Jonathan Smith, the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Tatton
“I am a Liberal Democrat, because I sign up to the core values of our Party:
‘The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.’
I am frankly appalled at the decline of our country since the referendum vote in 2016. We have become less tolerant, more divided, less welcoming, and more nationalist. Our economy has faltered; business confidence is low; the pound has sunk; and inequality has got greater. Our international reputation - for good governance, strong parliamentary democracy, and mature debate - has been shattered. Furthermore, the very existence of our “United Kingdom” is at stake, with the Brexit debacle giving massive succour to the independence cause in Scotland, and to the advocates of a united Ireland. Most disgracefully of all, our apparent determination to place all the blame on our fellow Europeans for what has been a self-inflicted nightmare lacks any integrity or shame.
My professional life as a public servant has left me in no doubt about the devastating effects of poor local services on people’s lives, especially those of the most vulnerable, but across the whole of society. I have focussed my entire career on counteracting the impact of poverty, isolation, family breakdown and mental illness.
At the same time, I have been at the heart of where the limits need to be set on the roles and intervention of the state. Equally, I know that simply spending more tax-payers’ money on services is not the answer, even though it is usually part of it. Above all, I believe in the dignity and value of every single fellow human being, and in their inalienable human rights.”
About My Political Life
I have been a member of the Liberal Democrats, and their predecessors, for 37 years. Whilst always being an active deliverer of leaflets, my senior career in the public sector prevented me, until retirement, from engaging more openly in politics. I fought the 2017 General Election for the Liberal Democrats, and have been the Chair of the Trafford Lib Dems for the last 16 months.
About My Personal Life
I have been married for 45 years. Alison and I have four children and five grand-children. We have lived in Bowdon for over 26 years. After Oxford University, and training as a social worker, I went into management, becoming a Director of Social Services, then Strategic Director for Social Services and Housing, before switching to become an NHS Chief Executive for 10 years. In the latter stages of my career, I became a specialist in children’s services, retiring in 2018 after a spell working back closer to the ‘front-line’, as a Chair of Child Protection Conferences and Reviews.
It is with humility and pride that I now take on the responsibility of representing our Party in the Tatton Constituency for the upcoming General Election. My aim, with our great team of activists and supporters, is to make a powerful and winning case for liberal democracy, for confronting the major challenges of the climate emergency, for a root-and-branch rebuilding of our NHS, and for remaining in Europe. Above all, I am setting out to show that politicians can listen, can be radical, and can be trusted.”