Lib Dem members must all do their bit in this election

As I write this I am filled with pride as the party of rational thinking, the party of evidence based policy not knee-jerk reactions reaps the rewards of our stance on Brexit. Our membership is soaring, our poll ratings are creeping up and our results in by-elections both council and parliamentary are truly a sight to behold. However just beholding the wonders of our achievements since the General Election in 2015 isn’t enough. We have a General Election on the horizon!

While some may have the “Brenda “reaction of “not another one” we cannot be complacent. We must win as many seats as we can in order to show Mrs May we mean business! This means we have a number of Richmond Park campaigns to run.  We’ve got to win big in South London and return Sir Vince Cable and Sir Ed Davey to parliament. In Cambridge we’ve got to get the phenomenal campaigning machine who is Dr Julian Huppert back. But, we can only achieve this if we pull together and enthuse our newfound membership base.

To paraphrase Nelson, Tim expects every activist to do their duty! I am what we would call a “newbie” to the party. I joined during the local elections last year from Labour.They had a membership surge too  they they  haven’t motivated their new people. They obsess about internal matters and  not about who really matters, the public. We have so far engaged the membership, now we must motivate all of them into action.  Remember every vote counts. What this means is that we have target seats where we really must win. If you’re unsure where your nearest target seat is then bug your local party chair and they’ll let you know. We can only be an opposition truly worthy of the title if we take seats. Votes in all constituencies are needed but we won’t win them all (this time). Therefore targeting is key.

So remember:

  • Focus on the target seats, ones we can win!
  • We have a chance to make history with this election, let’s!
  • Have fun, campaigning can be a team activity. Plan a party action day to the nearest winnable seat!
  • Don’t forget to rest! We have a campaign to run and can’t do it with tired and burnt out activists, only do so much as you think is sensible.

Let’s make 2017 go into the history books as the year we turned the country a fetching shade of Lib Dem Orange!

* Callum Robertson is a teacher and former Chair of the Young Liberals

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Sue Sutherland 28th Apr '17 - 2:14pm

    Is it possible to email every member with information about the nearest target seat? Including the enticement of fun and cake? Also where to donate if helping is impossible? Maybe the Newbies could be contacted by you, Callum, on behalf of the party? Of course, data protection must be observed.

  • Well said Callum. This is so important. Our party doesn’t have the ‘baked-in’ resources of the Tories (big business) and Labour (Trade Unions). The electoral system also gives them huge advantages over us, and frankly so does the media. The only thing we have to fight these disadvantages is our members, so every single one of us needs to step up and do something to help. And I mean every one. No matter if you are a new member or a long-standing one who has just never felt able to campaign before. This election really is too important to sit out.
    As Callum says, the best way to do this is to find your nearest target seat and offer to help. Tell them you’ve never campaigned before – they’ll be delighted to help you settle into it, and incidentally you’ll enjoy it much more than you think you will.
    If you really feel you can’t do physical campaigning, you can still help by make a donation. Any amount will help. Go to (or offer to donate to your local target seat). But please do it now, or you’ll forget. 🙂

  • Simon Banks 29th Apr '17 - 9:03am

    This is well said. There is also a message for the longstanding, longsuffering activists. Involve your new members. It’s a bit late now (till June 9) for friendly meetups in pubs or cafes and also for encouraging keen newcomers to take local party office, but those local parties who have done these things are benefitting. In North-east Essex, most of our activists now are post-last-general-election joiners and that includes over half our county council candidates and four of six local party officers. New members do of course need to be asked if they’ll donate or deliver, but they may be up for doing much more.

  • Richard Underhill 1st May '17 - 2:23pm

    ” every vote counts” This is a First Past The Post election, so part ofwhat we say is that we would like to make the electoral system more democratic so that every vote counts.

  • Thomas Ling 2nd May '17 - 3:30pm

    Sue asks: “Is it possible to email every member with information about the nearest target seat? Including the enticement of fun and cake? Also where to donate if helping is impossible? Maybe the Newbies could be contacted by you, Callum, on behalf of the party? Of course, data protection must be observed.”

    This is a very simple exercise that anyone with a little Excel or web design competence could undertake for the benefit of the party. I have done this kind of exercise for my work so I know it can be done.
    – Get a list of target constituencies either from LD leadership or by looking at 2015 general election results and picking those with small majorities.
    – Map these constituencies to co-ordinates.
    – Either in Excel or on a website, ask for the user’s postcode.
    – Map the postcode to its co-ordinates.
    – Calculate the distance between the user’s co-ordinates and those of each target constituency (e.g. using the spherical law of cosines).
    – Output the constituency with the lowest distance to the user.

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