Adrian Sanders MP writes…Let’s have a respectful debate about how we persuade voters to support us again

Autumn 2012 conference - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsHow we engage with a sceptical electorate before they cast their votes in the General Election next year is the critical question facing the Liberal Democrats.

I’m no expert in psephology but even I can tell we are heading for a worse General Election result in 2015 than in 2010 when we often forget we actually lost seats.  In fact we have been losing elected representatives 6 years in a row, a trend that started before we entered Government.  Thankfully Party leaders are not football managers or there would have been a fresh election every year.

I’m no expert in campaigning, but I do a lot of it, and if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times this past year that people will vote for me, but not for the Party I represent, or not for my Leader Nick Clegg.

While knocking up canvassed Liberal Democrat voters for the European Election throughout Thursday the message was around a third of our firmest supporters going either UKIP or Green or not voting, but when asked about next year nearly all saying they will turn out for me.

The few local Council candidates I have spoken to since Friday – there were no local elections in my patch – tell me a similar tale of electors voting for them personally while being critical of the Party and or its Leader.

This suggests a problem the Party needs to address but it won’t be addressed if people remain silent.  And it won’t go away if people insult those brave enough to speak truth to power.

Sadly those who refer to people wanting to see our support increase as ‘Numpties’ lower the level of the debate as much as those who claim that defenders of the status quo are after peerages or other honours.  Both sides, and they shouldn’t be sides, want what’s best for future Liberal Democrat electoral success.

It is a gross simplification to view this as simply about the Leader.  That is how the media wish to shape this debate, not least because it is easy to report and confrontation always makes for good headlines.  But the question whether someone else fronting the party might deliver a higher opinion poll rating and seats at the next election must be one of the issues addressed.

The message the Party is delivering also needs to be analysed. I repeat I’m no psephologist but I do not see many of the 25 per cent target voters our strategy is currently aimed at residing in my seat, or the seats of many colleagues located on the periphery of the UK. I’d guess that they represent no more than 5% of my electorate meaning I have to win votes from the 95% whom the Party isn’t interested in talking to at the moment! This must be reviewed.

We also need to look at what we are going to gain from within the legislative programme that will be announced in the Queen’s Speech on the 4th June and wish to be associated with. We need to turn these into campaigns where appropriate and add them to the list of coalition achievements that wouldn’t have happened without us.

That brings us back to central issue that we have a largely good message to communicate but for reasons it isn’t being heard and acted upon by the public.

This debate and its outcome could well result in no change of leader at this stage but a different emphasis on issues and perhaps a wider group of people fronting the Party in PPBs, national literature and on its web presence.

To shut down that debate, to ridicule those who believe it is needed, or to deny there is a problem, will probably drive even more activists and supporters away from the Liberal Democrats.  But then I’m no expert.

 

* Adrian Sanders is a councillor on Torbay Council, and was the MP for Torbay from 1997 to 2015.

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53 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 4:37pm

    This is all BS. It’s nothing to do with people being concerned about winning and everything with people wanting a left wing party. It’s not fair for people to become offensive and try to backstab and then ask for people to just lie back and take it nicely.

  • David Evershed 25th May '14 - 4:39pm

    I haven’t yet seen any analysis which shows that the reason for the fall in Lib Dem support is that it is because the leader is Nick Clegg.

    The steep fall in support came about shortly after Lib Dems went into coalition with the Conservatives and MPs mostly failed to oppose the increase in tuition fees (albeit effectively turning the upfront fees into a graduate tax).

    The recent tactic of (incorrectly) claiming Lib Dems are unconditionally in favour of being in the EU has not seen much of a fall in the polls for Lib Dem seats at Westminster, even if it reduces support for Lib Dem MEPs.

    Coalition Decision
    The decision to go into coalition was agreed by an almost unanimous vote of MPs (Charles Kennedy is rumoured to have dissented). When voting, MPs knew from the German Liberals experience of going into coalition that it would be unpopular with those who hate the Conservatives more than they love Lib Dems.

    Tuition Fees Pledge
    Nick Clegg was reluctant (and one of the last) to sign the tuition fees pledge before the 2010 election. Given the economic circumstances it was a mistake to have the prominent election pledge and the ‘graduate tax’ solution has proved to be a fair solution – but is not what was pledged. This means voters do not trust Lib Dems.

    Failure of Party Policy or Nick Clegg?
    So it seems to me that it has been the party wide policies on coalition and the tuition fees pledge which are the most likely cause of the loss of support, not Nick Clegg’s leadership, although I try to keep an open mind.

    Where are Lib Dem votes going?
    Who are our voters turning to? Those who saw Lib Dems as a protest party are likely to vote UKIP now. Polls show that those who regarded Lib Dems as Labour Lite have returned to voting Labour.

    Because the Liberal Party merged with the Social Democrat Party, left wing Conservatives who might have switched to the Liberals to replace the lost Labour Lite vote, have not switched to a ‘Social Democrat’ party..

    Liberals versus Social Democrats
    The next leadership contest, whenever it comes, is likely to be a contest between liberals (the old Liberal Party) and interventionists (the old SDP). The liberals will be represented by Danny Alexander and David Laws; and the interventionists by Vince Cable and Tim Farron. Nick Clegg has tried to straddle the divide.

    Whichever side loses is likely to drift away from the Lib Dems, which would then become a niche party of either Liberals or Social Democrats. All parties are a coalition of philosophies. Whilst I am a liberal nowadays rather than SDP. I am happy with the internal coalition because we are stronger together.

    My Conclusion
    So at present, I don’t want to see a challenge to the party leadership which could bring about a split between the old Liberal and SDP elements. A split party a year before the general election would guarantee being wiped out in 2015.

  • Foregone Conclusion 25th May '14 - 4:40pm

    Yes Eddie, it’s all a malign plot to steal Nick Clegg’s precious bodily fluids.

    Unless… unless 99% of people on every side of this party just wants us to get out of the godawful mess we look to be spiralling into in 2015! But that can’t be the case.

  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 4:47pm

    Fact is it does not matter what the party says or how many times it says it if its Clegg who is saying it people won’t believe him. To huge numbers of people who once voted for us Clegg is a liar. He is a huge liability and needs to go now. Just letting others have more time on tv won’t work either. How would that even work? During the leaders debate would Clegg ask Hughes to step in because Clegg is so hated?
    Just get it over with and oust him.

  • Steve Griffiths 25th May '14 - 4:50pm

    “It is a gross simplification to view this as simply about the Leader. ”

    Oh really? My daughter who lives in the West Midlands (and definitely not a political anorak like me), was canvassed by the Lib Dem team. She told them she would vote Lib Dem again when Nick Clegg had gone. The canvasser admitted that “they had a lot of that on the doorstep”. The figurehead is as popular as Michael Foot at his lowest.

  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 4:58pm

    I see my comment has to be read by someone before it is posted. So much for having a debate. Sorry Adrian – I know you were trying to get a debate going but LDV are trying to prevent it. I doubt you will get to read this of course …

  • jedibeeftrix 25th May '14 - 4:58pm

    “This is all BS. It’s nothing to do with people being concerned about winning and everything with people wanting a left wing party. It’s not fair for people to become offensive and try to backstab and then ask for people to just lie back and take it nicely.”

    Once again Eddie, 110%!

    Words I have seen used repeatedly here against other Lib-Dem’s in the last 24 hours include “nasty” usually connected with an expressed desire to “expunge” them from the party. This is not healthy, and it’s not becoming twelve months before a GE.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 5:07pm

    Thanks Jedi. I appreciate the support. I’m nearly ready to play a bigger part in the party, so hopefully not too much more confinement to LDV!

    I read Charlotte Henry say a very similar thing on Twitter. I’m sick of all this tone policing. If someone rouses passion inside then you should feel free to be able to express it as long as you aren’t being grossly disproportionate.

  • I have been attacked, pilloried even for daring to ask for a change of Leader, someone who I never voted for in the first place but like many other was willing to give a chance but he is a failing leader and a poisoned chalice leading the party to oblivion. These Orange Bookers are the parties worst enemies they are complicit in the Party’s demise and are desperate to remove us social liberals with their personal attacks and undermining of social liberal policy on public services and the NHS. Just like the two of them above, they are taking the Party further and further to the right so that it becomes indistinguishable from the Conservatives. No wonder people are saying to me on the doorstep and at the GLA elections this is no longer the party I used to support and Nick Clegg is standing by and letting them reduce this party to a rump. We mustn’t let them and must fight back for social liberalism against their Orange Booker libertarianism.

  • Peter Watson 25th May '14 - 5:37pm

    @David Evershed
    I think we’ve been here before when you made the same post on a parallel thread, but …

    “I haven’t yet seen any analysis which shows that the reason for the fall in Lib Dem support is that it is because the leader is Nick Clegg.”
    In the AV referendum, Clegg was the greatest weapon in the arsenal of the “No” campaign. He polls worse than the party. Adrian Sanders above (and others elsewhere) report voters promising to vote for the party despite Nick Clegg, not because of him.

    “The steep fall in support came about shortly after Lib Dems went into coalition with the Conservatives and MPs mostly failed to oppose the increase in tuition fees (albeit effectively turning the upfront fees into a graduate tax).”
    It’s not a graduate tax. Lib Dem MPs were moving away from the tuition fees pledge during the Coalition Agreement negotiation and Nick Clegg gave the impression that being part of a Tory-led coalition was everything Lib Dems wanted. It is unclear whether support dropped because of coalition per se or the way that coalition was implemented and presented.

    “Nick Clegg was reluctant (and one of the last) to sign the tuition fees pledge before the 2010 election.”
    If not the leadership, then who is responsible for persuading every candidate to publicly sign the NUS pledge

    “Given the economic circumstances it was a mistake to have the prominent election pledge and the ‘graduate tax’ solution has proved to be a fair solution – but is not what was pledged.”
    It’s still not a graduate tax. Is it fair? The wealthiest with high graduate salary expectations can opt out and save money.

    “Liberals versus Social Democrats”
    Matthew Huntbach has already dealt eloquently with this one.

    I agree that now might not be the best time to replace Clegg, but only because I suspect that it might be better to replace him and rebuild from the low-point post-2015. However, I accept that others are more optimistic and believe the party can successfully find a new direction by replacing him now.

  • Peter Chegwyn 25th May '14 - 5:53pm

    I agree with Adrian that we should have an adult debate without name-calling. We should respect each other’s views.

    I also agree that the debate should not just be about changing the Leader but also the advisers around him and the message which the Leadership is delivering.

    It’s unlikely that the Leadership’s message will change until there is a change of Leader.

    I’ve been saying since 2010 that Nick’s strategy will lead the party over an electoral cliff. That’s already happened in local government, it’s about to happen in Europe, and we have just a year to prevent it happening at Westminster too.

    As I’ve said on another thread:

    Fairly or unfairly the reality is that Nick Clegg is toxic with voters and currently has a popularity rating of minus 56 per cent. That’s not going to change in the next 12 months so the question is not whether he should go, it’s simply when.

    We have a clear choice. Stagger on with a toxic Leader and face another mauling at the polls in 2015. Or change now and at least try to repair some of the damage already done and save a few more council and parliamentary seats next year.

    It’s not just about changing the messenger. It’s also about changing the advisers around the messenger and the message they’re promoting.

    I don’t think a change will return the party to pre-2010 popularity levels overnight, of course, it won’t, but if it helps to start the re-building process a year earlier than otherwise, if it helps save a few more seats next year, and if it helps to keep a few more people in the party and attract back some of those who have left, then it’s worth doing and it’s worth doing now.

  • Peter Watson 25th May '14 - 6:00pm

    @Eddie Sammon “It’s nothing to do with people being concerned about winning and everything with people wanting a left wing party. It’s not fair for people to become offensive and try to backstab and then ask for people to just lie back and take it nicely.”
    The petition is public and the opinions reported (e.g. Adrian Sanders here, John Pugh elsewhere, etc.) are not anonymous briefings. It seems like there is less backstabbing now than when Kennedy and Campbell were replaced. Was Clegg involved back then?
    I disagree with your comment about winning; I do believe that all those involved want what they believe is best for the party, and it seems a bit silly to suggest that an MP standing for re-election in 2015 would want anything other than to win.
    I suspect that you are probably correct though when you flag up the left vs. the right. Perhaps I can be the first to get in with the cliché that the next leadership contest will be a “battle for the heart and soul of the party”. 😉 Replacing Clegg, whenever that might be, would probably see the party trying to regain the lost support which is almost certainly to the left of where the party appears to be now. Alternatively, if the Conservative party splits because of a UKIP pull to the right, then there might be some wet tories to be targeted instead, but I doubt it and it would make the right a very crowded place. Or we can rally around the centre, but since we each define a different centre with our own combination of left and right views it is probably a very empty place.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 6:18pm

    Hi Peter, I just think it looks like some people have been praying for bad results so they can pounce with an excuse to move the party to the left. Which indeed they did do, which is why the whole thing comes across as a bit treacherous to me.

    Having said that, I agree it is more “stabbing from the front” than behind.

  • Praying for bad results what sort of crass comment is that. I’ve suffered the bad results myself having gone out there and campaigned at the last GLA, London Mayoral and now the local elections. What have you done eulogised over which public service your right wing clique can privatise next or even how can you beat me, a council estate tenant on benefits over the head with a brick even more as you demonise us.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 6:27pm

    Look David, I respect people who admit it is not about results, but not many are doing that.

  • “shambles, division, and pandering”

    So it is pandering to actually have policies that can attract the public? I guess you must hate democracy then. Perhaps you would prefer a dictatorship

  • @Eddie Sammon

    Surely those people on the left of the party have a perfectly legitimate reason to want to direct the party back towards the left, towards a party position that they feel that represented them and their views. There are vast numbers of members and former supporters who feel that those on the right of the party have dominated the political arguments and veered the party in a direction which they feel has betrayed their support and for many activists, there hard work time and money.

    This is democracy at work. It might not be pretty, but then politics rarely is, but everyone has a democratic right to express their views and has a right to be heard by the party leadership who is supposed to represent them

  • david. The real bad result was 2005 when labour were there for the taking and we made no progress. 30 more seats then and we’d have had a much better positionin 2010. That was Kennedy’s failure.

  • The Party as a third party in British politics had its largest ever number of MPs and poll ratings under Charles Kennedy and you call that failure. If being reduced to 9% and less under Clegg isn’t failure then what is? No don’t tell me how about 6% or even less.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 7:07pm

    Hi matt, I respect people who want to move the party to the left, but they should not use results as an excuse. Alas, nobody is perfect.

  • david. He had all that good will, poll rating advantage, and a dead duck pm in Blair, and we stood still, so yes, he and it was a failure. And that was because the party had failed to shake off the reflex of cosying up to Labour.

  • Foregone Conclusion 25th May '14 - 7:18pm

    @Graeme Cowie,

    Spot on. Getting rid of Clegg would have made sense a little while ago, but it’s too close to the next General Election to come over as anything other than inauthentic and panicked.

  • Martin Land 25th May '14 - 7:19pm

    Look I really don’t think we need to spend a lot of time debating Nick Clegg’s future. He’s not going to resign is he? The date of our next leadership election is already known and it will be very soon after the electors of Sheffield Hallam have spoken next May.

  • Little Jackie Paper 25th May '14 - 7:25pm

    Tabman (with respect) – Blair was not lame in 2005, not even close. A lot of people on the internet said he was, but he really wasn’t. Iraq was nowhere near as big an issue offline as it was/is online. And my memory is that Kennedy was hardly a media darling either.

    I do take your point that 2005 looked like mild regression but I think you do rather overegg the pudding.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 8:00pm

    Just a message for Adrian: I have calmed down now, I just felt as though I was in a fight against a left-wing coup. I have moral objections to the left as I don’t think Guardian prejudice and il-informed reports should be pandered too. I am interested in new paths, but if we elect someone who panders to the left, including Vince at times, it will lead to a barrage of il-informed and prejudiced activists flooding the party. Liberalism can be about social justice, but we need someone who is willing to stand up to prejudice and misinformation wherever it comes from.

    Best wishes

  • Technical Ephemera 25th May '14 - 8:03pm

    From a respectful outside view of the current Lib Dem problems.

    Your fundamental problem is you never decisively intervened to stop two particularly nasty Lib Dem/ Tory policies namely The NHS breakup (The Lansley bill) and the bedroom tax.

    The NHS failure was a strategic error, especially as it wasn’t in either parties manifesto or the coalition agreement. If you had stopped that it would have given you a clear marker that you could have cashed in at these elections. It would have won you huge credibility with your former center left voters. Blocking the bedroom tax wouldn’t have been as good, but it would have been something.

    Because you don’t have that sort of credit you really have nothing to win back centre left voters. When people tell you they “won’t vote for you until Clegg is gone” they don’t just mean Clegg they mean the entire Orange book philosophy. So unless you as a party are in a position to dump: Clegg, Laws, Alexander and their various cheerleaders, followed by an immediate exit from government you can’t satisfy them. You particularly can’t satisfy them by staying in government and electing a new leader while keeping Clegg in post. You will just look grubby if you do that.

    So given you are stuck with the Orange book team, who represent the majority view in your party, you are also stuck with Nick Clegg. Best dig in and fight in those Tory marginals where you have a good chance. If you hold enough of them you at least have a hope of forming a Labour – Lib Dem coalition under Farron. Let’s face it 10 years ago you would have called that a huge win, even if you might only have 20 MPs.

  • Peter Hayes 25th May '14 - 8:15pm

    Let’s all calm down, even after the EU results and look to the next election. That means telling the Chief Secretary to the Treasury his job is to represent the party view not act as shield for the Chancellor. There is no more time to defend Tory policies, it is now time to say “we were not happy with this policy but we only had 1 in 6 MPs so they ignored us”.

  • 20 MPs that’s being optimistic Technical. The entire orange book philosophy has been a huge mistake, I never bought into it and always opposed it but am being drowned out by the economic Lib Tories on here. They have ruined the party and are happy to carry on doing so that is quite clear.

  • “Your fundamental problem is you never decisively intervened to stop two particularly nasty Lib Dem/ Tory policies namely The NHS breakup (The Lansley bill) and the bedroom tax.”

    Unfortunately the problem is more general than that. While the 10% with the highest incomes have indeed suffered most, as far as the rest of the population is concerned this government has hit the poorest hardest and benefited the richest most. Nick Clegg tries to characterise the income tax cuts as tax cuts for the “low paid”, but the fact is that they are tax cuts for all basic rate taxpayers, which includes all but about the richest 15%. For the low-paid those tax cuts have been more than cancelled out by other tax rises and benefit cuts. That is the really indefensible thing about this government, and it’s not made any better by the attempt to disguise the truth.

  • “There is no more time to defend Tory policies, it is now time to say “we were not happy with this policy but we only had 1 in 6 MPs so they ignored us”.”

    And that line is not really tenable, because most of the policies concerned were not in the coalition agreement, so the Tories could not have ignored a Lib Dem veto.

  • John Broggio 25th May '14 - 8:46pm

    What Technical Ephemera said.

  • Let’s all calm down, even after the EU results and look to the next election. That means telling the Chief Secretary to the Treasury his job is to represent the party view not act as shield for the Chancellor. There is no more time to defend Tory policies, it is now time to say “we were not happy with this policy but we only had 1 in 6 MPs so they ignored us”.

  • Cont…

    Which is why we all had to vote for this policy. Or in the case of Jeremy Hunt, abstain on mass.

    Vote against a few things, people might believe you.

  • Technical Ephemera “The NHS failure was a strategic error, especially as it wasn’t in either parties manifesto or the coalition agreement. If you had stopped that it would have given you a clear marker that you could have cashed in at these elections. It would have won you huge credibility with your former center left voters.”

    Yes that is exactly how I and all my family and social circle feel.

  • Technical Ephemera “When people tell you they “won’t vote for you until Clegg is gone” they don’t just mean Clegg they mean the entire Orange book philosophy. ”

    Ok now here I disagree. It was Clegg who told us he would bring ‘an end to broken promises’. It was Clegg who told students ‘Vote for us and we will abolish tuition fees” . Clegg made the last GE ALL about his own personal integrity. It is Clegg we remember standing holding The Pledge with a huge grin on his face. It is Clegg we remember having a love-in with Cameron in the Rose Garden, it was he who said ‘there is not a fag paper between us’ and how the two leaders would have nothing left to debate because they agreed so much. No, Clegg is the tainted one, no-one else comes close.

  • “Chris 25th May ’14 – 8:37pm
    “There is no more time to defend Tory policies, it is now time to say “we were not happy with this policy but we only had 1 in 6 MPs so they ignored us”.”

    And that line is not really tenable, because most of the policies concerned were not in the coalition agreement, so the Tories could not have ignored a Lib Dem veto.”

    Absolutely right! We voters are not stupid. Openness and honesty is welcome but we can recognise ‘spin’ from a hundred yards. Adopt the ‘ 1 in 6 MPs’ defences and you will be given short shrift.

  • Simon “Which is why we all had to vote for this policy. ”

    Except that they didn’t have to at all.

  • Chris “Unfortunately the problem is more general than that. While the 10% with the highest incomes have indeed suffered most, as far as the rest of the population is concerned this government has hit the poorest hardest and benefited the richest most. Nick Clegg tries to characterise the income tax cuts as tax cuts for the “low paid”, but the fact is that they are tax cuts for all basic rate taxpayers, which includes all but about the richest 15%. For the low-paid those tax cuts have been more than cancelled out by other tax rises and benefit cuts. That is the really indefensible thing about this government, and it’s not made any better by the attempt to disguise the truth”

    Absolutely 100% correct. The fact that Clegg keeps coming on TV and radio talking about the income tax cut as though it had made any difference to people on low incomes makes people REALLY angry. Smoke and mirrors!

  • I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden is what Clegg should have said.

  • Phyllis. That’s a somewhat arrogant statement isn’t it? The least well off notice income increases proportionarely much more because of the marginal purchasing power increase. Don’t dismiss it as nothing.

  • John Broggio 25th May '14 - 9:27pm

    And whilst the top 10% may have suffered the most statistically (although the ST rich list begs to differ), those at the top end may not even notice losing £1k through tax changes, whereas for the lowest 50+%, such a loss would likely be & has been catastrophic.

  • The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
    For that sweet odour, which doth in it live.
    The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
    As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
    Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
    When summer’s breath their masked buds discloses:
    But, for their virtue only is their show,
    They live unwoo’d, and unrespected fade;
    Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
    Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made.

  • “Tabman 25th May ’14 – 9:27pm
    Phyllis. That’s a somewhat arrogant statement isn’t it? The least well off notice income increases proportionarely much more because of the marginal purchasing power increase. Don’t dismiss it as nothing.”

    It is nothing because the increase is wiped out by the increase in VAT which the Lib Dems opposed before the GE and by the cuts in public services, the bedroom tax, changes in welfare (including in-work benefits) . It’s giving a little bit with one hand and taking a huge chunk away with the other.

  • Adrian Sanders is to be thanked for his polite and reasonable piece setting out the basic problem, which many of us know only too well even if only a small number have thus far had the courage to say so in public.

    I particularly like Adrian’s succinct and honest report —
    I’m no expert in campaigning, but I do a lot of it, and if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times this past year that people will vote for me, but not for the Party I represent, or not for my Leader Nick Clegg.

    While knocking up canvassed Liberal Democrat voters for the European Election throughout Thursday the message was around a third of our firmest supporters going either UKIP or Green or not voting, but when asked about next year nearly all saying they will turn out for me.

    The few local Council candidates I have spoken to since Friday – there were no local elections in my patch – tell me a similar tale of electors voting for them personally while being critical of the Party and or its Leader.

    This suggests a problem the Party needs to address but it won’t be addressed if people remain silent.  And it won’t go away if people insult those brave enough to speak truth to power.

    Peter Chegwyn also encapsulate all of this in a few clear sentences —
    Fairly or unfairly the reality is that Nick Clegg is toxic with voters and currently has a popularity rating of minus 56 per cent. That’s not going to change in the next 12 months so the question is not whether he should go, it’s simply when.

    We have a clear choice. Stagger on with a toxic Leader and face another mauling at the polls in 2015. Or change now and at least try to repair some of the damage already done and save a few more council and parliamentary seats next year.

    It’s not just about changing the messenger. It’s also about changing the advisers around the messenger and the message they’re promoting.

    I don’t think a change will return the party to pre-2010 popularity levels overnight, of course, it won’t, but if it helps to start the re-building process a year earlier than otherwise, if it helps save a few more seats next year, and if it helps to keep a few more people in the party and attract back some of those who have left, then it’s worth doing and it’s worth doing now.

  • @ Phylis

    –Simon “Which is why we all had to vote for this policy. ”

    –Except that they didn’t have to at all.

    Yeah, that was my point, unfortunately I messed up the formatting!

    And all the babbling about “genning the message across” is entirely moot, as many (most?) of the people who used to vote LD did so because they thought the party shared their ideals. And now from the voting record, they realise they do not. It’s not about media bias against you, lack of message, or all that rot, it’s purely the stuff you all voted for.

    Or in the case of the Jeremy Hunt vote, all abstained from. Still never heard a good explanation for that one.

  • Adrian has stated that there is a problem with the party and its leader, but he doesn’t try to identify what the nature of this problem is. Loyalists say it is solely because we are in Coalition government that people are not voting for us. However the alternative view says that the problem people have with the party and its leader is trust. Isn’t it time that the party did some research on this to discover which it is?

  • daft ha'p'orth 26th May '14 - 1:58am

    @Eddie Sammon 25th May ’14 – 8:00pm
    “I have moral objections to the left as I don’t think Guardian prejudice and il-informed reports should be pandered to”

    I have moral objections to *anybody* of *any* political direction or sphere who believes that ill-informed and ill-evidenced proposals should be pandered to. I’d rather have evidence than ideology. And by and large, articles in the Grauniad make me want to rip the head off the editorial staff and spit down their Londonista necks… well, okay, that might be slightly overstating it, but you get the point. Sometimes the Grauniad is wrong. And now and then, it is right. Now and then, the Telegraph is also right. So (whisper it) is the Daily Mail.

    I don’t believe that anybody should be ‘pandering to’ anybody or anything. I would suggest that people used the powers of thought and speech to (gasp! radical!) consider and discuss issues. In theory that’s sort of supposed to be the point of Parliament, hence the name parlament, meaning discussion, though you wouldn’t know it from watching PMQT. I have moral objections, as you put it, to privileging ideology above evidence, which is why this coalition with all its lazy sophistry bothers me so much.

    It is also why your statement bothers me rather: are you seriously arguing that anything that you first hear about from ‘the left’ is morally objectionable by virtue of its origin, simply because any other reaction may be ‘pandering to’ ‘Guardian prejudice’?

  • >Sometimes the Grauniad is wrong. And now and then, it is right. Now
    >and then, the Telegraph is also right. So (whisper it) is the Daily Mail.

    It all seemed so reasonable until the last sentence, I can only assume you’re talking about the crossword answers or tv listings. 🙂

  • daft ha'p'orth 26th May '14 - 8:15pm

    If you want to know about celebrity nipple incidents, the Mail is practically infallible… 😉

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '14 - 1:36am

    Hi Daft, just seen this message. No I think the left come up with many good ideas, but also bad ones and these need to be called out on but often aren’t because people are worried about scaring off voters. This is pandering and people also do it to the right and even ideas that most of the public agree with (you could say centrist ones).

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