Monday, 8 August 2011

Modern Liberal Democrat heroes: Sophie Bridger

So, I've decided to start doing an occasional piece where I'll name one of my personal Liberal Democrat heroes who is actually still alive and not some long dead figure such as Beveridge.

The hero I'm talking about today is Sophie Bridger. Sophie Bridger is the current President of Liberal Youth Scotland (also known as "that girl with the placards") and recently stood as the Lib Dem candidate in the Inverclyde parliamentary by-election.

The reason I consider Sophie Bridger to be a hero of mine is because she appears to be made up of 90% awesome and 10% real ale. More seriously, she put in a brilliant performance in the Inverclyde by-election despite everyone knowing that in all likelihood she would suffer a crushing defeat simply because of the political history of the area and the national reputation of the Lib Dems at that time. Yet she took on the task cheerfully and energetically despite the fact that the task that faced her would have daunted many much older and much more experience candidates.

Her performance was nothing less than stellar. I think the highlight of her campaign was her appearance on the candidates debate on STV. She was honest, forthright, to the point and incredibly effective. She forced the Tory candidate to admit that Lib Dems had made the government fairer and, when the Labour candidate, McKenzie, asked Sophie about knife crime and then proceeded to harangue and heckle her before she answered, she simply gave him a look and said "Do you want to lecture me, Iain, or do you want me to answer your question?" And then she followed up her brilliant put down by answering the question brilliantly and completely demolishing the Labour policy on knife crime. Most admirably of all, when she was asked a question she didn't know the answer to, instead of trying to dodge it like most politicians would, she admitted that she didn't know - probably the first time I've ever seen such honesty from a politician on TV.

There's a whole lot more about her campaign to be found over on Caron's Musings and if you read it, which I urge you to do, it's very obvious what a driven, principled and decent person she is.

Of course, what's also really impressed me is her support for my motion on ESA. Not only did she write a piece for Lib Dem Voice supporting the motion, she also sent me an email this morning expressing her support  for the motion and her willingness to help get any necessary additional changes to the wording of it made.

All in all, she's an absolutely brilliant liberal, is a wonderful example to all the young people in the party, and, more generally, an example to everyone in the party when it comes to being a principled and stalwart defender of Lib Dem beliefs who excels at making a liberal voice heard, even in difficult times such as these.

Finally, I think Caron Lindsay's description of Sophie sums her up absolutely brilliantly and far better than I can:
"Persuasive, intelligent and articulate, 20 year old Sophie has shown really strong leadership skills within LYS and has made an excellent and constructive contribution to the Scottish party executive in just a few meetings. She's very likeable and has very cool head."
And, of course, one final reason to admire Sophie is her love for decent beer and real ale. Something which, in my opinion, and more than anything else, is the foundation of liberalism.

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