9am update

This email has come into members’ inboxes from Shaun Roberts, the party’s Director of Campaigns and Elections:

I’m tired, I’m sad and I’m frustrated, (member).

In 6 seats, we were less than a thousand votes away from winning. That is agonising. Some of these campaigns saw increases in vote share of 20-30% – an extraordinary leap forward, achieved by hard work from fantastic teams.

We lost three outstanding MPs. Jane Dodds in Brecon and Radnorshire, Tom Brake in Carshalton and Wallington and of course, Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire.

We are still coming to terms with these three results. Jo missed out by just 149 votes. To have lost our Leader so soon after she was elected is a very bitter blow.

And on top of all that, we have a Boris Johnson majority Government.

Despite these disappointments, we got 1.2 million more votes yesterday than in the last General Election. Our vote was up 4% across the country. We have now established ourselves in close second places in a string of seats. We held three of our Scottish seats despite the SNP’s best efforts, and kept three London MPs against the Tory surge.

We elected 11 brilliant MPs:

Alistair Carmichael in Orkney and Shetland
Christine Jardine in Edinburgh West
Daisy Cooper in St Albans
Ed Davey in Kingston and Surbiton
Jamie Stone in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Layla Moran in Oxford West and Abingdon
Munira Wilson in Twickenham, taking over from Vince Cable
Sarah Olney in Richmond Park, retaking the seat from the Conservatives
Tim Farron in Westmorland and Lonsdale
Wendy Chamberlain in North East Fife – which we lost by 2 votes last time!
Wera Hobhouse in Bath

That is a talented team and I know they will make their voices heard in Parliament against the new Conservative Government.

After any election, there are lessons to learn – and believe me, we will be thinking a lot about our results over the next weeks and months. But we were honest and open with voters about our vision, and I stand by that decision.

Let’s all get some sleep and some rest. And then let’s get ready to hold this Prime Minister to account.

Shaun Roberts
Director of Campaigns and Elections
Liberal Democrats

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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49 Comments

  • David Becket 13th Dec '19 - 10:14am

    One thing missing, his resignation. We have lost our leader, we need to lose the campaign leaders.

  • We have now got to stop pretending we are some sort of big(ish) party that can hold a government to account. We knew that delivering Brexit was way beyond the Tories ability, but did we point out every failure, every split, every time Boris and the ERG voted against Brexit? No we didn’t.

    The party’s central bureaucracy is moribund and the comment “we were honest and open with voters about our vision, and I stand by that decision,” sounds just like Dany Cotton at the Grenfell enquiry – No doubt, no humility, no idea.

    The only way to survive now, is for our MPs to focus 100% on building up their local profile so they will get re-elected, and hope that Labour fail to sort themselves out, while Boris fails to deliver anything like what he has promised. Maybe, just maybe people will start to decide we are worth a second look.

  • John Barrett 13th Dec '19 - 10:30am

    No surprise here.

    Once again we are being fed another rose tinted version of what actually happened last night before any detailed consideration of events has taken place.

    While we are all expected, to take a deep breath and not to jump to early recriminations (and I agree with that), I would also ask for the same degree of consideration and restraint from those responsible for last night and for them to refrain from doing the opposite, and immediately justifying the actions of those in key positions, campaigners and advisors; which is exactly what we have in the above piece.

  • David Becket 13th Dec '19 - 10:37am

    @John
    We have had years of rose tinted versions from those at the top of the party, with the possible exception of Vince. We need a clear out, and no more complacent messages like this.

  • I don’t think it is right to describe Shaun’s comments (written in the midst of deep exhaustion) as complacent or rose tinted. I thought they were realistic, they said we missed another 6 seats by 1000 votes or less, and in some there wer big leap forwards in terms of vote share.
    However we are nowhere near the levels of support we achieved from 1997-2005.

    Post 2015 we knew that recovery would be a long road, but I fear some placed too much hope on the false dawn of the Euro elections, yes these were great results, but on a low turnout, and we benefited from the votes of many Labour and Tory Remain supporters who lent us their vote to make a point last May.

    Others clearly overstated the value of defections and local factors, I fear the latter maybe becoming less influential in General Elections which is worrying for a party that grew through intensive local campaigning.

  • We will be having a Leadership Election in the Spring & that is bound to focus around what we did wrong & where we go next. Time & the Holidays will give us some perspective.

  • So what happens next? As a relatively new member I am interested to know. I’m assuming not all of the 11 MPs will stand for leader, but surely it has to be someone untainted by the past Cons/Libdem coalition?. If not have to rethink staying. Watching poor Jo Swinson battered by her role in that past coalition in every interview was difficult to watch. She did her best but was not supported by her campaign strategists surely?

  • In my view, the thorough inquest on the campaign that must now take place needs to invite and take account of the views of individual constituency parties and not be just a top down internal review and, most important, that the full report must, warts and all, be available to all members

  • The new Parliamentary Party is now 7 women and 4 men. Dreadful though the result was, that is an important step.

  • How many millions of lifelong Labour voters, feeling utterly unable to support Corbyn and Momentum, turned away from their traditional party? We know many voted for the Brexit Party as the lesser of two evils. A shedload, however, will have voted LibDem.

    What would the LibDem vote have been without these possibly temporary defectors?

    Major soul-searching is required from grass-roots all the way up to party leadership.

  • “Some of these campaigns saw increases in vote share of 20-30% – an extraordinary leap forward, achieved by hard work from fantastic teams”.

    20-30% of not a lot – is not a lot.

    But it wasn’t just organisation…. it was misjudgements on ,”I’m standing for Prime Minister”, Revoke-Referendum confusion tied to a one trick pony policy stance…and still the Coalition legacy.

    Five years to suffer a Tory Government… but five years to think all that through and to come up with a radical liberal message and a broader appeal. Brexit – unfortunately – is now going to be a done deal, but there is a whole domestic agenda to be addressed.

  • @Kay – balance is absolutely important but at the end of the day voters will vote for the candidates they feel are the most credible – men or women.

  • My assumption was that clever people had worked out in pushing for a Revoke stance that it would go down badly outside the London and SE but would bring buckets of southern seats our way. We were being thrown under the bus in the north for the greater good.
    agree with Geoff Payne that some of our decision makers are stuck in a bubble as happened in the early years of coalition when our local government base -particularly in the north was sacrificed in the cuts. Resultantly and shockingly we have only one MP in the north now.
    This is serial indifference explicable by the fact that the bulk of the membership resides in the SE. The lesson I draw is that us -Northern liberals-and perhaps SW Liberals (we’ve lost all our seats there) need to organise and find a way to get heard – that must surely be a priority. Organise or disappear – experience tells us we cannot count on the national party to get it right.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '19 - 11:56am

    @ John,

    “How many millions of lifelong Labour voters, feeling utterly unable to support Corbyn and Momentum, turned away from their traditional party? We know many voted for the Brexit Party as the lesser of two evils. A shedload, however, will have voted LibDem.”

    Yes, we did pick up on the doorstep that JC was unpopular. I would often ask who else they would prefer. John McDonnell, Emily Thornberry, Keir Starmer maybe? The usual reply was that these were even worse! They wanted a traditional Labour leader who wasn’t from the London establishment and who was also in favour of getting on with Brexit.

    Sadly we don’t have such a person. And the electors knew it.

    That’s why they switched en masse to the Tories and to some extent the Brexit party. The Lib Dems might have picked up a few crumbs from the more enthusiastic remainers but you’d only need a very small shed to store them!

    This is what happened in Leigh. It is just unbelievable it has gone Tory!

    ttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/E14000785

  • Jeremy Cunnington 13th Dec '19 - 12:00pm

    From the anecdotal evidence the revoke policy was a mistake, even in remain central in London people were saying it is “undemocratic”, and you then have to explain why it is not, which they then understand. The fact that you have to explain makes it a bad policy especially in this age of sound bites.

    While the powers that be state the policy is popular amongst remainers according to polls and indeed it is. The question is, who with? It seems to me (based on no empirical evidence) that a large portion of people who like the idea are also the type of people who voted for us in the EU elections but then with the threat of Johnson went back to Labour and then possibly put off less fanatical remainers / leavers off voting for us who might have considered voting for us.

    I would also say lets hold off saying sacking the campaigns team, lets remember it was thanks to their efforts that we gained over 700 councillors in May and 16 MEPs in June that got us into a position to be so optimistic for this GE and there are external factors that we could do nothing about ie the electoral system and the polarisation of the two main parties meaning we were squeezed.

    One that does need to be reviewed is how we target seats. There seemed to be a belief in HQ that they didn’t need the well established local councillor / activist base to win seats while all the evidence from last night suggests we can’t do that. Thus we need to spend extra time and resources building up that base.

  • I let my membership lapse after the article 50 shambles. I will reapply shortly. In Kettering I got one leaflet towards the end of the campaign. No canverssing or anything. Local is where liberals are strong the foundations are good so we need not worry. The next years will be interesting as Torys try and deliver brexit and avoid a recession from their own promises, so in five years time the Liberals will be in a stronger place.

  • Yes I don’t know why the areas with gains in the local elections were not given much extra support. It makes sense be build the local government base and to target these areas where there are popular local policies, after all that’s how the Party won seats initially from pavement politics. The Orange Bookers have done a lot of long term damage to the Party as much of the Lib Dem vote went to Labour as the polls moved forward. It was difficult for Jo Swinson to defend the coalition and blow after blow from Labour and the SNP in debates. Also I do question the strategy from party HQ and lack of support and lack of a campaigning team rather than relying on just the leader. I think there needs to be a realignment of the party’s position so that it is more centre left but to be much clearer on where it stands on a whole range of issues. The conservatives were promising significant increases in spending on the NHS and public services up north which also wooed over Labour voters leading Labour to lose many seats. If Johnson had gone into this election on the basis of a No Deal scenario, the conservatives would have lost more seats but as he came back from the EU with some form of a deal, many people seemed happy with that and stayed put.

  • I agree with those who suggest we shouldn’t rush to judgement or be looking for scapegoats. My reflections this morning have been on what could have been if Boris had failed to get a majority. There was enormous consensus among Labour, Lib Dems and Scot Nats on a whole range of issues in foreign and domestic policies that could have improved all our lives. The barmiest Labour policies wouldn’t have seen the light of day. A hung parliament would have been a wonderful outcome. We didn’t explain how it could work effectively and we certainly didn’t campaign for it. We have let the country down.

  • Ian Patterson 13th Dec '19 - 12:28pm

    There will be a number of painful inquests to be had from last night. One which is springing from the comments on this thread, assumes a five year parliament. Which takes us to December 2024. Not particularly wishing for another December election again. Once Johnson has his Brexit (and it will be his alone) the FTP Act may not survive, so he may opt for an earlier election. So we may not have the luxury of 5 years of self reflection.

  • I agree with David – the people responsible for this campaign need to do the honourable thing and resign. It was absurd to have appointed those who were central to the 2017 campaign again, in the first place.

    The email we got from the chair of the campaign with a week to go oozed complacency and appeared to be denial of the situation we were facing. Yet we continued to throw helpers into no Hope campaigns when much better prospects were not too far away (i.e. South Cambs rather than Cambridge, Winchester rather than Portsmouth). If it was obvious to me from a distance that these seats had become hopeless prospects, it should have been obvious to the professionals.

    Geoffrey – there were tons of organisational mistakes (like the one just mentioned). As another example, the absurd “squeeze” letters from the polling expert were sent out to the most ludicrous places, carrying the most ludicrous messages, making us a laughing stock on social media – we even got called out by the senior lawyer who did our diversity review. And when did it become sensible to send squeeze letters out a fortnight before polling day, anyway? They are supposed to arrive the day before.

    Etc.

  • The withdrawal of Brexit party candidates in half the seats not only impacted our seat total Wimbledon, Winchester,Cheltenham, only needed a small number of Tories to vote brexit for us to have taken the seats. More importantly it changed the shape of the election from a four way contest into a two party contest in which we were squeezed like last time. I expect many of us put numbers into electoral calculus that showed how a small swing in a four way context could give us a huge increase in numbers of MPs but perhaps we and those who made the decision should have examined worse case scenarios before supporting a general election.

  • In Kettering I got one leaflet towards the end of the campaign.
    From comparing notes with friends, it seems much of the campaigning (social media, email and post) was focused on women voters – I only saw a few leaflets which my wife (kindly) showed me.

    The next years will be interesting as Torys try and deliver brexit and avoid a recession from their own promises – Dan
    In some respects Corbyn has delivered a blinder, running a campaign that helped the Conservatives to keep hold of the Brexit hot potato.

    Given Brexit has gone beyond the rational and is all about “keeping promises”, I fully expect Boris to deliver “Get Brexit Done” by the end of January and to have signed several trade deals (including one with the US) before the end of the year – just because people have said it couldn’t be done and Boris has said he will do it. However, I also fully expect none of the agreements and deals to stand up to scrutiny and be in the interests of the UK electorate.

  • John Marriott 13th Dec '19 - 12:48pm

    Crikey, so some people reckon that having more female than male MPs is “an important step”. Well, I suppose that, if you are that bothered what kind of a human being you get, you will be gleaning some satisfaction.

    I was just wondering whether, following the probable fallout in the Labour Party, we might find a few newly elected MPs looking for a new home. I also wonder whether those recent converts from the green benches, who failed to get back, will stay with the party or do an Emma Nicholson.

    The Tories increased their vote by around 1% and the Lib Dems by 3 to 4%. You gained the most seats? No wonder they love FPTP!

  • There is an assumption by Labour party activists that next time it will be better without Corbyn. All the lost voters will flock back and they will win, they under estimate the hatred many Northern voters have for them, next time while the Brexit party will not be an option they will look else where, it may be the Tories it may be the Lib Dems it may even be a new populist party but it won’t be Labour. That is the reality Peter and Co face, how they turn around this hatred is an issue for them but I see little reason to think they will.

  • Christopher Curtis 13th Dec '19 - 12:49pm

    I’m not as despondent as I expected to be, though I am bitterly disappointed. I think that is possibly a small sense of relief that we are being forced to face reality and look it in the eyes.
    Our fellow citizens voted, with clarity, to let Boris Johnson “Get Brexit Done”. Of course the electoral system is unfair and unrepresentative. Of course the media was vicious and public broadcasters unfair. Of course failure to co-operate spawned failure. Of course, Johnson and his party are deeply dishonest. Of course they are going to make a pig’s ear of our future and of course we are in a much darker and more threatened place because people did not vote for us. BUT everyone knew all that and still voted for it.
    That’s reality. Remain has lost. It’s no longer an option. Our manifesto failed: nothing like enough people voted for it. Our new leader lost popularity and her own seat and our campaign did not deliver. Excellent candidates did not get enough votes. Vote share increased slightly (which is good) but we are almost exactly where we were. Traditional LibDem prescriptions like local campaigning, target seats etc. won individual battles and utterly lost the war.
    The reality we face is not pretty and finding a response to it will take time and demand profound change. Answers given today, even by people much wiser than me, cannot possibly be right. We need to listen and learn before we decide what to change.
    The purpose of the LibDems is not to win elections, strange as that might seem. Our purpose is to change the world to be closer, in any way we can, to the ideals laid out in the preamble to our constitution. To do that, we have to persuade voters that those ideals are right, and that we are the best means to achieve them. How to do that better are more important questions than technical details of campaign strategies. I hope we can debate that openly and widely, while still fighting every inch for the important things we believe and that our country now needs more than ever.

  • I still think these discussions would be better left till January but if we are going to have them now lets stick to the facts. Our support peaked in early October & declined pretty much in a straight line from then on. I think it was the inevitable unwind from our gains in May & that nothing we did made much difference.

  • frankie 13th Dec ’19 – 12:49pm………………..There is an assumption by Labour party activists that next time it will be better without Corbyn. All the lost voters will flock back and they will win, they under estimate the hatred many Northern voters have for them, next time while the Brexit party will not be an option they will look else where, it may be the Tories it may be the Lib Dems it may even be a new populist party but it won’t be Labour. That is the reality Peter and Co face, how they turn around this hatred is an issue for them but I see little reason to think they will……………………

    More of the delusion that got this party where it is this morning…This party tried wooing ‘soft Tories’ and ‘disgruntled Labour members” it hasn’t worked and it won’t work.
    When the euphoria of ‘Get Brexit Done’ wears off the new slogans will be about the NHS, Social care, etc. and the Tories aren’t strong in those areas but, after the coalition, this party isn’t trusted (see Jo Swinson’s voting record) on such matters.

    Labour will have a far better chance of reclaiming their voters than this party. To get even back to 2010 ‘glory days’ will need a major rethink that, sadly, I don’t believe the present upper echalens of this party are capable of.

  • Syrius Thrice 13th Dec '19 - 1:30pm

    Hi
    I’m not a member but have always voted LD / Liberal. I live in Torfaen – Labour returned but Brexit @ 68%.
    Discussion at public, on social media and on general media seemed to be focussed on the Party leaders personalities e.g. can’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn etc. [notwithstanding that Brexit was probably the biggest single issue]. I think that Vince Cable summoning up that the election (like the last few) have become more Presidential was spot on.
    I thought that the Conservative Party tactic was actually very good – the slogan, the constant use of it. I believe that the the LD message and did not hit home and did not provide enough leverage for those non-Brexit voters to switch to LD.
    For the LD to make an impact is now going to be very difficult in the short term.
    When taking stock and thinking of what to do next, I really would suggest that LD needs a leader who can make that (almost visual) impact on the national stage and has a very strong personality – I don’t know who this can be. Tories have the “lovable buffoon” (my wife says she smiles every time she see’s him – but didn’t vote for him), Labout did have a personality in Tony Blair, Jeremy Corbyn had a distrusted personality. The SNP have a very strong personality in its leader. The LD now needs to be very careful it does not lose its presence and therefore, needs that strong individual with a public persona. It did have a couple of leaders with this (in different ways) in Paddy Ashdown, Nick Clegg and Charles Kennedy. Although I do like and admire some of the others there seemed to be no one whom the public could really distinguish as different.
    I do feel sorry for Jo and perhaps she could have grown into the role but ……
    Anyway that’s a non-members view – and perhaps that’s where the LD’s could look for more pointers on what to do.

  • Paul Holmes 13th Dec '19 - 1:30pm

    @Shaun Roberts. Shaun, I thought Stephen Lloyd was a very good MP too -so we lost four not three.
    @Geoffrey Payne. Agree entirely.
    @ John Pugh. John you never used to be so trusting of the ‘clever people running things in London’! Glad to welcome back the real John I know so well.
    @Jeremy Cunnington. Agree absolutely with your final para about the need for a strong constituency presence and campaigning base in order to gain a Parliamentary seat. As to the previous para I’m afraid the Campaigns Department contributed zero to our gain of 8 Cllrs in Chesterfield this year or to Bosworth taking back control of their Council.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '19 - 1:35pm

    @ frankie,

    “Hatred” is too strong a word. However, there is a strong dislike of being talked down to by, (many erstwhile) Labour voters in the North. Emily Thornberry comes across very badly in this respect.

    It is a failing Jo Swinson shares with many prominent Remainers. Usually it wasn’t said in quite so many words but the message that Northern Leavers were simply too stupid to fully understand the issues came across clear enough.

  • Richard MacKinnon 13th Dec '19 - 1:40pm

    The issue was BREXIT.
    The options were, Get it Done, Revoke without a referendum, a second referendum.
    I was blocked on this site when I made the observation that, ‘revoke without a referendum’ was a bad idea.
    Putting your fingers in your ears and singing loudly when others are talking sense is what losers do.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '19 - 1:52pm

    @ John Kelly,

    “A hung parliament would have been a wonderful outcome.”

    OK. But why agree to an election to possibly, but probably not, get what you already had?

  • A lot of comments posted “the morning after the night before”. I agree with those who say we should think things over for a while before deciding what exactly the issues were and how to address them. The new President will have quite a job. Not too long a pause though because many candidates are already in place here for the Welsh Assembly elections in 2021.

    Some more general thoughts on the future –

    It may not be politically possible to rejoin the EU in the next decade or so, and I may be too old now to see it happen, but it will be possible for a future government to more closely align us in the meantime.

    The situation is very similar to 1983. Then it took the Labour Party a long time to draw back from the extreme left. They did it by selecting a more moderate left-winger before moving on to a centrist and I can see that happening again as their constitution favours the left in leadership elections. When Labour started attracting enough voters back from the Conservatives we were able to start our advance in seat numbers and that is when voters took us more seriously. I would rather it didn’t take so long this time!

    From a liberal point of view my biggest worry at the moment is the scarcely-veiled threats the Conservatives have made about the BBC and Channel 4, plus calls for political control over the judiciary.

  • John Barrett 13th Dec '19 - 2:30pm

    I can’t agree more with those who have raised the issue of building up a solid base through community campaigning on the ground and local election success.

    A record of action and a promise of more. Working all year round, not just at election time, are not just slogans, they are key factors in building up towards winning a parliamentary seat, but sadly it appears to me that they are now seen as outdated by many who to everyone else how to run campaigns, but have never actually won any elections themselves.

    It appeared to me during this election that the campaign gurus were more interested in supporting new defectors from other parties, who were more often on TV than most of our existing MPs, and highlighting celebrity endorsements than supporting those who had worked for the party for decades.

  • Anybody know which seats will be all men shortlists?

  • Paul Barker 13th Dec '19 - 3:38pm

    Voters faced 2 questions :
    was there a viable alternative to The Big Two Parties in England & Wales ? Their aswer was a resounding No, for now.
    Boris or Jeremy, which is worst ?
    We need to build a Core Vote for Our Values & a strong Local Base.

  • John Barrett is correct when he says, “I can’t agree more with those who have raised the issue of building up a solid base through community campaigning on the ground and local election success”. That’s happened in Tim Farron’s Westmorland for the last twenty years – and it still works now.

    I also agree when he says, “the campaign gurus were more interested in supporting new defectors from other parties, who were more often on TV than most of our existing MPs, and highlighting celebrity endorsements than supporting those who had worked for the party for decades”.

    The cult of celebrity is juvenile and empty headed…… and if Esther Rantzen couldn’t cut it on ‘Strictly’ fifteen years ago, she certainly can’t cut it now. There looks to be an M25 bubble round party HQ strategy.

    Lastly, sadly, Jo Swinson was badly advised to go for a personal national campaign trotting round the country in a bus. A few more days at home might well have overturned 75 votes in East Dunbartonshire.

  • Malcolm Todd 13th Dec '19 - 4:55pm

    David Evans 13th Dec ’19 – 10:26am

    “The only way to survive now, is for our MPs to focus 100% on building up their local profile so they will get re-elected”

    There’s a problem with that scenario: now that the Tories have a proper majority, there’s every likelihood that the Parliamentary Constituencies Act will finally be implemented (perhaps with an amendment to increase the number of MPs from 600 to reduce the unhappiness of backbenchers facing unemployment) – which means that the current constituencies, based on 15-year-old registers, will be radically redrawn before the next election.

    Incidentally, to someone above who worried about an election in December 2024 – under the Fixed Term Parliament Act the next election will be in May 2024.

  • I have been pointing out that when there is a Conservative government we only do well when Labour do well. The increase of our vote is good, but we have gone backwards in terms of MPs. I am not sure if we are as strong as we were in the 1960s. Historians will decide if we could have done things better over the months leading up to the fateful decision to support a December general election and by-passing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act and making it clear that a Prime Minister with a majority can call a general election whenever they want.

    The 2015 campaign showed we can’t win seats just with a local base. We need also to have a good national campaign. Never again should we have such poor answers to the benefit cuts during the coalition. We need to reject our support for austerity and promise to reverse all the benefit cuts. Labour are unlikely to do this. We can go further and promise to ensure no one in the UK lives in poverty.

    Tuition fees is another issue we haven’t put to bed. We need to have a policy of a graduate tax to pay for student education. Once we have done this we can try to own education.

    We need to have more radical policies on the environment than both the Tories and the Labour Party.

    As we are not going to get a majority of MPs elected next time we need to drop our obsession with getting any government budget into surplus.

    Looking at possible leaders and excluding those elected yesterday and those who were MPs during the Coalition we are left with those who were elected for the first time in 2017 – Christine Jardine, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse.

  • The LIb Dems are just not that good at fighting elections anymore. One telling comment from Caron a few months back was that she saw Shaun and Dave McCobb looking smug at the B&R by-election count. They shouldn’t have been it was a poor result (and nearly a disatrous one).

    The last time the LIb Dems won a byelection in a seat they didn’t hold, or had won in the last 5 years was 2006. Nearly 14 years ago.

  • Panicos Georgiou 14th Dec '19 - 9:14am

    The Revoke option became a yoke around our necks, used to beat us as undemocratic. Somebody somewhere should have said this is a step too far and not allowed it in the manifesto.
    Secondly having Jo was tarnished with the coalition government and I don’t think we realized how much this was going to be a factor. It meant some Labour supporters would not vote for us.
    Thirdly some Conservatives were fearful that a vote for us would mean that Corbyn could win.

    We need to reassess our strategy. Build up local support in target seats, more councillors more activists. The campaign for the next election starts now. We need a return to the old grassroots Focus groups of activities so in 4/5 years people see we have been working on the ground rather than just receiving hundreds of leaflets in 5 yeas time
    In the south west we need a distinct voice addressing the needs of the area, a manifesto for the south west on farming fishing tourism economy etc. We need a focal point for the south west probably someone like Andrew George. This area needs to be won back.
    Our target seats outside the south west should be 19-15 seats and we need to ploughing all resources into these seats.

    Never again go into a campaign deluded that we can win the election, not for now any way.

  • Tony Greaves 15th Dec '19 - 2:55pm

    What a wholly inappropriate statement by someone holding the title of Director of Campaigns and Elections after what in my considered judgement is the worst General Election campaign I have seen in he 16 General Elections during the time I have been an active Liberal. “Let’s get ready to hold this Prime Minister to account.” Of course. But accountability should lie with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations – including the people who ran this awful LD GE campaign. Otherwise it will just happen again.

  • Dennis Wake 15th Dec '19 - 9:24pm

    We were never going to win this election or get much increase in seat numbers as the difference between us and the Conservatives of 32 % prevented it. We got 46 seats in1997 when we got 16 % and the Conservatives got 31 % a difference of 15 %. We got 7.9 % in 2015 and 8 seats but 7.4 % in 2017 and 12 seats. It is not all about numbers but they do make a difference.
    There are storm clouds ahead and we should be thankful we will not be involved in Government so we can have the chance to rebuild the party. There needs to be an alliance between the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and other groups and individuals with similar outlooks. The Liberal Democrat name should be dropped and some of the leadership must take a back seat in the new Alliance Party. We need a fresh start and avoid getting close to other parties whose outlook and philosophy are different from ours. The outlook is not all gloom as there were big vote increases in parts of the country including the South West and less lost deposits. Even Boris Johnson cannot go on for ever and as Harold Macmillan said “Events dear boy”. If Brexit turns out badly those who were unequivocally against it could reap their reward but there are many other issues which need to be dealt with.

  • Joseph Bourke 15th Dec '19 - 10:37pm

    Confirmation bias is usually described as a tendency to notice or search out information that confirms what one already believes, or would like to believe, and to avoid or discount information that’s contrary to one’s beliefs or preferences. It help explain why election-campaigners can and do get it wrong: in the runup to an election, they see only what they expect, or want, to see.
    We are all susceptible to it. It was the reason Paddy Ashdown said he would eat his hat if the the 2015 exit poll projections were confirmed by actual results and it is the basis for much of the suggested John Major type back to basics remedies offered here and on Labour sites over the past few days.
    We have seen a seismic shift in British politics. The conservative incursion into Labour’s so called ‘red wall; in the North and Midlands is comparable to the En Marche movement in France or the Trump phenomenon in the US.
    Boris Johnson was blasted as not to be trusted, branded as a liar, Islamaphobe, philanderer, corrupt Mayor, inept foreign secretary and all round cad. The Conservative Party had no manifesto or political program to speak off beyond exiting the EU and shrugged off the past 9 years of austerity as a necessary belt-tightening exercise that was now coming to the end. Despite all this baggage the Tories secured a large majority, much higher than David Cameron achieved in 2015.
    Modern society has changed dramatically with the advent of the internet and mobile communications. 20th century political campaigning techniques are unsuited to modern society. It is the equivalent of fighting the last war when military technology has made much of your weaponry obsolete. Some things, however, don’t change. To win elections you have to listen to what people are telling you on the ground and where possible adapt your campaign accordingly. Really listen and not let confirmation bias lead you to hear only what you want to hear while discounting the most important feedback.

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