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The YES campaign: there is a Lib Dem inquiry

May 26th, 2011 Posted in AV referendum, Liberal Democrats by

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago (May 8th) we posted an article examining the disastrous YES campaign. We were inundated with readers, and even we grizzly old souls at LV were quite taken aback by the level of support we received from all quarters of the party (and the wider YES campaign) both publicly and privately. We had certainly hit a nerve and there was (and still is) a lot of anger out there about the whole sorry venture.

So when Simon Mcgrath called for an independent inquiry into the whole debacle, I silenced the cynic in me that said any investigation, if it did happen, would be done by “the usual suspects” who are themselves mates of those responsible for the campaign and would be conducted behind closed doors ……….and allowed the optimistic (some might say naive) Angela to believe that Tim Farron was a different kind of President and that under his leadership we would see some real action. 

I duly sent an email to Party President Tim Farron stating the reasons why I believed a public, independent inquiry into the YES to AV campaign was necessary.

Imagine my dismay to receive this reply from Tim:

 Dear Angela,

Thank you very much for emailing me.

I can confirm that there is currently an internal investigation going on – but as I’m sure you’ll understand, I can’t give out any more details than that.

Funnily enough, I don’t understand why no details can be given out.

At the very least, right now, some basic information regarding the inquiry should be in the public domain :  WHO is conducting the investigation?  WHAT is their remit? and WHEN are they due to report? Why this information cannot be given out is totally beyond me.

It is conceivable that the eventual findings are so embarrassing, the levels of incompetence so appalling, the errors made so huge, that Tim may decide that he can’t possibly put the full unexpurgated review into the public domain. But to be very clear  – the very least we expect is to be told what ACTION the review has recommended (and presumably will be taken by the party).

If the entire inquiry is to be shrouded  in secrecy as currently seems to be the case, I am afraid we can probably expect little more than a very long silence, followed, if pushed, by a short note stating that it wasn’t really any one’s fault and a promise to try better next time. That is simply not good enough.

I have today written to Tim ( ) asking him to reconsider his position on this matter.

Hat tip: Check out Simon McGraths brillliant “WHY WE LOST AV” website here.

5 Responses to “The YES campaign: there is a Lib Dem inquiry”

  1. Jack Hughes Says:

    Is this a parody ? It’s like the Monthy Python Public Enquiry Into Everything That Has Ever Happened :-)

    Your problem is that the Lib-Dem party has no clear vision for Britain. We tried this a few weeks ago and nobody came up with much. Fairness. Ponies. Rainbows. Ho-hum.

    The only thing that holds the 3 wings of the party together is this idea that the voting system needs some tinkering. The public just aren’t buying this so you’ve got nothing left.

    And if they don’t buy AV then how are they going to feel about an inquiry into gthe AV campaign ?

  2. Philip Walker Says:

    Jack: Social liberals and economic liberals I can identify, but what’s the third wing?

    (The Grinch on my shoulder whispers that the third wing is conspiracy theorists and assorted nutters. But surely Norman Baker isn’t a wing on his own?)

  3. Fraser Hamilton Says:


    Asking for basic details such as who is taking part in the inquiry, what it’s remit is and when it will report isn’t unreasonable.

    As someone who donated to the Yes Campaign, I’d like to know too!

    I have emailed Tim Farron asking for these details.

  4. Jack Hughes Says:

    You don’t need a freakin’ enquiry.

    The AV campaign lost because the british people have no desire for messing around with the voting system. It’s not low on their priorities – it just isn’t on the list at all.

    The ‘yessers’ did run a pants campaign of smug luvvies talking to themselves. But they also had most of the meejah in the tank – including the BBC.

    But they lost fair and square.

    So stop bellyaching and grow up. It’s time to move on.

  5. Angela Says:


    I dont disagree with your analysis in the main – but I know people who worked on the “NO” campaign – and at no point did they expect to totally floor the opposition until about 3 weeks out from the vote…. they honestly believed it was “nip and tuck”…..

    Winning the AV vote was always going to be a huge ask …. but losing so catastrophically was unexpected – by both sides..

    I get that we can and should move on from the AV vote.

    But I am not whining… My post is an internal question about how the Lib Dems runs its campaigns… I get that wont interest you… but it is of huge interest to me…

    It matters to me that those in charge screwed up the General Election campaign (a dismal failure from where the poll ratings were at its peak) and – by virtue of no post mortem post Gen Election … the same people (largely) were allowed to go on to run and screw up the next campaign… the AV vote…

    It is reasonable, I think, as a donor/member of the Lib Dems, to question how it is being run… not to witter on about the AV campaign … but to lobby to improve standards within the party. It is on that basis I posted the blog…. to query the practices,policies and people “employed” by the party more generally. the YES campaign did not have the media on side… the BBC was anti if anything – certainly – not pro…. and the entire right wing press weighed in behind the Tory NO campaign.. I wont go into details for fear that the woeful YES campaign quote it back at me in defence of their embarrassingly bad campaign strategy.

    Thanks x