Last Thursday we held an event in Liverpool that I have never attended the likes of before. It was a new members event and we held it because so many people have joined our Party in Liverpool at the same time.
They were a fascinating mix of people including a learning mentor, a GP, a student, someone who does something with IT that I didn’t understand, and a former well known BBC TV presenter. Two of them had rejoined the Party. Neither of them had left for ideological reasons but had sort of drifted away when they had moved home to liverpool. One, like our Party Chair Kris Brown, was a former highly committed member of the Labour Party.
The others had no idea what they were letting themselves in for. It was a shock for those that have been activists for a long time that most people do not know how political parties work and what they do. They see the end results but have no idea how the machinery worked.
They all joined because they knew instinctively and immediately that the Tories could not be allowed to rule unchallenged. The first of them joined 5 minutes after the exit poll and the last the day before the meeting. The rise in membership has continued since then. 6 more have joined since Thursday. All of them described from their heart what they believed liberalism meant in principle. Many of them had not yet got their membership card but when I recounted to them the 54 words on the back which talks about none being ‘enslaved by ignorance, poverty or conformity’, they knew they had made the right choice.
Some expressed guilt that they had not become involved sooner and if they had done could have helped present the massacre of liberal democrats that took place on May 7th.
But most interestingly they all identified either with Nick Clegg and his behaviour in power and his dignity in resignation or with specific policies that the Lib Dems has pushed through the Tory Party but for which we had not got the credit. Most of them did both. Chief amongst these were the very positive moves regarding mental health; next was the pupil premium which teachers and learning mentors alike told us were having massively good effects in the most deprived parts of our City. Interestingly there was praise for what had been achieved through the changes to students loans and fees which we now know were not the calamity for young people that they were made out to be.
The mood was of determination; nervousness about what they had let themselves in for and a desire to get cracking within Liverpool to take on the Blue Tories nationally and the Blue Labour Party locally. We have set a programme which we have costed and can now resource through our new members to make gains in next year’s elections and have a real good stab at the Mayoral contest. Letters have been despatched this morning to all members inviting them to stand in the local elections next year and the Mayoral contest. We will make our first adoptions for next year by the middle of July.
It’s a long time since I have felt so energised. No more defending parts of the coalition programme which we did not like but had to do; An election coming up which will focus on the Labour Party and their appalling lack of vision for our believed city. And people and money to get on with things.
BUT our membership is not a closed one. If you join us before June 3 you will be able to vote for our new Leader with an exceptionally talented duo of people to consider. If you join us at any time you can be part of the group that will set right the problems of this City many of which are of its own making. Join us now at http://www.libdems.org.uk.