Helo, Layla yma. Wrth i'r argyfwng coronafeirws ddirwyn i ben, mae gennym ni gyfle. Gallwn ni ddefnyddio'r argyfwng i ailadeiladu Teyrnas Unedig sy'n dosturiol, yn wyrdd ac yn gydweithredol, gan roi'r un cyfle i bawb gael ffynnu.
Lle mae gan bawb fynediad at ailhyfforddi ac addysg o ansawdd uchel. Lle mae gweithwyr allweddol yn cael parch a chyflog teg. Lle mae lefelau isel o lygredd aer yn gyffredin. Lle mae gwleidyddion yn gweithio gyda'i gilydd i helpu pobl fregus gyda mesurau fel Incwm Sylfaenol Cyffredinol.
Rydw i'n gwrando ar aelodau a phleidleiswyr, ac rydw i eisiau gweithio gyda nhw i adeiladu gweledigaeth ar gyfer dyfodol ein plaid a'n gwlad. Ymunwch â'm hymgyrch i fod yn Arweinydd y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, a rhannwch y dudalen hon â'ch ffrindiau a'ch teulu.
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Around the world, people are looking to their leaders for guidance. Some people will feel safe and hopeful. Others may feel uneasy and question their nation’s choices. In moments like this, decent leadership can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.
For me, the best leadership is calm, measured and purposeful. It is open, transparent and direct. Good leaders spell out what they and their parties stand for, allowing people to grasp the ideas, embrace change and move forward together.
So, as I enter the Liberal Democrat leadership race, I want to make my vision for our country clear. In the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, I want to champion a more compassionate and cooperative United Kingdom that gives every person and our planet a chance to thrive.
Where everyone has access to high-quality education and retraining. Where politicians work together to help the most vulnerable, and key workers are respected and paid a fair wage. Where we cherish nature as the finite resource it is, rather than continue the managed exploitation we have now.
As a former teacher, education is close to my heart. I joined the Lib Dems because their education policies are best placed to ensure every child is world-ready, not just exam-ready. The educational inequalities that existed when I first joined the party more than 12 years ago are still here; in fact, many have become further entrenched.
When I reimagine the education system, I picture more investment in the early years, to reduce inequalities before children get into a classroom. More power for teachers to design a world-class education system, which recognises and supports children with practical skills as well as academic. And, a nationwide adult retraining programme to get people back on their feet and into work.
Our economic approach also needs urgent change. As the country recovers, we mustn’t leave anyone in our society behind. A Universal Basic Income is necessary to support those who fall on hard times. We must invest in education, health, social care and public services, and give all frontline workers the support they deserve. And let’s prioritise our wellbeing and mental health alongside economic growth, because now more than ever, we need to move forward positively and compassionately.
We have an opportunity to steal a march on the environmental crisis, too. In the past months, travel has reduced, and the demand for coal and oil has plummeted. This presents us with a precious opportunity to flatten the climate curve.
I want to see a UK which is not just carbon neutral but carbon negative. Young people, given they will have to carry this burden for us all, should be involved in the decision-making processes for achieving this ambitious goal. We must acknowledge the part that biodiversity catastrophe plays in pandemics, and recognise that to build resilience, we need to talk about habitat as well as carbon.
In areas such as education, economy and environment, the country simply must move forward, rather than look back. This is where I would start as the leader of the Liberal Democrats, along with our ongoing campaigns to reform our political system and challenge threats to human rights in the face of populism and authoritarianism, at home and abroad.
Of course, to make real progress and seriously challenge the Conservatives, the Lib Dems need to move forward as well.
For too long, we’ve become more defined by what we’re against, rather than what we’re for. The party lost trust when many supporters questioned our judgement in entering a coalition government. Subsequent leaders have struggled to move us on from this. We’ve also lost our campaigning edge; we need to rediscover a bold vision and also build the machine to deliver it.
Under new leadership, the Lib Dems must work together at all levels of the party, to rebuild our campaigning strength, listen to voters and restore trust. We need a national brand that complements local council successes, rather than imposing messages that work against local aims. We need to build broad support across the country, and we need to live (and look like) our values of diversity and inclusion.
This approach has worked in my constituency, where building cross-party support, listening to voters, and a strong campaigning effort led to an 8,000-vote increase in my majority in December.
I’ve listened to Lib Dems members and cross-party voters since then, and I’ve included their contributions in my bold forward-vision for our future, with education, economic fairness and the environment at its heart.
The sliver of silver in the clouds of this crisis is the once in a generation opportunity make our country fairer and more liberal. The moment for change exists, and with the right leader and vision, progress is within the Lib Dems’ grasp. We just need to reach out, seize this moment, and move forward as a strong and united party.
That’s why, throughout the leadership contest, I will be asking Lib Dems members to move forward together – and Vote Layla.
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It hasn’t been an easy few months for our party since the General Election. After our brilliant successes in last year’s local and European elections, and notwithstanding some notable highs like gaining NE Fife, Richmond and St. Albans, we came down with a nasty bump in December.
Since then, I’ve been in listening mode. I planned a series of visits to listen to party members and the public. I learned a lot while door-knocking in Yorkshire and Cornwall and had more planned. And then the virus hit. Since then I’ve been listening to Lib Dem members up and down the country via Zoom.
What people have told me, members and public alike, chimes with the content of Dorothy Thornhill’s excellent General Election Review.
If we want to move forward, we must implement the recommendations as quickly as possible.
There is still strong support for the party at the local level, where people see and like their local Lib Dem team. But a lot of that support does not transfer to the party nationally.
Our party is resilient. And we are stronger than the pundits would have you believe – leading 50 councils and holding thousands of council seats. Not to mention far more second places. But if we are to regain our strength at all levels, we need to change the way we operate radically.
We need to set ourselves some clear and ambitious targets. We should aim to rebuild our support and capacity at every level from the bottom up over the next decade. We need to win buy-in from the whole party if this is to succeed, it can’t just be top-down.
We need to develop a message with broad appeal. It must be based firmly on our liberal and social democratic principles, but it needs to resonate across every part of the UK and with all communities. The party sustained success under both Paddy and Charles with that approach.
We’ve got to work together. The report is clear that the Leader shouldn’t decide everything and can’t solve every problem. They need to work as a team with the President and CEO to drive the party forwards, and that team spirit is required throughout the whole party.
We need to listen. To the states and regions, to candidates and volunteers. We need to ensure that our local government base is fully tied in with the party’s decisions. There is a lot the parliamentary team can learn from many of our council groups!
We need to support campaigners at every level. Yes, we need to relearn that winning target parliamentary seats doesn’t happen overnight, believe me, eight years’ experience in my constituency has taught me that. We also need to ensure that we are providing materials and advice to everyone – from a Local Party trying to win their first ward to an area we are trying to win the council.
Winning at every level is essential. In its own right, and because we will not win large numbers of parliamentary seats without building from the ground up.
We need to become a party of innovation and learning. The party is full to the brim of great ideas, and there is plenty of best practice. Yet, for whatever reason, we are not nearly as good at sharing it as we should be. ALDC already does a lot of this well – and without massive resources – we need to learn from their approach.
We should invest in training and development. For a primarily voluntary party, we spend next to nothing on training and development. We need to spend a lot more, and that investment will reap dividends. We also need to ensure that we provide proper support and materials for everyone who takes on a voluntary role in the party.
We need to ensure that our party values every member. We should cherish diversity and ensure that we all treat each other with respect. Any and every contribution should be valued, and we should accept that everyone will contribute differently. We need to be better at harnessing skills, knowledge and experience, and at providing opportunities for people to develop.
As the General Election Review makes clear, it will be a massive challenge to turn our party around. The new Leader has a pivotal role to play, in some cases leading from the front, and in others, supporting other members of the team.
I’m up for the challenge. Knowing the resilience of Liberal Democrat campaigners, I’m confident you are too.
Become a volunteer
There are so many ways that you can help the campaign.
The most important is signing up to ring members. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before - Lib Dem members are nice people and will be happy to hear from the campaign! We want to contact as many members as possible: this allows us to know who is backing our campaign, so we can use our resources effectively. This is a perfect job for you if you want to be on the ‘frontline’ of the campaign, and offers great flexibility: you can make a call or two whenever you have a spare couple of minutes!
Or you can become a social media champion! This means using your platforms to let your friends and family know why you think Layla should be our party’s next leader. You will be sharing Layla’s tweets and graphics, adding your own thoughts and interacting with other members doing the same. All you need is a social media account and a commitment to sharing Layla’s positive values.
We also need people to share why they are voting for Layla by filming or writing a short endorsement. We want to hear from members all across the country - whether you’ve been a councillor for thirty years or just joined yesterday! You just need to grab a camera or your phone and spend around forty-five seconds telling people what inspires you about Layla and her campaign. Or you can write a short statement saying the same. We’ll feature them on our endorsement page!Become a volunteer