Although Liberal Democrat conference has only just started, I already feel a bit like a child who has wandered into a chocolate shop, bubbling with excitement at what they can see all around. Here in Bournemouth, that excitement comes from bumping into so many brilliant – and wonderfully diverse – prospective candidates, so many of whom many even be MPs by Christmas. What a Christmas present that would be for them, their communities, the party and the nation: a massively expanded voice for liberalism at the heart of Parliament.
Many are people I’ve campaigned with for years. Such old friends will, I hope, forgive me for being just as excited about how many are new to the party, bringing in a new generation of talent in the last few years. Melding together the old and the new – in members, in campaign tactics and in the ways we organise ourselves – is crucial for our long-term success.
That’s why, at this pivotal moment in the party’s development, with a new leader, so many new members and such a huge increase in our political potential, I believe there’s a vital role for our next Party President in making this happen.
It’s very natural for the Leader and Chief Executive to get drawn into focusing so strongly on the next Westminster general election. It is crucial. But it’s not the whole story. We need to remember the other types of elections out there. And that there will be a general election after the next one too.
We need to think broader and longer-term to bring the sort of sustained long-term success that will deliver a liberal society, a safeguarded environment and high-quality, responsive public services.
That’s why my priorities if you choose to elect me as the next President will be to:
- Unlock the huge grassroots campaign potential in our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters with the right tools, systems and support;
- Embrace the power of technology, making us the best digital campaigners in the country;
- Make the party one that is truly open to all and making the best of our talents by addressing our shortcomings on diversity and inclusion;
- Ensure the voice of the grassroots is always heard and respected when key decisions are made at the centre; and
- Put the party’s finances on a sustainable long-term basis, including investing more in growing and mobilising our member base.
Or in short, I want to help you win: your next election, your next campaign and the ones after that too.
If this is the approach you support too, please sign up to back my campaign at markpack.org.uk/president and if you don’t get a chance to ask me a question in Bournemouth by all means drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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