Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Witney campaign offers the Liberal Democrats a road out of the wilderness

It's not me saying that: it's Bagehot in The Economist.

You can add his name to the list of journalists saying encouraging things about the Liberal Democrats after our result in Witney.

Stephen Bush and Chris Deerin are already on it.

Bagehot writes
While the Lib Dems have been doing well in council by-elections in such places in recent months, this was the first parliamentary test. 
Their campaign focused heavily on Brexit. Residents were urged to reject Mrs May’s nativist overtures at her party’s conference and to send the government a message about the need to keep Britain in the single market and avoid a “hard” break with the European club. 
And while these messages did not propel Liz Leffman ... the local candidate, across the winning line yesterday, she obtained a larger-than-expected vote share (the Tories had warned it could reach 30%, which discounting the usual expectations management suggested they anticipated something nearer 20%) ...
So treat Witney as a proof-of-concept. A more starkly liberal personality, deftly conveyed through relevant issues and particularly the ongoing battles over Brexit, offers the Lib Dems a way—albeit a long and treacherous one—out of the political wilderness.
His piece commends the approach advocated by David Howarth and Mark Pack in their booklet The 20% Strategy: Building a core vote for the Liberal Democrats - that link will take you to this year's second edition.


Phil Beesley said...

30% of posh people voted LibDem and we are expected to love it?

Anonymous said...

The tragedy is that if the Lib Dems hadn't been dragged into a disastrous coalition by Nick Clegg they would be on 30% by now - and maybe even close to a SNP-style breakthrough. With the other parties in meltdown the Liberals of old would have won seats like this.