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Can headless chickens engage in navel-gazing? #libdemfightback

May 21st, 2015 Posted in Leadership, Liberal Democrats by

The answer is yes, if you are a Lib Dem.

There have been many daft posts on Lib Dem Voice since the total obliteration of the Lib Dem Parliamentary party – and yesterday came another one. An article went up on Lib Dem Voice last night calling for “a #libdemfightback special conference before the 3 June close of nominations for the party leader” (yes that’s about 7 working days away).

Why a “special” conference ? Well according to the author of the piece “An obvious debate would be whether or not to change the Constitution to allow any member to be nominated as a leader.”

Not sure where that particular one is going – perhaps has a particular person in mind, or simply doesn’t like the current options from within the parliamentary group.

Whatever his reasons for the suggestion, here are a few points for Lib Dems to note:

UKIP /Plaid Cymru/Greens would soon run into trouble if they reached the dizzy heights of 8 MPs in Westminster. They could easily have a (non parliamentary) leader saying one thing and the parliamentarians saying, doing , or voting for something else. Especially if they had 8 well established, and experienced MPs (which the Lib Dems have).  For speed of message what you need is the leader of the parliamentary party to be the head of the whole party or chaos (and/or inertia) will ensue. And if the Lib Dems did have a “non parliamentary” leader would they also want to appoint a leader in the House of Commons? Just how many “leaders” do the Lib Dems think they need?

I also query the need for another elitist conference. Conferences by their nature exclude too many people who cannot take time off work; have prior engagements in the diary; have care responsibilities; cannot afford the travel etc. I am sure councillors /public sector workers/the affluent retired etc may be able to get to an extra conference. I am equally sure that the answer from that elite group on a great many issues would be very different from the wider Lib Dem membership.

[I would add that the conferences in recent years have resulted in a set of policies that the voters have wholly rejected – so their thoughts should be turning to how to make better policy choices (NOT at conference in my view) rather than how to change Articles 10.5 or 9.1. It never ceases to amaze me how totally blind the Lib Dems are as to how undemocratic it is to set policy with just a tiny fraction of the membership eligible to vote on any proposal.]

For goodness sake, just get on and elect a damn leader, amongst the entire membership if you must (I would have got the 8 MPs in a room and kept them there until there was white smoke). Once he is elected, lobby the new leader for all you like to get through changes about the future – including “rules on leadership” if that is your particular hobby horse.  Norman and Tim (the two current candidates as far as I am aware) are both reasonable human beings and would be happy to consider changes to how the party operates in the future, if they thought they would benefit the party.

I just hope that the leader will show some spine.

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