Tag Archives: sara bedford

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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Senior Hertfordshire Lib Dem councillors step down from leadership after 52 years of service

Two Hertfordshire Liberal Democrat council group leaders have stepped down from their leadership roles (although they remain councillors) which they have held for 30 and 22 years respectively.

In Three Rivers, Ann Shaw announced that she was stepping down after three decades in the top job as Leader of the Council, telling the Watford Observer:

It is 30 years since we took over the administration of Three Rivers District Council from the Conservatives, which is long enough for one person to be leader.

This does not mean any reduction in my commitment to TRDC and the community. In fact I need to be able to spend more time working to sort out some local problems and issues.

Ann is replaced by a familiar face, Sara Bedford.  I first knew Sara on the first Lib Dem online conferencing forum, Cix, way back in the day and I wish her well. In fact, I first heard of her when she was involved in NUS even before then. She has long experience as a councillor. She said of Ann:

Ann is going to be a difficult act to follow, but I will have my own ways of doing things. It’s a good time to become leader after the huge vote of support for the Lib Dems at the elections earlier this month.

I look forward to working with residents, local organisations, staff, and other councillors across the district, to keep Three Rivers as the top rated council in Hertfordshire, delivering quality services that are value for money.

In Watford, Iain Sharpe has stood down after 22 years as Group Leader. His successor is Peter Taylor, who I first knew when he worked for Alistair Carmichael. I am particularly grateful to him for his hard work in filthy weather at the Livingston by-election in 2005 when he came up to help. Peter told the Watford Observer:

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AD LIB: Digital edition on its way

Paddy Ashdown cover of Ad Lib magazineWhen AD LIB launched last December one message we got back loud and clear, not least from Lib Dem Voice readers, was that you want a digital version.

Well, we’ve only gone and done it. And, what’s more, it will be available next week.

We’ve been working hard with the good people of PageSuite to get the digital edition ready to launch alongside the publication of April’s magazine, which will land through letterboxes next Tuesday (after the Bank Holiday).

And we’re making it a truly interactive experience …

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In other news… Trident, MI6, DECC, defections & other stories

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Coalition set for new split on cut-price Trident plan (Scotsman)

COALITION splits over Britain’s nuclear deterrent are set to be reopened after an internal Ministry of Defence review suggested a slimmed-down version of the £25 billion Trident replacement could be an option. … The report, led by Lib Dem armed forces minister Nick Harvey, looks set to reopen coalition divisions with many Tory back-benchers concerned that Britain’s replacement for Trident could end up being sacrificed for political reasons. However, with final decisions not

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In other news… Vince, Telegraph inaccuracy, Lembit, Eastleigh, Boundary Commission, site news

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

Vince Cable on that leaked letter to No. 10 (and other matters (The Guardian)

“We’re no longer arguing about fiscal policy – monetary policy’s now taking on most of the heavy lifting anyway,” he says as he notes that Labour has now accepted the need for fiscal discipline. “So the argument has shifted into a debate around how active government should be in promoting the recovery. Is it getting out of the way or is government being proactive and positive? That was the purpose

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Learning the lessons from last week #4: The party’s local government base matters

Broadly speaking, the party’s local government base is now back to where it was in 1993. As I put it:

For those who joined the Liberal Democrats in the last 18 months, and may not yet even have been in school in 1993, that may well seem a long time away and a big step back; for those who have seen the party’s ups and downs in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’00s, 1993 looks rather better – and nothing like as bad as the dog days of having a party leader on trial for conspiracy to murder (late 1970s) or

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Meet the Lib Dem bloggers: Andrew Reeves

Welcome to the latest in our series giving the human face behind some of the blogs you can find on the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator.

Today it is Andrew Reeves, who blogs at http://andrewrunning.blogspot.com.

1. What’s your formative political memory?
In 1984 Ken Clarke gave me an award at a thank you party for delivering leaflets for him. In front of the 200+ people there he also asked me if I wanted to join the party – and in front of them all I said no! I was pleased he’d won but said that the more I had got to know the party I realised why I couldn’t. He was somewhat embarrassed!

2. When did you start blogging?
Tuesday 15 May 2007.

3. Why did you start blogging?
I worked for Lynne Featherstone from just after the 2005 general election until the end of 2006, before becoming one of the two London Campaigns Officers. I was amazed Lynne found time to write her own blog posts so this was my initial inspiration. I also signed up to run the Great North Run in 2007 and so wanted to use it for a training diary.

4. What five words would you use to describe your blog?
I cheated here, I asked some friends for their five words – here is a selection: friendly, personal, prolific, timely, political, caring, liberal, sharp, punchy, researched, readable, passionate and straight-talking.

5. What five words would you use to describe your political views?
I’m a social liberal democrat.

6. Which post have you most liked writing in the last year (and why)?
I enjoyed writing this, not because I was suspended from Twitter, because to be honest that was a nightmare, but thanks to the support shown by the online community, inside and outside the Liberal Democrats:
Andrew Reeves is still suspended on Twitter – but the support is awesome

7. Which post have you most liked reading in the last year (and why)?
I love reading Caron’s writing, because unlike my shoot from the hip and rant style, Caron is more methodical and this shows in her writing. In this post Caron highlights the hypocricy of the Labour party while still maintaining decorum – perfect:
Labour didn’t love NHS Direct

8. What’s your favourite YouTube clip?
I don’t particularly bother with YouTube, but this was my favourite ever:

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Blog of the Year Awards: The movie

The BOTYs were quite simply the glitteringest event of the whole Liberal Democrat conference last week, and Lib Dem councillor and blogger Jonathan Wallace was there to film them.

If you look carefully, you might just spot the tail feathers of the last flamingo, as it was startled away by popping flashbulbs. Alas, the heat of said flashbulbs also melted the ice sculptures before Jonathan could film those too, but the video’s well worth watching for the great speeches from winners and presenters alike:

Posted in Best of the blogs and Conference | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

PODCAST: Equal marriage debate

After a brief hiatus during which our podcast host migrated us to an account we hadn’t asked for during our busiest week, we can now bring you, in full, the debate on LGBT marriage from Tuesday’s conference floor.

This debate may not necessarily be of interest to the wider public, but certainly anyone who loves Lib Dem conference will recognise many of the aspects of the debate.

Highlights for me include Dr Evan Harris’s explanation, in the opening minutes of the debate of his stint as the only openly gay Lib Dem MP despite not actually being gay; the Voice’s own Sara …

Play
Posted in Conference and Podcasts | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Social media explained in a new guide for councillors

The Leadership Centre for local government has launched a new website: The councillors’ guide to social media.

The site has a variety of information for councillors, and is particularly accessible for those who haven’t yet tried this way of communicating.

Here’s a flavour:

  • Top ten reasons to use social media
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  • Banished! Ten social media myths
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  • Getting started
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  • Top ten councillors on Twitter which features four Liberal Democrats (including Lib Dem Voice editors Sara Bedford and Alex Foster).
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  • Opportunities not taken is particularly interesting, as it highlights areas for improvement. It says that councillors and officers tend to face cultural, rather than technical barriers to using social media. Some councils still lack a clear social media policy for councillors or officers, either in a personal or professional capacity. Many councils routinely block access to social networking sites on their computers. The guide suggests ways for councillors to hold their councils to account over their social media approach.
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    Connected councillors – a guide to using social media to support local leadership – is available as an interactive version and also downloadable as a pdf.

    The site also features a video of Lib Dem Councillor for Redlands (and 2009 LDV Blog of the Year shortlistee for her use of social media) Daisy Benson explaining why she uses social media:

    Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

    Welcome to Sara Bedford

    A parish notice here from the LDV editorial collective … Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that a new person has recently joined the Voice’s team – Sara Bedford.

    Sara joined the LibDems as a student in the 1980s, becoming National Chair of YLD (the predecessor to LDYS and Liberal Youth) between 1990-92. After serving as a member of the Federal Executive and Federal Conference Committee between 1991-95, in 1996 Sara settled down to motherhood and serving as a councillor for Abbots Langley on Three Rivers District Council, which has been majority Lib Dem controlled since 1999. She is also an active …

    Posted in Site news | 1 Comment

    Daily View 2×2: 1 January 2010

    Happy New (General Election) Year!

    On this day in 1973, the UK joined the European Community, along with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland. On January 1, 2002, Euro coins and banknotes became legal tender in twelve of the European Union’s member states.

    It’s a quarter of a century since Britain’s first mobile phone call was made. In a seemingly random intersection of the Fates, comedian Ernie Wise was calling from St Katherine’s Dock to a room above a Newbury curry house – the then office of a little company called Vodafone.

    2 Interesting Stories

    Is a Labour-Tory coalition unthinkable? Only until you think about it
    Martin Kettle muses in the Guardian on a hung Parliament:

    It seems innocent to assume that either Labour or the Tories would automatically turn first to the Liberal Democrats in those circumstances – or that the Lib Dems would necessarily deliver. The big parties could calculate that they would be better off in a marriage of convenience with a historic enemy they respected, from which they could withdraw with dignity when the moment was right, rather than to embark on a more permanent entanglement with a Lib Dem party which at bottom they each despise.

    The more one looks at the evolutionary dynamics of British politics, the more serious the grand coalition option may one day become. Is a Labour-Conservative deal really unthinkable? Only until you start thinking about it.

    At least the next government won’t be decided on the toss of a coin… or will it?

    Coin tossing through the ages

    The Telegraph has an interesting history, including this:

    Posted in Daily View and Europe / International | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

    Daily View 2×2: 27 November 2009

    2 Must-Read Blog Posts

    What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

    Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

    2 Big Stories

    Hacker Gary McKinnon to appeal after extradition blow
    The BBC reports that Gary McKinnon’s lawyers are to make a “last-ditch” attempt to prevent his extradition to the US. They are issuing judicial review proceedings next week after Home Secretary alan Johnson decided not to block his extradition on medical grounds.

    Glasgow-born Mr McKinnon, 43, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is accused of breaking into US military computers. He says he was seeking UFO evidence.

    Now of Wood Green, London, he faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

    Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

    Daily View 2×2: 13 November 2009

    The obvious big news this morning is the Glasgow North East Parliamentary by-election – and discussion is already underway here at Iain’s post.

    2 Big Stories

    My own two stories this morning have a transport/travel/systems-related bent:
    East Coast Mainline back under government control

    National Express will hand back East Coast Mainline services between London and Edinburgh and the rest of the East Coast franchise just before midnight.

    Falling revenue and rising costs left it unable to meet a commitment to pay £1.4bn for the franchise until 2015.

    A government company, Directly Operated Railways, will run the franchise for at least 18 months. Ministers say staff and services will be unaffected.

    Posted in Daily View | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

    Sara Bedford on the Watford play areas ‘Flat Earth News’ day

    I reported here on LDV this afternoon on the serious mis-reporting of Watford Borough Council’s children’s adventure playgrounds policy, indulged by Iain Dale and some newspapers.

    For all the media attempts to stir-up some cliched ‘political correctness gone mad’ controversy, it’s clear that Lib Dem Mayor Dorothy Thornhill has acted sensibly and straightforwardly throughout. I hope all those who have copy ‘n’ pasted the mythologised story without first verifying their sources will now ensure they amend their articles to reflect the facts.

    One person who does know what she’s talking about – both as a near-by councillor, and as …

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

    Daily View 2×2: 2 October 2009

    Two big news stories

    BAE faces criminal charges over deals
    The FT reports on a high-stakes court battle between BAE Systems and the Serious Fraud Office after corruption investigators decided to press for criminal charges against the arms manufacturer over its dealings in Eastern Europe, South Africa and Tanzania.

    Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

    Daily View 2×2: 10 September 2009

    2 Big Stories

    Tories announce curb in health spending increases

    As The Telegraph reports,

    Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said that the Tories would cut the rate at which NHS spending was increasing.

    The health service would have to “tighten its belt” and accept small increases in its budget, he added.

    Afghanistan Rescue Mission Debated

    Meanwhile, questions emerged overnight as to the British military intervention to rescue journalist Stephen Farrell:

    Military officials tonight defended the decision to launch a dramatic raid to rescue a British journalist from the Taliban, in which his Afghan assistant and a soldier were killed, against angry criticism in

    Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

    When should a politician say sorry?

    Damian McBride’s indefensibly puerile emails seeking to smear senior Tories (and Nadine Dorries) have left David Cameron understandably livid:

    David Cameron is demanding a personal apology from Prime Minister Gordon Brown over e-mails sent by an adviser discussing smearing the Tories. The Tory leader is “absolutely furious” and is calling on Mr Brown to give a guarantee that such messages will not be sent again, a spokeswoman said.

    Many will argue – no matter which party they support – that this is the very least Mr Brown should do. It does not matter that he is not personally …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments
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