Category Archives: Campaign Corner

Don’t get caught out this May!

As I write this, I have never thought I would be so pleased to see the back of a year as I did 2020. At the same time, I have never felt so apprehensive about what 2021 and the next 12 months holds for our families, our communities and our country.

Since New Year there has been loads of speculation about the elections in May. We simply don’t know as I pen this. If I was in government, I’d want to keep the option open of May elections until the last possible moment.

What we do know is the Government (in the most recent case via Local Government Minister Chloe Smith) are saying they will go ahead in May, with the bar for delaying being set “quite high”. So that is as clear as mud then!

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Insights from the 2020 US Elections: A report from Liberal Democrats Overseas North American Branch

For the past six months, while liberals everywhere were biting their nails, the LDO North American Branch were analysing data sources and talking to anyone they could to gain useful insight into the US Elections.

The result is a report and Paddy Ashdown Forum / Liberal Democrats Overseas webinar entitled US Elections: Insights and Lessons for Lib Dem Campaigning to be held on Monday January 18th at 18:00 GMT.

So, what are the insights and lessons learned? The LDO report distills it all down to 7 key insights.

1. The ‘non-campaign’ campaign: Virtual campaigning comes of age

While Trump repeated his 2016 strategy, relying heavily on big rallies and live cable news coverage, the Biden team relied on virtual campaigning tactics. Democrats had to completely rethink how to connect with voters, finding new, imaginative ways of re-creating the emotional connection over the phone, text, Facebook message, and Zoom. In fact, virtual campaigning turned out to be more efficient, greatly extend reach, and be as impactful as traditional in-person events and door-knocking operations.

Also posted in News | Tagged and | 11 Comments

Countering the right-wing media

Of late there has been a surge of Right-wing media, twisting and distorting facts or even just blatantly lying, clearly hoping that the old adage attributed to Mark Twain “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” still holds some weight.

As Conservatives push their message, the opposition parties must be smarter, there is no point in responding directly to try to put right their ceaseless mantra of misinformation, little point in reacting or name-calling. Instead, we must be faster, more cautious, and cleverer.

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 7 Comments

Getting back onto the doorstep, getting back on the campaign trail…

I wanted to let you know about my experience door knocking over the last couple of weeks. Over the last fortnight, I’ve spent two evenings a week knocking on doors in Portsmouth, where I’m the Lib Dem Leader of the Council.

The feedback from voters here in Portsmouth has been brilliant, they were very pleased to see us.

I’ve been out in small groups, each of us in masks, keeping 2 meters from anyone. If people weren’t in, we posted leaflets through letterboxes to let them know we’d been.

It was great to be back talking to residents, as …

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The power of Facebook Live video

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms all allow you to create Live videos. The time people spend watching Facebook Live videos has quadrupled in the past year and generate more engagement than pre-recorded videos.

Around one in five videos on Facebook is a Live video and across all social media channels Live video is expected to grow 15-fold by 2022, making up around 17% of all internet traffic.

So how do you incorporate live streams into your social media campaign?

Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council and Liberal Democrat Councillor for Broadstone Ward, is not only a big believer in the power of social media, but has found engaging ways to make Live video part of her social media strategy. She says:

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Stepping up as a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Bradford as part of the response to the national emergency

Regular involvement in our local communities meant we could respond quickly to pull local partners together before lock-down was announced. Our Parish Church offered to provide a base for a ‘Community Response Hub’, the Church Secretary took on the role of co-ordinator and other volunteers from the congregation stepped up to run social media. This gave us a flying start in organising a grass-root team offer to local people into which representatives from the Police, a Council Officer and other representatives from local groups met and worked together. We met every day for the first 16 days to make sure …

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Thank you candidates, agents and campaign teams

News of the delay in this May’s local elections by a year is a sign of just how serious the coronavirus outbreak is.

It also means that for many candidates, agents and campaign teams who were gearing up for May, there’s now an unsettling vacuum in their political lives. What was going to be a peak of effort, with big impacts on the lives of people who are or aren’t elected, is now suddenly put off.

There’s also the weird situation that some councillors – along with their families – find themselves in. Those who were expecting to retire in a few weeks, sometimes after many years of voluntary public service, instead face an extra 12 months before they get to stand down.

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Advice for campaigners during coronavirus epidemic

ALDC (Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners) has updated its advice for canvassers and campaigners in the light of the Government’s announcement yesterday.

CAMPAIGNING ADVICE

A lot of members have asked us for advice about campaigning in the light of the COVID-19 virus. This is our current advice. This may change if Government, NHS and professional guidance changes at which point we will issue new guidance.

DO – KEEP CAMPAIGNING

Our current advice is that we should keep campaigning the normal ways that Liberal Democrats campaign, including delivering leaflets and knocking on doors.

DO – TAKE SENSIBLE PRECAUTIONS

When campaigning

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The Boost Guide

2020 has enormous potential for us.

We need to make the most of that – and now is a great time to build up your local party by activating more of your members.

That’s why we’re releasing the Boost Guide. We’ve worked with and learnt from some of our most successful local parties and activists. We’ve taken their best ideas and top tips, and distilled them into a handy guide for you.

From the mechanics of how to find your member data, through to running better events and more,it’s a definitive manual on how to broaden your engagement and activate more members. The guide has tips and strategies that will work for every size of local party.

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Candidate update

2020 sees us in a new electoral cycle with a more stable Government than we’ve seen for many years. With it comes a new set of challenges for the Lib Dems leading up to the next General Election in or before May 2024.

As part of these preparations, the English Candidates’ Committee (ECC) will very shortly be launching it’s Post-Election Candidate Review. The purpose of the Review, which is conducted after every General Election, is to understand how candidates performed in the face of the various challenges of the campaign trail. This process will cover England only, with separate arrangements being made for Scotland and Wales.

The Review will consist of questionnaires sent by email to candidates, their election agents and senior local party officers. Each group will receive a tailored set of questions to help determine strengths, weaknesses and future opportunities for each candidate.

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Getting back on the horse – and saying thank you

Laura Gordon shows her fighting spirit with this tweet and begs the question – have you delivered your “thank you” Focus yet?

PS. As of this morning, 85.8% say Laura has got back on the horse!

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ALDC Advice: Building your campaign team

Summer provides the perfect time to piece together your campaign team in advance of your next set of elections.

In a single ward election, your team doesn’t need to be huge to win. Just sharing the load between a few committed people will make victory achievable and the process a lot more fun.

You’ll want to engage as many people as possible for your team of volunteers. But this is not the case with your core team which should be kept small. Larger teams mean big meetings which will slow you down; campaigns require speed and decisiveness. The team should be able to meet regularly and make decisions quickly and effectively. Try to choose people who will work hard and lead by example.

If you’re aiming to fight multiple areas on the same day, it will often be useful to have the same core team in place for all the areas. The team will then be able to make decisions about the whole area without duplication.

The basic core team should include:

  • Candidate
  • Campaign manager/agent (or both if these are not the same person)
  • Literature manager
  • Data manager
  • Media manager

 

Leadership: job roles for the core team

The core team will plan the campaign. It is never too early to start this process and you can do it without a candidate if necessary. The team will then lead the campaign, taking responsibility for the strategy and its implementation. Each member of the core team has their own individual responsibilities too:

Candidate: The figurehead, who will through necessity, provide leadership to the wider team, particularly with canvassing and fundraising. It is vital that the rest of the core team respect the candidate’s views. It is different when it’s your name on the leaflets! But it is also important that the candidate shares control and the overall planning with the core team. After all it is teams not individuals that win elections.

Campaign manager/agent: These are two jobs, but they can easily be combined. The campaign manager is the overall campaign organiser. They will provide internal leadership and bring the team together, making sure that every other role is being filled successfully. The agent’s role is a complex and responsible one. All agents should read both the Agent’s Manual and the Basic Election Law book to get a full grasp of the role. Needless to say the final legal buck for everything stops with the agent, so all major decisions must involve them.

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VIDEO: Campaigning in Brecon is child-friendly – all are welcome!

Lib Dem activist Theo Butt Philip brought his child along to campaign and tells us about the experience here.

From a baby in a front-pack to a teenager with younger legs (I speak from experience) delivering to houses with long drives, bring your children along! Everyone is welcome in Brecon and Radnorshire to win this seat back for the Lib Dems.

And if you can send in toys, books or games to the campaign offices to help keep younger children entertained, the addresses to post to are here:

Llandrindod: Liberal Democrats, Haslemere, Park Crescent, Llandrindod, LD1 6AB

and

Brecon: Liberal Democrats, 26 High Street, Brecon, LD3 7LE.

Happy campaigning!

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Why summer surveying should be your next campaigning activity

Now that May’s two sets of elections are successfully out of the way, it’s time to move our campaigning activity onto summer surveys.

Why survey?

Surveys are a fantastic way to generate voter ID, campaign issues and contact with local communities. If they’re used properly, they will establish you and your local Lib Dem team as hard-working, locally focused and approachable. And with proper follow up they can drive your campaign and messages.

The more you know about your residents, the better you can be as a community campaigner/councillor. There’s a lot of useful information you can gain from surveys and record in Connect for future voter contact, e.g. writing target mail.

Five reasons to survey now:

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20th February 2019 – Briefings

Radical changes are afoot in UK politics
– Cable

Responding to news that three Conservative MPs have left the party to sit with the Independent Group, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

“There is clearly some very radical changes now afoot as both the Conservatives and Labour have being taken over by militant groups, driving out more moderate MPs.

“We will hold out the hand of friendship to the independent MPs with whom we already have a good working relationship.

“In the short term we will be concentrating on securing a People’s Vote, with an option to stay in the EU.”

ENDS

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 24 Comments

Party identifies 14 key MPs who could swing People’s Vote

House of Commons 2010

Christine Jardine has written to party supporters asking them to email 14 key Tory MPs who the party reckons could swing a vote for a People’s Vote in the House of Commons next week. The 14 MPs voted both remain and leave in the 2016 EU referendum and are:

Leave:

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2019: The ALDC Year of MORE

There are over 8,000 wards to fight in the 2019 local elections and we have the potential to make a lot of gains.

To help us make Thursday 2 May 2019 a resounding success we have set up a campaign – 2019: The ALDC year of MORE. We have four aims:

  1. More campaigners
  2. More candidates
  3. More councillors
  4. More councils

To wake up on Friday 3 May to a great set of results, as a Party, we need to be actively campaigning now.

We have a section on our website where we’ve been listing things that campaigners should be doing throughout the autumn. These …

Also posted in Council by-elections, News and Op-eds | Tagged | 1 Comment

‘Best local election campaign’

Campaigners in Kingston upon Thames are rightly proud of receiving the ALDC award for the Best Local Election Campaign in 2018, especially given the high quality campaigns in many other areas including our neighbours in Richmond.

We’d love to share our story with you and maybe offer some hope and inspiration.

In May this year we increased the number of Lib Dem councillors on Kingston Council from 18 to 39, out of a total of 48. Of those,

  • 26 were new Councillors, all of whom stood for the first time
  • the majority (22) were female, with at least one woman standing in every ward, two with newborns!
  • the age range is 22 to 74 years old, with every decade represented
  • 23% are BAME (matching the Borough as a whole) and include the first Councillor of Korean heritage
  • between them they speak 10 different languages
  • we have strong LGBTQ and disability representation.

We are fortunate to have gained a significant number of new members after the general election in 2015, and again after the referendum in 2016. However, we did not sit on our laurels and we actively looked for local community activists who support Liberal Democrat principles as potential candidates.

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Young Liberals launch the biggest recruitment campaign of the year

Every year, the Liberal Democrats turn to the Young Liberals to launch and run one of the party’s biggest recruitment events – the Freshers campaign.

In this campaign, Young Liberals (formerly Liberal Youth) across the country will descend upon their Students Unions to attend Freshers Fairs and recruit new young and student members. Our largest branches enjoyed hundreds signing up for mailing last year.

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Are you standing for election on Thursday for the Lib Dems? Are you out and LGBT+?

The LGBT+LDs twitter account is going to do a thing where we tweet out a little profile and wish you luck. If you want in, you will need to send us:

  1. your name as shown on the ballot paper
  2. Whether or not you want your twitter handle on the tweet, & if so which one (we know some people have more than one)
  3. a pic
  4. the name of the ward you’re standing in
  5. your LGBTQIAA+ details and/or any other detail you’d like, so long as it will fit in a tweet
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What you need to know about GDPR

With one month to go until the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) the focus for many is rightly the local elections. The team at LDHQ is still working hard and we recognize the importance of breaking down the legislation into smaller chunks. So we have developed a short, three-step process for handling data:

Download, Use, Delete.

We have been mentioning our new mantra recently in training and comms, but it would probably help if we took some time to explain in a bit more detail.

In short, we are trying to describe the ideal journey of data through your computer or personal files. To clarify, below we are talking about Lib Dem data exported from systems on the soon to be released Approved Supplier list.

Download

All information we use should be coming from a limited number of sources. For example: Salesforce for members, Connect for canvassing and Nationbuilder, Prater Raines or other approved platforms for online email sign-ups.

All of the above provide safe storage for data at rest, which from a data security standpoint is important.

Before downloading anything make sure that you have identified opt-outs and unsubscribes. It may sound a bit simplistic but it’s hugely important to do so.

Use

When using information, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Firstly, where did it come from and why was it collected. Data should only be used in accordance with the reason specified when first collected. We must respect where we have only gained consent to contact a person about a named campaign.

Secondly, think about who will be seeing the raw data, and whether you absolutely need to share it. For example, a printer obviously needs to see a list of names and addresses to produce a targeted mailing. However, the supporter delivering the same mailing not so much.

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How an opposition Councillor can make a difference: My School Uniform Grant Story

Last May I was delighted to be elected to represent Dunfermline South in Fife Council after many years hard work. Of course, after the campaign, the important work of representing my constituents began, and I joined an excellent team of councillors holding the SNP/Labour coalition to account. With great enthusiasm, I was given the role of our education spokesperson in the Council.

A few months into the job, I noticed something in a national news report that concerned me. The Scottish Government had a recommended School Uniform Grant for all children from the least well off families, but that different …

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Live and campaign in an area with a lot of second homes?

East Suffolk Liberal Democrats are campaigning against a loophole that allows second home owners to avoid paying rates by saying they are businesses. A second home, that is available for holiday lets for 140 days a year (they don’t have to actually let it, except in Wales!), can claim to be a business for rates, and all properties of less than £12,000 valuation receive 100% small business rate relief – so they pay nothing. (NB this is not the same as Furnished Holiday Lets.)

In Southwold, more than half the houses are second homes and local people are priced out of …

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Come and taste the coffee

Some of the local election candidates in Kingston upon Thames (plus an MP)

I have been rather quiet on Lib Dem Voice recently – and for very good reason. Two high profile election campaigns having taken up a great deal of my time and attention.

In last year’s snap General Election I headed up the digital campaign to get Ed Davey re-elected in Kingston & Surbiton. We developed new ways of working, made excellent use of many of our new members, and created a social media campaign that has been quoted as a model for other local parties to follow. And this May we intend to take back control of Kingston Council, having lost it to the Tories four years ago. With a longer lead time, and all the experience we had gained in 2017, we have been able to plan a full digital campaign, which we have never before attempted for local elections.

So that’s my excuse!

But I am editing LDV today, so I am shamelessly using this platform to call for support. And it is not just for Kingston. In the three South West London boroughs of Sutton, Kingston and Richmond the Lib Dems are all aiming to take control from the Conservatives (or hold on to it, in Sutton’s case) in May. We want to see that yellow banana on the map again. Since last June we now hold three of the five constituencies that make up the three boroughs, and we lost Richmond Park by just 45 votes, so it appears the voters like us.

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Want to run the best campaign you can? ALDC can show you how…

ALDC are running five training events this year, taking place over two weekends, and ALDC members need to act fast to book early-bird discounted rates, available on a first-come, first-served basis of £160 for a single room (usual price is £240) and £130 for a double room per person (usual price is £210).
The non-ALDC member rate is £280 for a single room and £250 for a double room per person. It’s cheaper to join us and then book our member rate. Find out more and join.

They are all taking place at Yarnfield Park in Staffordshire and the price …

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ALDC launches its Election Law Helpline

It is vital that everyone in the Liberal Democrats stays on the right side of the law throughout the forthcoming election campaigns, and ALDC are on hand to help you do this through our Election Law Helpline – launching on Thursday 1 March 2018.

The team at ALDC are providing free election law advice to campaigners in England for their forthcoming local elections, regardless of whether you are a member of ALDC.

They can provide practical issues around election law – nominations, DNOs, imprints, expenses, etc. as well as detailed queries about election …

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Ten reasons why we wrote Fourth to First

I confess to knowing very little about anything – in particular political campaigning. But one thing I can talk about at length is how we did it in a small rural patch of North Norfolk (six shops, four pubs, two petrol stations and zero towns), going from fourth position last time to first in May 2017 with a majority of 420.

It was the first time I’d fought a campaign from start to finish, and it was quite a ride. So much so that Freya, my sister and campaign manager, and I decided to write a book about …

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General election campaigns get off to a flying start across the country

Campaigns, of course, are already up and running across the country for the May 4th local elections, but Theresa May’s announcement has given even greater impetus to Lib Dem activists across the country.

Here’s a round-up of some of today’s action via Twitter – please let us know about any other team action photos in the comments field below!:

Caroline Pidgeon was up in Cambridge lending her support to Julian Huppert in his campaign to regain the city’s parliamentary seat and also to Rod Cantrill in his bid to be the first Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:

Jane Dodds and the team have been out in Montgomeryshire:

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After Brinsworth and Catcliffe we must all turn our attention to Stoke Central and Copeland

Thirteen days ago I broke off from a canvass conversation on a Brinsworth doorstep to take a call from Great George Street asking me to head to Copeland for the parliamentary by-election.

Last night’s victory for Liberal Democrat Dr Adam Carter in the Brinsworth and Catcliffe by-election is remarkable in many ways. The first Lib Dem elected in Rotherham since 2000. A 38.3% swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats. A crushing defeat for UKIP in a ward they had high hopes. A victory for hope and optimism amidst the pall of recent scandals that have blighted Rotherham.

Like many …

9 Comments

This week in Richmond Park – all to fight for

This was the headline in the print version of the Observer yesterday, although it came out rather differently online.

richmond-park-by-election-22

It states:

The Liberal Democrats are to target pro-EU Labour supporters and “soft Tories” who backed remain, in a final canvassing blitz ahead of Thursday’s Richmond byelection, amid growing confidence in their camp that they are within striking distance of winning the seat.

Party documents obtained by the Observer, laying out their strategy for the final days, suggest undecided Labour voters will be key, and failure to persuade enough of them to vote tactically may prevent the Lib Dems pulling off one of the biggest byelection upsets of recent years.

… The Lib Dems’ own internal polling now puts Goldsmith on 46.7%, the Lib Dems on 43.3% and Labour on 9.5%.

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