The Presidential Platform (1): why you should pick Öpik

Liberal Democrat Voice has offered each of the three candidates for the post of Party President three platforms pieces on LDV during the contest to make their case to party members. How they choose to use these platforms is entirely up to them. Today it’s Lembit Öpik’s turn.

It’s intriguing to stand in an all member ballot. I’m grateful for the very large number of people supporting my campaign, apparently thanks to the work I’ve done countrywide across the last 17 years as an activist, trainer, public speaker and MP.

Then there are those people who appear to devote their time attacking the various candidates! They seem to forget that actually we’re all meant to be in the same Party, attempting to create a country which doesn’t enslave people through prejudice or conformity. So the negativity is up to them. But for me, this Party – and my Presidency – is about the politics of positive campaigning.

I’ve always been clear about my ambition for the Presidency. In 2001 I said I’d stand. In 2004 I did stand, coming second to Simon Hughes. I backed his Presidency and said I’d stand again in 2008. I’m keeping that promise now.

Nobody has more experience to be President. I’ve been on the Executive – the committee the President chairs – for 17 years. No candidate has spent longer travelling the country supporting the Party. My Vauxhall Cavalier has 381,000 miles on the clock – not because I like driving, but because that’s what it takes when you spend week in, week out, every year, supporting local groups and branches, just doing the hard graft. I hope I’ve inspired local activists, and helped motivate local parties to aim higher and bolder.

Nobody is better placed to take over the Presidency when Simon finishes. As Senior Federal Vice President and Deputy Chair of the Executive, I already run the committee when the current President is unavailable. I’ve been on all the major committees, apart from Federal Conference Committee. I’ve been on the inside of the structures and I know how this Party runs.

I’ve also got a national profile. Does this matter? I think so. We need to reach out beyond those who already know us. I do that, and I believe that this has been helpful in putting the Party on the map.

And I’ve got a political narrative for the job: to ensure the Lib Dems are organised and robust enough internally to make it to Government. My Presidency is not about policy making; that’s the Leader’s job. I’m about acting as Chief Engineer – to make sure the internal party structures work well, so we’re capable of making the journeys the Leader envisages. Specifically, I’ll increase the membership by May 2010, create faster policy making processes, represent members’ views to the leadership, and create a Party with the skills to promote our politics in “primary colours” – by which I mean clear, bold easy to understand messages. That way, everyone will know exactly what we stand for.

Inspiration, motivation, organisation and determination coupled with a raised national profile for the Party is what I’m offering you. It’s the politics of primary colours, not pastel shades. If that’s what you want, that’s exactly what you’ll get by voting for Lembit Öpik.

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This entry was posted in Party Presidency.
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17 Comments

  • Cllr Neil Bradbury 7th Oct '08 - 12:45pm

    I’ve thought about it long and hard and I’ve decided to pick Opik! What do we want – a hard working technocrat or someone who normal members will recognise and who will raise morale? I believe the latter is what we need. Another thing has swayed me. I was chatting to a distant relation (so distant I had never met him before!) on Sunday who wasn’t a party member. He told me of the wonderful work Lembit did for his charity, work which he has never saught publicity for. This is the second such account I have got from people not connected to the party.

    Lembit is a character but we need more of them in Politics. Despite all the carping from party members about his profile (and I join in occasionally) he is a good guy and you couldn’t get a more committed Liberal if you tried. He has my vote!

  • David Allen 7th Oct '08 - 2:57pm

    Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Lembit Opik’s media-tart image, Nick Clegg’s money-grows-on-trees policy – A perfect match!

  • Liam Pennington 7th Oct '08 - 4:48pm

    “Then there are those people who appear to devote their time attacking the various candidates! They seem to forget that actually we’re all meant to be in the same Party, attempting to create a country which doesn’t enslave people through prejudice or conformity. So the negativity is up to them.”

    ==

    Well, yes, quite. Sorry Lembit for daring to be a humble fee paying member of the party expressing my opinions. Oh how I will love to be a party member under your presidency, somehow unable to make the leap from speaking my mind, and enslaving others with ignorance.

  • Tony Greaves 7th Oct '08 - 5:00pm

    The party has a real opportunity to make itself a public and media laughing stock for the next two years.

    Don’t blame me if you all vote for Lembit.

    “Oh would some pow’r the giftie gie us
    Tae see oorsels as other see us.”

    Tony Greaves

  • How high profile was Lord Dholakia before he was President? Lembitt already has media profile surely electing a very competent women as President would allow us to get some more media profile for another excellent Liberal Democrat communicator.

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