Thursday, May 26, 2016

Jasper Gerard is the Liberal Democrats' new head of press

Apologies if I am late to the party, but I have not seen this reported anywhere in the media or the Lib Dem blogosphere.

The new Liberator reports that Jasper Gerard is the Liberal Democrats' new head of press. The magazine sources the news to an email to party staff by its communications director James Holt.

Gerard will be remembered as the party's candidate in Maidstone and the Weald at the last election. This is a historically safe Conservative seat, but Peter Carroll had got a good result there in 2010.

Because of that we convinced ourselves that Gerard stood a good chance of winning and funded his campaign accordingly. In the event he finished more than 10,000 votes adrift.

Jasper Gerard will also be remember as the author of a book with a spectacularly inaccurate title: The Clegg Coup: Britain's First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George.

Simon Titley reviewed it when it came out and was not impressed:
Gerard’s basic thesis is that the coalition government was the product of a carefully orchestrated ‘coup’ by Nick Clegg and his allies. But coalition was inevitable sooner or later. The two-party system reached its peak at the 1951 general election, when 97% of the electorate voted either Labour or Conservative. Since then, the two-party vote has slowly shrunk, reaching a post-war low of 65% in 2010. ... 
Gerard’s claim that the coalition was possible only because Clegg “had transformed his party and dragged it to the centre ground” simply doesn’t stand up. Indeed, the incompetence of the party’s general election campaign, the net loss of seats, and a popular vote share no better than 2005 (and lower than that won by the Alliance in 1983) suggest that coalition happened despite rather than because of Nick Clegg’s leadership. 
And the loss of Short money shows that the party was not as well prepared for coalition as Gerard claims.
Still, Gerard is an experienced journalist and I wish him well in his new job.

This item can be found in the Radical Bulletin section of Liberator. There you will also read of the internal tensions in the Young Liberals, how Nick Clegg turned down a favourable deal on party funding and of a hefty bill the party must pay before vacating Great George Street.

The moral is clear. You should subscribe to Liberator.

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