A very welcome move from not-quite-still-new Liberal Democrat Chief Executive, Nick Harvey:
The Liberal Democrats are seeking a superbly organised project manager to undertake initial planning, detailed development, and ultimately to manage the delivery and execution of, our overarching operational plan for the party’s General Election campaign – whenever it might be called.
This position is at the administrative nerve-centre of Liberal Democrat HQ, reporting directly to the Chief Executive and liaising closely with LDHQ Directors, the Chair of Campaigns and the party Leader.
The successful candidate will have a proven track record in complex project management, personal experience of campaigning, and an understanding of the nature of a national election campaign. A strong knowledge and experience of working inside the Liberal Democrats will be a critical advantage.
When the party started candidate selections in the event of an early general election in 2016 there were some loud voices in the party who knocked the idea as absurd. It looked rather less absurd when Theresa May returned from her walking holiday the next year.
Likewise, this time round Nick Harvey is absolutely right to have made one of his priorities preparation for an early general election – and also to dislike the use of the term ‘snap election’. That implies surprise and therefore an excuse not to be prepared.
Of course, one of the problems with party HQ in the past has been an over-focus on general elections at the expense of the broader building up of the party’s strength, both to win at other levels of election too and also then to be able to do better at general elections too. So if this was the only post being filled, it would be fair to worry if that mistake was being re-created. However, it isn’t – and in fact the general approach to thinking about the party’s long-term is very promising at the moment.
Hence the party’s proposed strategy, some elements of which to fresh eyes may appear rather obvious, such as its own reference to winning elections at all levels. But when you look at how the party has operated in the past, even these ‘obvious’ elements would mark a major departure from how the party does things. If we start getting them right, we can reasonably aim to do better than ever before.