Tag Archives: peers

Our not-so-decrepit peers

peersinrichmond

If you read the Evening Standard the day before the Richmond Park by-election, you might have noticed this wonderful comment on the participation of Liberal Democrat peers in the campaign, which I suspect came from someone in Zac Goldsmith’s team who was overwhelmed by how many Liberal Democrat activists were on the streets.

One hundred Lib Dem peers were sent to knock on doors. Only a handful of the ill and very old were spared by-election duties – in echoes of James Graham’s play This House which recounts how MPs close to death were dragged to the Commons for crunch votes in the seventies.

If you’ve seen the play, you will appreciate the picture of the elderly and infirm being wheeled in to do their bit.  Of course it wasn’t at all like that.  I don’t think more than 25 of us were ever there together at one time, though many of us went as often as we could, and canvassed over the phone when we couldn’t:  not as a ‘duty’, but because we enjoy election campaigns, we’ve done a lot of campaigning in our time, and we’re committed to the party.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Dick Newby responds on Lib Dem peers and social media

As our Chief Whip in the Lords, I want to respond briefly to the article that was posted yesterday about our Peers and social media.

Firstly some facts – the Lib Dem group in the Lords has more Peers on Twitter than any other party or political group there, and between them they have over 100,000 followers. What they say online therefore is clearly reaching a lot of people. We also have a new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LibDemLords)  which highlights the work done by our Peers.

Every week the Letter of the Lords is sent out – this is a email which highlights the work of the Peers both inside and outside the Lords (you can sign up here); it looks ahead to the following week and reviews the week that has just gone. It is an excellent way for anyone who wants to keep up with our work in the Lords in a very accessible way. It goes to parliamentarians and lobby journalists, as well as party members, local party leaders and other journalists across the country.

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Why our peers need to embrace rather than shun social media

 

There has never been a day when the Liberal Democrats have been happy with their media coverage. We just don’t get our fair share, and when we do our liberal ideals are often squeezed in a way that makes us uncomfortable. It has always been hard talking about liberalism. It is why we focus so much attention to get our own message out through leaflet and now via email and social media. It is amazing to now have access to channels where we can broadcast what we are doing that can get to a mass audience without the filter of a biased media.

So I am disappointed to see that another Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords announced they are pulling the plug on their social media account. As our presence in the upper chamber has grown, our ability to communicate our every day liberal deeds seems to diminish. Ex Chief Executive and communications professional Chris Fox announced the closing of his social media accounts on the day he was elevated (thanks mate!). Others have never even tried to get to grips with sending out an email, let alone new form of social media. Every day our peers are working hard and telling no one. I despair.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments
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