Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to become a Liberal Democrat MP

As it appears that there is quite a lot of interest, I thought that it would be helpful to explain how you can become a Liberal Democrat MP. Feel free to pass this on…
  1. Join the Party. It doesn’t cost much, and we do insist that you are a member before you can do anything else.
  2. Wait for a year, as we like to know that you are sincere before we allow you to be a candidate. In the meantime, get involved in campaigns in your area. Deliver leaflets, knock on doors, get an idea of what Liberal Democrats are like. If you have any particularly useful skills, like web design or leaflet layout, let your local campaigners know, they’ll be grateful to you.
  3. Apply for approval as a potential Liberal Democrat candidate. Details can be found on the Party’s website. There is a brief form to fill in – don’t worry, we don’t mark your answers, and the form isn’t scary. Remember, you don’t have to be a white man in a grey suit, some of our best candidates are anything but.
  4. Attend an assessment day. Once you’ve submitted an application form, you will be invited for assessment. We focus on applicable skills – can you deliver a speech, can you organise and lead a campaign team, are you resilient under pressure, can you make the case for Liberal Democrat policy?
  5. Once you've passed, apply for selection. Each constituency selects its candidate independently of the centre. They will establish they type of candidate they need, advertise that they are looking for a candidate, and anyone on the approved list van apply.
  6. Convince the members that it should be you. If you make it to the final shortlist, you will need to convince the local members to select you. There will be leaflets, you can visit members or telephone them, you can even use e-media.
  7. Convince the voters to support you. Congratulations, you are a candidate, officially representing the Liberal Democrats. If you are lucky enough to be the candidate in a seat where we have a chance of winning, you can expect to have a team of councillors, activists and deliverers to convey your message to the public. You will build relationships with the local newspapers, radio stations and regional television, you will attend training sessions, receive policy briefings, anything to make you a better candidate, anything that increases your chance of winning. You will persuade, cajole, inspire in equal measure until polling day and then, if you’re lucky and the voters are convinced…
  8. You will be elected as a Liberal Democrat MP. The work won’t stop though. You’ll have casework, meetings to attend, speeches to make, press releases to issue. You will have staff to help you with this, and you will have the pleasure of serving your community. Hopefully, you will make enough of a difference to justify your re-election.
Easy, really… But don’t worry, there be plenty of friendly people wanting to help you on your way…


Anders said...

Good post Mark. But I'd add: Don't worry if you don't make it straightaway. We all get knock backs no matter how hard we try but we respect people who keep trying. Speak to people who have made it or to people in the campaigns department as they could give you a lot of really good advice. Also, try people who have moved from ordinary member to prominent position in a short space of time (Ros Scott is a good example, although I'm not trying to crawl) as most are very friendly, down to earth and genuinely interested. We aren't an elitist party and will happily encourage people who are ambitious.

Ste said...

Mark, just found your blog by chance, and love the style of it....which I may borrow from, as the style (and sadly, frequency, sometimes) of mine needs a relaunch.

Good luck Thursday, we are gonna need it, but at least, in my little neck of the woods, a very good Town Councillor has a good chance of taking a Tory seat, meaning Huntingdon John Major heartland....will go totally Orange. Cons are sure to retain control, but hopefully, we can do our little bit in what was once totally blue territory.

Ste Greenall, LibDem Dist. Cllr, Huntingdon East