We should never forget that winning elections at all levels matter. They directly give us the chance to implement our vision for a liberal democrat society in more communities, and they also are the springboard to future success in elections at other levels. We saw that so clearly this May, where put more Lib Dems into power and set us up win a record number of MEPs, not to mention putting us very much back on the national political map.
But the truth is too much of our organisation, especially at the federal level, often defaults to acting as if only the next Westminster contest really matters.
It’s understandable why over-stretched staff, tight budgets and busy volunteers can fall into this trap. But to build sustained, long-term success across all of England, Scotland and Wales, and to get even more Liberal Democrat policies put into action in even more communities, we need to think broader and longer-term. The next general election is crucial. But so too are the local elections coming next May, the next Scottish Parliament elections and the next Welsh Assembly elections – not to mention the general election after next.
Seeing all these elections as part of one overall mission for the party is a central part of the core votes strategy which David Howarth and I pioneered after the 2015 debacle and which has underpinned our recovery. Concentrate on those who share our values so that we build a durable, sustainable bedrock of support across all elections – and on which specific campaigns can then add the personal votes of candidates and tactical support. Stick with that task and we’ll be ready to win bigger, year after year.
That political strategy requires an organisation to match. That’s why improving and enlarging our organisation is at the heart of my pitch to be President and the five priorities I’ve set out (read them here).
Previous Presidents interpreted the role in various ways, suitable for the circumstances of the time. Right now, with a new leader, and a talented and growing Parliamentary Party with many more new faces to come at the election, what the President can best focus on is delivering the strategy and organisation required to realise the huge political potential in front of us.
Our staff are vital in this, but those are tasks that also go wider than their remit – which is why the role of President is key to getting this right, working closely with the Chief Executive but with the broader strategic remit that many of us are familiar with from the chairs of trustees.
Having a President whose top priority is the organisation and strategy to deliver our political ambitions – that will make the most impact in helping even more of us win.
That’s what I’ve got a track record of delivering – and with your support, we can achieve so much more. As our Focus leaflets so often say, a record of action – and a promise of more.
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