Campaign focus: Don’t forget the locals

With all the talk of MPs’ expenses and the European Election campaigns, it is all too easy to forget that in many parts of the country much of the focus is on county and unitary council and mayoral elections.

County council elections tend to be skewed in favour of the Conservatives these days, as many of these councils have now been shorn of their more urban areas and so a lot more rural. The last three county council elections have been on the same day as the general election, and so finally we have a chance of focusing on the record of many Conservative-run counties. This gives us huge opportunities – but also some challenges, as we also need to defend our majority control of Cornwall and Devon, and minority control in Somerset.

The BBC have created a useful map which shows you where all the elections are (there is also a list at the end of this article), a summary of what lies in store for each party in that area and a link to the lists of candidates. We have already got off to a great start with us putting up more county council candidates across the country than Labour.

To support campaigners around the country, ALDC has produced a special Election2009 page. This brings together many of the resources that ALDC provides to help Liberal Democrat council candidates win. Many resources are available to all, but some are only available to ALDC members (if you aren’t a member then you can join here for just £3.90 a month!)

We have also created a new Good Ideas section, with the aim of inspiring and enthusing Liberal Democrat activists around the country by bringing together some of the best campaign ideas from around the country. Whether it is an interesting leaflet or target mailing, a novel campaigning idea or something you’ve done on your local council, please let us know. We will add to this as we go along.

While I am on the subject of interesting campaigning ideas, this election seems to have been the big year for YouTube videos. Whilst Cllr Alan Witherick’s manifesto rap has gained national media attention, there have been some really good conventional campaigning videos from around the country too. In Cambridgeshire, Cllr Belinda Brooks-Gordon’s video on the A14 is short and to the point and emphasises one very specific local issue in her area. In Kent and in Hertfordshire, the Liberal Democrats have done a video summarising their manifestoes. Whilst they are no substitute for getting on the doorstep, if you have someone in your campaign team who knows how to make a professional video then this is an excellent ‘extra’ which you can promote through emailing a link to people with an email address on EARS.

* Anders Hanson is the new Senior Political Officer for ALDC and a party activist in Sheffield.

Local elections this year are in:

  • County Councils: Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Essex, East Sussex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex and Worcestershire.
  • Unitary Councils: Bedford, Bristol (thirds only), Central Bedfordshire, Cornwall, Isle of Wight, Shropshire and Wiltshire.
  • Mayoral Elections: Doncaster, Hartlepool and North Tyneside.
  • Read more by or more about .
    This entry was posted in Local government.
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    One Comment

    • Dear BBC,

      Exactly WHAT was wrong with having a map shaded in to show party control?
      What was wrong with having all the pertinent information there in an easily readable form on one map?

      Click! There’s Bristol
      Click! There’s how many councillors everyone has
      Click! There’s the historical data

      What was wrong with that?

      Nothing. That’s what!

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