Since Sir Vince Cable became the new leader of the party he has undertaken a tour of the country to meet with members and answer any questions they have. It is worth noting that Sir Vince has decided to do this and is under no obligation to do so, so a very deserved mark of respect to him for doing this, he must be a very busy man.
None the less he dropped in on Chester as part of this and we eagerly went along. There was a tremendous following from Wirral which was fantastic to see, we took up more than a whole row of seats!
Sir Vince arrived in a completely unassuming manner and was introduced to the group by members of the team from Cheshire Liberal Democrats, organising the event. He was met with an enthusiastic applause from an eager crowd.
He opened up by giving a short talk on what his plans for the party were and the future. He explained that he had been putting the finishing touches to he novel and partaking in dancing when the snap election was called and was just as surprised as everyone else was when he had to go on the election trail so soon. Then a matter of weeks since he was now the leader of the party. Or as Sir Vince put it,
“I find myself the leader of your party”.
This was met by some appreciative smiles and nods from the crowd. Another point that Sir Vince made during his opening remarks, which was met with a well deserved rousing applause, was that he took on the position with the aim to be Prime Minister, not mearly to make up numbers and become a close second. To make the changes that we want, we first have to be elected to make these changes. There was a short interval for coffee, raffle tickets and a last chance to get any burning questions in before the questions started.
There were many questions from everyone in attendance, so they were batched as to get round as many topics as possible in the short space of Sir Vince’s valuable time we had. The topics included, the future of the Liberal Democrats, Brexit plans, media coverage, the economy, nuclear weapons and their use/need to have them, environmental issues, student fees, the legalisation of cannabis (Vince did admit that this was not his area of expertise and would need some assistance with this one) and looking at the political system and where it is broken and ways in which to fix it. He made it known that there were areas in politics that the Liberal Democrats can aim for, which is the middle ground. There is quite a large area of ground that has been forgotten about by the hard right and the hard left, which we can campaign for, and win.
There were a number of points that I will take from the whole meeting, which were to make changes we need to win seats, we need to aim for winning, and we never need to be apologetic for being part of a coalition government, we did some good work during that time that we need to make people aware of. There was an opportunity for pictures with Sir Vince at the end of the session which me and another one of our Wirral Lib Dems were lucky enough to get. Sir Vince was an absolute gentleman, and even when everyone was hurried along due to a tight time schedule he still found the time to ask questions and take an interest in each person he met. I was very humbled by him. Sir Vince was not able to chat to everyone, and had to be on his way to Leeds for an evening session so was hurried out to make his next tour stop.
Sir Vince, along with Tim Farron have given me some incredible advice in the short meetings I have had with them. They advice regarding both extraordinary people and not what I expected politicians to be like at all. Their words of wisdom will stay with me for a long time and I and my very grateful to have met them and mind learned valuable lessons from them, not just in politics, but in life too.
Every change we can make takes a courageous small step. We can do this as individuals, but most importantly, as a part of the Liberal Democrats proudly in Wirral.