So, I’ve cast my votes in the Liberal Youth elections. Here’s who I went for, and why.
DISCLAIMER: From the outset, I had said I was likely to RON any uncontested position on the federal exec. This was not meant to show disrespect any candidate, but I think electing someone unopposed is never a good idea. However, as you can probably tell, I didn’t stick with that for all positions.
(DISCLAIMER TWO: Also, my own personal views and not those of the exec, etc etc)
CHAIR – RON
Originally, I had said I would vote for Sarah but, after thinking further, I felt I was unable to support either candidate sufficiently to give them my vote. That is not to say they weren’t good, however.
Callum makes some valid points re: holding the party to account, but I couldn’t vote for someone who I felt would push for Liberal Youth to be nothing more than an extra mouthpiece for the anti-cuts/Labour movement; Sarah’s experience in organising is superb, but there was a lot of “I will” without the “how” for my liking.
Both have clearly addressed the need to reach beyond HE, and that is to be applauded and encouraged by all – we aren’t just a party for students, and we forget that far too often.
VICE CHAIR – Hannah Thompson
Liberal Youth needs to change, and to do that we need as many different people – in experience and presence – as possible. What I like about Hannah is she’s been campaigning for the party for years, without having been a member. So, for me, she will be best placed to make those in a similar position make that leap too. She’s engaging, hard-working, and – importantly for me – has spent her time focusing on campaigning for the party rather than herself. There is a real love there of making things better for people, and I find that much-needed and refreshing.
COMMS – Steve Haynes
Having worked with Steve over the last couple of months, I can genuinely say he’s the right man for the job. He’s dealt with all of the comms problems we (ahem) inherited from previous execs swiftly and professionally, always finding solutions for problems that others bring to him. Also, this is one of the very few roles where experience outside of the party is a necessity – I think the fact this is a day job for him too means you’ll be in the best position when it comes to quick yet professional reactions to situations.
CAMPAIGNS – Robin Rea
This was a tough one for me. Personally, I was put off by Robin’s campaign at the beginning – he went in too hard, and it made some people uncomfortable. But, he’s since realised that an LY election is not the same as a council/party election – standing against your own is not the same as the opposition – and so it has toned down. Which is good, really, as some of his ideas have great merit, and enthusiasm shouldn’t be punished. I was also wary of filling the youth/student exec with party staff, but Campaigns is one role where that experience will be invaluable, so I hope he will share that knowledge with LY to give their great campaigns that extra edge at Freshers, FE and beyond.
INTERNATIONAL – Ab Brightman
Ab never stops working. All of the work she’s done on the LY International committee has been outstanding, and she is more than capable of taking on the role. This was one of the easiest decisions of the lot.
POLICY OFFICER – Morgan Griffith-David
Morgan’s approach to what policy should be – accessible to all – impressed me. I’m not as enamoured by the whole process as others but, even if I were, the current way of working is so closed that those who are may never get involved as they simply don’t know how (not everyone can make conference, after all). I’ve also found him to be engaging, always willing to get involved and an all-round team player. Couldn’t really ask for more.
EVENTS – RON
A tough decision here but, ultimately, I think it was the right one. Conor is passionate and commits himself to getting what he wants – but, in this role, I think that would be a hindrance rather than a help. With the passion comes a huge emotional investment (not always a bad thing), and having to deal with the unpredictability of MPs, offices and organisations, and the huge drain on time would, I think, be a little too much.
MEM DEV – RON
Another position in which the unopposed status made me wary of voting. Mem Dev is probably the biggest job on the exec, especially right now, and I feel it is too big of a job for Matt. I like Matt, and I would say this for practically everyone, if I’m honest. It needs someone with experience, time, the ability to reach out to members not currently involved and – probably – the ability to take every bit of criticism that comes the party’s way and not let it affect you. I don’t think that’s a role we should be handing over without some serious thought and debate.
NPO – Andrew Emmerson and Daniel Lewis
One of the good – but frustrating – things about elections is how all the candidates tend to fall into the 17 – 21 bracket. This inevitably means that the fed exec is filled with young students, when we are meant to represent youth AND students. I’m backing Andrew Emmerson because he is a young man with his own business, which he started himself. That is not to invalidate other candidates, but this will be invaluable in reaching out to the non-student arena, not to mention his experience in fundraising can help us shore up our own budget, giving us a better shot at self-sufficiency. Hard work and focus are important when it comes to the NPO role, and he has those.
Daniel has a superb work ethic and a very analytical way of thinking, which will be helpful when it comes to sharing the load of the exec/prioritising what needs to be done. Also, having stood for council, I’d like to see him address what we could do as an organisation to help and support other candidates that fall into our age bracket.
ENGLAND CONVENOR – Stuart Wheatcroft
Stuart is one of the hardest-working people I have ever had the fortune to meet. He is almost always the first person to step-up and help when things need to be done and his commitment to getting LYE the same status as IRC and LYS is voracious. His determination to keep regional chairs informed – and working hard for their region – in the last few months has, for me, been refreshing.
(I will add London & committees at a later stage)