Author Archives: Mark Pack

Mark was the Liberal Democrat Head of Innovations until June 2009 and is now at Blue Rubicon. He also lectures at City University and is co-author of 101 Ways To Win An Election. He blogs at www.markpack.org.uk and is on Twitter as @markpack. He likes chocolate. Lots of it.

Opinion: Yes, Labour really has given up on winning votes from the Conservatives

Labour Party logoI’m not fully signed up to the mockery for Labour’s recent TV and online films mocking Nick Clegg. Why? Because for all the naff content themselves, the broad message of them has been massively reported in the media, reaching a much wider audience than the films themselves.

I doubt that was a deliberate strategy as you can’t count on calibrating something to be just bad enough to get lots of coverage but not so bad as to sink under it. It’s a handy silver lining, however, especially as it diverted …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 34 Comments

Book Review: Revolt on the Right by Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin

Farage ukip - Some rights reserved by Astral MediaOne of the political debates over UKIP is the question of whether it is primarily taking its support from disgruntled Conservatives or not.

Leading the charge for the ‘yes’ camp are several recent large-scale polls (or conglomeration of separate polls) from reputable polling companies. Looking at how people who currently say they’ll vote UKIP behaved in 2010, the pattern seems clear: UKIP’s growth in support predominantly comes from ex-Tories.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Jeremy Browne, South Korea and ‘Race Plan’

jeremy browne_Reform_Race_plan_coverIs Jeremy Browne really a secret lover of state intervention and a sceptic of free markets, believing in big state spending, government economic planning and regular intervention in the market? For all of the veneer of free marketeering in his book Race Plan, not to mention his choice of Reform as the publisher, it’s a question that comes to mind because in-between praising specific free market, small state policies, Browne regularly praises the results of governments such as the Chinese and the South Koreans, who are anything but.

It’s his praise of South Korea that is the most intriguing, for China can simply be put to one side as dramatic but its own unique case (though, as Stephen Tall has said, it is still an odd example for Jeremy Browne to trumpet).

South Korea is, as Browne rightly points out, seen by many developing countries as the one to emulate, transforming itself from a poor dictatorship to a wealthy democracy with globally successful industries in less than half of one person’s life time.

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Tagged and | 17 Comments

Liberal Democrats launch innovative – but controversial – online fundraising plan

News reaches me of a potentially very effective but highly controversial fundraising move planned by Liberal Democrat HQ for the general election.

Back when I worked at party HQ, I was involved in trademarking the party’s logo so that the party was in a stronger legal position when dealing with cyber-squatters or producers of fake literature.

Now the party is planning to go one step further, trademarking the party’s name and starting to enforce the trademark, charging royalties for its use.

Posted in News | Tagged | 11 Comments

Opinion: the politics of the reshuffle

Lynne featherstone by paul walterNorman BakerThere has been a consistent thread running through Nick Clegg’s most recent government reshuffles: get good campaigners into posts where they can run successful high profile campaigns, implementing liberal policies and winning Liberal Democrat votes.

Put like that, it sounds uncontroversial, but when it has involved the departure of Jeremy Browne from government and swapping out from posts in the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, it has been rather more controversial.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: David Cameron – the Conservative Party’s answer to Harold Wilson

More and more, David Cameron reminds me of Harold Wilson.

Both became leaders of their party when a sequence of election defeats forced change upon it. Both briefly were the young leader with a new purpose for their political tradition; the white heat of technology in the 20th century, huskies in the 21st.

Both struggled to win over the public, with neither getting an overall majority at their first attempt. Both turned out to be heavily beholden to their party’s traditional, backward-looking wing.

Wilson’s opportunities to be a dominating figure who reshaped society and rejuvenated the economy were wrecked on the Labour …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 18 Comments

Opinion: Lessons from 1979

Leaving through some kindly donated old copies of Liberator from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, there is a distinct sense of déjà vu. Calls to revive Community Politics. Urgent pleas to reinvent liberalism for a modern age. Complaints about how the English Party is run. Provocative comments from Simon McGrath triggering hostile rejoinders. (Although it did amuse me to find that one passionate argument against the party ending up a centre-right pro-capitalism outfit came from one Gavin Grant.)

Some of the issues covered have been lost in the gaps of history. Others are still very …

Posted in Op-eds | 30 Comments
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