Author Archives: Roisin Miller

Blue walls to giant cannons and all the memes in between

Love them or loathe them – those victory stunts should teach Lib Dem campaigners one thing: clear, simple communications will be key to success at the next election.

There seems to be a new dividing line in Lib Dem WhatsApp groups: between those who are excited for each new stunt, and those hiding behind the sofa, wondering when they are safe to emerge.

Whichever camp you might be in, there is a serious point we all must take from these stunts. They cut through. But why?

Money-can’t-buy coverage

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but these stunts are probably not aimed at Lib Dem party faithful. They are designed to captivate photojournalists, meme developers, social content writers.

These stunts achieve what so many who work in brand communications crave – wall to wall coverage complete with a key message. I cannot count as a seasoned communications professional the number of times the ask has been summaried as “help us go viral”. Whilst there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, an authentic stunt with a clear message that links to your campaign and that is a bit fun, is the best way to get attention. Authentic really is key to success as without authenticity they flop. If you need proof beyond the political sphere, look at the plethora of Barbie stunts – some very small but all authentic and on-message.

The thing about these stunts is they have media hooked, they all want to know what the next Lib Dem celebration will be, what the photos will look like. This means media turn up, they give us more attention than they might otherwise and therefore we get more coverage.

For local parties, the same principle can be used for social channels or focus leaflets – if you make a simple point in a compelling manner, people will come back again and again. They will want to know what you have to say and you will be seen as an authority.

For all the jokes, the Blue Wall stunt did change the narrative. It introduced the phrase into media vernacular and made it clear, the Lib Dems were back.

Simplicity is key

I make this point as we’ve all seen those focus leaflets – three-line headlines with commas, sub-clauses followed by an article written in 8pt font face and full of every intricacy of a piece of planning policy. This is great for a certain section of Lib Dem members (not me) or an online article for those who are interested. Focus leaflets like this won’t win elections.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 11 Comments

There is nothing about 2016 that wasn’t inevitable


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is nothing about 2016 that wasn’t inevitable. Nothing that hadn’t been brewing for years.

Whether you’re looking at Brexit, Trump or ‘untimely’ celebrity deaths. 2016 is the year things caught up with us – it became a melting pot for events we had arguably been dodging

It may not be a fashionable opinion but as “Changes” by Bowie came on to my iPhone this morning and I remembered that night at New Slang in Kingston in January with friends where we belted out his lyrics thinking how tragic his early death was I began to think. 2016 was an annus horribilis for sure. But was it one that could have been avoided?

Like many, I was continually plagued by shock and disbelief as the year unravelled. However it was only with less than 24 hours to go that I realised this has been partly due to my circumstance and, frankly, living in leafy South West London.

Over Christmas, as we, like many, lamented the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher, mum piped up – this isn’t a curse of 2016. These people took a lot of drugs. Drank a lot of alcohol. They did what we are told not to every day. This fed their artistic brilliance. But it also meant they were susceptible to human weakness. Of course their deaths were sad and tragic but could this be used as an education piece for young people? These lifestyles the media glamourises and encourages had real consequences. One lasting legacy of this year would be to make people think about these actions and how we all live.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments

A strong record in government…why I’m voting Lib Dem

Throughout polling day, LDV will be running short pieces by readers giving their personal reasons for supporting the Liberal Democrats when they go to the polling station today.

This year, I had to think very hard about this. Despite being a member and campaigning to re-elect Ed Davey, I wasn’t convinced. In a safe seat and subsequently we hear little from any party – my decision therefore had to be made on national lines. None of the parties are trying that hard to bribe single, childless, Twentysomething women so there wasn’t much there to deliberate.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

Opinion: An MP who takes me for granted has left me feeling disenfranchised

Confession time. I’m a political activist and I’m not currently registered to vote. I have dropped off thanks to individual voter registration and I haven’t sought to redress it.

This is something which I find reprehensible, yet I am lacking the motivation to correct it.

I live in Esher and Walton which since 1906 has only ever returned a conservative MP. The lowest majority was in the 1930s, it was 16%. Dominic Raab got 58% of the vote in 2010, a majority of around 18,000.

I’ve written to Raab on a number of occasions and always got a reply. Often quite half hearted but it’s always come.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 33 Comments

Opinion: a need for equality? Yes, but short lists aren’t the way to achieve this

As much debate about party funding and selection rumbles on, the issue of increasing diversity amongst MPs continues to hover in the background.

I would never deny that the under-representation of women or people from BME backgrounds needs to be addressed, however there is a much more pressing diversity issue, that of diversity of social class and occupational background.

Parliament is currently overrepresented by those who have been researchers, Special Advisors and lobbyists. To give some context to this statement: the House of Commons research library reported in 2010 that 14% of the current intake of MPs have worked previously in political …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

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