Tag Archives: campaigning

Opinion: Performance v Effectiveness: How the Lib Dems can (and must) fight smart

In the run up to the election, I sent numerous emails to activists in Hornsey and Wood Green, congratulating them for hitting ‘green’ in all our HQ-monitored key performance indicators (KPIs).

We were model pupils. Bar membership, I think we hit green every month, on every indicator.

And it’s no wonder. We worked so hard – and the campaign was the biggest that Hornsey had ever seen: in terms of numbers of activists on the ground, number of doors knocked on, and pieces of literature produced and delivered.

We were more organised and more targeted in our approach than ever before. We couldn’t have worked harder.

In fact, the one thing that didn’t hit ‘green’ was the only thing that really mattered – the result. That was a big fat (-10,000) red.

This pattern was true of many other seats – and as a local campaign manager, I’ve put a lot of thought into why this happened.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 53 Comments

Opinion: We mustn’t be afraid to attack the opposition when they deserve it

Many things are being written about the election we have just been through. I for one think this is great; everyone is engaged and wanting to examine what went wrong, how we can learn, what can we do next time. The key is that we’re all committed to rebuilding and giving it all we have again next time. This is really encouraging, so I wanted to add my own little insight and raise a few more questions for our campaign teams, local and national, to address.

My issue concerns the ever-dreaded ‘negative’ campaigning. It’s something we as Liberal Democrats really struggle with, especially at a local level. One of the biggest frustrations for me in all my campaigning roles I’ve held so far, is that the superb team of local councillors and candidates I’ve always worked with are entirely uncomfortable with praising themselves but even more so with blaming the opposition for things that they absolutely should be blamed for.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Opinion: Letterbox v doorstep

 

I’ve been volunteering in my seat of Watford for Dorothy Thornhill since February, offering my assistance whenever I can. I’ve done my fair share of both deliveries and canvassing since then, and whilst I was doing some deliveries I got thinking.

Which way is the best way to attract voters and win people over?

Posted in Op-eds | 9 Comments

Inside a Liberal Democrat Action day – with Stephen Lloyd and the Eastbourne team

Ever wondered what happens on a Lib Dem action day? Lots of phoning voters, leafletting, delivering and stuffing envelopes. Eastbourne Liberal Demcorat candidate and MP till Parliament was dissolved Stephen Lloyd produced this video of an action day last month. It’s full of people who talk about why they have come along to help.

He’s holding more tomorrow and Sunday. If you are near Eastbourne and can make it, please sign up here or go along at 10 am.

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The Telegraph puts its own predictable spin on Liberal Democrat election strategy

It always amuses me how the newspapers report  what is going on inside the Liberal Democrat campaign machine. I would strongly recommend that you read anything published on the pages of newspapers who hate us with a very large pinch of salt.

A few weeks ago the Mirror painted this picture of “MPs being forced to undergo dragon’s den style grillings” to secure campaign resources. This is kind of right, except it’s a process which has been going on for most of this Parliament and in fact any seat was welcome to apply to be part of the strategic seats programme. I was part of the Dragon’s Den panel in Scotland and I was really heartened to see how the process worked and how campaigning activity in all our seats improved as a result.

Now the Telegraph, which hates us as much as the Mirror if not more, screams “Lib Dems throw weak MPs to the wolves”. There are undoubtedly some people who would far rather be thrown to an actual pack of wolves than face Paddy in full Father Jack mode but the sense I get is that seats which a year ago were thought to be lost are actually being seen as seriously in play. This is down to the massive effort that has been put in on the ground by our highly motivated campaign teams. The party has always targeted its relatively scant resources carefully to put most effort in where the evidence tells us we can win. The only difference between this campaign and previous is that there are fewer seats we are seriously targeting to gain. Oxford West and Abingdon and Watford, where Layla Moran and Dorothy Thornhill respectively are standing, are two prominent examples of that sort of seat.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Float like a butterfly, vote like a xxx?

Having spent the last few days canvassing (what else would a Politics teacher do during half-term?) I have been playing the usual ‘what does it all mean?’ game, trying to make sense of the Green-Liberals, red UKIPs, soft Tories and probable Mebyon Kernows. Even making sense of those categories though requires being able to spot them, and there are days when I long for the simplicity of a ‘damned if I know’ option on Connect.

I do understand why there is no ‘don’t know’ ‘undecided’ or ‘genuine floater’ category. Firstly it would be far too tempting for canvassers to label everyone who didn’t immediately disclose their voting intention as a ‘don’t know’. The follow-up probes about who they definitely wouldn’t for, voted for last time, and might their lend vote to would be too likely to be forgotten.

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Lib Dems raise £50k for General Election in just one day

Good news from Lib Dem Chief Exec Tim Gordon in our inbox this morning. Yesterday, the party raised £50,000 in just one day from members and supporters. That’s half as much as it raised during the whole of January. Nick Clegg’s appearance on The Last Leg may well have stimulated a good old shot in the bank balance for the party.

What’s particularly good is that the £150,000 raised from members and supporters will be matched by major donors, giving the campaign a £300,000 boost.

This news, combined with the recent news that Liberal Democrat membership rose for the sixth quarter in a row shows steady progress.

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Lib Dem campaigners in the snow #2

Following on from our post on Thursday night, here are some more pictures of Liberal Democrats campaigning in the snow. Keep sending them in.

Danny Alexander went for a walk (remember #dannyswalks) in the streets of Aviemore:

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Liberal Democrats campaign all year round – even in the snow

When I woke up to an icy white blanket in my garden this morning, my first thought was for all those Liberal Democrat campaigners who are out and about in the freezing cold risking life and limb to talk to voters and get our message across.

I will never be one of them. I am a total wuss where snow and ice are concerned.  Or, to be more accurate, a chionophobic. Ever since a fall on ice meant that I wasn’t able to walk for five months, I don’t do snow or ice if I can possibly avoid it.

My admiration for those who do go out in the horrible white stuff knows no bounds. I had presumed if we had snow in the central belt, that the North East would be under feet of the stuff, but both West Aberdeenshire and Gordon reported bak that they were enjoying beautiful weather. However, Christine had posted a photograph of some lethal looking local pavements last Saturday:

Dyce death trap pavements

South of the border, we find our own Joe Otten  out with a team in Sheffield. They looked very happy in their work:

Joe in Hallam Snow

 

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New Get out the vote tactics in the US: Vote, or we’ll be interested in why you didn’t

GOTV, that final part of an election campaign where you make sure that all your supporters actually get themselves to the polls, is vital. Elections can be won or lost by the effectiveness of your GOTV operation. It’s all about giving them a reason to get down the polling station. It could be out of a genuine desire to see your fantastic candidate elected. It could be because you really don’t want to let the other one in.

Everyone will be familiar with the “It’s a two horse race, every vote will count” and the breathless “it’s too close to call, vote before 10pm or the Daleks will win” messages. Ok, I made the last one up. But nobody would ever dream of suggesting a direct consequence for the voters themselves. Until now.

Brooklyn musician Jonathan Coulton tweeted a picture of a letter he got purporting to be from the New York State Democrats today:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats in conversation, an Indiegogo campaign

In April of this year, I organised a fundraising dinner for Simon Hughes in central London. Between courses we interviewed Nick Clegg, Lynne Featherstone and Simon about their early political interests and experiences. The answers were inspiring, the anecdotes hilarious and the audience were treated to a fascinating glimpse into the reasons why MPs get involved with politics in the first place.

The performances of Nick, Lynne and Simon challenged the all-too-common misperception that MPs are simply career politicians and members of a remote political class, far removed from the lives of the ordinary British public. Instead, the interviews highlighted a real diversity of backgrounds, professions and motivations in those who enter politics. After dinner, I experienced a eureka moment when a guest came to me and said, “If only the public could see the side of Nick we witnessed tonight”.  It was immediately evident that the interview format we trialled that evening could translate well into film, providing the party with a new and persuasive campaign medium.

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Lord Andrew Phillips writes…Reflections from the campaign trail in Clacton

Clacton beach huts photo by Nick PageI have a lifelong affinity with Clacton. It was the nearest seaside resort to my hometown of Sudbury, but more relevantly I was parliamentary candidate for the Harwich division, as it was then called, which included Clacton, in the General Election of 1970 (albeit for Labour – I saw the light three years later!)

On the face of it one should want to forget all about the Clacton results as quickly as possible. But there are some bright spots, and some insights which may be worth sharing.

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Opinion: Five ways we can focus on winning

Lib Dems winning hereWhen I announced my candidacy for Lib Dem Party President, I said that my number one priority was for us to ‘focus on winning’. I said that we must use May 2015 as an opportunity for every member to experience winning, gain confidence to campaign on our messages, and develop their campaign skills. That’s how I believe we’ll motivate members to go out and win. A number of people have asked me how we might do this in practice so here are my ideas.

  • We must first re-assert our commitment to local government in its own right, not just as a stepping-stone for winning Parliamentary seats. We must agree to re-build our local government activist base following the damage of recent years, and we must resolve to start the fight now.
  • Liberal Youth, Lib Dem Women, LibDem LGBT+ and Ethnic Minority Lib Dems (EMLD) should be recruiting grounds for 2015 Council candidates, and non-target seat PPCs should understand the role they can play to identify new candidates and re-elect existing Councillors. I’ve already suggested that ALDC work with these various groups in order to recruit younger and more diverse council candidates across the country. I’ve also suggested that ALDC work more closely with the Parliamentary Candidates Association. I’m delighted that both of these ideas are being pursued.
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 26 Comments

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
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

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?

Posted in News | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 43 Comments

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

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

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
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