I'm still undecided. I really want to have a candidate with the best bits of all three.
Taking them in alphabetical order:Sal Brinton
is an extremely capable and experienced campaigner. She's au fait with the LGBT+ stuff and lots of the other internal party groupings, which is a big thing for me. She's got contacts - actually not just contacts, friends
- at the highest levels of the party. The main criticism I hear from other people of her is that she might not be physically capable of the job, which I think is ableist - I think we should let Sal judge for herself whether she's physically capable, and she clearly thinks she is or she wouldn't be standing.
My two major problems with Sal are:
1, She's another parliamentarian, but more than that, she is very much the establishment's choice, and she trumpets in her leaflet how much of the establishment want her in there. The president is meant to present the voice of the members to the establishment, not the voice of the establishment to the members.
2, Her religion bleeds into her politics too much for my taste, especially in matters of education policy, and I worry that it would inform her in matters more directly under the purview of the president.Daisy Cooper
is absolutely brimming with fantastic ideas about modernising party institutions - not all of which I agree with, but most of which I do - and has the energy of a Farron. She has shown herself very capable of learning fast and adapting faster, and she has immense amounts of experience both within the party and outside - those who say she hasn't are looking merely at her age and not her CV, which is incredibly impressive; and ageism is as bad as ableism in my view.
My two major worries with Daisy :
1, She still has a day job and doesn't have financial independence. The party presidency costs the incumbent a bloody fortune. You get £5,000 a year expenses and no salary for doing it. I have heard from one of the candidates that she has spent more than that already just on travelling round the country to campaign for the presidency...
2, She doesn't have as many high level contacts in the party or the the media as the other two.Liz Lynne
has the financial independence and the broadcast media contacts, across all the channels of TV and radio. She also has one of those voices that makes me want to straighten my posture and salute, so brimming with authority is it. She has a reputation for competence and she also has time: where Daisy has a day job and Sal has the Lords, Liz can devote all her time to the presidency.
My two issues with Liz:
1, I have heard from more than one source that she can be difficult to work with. Also, while the president needs to have authority, I think it needs to be soft power as Lady Mark says
, and while Liz has the politician's skill of immediately identifying which person in a room is important and talking to them, that's not necessarily a good thing in a person who has to represent the members to the leadership - the members who need representing the most are the ones who DON'T radiate "I'm important", and those people will get upset with a president who scoots past them to talk to their chair (or whomever). These two things both add up to putting noses out of joint, and while I am very talented at putting noses out of joint myself (and suspect, in fact, that I am doing it with this very post) it's not something I look for in a president.
2, The Rochdale thing. While I give absolutely no credence whatsoever to snide insinuations that Liz had something to do with the alleged crimes of Cyril Smith, or the alleged covering up of them, the print media are going to crucify her with it if she doesn't follow their agenda, and she won't follow their agenda, because she's not the type to kowtow to media barons (again, like me). It's not fair, it's not right, but it's what the print media are like.Conclusions
I'd like a president with Liz's time, broadcast media contacts and experience, and voice; Sal's high-level contacts within the party and SAOs, and level of respect among the leadership; and Daisy's enthusiasm, ideas, and energy.
If I was going to vote for the one whose personality reminds me most of myself, it'd be Liz, hands down, no contest.
If I was going to vote for the one who I think will engage best with the wider membership, it'd be Daisy.
If I was going to vote for the one who will deal best with the internal structures of the party, or I was using "has worked on Doctor Who" as a tie-breaker Sal would get my first preference.
I still genuinely do not know what to do.