On the 23rd June there was another vote in RBWM, the Sunninghill and South Ascot Ward by-election. We caught up with the Liberal Democrat candidate Tamasin Barnbrook to talk about her experience.
What does being a Liberal Democrat mean to you?
I have been a member on and off since 2010 and have supported the LibDems since I started voting at 18. I chose the party because I felt it best promoted the values of a fair, free & open society which I personally agree with. The Local Party was particularly good at getting this across and at doing things for the local area which to me seems to have more impact on people’s lives than national politics. I felt I may be able to do something useful.
What made you decide to stand in the local election?
In short, I was asked! Because this is my local community I felt I would be able to appreciate the issues which people raised and be able to get out and spend time listening. I also wanted to offer an alternative choice on the ballot paper and to be a different representative voice on the Council. I think democracy is best when people are drawn from diverse backgrounds and I don’t feel that the current make-up of the Council does this.
We’re in a Tory stronghold, how do we challenge people’s point of view?
I think the best approach is to get things done which matter to people, and people will almost certainly recognise this when voting locally. The results of the survey we delivered as part of my campaign show that the public do sometimes vote differently locally than they do on a national level and I think that getting stuff done (as Simon Werner and George Fussey have both shown) is valued and recognised by local people. Sometimes the focus on national politics means that we lose sight of this.
How did you manage to find time to stand for election?
I would have liked to have had more time to spend on my campaign. I think you should be prepared to commit a fair amount of time to knocking on doors and listening to the people you are asking to vote for you. I got some good support from individual members of the local party who had loads of experience and a little more time than me. They were great at helping me to make the most of the time I had, and at getting out and about when I wasn’t available. I am now working on the results of this work to try and build on this for the next election. There are many different jobs you can do within the party that are vitally important but which don’t require as much of a time commitment. If the ward in which you stand is your home ward it is time well spent – you are improving the area you live in for yourself and your neighbours – instead of moaning about things, you can start trying to put things right.