Pimlico Plumbers boss starts donating to the Lib Dems (again)

Pipes and spanners

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.

Back in 2018, I reported on how Charlie Mullins of Pimlico Plumbers had switched from being a Conservative to Liberal Democrat donor. Hence too the large plumbing-themed stand at the last Liberal Democrat autumn federal conference in Brighton.

He subsequently had a flirtation with Boris Johnson and Change UK. But he’s now been won back over by Jo Swinson and Brexit, and is donating to the Liberal Democrats once more:

Charlie Mullins, the millionaire businessman behind Pimlico Plumbers, said that he had switched after donating to the Conservative Party. “It is because of Jo Swinson,” he said. “She is a breath of fresh air. And it is exciting to have someone with so much enthusiasm wanting to prevent Brexit.

“She is the complete opposite to Boris. He is trying to do everything he can to make Brexit happen. She has come in saying she is prepared to do everything she can for it not to happen.” [The Times]

This is part of a welcome uptick in interest in the party from potential donors (with the party even wheeling me out increasingly often to talk with them – a nice way to have my diary filled up!). Yet as I wrote before:

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.



3 responses to “Pimlico Plumbers boss starts donating to the Lib Dems (again)”

  1. as regards the Local Parties meeting the challenge, there is in some areas at least, a desperate need for the old guard, who have done it all and know how to do it, to stand aside and let the younger ones take over. Yes they might make the odd mistake, but they have so much more energy and enthusiasm that will more than make up for that.
    Those of us who started with NCR shuttleworths, and probably can’t get the head around the new gismos, must be careful to be supportive and offer guidance, but let them have their head and go for the opportunities ahead. We will regret it if we don’t.

  2. The problem we’ve found is that most of the new members didn’t know that they were joining a local as well as a national organisation and they don’t seem to like it. Why I don’t know as the ones that seem to feel this way don’t engage with us at all, don’t respond to anything and don’t attend anything. From one person who did engage briefly with the party it could be that a lot of these people are very, very busy and being a member is one of a huge number of things in their lives. Also, learning from 2010 could be difficult as most people in the party at that time are in denial about everything that happened (Jo Swinson not being in denial was a reason why I voted for her).

  3. Peter Tyzack is absolutely correct. We old and ancients are now a dying breed. The key to our future success is to get the millions of under twenty fives to vote for us at the next local and national elections. This group has grown up in the Internet and social media age and gets its news and opinions in ways that are in many cases alien to us golden oldies. I have looked at a large number of Lib Dem websites and they are all pretty dire as a means of communicating our message to the under 25’s. Yes, we are making progress but at the moment not enough to make the breakthrough we need. The answer; a centrally run Internet and social media campaign targeted at getting voters. Locally run systems are both poorly executed and ineffective and fail to achieve the objectives set for them. One of the reasons “Leave” prevailed in the referendum was the effectiveness of their social media campaign masterminded by none other than Dominic Cummings, the real Prime Minister. It is worth remembering we are “Selling” a concept of how life could be under a Lib Dem lead government and we must use all the Internet and social media techniques to answer our potential voter’s, (buyer’s) question “What’s in it for Me?”.

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