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Lib Dem TV Campaign: “Joined-Up Thinking”

January 3, 2010

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Nick’s performance as leader, and about the perception of the Liberal Democrats as a party. It’s clear to me that we’ve been making a big push over the last few years to be seen as a viable mainstream alternative to the Tories and Labour rather than a part of protest votes. This has been fairly successful – people now routinely talk about the “big three” parties. I’ve seen protest voters drift away from the Lib Dems towards the Greens or UKIP, and people support us who would never have taken us seriously before. Unfortunately it backfired horribly on us during the expenses scandal; we were tarred with the same brush as Labour and the Tories, and the comparatively miniscule (though depressingly extant) scale of our offences were ignored, along with our previous attempts to reform Parliament and improve transparency.

Over on Lib Dem Voice at the moment, there’s a discussion about top five policy initiatives to present to voters as part of a general election strategy. I’m not sure that this is what we want. Sure, short lists of things are punchy and hit home with voters, but I think that cherry-picking policy areas opens us to criticism of being a party of few ideas, a party for protest votes rather than a coherent idealogy. Thinking about this some more, I’m wondering if the way to present the Lib Dems as “radical and different” is to show how our policy agenda is well thought out and interlinked. Perhaps our TV adverts should concentrate on highlighting our frontbench team – I can imagine something like this, with a pan or crossfade between each speaker, and a caption with their name and position:

Nick Clegg: “Across the UK, four million people are waiting for space in a social housing scheme. Families are shunted around between B&Bs, at vast expense to the taxpayer.”
Sarah Teather: “There’s just not enough social housing to go around, because much of the existing housing has been bought up and not replaced. Many families are also in privately rented accomodation whose owners are defaulting on their mortgages due to the recession, which only makes the problem worse.”
Vince Cable: “The Liberal Democrats believe in giving power to local authorities to build more social housing, and to intervene when a buy-to-let mortgage can’t be paid, to stop tenant families being evicted and keep a roof over their heads.”
Simon Hughes: “And we believe in making it cheaper and easier for landlords, tenants and homeowners to insulate those homes, saving money and protecting the environment.”

And then fade to a “Liberal Democrats: Joined Up Thinking” slogan and logo.

I think this would help demonstrate that we’re not a party of piecemeal policies, or solely of big protest issues, but instead represent a body of thinking which forms a coherent platform for governing the country. Of course, you have to cut chunks out of that platform to fit in the media space available, but the ability to look at a problem, identify the causes of it, and promote liberal solutions to those causes is what makes the Liberal Democrats great.

What interlinked policies would you promote to demonstrate the Lib Dems’ fitness to govern?

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  1. January 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Interesting points. If you’d like to do a follow-up piece on Lib Dem Voice responding to this debate, just drop me an email.

  2. Matthew Huntbach
    January 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    The local Tories wheer I am (Eltham constituency – prime Labour-Tory marginal) have been putting out a leaflet attacking Labour for the growth in the number of people on the council house waiting lists since Labour came into government in 1997, and for hardly any council houses being built in that time.

    I’ve seen some cheek, but that takes the biscuit. No mention of the prime cause of the rise in number of people on the council house waiting list – the deliberate run-down of council housing started under Mrs Thatcher.

    This seems to be a pretty standard Tory tactic now – moan about how things have gone bad under Labour. Don’t mention that most of what you are moaning about is due to Labour carrying on with the policies of the previous Conservative governments.

    Look at this crap fromn teh Daily Mail woman:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1240023/AMANDA-PLATELL-Why-I-want-British.html

    Most of what she is moaning about is due to Thatcher and her successors smashing up British decency and introducing the spiv-society we live in now. This thicko Tory can’t even see the the run-down Britain she arrived in when she came here in 1985 was Britain six years AFTER her heroine had started her mad smashing things up campaign.

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