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BNP and the Grass Roots

June 8, 2009

Obviously the big news today is that the Bastard Nazi Party (© Andrew) have won two seats in the European elections, in Yorkshire & the Humber and my own North-West region. This is largely due to a massive drop in turnout and voter confidence, and people are feeling hurt and accusatory as a result. There’s a lot of sniping and infighting going on, which is probably counter-productive.

What could I, as a Liberal Democrat grassroots activist, have done to help prevent this outcome, to secure those seats for Lib Dem candidates and not fascists? Probably I should have been more self-reliant. For the last 12 months I have been making suggestions to my local party but waiting for their approval. I’ve been relying on them too much, assuming that they know what they’re doing. I should have been out there undertaking Nick Clegg’s Million Door Challenge myself, delivering street surveys single-handedly if I had to.

In our safe wards, we’ve got enough of a core vote to keep us in council seats, and since the local parties are councillor-driven that tends to be where we sit back and rest on our laurels; in safe opposition wards we don’t bother trying. I don’t think this is good enough, and not just because I’m standing in a safe Labour ward. Yes, there are issues about resources and delivery networks, but we should be trying to expand those by attracting new members, by working in the community. This is exactly what the BNP have been doing. Their campaigning handbook is ripped off almost in its entirety from ALDC‘s “How To Win Local Elections”, the fantastic rulebook which has seen Liberal Democrats gain ward after ward, seat after seat, in the UK. In a lot of places, we’re not following our own rules, and the BNP are beating us at our own game.

My resolution therefore is to go and do my own thing, build my own team, and not expect any organisational support or advice from my local party – I’ve had offers of delivery help which will be welcome. It’s going to be hard, and now the BNP has hundreds of thousands more pounds each year going into their coffers, it’s going to be harder than ever. Lib Dem policies for transparency, for reform, for devolution of power… all will now be seen as cynical attempts to grab votes rather than the dearly-held but poorly-promoted principles they are. However, every Liberal Democrat, and indeed everybody who’s not a fascist scumbag, has a moral obligation to get out there and present positive alternatives to the people.

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Categories: Uncategorized
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