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Question 1 The general election has exposed the Liberal Democrat core vote at only 7.9% of the electorate. Should the party continue to maintain it can ‘win everywhere’, should it or build a core vote, and if so from where should a core vote be built?
TIM FARRON In past elections the party has been good at mobilising the protest vote – and, as Jo Grimond said, there’s a lot to protest about! The problem, of course, is that protest voters abandoned us when we entered government. On top of that, some of our actions in coalition alienated some of the groups which were becoming more strongly attached to us: students, healthworkers, teachers and other public-sector professionals, ,. We must rebuild their trust and belief in us.
A core vote is vital in winning list seats in Wales, Scotland and London next year and for Europe in 2019. Realistically, we have to start by building on our previous parliamentary representation – the sixty or so seats where we are still in second place – plus others where we still have local strength. The very disparate nature of the eight seats we still hold offers some comfort here, representing a wide range of different areas, urban, rural and smalltown.
NORMAN LAMB I want to reach out to liberals everywhere across the country. Almost 2.5m people voted for the party throughout the UK and we must ensure that we continue to represent them while also engaging with those who share our ideas, beliefs and values even if they didn’t vote for the party this time around. This is a liberal age. We must convince all those people who share our values that the Liberal Democrats are the party for them.
At the same time, we must ruthlessly target our efforts in seats where we can win at council level, in the Scottish and Welsh Parliamentary elections and in the 2020 general election. But it is important that we continue to offer the public a proper liberal choice.Read more about Liberator.