Candidate Statements Autumn 2017

Full Candidate List:

Chair

Natalie Bird & Oliver Craven

Gareth Shelton

Director

April Preston

Treasurer

Patrick Streeter

Access & Diversity

Evan Mortimer

Non-Portfolio (4 posts)

Luke Graham

Tristan Gray

Hermione Peace

George Potter

Fran Oborski

Joe Toovey


Chair

 

NATALIE BIRD & OLIVER CRAVEN

Who are we?
Natalie Bird –  I am a member of Hazel Grove Lib Dems. I am part of the Northwest Regional Executive Committee and the English Council, and will be looking to build a vision for the North west in the future. I have over 15 years experience in Financial services working for Global Custody Banks and global asset managers both in London and in Manchester. I believe that this point in time gives us the opportunity to win a new voting bloc and get new members but to actively do this we have to capture the public’s imagination again at various levels in society. I believe that if we develop the right policies, Radical Association can and will have a huge impact on shaping the direction of the party in the future.

Oliver Craven – I am a member from Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham and serve as its treasurer. I am currently in my last year of sixth form and have a particular interest in economics and in education issues.

What issues do we want to promote?
Homelessness – There is within society at the moment and epidemic of homelessness. This is reaching heightened levels due to various social and economic reasons. I would like the RA to develop new and innovative solutions to this issue which i believe can be easily done especially if we consider the numbers of empty housing stock each council owns. I would like us to develop a clear stance on this and for a motion to be set for spring conference so that we can influence the wider party on this matter.
Food Waste – I find it shocking that in 2017 we are allowing a huge proportion of the UK to use food banks yet providing providing no real challenge to our corporate supermarkets with regard to the food deemed inedible and its usage. I would like to ensure that as a party we are providing real credible challenge around these matters and ensuring that every supermarket in the uk is ensuring that all useable food waste is finding it’s way into the nation’s stomachs and feeding those who are most in need. One policy we could perhaps call for is a shortening of sell by dates by 1-2 days and giving these items to food banks in return for tax relief.
Domestic Violence – The levels of reported domestic violence in this country are shocking. From just the reported cases one woman is killed by her partner every 6 seconds. Within the UK there are are only currently 273 women’s shelters (compare this to the numbers of dogs homes). The courts and legal system are antiquated and hold antiquated viewpoints and do not have real education around these relationships.I would like to see funding a provision for women’s centres and women’s refuges made a priority and a program of real change to be made within our court system by requiring each judge and each magistrate to undertake comprehensive training.
Welfare – With the significant issues with Universal Credit coming to the forefront, it is our belief that Radical Association needs to come up with a workable, fully costed and liberal proposal to replace the UK’s welfare system. It should put trust in the individual and be as universal as possible while also taking into account individual circumstance. Many people are failed by the welfare system and we must fix that. We would continue to support the Social Security working group to find appropriate solutions.
Mental Health – As a party we are usually very strong on mental health. However we believe that we need to go a step further and build cross-service strategies into legislation, similar to the Autism Act. We need to cover some of the biggest mental health issues for example ADHD which has massive impacts on public services, especially crime-related. We would therefore look to produce a motion at conference supporting the charity ADHDAction in its plans to bring this issue before parliament.

 

GARETH SHELTON

My name is Gareth and I am running to be Chair of the Radical Association. After an underwhelming General Election, and clear evidence of voters hungry for real alternatives across the West, a radical and bold platform for the Liberal Democrats has never been more pressing. My experience lies in working with teams to driving growth of small organisations – be they my business, or Liberal Democrat Expand. It would be my hope to help the Radical Association reach the next stage of its growth: with more paid up members, and a real authority on Liberal policy. I am also a recent graduate from the LSE, with a Masters in Political Economy of Europe. As such, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how the Liberal Democrats can re-engage with Europe! I hope I can count on your vote, and look forward to working with you all. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch: @GarethLShelton on Twitter

 


Director

APRIL PRESTON

  • Reach out to pre-existing Liberal Democrat members interested in grassroots politics.
  •  Make a commitment to talent spotting and supporting individuals often overlooked, IE BAME, LGBTQI, disabled so that they are given the same opportunities to prosper as part of our community.
  •  Deliver clear distinct, radically Liberal messaging
  •  As part of evidence based research, forward policy which benefits marginalised peoples and communities and rebuild pre-existing Liberal Democrat commitments.
  •  Radically stand up for the benefits of immigration, free movement, and call out divisive politics used currently by Labour and the Tories.
  •  To employ a jargon-free style which aims to welcome activists from a wide range of backgrounds.

Treasurer

PATRICK STREETER

  • Incumbent RA Treasurer
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Fought 3 past parliamentary elections
  • 13 years’ experience as a councillor
  • Former auditor of the City of London corporation

Access & Diversity Officer

EVAN MORTIMER

Hi all, I’m an autistic non-binary person and feel it is very important that a radical, progressive group practices what it preaches when it comes to inclusion.

In terms of policies, my particular interests are in LGBT equality, disability rights, the welfare system, tackling school bullying, oh… and of course Brexit, which led me to joining the party on 1 July 2016. And I’m sure there’s stuff I’ve forgotten!


Non-Portfolio Officers

LUKE GRAHAM

Hi guys, my name is Luke Graham, and I hope to have your vote in the upcoming RA executive elections.

The reason I’m standing, is I feel the RA has a lot to offer the Lib Dems and I wish to see it continue to grow. I feel that RA could become a very effective campaigning force both within the Party on policy issues, and out on the street getting Lib Dems elected.
If I should be elected I would make this my focus.

I want to get us campaigning and active. The Lib Dems need something in the RA vein to compete with the likes of Momentum. We are quite clearly not there yet, and I admit it’s an ambitious ask, but there is much to learn from the past General Election and how Momentum specifically had success. I know comparisons to Momentum will make certain members nervous, but we should not fear stealing our opponents good ideas and putting that RA/Lib Dem spin on it. To see through any of our ambitions we must start winning, and winning on a radical platform.

I hope to do my part in delivering that.

Thank You for your time, please feel free to contact me if you have further questions or discussion points, and I hope to have your support.

TRISTAN GRAY

My background:
1) I am a two times parliamentary candidate. I stood in the Scottish Parliamentary 2016 and Westminster 2017 elections and bucked national trends by increasing vote share. I campaigned without wider party support in non-target seats and on a platform of radical policies through digital campaigning.
2) I have worked across various industries including public service, sport and software development. I worked as a policy researcher for the States of Jersey and in the Scottish Parliament committee teams. I am presently Vice-President (Campaigns) for Scottish Young Liberals having served as an executive member and on the federal Young Liberals policy committee.
3) I believe that all policies should be evidence-based and future-proof. I support investment and research into large scale renewable energy use, investment in retraining work forces from declining into expanding industries, state house building, decriminalisation of drug possession and sex work, digital rights, negative income tax and land-value tax. My support of these positions is dependent on their continued backing by evidence-based research.
4) I believe all policies should be built by listening to both the facts and to communities who would be impacted by them. Policy solutions should never be built blind to the experiences of those they are about.
5) I believe in our current social climate there is an urgency to developing a policy platform that answers the concerns of those tempted by the populism of the far-right. This platform should provide an alternative and opposition to the far-right, never pandering to hate and underscoring the rights of all and priority of equality and diversity in our society.

What I see the Radical Association becoming:
1) A think-tank producing strong evidence-based and radical policies for Liberal Democrat candidates to run on and to present to Liberal Democrat party conferences.
2) A pressure group driving radical policies both within the Liberal Democrats and across the political spectrum.
3) Leading by example in the Liberal Democrats on policy making and communicating those policies to a broad audience across the UK.

HERMIONE PEACE

  • Young Liberals communications officer

GEORGE POTTER

  • Founding member of the Radical Association
  • Incumbent non-portfolio officer

Cllr FRAN OBORSKI MBE

District Cllr since 1973, County Cllr since 2001
Have at various times Chaired: Environmental Health, Housing, Finance, Planning and Chaired Council at District level; currently Chairing a Review of Local Plan: currently Chair of Children and Families County Council Scrutiny Panel. LibDem Member of LGA Fire Commission. Member of LibDem Delegation to ALDE Congress December 2017.

Strong advocate of complete overhaul of Planning and Housing Policy and Finance to ensure that everyone has access to high quality affordable housing. Allow Councils to borrow to build houses. Freeze the roll out of Universal Credit and reinstate the cuts made by Government. Restore full Housing Benefit to the under 35s. We also need to alter the way in which University places are allocated to ensure that young people from BME communities and from deprived areas have equal access to Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities as is available to young people from more privileged backgrounds. Reinstate Maintenance Grants to Students; reduce the interest rate on Student loans to “Bank of England Base Rate”; restore the Bursary for Student Nurses.

JOE TOOVEY

I’m a current member of the Radical Association executive, and a firm believer that the Liberal Democrats risk falling into irrelevance if we fail to become far more radical and distinctive in our policies and messaging. If elected again, my priorities for the Association in the coming year will be:

— Justifying our radicalism and becoming an influential force within the party. There are many in the party who react with hostility to the word ‘radical’, either because of a fear of alienating current voters or because of its increasing use as an empty buzzword applied to any and all policies. If we’re to be successful in winning support for our ideas within the party, we need to be clear what, specifically, our radicalism is, how our ideals represent a key strand of thought in the liberal and Liberal Democrat traditions, and how a more radical platform is what is needed to win back voters who have lost trust in us and revive the fortunes of the party.

— Holding the party to a clear position on Brexit. Despite the flaws of the amended Brexit motion passed at Autumn Conference, it still explicitly commits the party to fight for an ‘exit from Brexit’ – not the ‘chance of an exit’ position taken by senior party figures, and not merely being pro-single market. The RA must remind the party at every turn that equivocation on the biggest political issue of today is both unacceptable on principle and politically damaging.

— Becoming a source of well-thought-out, radical policy ideas. Our existing working groups on basic income (jointly organised with the SLF – in the future I hope we can replicate this cooperation with other party groups) and housing are doing excellent work and should be supported, and I also think that immigration is an area where a radical, internationalist perspective is much needed. The party is also currently recruiting members for working groups to produce policy papers in a range of areas – the RA should be engaging with these working groups as much as possible, both by making submissions to them and by encouraging members to apply for places on them.

I also have a personal interest in reform of the party’s policy-making structures and the obstacles we face in turning radical ideas into party policy, and this is something I hope to be able to work on during my term.