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New Year's Message from the Party President

January 1, 2009 1:06 PM
By Baroness Ros Scott in Message to members - www.baronessrosscott.blogspot.com

Firstly, I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year, and hope that you enjoyed the Christmas break in the company of family, friends and loved ones.

For me, the year starts with a new job, a key one in building a stronger, more vibrant, more successful Party, and I'm really looking forward to the next two years as your President. I've spent the past two months planning and organising, meeting with key Party officials and leadership figures, and talking to some of my distinguished predecessors to gain an insight as to their perspective on the job.

I intend to hit the ground running, dividing my time between the two key elements of the job, internal party management, mostly based in London, and meeting and enthusing activists and members across the country.

The year starts with a key meeting of the Federal Executive, and I'd like to welcome all those who will be serving, especially those who are new to our work. Their fresh thinking will hopefully complement the experience of those returning for another term.

I'll be attending Party events this month in;

  • Brentwood and Ongar
  • Bury St Edmunds
  • Canterbury
  • Thanet North
  • Yeovil

I'll also be campaigning in Wales and will start February by attending the joint conference of Devon & Cornwall and Western Counties in Taunton.

The diary is already filling up as far ahead as the Autumn, but if you want me to visit your Local, State or Regional Party for an event, to campaign or to help a recruitment drive, let me know. My aim will be to combine a number of events in the same weekend, so that I can make the most effective use of my time, and hope to work with Regional and State Parties to make this possible.

We have key elections this year, although I can't remember a year when they were anything else. With County and Unitary elections delayed to be on the same day as the European ones, we have an opportunity to make gains at both levels, although it won't be easy. The political volatility makes developing a successful strategy more difficult than ever, with wild swings in support for all three major parties potentially making targeting more random.

However, at a time when we are the only major party with something new to say on the economy, calling for sustainable investment in our nation's future, rather than Labour's short term, high cost VAT cut, and setting the agenda ahead of the idea-free Conservative opposition, we need to get our message to the country. Our internationalist credentials make us a credible voice in Europe, on the current conflict in the Middle East and on building consensus on preventing climate change. This is something to be trumpeted, not soft played.

Politics in this country is founded on the local activities of thousands of activists and supporters, and, as Liberal Democrats, we are extremely fortunate to be able to combine that support with the professional skills of our staff in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff, not forgetting those employed at regional and local level. I hope to make all of you feel valued and supported over the coming months and years, so that you feel enthused to work for the victories that gain credibility for our cause.

So, good luck and best wishes for the year to come, whether you're a candidate, an activist, a Party officer or an employee (and many of you will fall in a number of those categories!). I look forward to working alongside you in 2009.