Daisy Cooper: “We must re-assert our commitment to local government in its own right, not just as a stepping-stone for Parliamentary seats”

Daisy Cooper being interviewed

I’ve previously run a series of guest posts from candidate for Liberal Democrat Party President Linda Jack. This week, it’s the turn of Daisy Cooper whose guest posts will be appearing each lunchtime during the week.

You can read Linda’s previous posts here:

I’m hoping to run posts from other Presidential candidates in due course too, but for the moment, over to Daisy…

When I declared my candidacy for Party President, I said that my priorities were to focus on winning, inspire donors to scale up support, put our own house in order and re-build and re-launch the party. A number of people – including Mark – have asked me how we might do this in practice so here are my ideas.

Today, it’s the first of those.

Daisy Cooper: Focus on winning

We must first re-assert our commitment to local government in its own right, not just as a stepping-stone for winning Parliamentary seats.

We must overcome the ‘silo mentality’ within the party: Liberal Youth, Lib Dem Women, LibDem LGBT+ and Ethnic Minority Lib Dems (EMLD) should be recruiting grounds for 2015 council candidates, and non-target seat PPCs should understand the role they can play to identify new candidates and re-elect existing councillors. I’ve already suggested that ALDC work with these various groups in order to recruit younger and more diverse council candidates across the country. I’ve also suggested that ALDC work more closely with the Parliamentary Candidates Association. I’m delighted that both of these ideas are being pursued.

In the next few months, strategic seats should be supported to provide ‘on the job’ campaigning experience as an incentive to volunteers to travel to the seat from across the region. This would mobilise volunteer support for winnable Parliamentary seats whilst also providing skills and training that activists can take back to their local parties to fight and win their own local elections in 2015 and beyond. Up-skilling our volunteers on our Connect campaign software and assisting less developed seats to manage VIP visits (now that Peers have been encouraged to engage in these) are essential. Whatever the electoral results after May, we should aim to have a massively up-skilled volunteer base.

The voice of councillors must be institutionalised in party structures – both standing Committees and informal groupings. And, as an ALDC mentor and Management Committee member, I know that ALDC training and mentoring is a ‘lifeline’ to many of our councillors and campaigners: I would continue to advocate for greater investment in this.

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