Ask a party member what they would like more of, politically speaking, and you will often get quite a long list both about the outside world and about how the party is run. For the latter, one common request is ‘I’d like to know more about what’s going on in the party’.
Deciding that helping improve our internal communications was an easier prospect than securing the introduction of land value taxation, back in 2010 I decided to go do something extra to help. Five years on and the solution I created – my monthly email newsletter about the party, Liberal Democrat Newswire – is going strong.
Even with the best of intentions and back when there were more resources and staff time at party HQ, official internal communications always run into the problem that they are by their very nature a little bland due to the need for appropriate impartiality.
If there is a big debate in the party over some aspect of how we’re run, what is really useful for members is to know more about why there are different points of views, what the history is and what the arguments are. Staff rightly under pressure to be neutral can never match what a party member with the freedom to be writing in their own personal tone of voice can manage.
What is more, for members to be able to exercise their nominal democratic rights in the party, we need to know what the decisions are up for grabs, when the most opportune moment is to stick your oar in – and where, and what the key pressure points are.
So that’s the idea behind the monthly Liberal Democrat Newswire, keeping members informed and mixing it up with a range of related party news, such as the new books by or about Liberal Democrats, the latest from our policy-making process, analysis of election and polling data and news about party conference.
Tim Farron has kindly called “a must read” and readership has increased by 70% over the last year. If you are one of the existing readers – thank you! – and if not, why not sign up today? Liberal Democrat Newswire is free and you can sign up to receive it yourself at www.libdemnewswire.com.