Why did you decide to run?
Finance Officer is one of the most under-appreciated roles in groups such as Liberal Youth. Almost everything these days costs money and it’s crucial that we have a strong strategy for how we raise and spend ours. We need to ensure that Liberal Youth lives up to its heritage as a bold, often controversial body and doesn’t become a tame party organ like Labour Students or Conservative Future. Good financial management is the key to ensuring we retain our independence from the wider party.
What will be your number one priority if elected?
Whilst it’s crucially important that we examine our existing budgets and work out how we could better spend existing money, I’d actually have to say my number one priority will be working with other members across the party to see what we can do to radically transform our fundraising. I have a number of ideas in this regard such as trying to solicit donations from those over-30s who have money more readily available, especially those that we’ve campaigned for in the past or might do for in the future.
What is the one reason people should vote for you?
Obviously we need someone with a strong head for Maths and an understanding of accountancy practises, as well as the drive to chase people for receipts and the ability to say “no” and make themselves unpopular sometimes but we also really need more from our Financial Officer.
We need fresh, innovative ideas. Interest for politics among the population and particularly the young is in terminal decline. In addition to this, we are in government doing unpopular things. We need the ability to get our liberal message about we can help people’s every-day lives into the schools, the campuses and the workplace and not simply exist as some small-minded, self-referential clique that further reinforces the people’s experiences with politics.
We need the right message, the right techniques and an indefatigable perseverance if we can hold to achieve this. We also though need sound and secure finances. I believe I can offer these.
What areas of Liberal Youth do you think need cutting?
I don’t think any of what we do should be cut, it’s more a case that we need to examine our budgets to see where we can increase our efficiency. Fresh ideas and the changing nature of technology should allow us to examine whether the way we go about stuff is the optimal way of spending our money. Finding ways of doing the same job but for less isn’t “stingy” as the money will be re-invested and allow us to have a larger footprint on the ground, whether it’s in one-off campaigns promoting Liberal Youth policy or whether it’s campaigning for the party.
I also don’t think it’s my prerogative to start deciding what areas of Liberal Youth are the most important. I think that before we implement any future spending plans we should consult our membership about how they view their priorities for Liberal Youth.
What will be the test for your term of office to be successful?
I am determined that we need to bring in money from outside of our impoverished student core. As an organisation that welcomes under 30s we need to do more to involve young professionals, such as myself, but also, crucially, those over 30. I would like to setup a “Friends of Liberal Youth” for £15 or so and ensure we have high uptake from our councillor base and from those involved in the national party.
Will you extend the funding for IR Cymru & Liberal Youth Scotland?
The current funding system for IR Cymru and Liberal Youth Scotland seems incredibly unsatisfactory. One way or another, I’d like to ensure by the end of my term that we have a system that is transparent and fair.
I’d like to start “tagging” all donations to LY as being either “federal”, “English”, “Scottish” or “Welsh” with the latter three being passed along to the respective bodies and the “federal” option being split evenly between the three based on the percentage of LY membership that they comprise.
I also think the issue of devolution goes beyond IR Cymru and LYS. Liberal Youth England is still a work in progress but I think we should begin supporting their efforts to increase the autonomy of the regions, in both decision-making powers and funding models.
Tommy Long is running to be Finance Officer. You can find out more him and the other candidates here
All candidates were invited to be interviewed.