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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Attracting attention

If there is one thing that can be said for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats it is that they are both setting the agenda and attracting a lot of publicity in recent weeks. That has led to an editorial in yesterday's Financial Times discussing the party's prospects for gaining power and influence after the next General Election.

I am not that keen to get into a discussion about election tactics to do with hung Parliaments as I believe our primary aim should be to get our basic message across to voters about what we will do with power and let them decide the outcome. That is acknowledged by the paper who go on to say some quite nice things about us:

Of the big national parties, only they opposed the war in Iraq and only they have consistently opposed Labour’s illiberalism. Thanks to Vince Cable, their economic spokesman, the Lib Dems have also been prominent in the debate on the financial crisis.

At the moment, they are also leading the debate on the country’s fiscal dilemma. Whereas the main parties continue to exchange bromides, the Lib Dems have made the bold, if contentious, decision not to support renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent.

Offering clarity when others prefer obfuscation is a valuable public service. Even if the Lib Dems do not win, they flush out the inconsistencies of their opponents. In their eagerness to become one of Britain’s governing parties, the Liberal Democrats must avoid becoming risk-averse. Their ultimate selling point is they are not like the other parties.
I like this post but want to see LDs put more distance between themselves and the two main parties.

While i think the FT have been rightly praise worthy of those positions, you must wonder why that hasnt been transfered into votes?

Ultimately, the modus operandi of the Libs will be a minority party in a coalition government. The seismic shift in electoral fortunes you are keen to bring about a still likely to be a fair few years away yet, even if you accept your view on how you will progress.

The problem is that many of the aspects that have been a boon for the Lib Dems are factors not recognised by the voters. Vince Cable is that 'guy who got it right about the economy, always speaks sense' etc; he isnt know as the Lib Dem spokesperson on the economy. I feel, and i think Nick Clegg is doing a good job, you may have lost out to having Cable as leader during this era defining crisis.

The Lib Dems for me have been a rich source of good ideas, but no one cares who brings forward those ideas, they care who delivers them. The Lib Dems, with respect, seem rather distant in being ever in a position to halt trident for example, more is the pity (i agree with the position).
A number of these points are covered in the FT piece Marcus, however one of the reasons why Lib Dems use bar charts is because research has shown that more people will vote for us if they thing we can win - enough for a majority in fact.
Well said Peter! It is an uphill struggle but we will get there eventually, I'm sure of it.
I must admit that I have the same attitude to the FT endorsement as Sweet and Tender Hooligan. The FT has recommended voting Liberal on the eve of at least one General Election in the past, with no discernible effect on the electorate. (It certainly helps the morale of the party, though.)

Now if the Guardian were to remove its [censored] and wholeheartedly endorse Liberal Democrats, that would make waves.

The Sun, of course, is out of the question. ;-)
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