Vote for Layla Moran to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats

Ballot papers for the Liberal Democrat leadership election will start dropping into members’ inboxes from 9am tomorrow.

As explained on Lib Dem Voice earlier, these are being sent in batches of around 4,500 per hour, so your email might not reach you until Friday morning. Postal ballots may take another couple of days to arrive.

When you do receive your ballot paper, please consider giving Layla Moran your first preference vote.

The Liberal Democrats are at a crossroads. We lost a considerable amount of support as a result of the coalition, and despite a resurgence thanks to our position on Brexit, that additional support translated to just four more seats in 2017 – and one fewer in December.

The choice facing our party now is very simple: either we continue with the legacy of coalition and post-coalition mediocracy, where we are currently averaging just 8% in the polls, or we look to the future and build a modern, energised party to campaign and win elections at every level.

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Mental health awareness and resilience: a personal reflection

My blog has always been a place for personal reflection. This post is no exception, but comes with a very clear trigger warning: if you are struggling with your mental health at the moment, you might not want to read on.

This weekend I presented my first RAFAC mental health awareness and resilience course of 2020 to ten adult volunteers in Kent.

For me (and, yes, as an instructor I know I am biased) the course is one of the most important of all of those available within our organisation.

Young people are under an immense amount of pressure and face many different individual risk factors, and I believe that as volunteers working with young people it is important we understand those risks, the effects they can have and what we can do to help support our cadets.

But this article isn’t about the course, and I have no desire to betray either the contents of the course or the confidences of those who participate. Instead, this article is about me: my own personal reflection.

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Election of Hope: Part 9 – The Declaration

Election of Hope is a short story based around a Liberal Democrat candidate in a marginal constituency in the 2019 general election. All of the main protagonists are entirely fictional, although there is some reaction to developments during the real election campaign. Election of Hope is presented for entertainment purposes only and is not written in an attempt to influence anyone’s vote in the general election.

Matt stood stoically on the stage looking out across the sea of party activists eagerly awaiting the result of the election. He was sandwiched between Linda to his right and Hayley to his left, while Janice Butler, the chief executive of the local council, stood poised to read the results of the election.

Inclement weather had prevented ballot boxes from polling stations on the constituency’s remote islands from being collected overnight, and so the count had been delayed until Friday afternoon, once the national result was already known. They would either be adding another member of parliament to an already surprisingly large 78-seat majority for the Conservatives, or ensuring the Liberal Democrats would end the election without a net loss of seats.

The candidates and agents had already been given the result, as they are required to be given the opportunity to ask for a recount if the result was close, but in the event it was not necessary. As was expected of them, the three candidates stood expressionless behind Janice so as not to suggest which way the result was going before the declaration had been made.

“I, Janice Butler,” the chief executive began, causing the room to fall silent, “being the acting returning officer for the constituency of South West Carn, give notice that the number of votes given for each candidate was as follows.

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Forbidden

Inspired by the story of Matthew Tyler

Deep in my soul, a secret hid,
From view of those who would forbid,
By every method, old and new,
Expressing how I feel for you.

Each time we meet, you do not know,
The passion burning deep below.
Longingly I look, yet your gaze drifts past,
And falls upon another in the cast.

My body shakes, my soul fit to burst,
This lust for you cannot be reversed.
My self-control, my reserve is tested,
The beating of my heart, arrested.

Is there something in the way you jest,
That has my heart and soul possessed?
In the deepest depths of my despair,
I feel no pain when you are there.

Yet I’m still not sure of the appeal,
Can what I’m feeling really be real?
I fear, with shame, it isn’t right,
To think this way each day and night.

It’s you I long for, there’s no one more,
Your very being my heart adores.
Yet I march on, my feelings hidden,
For loving you is, it seems, forbidden.

Election of Hope: Part 8 – The Hustings

Election of Hope is a short story based around a Liberal Democrat candidate in a marginal constituency in the 2019 general election. All of the main protagonists are entirely fictional, although there is some reaction to developments during the real election campaign. Election of Hope is presented for entertainment purposes only and is not written in an attempt to influence anyone’s vote in the general election.

“Fuck!”

Matt jumped out of his seat and swung round towards Alex, whose sudden exclamation had startled him. He had only been out of hospital for one day, and the two of them were desperately trying to prepare for the hustings.

“What?” Matt responded irritably. Alex’s head was buried in his phone and he took a few seconds to remember Matt was in the room.

“YouGov have updated their MRP model,” he said eventually, still trying to hastily digest the new information.

Relieved that it was nothing serious, Matt allowed himself to relax. He sat back down on the sofa and placed his notes on the coffee table. “Go on,” he said eagerly.

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