Friday, February 06, 2009

How we pick a candidate for Mayor of London - starting the debate

Alright, it is true that I said that I would write a motion to go to the London Region Conference on the question of how we select our Mayoral candidate for 2012. Why should I feel moved to do so? Well, I'm kind of unhappy about the way the debate is being steered at the moment, and rather less happy about the way that the decision has seemingly been made with the views of four people, one of whom has subsequently quit the Party.

That said, there are options, each of which will have its supporters. Me, I just want a proper debate so that those of us who will be expected to work for the candidate, whenever he or she emerges. However, we've also had some issues regarding our Regional List, so why not 'kill two birds with one stone'. So, here goes...

Picking Mayoral and Assembly Candidates for London

Conference notes the disappointing outcome of the 2008 Mayoral and London Assembly campaigns, where the Party lost two Assembly seats and polled below expectations. One factor contributing to that underachievement was the lack of cohesion between the Mayoral campaign and that for the Assembly.

Conference also notes the controversy caused by our selection process for the constituencies and the Regional List.

Therefore, Conference calls for stronger linkage between the campaign for Mayor of London and those for the Regional List and the GLA constituencies, and for a selection timetable and process which encourages fairer competition and reflects diversity within our community by:
  1. Establishing a direct link between the Regional List and the Mayoral campaign by making the candidate at the top of our Regional List our Mayoral candidate.
  2. Ensuring that the Regional List is selected prior to the constituencies.
  3. By removing restrictions that prevent candidates from demonstrating their ability to campaign during the selection process.
  4. By providing training for potential candidates in fighting internal region-wide selections.
  5. By encouraging potential candidates to come forward by means of an organised outreach process.
Those are my opening thoughts. Amendments and suggestions via comments please...

1 comment:

Matthew Huntbach said...

Public discussion on the Greater London elections concentrated almost entirely on the mayoralty, people were hardly aware of the Assembly elections.

We ought to have taken this as our opportunity, but we didn't. In the absence of any realistic chance of taking the mayoralty, our emphasis should have been on the Assembly elections, saying all about the good things our GLA members have been doing, and stressing the importance of having able people there independent of the party of the mayor to act as a check.

With no-one else campaigning much on the GLA, I suspect people seeing us pushing ourselves forward there and explaining its role would have reacted positively, and we would have done well.

If this line is taken, it does require a mayoral candidate who accepts it. A perennial danger for the Liberal Democrats is candidates who will not accept that for tactical reasons they may not get a great deal of party support. Your line of making the mayoral candidate top of the GLA list may resolve this problem.