Tag Archives: campaigning

It’s our legacy – let’s proclaim it

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We must not let the Tories define our legacy, as they did for Labour when that government fell. We were a force for good in the Coalition government, ensuring fairer and better policies for all. But we are not being given the credit for it by the public. Our standing in the polls is still less than 10%, and in Oldham West we didn’t save our deposit. Despite the valiant efforts of Tim and his team, eight months after the General Election we are not getting heard. Political discussion and comment in the media mostly ignores us. What to do?

Let’s look at how we got to this position. ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men…’ and so there is. We swept into Coalition as a tide of discontent, and alarm at the economic situation swept Labour away. Action followed by reaction is the general rule of political history. Last year we were left like so much flotsam and jetsam on the beach.

Posted in Op-eds | 58 Comments

Tweets from the campaign trail: Snow edition

All over the country, Liberal Democrats have been campaigning today, some of them in the snow. Here are some of the icy tweets. Thankfully, the reception on the doorsteps was much warmer.

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Tim’s pick a ward and win it – how that’s part of the Isle of Wight’s #libdemfightback

Nicholas Belfitt winning hereIn June last year I attended a small event in Guildford in the run-up to the leadership election where I was lucky to meet Tim Farron. He  made a great speech which, as always was both thorough and entertaining. But it was in the end what he said that began to push me to believe in the Lib Dems. Pick a ward and win it.

No words have been so strong for me. After the event it was all I could think about for weeks and weeks during which time I returned  home to the Isle of Wight. I had always dreamed of being able to be involved, but like many young liberals I thought that caution and moving through groups such as the Liberal Youth were the formats in which make  progress. But I could not get that line out of my head.

I began to be involved in my local party and before I knew it I was swiftly elected Vice-Chair. ME? At 22? The only experience I had of campaigning was under Kelly-Marie Blundell in her Guildford campaign, but I had no training or preparation.  

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Are by-elections the best use of activists’ time?

Over the course of November I lost count of the exhortations I received to contribute, either financially or through my time, to the Oldham campaign. But is our current approach to by-elections the best for our party, and, if not, what wider lessons can we draw? This article is written to provoke, to challenge, and to inspire debate; equally, it is not written to insult or degrade the hard work or enthusiasm of activists or candidates with which this party is blessed.

Activists are encouraged to get involved in a by-election for a number of reasons: (i) the excellent qualities of the local candidate; (ii) the opportunity to increase our representation at Westminster; (iii) there is value in 2nd/3rd/… place; (iv) to learn about effective methods of campaigning; (v) to spread our national message; and (vi) it’s fun/sociable/exciting! But we have to realise that we are a seriously resource constrained political party. Resources are financial and people-time: activists, party staff, and political figures (e.g. MPs). I would argue that these are all more seriously limited than at any time since I joined the party in 2005, with the possible exception of activists. Even here, many will have full time commitments, a family, other volunteering work etc. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments

The #libdemfightback continues in Hinckley and Bosworth

I would echo my good friend Caron Lindsay in her congratulations to Sheree Miller for gaining 9% and coming second in a by election in Newham in London, in a Ward where we did not stand at all last time around. Likewise Tim Farron’s congratulations to Jane Brophy and her team for their campaign in Oldham. If we do not contest such elections hard then we cannot build for the future.

In the same vein the efforts of Hinckley and Bosworth Liberal Democrats deserve recognition. In September their candidate Shani Smith gained a by election contest from Labour in the Barwell area. Thursday 3rd December saw another by election in the adjacent Ward in Barwell. This time their candidate Terry Kirby almost doubled our vote share taking us from fourth place in May to 36% of the vote in a close second place and missing beating the Conservatives by just 25 votes.

Spearheading both campaigns alongside the candidates was Michael Mullaney who as Parliamentary Candidate moved the Liberal Democrats from third to second place in the 2010 General Election. In May 2015 Michael gained one of the better Liberal Democrat results in the UK, moving the Constituency from 100th most winnable to 44th most winnable.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Campaigning with C.A.R.

Campaigning

The North and East Liberal Democrat AGM was held last Friday.  We had a good turnout, enjoyed the wine and mince pies (thank you!) and had a really interesting and brilliant talk from Baron Jeremy Purvis of Tweed.

Jeremy posed some real issues for us Liberal Democrats in terms of identity.  After all, in a liberal society where everybody claims to be small ‘l’ liberal, what is the use of a liberal party?  Especially in a system where everybody from both left and right have to converge upon the centre ground in order to gain power.  The SNP and Conservative “love-in” has changed things though.  Each present themselves as the only alternative to the other  This situation led to the SNP almost sweeping the board in Scotland (50% vote share) and to the Tory majority government on 37% of the vote.  There is nothing as useful in politics as having a good enemy.  This viewpoint, however, leads only to insularity, acrimony and bitterness.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Let’s get some national campaigns going on issues the voters care about

Our Party is all about campaigning. It is what saved the old Liberal Party from extinction and what sustains us in difficult times. I know local parties up and down the country are running campaigns on many different issues, but we lack some important national ones.
What about Europe I hear you say, or the Human Rights Act?

Well, yes, the EU and human rights are important issues and we do have to campaign for them, but they are not high on people’s list of concerns.

Apart from Europe, we have individual initiatives launched by the leader or an MP, which is great. I am thinking in particular of Tim Farron’s prioritising of housing, and Norman Lamb on social care. However we need that little bit extra, something that really captures attention. What I am thinking of are issues where we can get out amongst the voters with a petition and potentially get lots of signature on equally important areas of policy that emphasise our social liberalism.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments
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  • User AvatarGareth Epps 7th Feb - 10:28pm
    Liberator is not preceded by a definite article. (You must owe us a sub!)
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 7th Feb - 10:20pm
    @Mick Taylor "Labour have shown us the AWS guarantees the selection of women candidates and in a more favourable electoral climate would lead to women...
  • User AvatarRsf7 7th Feb - 10:15pm
    The problem with all this is that it only works one way. For example, men earn more than women but for the under 30's women...
  • User AvatarIan Swales 7th Feb - 9:56pm
    I'll leave my comment to a fellow member from the North East - “As a woman with a disability I find this patronising and insulting...
  • User AvatarIan Swales 7th Feb - 9:53pm
    You're right David and a lot of people who would benefit from it agree too. Here's just a few comments from a NE blog on...
  • User AvatarDon Harrison 7th Feb - 9:35pm
    I am a LGBT LibDem member who only does happy