Opinion: Let’s talk about the candidates

Nick Clegg made a fine speech in Eastleigh on Monday morning recalling the fighting spirit that saw us win a famous victory.  He made a good case for why voters should vote for the Liberal Democrats with references to our Labour and Conservative opponents. He gave our activists and volunteers much needed encouragement to make a final push before polling day. But one thing he did not mention was our excellent candidates.

One of the best reasons for voting Lib Dem in one of our 60 target seats is the outstanding calibre and proven track record of many of our candidates. It is not just the party that has proved itself over the past five years, it is our MPs themselves.

Over the past five years our MPs have built an outstanding record of individual achievements. The roll of honour is long and it is always possible to find someone that any voter will admire, whether it be Steve Webb on pensions, Danny Alexander in the Treasury or Ed Davey on Green Energy or Lynn Featherstone on FGM and Jo Swinson on Gender Equality or Vince at the Department of Business or Norman Lamb on Mental Health – it is not just the issues we have tackled but the people who have done the hard work who are recognised.

The same is true for many of our candidates and local councillors; people like Jackie Porter here in Winchester who has an enviable reputation and large majority in an otherwise Conservative County Council seat. Fourteen years of service and hard work counts for a great deal.

Surveys have repeatedly shown that voter satisfaction with Lib Dem MPs is the highest of any party.  We have the only MPs to poll positive satisfaction ratings among voters for other parties. This does not just happen because they are Lib Dem MPs – it happens because they all put in a huge effort to represent their constituencies and successfully complete lots of case work.

It is the high regard in which or MPs are held which is the secret of our reputation for holding “fortress” seats.  It should not be a secret. Let us give all our candidates a well deserved blast of publicity – not just to motivate them and their supporters in the final days but also to remind voters why they like us and why they have voted for us in the past. Let us shout about this from the roof-tops.

50% of voters decide who to vote for on the basis of the candidate rather than the party. It is loyalty to our MPs and councillors that confounds the pollsters and leads them to under-estimate our strength on polling day. Whenever candidate’s names are mentioned our ratings jump markedly higher. Talking about our candidates and their impressive records will remind all those that need to know why they have voted Lib Dem in the past and will encourage all voters to at least read some of the vast number of leaflets we push through their doors.

* Mike Biden is an Executive ordinary member in Winchester. A lifelong supporter of the Liberals, he has become an activist since his retirement. His career saw him in senior corporate positions in Sales & Marketing and as a Chief Executive.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

29 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 29th Apr '15 - 9:26am

    Lib Dems have some of the best candidates in the general election and provided some of the best ministers. The Lib Dems are the party best placed to bring the country together.

    The Conservatives welfare cuts will cause riots and even the prospect of Labour winning the general election is already damaging the economy.

  • Kevin McNamara 29th Apr '15 - 11:00am

    Thanks Caracatus. I’m glad that, as always, you offer positivity and solutions rather than endless negativity and complaining.

  • Mike,
    Thanks for pointing out —
    “The same is true for many of our candidates and local councillors; people like Jackie Porter here in Winchester who has an enviable reputation and large majority in an otherwise Conservative County Council seat. Fourteen years of service and hard work counts for a great deal.”

    This is the message for the future. The 2020 GE will need people like Jackie.

  • @Kevin I’m getting the slightest twitch on my irony meter 😉

  • Nick Collins 29th Apr '15 - 11:41am

    “We have the only MPs to poll positive satisfaction ratings among voters for other parties. ” What does that sentence actually mean?

  • That when voters of other parties are asked what they think of their lib dem mp, more of them respond positively than negatively. And that this does not happen with mps of other parties.

  • Stephen Campbell 29th Apr '15 - 1:40pm

    @Eddie Sammon: “The Conservatives welfare cuts will cause riots and even the prospect of Labour winning the general election is already damaging the economy.”

    I don’t think further welfare cuts will cause riots. After all, the cuts are aimed at some of the weakest members of society. No, these people often don’t have the very ability to fight back due to disability or ill health, mental or otherwise. Many, many Lib Dem MPs voted for the Welfare Reform Bill which included brutal sanctions and penalties for people who often don’t have the mental capacity to deal with the system. Since 2012, there have been at least 40 cases of people dying or taking their own life due to the way the DWP and this government have been treating them (source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mps-report-benefits-cuts-driving-5388705). But, of course, with a few exceptions, Lib Dem MPs and members have been silent on this and don’t want to talk about it. If government policy directly caused, say, 40 small business owners to take their own lives, it would be a national scandal. But because the people who have been hurt the most by welfare cuts and DWP sanctions have been mostly the mentally ill, nobody cares. After all, they’re simply “scroungers” and don’t belong in Clegg’s “Alarm Clock Britain”.

    I keep asking what Lib Dems will do to end unnecessary deaths of vulnerable people, but nobody ever seems to answer me. Which is no surprise, as this party has done precious little while in government to challenge the Tories on this and speak out about these deaths. It gives the impression the Lib Dems either a) don’t care or b) were at least complicit in this as they kept their mouths shut and failed to challenge the Tories on this whilst in government.

    A true record of shame.

  • @Stephen Campbell you’re laying the deaths of 40 people directly at the door of the government. That is a very serious charge. What is the causal link between those deaths and the government?

  • Eddie Sammon 29th Apr '15 - 1:48pm

    Stephen I have a saying of “reform doesn’t necessarily mean cuts”. Welfare definitely needed reforming, but I have not been a fan of all the ideas. I have been uneasy with sanctions from day one.

    However, I am also uneasy with the idea of an ever increasing welfare and international aid bill. I believe in responsibilities and sometimes you just have to say no. We do this in our private lives all the time when we turn down opportunities to give to charity, which are all around us and always there.

    We need international action on things like poverty and to develop sustainable policies.

  • @Stephen Campbell to clarify. If the PM orders the armed services into a conflict, he or she does so clearly knowing that he is putting lives at risk.

  • Stephen Campbell 29th Apr '15 - 2:03pm

    @TCO: “If the PM orders the armed services into a conflict, he or she does so clearly knowing that he is putting lives at risk.”

    People willingly and knowingly sign up for the armed forces. They know there will be a risk of death if ever sent into conflict. And some of those who have been affected by this are ex-soldiers as well. The irony of surviving the battlefield but not surviving Tory/Lib Dem cuts is not lost on me.

    People with mental health issues don’t expect to be starved and subjected to brutal and often nonsensical sanctions by the government when they claim benefits due to ill health. They don’t expect to be constantly smeared by the Tories and their press as “scroungers”. And they certainly did not expect the Lib Dems would stop fighting their corner (I’m looking at you, Danny Alexander) all because they joined the Tories in coalition. But that is, indeed, what happened.

    This, by the way, is a longer but very heartbreaking and important read on this subject:
    http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/benefit-sanctions-have-driven-people-to-suicide-110?utm_source=vicetwitteruk

  • Stephen Campbell 29th Apr '15 - 2:29pm

    @Eddie: “Stephen I have a saying of “reform doesn’t necessarily mean cuts”. Welfare definitely needed reforming, but I have not been a fan of all the ideas. I have been uneasy with sanctions from day one.”

    I agree, there were aspects of welfare that did indeed need reforming. Towards the end of Brown’s administration, the system was already becoming cruel and insensitive. But reform needed to be done in a compassionate and sensitive way, especially for those on disability and sickness benefits since they are the most vulnerable and often unable to mentally navigate the system and its inbuilt traps and tricks. Unfortunately, compassion has been sorely lacking in how it has been implemented. Rather, the reforms have been punitive and unnecessarily cruel. I expected that from the Tories and IDS; cruelty to those weaker than themselves is in the Tories’ DNA. My beef with the Lib Dems is that they’ve largely kept quiet on this, especially Danny Alexander who used to campaign for better treatment of disabled and mentally ill people. He used to attack the Work Capability Assessment when Labour ran it, pointing out it was becoming increasingly cruel. But since day one of the coalition, he changed his tune, often going on telly to defend not only IDS and the reforms, but the sanctioning regime as well.

  • Nick Collins 29th Apr '15 - 2:50pm

    @ TCO” when voters of other parties are asked what they think of their lib dem mp,(sic) more of them respond positively than negatively”. In other words there are some people who express warm feelings about some LibDem MPs, but won’t actually vote for them. Much good may that do you.

    @ Eddie Sammon ” sometimes you just have to say no.” Absolutely. I’ve been practicing that over the past five years in response to such questions as
    “will you renew your membership?”
    “will you rejoin the LibDems?”
    ” will you donate to the LibDems”
    “will you vote LibDem”

  • Jane Ann Liston 29th Apr '15 - 5:39pm

    And yet, Mr Collins, you are still here? We must be doing something right.

  • @Jane Ann Liston “We must be doing something right.”

    LDV provides a useful public service in allowing Clegg-bashers to vent their spleen in a safe environment.

  • Nick Collins 29th Apr '15 - 6:28pm

    @ jane Anne Liston

    I may be visiting this site. but I also visit other political sites.. And I have already voted;:not Liberal Democrat.

    If you are doing something right, I do not know what it is.

  • David Evans 29th Apr '15 - 6:59pm

    @Jane Ann Liston “We must be doing something right.”
    LDV provides a useful public service in allowing the dear leader’s acolytes to take their turn and have a go at those who point out Nick has been the most disastrous leader we have had in many decades. By keeping them at it almost full time, it stops them from causing even more damage be talking to real people.

  • Stephen Campbell. I agree with everything you say. You articulate my own concerns about the Lib Dem MPs much better than I could. Thank you.

  • Bore, Foaming, Persistence or Dense?

  • Nick Collins 29th Apr '15 - 9:15pm

    @ Stephen Campbell. Don’t you find it interesting how language evolves? “Reform” used to mean making things better. Under Lansley, Gove and IDS, et. al. it has become a euphemism for making things worse. Sadly, Liberal Democrats have gone along with this devaluation of our language and our politics.

  • Nick Collins 29th Apr '15 - 9:16pm

    TCO, I don’t know. Which do you suffer from most?

  • @Nick Collins I suffer unto all of them for they doth torment me so.

  • Stephen Campbell 29th Apr '15 - 10:57pm

    @Phyllis: “I agree with everything you say. You articulate my own concerns about the Lib Dem MPs much better than I could. Thank you.”

    Thank you for your gracious words. Though the silence of the leadership and/or coalition loyalists on this issue is sad, to say the least.

    @Nick Collins: “Don’t you find it interesting how language evolves? “Reform” used to mean making things better. Under Lansley, Gove and IDS, et. al. it has become a euphemism for making things worse.”

    I agree completely. I’d also add that “reform” nowadays almost always involves selling off vital services to private companies (many with dodgy track records) or, ironically, to foreign state-owned companies such as EDF.

  • A Social Lliberal 30th Apr '15 - 1:09am

    TCO

    You are obviously a member, and a party loyalist – come into the members only forum and have a full and frank discussion with us.

  • It sounds like Nick’s speech described the candidates as lions led by donkeys

  • It is true that we have lost many good and hard working Councillors and MEPs. If there is a tide against you hard work doesn’t necessarily make you win although without it you will definitely lose. It can be totally demoralising hearing the hard work message so, although I never thought I’d say it I agree with Caractacus. Though it is a necessary message in a campaign to ensure that people keep working for that one extra vote that may make all the difference.
    I also agree with those who have talked about the cruelty associated with the cuts. I am disabled myself but am old enough not to have to go through any reviews ……yet. Friends of mine have been treated despicably. The attitude of those interviewing them is that they shouldn’t be getting benefits. One young friend who had been diagnosed with ME lost her benefits because her diagnosis was changed to an illness called POTS. She was still just as ill and unable to work.
    I have felt so bad about this but stick with the party because it is where I belong even though it has strayed from the path I thought we were on together . I believe it will return to being a party of compassion and cannot see what alternative there was to coalition in 2010 given the country’s terrible economy.

  • @A Social Liberal just spotted your note. I may well do that.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTom Harney 5th Jul - 4:04am
    The objectives discussed are not objectives for the party. They might be objectives for the country. We urgently need objectives for the party. What format...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 5th Jul - 2:06am
    Tony Blair has recently offered his thoughts on the future of progressive politics in the UK https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/12/tony-blair-s-speech-future-labour-and-progressive-politics-full-text “To win power, we need self-discipline not self-indulgence;...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 5th Jul - 12:07am
    @ George, ".....you don’t remember any of my counter-arguments." You could be right. At least I thought so because I genuinely can't! But, you've written...
  • User AvatarPeter Kenny 4th Jul - 11:39pm
    The Windrush scandal followed directly from the 2014 Immigration Act, supported by almost all MPs - only 7 voted against, none of them Lib Dem’s....
  • User AvatarPeter Kenny 4th Jul - 11:33pm
    The current benefit sanctions regime was introduced in 2012. You were in power as part of the coalition at the time. Callous, terrible heartless Tories?...
  • User AvatarJohn O 4th Jul - 11:24pm
    'John O: What student politics?' 'Commandeering the UK private health sector' That's apart from all the baggage