Opinion: A Decade On

Duncan Borrowman departed from Lib Dem HQ last Friday after almost a decade. As he left, Lib Dem Voice asked him to look both ways, backward and forward.

I joined the Lib Dem campaigns department in February 1998, having previously been the organiser in Orpington. I was part-time to begin with, as was Neil Fawcett, who started on the same day. Over the following years I covered London and various other neighbouring bits – mainly Eastern Region – before moving to the newly created post of National Campaigns Officer.

The total Campaigns Department staff, including Chris Rennard, was eight full-time equivalents when I started. When I left Cowley Street on Friday the combined Campaigns and Innovations Departments were three times that size, at 24.

But size isn’t everything! As many will have witnessed at the recent Ealing Southall and Sedgefield by-elections, the professionalism of our campaigns staff is second to none compared with the other parties.

It is not just the staff – our resources are massively improved. When I joined I turned down the offered PC, as my own was far superior. Now every campaigns officer can travel with a laptop round the country, access secure private networks to exchange material and always offer the best of support. We did have cix back then, but it was really no match for what campaigns staff now has at their fingertips.

I have tried to make helping non-target seats a key part of the job by giving them access to resources. In recent years I have set up several packages with preferred suppliers – they can be found at http://login.libdems.org.uk/suppliers/index.php – which I believe make life easier for all seats.

One of the highs of the job has been making good quality election addresses available to hundreds of seats – not just targets – at the last General Election and again at the Welsh Elections this year.

The other highs have to be the three big by-elections I did literature for – Leicester South, Bromley & Chislehurst and Ealing Southall.

The future?

I am off to work on a project supporting the party’s campaigning in key target seats, so won’t be far away. And there is always my blog!

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