Tag Archives: sutton liberal democrats

Come and taste the coffee

Some of the local election candidates in Kingston upon Thames (plus an MP)

I have been rather quiet on Lib Dem Voice recently – and for very good reason. Two high profile election campaigns having taken up a great deal of my time and attention.

In last year’s snap General Election I headed up the digital campaign to get Ed Davey re-elected in Kingston & Surbiton. We developed new ways of working, made excellent use of many of our new members, and created a social media campaign that has been quoted as a model for other local parties to follow. And this May we intend to take back control of Kingston Council, having lost it to the Tories four years ago. With a longer lead time, and all the experience we had gained in 2017, we have been able to plan a full digital campaign, which we have never before attempted for local elections.

So that’s my excuse!

But I am editing LDV today, so I am shamelessly using this platform to call for support. And it is not just for Kingston. In the three South West London boroughs of Sutton, Kingston and Richmond the Lib Dems are all aiming to take control from the Conservatives (or hold on to it, in Sutton’s case) in May. We want to see that yellow banana on the map again. Since last June we now hold three of the five constituencies that make up the three boroughs, and we lost Richmond Park by just 45 votes, so it appears the voters like us.

Posted in Campaign Corner and News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Campaign Corner: The four groups in good local party membership strategy

I’ve written before about ways to recruit more party members and related issues such as the need to respond well to people who are interested in joining or helping. Underpinning that latter post is an important point – a good strategy for getting more people involved and helping isn’t just about formal membership of the party.

Pretty nearly all local parties recognise that these days. The idea that the “members newsletter” only goes to paid-up members, as used to be the case, is now a rarity. Instead …

Posted in Campaign Corner | 2 Comments

A flagship borough: 25 years of a Liberal Democrat Sutton Council

Look round the room at the next Liberal Democrat event you attend and ask yourself how many people in the room will have their names recorded in places that future political historians can find. A few, certainly, especially if they have been elected to public office.

For most, however, their contribution to a political party slips away through the cracks of the historical record, disappearing as the direct personal memories people have of them fade and then end with death.

Posted in Books, Local government and London | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

How leaflets used to look: Sutton, 1972 – no bar chart but a darn good skull

Welcome to another leaflet from the archives, this time courtesy of Sutton Council leader Ruth Dombey who has kindly provided a copy of the first Focus leaflet put out in Sutton back in 1972. It kicked off the winning Parliamentary by-election campaign for Graham Tope and was put together by Liverpool’s Trevor “Jones the Vote” who pioneered many of the campaign tactics now taken for granted.

Some of the issues may feel rather familiar and given its pioneering nature I think we can forgive the missing apostrophes and question marks… Interesting too both the level of personal detail about Graham and the inclusion of a story about what the Liberal Party believed in.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Sutton leader Sean Brennan retiring as leader next month

Sutton Liberal Democrats have one of most impressive records of success anywhere in the UK – not only at winning and keeping control of Sutton Council (25th anniversary celebrated last year), not only at winning Parliamentary elections (two MPs in the borough, both Liberal Democrat) but also at pioneering many excellent environmental policies. Oh, and darn fine organisers of raffles too.

For the last decade Sean Brennan has been Leader of the Council, but this week he has announced that he will be standing down:

Coun Brennan, a former teacher first elected as a Sutton ward councillor in 1986

Posted in Local government | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

In praise of… Tom Brake

Before I was winning chocolate at the weekend, I was campaigning in Croydon and Sutton as part of the excellent Action Day organised by George Kendall and others. It is no secret that the reason Liberal Democrats from across London are now paying rather more attention to Croydon than before is because significant parts of it may be moved into Tom Brake’s constituency.

It is typical of Tom that in amongst all the heat and rhetoric of the Parliamentary boundary review process, he has been quietly getting on with thinking ahead and acting. Rather than just abstractly debating what his constituency boundaries might be, he and the Sutton team (including the excellent Ruth Dombey) have started working with colleagues in Croydon to build up the strength of the party there.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Local liberal heroes: Ruth Dombey

Earlier in the year, I penned a series of posts profiling forgotten liberal heroes (to which a couple of other people also kindly contributed), looking at some of those who achieved great things for liberalism in their time but have been unjustly forgotten – such as Margaret Wintringham, the very first female Liberal MP.

There is also another group of people who I think are often unjustly obscure – those local campaigners who are often at the heart of their local community and local party, delivering liberalism and helping others, but as their stage is a local one they are often

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Graham Tope: a life in politics

To help mark the celebration of Sutton Liberal Democrats running the local council for 25 (yes, 25) continuous years, a family history project between former council leader (Lord) Graham Tope and his son has been turned into a book of political and personal reminiscences.

The book’s subtitle “Conversations between father and son” captures its structure: an email exchange over several years as son Andrew sought to find out more from his father, with Graham sending long replies back tapped in on his Blackberry. That gives the questions and answers an immediate and personal touch, even if sometimes at the expense …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Tamed and reshaped – Clegg on the NHS White Paper

Speaking last night at an excellent anniversary dinner to mark 25 years (yes, 25 years) of Liberal Democrat control on Sutton Council, Nick Clegg said the party has been successful in taming and reshaping the NHS reform plans.

The run of political and electoral success achieved by Liberal Democrats in Sutton is, as Clegg pointed out, a standing answer to anyone who doubts that you can achieve and then hold political power whilst continuing campaigning and staying true to your liberal roots. One of the key people in that success was Ruth Shaw, who Nick Clegg personally presented with the 2010 …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments
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