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How LibDem strategy needs to change in the next 48 hours

By Angela Harbutt
April 19th, 2010 at 9:30 pm | 7 Comments | Posted in Election, Liberal Democrats, UK Politics
The astonishing, persistently stunning poll numbers for the Liberals leaves everyone scrambling asking Who? What? Where? Why?
The party has confirmed that in the 24 hours after last Thursday’s TV debate, the party banked £120,000 in donations. That’s stunning. And no doubt Cowley Street are already working round the clock to try and deal with this extraordinary upshift.
Also, the worldwide web might also crash from so many people googling Nick Clegg. (see previous post).

So, how to marshal this support properly with barely 400 hours to go until polls close?

As Michael Crick has pointed out, even in seats where we have a good chance of winning (he highlights Bournemouth West), the party does not have the ability to spend up to its expenses limit of about nine grand.

 This sort of cash is, of course, chicken feed to the Belize baron who funds the Tories and Charlie Whelan’s trade union.

But perhaps we should counter this by seeking to direct Obama-style fivers and tenners directly to local grassroots campaigns.

My suggestion is this. On the “donate now” section of the party’s official website, we invite candidates in the 100 or so “long shot” seats to submit a photo, 20 word biog and 30 word pitch. We link this up to paypal and promise to use every penny in those seats to combat the Ashcroft/UNITE millions directly.

We need to link small donors directly with their preferred candidate. This may or may not be their local candidate – they might pick someone they particularly agree with on a policy area.

All the cash could be used to fund a first-week-of-May leaflet (or two) in each designated constituency. Running totals of what has been raised so far could be displayed directly under each Liberal PPC’s photo.

Not only might this allow us to start to compete with the warchests of the two old parties, it would also send a very clear message – the Liberal Democrats want the people, not vested interests, to decide things.

I dont think that this is a big ask. I am sure that the brilliant Mr Pack & co over in Cowley Street could sort this is a matter of hours. Get Nick to give it a bit of publicity and it just might actually make a difference to how well we convert this support to votes on May 6th. And, as stated it would definitely “send a message” about who we are.



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