Friday, September 05, 2008

The Bones Commission and the early Alliance years

Chris Bones writes about his Party Reform Commission report on Lib Dem Voice. (He also links to a full version in the members-only section of that site, but it is declining to let me in at the moment.)

What I can read is the report's executive summary [PDF] on the party website. It is called an executive summary, but in length and lack of concrete detail it is more of an essay.

And it is an entertaining essay:
In our case in particular membership was defined by one respondent to the
Commission as joining a ‘leaflet delivery cult’, by another as ‘just being asked for
cash by Chris Rennard’.
How very true!

My worry is that it reminds me of days in Sutton Coldfield (recalled recently on this blog) when the Liberal/SDP Alliance was formed. There were some older Liberals there who had been active since the Grimond years (some had been councillors before Sutton was absorbed into Birmingham). They were tired and had little time for those of us who talked about Focus. The SDP, we were told, were bringing in lots of new ideas. All this talk of leaflet delivering was hopelessly old fashioned.

As it turned out, all the SDP had to offer was glossier leaflets. These had their advantages - if you caught the letterbox just right you could make them glide most of the way down the hall - but it did not mark the conceptual breakthrough we were promised.

While I will be interested to read what the Bones Commission has to say, I doubt that it will have found a way to take the slog out of being a third party overnight. I fear that being a Liberal Democrat will involve delivering leaflets and being asked for money by Chris Rennard for a while yet.


dreamingspire said...

'being asked for money' strikes a chord. I was a Member for a year and received a non-stop blizzard of requests for money, so I declined to renew. But helping in the ward by delivering Focus and the MP's regular material (its all LDs here) is fine even while not being a Member. And I tell the Councillors that LDs failed as managers when they were running the Council - LD HQ should make training courses compulsory.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you're having problems getting in to the Members site. If you drop me an email with details of what's happened to m.pack AT I'll take a look.