Who’s your leading Liberal Democrat Star of 2013? Part 1

We have our Liberal Voice of the Year award, but that’s for people outside the party.

We also thought it might also be a good idea as we reach the end of the year to celebrate people in the party who we thought had made an outstanding contribution in 2013. When I say we, I’m including you in this. Some of the team will be making their own suggestions and we invite you to either submit your own posts by emailing [email protected] or just put your suggestions in the comments to the various posts that will be appearing over the next few days. At some point, we’ll amalgamate all the suggestions into one big celebratory post.

This isn’t a big contest. We just want to celebrate as many Liberal Democrats as possible. They can be grassroots activists, party staff, parliamentarians or councillors, any member or helper of the party really. Just nominate someone you think has done something amazing for the party this year and tell us why.

Co-editor Stephen Tall kicks us off with his suggestions:

First, Vince Cable. The media narrative is that Vince has had a bad year. Victory in the Eastleigh by-election secured Nick’s leadership of the party while Vince’s half-hearted backing of the official line on the economy at this year’s conference weakened his standing. As ever, there’s good reason to doubt the media presumption. The row in Glasgow was as much about tactics as policy: Nick was determined to face down his critics even at the risk of losing the vote; Vince saw no reason to manufacture a showdown for the sake of it. If anything happened to Nick this side of the 2015 election, Vince would become leader. He remains a vital voice for the party and for liberalism more generally. It is Vince who has continued to highlight the need for re-balanced economic growth, one experienced by all regions in the UK, not just London and the South-East. It is Vince who has pointed out the dangers of George Osborne’s “Help to Buy (Votes)” sub-prime mortgage scheme, stoking government-subsidised demand for housing whole doing nothing to ease its supply. And it is Vince who has continued to take the battle to the Conservatives’ over their never-ending immigration crackdowns, fighting the good liberal fight for free trade and free movement of people.

Secondly, Jezz Palmer, the Lib Dem activist from Winchester who got up at the Lib Dem conference to speak bravely, passionately and intelligently against flawed auto-filtering designed to protect kids from seeing online pornography. There is no way you can stop children from seeing pornography: restricting magazines on the top-shelf didn’t do it, and nor will filtering – all it will do is offer parents false confidence that they’ve sorted the problem. Speaker after speaker got up to point out the flaws in the motion and to urge its rejection, but the stand-out speech was from Jezz – I named her that week’s Liberal Hero – for urging parents and carers to talk to kids, not at them.

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  • I can think of dozens of Libdem heroes but the one I want to nominate is Nick Clegg. As well as constant attacks from Tories, Labour, The Papers etc he has to put up with endless moaning from his own Party. He responds with politeness & good humour.

  • I agree with Paul Barker, Nick Clegg is my nominee for the reasons stated. Not just for coping with the onslaught which reaches levels of personal insult no-one should have to bear from outside and inside our party, but for always being clear, good humoured and never once moaning himself. On a positive we have a leader who is relaxed about others getting limelight and credit for things which shows a true liberal instinct.

  • Trevor Stables 28th Dec '13 - 1:01pm

    NICK CLEGG….for all the reasons stated above.

  • Tim Farron for his inspiring speech to the autumn conference and his outspoken statement on Tempora.

    Julian Huppert for his hugely energetic fighting for numerous liberal causes.

  • PS. When do we get the chance to vote for Liberal Voice of the year 2013? I am agog.

  • Trevor Stables 28th Dec '13 - 2:16pm

    NICK CLEGG for all the reasons above!

  • I would like to nominate Charles Kennedy. His speech on the European policy paper at Autumn Federal Conference was the inspiring moment for me. This is what being a Lib Dem star is all about. http://youtu.be/4poB2T-ohVw

  • Chris Manners 28th Dec '13 - 5:00pm

    ” the one I want to nominate is Nick Clegg. As well as constant attacks from Tories, Labour, The Papers etc he has to put up with endless moaning from his own Party. He responds with politeness & good humour.”

    You’re joking, right? Clegg was way out of order with people who’ve been in the party for years longer than him, telling them to “grow up”.

    Politeness and humour?

  • Chris Manners 28th Dec '13 - 5:01pm

    “I think the portrayal of Help to Buy as a sub prime mortgage scheme is misleading. It is nothing of the sort. It is by no means perfect and I think the Welsh version is much better, but we really have to stop looking at these issues from a South East England perspective. There is much more to the UK than Surrey and London. Schemes like Help to Buy are very important for the rest of the UK and can make a real difference there in helping people onto the housing ladder and stimulating confidence in house builders to invest in areas they have abandoned up until now.”

    Do you really believe that?

    What happens in a couple of years time, when prices have been raised by Help to Buy? Another scheme to help first time buyers?

  • What Paul, Gail and Trevor said.

    Nick Clegg. For sheer determination to see it through, despite all the scapegoating and persistent abuse, having to deal with Tories all the time and their rich, powerful backers, and Labour tribalist aggression, plus the 20/20 hindsight moaners within our own party who always like to pretend someone else (who? no answer) could have achieved some wonderful triumphal outcome despite all the odds being stacked against us.

  • Nick Clegg – as above. Glad the silent majority in the party are speaking out for once!

  • Peter Watson 28th Dec '13 - 8:19pm

    Nick Clegg – for having made great strides towards achieving proportional representation by reducing support for the party until it matches the number of MPs.

  • peter tyzack 29th Dec '13 - 12:34am

    All those proposed above, with Nick a yard out in front of the others. Interesting that the moaner who has a negative whinge about Nick doesn’t have a selection of his own selection, though perhaps it is himself?

  • Keith House – for the Eastleigh result without which we would be nowhere.

  • Steve Webb – by common consent the best Pensions minister in living memory and the unsung hero among our ministerial team

  • Dan Farthing 29th Dec '13 - 9:29am

    I would like to make two nominations.

    Firstly, I’d like to nominate Willie Rennie for carving out a distinctive voice for the party in Scotland and for his tireless enthusiasm north of the border.

    I’d also like to suggest Derek Wann. Derek was Chair of the Edinburgh North East and Leith party in 2013 and did an amazing job of providing first rate communication, organisation and calm leadership . His selfless commitment is an example to us all.

  • Michael Main 29th Dec '13 - 9:52am

    Why not an ordinary member but who is an active, lone, LibDem councillor on the Tory dominated Cheshire West and Chester Council – step forward Councillor Bob Thompson.

  • Andrew George or Tim Farron, for being the only two of our MPs to do the decent thing and vote in line with conference against the ‘bedroom tax’

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 29th Dec '13 - 12:42pm

    Along with Geoffrey Payne I would say that Baroness Meral Ece is my national ‘Star’ of the year for the way that she tirelessly lobbied and personally spoke up for defence of the Equality Act 2010. We could certainly do with a few more ‘real’ people such as Meral representing our Party in the Lords which has since the Coalition been the front-line more than once for saving ‘liberal’ policies and principles from being dashed by the Tories.

    Most of all though the ‘Stars’ for me are those members who have remained active within and committed to the principles of the Party at the ‘coal face’ so to speak, which has on occasions drifted away from the tenets that they hold so dearly. The members that I speak of are the unpaid activists of the Party, they may not submit motions nor attend conferences, but are found delivering the beloved Focus in all weathers and supporting the grass roots events that keep the Party grounded in the community.

  • Peter Reisdorf 29th Dec '13 - 1:51pm

    Andrew George for consistently championing Liberalism, closely followed by Julian Huppert, John Pugh, John Leech, Greg Mulholland and Tim Farron, with Vince Cable a little further back.

  • Dave G Fawcett 29th Dec '13 - 1:58pm

    My nomination is for an unsung hero in an unfashionable town in the North East. Councillor Frank Hindle, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Gateshead council has for years led a small group of councillors in opposition to an entrenched Labour administration. His leadership is an inspiration to all in the local and regional party, and he inspires us all to continue the fight to take Gateshead from Labour. Hard-working local people are so often overlooked in favour of MP’s, peers and nationally known party activists

  • A Social Liberal 29th Dec '13 - 2:02pm

    Adrian Sanders said

    “Tim Farron and Andrew George voted for this Labour Party Opposition Day motion”

    Another reason for voting for Farron then !

  • Simon Banks 29th Dec '13 - 3:17pm

    Julian Huppert for his dogged and well-informed opposition to the snooper state and unregulated security services, and for his persistence and courtesy facing bully-boy tactics in Parliament from Tories and Labour. If I’m allowed a second nominee, Michael Moore for his calm good sense as Secretary of State for Scotland and his brilliant speech at Glasgow against separation.

    As for Nick Clegg, yes, he’s a nice guy and a Liberal, but I didn’t get involved in politics to promote the idea that being in the middle is ipso facto right, and as for the criticism – if you go for powerful positions in a democracy, criticism goes with the job and that includes criticism from within your own party when people working hard for the cause feel let down.

  • I would also nominate Nick Clegg for all the reasons set out above. Let the Tory right force their own leader to the unelectable right. Let the majority of the Labour Party continue display regret for their own choice of leader. Let us be clear we are not even going to think about the leadership until after the General Election. Where we disagree with him let him know and argue the case within normal party channels and present a united front to the electorate.

  • I second whoever said Keith House, not only for Eastleigh but the expertise and experience he brings to Hampshire and through the LGA.

  • I would also like to point out Liz Green – now leader of Kingston Council and who has done a fantastic job leading a team in very difficult circumstances this year.

  • Anthony Hawkes 30th Dec '13 - 7:11am

    Roger Roberts – does real Liberal work without wanting publicity.

  • My nomination is Lord Roger Roberts for his untiring and inspiring work to raise public awareness of the injustices of the shambolic asylum system in this country and to combat the suffering which they cause. He visited Isa Muazu and put up an amzing campaign to keep him in the UK. Against so-called public opinion he writes to defuse the concern about the influx of Bulgarian and Romanian workers into the UK from 1st January – and I am sure he will be proved right.He is a shining example of the best of our politicians in the Lords.

  • I will absolutely back Roger Roberts, his dedicated commitment, through thick and thin, his generosity, his honesty, and his loyalty to other people’s campaigns. He is a remarkable example to all of us. I wish I could write that in Welsh!

  • 1. Team EastLY for their contribution to the transformative win in Eastleigh.

    2. Austin Rathe for turning the Liberal Democrats into a growing party through his belief that it was possible and enacting massive changes to the party’s procedures to put membership back on local parties’ radar.

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