Tag Archives: campaigning

Reinvigorating Liberal Democrat campaigns

Despite a slight kick-start in the most recent elections we are still a long way off form truly having a #libdemfightback. If that is something we really want to do then we must start taking a real look at campaign strategy and the way we are fighting these elections.

For years now the Liberal Democrats have been running a campaign that, whilst it does reach certain people, it is not working as well it perhaps could be. Targeting strong seats is very sensible and admirable but if feel we are potentially missing out on capturing other constituencies.

Having lived in several London boroughs it is a shame I have not been visited by any of the local Liberal Democrats standing for Parliament or  local council. I believe our lack of presence may mean we aren’t reaching potential voters.

#LibDemFightBack must be more than just an ideology or a slogan. Targeting key seats is of course a great idea, but I think we can’t underestimate how much we can make an impact in other areas. I know we will not get immediate results and other parties are also on the streets as well. It will of course take more than flyers and canvassing and I think if we can have a strong and captivating message we can potentially meet and sway new voters and even new members. I am not entirely sure what the answer is but I think we must attempt to re-evaluate our approach and try new things out. Whether it is as simple as canvassing in areas we are weak or organising events, publicity stunts, getting digital or just re-thinking our messaging. Whatever form that may take I think we must continue to keep our message alive and positive in any new ways we can and try and get both members and non-members really passionate about the party and our policies.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

John Pugh MP writes…Two lessons from Thursday

Southport councillors 2016In Southport last Thursday we did something no party has ever done before in Southport’s history- won all the council seats by healthy margins. Not everyone knows where Southport is but its on the northern tip of the Merseyside region on the Lancashire coast. On Thursday I was puzzled when contacted by the press department expressing worry about the defection of one of my councillors. It turned out it was a bloke in Stockport who had defected. Easy mistake to make if you are from London.

Southport is part of Sefton MBC which has big wards averaging 12,000. During the Coalition most of Merseyside fell like dominoes to Labour including the Sefton seats outside Southport leaving us (Southport) an isolated fortress. This year it was different with Richard Kemp and Kris Brown spearheading a heroic revival in Liverpool and gains made in Knowsley. The only sadness was that in some other areas of Merseyside where we had taken successive kickings in previous years the will to win and the belief that we could was not there. Hopefully that won’t be the case in 2018 or in the counties in 2017.

Conclusion number one therefore is that the atmosphere is changing but more self-belief is needed.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

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.

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

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
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