Five New Year resolutions for Lib Dem election candidates

Are you a Lib Dem candidate? Perhaps you’re a parliamentary candidate, whether for the House of Commons or Europe; or perhaps you’re a local council candidate, whether for parish, district or county. No matter at what level you wish to represent the electorate on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, when better than the start of 2009 to put into action some time-honoured ways of freshening up your campaigning? Here’s the Voice’s suggestions; feel free to leave your own in the comments…

1. For every round of leaflet delivery you do, do at least one session of door-knocking.

Vital though the regular newsletters and surveys are, there’s a danger of slipping into delivering leaflets and not keeping up the personal contact – particularly as delivering leaflets is much easier and quicker to do, regardless of time of day or how you feel. Candidates and prospective candidates have to lead from the front – and personal contact by them with electors is worth more than from a colleague.

2. Help set-up at least one new local group.

At times the public seem to expect their MPs and councillors to offer a form of gloried Citizens Advice Bureau service. If that’s what people want, then that’s their prerogative to decide what politicians should do. But we also believe in helping people to be get more control and influence over their own lives. Often that means acting collectively, as when a group of residents gets together to fight a planning application. So a resolution – to help set-up at least one new local group during the year.

3. Increase the number of members and helpers in your area.

Obviously there’s a degree of self-interest in this – more helpers and members means more chance of being re-elected! It’s also a matter of principle though – we need to constantly fight against the risk of political party organisations becoming hollowed out and over-relying on paid-for activities and staff, rather than having real roots in the community. The more people there are involved – the healthier the political process. So fight away!

4. Use the lighter evenings and lighter meeting schedule over the summer to go out and meet a particular group of residents.

It might be visiting all the old people’s homes in your patch, or calling on all the small shops, or perhaps tackling those gated / behind intercoms people who are normally missed – but take the chance the summer offers to reach out to people who party politics otherwise so often just passes by.

5. Use the internet to promote yourself and the party.

The internet is a great place for navel-gazing – and that can be very valuable, particular when it means discussing policy and holding people to account. But it should also be outward looking: so here’s a resolution – once a week, post to your website, blog or Facebook profile a national story about what the party is saying on the economy, Nick’s latest speech or whatever. And each time include a link to the original source of the story – so that you help build traffic to the party’s sites too. Ever stuck for what to say? You can always visit Lib Dem Voice to see the highlights of what the party has been recently saying!

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This entry was posted in Local government, Online politics and Op-eds.
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3 Comments

  • Anybody got any recommendations for how to achieve (3)? My constituency party finally has a keen membership development officer, but it’s a tall order and knowing where to start would be great.

  • Martin Land 2nd Jan '09 - 6:57am

    Dave Page: A good start is to contact the National MDO, Dave Hodgson, who is very helpful in this area. He recently gave some very good training to one of my constituencies which I think will pay off.

    Equally important, decide on your priorities. You need to be looking carefully at your overall progress and identifying candidates and finding deliverers and poster sites can be as important or even more so depending on your needs in a particular ward or division.

    After all, if one ward comes back with ten new members and another with 10 new deliverers, who has done the ‘better’ job?

    Where to start? Take a ward at a time. Survey, pick up issues, solve them, recruit members, supporters and deliverers. Try ti impress on your executive that campaigning has to be holisitic and one objective (membership recruitment) cannot be divorced from other key activities.

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