Some news about AdLib

A lot has changed since 2014 – the biggest part of which is the fact that we now have around 100,000 members.

This is amazing, and it is radically changing us as a party but also challenging us to do things differently.

One challenge is that the cost of producing AdLib has escalated to the equivalent of the entire staffing budget for the Party’s Membership Department.

Because of these high costs, with regret, the Federal Board has decided to cease publishing it as a printed magazine in 2018.

I understand that this will be disappointing for many of you.

It has been a much-loved publication but we wanted to make sure you were aware of this change.

I am committed to exploring all opportunities in 2018 to make sure we have better, two-way communication with our members. That means using all sorts of tools, channels and formats.

A lot of the content that would have gone into AdLib will still exist – and it will move online to a revamped AdLib Blog, which will launch in the new year.

Getting more information online faster and making it more interactive is a crucial. We are very excited about the new opportunities that will come from expanding and developing the AdLib Blog.

If you are one of the people who decided to continue contributing towards AdLib when it went quarterly in 2014 and would like to cancel your AdLib subscription payment – all you need to do is email [email protected]

If you would be happy to continue your payments for the moment, we would really appreciate your continued support.

Your donations will help us explore other member communications options and might allow us to explore new digital tools we could not otherwise afford.

* Rachel Palma Randle is the Director for People at Liberal Democrat HQ, responsible for membership, online fundraising, candidates, diversity, training and development).

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • Awww creweGwyn don’t be too harsh.
    I dunno why they are setting up yet another blog, though. Just put the content (such as it is) on the main Lib Dems website and make it RSSable.

  • Oh for the days of Liberal News, Willie Rushton and Brimstone Belcher.

    Anyone under 75 will have to look that one up.

  • David Becket 19th Dec '17 - 10:39pm

    Ad Lib never replaced Lib Dem News, and communication collapsed when Lib Dem news was stopped

  • David Wilkinson 20th Dec '17 - 8:15am

    If it means the party’s staff can be paid, then get rid of it and think about other methods which are quicker and more efficient.

    The party is way behind in using social media both to communicate with its members and the public

  • David Evans 20th Dec '17 - 9:19am

    If it costs that much to produce, it simply confirms how ridiculously skewed the party’s priorities were allowed to become by those at the centre over the last six years.

  • David Raw
    Oh for the days of the News Chronicle.

  • AdLib came across as an in house company magazine, unlike Liberal News or latterly LDN.
    LDN gave a voice to policy development and a Liberal view on current news, plus the then eagerly awaited by-election results from the previous week. Hanging onto every twitter feed at half eleven on Thursday nights is a new phenomena for me!
    I was very disappointed with LDN’s demise, never quite convinced about the reason given for that decision. Perhaps it may come back, I pray, probably not.
    NB Where’s Crewegwyns comment referred to above, Gwyn deserves better!

  • John Barrett 20th Dec '17 - 10:18am

    When the party members, like me and many others, used to subscribe to Lib-Dem News, we paid for it separately from the party subscription. Back then it did require a subsidy, but that was accepted by the party as worth it at that time to ensure that good communication existed within the party and between members.

    With a growing membership and hopefully many more potential subscribers, the subsidy would surely have been significantly reduced or possibly even wiped out long before now.

    When Ad-Lib replaced Lib-Dem News, many felt it was a backwards step, but we were assured by those at Party HQ that this would usher in an improved method of communication.

    It appears that the demise of Ad-Lib will now also usher in another opportunity to provide a better two-way method of communication with members.

  • What about an online version? It could then be downloaded and printed if necessary. It would be nice to retain some more social newsletter so we know what is going on.

  • Chris Lewcock 20th Dec '17 - 10:59am

    And how does any of that help those who don’t have access to or wish to be umbilically attached to social media (including a significant number of our older Members)? How did a smaller and poorer (Liberal) Party manage a weekly subsidised subscription paper? Bring back Liberal News.

  • Manfarang: I agree with that. What about an online version ?

    Peter Hirst: Yes it is surprising that an online version was not developed. The days of printed newspapers with their huge distribution costs must be numbered. How many will there be left in 10 years time ?

  • Thanks @AndyHyde

    What DID happen to my comment?

  • Any political journal which has to resort to publishing recipes (which I seem to recall from AdLib) is wasting an opportunity.

  • Every one of our new members is on line but about 15 of our older established members are not. They get AGM information by post but the rest of our communications are on line. If this proportion of members who don’t communicate electronically is replicated elsewhere that is a lot of people utility off. I subscribed to Lib Dem News and it’s SDP predecessor ( and i have them all to prove it) and I would again given the chance.

  • I have to say I seldom read my copy of AdLib. I’d much prefer an online version, with political news from the Party and without the need for space-filler articles – there are plenty of other places to find recipes! BTW I am an ‘older member’ – old enough to remember News Chronicle and Radical Bulletin* anyway. And distributing bulk-delivered Liberal News to our local subscribers, in return a for a very small contribution to our funds.
    (*When it was a separate publication, not just a section in Liberator – which I do still read.)

  • We need better communications with our new members not worse. Scrapping something like this before having a replacement is short sighted and an undoing of some of the good things Austin brought to the role about valuing our members more. Barring the unnecessary digs at overstretched HQ staff I have to agree with Dan F on this.

  • Nonconformistradical 20th Dec '17 - 1:05pm

    “We need better communications with our new members not worse.”

    But as has already been pointed out, new members are generally online – so could manage with an email version or a blog – just don’t expect me to sign up to facebook or any other 3rd party social networking platform.

    However I’m inclined to agree with Jennie. The federal website needs major improvements anyway and the stuff could go on that.

    But we do need to cater for that minority of members who may be digitally deprived and who will lose out through the demise of a printed Ad Lib

  • George Potter 20th Dec '17 - 1:46pm

    If AdLib is no longer going to be published then perhaps the party could instead provide articles and artwork which could be used by local parties to generate their own local membership newsletters?

    Half the reason why most local parties don’t do newsletters is because of the difficulty in generating content and finding templates – but having national content from HQ that could be dropped in would probably make things a lot simpler.

  • Diana Simpson 20th Dec '17 - 1:54pm

    Much preferred Lib Dem News newspaper- was an avid reader. Never liked Ad Lib magazine format Can Lib Dem News be brought back as an online newspaper?

  • It’s a long while since any of us read LDN Diana but I’m wondering what it had that LDV doesn’t now do?

    Main Lib Dem press releases, check. Odd gossip column bits, check. Letters – now the BTL comments, check. Byelection results and internal party ballot outcomes, check. News of the more ‘interesting’ parliamentary seat selections, check.

    Just not in print…

  • LDN was (almost!) a proper newspaper.

    AdLib was more like an in-flight magazine.

    It always came over to me as leadership-centric, friends of the Leadership-centric and London-centric.

    More “look at the fine things we are doing” rather than “here are campaigning things we all could be doing”.

  • Tony Greaves 20th Dec '17 - 5:02pm

    I don’t think AdLib was “much loved” – it was a rather thin and inadequate replacement for the Liberal (Democrat) News, which seemed to be designed to appeal to fans of the Readers Digest. The decision to stop LD News was a very bad one which has reflected badly on party activity etc since then, even though towards the end it had lost its way and was not the publication is once was (too much pro-Coalition censorship from on high, perhaps). I never did discover who had really made the decision to close it down but whoever they were, they should be ashamed of themselves. And there is nothing on line which remotely makes up for the loss.

  • David Allen 20th Dec '17 - 7:04pm

    Just about every organisation seems to have a light-touch house magazine with short inconsequential feelgood articles, these days. For a chariry such as the National Trust, that kind of format probably works quite well. It’s what the members want.

    For a political party, it’s a ludicrous approach. People join a political party in order to debate controversial ideas and to take action for change. Publishing recipes and suchlike therefore just tells the members “you’ve come to the wrong place, mate!”

  • OnceALibDem 20th Dec '17 - 9:39pm

    The AdLib Blog apparently exists. Though Jonathan Calder – who used to write for Ad Lib! – was unaware of it.

    Not sure I follow the logic of “we have more members therefore less resources to communicate with them.” It’s not

    Mind you visiting the Ad Lib blog I discover I still have access to the party’s Google drive and leaflet artwork. The quality has – amazingly – got worse and is now completely cynical with a selection of leaflets/letters about Brexit for remain areas and don’t-mention-the-Brexit-at-all leaflets/letters for leave areas!

  • John Barrett 21st Dec '17 - 12:35pm

    Many years (decades) ago the party surveyed those who did not renew their party memberships and found that the number one reason given was lack of communication with the local and national party. With many local parties now relying on the centre to communicate with members, this could quickly become a serious problem.

    The problem with those who rely on online communication only is that often their is no facility or capacity at party HQ to reply or respond affectively to emails they have sent out. One way emails are not “effective communication” in any true sense of the words.

    If we decided to give up delivering local Focus leaflets and decided to rely only on emailed contact with the electorate, our election results would soon disappear down the pan. We need to do both, especially for any members not online.

    Most membership based organisations spend a significant amount of their resources servicing the members, as they know that if they receive nothing they may well soon vanish.

    If we do not keep in contact and have meaningful communication with our members, both at the local and national level, we will struggle to remain a national force both in membership and elected membership terms.

  • paul holmes 21st Dec '17 - 1:24pm

    I certainly will not miss AdLib in the slightest. I was a long term subscriber to LDN and its SDP predecessor but cancelled as soon as I saw the first copy of Ad Lib.

    A glossy, infrequent piece of approved National Party fluff, including cooking recipes and gushing puff pieces about whoever some London based Apparatchik decided was part of the ‘In Crowd’ at any given time.

    LDN by contrast was weekly, about Politics with a capital ‘P’ and would regularly print articles and letters that did not conform to the ‘Official’ line.

    In some ways Lib Dem Voice does reflect Lib Dem News but it has to be actively sought out online, most of the Party Hierarchy don’t engage with it and it includes quite a lot of non Lib Dem postings which sometimes gives casual readers a distorted view of the Lib Dems.

  • OnceALibDem 21st Dec '17 - 3:54pm

    “One challenge is that the cost of producing AdLib has escalated to the equivalent of the entire staffing budget for the Party’s Membership Department.”

    Net or gross? If it attracts subscriptions it is disingenuous to use a gross figure (which this seems to suggest. Net cost for AdLib was £40k in 2016 on a membership of 78,000. That was up from £35k the previous year on a membership of 60,000

  • Given the tenor of most of the comments here:

    Why do HQ not just print off a Best of LDV Weekly and send it to those who are willing to pay for it?

  • I see my namesake Yockney has a similar idea:

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Dec '17 - 2:43pm

    Very unsubstantial news about a very inconsequential paperweight , which, those wanting in young middle age to extend the length of years to avoid reading lasses, could barely read , as the print was abysmal , so tiny . We live in a political world that sees left and right only and a visual one that sees glasses , yes, glasses no, and puts everything on everything. in print you need the glasses for even if you do not ever to read a decent print in a book or anything online.

    Rant over, LDV does, as Jen said, everything that Liberal Democrat News did.

    Paul Holmes is right about the only variant , that very many non members or votres participate. Solution, make all of us who are members utilise the logo , most of us do not utilise, thus we can see what better represents the party , or understand who is a member.

    As for the top brass not bothering with this excellent forum, well no wonder they get out of touch.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Dec '17 - 2:45pm

    Apologies for typos , not for lack of glasses but speed of typing !

  • As a journalist and regular contributor to the sadly departed Lib Dem News, edited with aplomb by Deirde Razzall, I agree with most of the above comments. I wrote by-election reports, interviewed leading Lib Dems and wrote features for LDN on subjects like the News Chronicle. I don’t want to be mean-spirited but in my view Ad Lib was a pale shadow of LDN – a lame, gutless propaganda sheet not worth the paper it was printed on. I reckon there is room for both LDV and a regular party newspaper, albeit one with a bit of character, independence of spirit and verve, but given our straitened finances I v much doubt whether such a paper will ever see the light of day.

  • @ Yorkie “given our straitened finances I v much doubt whether such a paper will ever see the light of day.”

    It would help somewhat if the Party could avoid being fined by the Electoral Commission – £ 20,000 twelve months ago and £ 18,000 last week for what sounds like basic incompetence.

    “Electoral Commission | Liberal Democrats fined £18,000 for breaches ……/liberal-democrats-fined-18,000-for-breach…5 days ago – Details of £18000 in fines for the Liberal Democrats have been published today by the Electoral Commission”;

  • David Blake 27th Dec '17 - 9:04am

    I actually felt that Liberal Democrat News belonged to me, as a member of the party, even though it was not official and I had to pay for it. Adlib was always much more official and seemed cold and artificial. I’m a huge internet user but somehow online sources, including Liberal Democrat Voice, don’t replace LDN.

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