Lib Dems need to take every opportunity to get our message out there

Megaphone, some rights reserved by garrykinghtI’ve made no secret of my view that a change in leadership is likely to do little to revive Liberal Democrat fortunes at the polls given the rather more structural reasons for the decline in support for the party.

But I also recognise that to continue doing and saying the same things over and over again and expecting a different result is not only the definition of insanity but is unlikely to lead to an electoral revival:

We should not simply keep calm and carry on, but nor should we lose our heads either. The long-term success of the party is best served by us using our collective endeavour not to fight a months-long leadership campaign but to refine our strategy and prepare our game plan.

I am also of the view that we have as a party a good story to tell, but we need to get better at telling it, as the Independent’s Andy Grice said over the weekend:

With the economy improving, there is still time for the Lib Dems to win a grudging respect from voters for opting for the national interest in 2010. Putting the party interest first would not impress anyone. The Lib Dems will need to shout even louder about what they have achieved in government, notably the £10,000-a-year personal tax allowance, and what they stopped the Tories doing. There is a good story to tell. Doing so requires discipline, not self-indulgence.

Discipline when it comes to communicating our “message” is absolutely what is required, and there was a very good example today of why it is required.

You will no doubt have seen in the news that European Commission has been giving its two-penneth on what reforms the UK government might like to consider to economic policy. One might think that the Commission would be better placed concentrating its efforts on the Eurozone, where growth remains sluggish and the threat of deflation looms large. Although actually, the advice — that the government should take steps to cool the property market — is actually quite sensible.

Unsurprisingly, Nick Clegg was asked to comment on the story, and his views have been widely reported — including on BBC Radio 2’s 3 O’Clock news bulletin, where I heard his comments. The Commission, Clegg said, should be concentrating on reforms rather closer to home. Here is a transcript of the clip played on Radio 2 (available as a video here):

I think that [reform of the EU] should be the focus of what the European Commission is doing, rather than delivering…lectures to one government or another across the European Union, especially when frankly we have proved, in this government, to actually be leading the way in how to create growth in these difficult circumstances compared to many other countries in the European Union.

That quote is fine. It perfectly adequately explains the government’s position. I even happen to agree with it.

But is it going to contribute to anybody voting Liberal Democrat in a year’s time? Unlikely.

The reason I picked this particular clip is because this news story provides the Lib Dems with a great opportunity to do several things very easily: to remind voters that we believe in reform of the EU, that we have cut taxes for the low paid, that we wish to see taxes on high value properties increased to cut those taxes further, that we have made a significant contribution to the country’s economic recovery and, in a positive way, that we disagree with the Conservatives.

As it is, the clip, if anything, only communicates the first of those points (reform of the EU), which is actually probably the least important.

Clegg could, for example, in a similar number of words of said this:

The European Commission should focus on fixing the problems in the Eurozone and reforming the European Union, but I agree with the analysis that expensive properties are under-taxed in this country. That’s why I have pushed for higher taxes on houses worth over £2 million so that we can go further in our efforts to cut taxes for hard-pressed workers, which have already benefitted millions of people by £700 a year and helped create the strongest economic recovery in Europe.

It may be, of course, that in the previous 30 seconds before that clip Clegg had said something very similar, but that is sort of the point: every potential soundbite has to communicate what we think is important.

And one thing that is increasingly important, as the economic growth and job creation figures continue to improve, is for us to be linked to that success. As the Spectator’s Isabel Hardman says over on the CoffeeHouse blog, well-meaning schemes on pubs (or even school lunches) don’t really help us do that:

Beyond pubs, what the Lib Dems really need to do is to claim or at least share credit for the Coalition’s economic successes. Nick Clegg pleased his base but alienated the electorate with his ‘party of IN’ campaign, and then tried to recover from it by differentiating the Lib Dems from the Conservatives on international development spending. But these are concerns of the Lib Dem base, rather than the electorate as a whole. As James says in his column in this week’s magazine, ‘a large part of the party’s problem is that the voters are aware of so few of the things that it has done in government’. And the things that the party should try to get credit for are the big issues, such as the recovering economy, over and above reforms for pubs.

The motion passed at last year’s autumn conference, and the rejection of efforts to distance the party from deficit reduction, was a start, but deficit reduction is only a necessary pre-requisite to an improved economy, not an end in itself.

What we have to do is remind the public of our big achievements over and above fiscal consolidation — tax cuts, apprenticeships, the business bank, reform of the financial sector, the Youth Contract — that have a direct link to the economic recovery.

True though it is, simply saying that the economic recovery would not have happened without the efforts of the Liberal Democrats is not enough: we have to say exactly why that is the case. And more to the point, we have to take every single opportunity to make the point, because, as is often pointed out, no-one is going to make that case for us.

Photo by garryknight

* Nick Thornsby is Thursday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs here.

Read more by or more about , , , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/40623 for Twitter and emails.

94 Comments

  • Have you considered that your (former) voters know what you have done, but really, really don’t like it?

    Or that, whether independent or not from the first question, your leader and party are so disliked that nobody listens to what you say?

  • Mario Cuomo oft quoted line “We campaign in poetry, but when we’re elected we’re forced to govern in prose” was perhaps inspired by British writer Beverley Nichols who wrote: “Marriage is a book in which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.”

    The quotes are an apt metaphor for the 2010 general election campaign and the initial enthusiasm for the pragmatic solution of a coalition government that followed. The spectre of Mervyn King’s prediction soon arose, however, that the cuts would be so severe, and thus so unpopular, that the party held responsible for instituting the cuts would “be out of power for a generation.”

    Labour has dodged that fate so far, even though the crash, subsequent bank bailouts and start of QE began on their watch and the rate of deficit reduction has been in line with Alistair Darling’s proposals during the 2010 election campaign. The Tories have been able to partially deflect public opprobrium to the Libdems as an ‘equally’ responsible partner in government since 2010.

    Although the economy has begun to revive and inflation is subdued, much of the deficit reduction remains to be achieved in the next parliament. While this may be slightly less painful in a growing economy with the tentative return of a feel-good factor, it will remain a challenging prospect for whichever party or coalition of parties finds itself in power after 2015.

    The scope for significant political differentiation on taxation and spending policies is limited. All the contending parties will be committed to deficit reduction. It is to feelings and not just bare facts that we must appeal, both in defending our record in government and in making the case for substantive Liberal Democrat representation in parliament post 2015.

    It’s not necessary to dumb things down to appeal to emotions. It’s not necessary to speak in sound bites. It means eschewing spin and telling it like it is. The best way to win votes is to offer people an accurate view of the situation and a set of policies that intuitively seem likely to produce good results.

    The manifesto we adopt and its effective communication will determine the extent of our success or failure in the 2015 elections. If it feels right, addresses the issues and concerns that voters are telling us they want addressed and leaves scope for compromise in the event of another coalition, then the party can begin to recover lost ground.

  • Steve Comer 3rd Jun '14 - 6:25pm

    I hope the fact that Nick and Vince saw fit to pull pints of real ale is a sign that the coalition will support long-overdue reform of the broken Pub Company system which is distorting the market and forcing hundreds of community pubs to close. How about it Vince?

  • Eddie Sammon 3rd Jun '14 - 6:29pm

    I broadly agree, except I don’t think there is anything wrong with a bit of deflation, but that is a derailer so best we don’t get into a discussion on that.

    People like me need to get off here and get the message out there too, but I am working on it. However, there is only so much we can do, the people at the top need to do more effective work too. My main recommendation is to kick the people out the party who are trying to undermine it. Social liberals should be very welcome, but some aren’t social liberals and just full blown socialists and they are sapping our energy and resources with in-fighting.

  • Stuart Mitchell 3rd Jun '14 - 6:59pm

    This is the slowest economic recovery in British history. We are only just returning to pre-crash levels, three or four years after most of our competitors – including even the “sluggish” Eurozone. Yet you’re seriously expecting us to give the government credit for steering us to this much-delayed recovery?

    It’s not too difficult to achieve growth after years of poor performance – even Greece is expecting to manage it this year.

  • Technical Ephemera 3rd Jun '14 - 7:04pm

    This is about the 4th article saying roughly the same thing, get out and promote Lib Dem achievements. But it is completely wrong. The voters you have list know what you have achieved, and they hate it.

    In 2010 a large chunk of your votes came from the centre left. You have governed as one of the most right wing (in fact the most right wing) government I can remember (that includes 79 onwards).

    These former voters are not going to vote for you again, probably ever.

    So your support comes from a small constituency of free market libertarians, who pretty much map to the old Liberal party. All the evidence suggests this constituency is about 10% of the vote. The Lib Dems are pretty much guaranteed this vote in 2015. Your only possible way of extending that vote is pro European Tories, there must be some somewhere and the Lib Dems circa 2015 are their natural home.

    But it really doesn’t matter what you say you will not recover to anything like your 2010 vote as about 50% of your previous voters are Social Democrats not free market Liberals. Your party simply does not offer that constituency anything.

  • Paul Pettinger 3rd Jun '14 - 7:15pm

    Seems a bit churlish that you should turn on your own and criticise Nick Clegg in this way. Last September Conference also amended Nick Clegg’s economy motion and committed the Party to an overwhelmingly social liberal economic policy for the future.

  • Phil Wainewright 3rd Jun '14 - 7:18pm

    @Steve Comer – it was precisely to promote the government’s new policy to reform the tied pubs system that today’s pub media event took place:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/publicans-to-get-a-fairer-deal
    But someone decided it would be a great idea to put Nick and Vince in a pub together to make sure all the media coverage focused on the leadership spat and buried any mention of this practical Lib Dem achievement in government.
    This is a perfect illustration of why we need some different people in charge of the Party’s messaging. Even when we do hard work that produces results in government, some halfwitted fmcg marketing genius finds a way to subvert it.
    Grrr!

  • paul barker 3rd Jun '14 - 7:27pm

    Lord Ashcrofts latest “Mega-Poll”, of marginal seats, found 22% wanting to see Libdems helping to form the next Government. Those Voters are a good place to start, endlessly repeating that if they want Libdems they have to actually vote for us.
    We have a very good story to tell & its getting better, the recovery has hardly begun yet.
    Unity & respect for each other are our Party,s secret weapons; lets not throw them away.

  • Nick Thornsby Nick Thornsby 3rd Jun '14 - 7:40pm

    Paul Barker – I agree completely!

  • @Technical Ephemera: a small constituency of free market libertarians, who pretty much map to the old Liberal party.

    Cuing Matthew Huntbach in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

  • Stuart Mitchell 3rd Jun '14 - 7:58pm

    @Paul Barker
    “We have a very good story to tell & its getting better, the recovery has hardly begun yet.”

    In power four years, recovery hardly begun. That’s hardly a good story.

  • I want to play the optimism game, too! So let me point out that after another election or two like the last, it will be mathematically impossible for the Liberal Democrats to lose vote share. After that, there will be nowhere to go but up!

  • “Lord Ashcrofts latest “Mega-Poll”, of marginal seats, found 22% wanting to see Libdems helping to form the next Government.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but that poll was in Tory/Labour marginals. I believe there is to be another Ashcroft poll of marginals including seats where the Lib Dems are in contention (or were in contention in 2010). We’ll see how that compares with the Oakeshott poll in Lib Dem seats, which most Clegg loyalists seem to be dismissing out of hand.

    In the meantime the lastest Ashcroft national poll has the Lib Dems on 6%. Probably even Paul Barker will concede that it’s not feasible for the Lib Dems to retain most of their seats if the national vote is as low as 6%. (If the Lib Dems registered 40% in the 10% of the seats they now hold that would represent 4% of the national vote; it’s not credible that the average Lib Dem vote in the nearly 600 seats they don’t hold would be as small as 2%, is it? Or is it?)

  • Shaun Cunningham 3rd Jun '14 - 8:13pm

    The problem of course is to get the electorate to listen, one needs to press the on switch button however presently it’s malfunctioning. You can have the best message in the world but if people are no longer prepared to tune in the message will not get conveyed.

    I don’t believe burying one’s head in the sand and hoping in the next 12 months the party will defy the political gravity we all face is the answer. This party needs to be bold, it needs to understand there comes a time whether one likes it or not change is not only necessary but essential for the party’s heart to beat.

    Sorry if this post gives me a label of a full blown socialists which I take objection to. Pussyfooting around serves no purpose at all. So let us all be honest and frank and realise what the real problem is.

  • “Local punters are queueing up to back UKIP at 6/1 to surprise the pollsters to win Thursday’s Newark by-election, according to Ladbrokes.

    The bookies reported that they had failed to take a single bet on the Tories in the town’s betting shops on Tuesday.
    Despite that, the Tories remain odds-on favourites to retain the seat in what has become a clear two-horse race.

    There was also a lot of local interest in the 25/1 quoted for The Bus Pass Elvis Party to finish ahead of the Liberal Democrats. One Labour MP, who must remain nameless, popped into the Market Square bookies to have £10 on what would be a humiliating outcome for Nick Clegg”.

    Humiliating would not be the word, when you think it cannot get any worse it just might!!!

  • Steve Fisher’s updated polls for the 2015 GE forecasts another hung parliament http://users.ox.ac.uk/~nuff0084/ge15forecast/

    Forecast Election Day Seats
    Con : 307
    Lab : 285
    LD : 30
    Con largest party, but short of a majority by 19

    With the prospect of another coalition, there needs to be a clear focus on why coalition has worked for the UK and how another coalition can work again in a post 2015 coalition. After the first Leaders debate in 2010, the Libdems were seen as the fresh face of British politics offering a real alternative. This was an intuitive appeal to voters emotions. The 2015 GE will be fought not only on our record in government but on how we expect to be able to deliver the policies in our manifesto with either a Conservative or Labour minority government or coalition.

  • “So your support comes from a small constituency of free market libertarians, who pretty much map to the old Liberal party. All the evidence suggests this constituency is about 10% of the vote. The Lib Dems are pretty much guaranteed this vote in 2015.”

    Well, certainly the Lib Dem vote share in opinion polls for the last three and a half years has been remarkably steady at around 10%. (Believers in ICM could say 12-13% instead over the last couple of years. The difference probably reflects ICM’s assumption that half the don’t knows/won’t says will vote as they did in 2010.)

    Unless the polls are way off the mark, Lib Dem support is very stable at a level between a third and a half of its value at the last election. And unless something dramatic happens, that seems very unlikely to change. It doesn’t look as though there’s going to be a change of leadership, or of policy. The only dramatic change there’s been is the public split over Clegg’s leadership, which is not likely to have a positive effect (unless he goes). Ashcroft’s latest poll shows Lib Dem support at only a quarter of its level in 2010, not a third or a half.

    As for all this stuff about “getting our message across”, does nobody remember that this was what the Tories used to go on and on about under John Major? Always the excuse that the message just wasn’t getting across, and never any admission that the message itself might be unpopular?

  • Given voter opposition to a more proportional system, and voter distaste for the coalition, it’s quite possible that in 2015 voters will tactically vote in ways intended to avoid another hung parliament, especially if that looks to be a likely outcome. Of course, that could play out in counterintuitive ways; but one thing it’s not likely to do is to be very helpful for us. I would not go around waving the “Hung Parliament Likely” banner as a way of trying to attract votes for the Liberal Democrats.

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Jun '14 - 9:01pm

    @Nick Thornby ” … The long-term success of the party is best served by us using our collective endeavour not to fight a months-long leadership campaign but to refine our strategy and prepare our game plan.”

    Nick, this is of course common sense. The main problem for me is not actually Nick Clegg but the on-going desire of him and the economically sub-Thatcherites in the party to refine ‘our’ strategy and prepare ‘our’ game plan.

    I am yet to see any indication that Nick Clegg is actually willing to listen to the majority of party members and our voters who consider us to be a centre-left (or in my view a left of centre) party. He even appointed the team to carry out the review into the reasons for our on-going collapse.

    Just replacing Clegg would make little difference. We need to reconnect with our constituency. The fact that the majority of them have stopped listening is a huge problem and one that we all ignore at our peril.

  • “Steve Fisher’s updated polls for the 2015 GE forecasts another hung parliament “

    Steve Fisher’s method is based on the historical fact that governments have been more popular at the time of elections than they generally have been over the preceding period. That’s not very surprising, given that governments in the past could choose the date of the election to coincide with an improvement in their popularity!

    Governments can’t do that any more. Consequently the historical data are no longer applicable, and the whole method is fatally flawed.

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Jun '14 - 9:03pm

    Sorry Nick Thornsby!
    ‘Tephen’ :-)

  • Tony Dawson 3rd Jun '14 - 9:07pm

    @Nick Thornsby

    “Paul Barker – I agree completely!”

    Nick, that comment betrays an appalling lack of understanding of electoral politics. There is no message I ever try to sell which I do not believe that at least 50 per cent of my audience genuinely could ‘buy into’. Concentrating on such a small group, some of whom will inevitably be immune to your message, is a recipe for immediate and prolonged failure. Not surprisingly, it is being peddled with those most associated with, and perhaps responsible for, the Party’s failure. Why not start by taking a step which will remove the impediment to a much larger group taking us seriously?

  • Peter Watson 3rd Jun '14 - 9:09pm

    @David-1 “it’s quite possible that in 2015 voters will tactically vote in ways intended to avoid another hung parliament, especially if that looks to be a likely outcome.”
    I suspect that tactical voters will return to the party in 2015, but not necessarily to the extent they have in the past.

    It seems quite likely that where tactical voting is not an issue (i.e. the European elections and voting intention polling) the figures are a true representation of Lib Dem support which is currently around 7% of the electorate. When one considers that perhaps 40% of that Lib Dem support is members or voters that do not support the party’s leader, then surely something has to change, whether that is the message, the messenger, or both.

  • Nick Thornsby Nick Thornsby 3rd Jun '14 - 9:11pm

    Tony – I’m not sure anyone — and certainly not me — suggested appealing only to the section of the electorate mentioned by Paul. Indeed as he says: “Those Voters are a good place to start”

  • Tony Dawson 3rd Jun '14 - 9:18pm

    @JoeBourke

    “The 2015 GE will be fought not only on our record in government but on how we expect to be able to deliver the policies in our manifesto with either a Conservative or Labour minority government or coalition.”

    Joe, speaking as a member of one of those 30 seats which the pollster thinks we might hang on to, I can assure you that there will be less than two dozen votes in the entire constituency which will be in any way affected by the contents of any manifesto of any party or any diatribe about coalition. Elections in a representative democracy are largely determined upon a feeling (not a ‘thinking’!) of trust for one’s representative – or their Party. In an fptp system, if the individual representative of a minority party does not massively hold the trust of their constituency electorate, then that minority party will get ZERO representatives elected. The constituencies which we hold do not consist of some magical concentration of people who support Lib Dems ‘naturally’. They consist of people who decades of work have caused to trust the local Party and their MP regardless of other actions which may have weakened their trust or respect for the Party as a whole or its leadership.

  • You need to get Tories to vote tactically for you where you are in 2nd place to Labour. The previous perception that the Lib Dems were Labour’s emergency back-up squad was a big barrier to this in the past. Total tactical voting won’t necessarily be down, just it will be in different places to before.

  • The question of what the Libdems would do in the event of a hung parliament was a key one frequently posed in the run up to the 2010 election. The stock answer that we would support the largest party by votes and seats did not address the issue of what way we would turn if the party with the largest number of seats was not the party with the greatest share of the vote – a distinct possibility if the Labour party polls just short of a few percentage points of the Tories. While ultimately, it was a matter of electoral arithmetic in 2010, It will remain nonetheless an issue for some voters in marginal seats in 2015.

  • JoeBourke, I am puzzled by our prediction based on Steve’ Fishers paper to which you give a link.

    JoeBourke 3rd Jun ’14 – 8:38pm
    Steve Fisher’s updated polls for the 2015 GE forecasts another hung parliament http://users.ox.ac.uk/~nuff0084/ge15forecast/

    Forecast Election Day Seats
    Con : 307
    Lab : 285
    LD : 30
    Con largest party, but short of a majority by 19

    As far as I can make out neither you nor Steve Fisher explain the disappearance of the SNP,the Green Party,the DUP, PC and others. Have I missed the relevant bit?
    Will there be only 622 MPs in 2015 ??
    Or does Steve Fisher livein a sort 1950s world where overall majorities can exist without reference to the MPs of parties other than the three he includes in his paper?

  • Tony Dawson 3rd Jun '14 - 9:38pm

    @JoeBourke

    “The question of what the Libdems would do in the event of a hung parliament was a key one frequently posed in the run up to the 2010 election.”

    by intellectual geeks who watch minority interest politics programmes. It did not affect the seats won by Liberal Democrat MPs. In a PR system, The issue would have had a marginal effect. In an fptp system, the effect of such issues is totally negligible. A lovely distraction for those who want to be distracted from real politics with real people.

  • John,
    Forecast
    Conservative 304 307 (Majority 326)
    Labour 257 285
    Liberal Democrat 56 30
    —— ——-
    617 622

    Democratic Unionist 8
    Scottish National 6
    Sinn Fein 5
    Independent 3
    Plaid Cymru 3
    Social Democratic & Labour Party 3
    Alliance 1
    Green 1
    Respect 1
    Speaker 1
    Vacant 1
    Total others: 33 28
    ——- ——-
    Total number of seats 650 650

  • “Support the largest party” was never the best answer in any case; the answer should have been “support the party or coalition of parties which offer the best chance of advancing liberal principles.” In retrospect, it was a warning sign of the future.

  • Steve Comer 3rd Jun '14 - 10:44pm

    Easy to say David-1, but the problem with this forecast is that Lab + Lib Dem gives you 315 ie. 11 short of an overall majority. Even if you add in the SDLP and the Alliance, and subtract the absent Sinn Fein members the numbers are short. So for any coalition like that to succeed you would need Labour MPs to be less rebellious than Tories had been in this Parliament.
    ……and even that assumes that the ‘bitter together’ campaign wins in Scotland this autumn!

  • paul barker 3rd Jun '14 - 11:02pm

    @David 1
    Can I just knock this on the head. Our policy was to talk First to the largest Party, which we did. Later we talked with Labour as well. In practise any Coalition with Labour would have needed The SNP/Plaid as well as an absense of Labour rebels so the only real alternative was a Tory minority Government which could have called another Election at any time. The Country needed stability which The Coalition provided.

  • Well, as far as I remember the question of who the Lib Dems would talk to first was veiled in the obscurity of phrases such as “the strongest mandate”. If anyone can post an unambiguous statement about this from 2010 I’ll be interested, but also surprised.

  • Here’s an article in which Clegg seems to indicate that he rated number of votes over number of seats:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/election_2010/8642447.stm
    But it may simply be that Clegg was continually redefining his position in such a way as to make certain that he would only enter into coalition talks with the Tories.

  • Declining electoral support is not a good backdrop for negotiating a coalition. This factor was important in 2010 making it very hard to conceive of an accommodation with Labour. Aside from this another coalition is likely to further etiolate support. In 2010, a key factor was the prospect of electoral reform. Although I strongly hope that the manifesto will clearly assert a commitment to electoral reform (including more radical plans for the HoL), we are not in a realistic position to push this issue.

    In 2010, electoral reform really was the big prize, but I do not see anything else of similar importance. In terms of staunching and reversing loss of electoral support, I cannot see this happening with another coalition with either other Party, besides, when it comes to the Tories, Cameron’s EU renegotiation and referendum are not anything with which Lib Dems want to be associated, particularly if they go badly.

  • @Gareth hits the nail on the head.

    You can’t say ‘the strategy needs to change’ and then go on to say ‘all we need to do is a better job of getting our achievements across’ – because that’s been the strategy for the last three years. If all you do is talk about this coalition, you aren’t changing the strategy.

    The Tories are explaining what a Tory-only government and what they want to do – but can’t in this coalition. We need to get off the back foot and start telling people how a Lib Dem government – or a coalition with more Lib Dems in it – will be *better* than what we have today. Otherwise, why should anyone outside our held seats vote for us? And an unavoidable corollary of that is the requirement to demonstrate some awareness that where we are today isn’t perfect.

  • Tony Dawson,
    “Elections in a representative democracy are largely determined upon a feeling (not a ‘thinking’!) of trust for one’s representative – or their Party. In an fptp system, if the individual representative of a minority party does not massively hold the trust of their constituency electorate, then that minority party will get ZERO representatives elected. The constituencies which we hold do not consist of some magical concentration of people who support Lib Dems ‘naturally’. They consist of people who decades of work have caused to trust the local Party and their MP regardless of other actions which may have weakened their trust or respect for the Party as a whole or its leadership.”

    Can’t argue with that Tony. But we do have to put out a manifesto to campaign on and it would help those of us trying to build trust in our constituencies if it reflected policies that felt intuitively right to a broad range of voters.

  • In an fptp system, if the individual representative of a minority party does not massively hold the trust of their constituency electorate, then that minority party will get ZERO representatives elected.
    That’s not true either. In fact, an FPTP system can be very favorable to a minority party, if the other parties in the constituency are relatively weak. A great many MPs hold their seats on a minority of the votes cast.

  • David – 1,

    “A great many MPs hold their seats on a minority of the votes cast.” Are not a significant number of Libdem seats held on a minority of votes cast, by definition, marginal seats?

  • Ian Hurdley 4th Jun '14 - 7:49am

    Two particularly damaging perceptions in particular do not seem to be being challenged effectively, even though I read and hear them hurled at us everyday. 1. We are no more than crypto-Tories. 2. We cannot be trusted because we lied. If we don’t find a way to demolish these widespread beliefs, everything else will count for nothing.

  • Bill le Breton 4th Jun '14 - 8:18am

    The editor for this article has chosen a perfect image to support Nick T’s argument – a megaphone. “Hey, if no one is listening shout louder for longer.” It’s the Faulty Towers approach to communications.

    Here is where we are (a Sit Rep):

    We have a leader who cannot communicate with the British public because the vast majority of those who we need to connect with do not trust him, think he is self-satisfied and ‘want to give him a lesson he won’t forget’.

    Whether this is fair or not, this means that we have a leader who cannot get across the good things we have done in Government nor receive a fair hearing for what we want to do today and tomorrow.

    We have a leader who no party activist or candidate puts on their election material because they know he’s a negative factor. This is the definition of a lame duck leader.

    We have a leader who unerringly gets on the wrong and illiberal side of issues, is a magnet for negative campaigning, is tactically inept and unable or unwilling to get a grip of detail.

    We have a leader who virtually every party member wishes would voluntarily step aside.

    We have six or seven other MPs with the capacity to do this job without these disadvantages, because Liberal Democrats, who work up and win seats largely from scratch, are multi-talented people.

    We need one of them to be allowed to take over the front of house job urgently. Then, the process of reconnection can begin.

  • Jenny Barnes 4th Jun '14 - 8:29am

    This sort of message?
    “David Cameron and Nick Clegg have trumpeted the Coalition’s achievements in a broad hint they could work together again if next year’s general election results in another hung parliament.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-and-nick-clegg-make-nice-and-hint-at-another-coalition-following-the-next-election-9481487.html

    which will read for many people as “Vote LibDem, get Tory again”

  • Martin Tod 4th Jun ’14 – 12:41am
    The Tories are explaining what a Tory-only government and what they want to do – but can’t in this coalition. We need to get off the back foot and start telling people how a Lib Dem government – or a coalition with more Lib Dems in it – will be *better* than what we have today. Otherwise, why should anyone outside our held seats vote for us?

    What difference; what message and what messenger?….

    From today’s ‘Guardian’….”Queen’s speech: coalition aims at united front with range of reforms”
    “David Cameron and Nick Clegg say their agreed mission is to empower citizens, reform pensions and back business”

    Again, and again, our leadership (Clegg/Alexander) are seen on the same platform as the Tories…Try explaining the major differences..As one of those commenting wrote…

    Can’t help thinking that this should be soundtracked with that song from the Lego Movie
    “Everything is awesome
    Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
    Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream
    Everything is better when we stick together
    Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let’s party forever
    We’re the same, I’m like you, you’re like me, we’re all working in harmony
    Everything is awesome
    Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
    Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream”

  • Surely bill Le Breton’s point was illustrated yesterday by the inept photo op in the London Pub. Not only was it an obviously staged “we are friends really” (thereby reminding people of the Westminster/press gossip which was chip paper by then) but it obscured the excellent campaign on behalf of pub landlords which only achieved a passing mention. Plenty of smart young chaps in suits were there though!

  • Paul In Wokingham 4th Jun '14 - 9:14am

    Bill’s comment about perception and trust struck me with some force just now.

    In July 2012 the yield on 10 year Spanish bonds was over 7% – the highest since the creation of the Euro. Today the yield is less than 3% – an all-time low. What a staggering turnaround.

    So why has this happened? It’s because in late July 2012 Mario Draghi said that he would do “whatever it takes” to keep the Euro going – and the markets believed him. Sig. Draghi never said what “whatever” might be. He has never had to do anything at all. The credibility of the messenger was the clincher.

    On the evidence of the reporting of the fiasco in the pub yesterday I find it hard to see how Mr. Clegg regains that critical commodity of credibility in the next few months.

  • @Joe Bourke
    “The stock answer that we would support the largest party by votes and seats did not address the issue of what way we would turn if the party with the largest number of seats was not the party with the greatest share of the vote”

    This distinction wasn’t that relevant because, as Paul Barker points out, the Lib Dems said only that they would talk first to the largest party, not support them. In the event they were prepared to “talk second” to Labour even though the Tories were clearly the largest party by any measure.

    It was a classic Clegg-style commitment that was not really a commitment when you looked properly at what he said. Clegg is a master at this sort of thing. The one time he made the mistake of making a completely unambiguous commitment, it ended in disaster.

    Speaking of which, Ian Hurdley has it right :-

    “2. We cannot be trusted because we lied. If we don’t find a way to demolish these widespread beliefs, everything else will count for nothing.”

    After four years of going round in circles on the tuition fees betrayal, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way the Lib Dems can ever hope to lance this particular boil is for all those MPs who broke the pledge to admit they did wrong and announce their intention to stand down. If next year’s results are as bad as everyone seems to think they will be, I think this kind of purge will be necessary, You might then have a fighting chance of a recovery by 2020.

    The standard Lib Dem excuse of “we weren’t able to keep the pledge” is impressing nobody. For one thing, it is proven to be untrue by the fact that a number of Lib Dem MPs were able to keep the pledge; so the effect is to heap one more untruth on top of another.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 4th Jun '14 - 9:53am

    I agree with Nick T that on this example, Nick C could have been much more specific with his wording. While I agree that it’s important to continue the narrative of our contribution to the economic recovery, it’s much more important to get out there with the stuff that shows our core values as Liberal Democrats. Nick is too often portrayed as the Tory’s assistant in London – that is complete fiction if you look at the ideas he’s championed and implemented in government – turning around attitudes to mental health and giving it parity of esteem, giving extra money to help disadvantaged kids in school, shared parental leave and, yes, the pubs stuff. Standing up for the landlord against the excesses of big companies is what liberals do.

    We need to balance the dry economic factual stuff with the stuff that shows off the Lib Dem soul. If we run the election on the economy alone, it will up the chances of a hoofing.

  • Bill le Breton 4th Jun '14 - 10:15am

    But no one is listening. They’ve concluded its snake oil and moved on to the next booth.

  • Caron – I agree, but because the economics is, basically, deeply flawed, and doesn’t sit neatly with our values, anyway! The old politics, not the new politics.

  • brianD 4th Jun ’14 – 8:58am
    Surely bill Le Breton’s point was illustrated yesterday by the inept photo op in the London Pub ………….Plenty of smart young chaps in suits were there though!

    That was also true of the equally false phoo-opportunity in Thurrock the week before. I watched fscinted as the boys in suits tried to hide from the camera and the secret service guy emerged from the gents in the background. Had he been checking for terrorists or hiding from the cameras? Or maybe he had just been for a pee.

    I would recommend everyone when presented with staged media events to llook at what is happening in the background. What goes on behind whilst the Politician is kissing babies often tells you much more than you are intended to see A classic was Cameron in Wythenshawe posing on the council estate as a young hoodie shoots him from behind with an imaginary gun.

  • SIMON BANKS 4th Jun '14 - 10:57am

    “Discipline in communicating the message” – as a former council group leader, I understand the need for discipline ONCE THE LINE HAS BEEN DEMOCRATICALLY DECIDED – but this sounds as if we should all be parroting the same centrally-chosen messages from now to the general election.

    That’s bound to convince people we’re sincere.

  • Jim Hardaker 4th Jun '14 - 11:09am

    Trying to talk up our role in the coalition government now would be political suicide. Many of our former supporters have turned away from us for pitching in with the Conservatives – they expected Liberal Democrats to be true to their principles, and now they feel betrayed. They’re not really interested in what we’ve done or didn’t do; they’re only interested in the things we went back on.

    Get out of the coalition now and make it party policy that we never enter into another one, would be my advice to the leadership. That would show that we’ve listened, and we will never again cast aside the things people have voted for, for the sake of a taste of power. If we try to tell everyone what a good job we’ve done, we’ll fall flat on our faces because people won’t but it. We will just look completely out of touch with our supporters.

  • Lib Dems need to take every opportunity to get our message out there.
    Bill le Breton’s comment of 10.15am jogged my memory :
    A few years ago, I used to do regular car boot sales at weekend, and I remember one old lady, who each week religiously set out her decorating table at 7 am, placing a variety of bric-a-brac on it, until 3pm when she packed it all away in her car unsold and unwanted. She spent a whole car boot season doing exactly the same thing because nobody wanted her ‘wares’.
    We didn’t see her, nor her bric-a-brac, the following season.
    The lesson to learn I guess, is that unwanted bric-a-brac, doesn’t sell no matter how often, or loud you shout.?

  • SIMON BANKS 4th Jun ’14 – 10:57am
    “……………….. parroting the same centrally-chosen messages from now to the general election. ”

    Oh I think that has already started, Simon.
    The order went out, circle the wagons and repeat after me, ” —-
    “We are not a party of protest, we are in Government “,
    ” How can we have a leadership election when nobody has stood against Nick? “,
    ” yes we are at 6% in the polls but we have started to clmb back and the polls will be on track again by the summer/ autumn/winter/ spring ”
    “. At least our leader had the courage to stand up to the Elvis Bus Pass Party in a live TV debate, he may have failed but the mood of the public was in favour of bus passes so what could he do,? ”

    ” If it was not forall those people calling or a change of leader we would be doing really well.”

    Just keep saying it children and clap your hands and we can all hang on to Tinkerbell.

  • I note the Liberal Democrat party slogan featured in the first line of the Queen’s Speech…

  • Maybe once the result from Newark is out on Friday, the penny will finally drop and the need for an immediate change at the top, in our approach and strategy, to at least reduce the “betrayal so many voters see in the Lib Dems, for us to stop pontificating on what is best for the voters and start to again manage our policies around their anxieities not our own view of life, and a planned departure from the coalition, With that we might just start back on the long road to “hope” and recovery , but we have to start with a leadership change and I guess even the old guard, deep down, at HQ know that.

  • Bill makes the claim “We have a leader who virtually every party member wishes would voluntarily step aside” which without adding ‘at some point in the future’, just is not true. I agree with Nick Thornsby. The notion that a change of leader would revive Lib Dem fortunes is no more than idle wish fulfillment. Such a course could easily have an opposite effect and certainly a course that would be particularly damaging to the radical Liberal wing of the party (as opposed to the centrists) after the 2015 election.

    if Bill is thinking these things through, there is a lot more explanation needed together with how any process would fit with the direction of travel that he would like to see the party taking.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Jun '14 - 1:36pm

    David-1

    @Technical Ephemera: a small constituency of free market libertarians, who pretty much map to the old Liberal party.

    Cuing Matthew Huntbach in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

    I have just made the usual point in a reply to you yourself
    here.

    But why do I have to keep doing this? Am I really the only person who is concerned at the way history has now been so rewritten that we get comment after comment making this completely untrue point? “Technical Ephemera” clearly believes this. Does he or she worry that he or she has been led to believe something which is the opposite of the truth? Does this not lead to questions about whether we really live in a democracy? What are we to say when people like “Technical Ephemera” can be led genuinely to believe in complete falsehoods like this when it is in the interests of the elite who run society that such falsehoods should be propagated?

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Jun '14 - 1:39pm

    Caron Lindsay

    Nick is too often portrayed as the Tory’s assistant in London – that is complete fiction if you look at the ideas he’s championed and implemented in government – turning around attitudes to mental health and giving it parity of esteem, giving extra money to help disadvantaged kids in school, shared parental leave and, yes, the pubs stuff.

    I have been explaining in detail, in message after message, how so much of what Nick Clegg says and does helps build up this fiction and encourage people to believe it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Jun '14 - 1:47pm

    Richard S

    You need to get Tories to vote tactically for you where you are in 2nd place to Labour.

    There aren’t many of those. The places where the Liberal Democrats are strongest and so have MPs or good second places tend to be those parts where they displaced Labour as the main local opposition to the Tories.

    However, I myself played a part in building up the Liberal Democrats in one of those places where they did eventually become the party in 2nd place to Labour – the London Borough of Lewisham. All that hard work completely destroyed in last month’s council elections, back to 0 councillors in the borough when at the peak we had 18.

    I can ASSURE you, Richard S, that we did NOT get into 2nd place to Labour in Lewisham by being a sort of Tory-lite and doing and saying things that would attract the Tory vote.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Jun '14 - 1:58pm

    Martin

    The notion that a change of leader would revive Lib Dem fortunes is no more than idle wish fulfillment.

    I disagree. The party is in a dangerous downward spiral. It needs to do something drastic NOW to reverse that. I suspect what we saw last month in terms of electoral support was a few people hanging on thinking it might not be as and as predicted. I think now it can be seen it was worse than predicted, many of those will give up on it as a lost cause.

    The line has been put across that the Liberal Democrats can hang on in a few places where the local MP or local councillor has a lot of support which is more for him or her personally than for the party. Well, that’s where the Liberal Party was from the 1920s to the 1950s, it means extinction as all those people grow old and retire and their seats are lost as they do so.

  • @Matthew Huntabach – I just mean attracting soft Tory voters by saying “Only Lib Dems can beat Labour here.” You really didn’t do that in Lewisham wards where you were in second place?

  • The party is in a dangerous downward spiral. It needs to do something drastic NOW to reverse that

    When the wings have come off, you’re not going to be able to pull up no matter how drastically you yank at the controls…

  • I don’t think the “wings have come off.” The engines are running on fumes and the pilot is asleep or unconscious at the stick, but the fundamental basis of the party — a hard-working, committed, loyal membership — is still there, and if you give them something they can feel good about supporting, they will go out and scratch and claw to recover what has been lost. There’s room to recover — if the plane isn’t flown into the ground first.

  • Matthew you have not explained why a sharp change now, 11 months ahead of the election, would not result in a failure (I think the net effect could be worse overall) that would serve to discredit the radical (left inclined) Liberals, amongst whom you would, I presume, count yourself.

    Normally in the run up to an election there is a pro government swing. Obviously it remains to be seen if Lib Dems will benefit from this at all, however with a sharp change at this point, it will be harder to make a case that Lib Dems have steadied the ship and steered a less damaging course and easier for the Tory side to connive with Labour in portraying us as unprincipled and unreliable.

    What concerns me much more is little evidence of political pointers and personalities that can direct a post 2015 renewal, in the more likely than not event that we are no longer in government. Unfortunately some of the more interesting political figures seem to have the least secure seats.

  • Ian Hurdley 4th Jun '14 - 6:11pm

    Reading back over this thread, I am assailed by this thought; if we can’t even convince each other, how on earth do we ever expect to persuade a sceptical electorate? New leader or existing leader? Doomed or still everything to play for? Kill the coalition now, or carry on to the dissolution of Parliament next April? Contemplate another coalition or rule it out? On and on it rolls.
    Please don’t say we have to debate these things. You can’t flatter this with the status of debate. Everyone seems to be listening to comment rather than listening to learn.

  • True we live with a hostile press but we had a big chance to put our message across in the Clegg / Farage debates. Nick Clegg lost both decisively. Would it therefore matter if we had more media coverage?

  • Ian Hurdley
    I recognise your concern. Seems to me that it is further evidence of a failing organisation., one that refuses to learn and to adapt to changed circumstances. Certainly the circumstances are very different from 2007.
    How to turn that around ?
    I assume from what you say you feel that a change is necessary because the status quo will not convince the voters.

  • Ian Hurdley 5th Jun '14 - 9:07am

    John Tilley
    I certainly believe that change is necessary, but not necessarily of leader.

  • Ian Hurdley
    And when the leader says (as he did only a few days ago) “no change of strategy, no change of direction”, ???

    And when that is followed by the top down message that 37 MPs is enough because the other 600 constituencies can be sacrificed on the altar of keeping a Cameron dominated coalition rolling ???

  • Ian Hurdley 5th Jun '14 - 9:35am

    One change that would help to start to erode the perception that we are a one man band, would be to give more media prominence to our ministers and to senior MPs, including past leaders. Tim Farron does sterling work in this respect and I hope his successor continues that work, but what about Simon Hughes, Ming Cambell, Brian Paddick, Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy – all formidable TV performers? There must be many others. I know these are busy people. Do they want to still be busy a year from now?

  • Ian Hurdley. — a very good point. I agree.

  • David Evans 5th Jun '14 - 10:03am

    John T,

    37 MPs – I missed that, can you provide some background information?

  • iantha kirkup 5th Jun '14 - 10:14am

    Ian Hurdley,

    It would be a lovely idea for greater media coverage but is very unlikely to happen. For media purposes we have one newsworthy position and that is deputy prime minister. So our media profile will rely on that one person.

  • Paddy is always on TV! But I agree about Charles.

  • David Evans
    The 37 figure is the one the leaders’ press team were using last week. It is apparently the low end of 37 to 45, seats where we are told we are “strong and organised” and will win in the 2015 General Election . You and I might think it is rather optimistic In the light of the last two years’ opinion poll ratings of 13% down to 6 % and Nick Clegg’s personal rating now so bad that they have him as even more unpopular than Gordon Brown was in 2010.
    The 37 – 45 figure has been around for a while and has been used in Stephen Tall’s editorials in LDV. After the MEP debacle I think the leader’s team are just using 37 now. Perhaps they would like to confirm that here in LDV? It would also be interesting to see which 37 seats they are. I bet the Tories already know and are planning accordingly.
    Some press people seem to believe it all — see separate thread in LDV from The Scotsman.

  • Matthew Huntbach 5th Jun '14 - 11:40pm

    Martin

    Matthew you have not explained why a sharp change now, 11 months ahead of the election, would not result in a failure (I think the net effect could be worse overall) that would serve to discredit the radical (left inclined) Liberals, amongst whom you would, I presume, count yourself.

    The sharp change needs to be accompanied by a clear message that we realise the distinctive point of view of our party has got lost due to its involvement in the coalition, and we need that time to re-establish it. Now it seems to me to be obvious that we have lost the support of a lot of people who used to vote for us, and therefore we need to win that back. Why do you think it will come back if we do nothing to reverse what has caused us to lose it?

    Normally in the run up to an election there is a pro government swing. Obviously it remains to be seen if Lib Dems will benefit from this at all.

    Well, there you go, identifying us with the Tories. This government is five-sixths Conservative and has policies which reflect that. So what you are saying is that if people like what the Tories are doing, they might go for us. Martin, we are NOT Tories. As we are not Tories, we should not be thinking that a Tory-dominated government is fine, and that if people like that sort of thing they will vote for us. If that is the line we start using – and it does seem you are suggesting that – our party will be reduced to where the Liberal Party once was, surviving in a few constituencies where it was felt for historical reasons the word “Liberal” was of some help, but entirely dependent on the Conservatives leaving us as the “pro-government” party in those places.

  • @ Eddie Sammon – “My main recommendation is to kick the people out the party who are trying to undermine it. … just full blown socialists”
    If we kick out those who you consider to be socialists can we also kick out all those I consider to be libertarians?

    @ Technical Ephemera – “of free market libertarians, who pretty much map to the old Liberal party.”
    The Liberal party was never a free market libertarian party and those who say it was are distorting history. A majority of Liberal Party members were more radical than the majority of members of the SDP.

    @ David-1 – “Cuing Matthew Huntbach”
    I think he is teaching in China at the moment hence why his response took so long to come.

    @ Stuart – “I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way the Lib Dems can ever hope to lance this particular boil is for all those MPs who broke the pledge to admit they did wrong and announce their intention to stand down.”
    It is a lovely thought but I think it is too late now. It is very hard for a new Liberal Democrat candidate to hold one of our seats, and to do so they need lots of time and time is running out.

    @ Matthew Huntbach – “Am I really the only person who is concerned at the way history has now been so rewritten that we get comment after comment making this completely untrue point?”
    No you are not the only person. I have posted recently about falsehoods about the historical Liberal Party. I also remember reading a few comments by others in the past that also point out the same falsehoods that you point out.

    @ Martin – “Matthew you have not explained why a sharp change now, 11 months ahead of the election, would not result in a failure … , it will be harder to make a case that Lib Dems have steadied the ship and steered a less damaging course and easier for the Tory side to connive with Labour in portraying us as unprincipled and unreliable.”

    I think the argument is that we stay in the coalition and just have a new leader who the electorate will give a new chance to get the message of our success over to them and at the same time have a manifesto that has commitments to deal with inequality and which helps those people who are disconnected from society.

  • Peter Chegwyn 6th Jun '14 - 5:35am

    I totally agree with Caracatus as does John Curtice who said on BBC TV that in terms of loss of vote share, Newark is the worst by-election result for the Liberals / Liberal Democrats in almost 70 years.

    Remember Newark was a seat that in past parliaments we would have been aiming to win in a by-election!

    No doubt Nick Clegg’s few remaining supporters will say (again) that it’s a natural consequence of being in government. Government parties always fare badly in by-elections etc. Best tell that to the Conservatives who comfortably held the Newark seat with a 7,000+ majority!

    Just how low do we have to go before people wake up to the need for change at the top of our own party?

    If we continue with the same toxic Leader, the same discredited message, the same complacent ‘nothing needs to change’ approach, then we are heading for an electoral disaster of truly epic proportions next year from which it will take many, many years to recover.

  • Richard Harris 6th Jun '14 - 6:06am

    No Libdem MPs visited Newark during the campaign? Isn’t this simply insulting to the local campaigners and previous libdem voters?

  • Paul In Wokingham 6th Jun '14 - 7:03am

    Look, you mongers of doom and you psephological dilettantes: we beat The Patriotic Socialist Party. Nick Clegg took the PSP challenge and won. And we wiped the floor with Bus Pass Elvis. And all without the need for a single MP to even visit the constituency! The strategy is vindicated!

  • Peter Chegwyn 6th Jun '14 - 7:29am

    Richard / Paul – Our result may have been even worse if Nick Clegg had visited Newark… but you’re right. What a shameful way for the Leadership and MPs to treat our candidate and activists. No MPs at all visiting? Incredible! Even during the worst days of the Lib Lab Pact in the late 70s, by-elections always got a visit from the Leader and MPs of the time.

    Compare the lack of support for Newark from Nick Clegg and the MPs with the four visits from Cameron and every Tory MP being instructed to visit at least three times. Small wonder the Tories won and we got, err, 2.5% in 6th place.

    Not the fault of our candidate who seems to have worked tremendously hard as have many party members. Shameful how they were deserted by the Leader and Parliamentary Party.

  • Peter Watson 6th Jun '14 - 8:01am

    @Paul In Wokingham “we wiped the floor with Bus Pass Elvis”
    :-)
    That’s not the Panglossian (a new word for me that I’ve only learnt recently from reading this site) spin that I was predicting for a terrible result, so I’ll have wait and see if I’m closer to the line that Clegg et al actually use.

  • That’s not the Panglossian (a new word for me that I’ve only learnt recently from reading this site) spin that I was predicting for a terrible result, so I’ll have wait and see if I’m closer to the line that Clegg et al actually use.

    My predictions:
    (1) “We were bound to be squeezed”
    (2) “If we work hard to get our message across everything will be all right in the end”

  • If UKIP are seen as racist, then so are many people in this country. I do not see them as racist, simply as Realists.
    People will continue to vote for other parties unless and until the 3 main parties start to listen to the people they are supposed to serve, stop nannying us and re-learn the meaning of the word Democracy!

    I, for one, hope they do continue losing votes as this is the only way they just might wake up and realise how disillusioned so many people are with them and their smug attitudes and ignorance of what is important to ordinary people.

    There are many, many problems that need dealing with, not least of which is to stop using speed cameras to replace police! Nowadays, it is rare to see any policing of our roads, unless it is a copper hidden in a hedge with a speed gun! As a professional driver I travel 100’s of miles a week, many of them on motorways and, candidly, the standard of driving today is abysmal. We need police out on the roads, not just to hand our tickets for serious offences, but to advise drivers of what they are doing wrong that may well end up causing a serious accident.

    The above is just one of many issues, but one that is rarely mentioned in the media and seriously needs addressing.

    As far as the EU question is concerned, again, many people are totally disillusioned and what we have now is not what we believed we were signing up to. It seems to many of us that we, the indigenous English/British are being ridden over roughshod in favour of all other nationalities now living here. I and many others, object to seeing our country being taken over and changed beyond recognition. It is not what my grandfather fought for in World War 1, nor other relatives fought for in World War 2; their heroism, selflessness and memories are being tarnished by what is happening now to the country and lifestyle they fought for – a free and democratic society that no longer exists here. Those in parliament now should be utterly ashamed and those who attended the services in Normandy on 6 June are hypocritical in the extreme.

  • Stuart Mitchell 7th Jun '14 - 4:28pm

    @Truckerlyn
    “There are many, many problems that need dealing with, not least of which is to stop using speed cameras to replace police!”

    Oh, that old chestnut. The reason we have fewer police is because of financial cuts. Speed cameras can scarcely be blamed for that because (as people like you are fond of reminding us) speed cameras actually rake in lots of money.

    It’s strange that so many of the anti-camera brigade hanker for the days of more traffic police, because I have a sneaky feeling they are the very same kind of people who, back in the pre-Gatso days, used to write letters to newspapers complaining that police should be “off catching real criminals” instead of pulling over speeding motorists.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMalcolm Todd 24th Oct - 11:15am
    Indeed, it's good of you to provide such fertile ground for diverting play for those of us whose a**e-pokers are not too rigid. More power...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 24th Oct - 11:14am
    If Paul Tyler and other Liberal Democrats in the Lords were mounting a consistent and ongoing campaign to get rid of the everyday farce I...
  • User Avatariain 24th Oct - 11:12am
    Gordon is a probable loss anyway, and if he stands it may actually help us in the long run, as it will encourage Labour and...
  • User AvatarSimon McGrath 24th Oct - 11:11am
    William - because a) renwables are (at least at the moment) much more expensive than gas b) virtually all our domestic heating runs on gas
  • User AvatarSimon McGrath 24th Oct - 11:09am
    " the underlying message “politicians are all bad, don’t get involved” is the same one as the Orange Bookers" Can you point to any evidence...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 24th Oct - 11:04am
    It's a fine spoof. No problems from in that regard. I use pseudonym, and a deliberately silly one at that, so I could not complain...