The Liberal Democrats have had a really tough four years since 2010. Being in Coalition Government has taken its toll. Too many councillors who have campaigned hard have lost their seats. Our councillors embody Liberal Democrat principles in action, and, with ALDC, have revitalised the party in the past, so rebuilding our local government base is a key priority.
It is also clear that we need to reform some party structures that are complex and opaque. Most members don’t know what the English party does, or who runs it. Further, the difficulties over recent cases shows that our complaints processes must be reformed as a matter of urgency.
Over 40 years with the party I have delivered thousands of leaflets, canvassed all year round, served as councillor on Cambridgeshire County Council, both in power and opposition, have been elected on to Federal Policy and Conference Committees and am now part of the Lib Dem team in the Lords. When I was a councillor I also worked for the IDeA, helping our council groups across the country facing control for the first time, or tackling difficult problems, that they were facing. This work has since moved to the LGA.
As relevant as my experience within the party, I’ve also been a businesswoman, Bursar of two Cambridge colleges. I am a trustee of UNICEF UK, a founding Chair of Cambridgeshire Learning and Skills Council, so I have considerable experience of holding leaders and organisations to account, and making things happen.
As your President, I will do all I can to give our party the chance to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
Here’s my 10 point action plan:
A Party Fit for Purpose
- Reform the complex party structures and processes to be fair and transparent;
- Implement the Morrisey Report on diversity and harassment in full;
- Return to debate All Women Shortlists and quotas for BAME and disabled candidates if we don’t make progress in the 2015 General Election;
A Party Fit to Fight and Win
- Returning to our grass roots campaigning techniques and winning council seats, giving ALDC a key role and fighting for the resources that they need;
- Get groups of local seats to work together, as with the co-ordinating committees in the East of England and Stockport;
- Develop advice and support for members to find and nurture new talent;
A Party Fit to Talk and Listen Openly
- Have roadshows across the party, to consult members on reform & policy;
- Continue with Presidential Newletters, blogs & Tweets;
- Hold regular Presidential surgeries, in person, by Skype and phone;
A Party Fit to call itself Liberal and Democratic
- Test everything we do against our liberal principles and philosophy, fair, free, empowering.
If you agree with my vision for the president and the party join me, so that together we can fight for a distinctive and liberal vision.