Keeping Young People in the Liberal Democrats 

We all know losing can be disappointing. As someone who was heavily involved in the Vote Layla campaign, it might not come as a shock that I was disappointed in the result of the leadership election. It goes without saying that I will rally behind our new leader, but I will make no bones about it: addressing the biggest issue facing our party for the last 10 years will be considerably harder.

The issue we face is a mass exodus of members that are disillusioned and disenfranchised, particularly younger members. When campaigning in the leadership election, I encountered countless people who had already cancelled their membership or were about to, because they saw our party as irrelevant and uninspiring. On top of that and more specifically, over the first 24 hours of the announcement of the new leader, I witnessed a number of previously active young people in the Liberal Democrats cancel their memberships and look for other political homes. 

This trend doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. A poll recently showed that the Greens are ahead of us in terms of young people voting intention. As the party that used to be the home of students, of the alternative voice, of the anti-establishment and of the progressive, it is imperative that we return in some way to this narrative, or risk fizzling out of existence.

Luckily for us, being low in the polls gives us a chance to do exactly this. Yes, we do need to be relevant to ordinary voters by returning to speak about policies people want to hear, not just policies Liberal Democrats like to hear. But I argue that, in the long term, it is more vital we stay relevant and inspiring to young people if we ever want to be competitive to other parties.

One particular example of us doing the opposite to the above was the issue of the environment. In the 2019 GE, it was such a hot topic and such a unique moment for us to reinspire young people nationally, especially when we had caught their attention on the Brexit issue. Instead, however, we ended up looking out of touch because we had a carbon neutral target that appeared less ambitious than our rivals.

The cliche “young people are the future of the party” may be cheesy and overused, but it is factually correct. But there are plenty of other reasons why attracting and retaining young people in the party is so necessary. Diversity of thought, motivated campaigners, and (possibly most importantly) being unashamed to be critical of decision making and holding other members in the party to account.

It is possible for us to return to being the home of students like that of the noughties. But to do this, we must put it at the forefront of how we move forward as a party. That means developing catchy and progressive policies that can capture hearts and minds, re-establishing ourselves as the “anti-establishment” party, bringing more young people into strategic decision making at the top and having a leader that works not only with young people within the party, but outside the party too.

Re-engaging young people is one of the most important issues facing the Liberal Democrats. Now more than ever, instead of paying lip service to them, we have to prove we are the party on their side.


* Daniel Newton has been a Lib Dem member and activist since 2017 and will be standing as a candidate in the 2021 council elections.

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  • James Baillie 29th Aug '20 - 10:26am

    This piece is basically correct, and it’s unfortunate that it looks and feels very much like the party is moving towards a less democratic, less accountable, less vibrant way of doing its politics on all levels. I hope that senior figures are willing to do what’s needed to change that perception, but I’m feeling deeply pessimistic at present.

  • You Gov have us on 16% with 18-24’s and single digits in other groups. And that is with Ed Davey as leader. So why all the fuss about young people? Surely it is over 25’s we need to target more:

  • Having failed on tuition fees and, even more importantly, on Brexit, and not even got the fundamentals on energy use right, not sure how the LibDems can move forward in a way that young people will believe. Bringing in UBI at a sustainable level might have some appeal to students as circa 4k year would cover some of the living costs but then that would need the end of the welfare system to fund it which would have the bleeding heart Liberals running around like headless chickens. Changes to interest rates on student loans and when they start paying interest would have much appeal but probably not be believed. The virus pandemic has scooped up all the loose change in the system that might have been spent on the green deal so there is nothing believable or viable that is going to grab anyone’s attention, beyond what Boris has already pledged. A relentless deluge of superior ideas from Sir Ed and others thrown at the government every time they get things wrong might eventually seep through to the populace but so far the party has failed to come up with a single policy that grabs major attention… members often post good ideas on here but they never make it out of the ether,

  • Katharine Pindar 29th Aug '20 - 11:18am

    Frank West, you don’t seem to be living in the real world. It’s surely the case that young people in our country today care about jobs and homes, as well as a culture in which they can go to bars and concerts and other venues to meet and mix with each other and enjoy life. A UBI which may ensure a permanent underclass of unfortunate and disadvantaged people whom the rest of society can forget about is no answer for anybody, but targeted grants at various stages of life – say a lump sum at age 25 – to enable new training and career change might well appeal to young folk. As it is, they will be as glad as anyone else to be able to draw welfare benefits as they struggle for jobs, and agree with us that benefit levels need to be steeply increased to prevent increasing poverty.

  • Katharine, I was quite good at maths in school, two to three times the number of unemployed as before the pandemic equals a huge welfare bill at the old rates let alone with enhanced rates. This from a party that is convinced Brexit equals a lot less govn revenue. Young people are energetic and creative, arming them with a moderate amount of UBI to get them started would be an interesting experiment, and a show of faith that they don’t need to be coddled by an all encompassing State (which would need to tax them so highly they would never be able to get ahead). Most people do not want the govn (or councils) anywhere near their life. Young people want to be free!

  • I think it would be very useful for the party to understand why so many of the young people who supported Layla are feeling so bleak about the party’s future. Many of them supported Layla precisely because they felt she represented a sufficient break with the bad memories of coalition, tuition fees, etc. Rightly or wrongly, the scale of Ed’s victory has given them the impression that the Party wants more of those things, not less. It is now for the Party and particularly for Ed to convince them otherwise. (this is not necessarily my own view, but one which is prevalent and should not be dismissed)

  • Sue Sutherland 29th Aug '20 - 12:24pm

    I too feel depressed because I voted for Layla, feeling that she would get the party sorted out organisationally as well as politically. I’m not young but I agree with what you say Daniel. Now we have to see how committed to the changes of the Thornhill report Ed is, not assume that nothing will happen. I think we need regular reports from the Leader which monitor progress.

  • Thanks for an interesting article.

    As it happens I was thinking just the other day how I would have answered the question at the last general ekection of us having 2045 for net zero and labour 2040.

    I think the answer is that it shouldn’t be a Dutch auction and before long we say 2039, Labour 2038… Until you get to 2018 which is meaningless!

    The issue is to treat people young and old as adults! And there are actually complicated issues and you need to spend every pound for maximum effect and while Brits have responsibility for the UK, you might get less global warming overall with aid to developing countries to reduce their carbon footprint, a massive global research effort to suck carbon out of the air, massive research to develop electric and hydrogen planes. Even if that was later for the UK to be completely net zero

    As to engaging people (young *and* old) we persuade by actions not words campaigning and harassing our local councils to plant trees, install electric charging points, more cycle lanes etc. and asking people to elect us on to such bodies!

  • Obviously we want policies that appeal to young voters but I am reminded of the parralel debate at the BBC about the need to attract younger audiences. The reality is that young people with passion and energy and idealism get older and aquire mortgages and end up listening to Radio 4 (and voting for the political equivilant !)

  • Jenny Barnes 29th Aug '20 - 2:55pm

    We really should be thinking about why after Coalition the people voted for Brexit and then the Brexit Party now disguised as the Conservative party. People weren’t prepared to vote for new Labour, nor new new Labour, and clearly only a small % voted LD. Does anybody really want a party run by grey men in grey suits with no ideas? Keir Starmer & Ed Davey look interchangeable to me.
    I think the question is more about what would attract people to the LDs, less of the ageism please.

  • Martin Boffey 29th Aug '20 - 3:15pm

    “ The issue we face is a mass exodus of members that are disillusioned and disenfranchised, particularly younger members.”

    Being outvoted – categorically – in a democratic election is not the same as being disenfranchised. To be a Liberal Democrat is to spend your life getting outvoted to some degree or another. But you’re only disenfranchised if you give up.

  • Paul Barker 29th Aug '20 - 3:27pm

    Is there any evidence – actual numbers – to back up this claim of a “Mass exodus of Members” ?
    If not then this is just more hysteria & doing The Tories work for them.

    Can we have some calm please ?
    I voted for Layla & I will be loyal to Ed just as I was to his predecessors.

  • Martin Boffey 29th Aug '20 - 3:38pm

    Well said Paul Barker. I also think some people are seriously overestimating the importance of who the leader is. For one thing, one of the biggest flaws in our last election campaign was the “Presidential” approach. Let’s not do that again. No one person can be all things to all people. We say we want to be more diverse as a party, but if we manage to achieve that diversity to then not take full advantage of it in our offer to the electorate.

  • Jenny Barnes 29th Aug '20 - 3:41pm

    “massive research to develop electric and hydrogen planes”

    The trouble with electric planes is the weight of the batteries. Short range might be ok. Scilly Isles to Newquay for example, but London Miami won’t be.
    Kerosene fuelled jet engines are really efficient at what they do, and it would be good if one could somehow get the kero in a carbon neutral way. One option might be to use the CO2 exhaust from iron or aluminium smelting and reform it with renewably generated hydrogen to make the kerosene. It only eliminates one lot of CO2, you still have the result from burning the reformed kero in the air, but it does stop people mucking about with CCS which seems to always be 20 years off. Hydrogen fuel cells and ducted fan engines might be a longer term option, but hydrogen is much more difficult as a fuel than kero.
    Another thing to think about is overhead power lines on the motorways for HGVs. They can go a short distance on batteries, but again for long haul the weight of the batteries is a killer. But if most of the journey was on mains power, and recharging at the same time, that could work.

  • Martin Boffey 29th Aug '20 - 3:42pm

    Oops. That was meant to say that if we manage to achieve that diversity then it would be a mistake not to fully utilise it in our offer to the electorate.

  • Tony Greaves 29th Aug '20 - 4:04pm

    “the home of students, of the alternative voice, of the anti-establishment and of the progressive”. Yes. But first we ]need a generation of Young Liberals who will want to do this and get on with leading the way.

  • @jenny Barnes

    There was a recent BBC Radio 4 documentary I think in Business which probably is still on BBC Sounds that said that either electric and/or hydrogen was feasible within the next 20 or so years.

    (I believe it also discussed sustainable aviation fuel)

    Boeing I believe has an experimental short distance plane with one electric engine.

    Rail and canals could also be used for heavy freight.

  • There’s this

    Which *may* be what I was thinking of but I heard it on the radio more recently than when it says it was last broadcast.

  • Sorry but of further interest is a BBC website article at

    This does discuss the issues of weight to energy for batteries and says that long haul planes are some way off. But equally easyJet has plans to introduce a short haul electric plane into service in the mid 2020s.

    With £400 worth of fuel for a flight replaced by £10 of electricity there’s a massive financial incentive to get this to work.

    My guess is that it will be like the electric car market with hybrids and shorter range vehicles followed by longer range ones.

    And it’s highly likely that even if we get to a completely post-covid world businesses will re-evaluate how cost effective business trips are lagainst video conferencing, remote working etc

    My original point remains that there are issues on what you spend money on and how you get a government elected in a democracy to implement them which goes beyond a Dutch Auction with Labour that proved to be unelectable or indeed with Extinction Rebellion although I think they are great. Sadly idealists have to compromise a little to get into power.

    As it happens Ed Davey is probably the British politician with the most detailed knowledge and best track record on actually getting things done on this.

  • It seems to me that Layla Moran’s supposed appeal to younger voters is actually quite untested.

    Is there any evidence that she received a majority of votes from younger members or any breakdown of the result at all?

    All we know is that Ed Davey has us on an impressive 16% of the vote among 18-24 year olds according to You Gov.

  • John Marriott 29th Aug '20 - 6:27pm

    From keeping young politically motivated people happy to electric and hydrogen planes. What a segue! Now I know that model aircraft can mimic jet power by ducted fans; but surely the speeds reached are far less than those necessary to travel long distances in reasonable time. There seems to me to be a need to reduce the amount of air travel taking place in future unless a less polluting way can be found to travel at speeds anything near to the speed of sound, let alone faster. Taking thirty three hours to fly across the Atlantic might have been fine for Charles Lindbergh; but that’s stretching it a bit if you’re planning a weekend shopping spree in New York! Oh, and how long did it take Amy Johnson to fly her Gypsy Moth to Australia?

    So, kids, you can see that us old and not so old fogeys appear to be more interested in getting to those exotic places than in changing the world! Mind you, you lot appear not to want to sacrifice your gap years and sea, sun and sangria (it used to be ‘beer, bingo and Benidorm’ in my day) either – just watch out for the Covid, though. Let’s get our priorities right, hey?

  • I suspect that supporters of Layla feel a bit flat because Ed’s success is effectively no change and change is badly needed. Will Ed pull a rabbit from the hat? I shall not hold my breath.

    At times like this, internal analysis is interesting but the view of the public is more important and can be quite revealing. Its view of the party can be summed up in one word, “irrelevant.” That is probably worse than specific criticism. Why does the public feel that way and what could change things? That is the challenge for Ed.

    Brexit is an ex-issue for many people, regardless of LD opinion on the matter. Corbyn’s extreme manifesto is dead but we don’t know what will replace it. All the parties have (in my view) fantasy energy policies. It matters not who has the most aggressive decarbonisation policy when none of them is scientifically achievable within the timescales. UBI is seen to be the holy grail of liberalism or the daft left wing policy to undo all the success of making work pay.

    I caution against favouring policies that might appeal to the fickle, younger generation. They are important but the relevance issue is more deep rooted than a simple generational perception. The Thornhill report addressed the effectiveness of the LD machine and found it wanting. It did not concern itself with the purpose, direction and strategy and whether such features were appropriate in the UK today.

  • Katharine Pindar 29th Aug '20 - 7:08pm

    Ed Davey can have a winning formula for young and old alike if he promotes a new social contract along with his commitment and knowledge about saving the environment and combatting climate change, and I believe he is thinking that out. His green jobs plan fits both aims, because the proposed social contract is about providing jobs and also the necessary technical training and education so young people are properly equipped for the challenges of both climate change and the digital age. Jobs -education – homes -health concerns and ending poverty, those are the five focuses of the new social contract which our country needs now and Lib Dems can make a distinctive mark by promoting.

  • Richard Cripps 30th Aug '20 - 8:42am

    In England we now have the three main parties in Parliament led by three middle aged white me, two are “Sir” and one went to a public school. Just in terms of optics not sure how well that resonates with the national spectrum of people under 30. (I am a white older man who was in the young liberals in the days of Peter Hain). I have 14 children and grandchildren of diverse opinions and life stories and I find myself fighting a losing battle in trying to engage them in politics. As has been said elsewhere on this thread their main preoccupations (depending on age) are education, employment, housing and climate change. If the Lib Dems had clear policies on these subjects at the last election they were drowned out by Brexit. Time to move on… ?

  • Jenny Barnes 29th Aug ’20 – 2:55pm………. Does anybody really want a party run by grey men in grey suits with no ideas? Keir Starmer & Ed Davey look interchangeable to me…………

    Interchangeable? One who has taken his party up 26% to parity with the government and is deemed far more ‘primeministerial’ than the current incumbent; and the other who has…
    Sadly, the more I read comments on LDV, with the party stuck on 6%, the more I am reminded of the follicly challenged arguing over combs,,

  • George Crozier 30th Aug '20 - 9:07am

    Some fair points in this article which illustrate the importance of Ed showing that he is not simply a continuity leader (I don’t believe he is) and showing ambition. Hopefully we will see this in his Conference statements and speeches. Layla and others clearly also have an important part to play in showing the party is moving forward with unity and purpose.

    But I caution against treating young people – or other demographic group – as a homogenous block, or in putting a lot of effort into crafting policies designed to appeal to particular groups that we feel we deserve more support from. This has been tried in the past and hasn’t worked.

    On an issue like the environment, we need to stop focusing on numbers, and instead set out with passion our vision of what a truly green Britain looks like and some of the policies that will be needed to get there, campaigning hard on that locally, on social media and in Parliament.

  • Peter Watson 30th Aug '20 - 9:47am

    @Richard Cripps “two are “Sir” and one went to a public school”
    According to Wikipedia, all three were privately educated, though Keir Starmer’s school converted from a state grammar while he was there. Unfortunately, Layla Moran as leader would not have made that aspect of English politics look any more diverse.

  • I agree with those who see the main issue as relevance to all voters, including, but not only the young. We need a vision for the future, which will inform what we say about the present problems and encourage members to work hard on the ground. We cannot simply rely on what our MPs do in Parliament. I think the priority for Ed and Layla is for them to work together to help our work for the local elections next May. They need to visit local areas and show interest in the local issues that our parties will be campaigning on. Have they not said about working from the bottom up ?

  • The election of Ed Davey has sadly made the party look as though it is disinterested in the under 45’s vote. Davey had been acting leader for eight months and has hardly set world ablaze with exciting ideas, or newspaper articles. Sadly I expect more of the same from him as elected leader which is why I have left the party. As far as dull empty acceptance speeches go his must be in line for an all time oscar. Smell the coffee and he’s listening were the only two things offered. One might ask why he didn’t think to listen when he became acting leader or a coalition minister.

    Some might say at least he’s a safe bet with Labour if he wishes to form a progressive alliance with Labour because he doesn’t threaten them electorally, whereas Layla may have done, but unfortunately I don’t believe the new leader has even checked progressive in the dictionary. He might try some pact with Labour, but I very much doubt he’d demand they put electoral reform as a firm commitment in exchange for his and Green’s suppport, I suspect he might easily give in if a ministerial job were mentioned.

    The party since the coalition has turned its back on bold progressive values of Liberalism held dear by Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy, and seems content to be run by grey establishment figures bereft of ideas, who turn us step by step into an alternative conservative party. When you hear senior figures come out in a leadership election frightening the horses saying we must not turn left of Labour, because one of the candidates had the temerity to stand up for Liberal values, you know something’s gone seriously wrong in the Liberal Democrats. That drift and rot has to be fixed without delay if it wishes to have a future and offer something for young activists whose generation face unthinkable challenges.

    On a postive note I give sir 6% eighteen months at best before he’s obliged to stand down. In that time the media will continue to destroy him with the constant coalition questions which he cannot adequately answer, preventing any announcements he may just have thought up. When the party recognises that membership renewals are declining, limited new ones joining, and grassroots activism being kept to local level alarm bells should ring. If so, that may be the time it recognises that Layla will be its future.

  • Again another disappointed Layla supporter.
    Given Layla’s ability to energise people could not Ed give her a serious campaigning role within the party, this would give us a dimension which appears to be lacking at the moment.
    For the record I have voted since 1976 in leadership elections and currently was on the winning side thrice, loosing side four. So I’m used to being here!
    It’s up to Ed to prove he can bring the party back from the current levels of support.
    But that shouldn’t prevent local LDs going out, campaigning and winning.

  • @Andy Hyde @Nigel Hardy

    The parliamentary party has to choose the deputy leader who is (? normally) a different gender to the leader. Clearly Layla is currently at least in pole position for the next leadership election. She also established a good role of the media using her even before the election which tends to be a chicken and egg thing – the more they use someone the more they use them…

    I too was initially disappointed by eds speech but on reflection I think it was right. Firstly he could have said anything and it’d be ignored by 99.99% of the public. Secondly we need to take some time to have a think. Thirdly those that are not rabid lib Dems like us here – know that lib Dems have come a poor 5th or so in the last three elections and will think well that’s a sensible thing to say which feeds into the image of him being um… Sensible 🙂 !

  • Laurence Cox 30th Aug '20 - 12:10pm

    @Michael 1 makes a good point about not getting into a dutch auction over the date for achieving carbon neutrality. My own response if asked this question would be that we have a costed plan that we believe is achievable to reach carbon neutrality by 2045; we have not seen the details of Labour’s plan to reach it by 2040 but, if their plan is achievable at a comparable cost we would support the earlier date.

    As for flying, the immediate fix is to go over to kerosine derived from biological sources; the US Air Force has been using this for up to a decade (although their motivation was economic rather than environmental): At the moment they use a 50-50 mixture with kerosine from fossil sources because of issues with engine seals if 100% biofuel is used.

  • Nigel Hardy 30th Aug '20 - 3:50pm

    @ Michael 1

    Layla would make an absolutely brilliant deputy leader, she would challenge the dullness of this most uninspiring of leaders. However, others have said she would be better off standing back from the party’s establishment for when she next runs for leadership. Either way Layla’s the party’s biggest asset in parliament who should at very least be given a role as PP media spokesperson or something similar.

    Whilst I understand your comment about the acceptance speech I honestly think primary a kid could’ve come up with something better. Wake up and smell the coffee and he’s listening was sadly insulting from an MP who’s said to have closed ears. John Major as PM got ridiculed by Spitting Image for being grey and dull (more peas dear?) but how on earth could the LIb Dem’s elect someone to top that I wonder. At least the party’s not sentimental about unpermforming leaders (unlike Labour) so I give grey twelve months before another contest.

  • Peter Hirst 30th Aug '20 - 4:18pm

    Young people are the soul of any political party and we do seem to lose them too quickly. We need to re-find our passion for issues such as climate change, electoral and constitutional reform, education and training and employment for young people particularly. It should be easy to come up with a portfolio that makes young people the centre of all we do. I’m sure our new leader will do this and hopefully fairly soon.

  • @ Peter Hirst “It should be easy to come up with a portfolio that makes young people the centre of all we do”.

    That sentence sums up the current Liberal Democrat Party’s problem. It is far too focussed on so called ‘identity’ issues of all shapes and sizes. Deleting the word ‘young’ would improve the sentence enormously.

    I was a ‘young person’ in 1964…. Now all these years later I feel absolutely no different in my head and I look forward to every new day….. and in fact was and am a great deal more radical than the middle aged Orangistas who wrecked this party a few years ago.

    As for Ms Moran, I’m really sorry, and regardless of the supposed limitations of Sir Edward D. who was one of those Orangistas, experience tells me there is a very flaky political accident waiting to happen any time in the future…… though I truly hope it doesn’t.

  • Marco,

    It is an interesting poll which as you say states we have 16% among 18-24 year olds. It goes on to give us 6% for those aged 25-49, and those aged 65+ but only 2% among those aged 50-64.

    Frank West,

    Do you consider yourself a liberal? Cutting benefit levels for the unemployed or those with long-term health issues is not a liberal policy and would increase the number of people living in poverty rather than ensuring no one is living in poverty as we say we want in the preamble to our constitution. I don’t think young people would be happy to receive your meagre UBI of £76.92 a week if it meant cuts in the working-age benefits for the rest of society. (When I was a student I remember the weekly amount of the student grant for term time was much larger than the rate for the eight weeks of holiday which was at the unemployment benefit rate.)

    We should be ensuring no one in the UK lives in poverty. A minimum income guarantee of £136 a week would help and ensure couples had enough to live at the poverty line and this could be given to students. A minimum income guarantee of £157 a week should ensure no one lives in poverty if they have no housing costs.

    I don’t think you studied economics, reducing working-age benefits would remove even more demand from the economy than them being on the meagre Universal Credit of £94.59 a week. That is why the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme was so good because by giving people 80% of their earnings total demand in the economy was kept much higher than if these over 9.5 million (16th August figure had only Universal Credit to live on.

  • @nigel hardy


    I appreciate your points.

    Personally I think we have about reached Michael Howard in terms of leaders.

    This is not actually a bad thing.

    He steadied the ship and increased their MPs and was a shrewd politician. He also though had quite a bit of the ancien regime about him!

    However I think at some point the tabloid press would have had Layla for mincemeat.

    As I have commented before and as Lynton Crosby says you need to scrape the barnacles off the boat.

    And for me that means going back to free university tuition.

    Sadly political parties underestimate the amount they have to change after they screw up! And drag their feet doing that.

    On young people

    What I have liked about the lib Dems is.that people don’t really look at your age.

    I was part of a council group that included some in their early 20s, middle aged and some well over 70 – all contributing well.

    However there’s one thing and that’s sometimes young people as well as others can have difficulties for example getting to meetings etc.

    And I remember nervously attending my first rural branch meeting in my early 20s grasping my aldc campaigning guides. In all honesty they thought the idea of producing a Focus was a bit weird but six years later we had won the parliamentary seat.

    But it was difficult to get to that meeting and I could only make it because I was able to borrow my mum’s car and many might not have had that luxury!

    (And thanks to Chris rennard, Tony greaves, Andrew stunnell and many more who produced versions of those guides)

    So folks, stick on the walking boots, crank up the duplicator (!), practise that community politics, get those trees planted, cycle lanes installed.
    Life will be tough electorally for us but elections are pure fiction!

    We may or may not have a lib dem government but the lib dem health and fitness programme will make you fitter and your locality, country and world will be left a bit better!!!!!

  • Nonconformistradical 30th Aug '20 - 7:12pm

    ” there’s one thing and that’s sometimes young people as well as others can have difficulties for example getting to meetings etc. ”

    The one beneficial side-effect of this wretched bug – we’re all Zooming..

  • @Nonconformistradical

    Lol! True!

    Of course different people have different impediments – kids, no kids, jobs, no jobs, elderly parents etc.

    And we need to be tolerant and understanding of those.

    We also need to be aware that it can be intimidating if one is different from the rest in a meeting or group and I found that in those meetings being 40 years younger than the others!

    But if one is one needs to persevere!

    Since I am commenting again (sorry!)

    Thanks Laurence

    And on yougov I don’t want to rain on people’s parade but I assume it is a subsample of about a 100 in that age range and that would have a massive margin of error at a guess +/- 10 % at least – but you knows may be we’re on 26% among younger people !!!

  • @David Raw ‘ That sentence sums up the current Liberal Democrat Party’s problem. It is far too focussed on so called ‘identity’ issues of all shapes and sizes ‘
    Yes! That statement has more truth than the powersi in the party could probably ever imagine. It should be e-mailed to them every day until they finally see the truth of it, then things might genuinely change for the party. Suffice to say I agree 100 percent. I actually feel quite emotional about seeing such a statement on this site, not sure many of the other regulars would post such a comment, sadly.

  • The reason why Trump and Johnson won – and indeed the reason why Obama won – was that they had a narrative, a story to tell, a clear aim. a reason why they wanted to govern. The reason why Hillary Clinton lost was because she didn’t. She thought that competence and sensible, humane policies would be enough to win over the voters. They weren’t.

    Sadly, Biden doesn’t seem to have learned the lessons. Trump has called on voters to keep America great and stand up for law and order. If you can overlook the appalling lies involved, that does sound like a strong reason to vote. Biden offers nothing comparable.

    Sadly, Starmer and Davey don’t seem to have learned the lessons either. Johnson’s blatant incompetence has persuaded Starmer to major on the competence issue. It is a mistake. Competence is not enough.

    At root, that is what this post is – quite rightly – complaining about. Layla promised inspiration, ambition, drive, and “capturing hearts and minds” to quote the OP. Ed just promises to listen.

    Oh, and Ed also says that, since Labour have bagsied the NHS and the Tories have bagsied Brexit, the Lib Dems could bagsy being the party of carers, since nobody else has bagsied that yet…! Inspirational?

  • Jenny Barnes 31st Aug '20 - 11:10am

    “their main preoccupations (depending on age) are education, employment, housing and climate change”

    Pretty much everyone is concerned with education. Marketising particularly higher education in the coalition was not a good idea, and will probably follow Ed around. Early years interventions, sure start centres etc is where we should probably be. Everyone is concerned with employment – even those not working depend on the economy generating enough wealth for the NHS (hooray) pensions, etc. and providing the goods we all need. Housing – has been broken since the blessed MT instituted right to buy. Get councils building for rent, with older council houses being maybe sold at a small discount to market after say 30 years, councils keeping all the proceeds to build more – and abolish planning gain. Compulsory purchase of land without planning gain.
    Climate change -everyone is concerned apart from those who live on a different planet. Unfortunately it would seem there are far too many who do, indeed, live on a different planet.

  • Katharine Pindar 1st Sep '20 - 12:28am

    Thanks, John that’s heartening. Without wishing to hijack Daniel’s thread, I think you are right that this is urgent, ‘to flesh out Lib Dem policy on these key issues’. The motion I and Michael BG have offered to Conference called on Federal Policy Committee through new working groups to further develop policies in these areas. Obviously we already have many relevant policies, but as you say they should be fleshed out, and they should be developed further.

    Michael and I ended the proposed (business) motion by asking that Federal Policy Committee, along with the Communications and Election Committee, ‘bring a policy paper at the latest to the autumn 2023 Conference, to co-ordinate our policies to transform society …. in a new overarching Social Contract.’ We obviously hope that Ed as Leader will take up and support the project. But young people needing training and jobs urgently need us to commit to campaigning soon. Everybody can join in contacting Ed and the committee people to ask for action, and I suppose could propose an emergency motion at this coming Conference. After that, publicity can count in the May local elections, when we hope Daniel and many other Lib Dems will succeed.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Sep '20 - 9:34am

    @ Frank West,

    “Most people do not want the govn (or councils) anywhere near their life.”

    I’m assuming you are emphasising young people in this comment.

    This might be true, to some extent, when everything is going well but, when they aren’t, who do people always look to? Who do they say is responsible and should rectify matters?

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