Saturday, September 23, 2006

What is the President of the Lib Dems for?

Simon Hughes is quoted in the Scotsman as telling the BBC:

"I guess it was a seven or eight out of ten speech, in terms of speech, but it did the necessary for the party."
This seems a fair verdict to me. But should we be pleased by his candour or outraged at his disloyalty?

Does the President exist to tell the party's leadership uncomfortable truths on behalf of the wider membership? Or is he meant to be the public face of the party, telling everyone how well it is doing. And if it is the latter role, why do we need a President as well as a Leader?

I only ask because I want to know.


Anonymous said...

I'd give Simon 2 out of 10 for that contribution.

Liberal Neil said...

Various delegates and some well known faces, like Chris Huhne, demonstrate how to comment on a Leader's speech here:

Paul Walter said...

As they say in Scotland: What a numpty!

Anonymous said...

I welcome the honesty, although in these days of spin and PR it looks problematically weak. I think we need to be realistic with ourselves and differentiate the substance (great) from the style (needing work) of Sir Menzies' speech.

Jock Coats said...

I know I'm probably factually wrong (he was probably as "embedded" in the great and the good as anyone else), but I liked Navnit as president because somehow he seemed to be more "our" person than the PLDP's.

I think perhaps party president should be something from which elected members of anything, are excluded.

Alex Wilcock said...

It's a shame Simon can't apply the same critical faculties to his own speeches, in the latest of which he told us all he'd be cross if we didn't vote for him as President, but came over very much that he was cross so few wanted to vote for him as Leader.

I'd say the President is effectively the deputy Leader of the party in the country, but 'deputy' is a very long way from the same as 'alternative', which is how he seems to view it (to no-one's credit).

Anonymous said...

Sack him!

Liberal Neil said...

I know what Jock means.

In my experience Navnit was loyal and positive in public, not afraid to raise issues in private, and always came across as a down to earth activist in person.

This is about as good a description of the role of the President as you'll get.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't we be appluading him for his candour?