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From Iain Donaldson, a Manchester Liberal Democrat Learn more

Political Perspective: More Vacuums than Dyson

by Iain Donaldson on 26 May, 2015

I have been attacked elsewhere by elected members of the FE for stating that the creation of the Wheelhouse was to fill a vacuum left by the Federal Party Campaigns and Communications Committee (CCC).  I stand by that assessment and I have to say that the fact that the CCC feels it was disconnected enough from the General Election campaign to conduct a review of it dispassionately is yet another example of that vacuum.

Some claim that it failed, but the Wheelhouse was cheered when presented to conference , I suspect the cheer was because everyone but those on the FE and the CCC were fully aware of the vacuum it filled.  Interestingly the CCC was so disconnected from the party it did not even shout ouch when the Wheelhouse was forcefully dropped on its toes.
Let me now make clear that the vacuum that is the CCC is not the only vacuum at the top of the party, and that some vacuums do not even have committees pretending to fill them.

This party will now face a massive fundraising crisis, it always does after a General Election, and I would propose that this has a lot more do with the lack of a Federal Fundraising Committee.  The membership boost will soften the blow of the loss of funds from MP’s and the people who back them,  but that vacuum has got to be filled if we are serious about getting our hands back onto the reigns of power.
On the subject of those local members, we have membership officers locally, and a Membership Committee and Vice Chair membership Regionally, but at the Federal Level there is not Membership Committee, yet another vacuum needing to be filled.
Then we come to technology, where we have local data officers and yet there is no Federal Data Committee responsible for reviewing and securing the data-connectivity of the party. Could this help explain why different parts of the party have paid extortionate sums for different data management applications that store the same data?  This is another vacuum waiting to be filled and in a party with an over-representation of techies not a vacuum that ever needed to exist.
These failures are not of the members serving on committees, job but in the structures, which mean that no matter how much work members are doing it is done in vacuums and wholly disconnected from and with no impact or influence on the rest of the party.
I have said for some time we need to reorganise the party from top to bottom, we need to separate the elected party and the paid party from the voluntary party and create clear lines of authority and delegation for each and we need above all to ensure that every member feels valued.  That value will best be shown by tackling the failings in the party and making it work again.