New party director of strategy appointed

The Liberal Democrats have appointed Mimi Turner as the Party’s new Director of Strategy, Messaging and Research.

Mimi started her career as a journalist, and has since worked across PR, brand and strategy roles for digital and media organisations.

Mike Dixon, CEO of the Liberal Democrats, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Mimi to the team. She’s focused, strategic and has a stellar track record of listening to people and speaking to their concerns with emotion and empathy. This is another sign that our party is changing.”

Mimi Turner added:

“I am grateful and delighted to be joining the Liberal Democrats. I believe that a strong Liberal Democrat voice protects the British public from the divisions and extremes in British politics. This is more important in 2020 than it has ever been. ”

Mimi Turner has more than 20 years experience in journalism, communications, brand strategy and marketing. She is a former consulting Chief Marketing Officer at Wireless Group (part of News UK), was the first marketing director of The Lad Bible and was Group Director of Communications at Northern & Shell. She has advised businesses including Section 4, WhatWeSee, VICE Media and GiveMeSport. She began her career as a journalist, writing for The Sunday Times and The Times and was European Television Editor of The Hollywood Reporter. She was a special advisor to the Cairncross Review on the future of high quality journalism in 2018 and is a founder member of Media For All, the media and advertising industry group focused on broadening access for BAME and other under-represented groups.

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  • I wish Mimi well in her challenging new role – but perhaps someone could clarify whether she has any relevant experience of political campaigns or is even a Lib Dem member?

  • Perhaps those are valid questions. But looking at the job description any political experience or demonstration of political skills wasn’t essential. Which is an interesting approach for a political party to take.

  • Out of interest what did Cummings and Campbell do before they became political advisers?

  • Campbell was political editor of the Mirror and went on to be head of communications/Official Spokesman. Phillip Gould was perhaps the better comparator in terms of polling and strategy.

    Cummings has worked on political campaigns since at least the late 90s

    But the party has been he before. It had an external expert with a world class reputation for using polling who was given full control over polling, research and messaging. That was Ryan Coetzee who beleived that if you got the right policies people would ‘purchase’ them with their vote. Politics and electioneering are not the same as brand and PR.

  • Mark Blackburn 14th Jul '20 - 9:04pm

    Maybe Director of Strategy is a misnomer. I welcome Mimi Turner and wish her every success, but when I saw the press release I said she looked more like a marketer than a strategist, and sure enough on her own Twitter bio she describes herself as a marketer. The inference has to be that the strategy is being directed from elsewhere, i.e. down from the top, and her job is just to ‘market’ it. Not encouraging, and nor was Mimi’s first Tweet – a vague nod to centrism and triangulation and no reference to delivering specific LD strategy. I don’t want to be too negative and maybe she should be given a chance, but this is a very senior position and a vitally important one, when frankly the party has to be closer to the edge of existence than at any time while I’ve been involved, and that’s decades. Centrism or triangulation is looking very dangerous when Starmer is galloping at full speed towards the middle… Anyway, good luck Mimi.

  • Liberal Neil 15th Jul '20 - 8:25am

    I haven’t met Mimi yet, and have had no part in her appointment, but as liberals I would hope we would judge her on what she actually does, rather than on an initial reading of her CV.

    Whatever this role is, it is not to determine the party’s political strategy. That will be down to the new Leader and the party.

    This role will involve helping to deliver it.

  • Judicious comments from Mark Blackburn. It’s always difficult to respond to appointments with limited information to hand but Mark politely articulates some unease which I suspect will have been felt by a number of battle scarred activists. Hopefully this can be taken seriously and dealt with in an appropriate manner (i.e. honestly!). I hope Mimi can be part of a process by which we gain mutual confidence in what we are selling.

  • Liberal Neil, We are not judging Mimi by her CV, we are judging the likelihood she will make a success of the job based on her CV, and past experience. If she has no experience of politics, she will find it very difficult, as did those bright young people Nick surrounded himself with in coalition. Their CVs (and presumably interview skills) were very impressive based on their experience in the commercial sector. Sadly, they found that politics was much more red in tooth and claw and totally collapsed as soon as the going got tough. Our real concern is that those making the appointment do not seem to have learned from the mistakes of the past. But that seems to have become the norm for the Lib Dems over recent years.

    The problem with waiting until someone has been in a job for a while before judging

  • Looks odd to me? I hope we are not just yet again repeating the errors of the past. I would have thought we need someone who IS a Liberal/Liberal Democrat and who has a long proven track record of consistently delivering the party successfully at a local level, ie knows what it is really about, rather than think they know. When we had this we reached 62 MPS, almost 63 with a few more votes in the Bromley by election. Ah memories.

  • I think what needs to be done is that Communications and messaging need to be largely devolved to local or even constituency level. Effectively this would create a network of semi-independent liberal candidates. They would have the funding to print all of their own literature and outside of some core policies could hone their own messages.

    Independent candidates can provide examples to follow such as in East Devon where the candidate commissioned a survey of residents views and based her proposals on that (she got over 40% of the vote in an otherwise safe Conservative seat).

  • @LIberalNeil – that’s been said before though. And if it proves not to be the case is very hard to undo.

    “Whatever this role is, it is not to determine the party’s political strategy. That will be down to the new Leader and the party.”

    Which is perhaps why appointing a director of strategy before the strategy is agreed is a bit of an odd move. Suppose they are at odds with the leader

    Delivering that requires a political skill set which is not the same as PR and brand management. None of this is Mimi’s fault – she fills a job description that didn’t require any political skills or experience.

  • richard underhill 17th Jul '20 - 9:06pm

    Hywel 14th Jul ’20 – 8:53pm
    Another expert was Des Wilson who wrote “Battle for Power”
    ‘the inside story of the Alliance and the 1987 general election’.

    Hywel 14th Jul ’20 – 8:53pm
    “But the party has been here before. It had an external expert”
    There was also Des Wilson, author of Battle for power, the inside story of the Alliance and the 1987 General Election. After the Eastbourne bye-election success we invited him to be guest speaker at the next regional conference.
    There are two newspaper cuttings. One says “Pardoe in attack on Alliance campaign”
    The other is an article by Peter Kellner in The Independent of 26 October 1987
    “The entrails of a general election” a multi-party seminar at a university attended by Norman Tebbit for the Tories and Peter Mandleson for Labour.
    Des Wilson’s book has got a picture on the front cover of the two David’s, onw who could work with the Prime Minister designate and one who could not and is now in the House Lords after inviting readers of the Mail on Sunday to vote Conservative in 1992.
    He could take the escape route that David Steel designed and has been legislated.


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