Friday, November 21, 2008

A Sizemic Shift in the Lib Dems goes Unnoticed?

Well, having had a week and a half (more later) I have scoured Lib Dem Blogs for any reporting of Tuesday's FPC.........the most exciting night of the year and it goes uncommented on??! Bring back Alex Wilcock - that's wot I say!

A couple of weeks ago I was en route to the member's dining room with a pal when I bumped into Steve Webb - he congratulated me on my re election to FPC and commented about how many "lefties" had been elected..........hmmmmmm. So, little miss big mouth is no longer in a minority in shouting the odds about Trident, Tax Cuts et al?

Tuesday evening was elections night. Elections were held for a number of FPC positions, most importantly vice-chairs to Nick Clegg. The MP vice chair, Danny Alexander, was elected unopposed, but there were 4 contenders for the 2 ordinary member positions, current v-c, fellow blogger and Looz Muze chaperone - Jeremy Hargreaves, ex head of Policy - Richard Grayson, former v-c Ruth Coleman and former chair of the Security Working Group, Julie Smith. The result was a clear win for Richard Grayson and a tie between Jeremy and Julie - leading to a run off. While we were awaiting the result of that contest, we held hustings for FPC rep to ELDR Council. Two candidates, myself and Julie Smith. Julie has been the incumbent for the past couple of years but I had decided to stand on the basis that we both offered something quite different. Julie is an expert in European Politics and clearly brings a knowledge and expertise to the table that I never could, however I felt my strength was in representing the progressive wing of our party, as well as bringing a desire to ensure we really begin to connect with people on European issues. So I was really pleased to win the nomination, although felt bad that Julie, who I had expected to get v-c, ended up with nothing. But, I think both Richard's and my elections demonstrate that shift in the composition of the FPC, a perspective confirmed when I was chatting to an MP this morning (who will remain nameless!) I asked if I had told him about my election, no I hadn't, but he had heard about it - someone else had commented on the fact that a "non establishment" candidate had won.

So we have an interesting year ahead on FPC. It will no longer be quite so easy to push through controversial policy. As my dear readers know, I am still a Cleggophile, but that doesn't mean I agree with all his policy priorities. I trust he will read the runes and consider how we as a party can arrive at more of a consensus on those issues that divide us, rather than it always boiling down to an adversarial battle of wills and manufactured challenge to the leadership.


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