Friday, May 29, 2009

Jo Swinson - Alex Wilcock writes....

I can't imagine there's a single Lib Dem who doesn't hang on to every word Daddy Alex writes. If by some chance you were drunk, or unconscious, or away in Mars for a couple of days, and missed this treat, go and read it now. It's worth it just for the description of James Graham!

And while we're swapping Jo stories on the blogsophere, there's two more things I'd like to bring to your attention:

1 Her capacity for work

I've known Jo for quite a few years now and worked with her closely when she was the target seat candidate for East Dunbartonshire and I was Campaigns Convener in Scotland. The way she built and inspired her campaign team, leading by example, was amazing. She moved back in with her mum and dad, changed her job so she only had to work part time and her routine was, roughly, to spend her days either working or delivering leaflets and her evenings knocking on doors. She set herself completely unreasonable targets and got on with smashing them. My daughter's schoolfriend's grandparents live in the constituency, as do some friends of friends. None of these people are involved in politics in any way, but they said for months before the General Election in 2005 that it was obvious that she was going to win because she was working so hard.

She hasn't slowed down by any manner of means since she was elected - if you read her Twitter updates over a fortnight you'll see what she crams in.

2. Encouraging other women to become candidates

The other big thing I want to say about Jo is the amount of time she spends encouraging and supporting other people to stand for Parliament. She could choose to have the odd day off to put her feet up, but, no, she has done a fair few training days for aspiring women parliamentarians. She puts a huge amount of effort trying to identify and encourage women to stand. She knows that many women won't think about becoming a candidate until someone suggests the idea to them. She's always willing to share her own experience with others and has in Parliament been an active particiant in the Speaker's Conference on Diversity.

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