Chandila, Liberal Vision & the LD Presidency
One vital criteria that I believe is important for the postholder of Lib Dem President is ideally that someone should be respected across the party, politically and geographically, and have the ability to be the bridge that brings together the voluntary party and it's senior elected parliamentarians.
Chandila Fernando says many things including the downgrading of party membership in favour of creating party 'supporters'. The US parties already have such 'fan clubs'. Their role is limited to being hired hands at conventions, leaving decision making and policy to the 'great and the good'. This is not a model I can accept for the Lib Dems. Chandila might have experienced this kind of 'engagement' whilst in the Tory party, but this is not how the Lib Dems do things.
His personal hobby horse, Liberal Vision [LV], is an 'interesting' organisation, with Chandila as Director and Mark Littlewood as Chairman(sic). Neiher of these people are elected to these positions by anyone. Indeed on Liberal Vision's FAQ page is the following : "It is an unincorporated association which is run as a “benign dictatorship”. If you expect internal democratic elections, AGMs, committee meetings and minute taking, this may not be the organisation for you." Being a democrat I am instinctively wedded to democratic mandates for officers, that goes hand in hand with membership of an organisation.
Linda Jack asked and Chandila answered : As someone more on the “left” of the party, why should I vote for you? I have in my heart the passion of an activist and the courage of a lion to take on the establishment." What he ought to have said is that I'm a uber-libertarian far removed from the ideas you hold Linda ! It is worth looking at LV. They are a wholly owned susidiary of Progressive Vision, whose politics and ethos are uncannily more akin to those of another party - the UK Liberttarian Party - than the values, practices and policy positions of the Liberal Democrats.
What I am not saying is that such people should be 'banned' from the party. As a liberal, even a 'left wing' one, I am instinctively against banning things or people. Libertarians bring a differing perspective to the party. Many are long-term committed Liberal Democrats and long may that be so, no matter how much I heartily disagree with them. However, uber-libertarians, such as Gavin Webb, surely would find the UKLP far closer to their strident libertarian outlook ?
You may say that the President is a party figure head and non-political. But that person has a key role [and vote] on the Federal Executive, therefore personal political positions are of some importance. Clearly Chandila is ambitious, but his proposals for limiting the usefulness of party membership and the lack of a democratic structure in the organ he does run mean for me he is entirely unsuitable to be LD President.
He might 'overlook' his politics in running for election. I do not. Why be so shy about your libertarian credentials Chandila ? Further, Chandila is said to have left the Tories when Michael Howard came to the Conservative leadership. Presumably then he had no quarrel with Hague, IDS and Major ? None of these are paragons of liberal virtue. Be honest Chandila, tell us what you are about ?!
I may stand corrected, but it is hardly inspiring to know that even his LV colleague, Mark Littlewood, is voting elsewhere ! The poor quality website, the divisive politics, the re-branding marketing speak all show clearly that Chandila is not the man for the job. So who am I voting for ? It'll be a vote for Ros Scott, a safer mainstream option, with a good track record in the party. That may not sound overly exciting, but after it's fair share of upheaval at the top of the party in recent times a unifying figure I think would be the best choice.