Tag Archives: lib dem campaigning

Welcome to my day: 17 June 2024 – and we have liftoff?…

It’s been an unexpected campaign in many ways. And whilst, as a member of the Party’s Federal Council, I’ve been fortunate to be in receipt of briefings from the centre about campaign strategy for some time, my expectations were not high. It was feeling like a bit of a grim slog to pry loose a bunch of limpet Tory MPs for, the most part, somewhere far from my corner of East Anglia. Certainly worthwhile, and certainly necessary, but not necessarily designed to make spirits soar. Discipline was, and still is, the watchword.

But, there was the consolation that we were going to be on the front foot this time. There was a sense that, even if we weren’t going to reach the heights of the turn of the century, we were going to improve our position significantly in terms of seats at least.

So, colour me surprised to find that this campaign has been far more fun than I could have dreamed of. Yes, a degree of grim determination is still in order – leaflets and canvassing don’t do themselves – but there is a certain joie de vivre that I don’t think many of us could have anticipated. Ed is seemingly living his best life which, compared to the crabbed, cautious approach of Keir and Rishi, our modern day political Chuckle Brothers, does at the very least give the impression of self-confidence and a sense of fun. And campaigns should be enjoyed. Did you have Jason Donovan describing Ed as sexy on your “bingo card” for the campaign.

Much kudos must go to the Campaigns Team who, with our social media team, have entertained and engaged us, the media and, somewhat unexpectedly, the public.

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Lib Dems target seat gains on new boundaries

An interesting article on Politics Home highlights how our campaign team is now targeting more seats based on the new boundaries.

PoliticsHome understands that there are a number of areas across the country where Lib Dem activists are confident that the new make-up of seats could play in their favour, generally in areas where Lib Dem council wards are merging into areas that currently have Conservative MPs or have leaned Conservative in the past, and campaigners are now specifically targeting their canvassingin patches.

They talk to Victoria Collins, our candidate in the newly formed seat of  Harpenden and Berkhamstead, who told them:

Victoria Collins, who has been selected as the Lib Dems candidate for Harpenden and Berkhamsted, told PoliticsHome that there has been a “groundswell” of movement towards her party in the area, as demonstrated by local election results over the last few years as the party have made gains.

She said that she was selected before this year’s local elections and the final results of the boundary review. “We were looking forward and saying ‘actually, how do we start building a campaign for the next general election?’,” she explained.

The article also cites how our campaign in Selby and Ainsty targeted parts of the constituency that are moving into the new Harrogate and Knaresborough seat:

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Blue walls to giant cannons and all the memes in between

Love them or loathe them – those victory stunts should teach Lib Dem campaigners one thing: clear, simple communications will be key to success at the next election.

There seems to be a new dividing line in Lib Dem WhatsApp groups: between those who are excited for each new stunt, and those hiding behind the sofa, wondering when they are safe to emerge.

Whichever camp you might be in, there is a serious point we all must take from these stunts. They cut through. But why?

Money-can’t-buy coverage

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but these stunts are probably not aimed at Lib Dem party faithful. They are designed to captivate photojournalists, meme developers, social content writers.

These stunts achieve what so many who work in brand communications crave – wall to wall coverage complete with a key message. I cannot count as a seasoned communications professional the number of times the ask has been summaried as “help us go viral”. Whilst there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, an authentic stunt with a clear message that links to your campaign and that is a bit fun, is the best way to get attention. Authentic really is key to success as without authenticity they flop. If you need proof beyond the political sphere, look at the plethora of Barbie stunts – some very small but all authentic and on-message.

The thing about these stunts is they have media hooked, they all want to know what the next Lib Dem celebration will be, what the photos will look like. This means media turn up, they give us more attention than they might otherwise and therefore we get more coverage.

For local parties, the same principle can be used for social channels or focus leaflets – if you make a simple point in a compelling manner, people will come back again and again. They will want to know what you have to say and you will be seen as an authority.

For all the jokes, the Blue Wall stunt did change the narrative. It introduced the phrase into media vernacular and made it clear, the Lib Dems were back.

Simplicity is key

I make this point as we’ve all seen those focus leaflets – three-line headlines with commas, sub-clauses followed by an article written in 8pt font face and full of every intricacy of a piece of planning policy. This is great for a certain section of Lib Dem members (not me) or an online article for those who are interested. Focus leaflets like this won’t win elections.

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Young Liberals produce new campaign guide

As Helen Morgan’s campaign in North Shropshire gathers momentum – see last night’s post showing that we are doing even better there than in Chesham and Amersham at the same stage) – party members are flocking to the seat.

The Young Liberals are always a big part of any by-election and have already held several action days there with more to come until polling day on 16th.

You have no idea how much I want those shoes, by the way.

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Action and Visibility – what the Lib Dems can do for you

Here in the North West, my experience as a Liberal Democrat will be like many members’: cold, wet days knocking on doors, delivering Focus leaflets and reporting that same damn pothole again week after week. For me, this is the pinnacle of local, community focused campaigning. What you’re trying to achieve is betterment of a small area and rather more cynically, get/retain Liberal Democrat seats on your local Councils.

Yet, this method of hard work, starting early if years before polling day can work wonders on a local level, sweeping up seats on councils – so, why does it not …

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Chuka’s first Lib Dem canvassing session

The other night, Chuka Umunna had his first proper canvassing session with the Lib Dems.

He seems really happy and relaxed with the choice he has made to join us.

 

A word about Helen. Until a couple of weeks ago, she was the PPC for Streatham. And then suddenly she finds that there is a Lib Dem MP. She has shown such generosity of spirit in welcoming Chuka and we should recognise that.

So Chuka definitely has promise. He can hold a diamond the right way up, he can deliver leaflets with a bar chart and he seems to have got the hang of Minivan very quickly indeed.

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