miss_s_b: (Default)
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.


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.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
So in only ONE of the committee elections did my first preference even get in (That would be lady Mark on ELDR, since I figured, correctly, that Ros probably wouldn't need my first pref). In most of them even my second pref didn't get a sniff. And I have looked with horror upon some of the people who DID get in, just because their names are well known. There are three people on the peers panel that just... gah. Anyway.

We really, really, REALLY need to get the campaign system changed so that the rules are the same for every election, and that committee elections can be fought in the same way that the presidential election is. It's ridiculous that we're not even allowed to blog about who we are voting for and why in committee elections. And yes, I know that it was brought up at a recent conference and nobody turned up to vote, but we have to keep trying.

The lack of Daddy Richard and Belinda Brooks-Gordon on FPC is very sad, and Elisabeth Wilson and Andy Strange would both have been awesome on FE. My first pref for the peers panel was FCC stalwart Ian Walton. And I wanted to tell you all to vote for them. And I couldn't.

Still, it's good to see Dinti and Evan and Gareth got in. And the gravelly-voiced sexpot.

I am surprised that the presidential election was as close as it was, although in the end the person I voted for won. I couldn't really summon up buckets of enthusiasm for either candidate, but in the end I voted for the person who has shown best ability to communicate with EVERYBODY throughout the campaign, because I think that communication between members and top brass is more vital than ever right now. I'll be keeping my beady eye on you, young Farron. Don't stop talking to us. You can be sure as shit we won't stop talking at to you.

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miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
Dear presidential candidates,

As far as I am concerned the number one priority for the next party president is to sort out the widening gulf between the grass roots of the party and the leadership. As always, this boils down to communication, which at the moment is not happening, at least not to the degree we as party members have come to expect.

A sterling example of this is the email I got today from Our Glorious Leader. It is typical of the emails I have been getting about daily from the party, mostly claiming to be from Nick, but sometimes Vince or Beaker Danny. They generally start Dear Friend, and always continue with a patronisingly-worded rehash of yesterday's press release.

Somebody needs to tell the party leadership that this is NOT communication. I have already SEEN what's in yesterday's press release. I want to know what's happening NOW, and it would help if it was not worded as though giving a lecture to the hard of thinking too.

Sort it out, will you?



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miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Judge Death)

The deadline for nominations is tomorrow at noon.

People who are collecting noms for me? Can you email me at jennieDOTriggATgmailDOTcom how many you've got so that I can count up and see if I have enough? Not that I am panicking or anything...

People who have not yet collected me any noms? Please consider doing so if you are able and qualified to sign, You can download the form from the member's area of the party website (registration required), or if you're not registered for the member's area on the party website it's on my campaign team google group (different registration required), or you can email me at the above address and I'll send one out to you.

If you think you might be able to help, please do so. It would be a shame, not just for me, but for all the other people who have put work into this, if I was to fall short of nominations. IT doesn't matter if I get too many, but it sure as hell matters if I don't get enough.

Thanks in advance.

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miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
It's getting very close to the deadline, and I still don't have enough noms. If any of you lot know any voting reps who might be willing to put pen to paper, please please please will you ask them for me?

You can download the form from the member's area of the party website (registration required), or if you're not registered for the member's area on the party website it's on my campaign team google group (registration required), or you can contact [personal profile] matgb and he'll send one out to you (given that I am working 12-8 today).

If you think you might be able to help, please do so. It would be a shame, not just for me, but for all the other people who have put work into this, if I was to fall short of nominations.

Thanks in advance.

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miss_s_b: (Fanigrling: Rumpole)
Right, you lot. If we're going to do this thing, we've got to get it done. Here, therefore, is a handy list of

Things You Can Do to Help

  1. I still need some noms. If you are willing to take a sheet to people in your local party and get me some signatures, that would be awesome. Email me at JennieDOTriggATgmailDOTcom and I'll send you out a copy of the form. In order to be eligible to sign the form you have to be:
    • A voting rep for your local party, or an MP/AM/Lord etc.
    • NOT party staff
    • NOT already a signatory to Tim or Susan's nom form (if you signed Jason's that's fine, since he's withdrawn, as long as you haven't subsequently signed one of the others)
    Noms have to be in by Wednesday next week, so please let me know ASAP if you think you can get me some, even if it's only one or two.

  2. If you want to arrange an interview or Q&A or whatever with me, email me at the same address. Travel is doable with notice, as long as I'm not at work when you want me, and Skype or phone or email or blogs are doable pretty much all the time.

  3. Tell people in your local party about me and why you're supporting me. If you/they have questions, direct them towards this post and I will answer as best I can.

  4. If you want to join the campaign team let me know and I'll send you an invite to the google group. The group has downloadable copies of the nom form and artworky stuff in it.

  5. I'll have some literature soon; am in the process of brainstorming it with my campaign team. When I've got some, I'll put a .pdf up on the google group and probably elsewhere too for people to download and print off. In the meantime, I have .pdfs of posters in A3 and A4 and badges in print-off-and-make form, or some already made up if you want me to post them out to you.

  6. If you're rich, sign the pledge.

  7. Finally, pimp out the facebook pages (my personal one, and the Jennie for president one), twitter hashtag and my twitter account, this blog, etc. as much as you can and whenever/wherever you can. My opponents are an MP and an ex-MP, so they already have massive name recognition across the party and beyond. I need my signal boosting.
Obviously, as the election is an internal one, those of you who aren't Lib Dems may not be able to do much, but even if you're not a member but know people who are, any signal-boosting would be grand. Thanks in advance, you guys.

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miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Then seek thee out David Matthewman, aka [personal profile] djm4. He has my nomination forms, and a pen, and he's happy to help you to bring the two into conjunction. Please do remember that if you're going to sign presidential nomination forms, not only do you have to be a voting rep (or MP or MEP or AM etc.) you can only sign them for one candidate.

I'll be very happy if it's me, obviously, but if you want to nominate someone else please don't sign more than one form as it invalidates your signature on ALL forms. Also, please make sure you get your details right - local party, membership number, etc. - because getting these wrong invalidates your signature too.

Thanks in advance to anyone who is considering doing this.

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miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
Someone on twitter just asked me what makes you qualified and what quality will you bring to the role? with regard to the party presidency.

I am indebted to Lady Mark for his succinct description of the threefold nature of the job. To address each of those parts in turn:

1, Being the Chair of federal executive, as well as a member of lots of other committees

  • What makes me qualified?

    I'm currently an officer in my branch party (secretary), my area party (press and communications officer), and my karate club (press and communications officer), and I have had similar roles in the past too (for example, when I worked at the local Citizen's Advice Bureau). I'm no stranger to writing agendas and minutes. My best marks on the BVC were in opinion writing and negotiation, and both of those skill sets would be useful in committee.

    Being a moderator on internet forums and communities (and having done so in various capacities for more than ten years now) is also a useful qualification. Knowing when to intervene in a debate is a skill that can only be learned by practise, and I have had a lot of that. I haven't always been perfect, but I have learned from my mistakes.

    I know some of the members of all the committees Mark mentions personally, and while that is not necessarily something that should be an absolute must for a candidate, it would lead to a shorter Getting To Know You period.

  • What qualities would I bring to the role?

    Precision and specificity in agenda formulation, and a willingness to steer people back to the agenda if they go off-topic.

    Giving equal time and respect to every contributor, whatever their background or day job (not saying that other people don't do this too, just that it is something I would focus on).

    Bluff, slightly stereotypical, Yorkshireness. I call a spade a spade, and I don't like skirting around issues.

  • What might be my weaknesses in this area?

    I can be impatient, and I can rub people up the wrong way. Both of these traits are ones I try to moderate. I have a tendency to not be as gentle as I could be in teasing out solutions; I call this being efficient, but some people might find me a bit brusque; again, this is something I try to moderate, particularly around people who don't know me well.

    Finally, some people can be annoyed by my unwillingness to treat them as My Betters when I am a mere barmaid, and they have achieved some lofty station in life; I doubt that this would apply to any members of our erstwhile party, but I suppose it's always possible.

2, Representing the grassroots membership to the party heirarchy

  • What makes me qualified?

    I'm not, and never have been, part of the top brass. I am a walking grass root. I have an established online presence which I use to communicate with other grass roots (as I am doing right now). My education and my blogging make me a communicator.

  • What qualities will I bring to the role?

    Unswerving determination. Openness and transparency: if I can post about something here, I will do so. If I can't, I will post that I can't and why I can't. I will be doing the job full time, with no day job to distract me. This means that when I say that I will do something, I will do it, it won't get delegated. Contactability.

  • What might be my weaknesses in this area?

    Overenthusiasm? I love communicating with people, I love meeting people from all walks of life, listening to them and talking to them. I am happy to debate anything with anyone, just for the joy of it. I am told that this can get wearing for other people. The idea of being a conduit for the views of the membership to the top brass and vice versa is one I really relish.

3, Representing the party as a whole to the outside world

  • What makes me qualified?

    I'm a walking diversity agenda. I'm female; I'm Northern; I'm bi, poly, and atheist. I have tattoos and piercings and oddly-coloured hair. I therefore feel that I could represent parts of the party to the outside world which nobody normally sees, but which are a massive part of the activist and voter base. Also, I would allow the party to show that they are not just for upper middle-class white people in suits. I'm aware of the etiquettes of various different communities, and will treat people with the respect and sensitivity with which I would expect them to treat me.

  • What qualities will I bring to the role?

    In order to represent the party, you have to know the party. Again, I think being from outside the Westminster bubble is an advantage here. An ability and willingness to talk to anyone, even journalists ;) My love of talking to and learning about people from all walks of life would be a huge asset here, IMHO.

  • What might be my weaknesses in this area?

    The fact that I am who I am might not be seen as an advantage by everyone. Some people prefer talking to upper middle class white men in suits, and thus I would already be at a disadvantage before those people even meet me. I think that is outweighed by the representational advantage, though. You may disagree.
Hope that goes some way to answering your questions, Andrew.

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miss_s_b: (Default)
  • First and foremost, happy birthday to the lovely [personal profile] magister. See you soon, sweetie.

  • I have a Jennie-for-pres facebook page now, courtesy of [personal profile] tajasel.

  • Mat is making vanilla buns and they smell awesome.

  • I am a bit stunned by how quickly people have started publicly declaring for presidential candidates when nominations haven't even closed yet, let alone made a proper pitch, but I suppose that's the nature of the beast. I should clarify that I am not going to be offended by anyone, even Mat, voting for someone else; it's entirely possible that I won't get my own first preference (assuming I get the noms) because I'm going to decide after hearing what people's pitches are who I think is going to be best for the job. I just don't understand the mindset that has made a final decision on who to vote for already, even though I understand that there's probably more people with that mindset than with mine.

  • Speaking of getting the noms, given that each candidate must collect the signatures of 200 voting reps, and each rep can only sign one person's form, that means that over half of the expected 1500 voting reps will be signing someone's form. That's a lot more than (for e.g.) would be needed if we could all go around signing each other's...

  • I have to timetable what I am doing at Conference. This is going to be even more conflicty than usual...

  • There's not enough time in the world to do all the stuff I need to do RIGHT NOW
And on that note....

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miss_s_b: (Default)

So apparently the other people thinking about standing are Tim Farron, Susan Kramer, and Jason Zadrozny.

If I get the noms, I know who'll get my second preference out of that lot.

I'm bowled over by the number of people who have signed the pledge, and some of the names on that list are really surprising and humbling.

I've set up a google group for the campaign team. You can request membership if you want to help out; I'm not saying I'm going to say yes to all of you, though.

And now I must got to work...

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In the comments to my last post on this subject the lovely Andrew Hickey (second only to [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks in the ranks of beardy bloggers according to public vote!) threw a spanner in the works. I had concluded that it would be pointless for me to run for president when I couldn't afford to win. Andrew responded to this by setting up a pledgebank pledge.

Six Thirty-five mad buggers have already signed it. You're all mental, you know that? I know that, and I ought to because my doctor gives me pills for mental (20mg citalopram for those unaware) so I ought to be able to recognise it in others...

The lovely [personal profile] magister makes the very valid point, though, that if I can't get 100 people to pledge a tenner a month, I've got knack all chance of winning. So, I'm going to order the nomination pack. I mean, I can do that for nothing, right? And I'm going to try and get signatures at conference, given that the deadline for noms is the 29th of September. So if you feel like nominating me, and you're going to be at Liverpool, do let me know, and I shall be round you with a pen quicker than you can say #nickcleggsfault. I have to have 200 nominations, and they have to be from a minimum of 20 different local parties. So do bring your friends too...

It's a bloody big hill to climb, but since when has that ever put me off?

Why I want to Stand

I feel passionately that the Pres should NOT be one of the Westminster in-crowd, and should certainly not be an MP, so the person emerging as front runner at the moment (while I have the deepest respect for him, and love his conference speeches) is not someone I would want to vote for. The Pres is meant to represent the grass roots to the leadership, and I don't think that anyone who is part of the top brass can be relied upon to do that, no matter how lovely they might be.

Another thing that the president ought to do is pass back to the membership what's going on with the top brass. I know full well that this is not always possible to the extent that the membership would like it to be, but I think an MP might be slightly more prone to erring on the side of caution when it comes to not reporting stuff.

The other reason I'd like to run is that people who lead alternative lifestyles (Cthulhu I hate that term) are the backbone of this party. The LGBT, the atheists, the freaks and weirdoes and the terminally rebellious... Yet the top brass mostly upper middle class white guys in suits. If there's one thing I could never be accused of being, it's one of them.

My Pledges

This is just off the top of my head, you understand, but:
  1. I will keep blogging. It's a cheap and effective method of public communication. There will be times when I can't post about stuff that happens; at those times I will post that I can't tell you stuff, and why I can't tell you.

  2. I will be open and transparent about my finances. Given that if I am going to do this I'm going to be asking you guys to pay for me, I think this is only fair. I will publish on my blog what comes in and what goes out every time I get a bank statement. Yes, this does mean every penny. Although I might well redact names and stuff.

  3. I will be open and transparent about what I am doing. I'll post about what I'm doing, where I have been, and who I have spoken to. I'll ask for and respond to questions from the membership on my blog.

  4. I will not be a Cowley Street puppet. I am not a London Lib Dem. I have never been part of the inner circle at Westminster. I believe that the party needs to make more of it's membership outside of those two circles, and as I come from outside of those two circles myself, I feel I can do something about that.

  5. I will bombard the media. The media seem to delight in misrepresenting us, even though we are now in government. I will do my level best to stop them doing that

  6. I will retain my identity. I'm not going to sell out. I'm not going to start wearing a suit, or having a normal haircut, or taking my piercings out. I'm not going to compromise myself to fit in.
There's other stuff I would like to pledge, but I'm not sure if I can. I'd like to improve interaction between the top brass and the grass roots in other ways, especially with the main party website. I'd like to make the role of the party president less nebulously defined in the constitution. I'd like to pledge strategic stuff about the next election, especially about targeting and possible future coalitions. I don't think any of those things are within my power to pledge at the minute.

To work, this needs YOU!

If you can afford a tenner a month for a president like me sign the pledge, please do. If you can't (or don't want to) do that, please consider signing my nomination form, and getting your friends to sign it too. Signing the om nom nom form does not mean you have to vote for me, btw. I'll also need people to help me out with a campaign and a logo and a website and things. Any volunteers?

Obviously if I don't get much of a response to this post, I shall know that the market doesn't want me, and I shall retire cursing to my lair. So I am throwing this over to you lot. Do you want me to do this?

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miss_s_b: (Default)
El Presidente is standing down (no link due to messagespaceness)... This makes me sad. Ros is one of my political heroes; she doesn't make a big song and dance about what she's doing, she just DOES stuff, and gets very little thanks or appreciation for it.

I was thinking, though. I'm pretty used to doing thankless tasks, and I'm used to having no money. Maybe I should stand? I promise to keep blogging, make sure they have proper beer at conference, and change my hair colour at least once a month ;) Seriously, though, I am actually considering it. I haven't got the years of party experience that most of the people who will be standing will doubtless have, but I don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing. Maybe fresh blood is a good thing? I'm dead set certain that my bluff Yorksherness is something federal party top brass could do with a sight more of, and that having an openly bi, openly poly, very atheist person in a leadership role in the party would do no harm. I'm no good at being the quiet diplomat, but I am good at shouting my liberal values from the rooftops, which is almost certainly needed right now.

What do you guys reckon? I mean, obviously it depends on who else is standing. I can think of one possible candidate who would make me yell HELL YES!!! and campaign like billy-o for their election... But is it worth me considering?

Stuff from my "things to Link to" folder

James Graham on the difficulties of getting his head round coalition.

Research from the Harvard Business Review: men ignore women on the internet shock. In other news all bears are catholic, and the pope shits in the woods.

The awesome Hathor Legacy on why it is extra sucky to see sexism in sci-fi as opposed to every other genre.

[personal profile] sashajwolf displays her awesome by deconstructing a phrase that non-Lib Dems use disparagingly.

SciencePunk on how the "Skeptic" (Gods how I hate that spelling) movement is not the all-tolerant paradise many of us perceive it to be.

What it's like to be an atheist.

Lapdancers protest outside church which has been protesting outside their lapdancing club.

One for the Molesworth geeks among us.

MIT OCW. This is an amazing educational resource.


I suspect you won't see much more of me till Tuesday at the earliest; this weekend is proving to be a busy one. I've already had a school reunion, Posh Boy is visiting, and we're all off to see Stephen Fry on Monday.

But then I promise to restart my blog awards. And then it will be the leadup to conference...

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About This Blog

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

Charities I support:

The Survivors' Trust - donate here
DogsTrust - donate here
CAB - donate here


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Miss SB by Jennie Rigg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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Please note that any and all opinions expressed in this blog are subject to random change at whim my own, and not necessarily representative of my party, or any of the constituent parts thereof (except myself, obviously).

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