A whole load of love for the Lib Dem Press Office

Well. We knew that the Lib Dem Press Office could raise a smile with its constant sass. Last year the Huffington Post cited 17 occasions when it was the most entertaining thing in British politics. 

But last night, something extraordinary happened. Serious journalists heaped praise on our little press operation.

It started with a tweet from Sam Coates of the Times:

Not only that, but a whole five serious, reputable journalists then pitched in to agree!

In the Politics Home memo, Schofield called our people “pin sharp”

Significantly, the Rudd statement posted on the Home Office website made no mention of her call for WhatsApp to end the encryption of its messages so that the intelligence services are able to have a gander at them. The pin-sharp Lib Dem press operation leapt on this omission, claiming the “Government’s obsession with undermining our security online has finally been put to bed for good”.

Everyone was talking about the trade/security play off in May’s Article 50 letter. I’d seen Tim’s early comment, which was:

It is shameful that Theresa May has threatened to withdraw security co-operation from our closest neighbours and allies. With growing terrorist threats from around the world, it is imperative that we work together with European allies for our mutual security. She is prepared to put the safety of British and European citizens on the line just so she can deliver her hard Brexit.

Security is too important to be used as a bargaining chip and this will backfire in any negotiations, which rather than building up alliances will leave Britain even more isolated.”

Theresa May admits that we will lose influence over the very rules by which British firms exporting to our largest market will have to abide by. So much for taking back control. The Conservative Party used to be the party of business, but by going for this reckless hard Brexit she has thrown British business into a state of uncertainty and powerlessness.

This is Theresa May’s choice to go for a hard Brexit. It wasn’t on the ballot paper, and the Conservatives in their election manifesto said we should stay in the Single Market. That is why we will continue to fight to give the people a say on the final deal.

This work by the ace press team is really important. Back in 2004, the SNP was drifting along without making any progress. Between then and 2007, they got themselves into the sort of shape that enabled them to win an election. Part of that was investment in a very strong press operation. A good air war is essential to getting our message across.

So, our thanks today to a fabulous team of people who work ridiculous hours. It’s good to see that their efforts are so highly thought of.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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16 Comments

  • I was always an Independent reader anyway, albeit now via their Daily Edition app since they stopped printing the paper version. It remains a good read, and very sympathetic to our cause.

  • Martin Roche 31st Mar '17 - 6:12pm

    Well done press office. It’s very hard work but worth every keystroke. Being available, being dependable, being informed; it’s what every journalist wants in a source.

  • The i/Independent have done a couple of supportive articles about the campaign and petition for PR lately too. The bigger challenge is to get our message and profile out to a wider audience, and it is frustrating that the Guardian seems to favour tabloid dramas in or about the Labour party, the Tories, UKIP and the SNP only.

    I wouldn’t shun the Guardian, as they do a lot of very good work in other areas, but it is frustrating that they seem to think we’re too dull to cover. The work of our press office is excellent, and it’s clear that it’s paying dividends, and will continue to do so.

  • Richard Underhill 31st Mar '17 - 7:15pm

    Has Keir Starmer got a stutter? or is he thinking about what a variety of people might say?
    Will Labour actually do what Keir Starmer has said at the end of the Brexit process? or might Jeremy Corbyn not be the Labour leader at that stage? or might he have changed his mind by then? Can we / can anyone rely on what they say?

  • I won’t be giving up on the Guardian after a mere 54 years. Yes, the Labour luvvies on the staff can be annoying sometimes but you cannot beat them for serious analysis (inasmuch as that is possible) of Labour’s woes. This can be helpful to those of us who represent Labour facing council wards.

  • Tanya Gibbs 31st Mar '17 - 7:56pm

    Definitely the Independent. I won’t be giving Rupert Murdoch a penny!

    Although the FT has some good pieces, too, if business or finance is in your sphere of interest.

  • @David Beckett – I read the Guardian on the web, with other sources and am constantly pestered to become a supporter as they are losing money. My message to them is why should I give money to a Labour supporting paper that largely ignores and patronises the Lib Dems? It was once a great Manchester and Liberal paper, but no more!

  • David Hughes 1st Apr '17 - 12:10am

    Interesting observations about The Guardian …. and just where did Corbyn’s hard left comms chief Seamus Milne come from? Oh yes — T*e G*a*d**n!

  • Katharine Pindar 1st Apr '17 - 12:23am

    Agree on criticism of the Guardian for neglecting us. Polly Toynbee can write a whole article deploring lack of opposition to the Government and its Brexit policy without mentioning the Lib Dems. Reluctantly, I’ve taken to getting the Times as well, or sometimes instead – c.f. their Rachel Sylvester’s article last Tuesday, ‘Liberals could cause a political earthquake’. I don’t like the Times’s stable, and couldn’t let the Guardian die, but the other lot probably can afford more staff, and have juicy contacts in the Establishment to give extra political information. Anyway, well done our Press Office – this piece has been very cheerful reading.

  • The press operation is great now, true, but has been good for a long time. In the coalition era, James McGrory was widely regarded by journos as the most effective media Special Adviser. And others involved then were also top notch (Sean Kemp, Lena Pietsch etc). Our team has been consistently good – it’s the Labour operation getting noticeably worse!

  • More on the relative virtues of the LibDems press office compared with Labour from Paul Waugh of Huffington Post last night. It was mainly about how unprofessional a group of Labour contacts were this week, but concludes with a statement that LibDems are the best, and he has a lot of other journalists agreeing with him.

    https://twitter.com/paulwaugh

    As much as I appreciate that acknowledgement that the LibDems are great, the whole sorry saga is depressing reading for everyone except the Government. We all need a functioning opposition more than the party needs a pat on the head.

    That’s a bit like the need for the Guardian. It’s frustrating that they don’t acknowledge us, but they are still better at challenging the Tories than the Times.

    IMO, we need to find a way to get better coverage in the Guardian, and that is easier said than done. I would say it’s worth keeping an eye on the tagged LibDem stories, and clicking on them if they look interesting, so that The Guardian sees that they get traffic. Ultimately, that’s what drives editors to prioritise some content over others.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/liberaldemocrats

    However, I have noticed that some stories about us, or based on our point of view, or even written by one of our own, don’t get given the Liberal Democrats tag, which doesn’t help.

  • Give me the “I” any day. The Guardian needs to earn back the support of Lib Dems.

  • David Brenton 2nd Apr '17 - 8:58pm

    For David Beckett. Can’t agree more about the Times. I used to have a subscription but cancelled due to lack of coverage, (apart from inane jokes about phone boxes and taxis). I complained at first but got nowhere so I cancelled. I wish the BBC question time program would acknowledge this as well. The number of times UKIP has been on, yet you can count the number of libdemmers as guests on the thumbs of one hand since January! I blame Dimbleby, he thinks he is so funny with his asides and snide comments. Why doesn’t he let the guest or even the audience speak more.

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