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Saturday, June 17, 2017

It is time for some dignity in the Liberal Democrat leadership contest

Can we all calm down a little please? Tim Farron has announced that he is standing down at the start of the summer recess, he has put in place a shadow cabinet containing many talented MPs and will continue to provide a constructive opposition to the government. The party has not yet put in place a timetable for the leadership contest and yet already the various camps have started to brief against each other.

Closed Liberal Democrat groups are awash with confused members asking whether such and such a rumour about a particular candidate is true or not. Newspapers are carrying tales of ageism, selective voting records under the coalition when, let's face it all the leading contenders were Ministers and bound by collective responsibility, and speculation about the merits and demerits of various MPs.

On the positive side at least we are being talked about again. But the negatives are greater, not least that we are starting to come across as self-indulgently inward-looking at a time of social upheaval and national crisis.

And can we think about the impression we are making on the many new members who have joined since 2015 and who could be voting in a leadership contest for the first time. Surely they have a right to expect a robust but dignified contest fought around the positive qualities of each candidate and competing visions for the country and how we can build Liberal Democracy from its roots once more.

For goodness sake, we don't even know who is going to stand and yet some people who I will charitably consider to be living in a Westminster bubble and out of touch with real life, are seeking to limit our choice by talking down possible contenders.

These shadowy figures need to read this editorial in the Independent. They argue that the one thing the Liberal Democrats should learn from recent history is the importance of a properly contested leadership election:

'Ms May’s weakness as a campaigner was exposed in the general election; it should have been tested at the hustings in front of party members last year. Ms Swinson, Sir Vince and any other contenders for the Lib Dem leadership should not make the same mistake. They need to be given the chance to take their campaigns to party members and to use the contest to exploit media interest.'

They conclude that 'there is still a need for a party that is committed to the free movement of people in Europe, that stands for liberal values and that is more sceptical than Labour about tax, spend, nationalise and borrow. For the sake of democracy, the Liberal Democrats must regain their confidence under a new leader.'

Please give us a real choice, but keep it real, keep it clean and fight that contest with some dignity.
I am for Swinson (the young vote), Cable for the old (deputy leader). If we can unite the old and young together a division in society could be corrected
Yes, the people who do stand should be questioned by the members till the skin peels off their backs. Problems in their passed lives which could produce banana skins to slip on should be dealt with to ensure when an election comes the media cannot get the wolves out.
We should use, heavily, all social media as well as leaflets to get ordinary voters interested. I would go as far as to say get out into the streets asking what ordinary voters feel about the candidates.Yes this could be tricky but it would increase awareness on the streets of the party.
Let,s go for it this way for if an early election does happen we will already be in the media. MPs can be judged and policies discussed.

PS Well done for your award!!!

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