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How We Can Do Better Than Ever Before

October 11, 2019 9:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

I'm the son of immigrants, one parent from Germany, the other from Poland. My family history is in miniature the troubled history of Europe, scarred by the horrors of extremism and war - and then my parents making a new home together in our country.

It's why for me our liberal democracy, despite all its flaws, is so precious. We need to step up to protect against the extremists and populists.

To do that, we need to build a grassroots liberal movement, mobilising the millions who share our values. With such a movement we can continue our successes this year in taking more power - the legal, legitimate way - through campaigning and through elections.

Winning elections at every level gives us more of that precious power to stop Brexit, to protect our planet, to heal the divisions in our society and to meet the needs of our local communities.

That's why winning is so important - and that's why I've put helping you win at the heart of my pitch to be President.

The key task for the next President is to ensure we have the right strategy and the right organisation to win bigger than ever before - in local government, in the London Assembly, in the Welsh and Scottish governments, in Westminster and in future European elections too.

Unmatched Experience

That's a task well-suited to my record and my skills:

  • Creating with David Howarth the core votes strategy that underpinned our recovery since 2015
  • Co-author of the party's handbook for general election agents
  • Successfully championing the registered supporter scheme, now in place and successful
  • Supporting the group doing the hard graft on reforming our disciplinary process, getting an improved and independent system in place
  • Working with colleagues to introduce gender-balanced selection rules when the London Assembly was created, ensuring we took positive steps to improve our diversity
  • Always listening to and informing members, running the best-read Liberal Democrat website outside HQ and the popular Liberal Democrat Newswire emails, all to keep supporters informed about what is going on and how to get involved
  • And many other examples, based on my long experience of how the party works

It is, to borrow one of our favourite phrases, a record of action… and a promise of more.

Previous Presidents have varied how they do the job depending on the needs of the time.

Right now, we've got a brilliant new leader, deputy leader, a growing Parliamentary Party and soon, fingers crossed, a great new wave of MPs too. The best use of the role of President isn't to duplicate their media efforts. Rather, it is to support them - and all of us - by getting our strategy and organisation right.

The President definitely needs to be wheeled out in the media to take the flack when things go wrong. I've got plenty of experience of surviving trial by media, whether Channel 4 grilling me over a Lib Dem minister up on police charges, the early morning rigours of doing Radio 4's Today programme, getting interviewed by Jeremy Paxman or surviving the questioning of Andrew Neill. Understanding how to handle crises is also what I do professionally, advising everyone from small charities through to large international companies.

What I can also be is a President who keeps us focused on what will bring long-term success for us in elections at all levels.

The Right Focus

Our federal party HQ, understandably, gets drawn into focusing on the next Westminster general election. But for success we need to think broader - remembering all those other elections and campaigns which matter too - and we need to think longer-term - remembering that there will be a general election after the next one too. That's where our next President can come in.

If you elect me, this will be my only role in the party.

So I can offer a relentless focus on getting our strategy and organisation right to succeed at all levels, tomorrow and in the long-run.

To find out more or to sign up as a supporter, see