Tag Archives: election strategy

We need to be working on our post-virus vision now!

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Seldom has there been such a need for care in the way we do politics. We may be right about certain things, but the current surreal situation means that being right isn’t good enough – we have to judge the mood.

It is, for example, entirely legitimate to say that the entire basis on which the Conservatives won an 80-seat mandate just four months ago has been obliterated, that public spending requirements during the coronavirus outbreak have been so great that, once the crisis is over, there must be a new election. But it wouldn’t go down well if we said that now.

What we can do, however, is start planning for the next election (both general and local), and for that we will need a vision. Regardless of how long the current disruption continues, it has been so disruptive as to make the next election a lot like 1945. On that occasion, there was no lack of appreciation for the way Churchill had run the war effort, but when it came to the Britain people wanted after the war, Labour had a vision – essentially a liberal vision, but we’ll let that go – that caught the imagination of the voters.

We need a similar vision for the first post-virus election, whenever it takes place. In some ways the government has done a good job, in others it’s been dreadful, but neither will really matter come the election. What will matter is the future. There’s already a strong suggestion that people don’t want to go back to what we had pre-virus, that they welcome the cooperation and civility that has (largely) characterised the response to Covid-19. The inward looking petty nationalism of Johnson’s election victory could start to look seriously out of sync with the times.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments

What would Paddy do?

I’ve been rooting around the comments on LDV autopsies, finding myself in a contradiction. We “already have a horse”, I said – Sir Ed Davey – and could steal a march on whomever Labour appoint as the second of only two horses in the next No 10 race. I don’t believe it to be an anti-democratic appeal to ask new entrants and MPs with little or no public recognition to think about what the party needs before personal careers.

 We are in desperate need of realism. We really cannot go into 2023-24 expecting a majority. That would be a farce. It was not down to the withdrawal of the Brexit Party, destroying a “4 horse race” strategy. Did we genuinely believe Farage would abandon decades of attempts to leave the EU to cash in on some short term power move? The Brexit Party’s existence was an obvious threat to its own imperative. We could see that clearly enough to push for a win, so we must have known withdrawal was a highly likely possibility.

 So I’ve been trying to resolve my contradiction. We cannot win, but should not wait for a second horse to be appointed and trail after them, shaping our party in their image. I don’t believe those are positions that cannot be squared. I found myself asking: what would Paddy do?

Posted in Op-eds | 60 Comments

Lord William Wallace writes… Labour and the Liberal Democrats

Labour at Westminster is angry with the Liberal Democrats. They were – several Labour peers have insisted – moving slowly towards accepting that there would have to be a confirmatory referendum. And they felt that Boris Johnson would end up with no other way out than to accept such a referendum. And now, they complain, we have ‘given’ the Conservatives the election they want.

Don’t fall for this Labour narrative, if you hear it from a Labour activist near you. Their underlying fear is that they are in no state to win an early election, so the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 30 Comments

What happens the day after the next General Election?

In my last article for LDV I spoke about the end of two-Party politics. Since then we have had three more opinion polls with Lib Dems ranging from first with 30% to fourth with 19%. What doesn’t change is the fact that 4 Parties, Lib Dems, Brexit, Tory and Labour are bunched fairly closes around the 20s with the Green Party on 8-10%. I do like the 30% Lib Dem one though. Many people must have gone to bed dreaming of that magic moment of being declared an MP when they saw that.

Although I am not ‘Mystic Dicky’ with a …

Posted in Op-eds | 40 Comments

The Telegraph puts its own predictable spin on Liberal Democrat election strategy

It always amuses me how the newspapers report  what is going on inside the Liberal Democrat campaign machine. I would strongly recommend that you read anything published on the pages of newspapers who hate us with a very large pinch of salt.

A few weeks ago the Mirror painted this picture of “MPs being forced to undergo dragon’s den style grillings” to secure campaign resources. This is kind of right, except it’s a process which has been going on for most of this Parliament and in fact any seat was welcome to apply to be part of the strategic seats programme. I was part of the Dragon’s Den panel in Scotland and I was really heartened to see how the process worked and how campaigning activity in all our seats improved as a result.

Now the Telegraph, which hates us as much as the Mirror if not more, screams “Lib Dems throw weak MPs to the wolves”. There are undoubtedly some people who would far rather be thrown to an actual pack of wolves than face Paddy in full Father Jack mode but the sense I get is that seats which a year ago were thought to be lost are actually being seen as seriously in play. This is down to the massive effort that has been put in on the ground by our highly motivated campaign teams. The party has always targeted its relatively scant resources carefully to put most effort in where the evidence tells us we can win. The only difference between this campaign and previous is that there are fewer seats we are seriously targeting to gain. Oxford West and Abingdon and Watford, where Layla Moran and Dorothy Thornhill respectively are standing, are two prominent examples of that sort of seat.

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