The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Kelly-Marie Blundell gets the Guildford Lib Dem nod as PPC for 2015

with 3 comments

Last night Kelly-Marie Facebooked & Tweeted (and probably in other places where I don’t follow her) announced that she had been selected by the Guildford Liberal Democrats to be their candidate for the 2015 General Election. It wasn’t exactly a surprise as most people that knew the situation thought that it was going to go that way but it wasn’t a fait accompli.

With lots of talk within the party at the moment focused on women and the fact only seven of the 56 MPs (Mike Hancock currently is an Independent MP following his ‘resignation’ of the party whip earlier this week) are women has caused a bit of a stir shall we say. Seven of 56 is not exactly a great ratio and my GCSE maths comes up with that is one female MP for every seven men. As a party that promotes equality that is not a great figure and reflects poorly on the party.

However I think it is fair to point out that the Lib Dems do not have what you could call ‘safe seats’ where women can be parachuted into and then bring up those ratios and learn on the job as it were. This is why the party has to develop keen, hard working and ultimately electable women (as well as men) and get them in a position where they can win both nominations in target seats and also in turn win said elections.

I am on the record as saying that I don’t believe that sex is a barrier within the Liberal Democrats. I am also on the record that I don’t believe in positive discrimination. I want the local parties to nominate and back the best candidate in their opinion for their constituency based on whatever criteria they have laid down. Whether that is they want a young person to re-energise the local party and work from the ground up on a long-term project, whether they want someone experienced who can come in and win the seat at the next election or want someone local who has a long track record who the voters can relate to. Whatever it is I don’t think that gender, sexuality, race etc. should (and neither do I believe) it is a factor.

There has been some talk about what if Mike Hancock resigned not only the party whip but also his job as MP then who would the Lib Dems put up. The common consensus is that Gerald Vernon-Jackson would be the best placed to defend that seat. However many have argued that they would be disappointed by this because the party needs more women and this would be a good place to put one in a position to win despite them not probably being the ideal candidate. This also happened in Eastleigh with a significant proportion of Lib Dems unhappy that a white male got the nod. Sometimes the best candidate will be a man and sometimes it will be a woman, if it is a man then people shouldn’t (in my opinion) get mad because of this.

Now on to Kelly-Marie and I think she is a wonderful example not only to young women members but to all young members both men and women. To borrow directly from her own site and in her own words:

Always politically active, since joining the Liberal Democrats, Kelly-Marie has managed parliamentary and local election campaigns in Ashford in Kent, and is now an executive officer of Guildford local party. She was elected by the party to the Federal Conference Committee and Federal Policy Committee in September 2012 and chairs the Policy Equality Impact Assessment Committee. She is also a South East Regional representative and elected by the Social Liberal Forum to sit on their Council in July 2012.

So as you can see, she has put in the work and the time to gain valuable experience in many issues of politics and has shown she is an excellent candidate. You can read more about her at the site linked to above but if you know her or at least know of her then you’ll know she is a fantastic choice for Guildford and the local party there have put themselves in a position to really attack a seat that in 2001 returned a Lib Dem MP.

The best way for young people who aspire to serve is to work hard, work on campaigns, go to meetings and learn from those who have done it before. The more you absorb from others to add to your own ideas and opinions then you more rounded you’ll become and the more valuable an asset you’ll be. This is the same in any profession but in politics it is one of the hardest places to just bluff your way through.

So good luck to Kelly-Marie for her Guildford 2015 campaign. If the people of Guildford elect her then they will have an intelligent and hard-working MP. A pretty darn good combination you might say. For other young and ambitious Lib Dems I would say that Kelly-Marie is one of the people you should try and hunt out at conference or drop off an e-mail too because she would be a valuable source of advice for how to get to where you might want to be – a PPC in a seat that is winnable.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 8th, 2013 at 11:20 am

Posted in Politics

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3 Responses to 'Kelly-Marie Blundell gets the Guildford Lib Dem nod as PPC for 2015'

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  1. First of all, well done to Kelly-Marie successfully selected as PPC for Guildford. I totally agree we need more women, young people and BAME in Parliament. Only 28% of recent council election candidates were women, not good enough, I don’t know % of young people standing for county councils? Most county council meetings are held during working days so how can young people be involved, paid jobs or giving up? I do feel all council meetings should be in the evenings thus encouraging ALL people to be actively involved in the community politics etc.
    Now I want to point out that, even I didn’t get selected for Guildford last night, it is very very difficult for Deaf BSL user (myself – 25 years in the Party, twice elected borough councillor, CEO, so on) to try so hard to be selected in any winnable or target seats. I will keep trying until I hope one day the Party will recognise my hard work.
    In Parliament, as far as I know, only 6 MPs are publicly known as disabled MPs – working out about 1% comparing with the national disability population percentage of 10%. This is totally disgraceful probably much far worser than women, BAME, young people. Yet, I am still here to fight the good fight, showing my competence, ideas, experience and skills, not my deafness and speech impairment – hopefully one day I shall become positive example to those who are well underrepresented. Thanks

    David Buxton

    8 Jun 13 at 12:45 pm

  2. Neil you are a star for writing this exceptionally flattering piece, thank you!

    We badly need more women in parliament, not just within the party. However, without all women shortlists, which I would advocate using until we level the playing field, we will struggle to do so.

    There are strong female candidates out there, but the time and energy it takes to get selected, let alone the years before hand where you build up your presence and reputation, take their toll. I went out socially for the first time in months on Saturday. With non-politicians. It was a rare experience!

    David was a strong competitor in Guildford, and I hope to see him succeed elsewhere. However, I will mention I am also a candidate with disabilities, affected by arthritis and fibromyaligia, both affecting my mobility and dexterity, and I hope I can provide a voice for the 10 million people with disabilities in the UK.

    Always happy to chat to people about campaigning too.

    Thanks again Neil, see you soon
    KM

  3. Excellent piece, two tiny spelling mistakes in the penultimate paragraph which you may want to amend: damn and to.

    Wendy Taylor

    8 Jul 14 at 10:48 pm

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