How YOU can help the Lib Dems get more MPs this week

There’s just five campaigning days left in the General Election. All of a sudden you seem to go from “Oh yikes, how the hell will I survive 5 weeks of this?” to “Oh Yikes, there’s only five days to do all this?”

What matters to us all on Friday morning is the number of Lib Dem MPs we have. Noble third places count for nothing.

If you are not in one of the seats we hope to win on Thursday, please either get to your nearest one, or make phone calls from your own home into it. The party has set up a nice tool to let you know which one you should go to.

I have always done this. Sometimes, my local party where I live has not been happy about this. I remember the horror in the West Lothian local party in my first election when I moved there when I said I was heading to Edinburgh South. We didn’t win there in that election, but we were a top target and laid the groundwork for wining the Scottish Parliament seat two years later.

When I lived in the East Midlands, I worked in the target seat of Chesterfield which we  won in 2001.

At this stage of the campaign, we need to make sure that the target seats win. What you have done already will have helped you build for next time. And it can be hard, when you have put lots of effort into your local campaign to leave it and head elsewhere.

But if you can be part of winning a brighter prospect, that will also help you in more ways than one. Firstly, a good result for the party helps us all. More MPs = more influence in Parliament. For the country that is a good thing because it gives us the chance to stop Brexit.

If you give up your time to help in target seats, then you can then, in peace time, demand that they help you build up your area. Chesterfield put huge amounts of effort into that sort of reciprocal arrangements and used to run winning by-election campaigns in area where we previously had no councillors.

Being part of a campaign at full pelt also ups your own skills and helps you develop.

But imagine how you would feel if, on Friday, your nearest target candidate lost out by a few votes.

Remember we lost out on North East Fife by just two votes in 2017.

I saw a heartfelt post on Facebook last night from someone  who had refused outright to head to a target seat in 2017 and had encouraged their entire team to stay behind because, against all the evidence, they thought they could win.

They described the fear and horror they felt as they realised that one of our MPs was in trouble and they could have helped shore up their position.

Don’t put yourself through that.

If you can’t travel, you can make phone calls. The details you need and the contacts who can make that happen for you will be here.



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • John Marriott 7th Dec '19 - 9:14am

    More exposure on the media would help. I watched Sam Gyimah this morning on BBC Breakfast. What a great acquisition he is – concise, enthusiastic and focussed. I do hope he gets back into Parliament. The party needs more people like him. I also though Sir Ed gave a good account of himself on this week’s Question Time as well. Is it however all too late, as the public appears once again to have been conned into thinking ‘two party’?

    Just one thing, Sam. In theory, when we vote in a General a Election, we are actually voting for someone to represent us in Parliament, not for a party, as you said, and certainly not for a President as the BBC and others seem to infer.

  • To be honest John I don’t think that’s true other than on the most technical level – most people vote for a party in my experience.

    If I wanted to vote for a person, none of the election material from any of the 3 main parties that has landed on my doorstep would have assisted in that exercise. I know the Lib Dem guy wants to Stop Brexit, and the Tory wants to Get Brexit Done, but that’s about it.

  • Take heart! If Johnson wins, that will be the end of the Conservatives, and the dawn of a civilised UK – one I hope embracing still its current four national components.

  • John Marriott 7th Dec '19 - 11:55am

    @ Dan M-B
    Too true, Dan. I was merely making a point. Of course what should be a contest of personalities morphed long ago into a contest of parties. After all that’s how you get some of the idiots elected that you do, isn’t it?

    Talking of ‘election material’ I’ve yet to have anything pushed through my letter box except for a scrap of paper (and I mean ‘scrap’) from one of the so called ‘Independent’ candidates, who is really the Brexit Party candidate, who refused to pull out on instructions from on high. Incidentally, I wonder how many times that has happened in Tory held seats.

    Talking of slogans, which again feature strongly at this election, perhaps those of us, who believe that there really is an alternative to ‘Get Brexit Done’, ‘For the Many not the Few’ or even ‘Stop Brexit’, should have gone with ‘It doesn’t have to be like this’.

  • We are still targeting way too many seats.

    Our objective should be – as the party says – to deprive the Tories of a majority, and so increase the chance of stopping Brexit.

    Yet the party is – right now – directing members towards the seats of Labour remainer MPs, including some where we are clearly (according to YouGov) already out of contention.

    If our MPs mean what they say, send our members toward those seats where we still stand a chance of defeating Tory MPs! Surely this is obvious?

  • David Allen 7th Dec '19 - 7:50pm

    Britain is sleepwalking towards semi-fascism. The two anti-conservative parties have failed. I have written enough about the mistakes made by the Lib Dems. But Labour have been even worse.

    Red-blooded socialism isn’t inherently crazy. In 2017 Corbyn ran a moderately competent campaign and had the fortune to find an incompetent opponent. Partial success went to his head. He became a JC who thought he could walk on water.

    What is staggeringly awful about the far less succcesful Labour 2019 campaign is their complete tin ear for the voters. A high spending programme in 2017 morphed into an outrageous spending programme in 2019. It bombed. Nobody believed it was doable. So what did Labour do? Pile on even more bribes. Suddenly, belatedly, discover the WASPI women and find an extra £58bn in the bottom drawer to throw at the problem. Totally unbelievable!

    Corbyn just doesn’t listen to anybody. He doesn’t listen to Johnson’s criticisms. Some of those criticisms are fair, many are bogus, but since Corbyn doesn’t stop to point that out, all Johnson’s punches land. Corbyn is far too wrapped up in his vision of socialism to ask himself what the voters truly want him to talk to them about.

    There are good people in Labour, and in the Lb Dems. They are lost in failed parties. Maybe the reign of an authoritarian populist will force comprehensive realignment and renewal on the British centre and left. It needs to happen.

  • “We are still targeting way too many seats.”

    How do you know? I’ve been fairly close to the central organisation in past elections and never knew this sort of information.

    If you did know this you would not be talking about it.

  • David Becket 7th Dec '19 - 9:16pm

    I do not have any information on what seats we are targetting.

    To stop Johnson we need about 50 MPs, taken from the Tories.

    I hope that is what we are targetting.

  • @Hywel, read the article, follow the link, and find out for yourself.

  • @Hywel

    It’s easy to work out targeting list. You go to the website as linked in the article. You look up historic Lib Dems holds plus the occasional new players (eg Vauxhall 2017, or Kensington/Esher/Wimbledon/Cities and Westminster for 2019) and when you put regional postcodes into the website, you see which seats are still in play because they still come up as a place for members in neighbouring constituencies to travel to. Doesn’t take long at all to make a list of which seats are still being targeted and which have been dropped

  • “If you did know this you would not be talking about it.”
    Well said Hywel.
    And I hope everyone in here (and reading this) is planning to spend at least some time in a target seat over the next five days. I don’t mind people griping about the campaign – as long as they are out there doing their bit on the ground as well. Otherwise it’s just arrogant and tedious.
    If you don’t like the seat you are being directed to by the party, go to another one. You can also phone canvass if you are unable to physically go. Remember we lost North East Fife by 2 votes, and Richmond Park by 45. Every one of us can make that kind of difference.

  • I’ve got my own reasons for not being actively involved.

    But at least I’m not spending my weekend trying to reverse-hack the party’s target seats list so that I can criticise the campaign five days before any votes are counted 🙂

  • I agree with Paul Walter; the narrowed targeting is fair/ruthless (depending how you look at it). Plausible seats have been retained. Fanciful seats (including ones held until very recently) have been dropped.

  • Peter Hirst 9th Dec '19 - 10:29am

    To make targeting work even better, it needs to be more organised as far forward as possible and certainly before the election is called. Assuming it’s the regions’s responsibility there needs to be a more coordinated strategy with definite committed help back to local parties to build up their infrastructure. It should be discussed at local executive meetings so a full discussion can take place, not rely on personal contacts. If it can be made into a social and learning activity, so much the better.

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