As a former LDYS organiser, I think it is fair to say that I know pretty much every single “leading activist” within the Lib Dems between the ages of 26 and 35. One has to ask therefore, who is Graeme Smith?

He was apparently the Lib Dem PPC for Loughborough last year, hardly the most exciting of seats, but I’ve never come across him. Strikes me he must have been going nowhere, so took the decision to take the express lane.

Either way, a two-fingered salute to our egotistical erstwhile colleague!


  1. PPC joins call for more local policing
    9.35.04am BST (GMT +0100) Mon 18th Apr 2005

    The Liberal Democrats today pledged to put 10,000 extra police and 20,000 Community Support Officers (CSOs) on the streets of England, Scotland and Wales – an average of approximately 50 extra police and CSOs on the streets of every constituency. The Party would scrap Labour’s flawed plan to charge people for their identity through compulsory national ID cards.

    The Party also pledged to equip officers with hand-held computers and the latest speech recognition technology to cut paperwork and increase the amount of time spent on actual policing.

    Liberal Democrat PPC for Loughborough, Graeme Smith said “when I met with the police back in February it was clear to me that the local service is well organised and is succeeding in tackling crime in this area, but we can take steps to make police work about solving crimes and not about endless paperwork. This will enable further improvements to the police service in Loughborough.”

    Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy said:

    “Crime causes real misery for the victims and no set of statistics can measure the human cost of crime.

    “The fear of crime undermines whole communities. The elderly and vulnerable can feel defenceless which prevents people from living their lives to the full. That’s why our package is based on visible policing.

    “Seeing a police or community support officer on patrol provides positive reassurance and an effective deterrent to would-be criminals. 10,000 new police officers and 20,000 new Community Support Officers would make a real difference in every community.

    “We need our police officers out in the community, not stuck in the station. In an 8 hour shift, the average police officer only spends an hour and a half on patrol. We need to shift that balance. To help achieve this, we will give the police the technology they need and simplify the bureaucracy they face when reporting.”

    Mark Oaten, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, said:

    “Mobile phones and handheld computers are a part of everyday life. But years of mismanagement and under-funding have left the Police without the technology they need to tackle crime.

    “While the rest of us are in the Internet age, the police are stuck in the age of the paper clip. More time is spent by officers in the station filling in forms than out on the streets cutting crime.

    “Liberal Democrats would make sure that every officer who needs a hand-held computer gets one. And we will introduce voice recognition technology to allow officers to complete paperwork on the street without having to return to the station.

    “Voice recognition is already in use in 22 UK hospitals. If our doctors have recognised the importance of using the latest technology to improve efficiency and productivity, why are the police so far behind?”

    Baroness Harris, the former Chair of North Yorkshire Police Authority (1994-2001), added:

    “We need more police, more visible police and more effective police. Community patrols are an excellent way of deterring crime and challenging anti-social behaviour. Community Support Officers who specialise in patrolling can help to re-build the links that have been lost between police and residents, shopkeepers and owners of licensed premises.

    “While Labour has made some progress in this direction, the Liberal Democrats are committed to funding 10,000 officers over and above their pledges. The voters will punish them for going ahead with ID cards as it becomes clear that the scheme will do little to cut crime, terrorism or illegal immigration.”

  2. Liberal Democrats defect to the Labour Party usually because they are offered something (Roger Liddle and Andrew Adonis, for example).

    Precisely what Graeme Smith’s “price” might have been I can only speculate rather uselessly, knowing absolutely nothing about the man, not even having heard of him.

    Some of you might have come across a guy called Martin Beecroft. He was in the SDP and worked in Cowley Street under Alec McGiven (his job was to impose the McGiven writ on local parties). After the 1987 General Election, Mr Beecroft followed McGiven into the “Yes to Unity” campaign where he performed a broadly similar middle management role.

    Am I allowed to be rude about Beecroft? If I am, I can tell you that among Cowley Street insiders he was known as “Munster”, on account of his staring eyes and generally ungainly appearance.

    Anyway, I’ll cut the vilification short (plenty more, though, if you really want to hear it). Beecroft slipped into the Labour Party somewhere between Liddle and Adonis. He is now a councillor for the Walople ward on Ealing Borough Council.

    Every time I see Beecroft’s name in print (as I did earlier today) I cringe and get rather angry.

    What really scares me is that Beecroft knows many of the innermost secrets of the SDP leadership of the merger period. And I guess he was thoroughly debriefed.

    (My point is that I – and others – supported merger because I wanted to create a powerful centre-left liberal democratic movement. Martin Beecroft obviously didn’t. As soon as he saw an opportunity for advancement, he was off.)

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