The Liberal Democrats have just announced the results of their internal elections for party committees. What’s noticeable this year is an unusually big churn in the membership of these committees, with several high-profile defeats (such as Jeremy Hargreaves and David Boyle losing their places on the Federal Policy Committee).
The results don’t suggest any ideological shift; social liberals still predominate. What seems to be happening is that the competition is getting much tougher. Unless you are (in party terms) a celebrity, to win you must campaign hard and maintain all-year-round visibility (sound familiar?).
Liberator hears that Liberal Democrat peers were ‘encouraged’ to stand for the Federal Policy Committee. Of the seven peers who stood, five were elected (Sal Brinton, Tony Greaves, Chris Rennard, Jim Wallace, Phil Willis) and only two defeated (Mike German, Jonathan Marks).
There was no encouragement to former MPs to stand for the Federal Conference Committee, but four were elected (Sandra Gidley, Evan Harris, Liz Lynne, David Rendel).
Meanwhile, the forces of darkness were nowhere to be seen. That’s hardly surprising, since they never run slates for internal elections, preferring to win power and influence via generous donations to the leader’s office.
The one attempt at a right-wing slate came from Liberal Reform, the ginger group set up last year by Simon McGrath and friends. This effort scored ‘nul points’, so the party’s committees will sadly be deprived of hearing any further about ‘four-cornered liberalism’.