I have blogged a fair bit about the role of the President of the Liberal Democrats and I do have a particular stance on what the job should be about. So it isn’t surprising that I haven’t taken an interest in the campaign for the election of a new President to take over from Simon Hughes MP.
My original intention was to remain neutral, publicly at least, until the last minute so that I could use this blog to comment on the campaigns of the two declared candidates. But I have chosen to declare my hand now. This is not because people keep asking me about it in the conference bars. No there are two reasons. The first is the Bones Report. The second is Lembit.
Take Lembit first. I am disappointed and annoyed with what I have seen of his campaign, or to be more accurate lack of campaign. From what has been reported in the press and from what I have picked up in discussions at this conference it has become clear that Lembit is relying on his celebrity status and the fact that he is well known amongst the wider membership to win the election. Jeremy Hargreaves has written about how, if this happens, it could pose problems for the Party. But my issue really is – if he is not willing to campaign for it then he doesn’t deserve it.
Second, the Bones Report. I am an advocate for the reform of the party organisation. I think the Bones Report itself contains very good things, some wrong things, and wrong headed things. But irrespective of its contents the fact that it has been published and will, at least in part, be implemented means that this is a critical time of organisational change within the Liberal Democrats.
Whoever the President of the Party is, they will have to play a key role in that organisational change. So we need a President who understands that point and is willing to fulfill that role.
I have seen no evidence that Lembit understands this. But I am confident that Ros Scott does. So I will be voting for Baroness Ros Scott to be our next Party President.
I am 4 Ros.
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.