In his latest article, Ryan Coetzee has said that, despite our humiliating losses, we made a coherent liberal case to voters - offering them a stronger economy and a fairer society. Did we? I missed it. What we did talk about, however, was the records and offers of the other main parties, rather than discussing our own. "The Tories will cut far too much" and "Labour will spend far too much". All true, yes - but where are we in that? I fear, when you look at the results of areas where our data was horribly wrong, our campaigning did something awful. We activated the other parties' voters.

 

Assume you buy Ryan's explanation, consider the following: imagine you're a soft Labour voter in a Labour-facing seat. Your Lib Dem campaign locally says that the Conservatives will cut way too much, risking the recovery and hurting the poor. You were thinking about voting Liberal Democrat, but now you're really worried - you really need to stop the Conservatives getting back into government, and you know the Lib Dems will not rule out working with them. You feel, despite the quality of your local Lib Dem candidate, that you must vote Labour now to stop the Conservatives.

  

Ryan goes onto say knowing this, he would not have done anything differently. This is the most alarming reading - a strategist that sees their tactics being successfully countered consistently, says they would not change one thing about the campaign. What could we have done differently? The first thing we could have done is talk about our values, not more, but at all. Beyond platitudes such as decency, unity and stability (nominally, conservative values), we did not do this. Do you know the first point I remember our values being defended, espoused, passionately and movingly during this campaign?

Nick's resignation speech.

 

 

*Kevin McNamara was the PPC for Ealing North in the 2015 General Election and serves on on Liberal Democrat Mental Health Association's Executive 


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