Mike Tuffrey writes… My kinda campaign … working towards success in 2014

Ol’ blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, used to sing about “My kinda town…” Rest assured, I won’t be singing. But let me tell you about London – my town – and the kind of campaign I intend to run as our candidate to be Mayor of London.

The test of success in the 2012 campaign isn’t just the number of votes we win in the Mayor contest – it is how many Assembly members we get elected and how many councillors, councils and MEPs we get elected in 2014.

Our very best London-wide campaigning in the past – such as that led by our Mayor and Assembly candidates Susan Kramer, Lynne Featherstone and Caroline Pidgeon – has always been about more than winning votes London-wide; it has helped and supported local teams to win their own contests too.

This will be the 14th election I’ve fought in London, going back to my first in 1985 to the GLC. It’s the toughest yet, but winning elections in tough times is something both I and others have done in the past.

To do it again, the Mayor campaign must play a key role in achieving four goals:

  • rebuilding trust in the Liberal Democrats among London voters
  • inspiring our members and activists
  • reinventing our approach to campaigning, based on our community politics philosophy, and
  • dramatically increasing our skills, overhauling our campaign technology and building up London-wide resources.

Mike Tuffrey campaigning in PutneyMy job as candidate for Mayor is to lead a fun and inspiring campaign, jointly with Caroline Pidgeon, our list leader. At grassroots level it must identify and support the individual council wards we need to win in 2014, each with its own objectives. And it must be firmly rooted in credible and attractive policies across all of the areas the Mayor is responsible for, feeding a ‘new media’ push the like of which we’ve not seen before.

Challenges and opportunities

Let’s not delude ourselves about how serious the current challenges are. Too many of our voters feel at best confused and at worst betrayed since we joined the Coalition. Too much of our campaigning does not really involve the people and communities we seek to serve. We have lost the technology lead we once enjoyed and have not fully adapted to the fast-paced world of social media.

But also let’s recognise we have great advantages and opportunities too. Heightened media interest. Credibility as a serious party of government. A body of experienced councillors and campaigners keen to retake power locally. And a record of success in London local government.

And in this great melting-pot city, Liberal Democrat ideas are brilliantly suited to the challenges we face – freedom and tolerance, citizens empowered, celebrating diversity, a focus on neighbourhoods and communities, concern for the environment and long term sustainability, positive about business and wealth creation, and open and international in outlook.

Ambition

That’s why I’m sure we can succeed beyond everyone’s expectations, if we are ambitious – for ourselves as well as for London. My job is to make that happen.

I do believe I’m uniquely able to combine and lead both the ‘air war’ and ‘ground war’ aspects of a successful integrated campaign. Grassroots campaigning is in my blood – I first knocked on a door to canvass when I was 17 and I haven’t stopped since. In my home patch of Lambeth we built up the local team from a handful of seats to run the council. At the London Assembly week in, week out, I’ve been raising local issues, challenging the Mayor, getting in the media and working with our local campaigners to win support on the ground.

In short, I’m realistic about the challenges, and very optimistic about our chances. I need you to join me in making it possible.

If you like what you read and would like to back my campaign, please sign up to my email list and join my Facebook page.

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This entry was posted in London and Op-eds.
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