Thursday, 12 November 2015

My email to Tim and Sal re: Lord Rennard and the Federal Executive


As a follow up to my last post, here is my email on the subject to Tim Farron (Leader of the Liberal Democrats) and Baroness Sal Brinton (Party President):


Dear Tim and Sal,

I'm deeply concerned about the reputational damage to the party caused by the election of Lord Rennard to represent our Lords' group on Federal Executive.

Whatever one's views of the allegations against him, the resultant internal processes, the lack of police action or the Morrissey report and subsequent statements by Helena Morrissey, his name has become a byword for sleaze and harassment within the party - and amongst many in the public: in particular many who might otherwise vote for us.

By electing him to the FE, the Lords have cemented his circle of influence both there and more widely within the party, and sent a signal to many members and potential members that they (and by extension the Party generally) still don't get the impact of his behaviour.

I'm sure you have both had much correspondence on this but I would like to add my name to calls for public statements distancing yourselves from this decision and reinforcing a commitment to rebuilding our party with a culture inclusive of all, particularly those alienated by this turn of events. Whilst we need to respect the processes of the party, I believe that your mandates from the membership give you both the platform from which you can make these points more forcibly than any other senior party figures: and that doing so will be essential to repairing the reputation of the party.

Kind Regards,


Andrew Brown
Bristol

2 comments:

David Evans said...

But how does "rebuilding our party with a culture inclusive of all," work when you are proposing that our leader and our party president distance themselves from the election of a member of the party to a role in the party? Do you really mean "rebuilding our party with a culture inclusive of all, except Chris Rennard?"

Also when you end up writing open letters to the leader and President are you not making things worse for the party by drawing attention to your statements like "his name has become a byword for sleaze and harassment within the party - and amongst many in the public." Are you sure it is the best interests of the party you are serving, or are you just taking a position and broadcasting it so you can be seen to be taking a position by various people within the party?

I urge you to reconsider and remove this blog.

Andrew Brown said...

Hi David, Thanks for your comment.

I was aware of the irony of talking about inclusiveness in this context as I was typing it, and should have perhaps couched it in different language. However, I stand by point - the elevation of Lard Rennard to a key party committee by a small group of peers alienates many members and potential voters - not doing so, doesn't (other than Rennard himself) and would greatly aid in reaching out and making those people feel at home in, or more favourably inclined towards, the party.

I cannot agree on your second point: our Laundry is already being washed in public - and I believe that it is right to make clear - also publicly - that the Lords have, in this instance, not acted in my name (or those of a good many others). I do not believe the assertion that Rennard's name has become a byword for sleaze is particularly radical suggestion: certainly the people that I speak to in various aspects of life consider it as such. Saying so isn't what is making this situation worse - it was his election to FE which did that.

It's not about being seen to take a position - it's about the position itself. There is no subtext beyond me sharing my thoughts, for the reasons above.