That’s of the Liberal Democrats not of the USA, obviously.
Well the ballot paper has arrived and its a good moment to sum up my feelings about this, actually rather important, internal election.
It is no secret that I have declared for Baroness Ros Scott and will be voting for her number 1. I gave my reasons here a few weeks ago but they can summed up by comment made by “John” to a post on Liberal England:
“Ros is the FIRST person to explain what the Presidency is/does and then to do a campaign based on that framework.”
Ros understands the role of the Party President, and the potential of that office, better than any candidate I can remember who has stood for this position.
Lembit Opik does attempt to address the requirements of this role but, as with some previous Presidents, questions need to be asked about how deep that understanding goes. In his leaflet that comes with the ballot paper and in the email I got from him yesterday Lembit says;
“the leader is the Captain of the ship, the President the chief engineer!”
That is an analogy that I used when I wrote for Liberal Democrat Voice in March about the constitutional amendment proposed at Spring Conference to remove the requirement from the President to chair the Federal Executive. It was an analogy I used again when speaking against that amendment in the debate. I said that the President should be the chief engineer, but that if the amendment was passed they would be reduced to the status of the entertainments officer keeping up the morale of the passengers and crew. An important job in itself, but not one that merits an all member ballot of the entire Party.
Thankfully the amendment was lost, but it should be remembered that Lembit was arguing for it in that debate. It shouldn’t then be a surprise that I am suspicious that he is more interested in the “entertainment” rather than the “engineering” part of the job.
My view of the the final candidate, Chandila Fernando, is not a million miles away from that taken by Jonathan Fryer who says;
“Chandila Fernando was a surprise late entrant into the race, but it is clear from his manifesto that he has some interesting, even provocative, views about party management and focus, which I hope will be considered seriously. We should all welcome that debate. He is a bright and ambitious young man whom I have got to know over the past two years and by putting his head above the parapet he has clearly put down a marker, even if at the moment I am not quite sure what for!”
He has made an interesting and useful contribution to the debate but is not really a serious contender.
So my vote goes: Scott 1, Opik 2, Fernando 3.
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.