Monday, November 03, 2014

My Thoughts on and Questions for, the Presidential Candidates

Now I am out of the race many of my supporters have been asking me for advice on who they should vote for. Up until now there hasn't been much differentiation coming from the questions being asked, although all credit to Rock the Boat for their excellent questions which resulted in some sharp differentiation between the candidates. 

I honestly believe that all the candidates, as we would expect, have strengths and weaknesses. As someone said to me after the hustings in Glasgow "it would be good to have a little of all of you!" 

I know Sal the best, having worked with her for many years and admiring her determination and commitment to the party. I have no doubt that as President she would be prepared to tackle many of the organisational challenges we are faced with. We probably agree on more than we disagree, but like others I worry about her independence and her ability to challenge the leadership when needed. On both FPC and FCC I can't remember her ever taking anything other than the leadership line on contentious issues. She has though defied the whip on occasions in the Lords and has been a real champion on educational issues. So my individual question for Sal is: Your loyalty to the leadership is laudable, but how will you ensure you can be a voice for the membership in circumstances where the leadership and the membership disagree? For example, if you had been on the Coalition negotiation team, how would you have dealt with the tuition fees issue?

Politically I am definitely closest to Daisy and her energy and clarity about her position on various issues over this campaign has been impressive. As President I have no doubt she would be prepared to challenge and consistently be a voice for the party membership. However, my question for her is: You have been putting forward some bold ideas for reform of the party, however, you have been part of the FE omnishambles - what guarantee do we have that you will be able to carry out  your reforms of our internal systems and structures?

Before this campaign I didn't know Liz at all. Over conference I got to know her better and she clearly brings not only political but important life experience to the role. I know she has real compassion for those who have been hit hardest by many of the welfare reforms we have been party to so I would hope she would take a stand on this particular issue. But, particularly on our Daily Politics slot, I thought she tended to fudge the answers, something we know the public hate. So my question for Liz is: How will you ensure that you are a strong and independent voice for the party, prepared to challenge and also answer questions directly if asked?

And  additional questions to all the candidates. 

Which current coalition policies which have been supported by our parliamentary party but are at odds with party policy would you be prepared to challenge the leadership on?

Given that only around 25% of our current membership would support another coalition with the Tories - who would you prefer to be in coalition with? (and wait and see is NOT an option!)

And finally - I have outlined my ideas for reforming and rebuilding the party - if elected are there any of my ideas that you would be prepared to consider? 

Replies can be posted in the comments below. 


joy said...

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