The Libertine has interviewed the new members of the Liberal Youth exec on a range of topics, in order to keep you in the loop. Here is the next in the series, an interview with our new Membership Development Officer, Josh Dixon.
1) What is the first thing you will do in office?
I think considering the nature of my role, what is important for me is to get my name out there. I want branches and regions to know who I am and how I can help them. It is a difficult time for the party so our branch chairs, in particular, will need all the help they can get when it comes to engaging with our existing membership as well as in future recruitment drives. So if you’re reading this and you run a Liberal Youth branch then watch this space!
2) Is there anything you would like to say to the other candidate(s)? Is there anyone else you would like to thank, or pay tribute to?
I’d like to thank RON for playing by the rules and making this a nice clean campaign. More importantly, I think we need to thank candidates across the whole election. Having every role contested was not just good for internal purposes, but also external as it creates the image of a vibrant, active Liberal Youth. This is something we need to continue and encourage in future. I would also like to thank Erlend Watson, Helen Duffett and Harry Matthews for their efforts in making this election run as smoothly as it did. Finally, we must thank all those members who took the time to vote. Without them we would not have had the encouraging turnout we had.
3) What do you think is the main challenge facing Liberal Youth?
From my perspective I believe the main challenge for Liberal Youth right now comes right down to the issue of engagement. Yes, we do have issues regarding our relationship with the party and a number of other things, but engaging our membership is still a key issue in my eyes. We need to put forward incentives and reasons to our membership as to why it is beneficial to them to get involved. If we can find ways to boost turnout for elections then we do the same for our conferences, activates and other events!
4) Turnout has risen in this election – how do we take advantage of this and increase involvement in Liberal Youth?
I think the promising turnout should be used as a platform to help push Liberal Youth forward. We need to encourage as many of those who voted as possible to get into contact with us. We need them in the Facebook chat box, at our conferences and engaging with us so we can help them in any way we can. If they felt compelled enough to vote for us, then we should feel compelled to help them find their voice in Liberal Youth and in the party itself.
5) How do you see Liberal Youth acting in relation to the main party?
I think we need to show the main party that we are here to be taken seriously. We should be loud and proud of who we are and what we aim to achieve. I think we need a bigger, more prominent presence at federal conference, so our voices in Liberal Youth can be heard like they have never been heard before. This will mean we may have to do things differently from now on. We cannot just sit behind a stall and feel anonymous, we need to be actively engaging with the party at conference on specific issues that we have campaigned hard on.
6) Tuition Fees.
Tuition fees will continue to be a controversial issues, not just for Liberal Youth but for the party itself. With such ranging views in the party we need to be careful as to how to approach addressing it. I think before any decisions are taking we must constantly remind ourselves of two things. 1) We must not make the mistakes we made on this issue like we did in 2010 and 2) Whatever decisions are made, MUST be made with the interests of the many, many students across the country at heart.
7) How do you see the exec relating to members, local branches, regions and devolved nations?
I think we need to work as a united Liberal Youth. We need to share ideas, work closer together and help each other out in any way possible. If a Uni branch in one place is doing something successfully then why not share those ideas nationally to other branches? We cannot leave branches out in the wilderness to simply fend for themselves anymore. I think if you want to find a way to judge whether my 6 month term is a success or not you will simply have to ask others. It would be very easy for me to say “Look at all these wonderful things I did” when in reality it is those who I will be working with that will (HOPEFULLY) see the true benefits of working with me whilst I am in this post.
Josh Dixon is our new Membership Development Officer.