If you thought Paddy Ashdown had been a bit quiet since he was appointed General Election chair, then I can confidently predict that our time of peace is soon to come to an end. Have a good break this Christmas, Liberal Democrat activist, because if our energetic peer has his way, it’ll be the last chance you get until May 7 2015.
He emailed members yesterday to let them know 3 things.
Firstly, Danny Alexander, Kirsty Williams and Alistair Carmichael have been appointed as vice-chairs of the General Election campaign to work closely with the team at HQ. While this is undoubtedly an incredibly strong team, I’d say there’s a bit of a gap for people from outside the Westminster Bubble. It’s really important that activists and local campaigners have some sort of influence and buy-in to the campaign. It would make a lot of sense to take advice and insight from people who are bucking the trend and achieving great results at the moment. Our local government people have real expertise that we have to harness. Councillors are crucial to electoral success.
Secondly, Tim Farron is being sent on a mission to “enthuse, inspire and equip” activists in a series of workshops in the New Year.
Thirdly, Saturday 9th February, which just happens to be the 7th anniversary of Willie Rennie’s triumph in the Dunfermline by-election, will be a national campaign day, when the aim will be to get as many people as possible out on doorsteps campaigning on local and national (namely the tax cut for low and middle income workers delivered by the Liberal Democrats) issues.
It’s no accident that four of the most popular figures with party activists, Ashdown, Williams, Carmichael and Farron, are so closely associated with the General Election team. 2013 is a crucial year for campaigners. Firstly there are County Council elections in England as well as the usual diet of local elections and this is a crucial year of preparation for the European election in 2014. Rest up over Christmas, for next year Liberal Democrats will be working even harder than usual.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings