Review: April’s AD LIB goes high tech and has Paddy, campaign success and Conference confessions

So, finally, I get around to reading April’s AD LIB which has a very clear agenda: getting us out on the doorsteps or on the phones talking to people. This month’s edition of the Party’s new monthly magazine is also available in digital form to all members. I have it open on my iPad, iPhone and PC as I write. It’s a bit fiddly on the phone, and it took me a while to work out how to find my way around. On the iPad it really is a thing of beauty but a bit erratic to negotiate and it looks good on the PC. There are big advantages, though. In paper form, I find the type a bit too small, even thought it has improved from earlier editions, but obviously it’s fully adjustable on screen. And it’s clever – you get added video. 20 minutes’ worth of Paddy’s conference speech and a report of Nick’s visit to Cornwall.


All subscribers will have access to the digital edition every month.

Conference through the ages

It was a good idea to have two articles from Conference goers, one a first timer, the other a veteran.  The  mis-spelling of Helen Duffett’s name in the first was an outrage, though.  First time Conference attendee, Cadan ap Tomos describes his weekend, from the rally to coffee with Nick (although the photo looks like any other fringe meeting), to Paddy’s speech, the Glee Club, training and Nick’s speech at the end. It was a useful snapshot of Conference, although there was little about the policy debates which are, after all, the whole point.

Flick Rea tells about how Conference has changed over the years. She describes Nick’s answers on welfare reform and secret courts as “interesting”, leaving us none the wiser about what they were. She says she misses barnstorming speeches from Claire Brooks and Nancy Smith. I remember Claire but not Nancy. Can anyone enlighten me?  Flick’s final point will resonate with many conference attendees – then, as now, the chance to recharge batteries with the Lib Dem family is a huge benefit. While we’re on the subject, register for Autumn Conference in Glasgow here.

Get out on the doorsteps

The underlying theme of the whole issue was a rush of messages inciting doorstep activity – the article about Nick Clegg’s travels around the country shows he’s taking a personal interest in how each seat he visits is getting on with campaigning.

I loved the three inside stories from winning by-election campaigns, particularly Ed Maxfield’s about how their candidate stamped his personality on the campaign to great effect.

The Paddy Ashdown interview reinforces the “get out and campaign” message. He tells us to stop hiding under the stairs and get out there with confidence. The embedded speech in the digital version reminds us about how he was signed up as a liberal by a man in a bobble hat on his doorstep and became candidate for Yeovil when it had a membership of five and an average age of “deceased.” Any one of us could sign up a future leader this month is the subliminal tone. For me, Paddy’s emphasis on and appreciation of young people’s campaigning efforts was particularly welcome and shows that Liberal Youth’s efforts are being noticed.

The rest

I am not sure the letters page is the best place for senior parliamentarians like Danny Alexander to remind us about the raising of the tax threshold, especially when there’s a huge ad on the subject on the inside front cover. I guess the best way to avoid Cabinet Ministers taking over our “Have your say” page is to send in lots of letters.

Out of six tweets chosen, only one was from a woman, ironically about ending all male panels.

You can’t really debate drugs policy over two pages of an A5  magazine, but Ewan Hoyle and Julian Cooper made good use of that limited space, although I thought at time’s Julian’s arguments enhanced rather than opposed Ewan’s. I wonder if it might be a good idea to direct readers to where they can find more information online, or longer versions of the articles.

The international office articles were fascinating and informative, although more on how to get involved would have enhanced them. I liked that they focused on several different countries.

I was surprised to find no mention, especially in something available to all members, akin to Helena Morrissey’s articles on here, asking for evidence to be submitted.

All that and a Sara Bedford banana bread recipe. What more could you wish for?

They are taking comments on board and the magazine is getting better with every issue. I still think they need to improve their photo stock, but that will come with time.

I think it’s engaging, interesting and worth the money. You can subscribe here.

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

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.

One Comment

  • Matthew Huntbach 23rd Apr '13 - 12:15am

    The Paddy Ashdown interview reinforces the “get out and campaign” message. He tells us to stop hiding under the stairs and get out there with confidence.

    Oh, that’s all we members are there for – getting out and doing the work so that our lords and masters at the top of the party can carry in with their comfy jobs in a Tory government. Sorry, I’m not doing it. I’m on strike.

    When I have a leadership which gives me the confidence that it is listening to me, and regards the party’s members as the collective boss which it serves, THEN I will go back to working for the party to which I once so willingly donated so much of my time and money. But the arrogance of the current leadership was shown once again when it took over the party political broadcast that was supposed to be about our local government campaign and instead made it about the Parliamentary leadership, pushing the Tory-lite message that £600 more in middle-class people’s pockets (those who don’t earn enough to get all that tax allowance don’t get it) is all people care about, never mind what was cut to pay for it.

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