Our party co-leaders want to hear from us

Our current co-leaders, Sal Brinton and Ed Davey, have written to party members asking for their initial thoughts on the general election campaign and results.

They write:

…we know we have a lot of work to do and many lessons to learn.

In the new year, we’ll be conducting a full independent review of this election. This will include a chance for you to give us all of your views on what worked, what didn’t, and what we need to do differently in the future.

But we also want to give you a chance to share your views before the Christmas break.

If you can spare a few minutes, please share your thoughts.

…Please be assured that this is not the full review – we want to hear far more from you.

In the coming weeks we’ll have had the chance to dig deeper into the result and your responses, and we’ll be able to ask you more detailed questions.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this – it will make us stronger in future.

If you are a party member and have not already read the email, please have a look in your inbox.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Party policy and internal matters.


  • Maybe we should outsource more of our campaigning & messaging?
    Thatcher did this with Saatchi & Saatchi

  • Tobias Sedlmeier 19th Dec '19 - 12:54pm

    “Everywhere is blighted by litter, plastic and pollution. The results go to illustrate just how little the British public care about the environment, the house we all live in.”

    This reflects the creeping culture of lack of personal responsibility that has infected Britain, or England & Wales in particular, over the past decades, spurred on by Tory and socialist policies alike. England & Wales has the highest percentage of children raised in fatherless families of any country in Europe. There are massive arrears of child support as feckless fathers shirk their responsibility to financially support their children and dump responsibility for their children’s welfare on the taxpayer. Children in turn neglect the parents who raised them and the cry goes up from the boomers – as loud among the LibDems as in the other parties – that the Thatcherite generation who sold off state assets to fund their lower taxes – should now have the generations after them pay for their care. Everything is someone else’s responsibility and not our own.

    And what policies do the LibDems offer for this: more of the same. Legalise cannabis. What has legalisation (or at least decriminalisation) of drugs done to The Netherlands. Well, the BBC published a piece today on how The Netherlands has become a narco-state: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-50821542 The LibDems don’t care about the consequences of legislation of cannabis because the negative consequences will not be felt in leafy suburbs and commuter downs but, as well have seen in The Netherlands, in inner cities and among hard-pressed immigrant communities.

  • Paul Barker 19th Dec '19 - 1:13pm

    I didnt get the mail either.
    On the previous 2 comments, the reason some areas have seen more litter is the massive cuts that Local Government has seen. Anyone over 35 has to beware of Nostalgia, its a real disease, infectious & deadly.

  • Roland Postle 19th Dec '19 - 1:32pm

    @Tobias The Netherlands is now finally experimenting with legalised cannabis production. It won’t get rid of the criminal gangs – the article is mostly talking about other drugs anyway – but it’ll reduce their power a bit.

    Decriminalising use while leaving production and supply in criminal hands is the wrong solution, I think most agree, and not Lib Dem policy as you noted.

  • Are there any members who have actually received this email? Or letter?

  • Tobias Sedlmeier 19th Dec '19 - 2:24pm

    “Tobias Sedlmeier – you seem to be on the wrong site, try posting on Extreme Right Tory Voice instead. I m sure your comments would be far more appropriate there.”

    This, in a nutshell, this sort of riposte is an perfect illustration of why the LibDems are failing electorally. What is particularly right-wing about any of the following ideas:

    – That fathers should pay the child support that they are assessed as being required to pay for their children, rather than leaving mothers without or the taxpayer to pick up the tab?

    – That children should support their parents in their old age, or at least that children should not expect the cost of social care for their parents to be borne by the taxpayer rather than their parents having to fund it out of their parents’ financial assets.

    – That a higher percentage of children being raised by their two parents together is better than a lower percentage and that something is wrong with England & Wales when the relevant percentage is the lowest of any country in the EU. We need to ask ourselves – is state/society in England & Wales actively damaging families.

    Saying that even putting these issues on the table is “extreme right wing” is an example of the intellectual impoverishment and head-in-sand attitude that is ceding territory to the Tories or worse. As I have said elsewhere, the biggest turnoff for voters with the LibDem campaign in this past election wasn’t what the LibDems were saying on the issues that they were raising, it’s that the nature of the issues that were being discussed, such as legalisation of cannabis, gender quotas and gender self-ID, were irrelevant to the large bulk of the electorate and the (I would say, correct) perception that the LibDems considered those issues being mentioned as the most important, has contributed to electoral failure.

  • Tobias Sedlmeier 19th Dec '19 - 2:40pm

    @Roland Postle Those advocating for legalised cannabis are the same people that 20 years ago were campaigning for gaming liberalisation. We’ve seen the horrific consequences of that for communities all over this country – betting shops everywhere, online gaming, impoverishment of young people and families, sports (football in particular) being dominated by gaming companies. A handful of people have become very rich sucking money out of poor communities. And I don’t exempt the National Lottery from this also. The same for the so-called Health Lottery the profits of which go into the hands of Daily Express owner Richard Desmond. It’s taken years and year to get a limit put on FOBT betting and the scourge of online gambling continues. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/24/problem-gamblers-uk-gambling-commission-report

    The LibDems have rejected a laissez-faire liberalising when it comes to tax and social welfare policy. They need to give up a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to socially detrimental activities. The effective decriminalisation of cannabis is not such an issue for those living in detached hours in leafy shires. However, it is already a problem for those with teenagers or for the poorest in our communities living with anti-social behaviour on council estates, as evidenced here:

  • @Ian – yes, came through to me by email yesterday at c.6.45pm

  • I’ve followed the reasons given for the poor electoral results with interest. These include:
    Unfair electoral system
    Farage standing down candidates
    Boris lying to voters
    Media ignoring LD
    Poor tactics by party during campaign
    Revoke policy was a bad idea

    I get the impression that many are still very angry and see nothing wrong with the party or the campaign. They may even blame the voters (it is well known that Leavers are branded with having several unpleasant characteristics which I shall not list here). I don’t think I have seen any suggestions as to why so many people voted for Boris other than because they failed to spot his lies.

    If the review draws similar conclusions I don’t foresee much changing.

  • Thanks to Paul and Dan for confirming that at least some members got it.

    Could someone share the reply address since it seems that the mailing has been as hit and miss as the campaign. Thanks in anticipation.

  • Tobias Sedlmeier – as far as I m aware fathers legally have to pay for their children via the Child Support Agency or whatever its called now, something the Tories introduced over 30 years ago, something that I think all sides of the political spectrum agree with. If any change is needed is for the fathers who do pay for their children and have “joint custody” but do not get to see their children because everything is biased in favour of the mother and against the father, remember Fathers For Justice ? You might not hear anything about them anymore but believe me their plight is the same as it ever was, the current system is anti father (and therefore also anti child) because it does not enforce fathers being able to see the children they have to pay for, fathers should indeed pay for their children, but fathers who do so should be allowed legally enforced access to their children, regardless of any games some mothers try and play using their children as pawns to get at the fathers, the state seems to think this does not happen, but it does, a lot.

    The idea that children are responsible for their parents is ridiculous – once a person is over 16 (sadly the law says 18 currently) they should be responsible for themselves and no one else, unless and until they have children. Of course they should be able to vote at this age too. Care in old age is a matter that needs to be sorted, making children pay is not the answer.

  • continued response to Tobias Sedlmeier . . . Sure its best if children are bought up by both parents, but thats not always possible, the way youre banging on about it makes you sound like youre quoting from that most illiberal of all publications the Daily Mail. You do not sound like a Liberal.

    This is enforced by you suggesting my opinions are “intellectual[ly] impoverish[ed] and head-in-sand”, my opinions are Liberal, yours sound right wing.

    What a person chooses to do to his or her own body in the privacy of their own home that does not harm anyone else is no business of the state. So your illiberal attitude towards drugs doesnt sit well with a party that has “Liberal” in its title. The war on drugs was lost years ago, more people use illegal drugs than ever before, carrying on with the same laws on drugs that do not work and have never worked is a “head-in-sand attitude”. A definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting it to have different results. Cannabis is smoked by millions in this country, regardless of what the law says. It should be legalised, taxed, controlled, people should be given advice and help with any problems it causes and persuaded to use it in other, less harmful ways than smoking it. I think this applies to all drugs, other, more powerful ones should have much, much stricter and tighter controls. You cant stop any drugs being used, the sooner this is realised the better for everyone, including the non users who are effected when things go wrong. This is the attitude we have taken with legal drugs like nicotine and alcohol (they are drugs too, though a lot of people like to pretend they are not), this is the attitude we should take with them all. Until we do, the situation will only get worse, it will cause more and more harm to society. Many other countries are realising this, its time we did too.

    I am not sure why you think the party thought that self identity and legalising cannabis were two of its “most important” policies, either, they werent, clearly Brexit was.

    As I said, in this thread (in others less so) you sound like a Daily Mail reader who has come to the wrong site.

  • Tobias Sedlmeier 19th Dec '19 - 6:27pm

    @JH You don’t clearly understand liberalism as a political tradition in this country. Your statement that “The idea that children are responsible for their parents is ridiculous – once a person is over 16 (sadly the law says 18 currently) they should be responsible for themselves and no one else, unless and until they have children.” is not one that most people, particularly LibDem voters, would recognise as regards how they live their own lives.

    Legalising cannabis is a massive vote loser for LibDems. It’s damaged Siobhan Benita’s campaign to the point where she’s now at 8% of first preferences, in fourth place, only 1% ahead of the Greens. People who buy cannabis are directly responsible for stabbings of teenagers in my community in London. Legalising cannabis in The Netherlands has resulted in increased, not reduced, associated criminality, which is why The Netherlands is reversing its approach.

  • Tobias Sedlmeier – the more you post in this thread the more illiberal you sound. I very much doubt that anyone on this site thinks that they should have responsibility for their parents. I am not responsible for my parents, my parents are individual beings and I have no control over them or responsibility for them. Similarly I do not want control over what any other adult does in the privacy of their own home that does not harm anyone else. Legalising cannabis would reduce crime as it would not be in the hands of criminals, prohibition has not worked, it is not working, it will not ever work, all it will do is make the criminals richer and tie up Police resources, look at the last 80 years and learn from it, do not repeat the same thing and expect different results. I am saddened that anyone calling themselves “Liberal” has views such as the ones youve expressed on this thread.

  • Two points Thomas

    Desmond no longer owns the Express Group he offloaded it onto Reach.

    As to beating the drugs menace the only country I am aware that has is China

    It was the communist revolution that erased opium from mainland China. Mao Zedong , with his political apparatus that reached into every hamlet and home, was able to lay the beast low. He used a mixture of carrot and stick. Addicts were not condemned, but offered medical help and rehabilitation. But those who were unco-operative were sent to labour camps or imprisoned. Dealers were summarily executed, often without trial


    Now if you want to go down that route I’d doubt you would have much support amongst liberals. The other solution is to pass laws against drugs and delude ourselves they work, they don’t they are easily available and pretending otherwise is just well deluded.

  • If children must take responsibility for their parents what is to happen to those without children, do we issue them with Big Issues and send them out to beg?

  • Robert (Somerset) 20th Dec '19 - 7:59am

    As at 8.00am on the 20/12/2019 I have received neither email nor snail mail asking for my views on the election. However on ELECTION DAY I received a pack containing a mini manifesto and a begging letter!

  • I received the email and questions. I was impressed. I know it is hard to analyse the answers to open ended questions, so will watch with interest how this is done and what the feedback is.
    I believe that it would be an enormous step forward if we could have a feedback fro members that we can actually assimilate. However I applaud when people are at least trying, and this has given me hope that I and all the other members might have a means of listening to each other.

  • Adrian Collett 20th Dec '19 - 11:15am

    I have not received the email either, but then I never do receive emails from HQ. I’ve only been a member for 42 years and have had the same email address for the past 20 years and have given it to HQ many times…

  • Robert (Somerset) 20th Dec '19 - 11:35am

    I’ve got 47 years of membership behind me and I seem to remember that communications were better when we had the Liberal News newspaper, available from news agents and brilliant campaign mail outs from what was ALC now ALDC.
    I hope someone from HQ is picking up these comments, or being passed them, so they are aware that a lot of members have not got this post election email.

  • Yes I received the email and questions about my views on the election.
    Today I received the email from Ed Davey giving some views on the Queen’s speech. And it didn’t ask for money.
    I feel we may be turning the corner. There is hope yet.

  • Adrian Collett 20th Dec '19 - 6:17pm

    Can someone post that email here, so that those of us who didn’t receive it can see what it said?

  • It is surprising how many members seem to have been missed from the mailing list. Our party election and fund raising messages seem to arrive OK.

    If the leaders really want people’s comments perhaps someone could share the questions and the reply address. Either here or in the private forum, please?

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