One year ago today, Ed Davey was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats:
A year on, we have one more MP thanks to Sarah Green’s brilliant victory, we have more councillors and our poll ratings are up.
We’re starting to set out the sort of radical policies that grab the media’s attention and address issues of concern to voters:
There’s a lot more to do, and there have been disappointments along the way. But we’re headed in the right direction and seeing regular electoral success in the weekly rounds of by-elections. That included gaining two seats in Scotland on the same day in council by-elections for the first time in the party’s history.
It’s that grassroots strength which is so vital to our party and which has been behind the successes of our leaders. So it’s highly fitting that Ed is doing a tour of Blue Wall constituencies to mark his first anniversary, welcoming newly selected candidates and showing how relevant the party is to our country’s future.
More on the next steps will be heard in Ed Davey’s speech and in our debates on the party’s strategy and policy platform at our federal conference in mid-September. (Remember, you can register for just £1 if you’ve not come to one before.)
At the leadership results announcement, I gave probably my best ever received party speech. It was also my shortest. Those two factors were related… because when you’re giving a speech ahead of a result being announced, people really don’t want to hear from you. They want the result. So do the thank yous sincerely but briefly, say as little else as possible and give them what they want: the numbers.
It’s a good reminder of that basic speech making coaching point: ask yourself what your audience wants from you. ‘Get on with it’ being the answer on that occasion.