Conference will be reviewing May 2011 results but is only asking 50% of questions it should be: There is more to learn if we ask the right questions
8 September 2011 Leave a comment
At the Lib Dem Conference next week there will be a review of the May 2011 election (see document here) which asks some interesting questions but it only goes so far in asking the right questions to get all that we could learn. The review will be asking:
1. Was your candidate in place early enough? Did he or she campaign for long enough?2. Were the methods of campaigning varied enough?3. Did you produce enough literature? Was it of a good enough quality?4. Do you feel there was enough emphasis on community politics?5. Did we target correctly in your area? What lessons can we learn for the future?6. Was support from Party Headquarters adequate? If not, how could it be improved?7. How did you deal on the doorstep with the Liberal Democrats being in the coalitiongovernment?8. Did you campaign purely on local issues or also on national issues? What worked best?9. What more can be done to recruit extra activists and keep existing ones motivated?10. Knowing what you know now, how will you fight the next set of elections differently?11. How did holding the referendum on the same day affect:i: Turnout?ii. Activist priorities?iii. The result?
The Liberal Democrats lost 40% of the council seats they were defending but did much better in places where they had an incumbent MP
But this is not strictly true. Taking Scotland as an example we did ‘well’ in areas where we don’t have an MP and poorly in areas we do e.g. Orkney. So this is not strictly true and so there is a lot to learn about what local parties have done to attract support/keep support in their areas which goes beyond the received wisdom. If we don’t ask these questions we lose important lessons.
I have been contacting local parties where I see a good result and ask them what they thought they did which attracted the support which was bucking the national trend. The main message I am getting is that it is due to the strength of the candidate but I feel there is more to it than that. We need to be asking more specific questions about what they are doing, how do they attract support, supporters, specifically. So I would like the review to ask:
Did your party beat the average national poll for the Lib Dems? / Did you do better than expectations? If so what did you do specifically which contributed to this result? What campaigning issues worked in your area? How did you choose them? What material did you use and how much do you think this contributed? What worked on the doorstep? How did you get this result?