Tag Archives: campaign strategy

A practical, radical response to the election result

We see you. You, who would return our party to the comfortable, squishy, managerial centrism of the past. You, who would lay the blame for our defeats solely at the feet of a leader who had the temerity to be a young, outspoken woman. You, who are desperate to hark back to the 1990s when the 2020s are upon us in days. We see you and we will resist you, as we have at every previous election review.

It would be wrong to apportion any election result to a single cause. But let us not forget that Bollocks to Brexit was …

Posted in Op-eds | 49 Comments

All I want for Christmas is my Party back

I’ve now had a chance to catch up on sleep and am able to think rationally about the election and what has happened to us as a party.

Go back to election day itself and, having spent 8 hours knocking on doors in Cheltenham in the cold and rain, I got home, had a hot bath and sat down to watch the BBC exit poll before going to my local count in Cirencester.

I can honestly say I loathe exit polls – I’ve only ever been pleased with two in my whole life (1997 and 2005) but the rest have …

Posted in Op-eds | 45 Comments

Decisions, decisions…

It has been four days since the General Election, one which, I`m sure, will be considered one of the nation’s most historically significant, as well as one that will have longer lasting implications. This is true not only for the country, but for the Liberal Democrats as a party.

From my perspective there are two, major, ways in which this may impact this party, with decisions needing to be made regarding them.

The first is the one which, irrespective of the outcome of Brexit, will be something the party can, and already is, talking about. This being whether the party should see …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 35 Comments

Prioritising soft Conservative voters will always lead to failure

I strongly agree with Nick Barlow’s call yesterday for the Party to do some serious introspection. We failed to properly do so after 2014 and 2015 and we won’t proceed on firm foundations until we do.

One reason the 2019 General Election campaign was so disastrous for us was because Labour leaning remainers went back to supporting Labour in droves. Other parties attempt to squeeze us at every Election, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. But what should deeply concern us is the degree to which Labour’s squeeze took effect and what we did to help make this happen.

The …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 58 Comments

What happens after 12 December?

It is clear that there are two possible broad outcomes to this General Election. The first is an overall Conservative victory. The second is no party with an overall majority, what the world will call a Hung Parliament.

There’s a subset of them both which is a repeat of 2017 where the Tories as largest party can get to an overall lead with the assistance of the DUP. The Irish borders issue (the main single reason we are now having an election yet almost completely absent from the election debate) may make that more difficult for Johnson though we must …

Posted in Op-eds | 90 Comments

A global advert for the Hong Kong Anti Extradition Bill campaign – implications for the Remain Campaign

An advertisement to support the Hong Kong Anti Extradition Movement appeared in 14 newspapers around the world on 27th June. The press was puzzled by 2 questions: who created the campaign and how did they manage to execute it?

Two million Hong Kong citizens participated in the Hong Kong anti extradition bill protest on 21st June. The protesters made three demands:

  1. the amendment of the bill to be retracted;
  2. the definition of the clashes between police and civilians on 12th June as ‘riot’ to be retracted; and,
  3. an independent commission to be formed in order to investigate the police behaviour on 12th June.

The Hong …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Framing the message…

23rd June 2016, you probably remember where you were, you probably remember thinking “How did we lose this? How did this happen?”

There were many reasons, but one big one was messaging.

Messaging and, in particular, framing. Framing is how we approach an argument, the context we give to a debate.

You see, that figure we kept on disputing, £350m, only reinforced the Leave campaign’s message. Every time we presented the truth about this false figure we brought the topic of discussion, or the frame, onto the Leave campaign’s message.

Why are we giving money to the EU? Why do we give them control for money? These are the questions which the voters would be thinking about when that figure is debated. We reinforced Leave’s message. This is how framing works.

Framing matters, but we don’t talk about it much as Lib Dems. We are scientific factual people. So we talk about policy, and campaign tools, and how to increase membership; but rarely framing.

This is why I’m creating the “Lib Dem Framing Forum”. This forum is for Lib Dems to discuss, debate and ask about framing messages.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Why targeting has damaged the Party

Editor’s Note: This article previously made reference to the alleged actions of an unidentified member of party staff. This reference has been removed on the request of that member of staff. Lib Dem Voice has apologised for its original inclusion – we have always sought to avoid such references on the site but our small team of volunteer editors overlooked it on this occasion

 

My fellow colleague kicked off a fascinating debate on how the Party might progress on Sunday. Amongst the comments was a contribution from Michael Meadowcroft which, according to one of our readers, deserved to be expanded upon. It’s a bit longer than our normal pieces, but I hope that it will be thought-provoking. Mark

I have a fellow feeling for Paul Holmes as another of the handful of Liberals who have gained seats from Labour, but it is perverse in his situation for him to defend targeting. I have acknowledged that it arguably works once in the ruthless way it has been carried out for twenty-five years with the diminishing and lethal returns we saw last year. It is a risk to execute targeting even once but the result in 1997 arguably justified its inception. It is the continuance of the strategy that has been disastrous. Indeed the evidence of its failure is visible in that the same seats have to be targeted election after election because we have been unable to build self-supporting organisations in those seats. How then can we rely only on this strategy to win a wide swathe of seats towards a majority in the House of Commons?

Posted in Op-eds | 89 Comments

Rebuilding the Party – a short term fix or a long-term dilemma

My team’s manager, Arsene Wenger, had a short-term problem to replace the players who left in January and a long-term problem because we haven’t won the league since 2003-04. Arsene repeatedly called on us to have faith in him because young upcoming players would strengthen the team to make Arsenal serious contenders for the title. He thought he could do what Manchester United did with “Fergie’s Fledglings” – which included players like Beckham and Giggs. Regrettably, it was not to be. Arsenal has no significant long-term solution and the focus is on short term fixes. But short-term fixes don’t …

Posted in Op-eds | 30 Comments

Should the Liberal Democrats sell themselves like chocolate?

The UK consumed £3.5bn worth of chocolate in 2009, according to market researchers. Further research shows advertising spending by Cadbury’s results in them making £3 for every £1 they spend. We all know what chocolates we like, yet the confectionery companies spend millions a year on product recognition.

Let me ask you a question. What comes to mind when you think about the word Labour or Tories? Labour – do you associated them with the unions, NHS, nationalisation; Tories – what type of people come to mind, their attitudes, economic groups they favour etc. Such characteristics are not fixed but …

Posted in Op-eds | 72 Comments

Fighting Brexit: public opinion and cross-party co-operation

In the previous two posts in this series, I examined the legislative process and prospects for the EU negotiations. Our challenge is how to shape public opinion and move parliamentarians from other political parties to build an overwhelming national will to stop this Brexit madness, and in so doing attract more support for ourselves.

We can still stop Brexit. We can withdraw unilaterally our intention to leave the EU before 29 March 2019. Lord John Kerr, former head of the Diplomatic Service, has said as much, whilst Professor Sir Alan Ashwood has argued it “takes two to tango.”. UKlegalfuture

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Let’s Replace the Tories!

I can see three possible conclusions to the Brexit debacle. First, we’ll crash out the EU without a deal. Second, Brexit will become untenable and we’ll have to end up staying in the EU. And third, we’ll be stuck in a transitional limbo with a debilitated leadership and endless bureaucratic wrangling that may further weaken our economy and global reputation. Nevertheless, if we ever get through this mess, we will most certainly hit rock bottom. However good this imaginary deal might be, relations with our European partners will have been broken beyond repair. We need to prepare ourselves for any …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 49 Comments

We can learn from UKIP!

UKIP is dead in the water. Their voters have swung to a Tory party committed to Brexit with no final consultation and the opening new grammar schools, both signature policies of UKIP: their task is done.

Meanwhile, we Lib Dems are bigger than we’ve ever been; and yet in spite of a 2% swing to us, we are not making the gains we deserve. Both Labour and the Tories have sticky voters who aren’t coming over to us: if Corbyn was as much of a dead weight as people say, I would expect a bigger swing from Labour; and Tory voters seem optimistic the consequences of Brexit can be weathered in a safe pair of government hands.

We need to learn from UKIP. To be victims of our own success would be a great pleasure. As most people see it, we are victims of our own stupidity; the one totem policy people associated with us got dropped. The ins-and-outs of policy do not matter to the man on the street. The strides we made in government, of which we are rightly proud, simply aren’t important.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 55 Comments

The other things this FE election should make us worry about

This week has seen a lot of heated debate about the party’s governance and how well we’re implementing (or not) the recommendations from the Morrisey report. Personally, there are three other things about the election last week that should concern us, and that as a party we need to work together to address.

The first is our diversity problem. Or should we start calling it a tragedy? Our peer group is one of the more (if not the most) diverse official groupings within the party. Yet when it came to people putting themselves forward as their rep on Federal Executive, who were the only people willing to step up? Yet again it was two older white men. At every single level of the party, if this is the case it has to be questioned. There are so many talented people from underrepresented groups in our Peer group. Why aren’t they putting themselves forward? And more worryingly, why is no-one asking that question?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments

New Liberal Democrat campaign video: Powerful stuff, but we need Part 2 – why you should vote Liberal Democrat

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 53 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDan M-B 21st Feb - 12:44pm
    "dropping defectors into unwinnable seats where they had no personal vote and throwing so much focus and resources in their direction was stupid;" This. Have...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 21st Feb - 12:22pm
    Graham, it's all a question of what you focus on. Jesus lived in by our standards a barbaric age. It is all to his credit...
  • User AvatarChristopher Curtis 21st Feb - 12:14pm
    I think you are being too generous to the Johnson regime. Your summary is much more coherent than the government. There is no master plan,...
  • User AvatarFrank West 21st Feb - 12:10pm
    Given the complexities of getting the better of the welfare system and the way it is often gamed then I don't think there is a...
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 21st Feb - 12:07pm
    There has never been any doubt in my mind that a majority of people fear major 'uncontrolled' immigration. Currently 70% want immigration reduced, but that...
  • User AvatarBarry Lofty 21st Feb - 12:05pm
    What a difficult subject immigration is but something about this governments attitude towards it is deeply disturbing.