Tag Archives: campaigning

Opinion: Queen’s Speech – the success and failures of coalition in a nutshell

Nutshell 2One part of the Queen’s Speech – or rather one absence from it – neatly encapsulates the Liberal Democrat experience in coalition government, both good and bad. It is the absence from it of an immigration (dislike thereof) bill.

A solo Tory government would have introduced one and – thanks to Labour’s attitudes towards immigration – even a minority Tory government might well have got an anti-immigration bill through Parliament. It’s the Liberal Democrat presence in government which has stopped it.

photo by: steffenz
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

Opinion: We need to get better at talking up our achievements and rebutting the lies

Liberal Youth at Eastleigh - Some rights reserved by Helen DuffettI joined the party in the autumn of 2012; I did so more out of interest than any burning zeal, on the basis that the Liberal Democrats were the party I disagreed with the least profoundly, on the smallest number of issues.  In that time I’ve met wonderful, inspiring people, and come to feel increasingly that joining this party was one of my better ideas.

We are at a time of profound reflection in the Party; with that in mind, in the …

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How did shuttleworths get their name?

imageIt is a truth universally acknowledged that if you want to know anything about the olden days of liberalism, you ask The Lord (Tony) Greaves. A few days ago, somebody emailed a group of friends how shuttleworths got their name. For those of you who don’t know, these are the pads that used to have the names and addresses of supporters in a particular area for use on polling day. I knew I’d heard the story before and the various answers  that were being told didn’t seem right but I couldn’t remember what it was and, frankly, I had lots of voters to talk to so I didn’t look any further.

Then, with extraordinary serendipity, a comment from Tony Greaves got caught in auto-moderation. I actually saw his slight grumble about it in the main thread before I saw the actual comment. Anyway, it was the first thing that made me smile all day yesterday, so I emailed him to tell him. I also too my chance to ask him. This is his reply, reproduced with his permission.

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Opinion: Get your voters out electronically

HTC HD7 8It’s not a surprise to say far more people use social media now than when I first learnt political campaigning because Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the whole lot didn’t even exist back then. Nor even did (glory be, you might think) Internet Explorer. Back when a beta version of Netscape was cutting edge, the scope for successful online political campaigning was tiny compared to now, when there are more people on the electoral register who use social media than will vote next week.

But the story of the last few decades isn’t just about the rise of the online world. It’s also about the increasing problems with traditional ways of communicating with voters on the ground. Fewer phone numbers are in the phone book; fewer households have someone in when you call round; and fewer properties have accessible individual letterboxes.

photo by: okalkavan
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Opinion: What’s the right balance of smile and frown?

facesJonathan Freedland in an article for the Guardian raises the critical subject of the right balance between positive and negative campaign messages and their effectiveness on the body politic. He does so in the context of September’s Scottish referendum over concern that the ‘NO’ campaign is increasingly characterised by fear, in spite of the fact that the overall message is ‘Better Together’.

The debate now under way has a resonance that extends beyond Scotland, touching all democratic politics. When opposing a proposal, or a government, what’s the right balance of smile and frown?

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Opinion: What is with the Lib Dem love affair with leaflets?

FocusI’ve been thinking about this for a while, and am convinced that I am the only Liberal Democrat to feel this way.  Nonetheless, I have to share my feelings with a group of people that will understand, perhaps in the declining, yet desperate hope that I will find someone else who feels this way.  Therefore, I must ask exactly what is with the Liberal Democrat love affair with leaflets?

I haven’t always hated the things.  I remember happily putting yellow leaflets through doors as a 4 year old with my parents, but since growing up I’ve developed an intense hatred of the things.  From printing them, to pulling paper out of a jammed Riso, then folding them, and finally delivering them in the mist, and rain.

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Lessons from Dunfermline: A lot more conversation, a little less literature needed in future

Campaigning on the doorstep - Lynne FeatherstoneI stand by my view that the Dunfermline by-election result was pretty much the best that we could have achieved in the circumstances. As I said in my comment to that post:

We were squeezed – that much was inevitable, but as Labour blogger Ian Smart said the other day, our vote did not crumble to the extent that had been expected. Both Labour and the SNP expected to be able to help themselves to all of it, and were surprised when they couldn’t.

They tried …

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Opinion: The Liberal Democrats and the County Council elections – a whole new chapter?

A wise man said to me today: “are you going to write a new chapter for the book after you came third in your election?” The chapters in 101 Ways to Win an Election are each the same length as an LDV article so I thought, “why not!?”

The first and most obvious point to make is to never stop learning. Each campaign has the potential to teach you something new. The trick is to learn the right lessons, which generally will come from listening carefully to what the voters are telling you about your campaign.

In this

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Marginal gains

Silver bullet - some rights reserved by eschipulToo often people come into political campaigning searching for a silver bullet which will revolutionise their candidacy and transform the electorate into ardent fans overnight. It’s the most common mistake of first time candidates. Those of us who have already spent decades stuffing letterboxes know that a quick fix doesn’t exist.

That isn’t to say there aren’t campaign game-changers – the advent of television or how some candidates have harnessed the internet, but in truth they are few and far between. Instead candidates and campaigns

Posted in Campaign Corner | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Will you do your bit for Super Thursday?

Thursday, November 15th, isn’t just the date of the Police Commissioner elections. There’s by-elections in Cardiff, Manchester and Corby and an election for the mayor of Bristol. There’s also by-elections pending in Croydon North and Middlesbrough.

That means a lot of campaigns at the same time. But, look on the bright side, they’re neatly spread right across the county. So, for most of us, there’s one within easy reach.

With so many by-election campaigns running at the same time, the campaign teams could really do with your help. That means help, not in three weeks time, but help at any time, starting now!

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Opinion: Open standards: a liberal approach to technology

As we look at how we use technology to campaign as Liberal Democrats, we should consider the use of open standards.

Most people know something very basic about the World Wide Web – it was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. But the key to its success was not just the skill of its inventor; the standards behind the web were open, meaning that anybody could write a web server, web browser or web page. Dozens of programmes sprung up, all of them able to talk to each …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

How a deliverer can recruit two deliverers

There are martyrs who will do anything for the Liberal Democrats … except ask for help.

They drive themselves to an early grave delivering thousands of leaflets, canvassing, and organising everything else in their local party.

Nothing scares them … except asking for help.

Posted in Campaign Corner | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: Time for Liberal Democrats to stop saying “No”.

If you Google “Lib Dems say no”, this is the result you get. Beyond the recent headlines on new runways you will see that this phrase is widely used in our campaigns. In the same search, click on Images to emphasise the point. One would be forgiven for thinking that this phrase is printed on our membership cards. This phrase is deeply  conservative and does nothing to help with our problem of explaining what the Lib Dems stand for, something I recently argued we urgently need to do.

At the next election an opportunity to set that vision our …

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LibLink: Mark Pack – Voters get to choose how they think

Over on the Biteback Publishing website, The Voice‘s Mark Pack has been writing about how voters make their decisions:

One of the findings increasingly coming out from research into how we make decisions is that often we make a decision using our subconscious and only afterwards come up with a justification for it. Our subconscious decides, our conscious rationalises.

It is an intriguing – and in some ways, scary – finding, that is best illustrated by a clever experiment where people were shown photographs of two similar, but different, people and asked to pick which one was the most attractive. They were then given that photograph and asked to explain the reason for their decision.

Except that what the researchers did was try out a bit of sleight of hand, so sometimes the person was actually given the photograph of the other person.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Tom Brake MP writes… Politics is a profession of unrelenting pace

In politics, no sooner have you seen off one challenge, than another appears on the horizon. At least the triathlon I completed had a clearly defined finish line. Yet, in politics, no sooner has one election ended, than you have to refocus on the next.

As a result, it’s hard to find time to sit down and take stock. But during this recess, I’ve set myself the challenge of putting some time aside to refocus on the last election and look at the detail behind the detail.

I’ve spent election after election trying to learn the lessons of what went wrong. I’ve …

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No need to be a spectator

There’s a battle on across the country, to elect people who will respond to the needs of their local communities, who will fight to protect vital services for vulnerable people.

Liberal Democrats without local elections don’t have to be spectators. If you do travel to campaign in another area, your help is especially valuable.

It’s not just the help you’ll be giving: knocking on doors and delivering leaflets. Morale is important in a campaign. If you offer help from outside, you’ll give them a real boost. Just by coming and helping, you will make things happen that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.

You are …

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Opinion: Brand values

There have been a couple of posts recently on where campaigning ideas should come from and whether those campaigns can be directed centrally, first from Scott Hill and then from Robin McGhee And another, which I refuse to link to because it does not appear to publish comments, mocked us for our backwardness in brand management.

Campaigning and not policy is the life blood of Liberal Democrat politics. A policy however right or valuable is inanimate. A campaign establishes connections and energizes movement. That is perhaps why you cannot chose for Liberal Democrats THE campaign they should be waging in March in 2012 or in any other month for that matter. That was the lesson I learnt when an acting Chief Executive of ALDC in the late 1980s.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Opinion: LibDem campaigning must be kept local

In a recent article on Lib Dem Voice, Scott Hill talked of the need for ‘modernisation’ of the party’s campaigning mechanisms. Some of his ideas are excellent: for example, who could argue with putting more emphasis on internet campaigning? However, I think he has gone somewhat off the rails in his adulation of what can only be described as aggressively centralising tendencies. ‘Message and projection is everything’, he writes. ‘As a party, it is vital that we sing from the same hymn sheet. Undoubtedly, debate and deliberation is necessary, but unity must be maintained right the way through the …

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Musings on campaign direction

Since Chris Rennard coined the groundbreaking concept of ‘pavement politics’ the party has struggled to move forward and evolve with regards to innovative and modern strategic frameworks. Whilst no one individual holds the monopoly on this, I would like to share a few thoughts on the matter.

First, it is important to acknowledge that things have changed considerably since May 2010. We can no longer package ourselves as the anti-establishment party and must accept that our voter demographic has altered significantly. The days of lentil-eating, sandal-wearing members are over. We are now a fully-fledged, professional, suited-and-booted organisation that has demonstrated its …

Posted in Op-eds | 38 Comments

How to win seats in 2015

Opinion polls this year have shown us between seven and sixteen per cent. That’s a significant fall compared to the twenty-three per cent we received in the 2010 election. One polling website recently stated that, on a universal swing, we would get only two seats.

In 1997, our vote fell by one per cent to only 16.8%, nonetheless, but we made an electoral breakthrough, winning 46 seats.

If polls continue to be difficult, can we again defy first-past-the-post, and retain a sizeable parliamentary party? I think we can.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the strategy we should adopt to increase our poll …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Dean 29th Jul - 2:27am
    @T-J. There are issues, certainly, but it would be foolish to throw away opportunities that the commonwealth provides, including the 20% that jedibeeftrix mentioned. And...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 29th Jul - 1:55am
    An interesting debate, as these types of philosophical debates often are. As someone who has been part of the LDV team in the past, then...
  • User AvatarT-J 29th Jul - 1:48am
    Credibility in human rights isn't needed for credibility in business, no. But credibility on the rule of law is. And if the law on whether...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 29th Jul - 1:30am
    Credibility in the human rights sphere has never been a significant determinant of credibility in business and trade. But what's this about "steering"? Maybe more...
  • User AvatarT-J 29th Jul - 1:11am
    I'm not complaining. I already asked myself those questions and found the answers pointing in a different direction. Like I say, I used to be...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 29th Jul - 12:53am
    LJP: I'm with Stephen Hesketh about status indicators. I think they would help if available for voluntary use. Someone like you could opt to leave...