Liberal Democrat May 2011 election review document

The Saturday morning of party conference sees a consultative sessions on the May 2011 elections and AV referendum. Ahead of that, a brief outline report has been published by the party which is embedded below. It is from James Gurling, chair of the party’s Campaigns and Communications Committee.

The party’s post-general election review has attracted criticism for being kept fairly low profile, both in terms of who was asked to contribute and the subsequent circulation of the lessons. The general election report has not been made public by the party or circulated very far internally. So it’s good to see that one year on the review this time is being done in a more inclusive way – but that only means much if people take the opportunities to take part in the review consultation, either at conference or by submitting views via email as requested in the report.

The experience of the general election report suggests taking part will be well worthwhile, as several key decisions the party has taken since (e.g. over introducing Liberal Democrat Connect) clearly followed on from that report’s recommendations.

The report asks 27 questions. Guest posts for The Voice about one or more of the questions would be most welcome. In the meantime, Liberal Vision has also blogged about the review and consultation.

Liberal Democrats Election Review: May 2011 elections and AV referendum

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This entry was posted in Conference.


  • With regard to the attack on Labour for failing to deliver in the yes campaign, you’ve criticised them for not honouring a clear manifesto pledge? Really?

  • Its a valid criticism as it amounts to hypocrisy- dont attack Libdems for not fulfilling manifesto pledges when they aren’t. They were doing nothing but point scoring under Miliband at the expense of democracy.

  • Andrew Waller 5th Sep '11 - 10:47am

    I hope that many members will attend on the Saturday morning session and fill in the many gaps in this report. I would like to know what the central (London & South East) party thinks that is has done to retain former councillors and activists motivated in the party ? The best analysis was done by ALDC which recognised a wide range of sources of the problem. The sad thing is that many good members who have worked very hard for the last 20,30 and 40 years will not be motivated enough to come to conference. The party is in the process of losing a generation of hard working members.

  • David Boothroyd 5th Sep '11 - 11:47am

    I really would like to know from where James Gurling et al get the idea that the Labour Party in some way owed the Lib Dems the favour of a loan of the full weight of the Labour Party electoral campaign machine to support a Yes vote. The Lib Dem sudden u-turn on economic policy before the abortive coalition negotiations, their conduct in the negotiations, the subsequent adoption of a vicious Conservative cutting and privatising agenda, and then presenting this agenda as ‘the new politics’ and attacking Labour for daring to criticise it, are all things which would make it very unlikely anyone in the Labour Party will do even a minor favour for the Liberal Democrats.

  • Tony Dawson 5th Sep '11 - 3:17pm

    I would be appalled if any serious attempt by the Party to identify the true reasons for the twin disasters in May were to be posted on a public website. Thankfully, for reasons which are, at least in part, outlined by Geoffrey Payne above, this is not such a document. But seriously. What is it doing here?

  • Tony Dawson 5th Sep '11 - 3:24pm

    “I really would like to know from where James Gurling et al get the idea that the Labour Party in some way owed the Lib Dems the favour of a loan of the full weight of the Labour Party electoral campaign machine to support a Yes vote.”

    Mr Boothroyd, this duty was not owed to the Lib Dems. it was, presumably owed to the British Public before whom, 10 months before the Labour Party had placed a clear manifesto promise to seek AV. Without even a referendum?

    Beg pardon if I am showing naivety in expecting anything like honesty and integrity from the Labour Party. As bad, really, as tuition fees pledges/promises?

  • @Dave B.
    I hoped Labour might have done themselves a favour. In the long term they will find it more difficult to win seats in England due to demographic changes, Devolution of more powers to Scotland and Wales will make an overwhelming case for less Westminster MPs to come from those countries.
    Ed M has recognised this – hence his ‘push for the commuter vote’.

    However most of Labour could not resist the short term goal of sticking it to the Libdems.

  • David Boothroyd 5th Sep '11 - 9:33pm

    Tony Dawson, the Labour Party manifesto did pledge that a Labour government in the new Parliament would hold a referendum on introducing the Alternative Vote – but there is no Labour government, so I do not know what point it is you are making. When the Labour government had introduced provisions for the referendum before the election, it was on the basis that party members would be free to campaign for either side or for none – I would have thought it was far more in the spirit of ‘the new politics’ that a party not seek to restrict members who honestly hold differing views about constitutional matters. A manifesto cannot in any respect prescribe how hard individual members of the Party are to campaign in a future referendum.

    Yes, the pledge was unambiguously for a referendum. I think you’ll find that the theory that Labour offered, during coalition negotiations, to introduce AV without a referendum turned out to be a small canard introduced by pro-Coalition Conservatives in order to bounce the party into conceding. Unless you’re calling your leader a liar (see Rob Wilson, “5 Days to Power”, p. 209: “As Clegg has confirmed in the House of Commons since, there was never any formal offer of AV without a referendum either from Brown or from his negotiating team”.)

    Then you have the gall to bring up ‘honesty and integrity’. I think we all know if you ever found yourself in honesty and integrity territory you’d hurry out of it and hope none of it had stuck to your clothes.

  • The idea of the Tories being independent in Scotland is understandable, and we should have thought of it first! In fact, what is needed now in Scotland is a complete coalition of opposition to try to prevent the excesses of a one party state. The SNP are ruthless and we could sleepwalk into independence which is supported by only a third of the population, with as many against and a large ‘don’t know’ return. If we don’t putt up a strong opposition to the SNP we could be .bulldozed into whatever they want against the majority of the population.

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