Saturday, January 01, 2011

The President is dead, the President is dead, long live the President!

And so the Presidency has been handed over, and my term as First Husband/Presidential Consort is over. Hasn't it been an adventure? We have travelled thousands of miles, by train, car and aeroplane, eaten precisely no rubber chicken, made a bunch of new friends and discovered corners of the country that had hitherto been merely places on a map - a number of which we quite fancy returning to.

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But this is far from the end for the Ros and Mark show. At midnight, we took up our new roles as members of the ELDR Council, and resumed past roles as Vice Chair and Secretary of our Regional Party. There's even a gig in the diary for later this month - we're going to Basildon - so we may yet be touring in the year ahead. You know where to find us if you want us...

And, of course, there is a District Council campaign to keep us occupied until May. Ros is determined that it will be done properly, and has designed a campaign plan that will keep me on the move until the election is won or lost. You can expect to hear more about that as Winter turns to Spring.

I've got my new column for Liberal Democrat Voice on internal Party matters (which reminds me, I really need to start thinking about my first column...), whilst Ros takes up her new post on the House of Lords Appointments Commission, and starts work as a member of the EU Sub-Committee G - Social Policies and Consumer Protection (it covers health, education, employment, consumer protection, equality, cultural issues and sport).

We'll also be in Sheffield for Spring Conference, for the symbols of office, the gavel and the copy of 'On Liberty' must be handed on to the new President.

Ah yes, a new President... I suppose that it's time to confess that I didn't vote for Tim. Not because I don't think that he'll be a very good President, but because, as I noted at the time, I was very conflicted as to what the Party needs at this time. There were moments when I thought that members needed a President to 'stir the blood', others when a quiet word might be more effective.

I clearly reflected opinion amongst the members, given how tight the result was, so I can be fairly relaxed about the outcome, and I have every confidence that Tim will go on to do us proud. And if he has any questions along the way, I'm sure that Ros will be only too happy to offer the benefits of wisdom she gleaned during two of the most turbulent years of the Party's history.

And so, may I end this post by wishing Tim the very best of luck in the two years ahead. The Presidency offers opportunities to get to the very heart of our Party, to make it a healthier, happier organisation and to be inspired by the efforts of people you might never have met otherwise. It also offers access to every corner of the Party, whether you want it or not, and a platform from which members and activists can be inspired.

There will be moments when he'll wonder why on Earth he took the job on. Far from home, on a cold, dark evening, on a railway platform waiting for a delayed train with the prospect of hours of discomfort before finding the sanctuary of a warm bed and a kind word, one's spirits can falter. But, all in all, our two years were an adventure, a privilege and a pleasure.

Time to move on though, for there are adventures enough ahead...


Caron said...

I think I prefer "The President is relaxing in fluffy dressing gown having coffee brought to her by her beloved consort" rather than your headline:-).

Seriously, though, you two have been marvellous. Ros has been the best president ever and we'll miss her and you.

Hope you get the chance to have a well earned rest, but if yo do feel the need to wait in some stations, you are more than welcome to come to Scotland to help again in the elections. Ros did so much last time and has already helped for this campaign and it would be fabulous to see you again.

Mark Pack said...

Thanks for all you've done Mark. The 'consort' role is often much under-appreciated in all sorts of political roles, but you've done an excellent job.

Mark Valladares said...


Thank you for those kind words. I doubt that we'll get to Scotland before the elections, as Ros is determined to make sure that I have the best possible shot at obtaining the 17.8% swing I need to become a District Councillor. On the other hand, we may well make it up at a later point...

Mark Valladares said...


It's fair to say that the job is under-appreciated, but then there aren't a lot of examples to compare. Few political spouses have the interest, the time and the means to do it. I did, and it was fun.

But thanks for saying so. You're too kind...