The Lib Dem 2010 general election campaign: punching above our weight

Much of the focus, understandably enough, has been on Nick Clegg’s TV debates performances boosting the party’s standing. But actually that’s not what has most impressed me about the Lib Dem campaign: it’s been the disciplined professionalism shown by Lib Dem HQ.

Let’s start off with the two key campaign themes … Change that works for you, and Building a fairer Britain. They received a fair amount of derision when they first appeared – and yet they worked, and worked well. (I wonder if we’ll read that in the next issue of Liberator?)

First, by recognising that this would be a ‘change election’. Obvious enough, I know – and yet it’s the Lib Dems who have been seen to most clearly represent change at this election, with the Tories being forced into defending the status quo.

And, secondly, by emphasising the fairness inherent in the Lib Dem manifesto, and showing to former Labour voters that Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and rest of the Lib Dems can be trusted to deliver a progressive agenda.

The four key themes – fair taxes, a fair start for children, a fair and sustainable economy, and fair and clean politics – were memorable, distinctive and coherent. This is especially important stategically given the party’s stated ambition to replace the Labour party as main challengers to the Tories.

Even before Nick’s first TV debate the Lib Dems were polling at 27% according to ICM, unheard of for the party. That’s a tribute to local campaigners up and down the country putting in the legwork. But let’s not underestimate the way the national party has punched supremely above its weight in this campaign, especially considering the financial warchest the Tories have at their disposal.

Just one example: while the Tories’ expensive ‘Cash Gordon’ online campaign imploded in a day, the Lib Dems’ viral Labservative campaign was a huge success that underlined a key election message for the party – that this election was the moment for the public to shake things up, to challenge Labour and the Tories’ 65 years domination of the political scene.

Small wonder that when Populus asked earlier this week which party had enjoyed the best election campaign, the Lib Dems scored 37%, compared with the Tories’ 19% and Labour’s 7%.

And, yes, there was ‘Cleggmania’, too. Nick’s assurance, fluency and confidence throughout the campaign was quite remarkable. It provided the party with a credibility on the national stage it has all too often lacked. Yet in man ways it was simply the natural fulfilment of a robust, invigorating and professional campaign: it wasn’t the exception, it was the rule.

Of course there were mistakes along the way, most notably getting bogged down in hung parliament speculation when the party was riding high in the polls. And of course the party being incessantly smeared in the rightwing press has taken its toll.

Yet one hour from polls closing the Lib Dems are alone in being able to look back with pleasure and some pride on the last four weeks. I don’t know if we’ll get the results we deserve. But the party certainly got the campaign it deserved.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in General Election and Op-eds.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/19347 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

6 Comments

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 2nd Apr - 7:50am
    @ David-1 - Are labour having a discussion about 'white' britons? Or is it just a mug that makes [no] reference to a belief that...
  • User AvatarCharles Rothwell 2nd Apr - 7:45am
    Eeeeeeeee, John, Stephen and James - It must be so merry what keeps you going! I got the message and was happy to donate (and...
  • User Avatarg 2nd Apr - 7:00am
    Given that Ashcroft's constituency polls are a new phenomena, and we have no past methodologies to compare them against it's perfectly possible that they have...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 2nd Apr - 6:41am
    I am not sure what the definition of "stable government" in this context is. If it means in real terms, as I think, "David Cameron...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 2nd Apr - 5:23am
    I don't think the message about banning exclusivity on zero hours contracts has got out there. I had a small business owner telling me yesterday...
  • User AvatarAlex Sabine 2nd Apr - 3:38am
    Moreover, the deeper problem for the Tories was that 'modernisation' as conceived by the Notting Hill set (and initiated by Michael Portillo in the late...
Sun 5th Apr 2015
Sat 11th Apr 2015
Sun 12th Apr 2015
Sat 25th Apr 2015