Mark Pack writes…Winning at every level: the Lib Dem recipe for success

We should never forget that elections at all levels matter. They directly give us the chance to implement our vision for a liberal democrat society in more communities, and they also are the springboard to future success in elections at other levels. We saw that so clearly this May, where put more Lib Dems into power and set us up win a record number of MEPs, not to mention putting us very much back on the national political map.

But the truth is too much of our organisation, especially at the federal level, often defaults to acting as if only the next Westminster contest really matters.

It’s understandable why over-stretched staff, tight budgets and busy volunteers can fall into this trap. But to build sustained, long-term success across all of England, Scotland and Wales, and to get even more Liberal Democrat policies put into action in even more communities, we need to think broader and longer-term. The next general election is crucial. But so too are the local elections coming next May, the next Scottish Parliament elections and the next Welsh Assembly elections – not to mention the general election after next. 

Seeing all these elections as part of one overall mission for the party is a central part of the core votes strategy which David Howarth and I pioneered after the 2015 debacle and which has underpinned our recovery. Concentrate on those who share our values so that we build a durable, sustainable bedrock of support across all elections – and on which specific campaigns can then add the personal votes of candidates and tactical support. Stick with that task and we’ll be ready to win bigger, year after year.

That political strategy requires an organisation to match. That’s why improving and enlarging our organisation is at the heart of my pitch to be President and the five priorities I’ve set out (read them here)

Previous Presidents interpreted the role in various ways, suitable for the circumstances of the time. Right now, with a new leader, and a talented and growing Parliamentary Party with many more new faces to come at the election, what the President can best focus on is delivering the strategy and organisation required to realise the huge political potential in front of us.

Our staff are vital in this, but those are tasks that also go wider than their remit – which is why the role of President is key to getting this right, working closely with the Chief Executive but with the broader strategic remit that many of us are familiar with from the chairs of trustees.  

Having a President whose top priority is the organisation and strategy to deliver our political ambitions – that will make the most impact in helping even more of us win.

That’s what I’ve got a track record of delivering – and with your support, we can achieve so much more. As our Focus leaflets so often say, a record of action – and a promise of more. 


* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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  • Best of luck to you Mark. You certainly have my vote. These are exactly the right priorities for the party over the next few years.

  • Thanks Tony 🙂

  • Simon Tarry 3rd Oct '19 - 7:37am

    Good luck Mark. Been watching your progress since you were at York all those years ago

  • Julian ingram 3rd Oct '19 - 8:29am

    Well written And said Mark. It won’t be easy to turn the tanker but with a great new leader and your track record this is the best chance we have to build an organisation that can be fit for purpose. Which is the power to implement our policies and build a liberal Britain. Best of luck you have my vote.

  • A key question is how to enable new members to take a full part in the party as soon as they have joined. We need to start with looking at the real opportunities to join in activities as soon as possible after they have joined. This should not just mean asking them to deliver leaflets a few months after they have joined, but ensuring they get a local welcome pack straight away. In this pack we should ensure that they are told exactly how they can join in decision making. All this of course applies to existing members too.

  • Tom: absolutely, and not just when people have joined. We need to be great at involving people whatever their stage of membership – such as the person who joined, was an armchair supporter and then is fired up by seeing an election called. I wrote more about how we can do that here:

  • Richard Underhill. 3rd Oct '19 - 2:51pm

    Best of luck to you Mark. You certainly have my vote.
    Tom Harney is right. They deserve better.

  • Mary Regnier-Wilson 4th Oct '19 - 9:14pm

    Tom – you are right, this is exactly what we should be doing, and was the secret to the successes we had in South Cambs and Chelmsford. They happened because the local parties used all the data we could to efficiently make personal contact with local members and supporters and get them involved.
    But local parties are run by volunteers, and HQ have been reluctant to invest in the systems, processes and training that make it easier for those local volunteer leaders to do that. I genuinely do hope that if Mark is elected as president he has more success than I have over the past 2 years in convincing people that empowering volunteers in local parties is the secret to future success.

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