A couple of weeks ago I went along the annual conference of the East of England Liberal Democrats. Whilst there, after a sudden rush of blood to the head, I decided to put my name forward for the English Council of the party. This is probably the least known of the party bodies within the internal structures of the Liberal Democrats. So my motivation for doing this can best be described as ‘curiosity’.
As there were twelve candidates for eleven positions an election was to be run. So yesterday I duly knocked up the artwork for a manifesto and sent it off.
However, this morning I heard from the hyper-organised returning officer, Chris Williams, that there had been a withdrawal of one of the candidates and that consequently I had been elected. That’s the easiest (and most successful) election I’ve fought this year!
Not wanting to waste the effort however, here is what I would have said in my manifesto if it had been needed:
“I have been a member of the Liberal Democrats for over twenty years. In that time I have taken a keen interest in how the party is organised.
I’ve spoken in debates at conference about issues of party organisation. I have written about organisational matters on my blog and for Liberal Democrat Voice. I know the difference between an AO and SAO. I’ve read the Federal Constitution.
Yet even I still only have a vague idea of what the English Council does. So goodness knows what the average member knows about it, if they have even heard of it.
This is not healthy. How we organise ourselves, how we make decisions, matters. We can’t afford to have parts of the party that are obscure and that lack relevance to our campaigning. The pressure of coalition government alone makes it vital that our internal structures are effective. But how many of us can confidently say that this is the case?
I’d like to make a small contribution to putting that right. So my purpose in standing in this election is to find out what the English Council does and see where we can improve things.
So please give me your first preference and if elected I will:
- Work for greater transparency and accountability, finding ways to report back to the wider membership.
- Encourage greater focus on activities that support grassroots campaigning.”
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.