Yesterday I dismissed one media report on Liberal Democrat preparations for the next general election as being mostly a mix of speculation and error, but there is another one in the weekend’s media that is rather more accurate.
The Observer reports:
The Liberal Democrats are drawing up an aggressive new election strategy targeting more Conservative seats, including that of foreign secretary Dominic Raab amid alarm among senior Tories about the threat posed by Jo Swinson’s party.
Research by the Lib Dems conducted over the summer has convinced officials to rip up the party’s existing plans and adopt a more ambitious targeting strategy.
Indeed, followers of me on social media indeed may have seen earlier in the year that I was off to Esher to do a training session with our most excellent PPC, Monica Harding, on how to win a Parliamentary seat. There is a great team building up there and the behaviour of the MP is making it much easier to win over Conservatives given how many of them are also Remainers.
You don’t need to see party research to see how much the opportunities for Liberal Democrat gains have increased. The public opinion polls, research from the People’s Vote campaign and by-election results tell that story too.
The Observer adds:
[The political opportunity has] prompted a scramble to raise the resources necessary to fight a more combative campaign. Swinson is understood to have begun a drive to win over new donors, including former Tory and Labour backers.
True again, and it’s been heartening (if a little stressful on the diary!), the number of times even I’ve been rolled out to talk with potential donors in the last few weeks.
There is a massive financial challenge for the party to be able to resource campaigning on a scale that matches the party’s political opportunities. But it isn’t only a financial challenge. Mobilising the volunteer resources too – especially the hundreds of thousands who have signed national petitions but are not yet engaged by local parties – is a big part of that. As is learning the lessons from why the party’s surge in the polls in 2010 didn’t translate into gaining seats at that general election.
More on that and the other things the party needs to get right in the latest edition of Liberal Democrat Newswire, which you can read here.