Two weeks ago, English Candidates Committee formally voted to approve the new candidate approval system. We are rather proud of our new baby, and it was with some enthusiasm that I agreed to give a presentation to CONNECT, a fairly new 'ginger group' providing a stepping stone between Liberal Youth and the Liberty Network, outlining how the new process looks. Given the widely-held view that English Candidates Committee as being a secret society (I'm yet to master the special handshake and as for the right gesture with the funny little knife...), this represents a probable world first.
And so to Falmouth, and the Penmere Manor Hotel, where I walked into a session on Media, led by Tessa Munt, Lib Dem PPC for Wells. Tessa has a horde of stories and advice and, whilst we bureaucrats are not often in the media spotlight, it was interesting to hear what she had to say.
And then it was my turn. When presenting material like this, it is important not to give too much away. After all, if you are trying to assess competences, it is hardly going to help if an applicant already knows the answers. So I stuck to an outline of what the exercises are intended to do, what the possible outcomes are and what they mean, and what the competences we seek to test are.
I then invited questions on everything from approval to selection. One interesting point was that there was strong support for the current endorsement rules. Now, I've been a fairly outspoken critic of this element of our selection process, so the strength of feeling was a chance to practice the debate for the discussions ahead.
There was just enough time to have a quick chat with the event organiser, Rab Makki, before it was time to head for the station. Much kudos must go to Rab for his unstinting efforts on behalf of CONNECT, and I'm sure he's already working hard on plans for Bournemouth in September.