In May, things were difficult for Liberal Democrat candidates and staffers across the UK. Not exclusively because of the results, but more so because the party would enter its biggest phase of restructuring since its formation in 1988.
The restructure was primarily headed up by Lib Dem leader Tim Farron after he revealed plans to HQ staff and key stakeholders to save sufficient money to sustain the health of the party’s finances. There are three prominent themes to the restructure plan; the party’s membership will increase to 100,000 by 2020, the party will focus more on digital campaigning and campaigns will be less centralised.
Some of these changes have already been implemented, but the majority are yet to be. It’s a dangerous move to restructure before the outcomes of the General Election review are formally published, which should happen next week.
The restructure was talked about by members after we got ‘those results’ on May 8th and was formally called in July. Coincidently, a by-election was called at a time of great transition for the party, and it’s more important than ever that the Liberal Democrats have a great showing.
A by-election was called in Labour held Oldham West and Royton due to the sad death of MP veteran Michael Meacher. Councillor Jane Brophy was selected as the Liberal Democrat to fight this election and the #LibFightBack is well underway.
What makes this election so important, why should you turn up? Three reasons:
1. It’s imperative that the Lib Dems show they’re still alive.
The Liberal Democrats must show that their ‘#LibDemFightback’ is more than a slogan used to sooth the wounds awarded by the General Election result. It’s important more than ever that the public is shown the Liberal Democrats can be a serious voice for them both locally and nationally.
Pre-2010 the Liberal Democrats were known for being the party of Local Government. However, due to the coalition lost some of that local support, but gained credibility nationally. Some may argue that our results in the General Election would beg to differ, however, there can be no doubt that the party looks far more qualified to deal with national issues.
“But why stand in a seat where the Liberal Democrats came 4th in 2015 and hold no councillors?”
It’s important the Liberal Democrats show they are willing to represent all people at every level of government. After all, not standing is just as good as saying “we don’t want you to vote Liberal Democrat”.
2. Meet the party’s top hitters
Have you seen the videos on Oldham West and Royton’s YouTube? Lots of the party’s top hitters seem to be there, Paddy Ashdown, Hilary Stephenson, Tim Farron, Sal Brinton and Jo Swinson.
Other MP’s and key figures are set to me there throughout the campaign, including Nick Clegg, Tim Gordon, Norman Lamb and Tom Brake.
If you want to discuss politics, ask questions or just get to know some of the MPs then why not do it whilst delivering a leaflet or two?
3. If you’re a new member, this is perfect for you
The Liberal Democrats have seen a huge increase in members since May. This is a perfect opportunity to meet key people in the party, learn how to campaign and see what a by-election is all about.
The campaign team are offering free accommodation, subsidised travel and are looking encouraging newer members to take on tasks that will help develop their campaigning skills.