Campaigning with C.A.R.


The North and East Liberal Democrat AGM was held last Friday.  We had a good turnout, enjoyed the wine and mince pies (thank you!) and had a really interesting and brilliant talk from Baron Jeremy Purvis of Tweed.

Jeremy posed some real issues for us Liberal Democrats in terms of identity.  After all, in a liberal society where everybody claims to be small ‘l’ liberal, what is the use of a liberal party?  Especially in a system where everybody from both left and right have to converge upon the centre ground in order to gain power.  The SNP and Conservative “love-in” has changed things though.  Each present themselves as the only alternative to the other  This situation led to the SNP almost sweeping the board in Scotland (50% vote share) and to the Tory majority government on 37% of the vote.  There is nothing as useful in politics as having a good enemy.  This viewpoint, however, leads only to insularity, acrimony and bitterness.

Where does that leave us?  Jeremy pointed towards Canada and the recent victory of Liberals there.  They did not campaign negatively and just did their own thing.  Great but how to translate this into effective campaigning?

As some of you may know, I have been recently made unemployed, again.  Downturn in the oil and gas industry that has led to over UK 70,000 jobs going since 2014.  At least my old employers were good enough to lay on some training for interview and CV-writing.  It was during this period that I first came across the acronym C.A.R.

C.A.R. stands for Context, Action and Results.  The person cites examples of achievements: setting the context, describing the actions taken and showing the results. This technique is used in the CV, during job interview and, I think, should form the basis of our campaign message.

Let’s face it.  We Libdems tend to be smart.  We know that life is complicated and the easy answers are seldom the right answers.  That approach is both our strength and weakness.  It is not easy to show people what we are for.  We achieved so much in government though and our view is never insular.  Liberals are always looking outwards.

When it comes to our achievements, both locally and during the Coalition:

  • Set the Context
  • Outline our Actions
  • State the Results

For our planned activity, do exactly the same.  Campaign.  Actions.  Results.  We Liberal Democrats have so many well thought-through and detailed policies.  They deserve to be put into practice.

This campaigning can all be done with a smile.  Although we are dealing with serious issues, our message should be one of hope and it is okay to be seen to enjoy the campaign.  We can face the challenges.  We will act.  The results will be good.  With this message people should not only vote for us, they should be invited join us and together make things better for us all.  Yes, when our critics point to our mistakes, as they will, we can say those who have never made mistakes achieved anything at all.  The message is that we have achieved a lot and together we can achieve a lot more.  We can do all this while being comfortable in our own skin.

The best thing about it is that we can do with without reference to any other party.  We don’t have the feed the negativity of the Tories and UKIP, nor the persecution complex of the SNP.  Labour can be left to its infighting and the Greens to their pessimism.

I have had enough of doom and gloom.  We Liberal Democrats will be the beacon in dark times and hope, linked with practical action and demonstrable results, will be our values.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?