Thursday, February 16, 2006

Does it matter a jot who our leader is?

Last night's group meeting provided the perfect backdrop for a debate in the pub afterwards about whether it makes a blind bit of difference who our leader is..............after all........its us members who make policy, isn't it?

I have to say, I do think it makes a difference who our leader is, yes we may have some say in making policy (whenever we succeed in getting our motions accepted on to the agenda), but whether we like it or not, as far as the public are concerned we are largely defined by our leader. In a soundbite, shorthand, instant gratification age, leaders are a window on our party. If you are considering voting Labour, would Blair's leadership play no part in your thinking? And why have the Tories felt the need to change theirs so often if the man (and of course it is inevitably a man) is superfluous to voting intentions?

Yes it matters, it matters to the electorate and it matters for us as members. In this LibDem army it is the activists who are on the frontline, fighting to take the ground, ward by ward, constituency by constituency. We need to know that we have a leader who is fighting - not only alongside us, but as hard as us. We need to know that leader has a battle plan, knows where he (or a she in a different reality) is taking us. We need to know that when the going gets tough he will stay the course and take on whatever "enemy" stands in the way of our victory. We also need to know that the reason he is in the battle in the first place is because he believes in what we believe in, shares our values and will not sacrifice those values in the pursuit of power. So I for one have cast my votes (Hughes, Campbell) with those thoughts and beliefs at the forefront of my mind.

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