Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bringing You All The Results That Matter

And so, two weeks after all that fuss about the devolved assemblies, the truly important results are announced; those of the LDYS elections (at least provisionally; my apologies to the Returning Officer for some mild impetuosity...)

Mark Gettleson (London)

Vice-Chair Campaigns:
Adi Smith (Aberystwyth)

Vice-Chair Membership Development:
Rocky Lorusso (
Hull) and Nigel Smith (Bristol)

Vice-Chair Finance:
Alan Muhammed (

Vice-Chair Communications:
Matt Wilkes (
Bristol) and Katherine Bavage (Leeds)

Gareth Aubrey (
Matt Cormack (
Amanda Crane (
Abi Gliddon (
Paul Harding (Montgomeryshire)
Jon Massey (
Ben Mathis (
Mark Mills (Reading)

England Convenor:
Rachel Hamburger (

International Committee:
Peter Bancroft (
Mark Mills (Reading)
Paul Seery (
Martin Shapland (

Conference Committee:
Matt Cormack (
Amanda Crane (
Simon Drage (Norwich)
Hamish McCallum (
Falmouth and Camborne)

Policy Committee:
Gareth Aubrey (
Paul Clarke (
Matt Cormack (
Mark Mills (Reading)

I am, of course, delighted to be re-elected to continue the policy work I have been pushing on since October. For everyone who is soon to be one of my colleagues, congratulations.

But at the same time, a reminder. Our job descriptions as executive members are in the constitution and should be foremost in our minds over these next twelve months; we exist as a committee to serve, not our own whims and fancies, but the needs of one of the heftiest organisations within the Liberal Democrats. In doing so, we should also keep in mind the following;

“The objectives of LDYS shall be;

(a) to represent LDYS members to the party;

(b) to promote Liberal Democrat policies amongst young people and students;

(c) to develop and train its members”

No part of that is negotiable; regardless of the name or structure, any organisation in the role of LDYS needs to fulfil those objectives to justify its existence. I hope that over the next year we can actually start taking steps to address or faults and really move forward.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What Kind Of Day Has It Been?

So what have we learnt of the state of Welsh politics over the last month or so?

  • AMS is neat enough as an academic exercise, but as a practical electoral system it doesn’t hold water. It’s bad enough that the results themselves are a ridiculous reflection of the national vote, but in an era where democratic participation is patchy, election night itself needs to be something other than deathly dull; five hours of Huw Edwards filling isn’t going to float anyone’s boat…
  • Defeating the national expectations game is a difficult business. Certainly in Cardiff West the swing went the way people were being told it would, to Plaid in the city and to the Tories in the suburbs. In terms of work put in, the Lib Dem team won by a mile, but in a nationally-led race that failed to translate into votes.
  • “This is a Welsh election, for Welsh people” is still a significant attitude. It’s by no means a fair reflection of the Assembly, or indeed of Plaid Cymru itself, but they play on it at a local level and with some success.
  • Speaking of Plaid’s campaigning techniques, they really have done a job of apeing what we do, but executing it really, really badly…

The postgame analysis has focused on the failures and the tensions about future coalitions, and perhaps rightly. But we should not forget that there is much to be optimistic about as well; we’re set up well for the next general election (in which we should hold Ceredigion easily and take Newport East and Swansea West) and our Assembly standing hasn’t fallen back at all; we’ve been waiting for the breakout for a while, it is true, but we’re still on the cusp of it, which is something.