hard Sal has worked and exactly what it takes to be a strong president.

I have no illusions about what it entails.

Posted in News and Op-eds | 10 Comments

Party Presidential election update – Prue Bray and Richard Kemp withdraw

Liberal Democrat Voice has been advised by Prue Bray and Richard Kemp that they are withdrawing from the contest to succeed Sal Brinton as Party President. Prue writes;

This is confirmation that, with regret, I am withdrawing from the election for Party President, despite having been successfully nominated. Unfortunately, the amount of work I am having to do as English Candidates Chair to prepare for the coming General Election simply does not allow enough time for me to simultaneously commit to campaign to become Party President.

Richard has sent us a statement as well;

I have announced that I am no

Posted in News | 6 Comments

Jo Hayes: more on why I am a candidate to be Federal President

I’m a Remainer and proud of it. I have fought tooth, nail and tweet against Brexit and will do to the end. I completely agree with Conference’s decision to revoke Article 50 if we win an election, just as I completely disagreed with Parliament invoking Article 50 without a plan, three years ago.

It’s interesting that those who say it’s undemocratic of us to tell the people what we’d do if we won a General Election are the same ones who doggedly defend our failing electoral system. I want an end to Brexit, I want electoral reform and I want …

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

Lizzie Jewkes – why I am standing for Party President

We are in hugely exciting times for the party. Our membership is higher than ever before. We need a President who is capable of meeting the challenge of valuing each and every one of our members and ensuring that whatever their reason for joining, we meet their expectations and encourage them to play an active role in our party. As an employer, I understand the importance of valuing people. I often work with voluntary organisation and always encourage them to value their volunteers more. As a volunteer myself, I know how important it is to be valued. Members join the …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Why I’ve decided to support Mark Pack for President

I know, some of you may think that an old troublemaker like me must have had a Johnsonesque exercise – write both a ‘for’ and an ‘against’ piece and then see which one to print, But no, it’s much simpler than that. I want to pick the winner and ensure he carries the full message and excels in the role.

Comms – Some people may find Mark a bit too ubiquitous, but he is the consummate communicator? Complaining you hear too much from Mark Pack is like saying we deliver too many leaflets in a by election!

Strategy – It has taken …

Posted in Op-eds and Party Presidency | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Prue Bray writes, “We need to talk…”

If I am elected as party president I want to weld the party together to form an unstoppable force to fight for liberalism. I believe the way to achieve that is by applying our principles: championing the rights and well-being of individuals, and helping them to grow and contribute to the party.

It’s all very well for me to lay out what I want to achieve. Now I need to answer the obvious question: how would I actually do it?

I think our Federal Conference showed that under Jo’s fantastic leadership we have a shared sense of purpose, …

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Jo Hayes – why I am a candidate for Federal Party President

I was a founding member of the Liberal Democrats and have worked for it as a volunteer ever since. Over 30 years, I have done everything from deliver leaflets to chairing the Women Liberal Democrats and serving on the Federal Policy Committee, the Federal Executive, the International Relations Committee and the ALDE Council delegation. I’ve been a Borough Councillor and stood in General and European elections. I am currently Chair of the East of England Region. I think you could say I’m a Liberal Democrat to my bones.

I am also a barrister, practising from the same chambers I shared with the late Lord Willie Goodhart, one of the main draftsmen of our Party constitution. I have spent my career and Lib Dem life fighting for people’s constitutional rights. I am a fighter who uses the law and rules the way they are designed to work, for the people. I used equality laws to force Tony Blair’s Attorney-General to abandon the system of patronage used to appoint barristers for government work, and adopt a fairer, more transparent system.

Some of you may know me for my Remainer’s Diary blog. If so, you’ll know of my tenacity and dedication to the Remain cause. I want to see our party in government and then help Jo Swinson rebuild our nation, both democratically and socially. That is why I’m throwing my hat into the Presidential ring now.

A President’s role is not, primarily, a campaigning one, but a strong President provides the governance that makes our campaigning more effective, governance that guides and protects the party from top to bottom. It is our proud boast that the Liberal Democrats Party belongs to its members, all of them. As President, I will work to ensure everyone in party feels they have a stake in our movement, that they are heard and that their talents are embraced.

As President, I want to safeguard our values in practice, seeking to make our Party organisation a happier place. For example, I want to:

  • Devolve decision-making to as near the grassroots level as practicable.
  • Ensure transparency over appointments, complaints, outcomes and Appeals Panel rulings.
  • Ensure each component body in the party carries out its responsibilities without interference.
  • Bring in the advice and expertise when we need it, to avoid mistakes.
Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett writes…Why do I want to be President of the Liberal Democrats?

Many of you may be asking the same question and I’m going to be honest. When I came to conference last weekend we only had two candidates Mark Pack and Richard Kemp – two very able, respectable and hardworking members  to which I’m not going to criticise in any way shape or form. 

However, the optics from a diversity and media perspective were awful – no diversity, no women, no ethnic minorities, no visible disability or invisible disability known and with the current furore over our LGBT+ group no candidate standing up for our party as the leading LGBT+ campaigning  in the race – so sometimes you have to stick your head above the parapet and say it’s time someone does …. 

So that’s what I decided to do on Sunday afternoon and thankfully we now have both Prue Bray and Jo Hayes In the race too.. 

So what is my platform going to concentrate on –  I’m going to be decidedly frank.

Our outgoing President Sal Brinton has done her best and I thank her for all she’d done but there are elements where I believe the internal machinations of our party have overwhelmed the role – and I believe the role should be split in two. There is a  fundamental role for dealing with the difficult internal party dynamics alongside chairing the internal Federal Board – as well as the external representation to the media and membership around the country. These two are profoundly different roles and I will thank Gordon Lishman for his insightful Liberator article which really got me thinking. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Prue Bray writes: Why I am running for President

In all my 25 years in the Liberal Democrats I  never imagined that we would reach a point in 2019 where not just our membership of the EU but parliamentary democracy itself would be under threat, with us as the only UK party offering any sane solutions.  People are flocking to us, as our fantastic local and European election results show.  They are looking to us to provide hope and to stop the mad descent into the nightmare that British politics is rapidly becoming.

It is absolutely crucial that we continue to rise to the challenge.

We have had a huge influx of members.  We welcome them to our army of activists, and now need to harness their skills and enthusiasm alongside the knowledge and experience of our existing members.  If we can succeed, and can equip everyone with the tools they need in the 21stcentury, we will have built an unstoppable fighting force of activists.

To weld the party together, from Penzance to Lerwick, from Cardiff to Margate and everywhere in between, is not an easy task.  We need more multi-way communication, we need to use information better,  we need to spread knowledge and best practice, raise money, and support each other’s campaigning across England, Scotland and Wales.  We need to attract even more members and voters by looking more like the country we wish to represent, and we need as a party to show that we embody our values of fairness, openness and respect for others in our own behaviour and practice.

A president cannot do all that by themselves.  But they can lead the way.  I want to be a president who enables others, who encourages, facilitates, and builds teams.  A president who empathises and listens to individuals but holds the line on rules and procedure, needed to protect us all.   A president who wants decisions at all levels to be based on evidence, sound financial practice, expert knowledge and risk assessments.  A president who ensures that all voices are heard and all views considered.

I have already led a major committee in the party, as well as having had a wide range of roles from Local Party Chair, to Council Group Leader and parliamentary candidate. You can judge my ability to deliver on these aspirations on my record and my past actions and behaviour.

The Preamble to the Federal Constitution says that as a party “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.“

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Take 2: Mark Pack writes…Why I want to be Party President

Apologies to Mark – we accidentally crashed his time at the top of the page with an ad for our fringe (do join us at 1pm in the Dorchester North at the Marriott asking what sacrifices we are prepared to make for the planet.). So it returns to the top of the page for an hour or so. 

Although Liberal Democrat conference has only just started, I already feel a bit like a child who has wandered into a chocolate shop, bubbling with excitement at what they can see all around. Here in Bournemouth, that excitement comes from bumping into so many brilliant – and wonderfully diverse – prospective candidates, so many of whom many even be MPs by Christmas. What a Christmas present that would be for them, their communities, the party and the nation: a massively expanded voice for liberalism at the heart of Parliament.

Many are people I’ve campaigned with for years. Such old friends will, I hope, forgive me for being just as excited about how many are new to the party, bringing in a new generation of talent in the last few years. Melding together the old and the new – in members, in campaign tactics and in the ways we organise ourselves – is crucial for our long-term success. 

That’s why, at this pivotal moment in the party’s development, with a new leader, so many new members and such a huge increase in our political potential, I believe there’s a vital role for our next Party President in making this happen.

It’s very natural for the Leader and Chief Executive to get drawn into focusing so strongly on the next Westminster general election. It is crucial. But it’s not the whole story. We need to remember the other types of elections out there. And that there will be a general election after the next one too. 

We need to think broader and longer-term to bring the sort of sustained long-term success that will deliver a liberal society, a safeguarded environment and high-quality, responsive public services.

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

Richard Kemp writes: Why I’m standing to be Party President

I was amazed to be told that the Federal Board has decided to run the internal elections for the Presidency and Party committees this Autumn. Yes, I know that they are due BUT I also know that they will be taking place when there are far more important things to do. There may just be some issues like stopping Brexit; welcoming new MPs to our Party and fighting a General Election that should take precedence. 

Had it been left to me I would have taken the opportunity to tell the Conference in Bournemouth that the Party would be postponing the elections until January and, I would expect, getting a rousing standing ovation from our front-line troops for doing so.

But perhaps it is because decisions like this keep getting taken that I want to stand to become the Party President in the first place. I first became interested in standing when our LGA Lib Dem Executive was told in March last year that the Party was proposing to send out three emails to the membership before the May elections all about Brexit campaigning and not one about local elections. Don’t get me wrong I believe that Brexit is important. As far back as 1975 I chaired the Liverpool ‘yes’ team in the EEC referendum of that year. Elections are even more important. Unless we get elected to councils and parliaments, we are a talking shop, a debating society.

The elections last year began the very public process of raising in people’s minds the full potential of the Lib Dems. The 175 gains and subsequent headlines led to repeated successes in council by-elections. That lead to this year’s huge gains in this year’s round, the election of Jane Dodds and the defection to us of 5 MPs including our own Luciana Berger MP in Liverpool Wavertree.

That’s the way I think that we can grow. We built our Party in the past street by street, community by community, ward by ward and then to parliamentary success. That’s the Lib Dem way and it’s the right way. Parliamentary successes caused by defections or Brexit will be short-term unless underpinned by a phalanx of Councillors and strong community action.

For 52 years I have been a front-line worker for the Party. For 37 of those years I have been a Liverpool Councillor. At times I have represented some of the most deprived communities in the UK. Now I represent a wealthier ward which includes the most famous Lane in the World! I lead the Lib Dem opposition on the council where we are clawing our way back to power against an increasing cult-like extremist Labour Party.

That has not stopped me doing things globally or nationally. For 10 years I was the UK representative on the World body for local government UCLG. For 8 years I was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in local government at the LGA. I now lead on health & social care at the LGA and regularly attend sessions of all sorts in both Houses of Parliament.

I believe that we need to change the way we do things nationally:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments
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