Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Perfect Leader

On logging onto Facebook this morning, I was inundated with requests to join groups in favour of various potential leaders - Reid to Lead, Nick Clegg, Alastair Carmichael, Lorely Burt. I was surprised that there was not a Pink Dog for Leader group. I can only assume that he was so snubbed at his failure to get on the ballot last time that he has simply gone off in the huff.

Anyway, I haven't made up my mind who to support yet, but there are a few qualities which I think are essential in the next leader:

  • an ability to connect with people, both individually and through set piece speeches and interviews. This is probably the most important thing - if you can get people liking you and on your side, if you can make them think that you care and understand about them and what's going on in their lives, then they will be more willing to listen to what you have to say.
  • although connecting is the most important thing, on its own it's not enough. We need some big ideas on housing, climate change, young people, poverty and social justice. We need to keep up our opposition to ID cards, nuclear power and to any military action against Iran. We need to ensure that local communities continue to be served by their Post Offices where they want them.
  • my heart lies on the left of the party and I want to see social justice and tackling poverty right up there at the top of the agenda. I do not believe that the economic liberal approach alone is one which will serve people well - it needs to be tempered with that social democratic thread running through our policies.
  • the new leader must not cut him or herself off from the rest of the party. They must respect conference as the sovereign policy making body and must be prepared to listen to those of us at the sharp end who are talking to people on the doorsteps.

In short, we need a great communicator with a distinctive radical agenda who recognises that leading the Party means keeping the members and activists onside.

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