Sunday, 5 January 2014

Ashdown speaks out

The next issue of Liberator will be out next week and eyebrows may be raised by the presence of an article by Paddy Ashdown on the upcoming Lib Dem general election campaign.

Perhaps it's not that surprising - Ashdown was the party leader with whom Liberator and the best relationship since however critical we were (in particular after the 1997 election when he was still flirting with Blair) he recognised that dissidents in a party were a sign of life and strength rather than something to be ignored or suppressed, unlike his predecessors and successors.

The article arose from a meeting between Ashdown and Liberator held at his request (and in full public view) at the Glasgow conference.

We were a little puzzled as to why he wanted this meeting but it became clear that, while Ashdown wants a manifesto where the numbers add up, he doesn't want a manifesto that only does that and was looking both for the sort of ideas that would inspire voters and activists and for backing for his own efforts to ensure that the campaign emphasises these.

Many will disagree with his bullish assessment of the Coalition's record but its becoming clear what sort of campaign Ashdown, as general election co-ordinator, wants to fight.

You'll have to wait for the full article, but here is a sample:
"We will be judged on how we have governed. It will be absolutely fundamental to how most people decide their vote. We cannot hope that a strong record of local action and a passionate declamation of liberalism will be enough to push us first over the finish line.

So my challenge to you, no matter how fed up you may be about some of the actions of this government, is to think hard about how our party has married our long-cherished belief in enabling citizens to the realities of governing in both a coalition and in an economic downturn.

Because if you cannot speak passionately and eloquently about what we have achieved in difficult circumstances – and more importantly, why we have achieved it – it will make it very difficult to persuade the average voter to put a cross next to the bird in 2015. Starting a doorstep conversation with an apology for being a Liberal Democrat will rarely win a floating voter over. Put simply, if you cannot convince yourselves of the merits of having our party in government, you will not be able to convince others."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note before commenting: Please read our comments policy (in the right-hand column of this blog). Comments that break this policy will not be accepted. In particular, we insist on everyone using their real, full name. If you have registered with Google using only your first name or a pseudonym, please put your full name at the end of your comment.

Oh, and we are not at home to Mr(s) Angry. Before you comment, read the post in full and any linked content, then pause, make a pot of tea, reflect, deliberate, make another pot of tea, then respond intelligently and courteously.