On the day nominations closed in the 2019 general election this week, I wrote the following piece for Liberal Democrat Voice:
As you read this, the final rounds of nomination papers are going in for Liberal Democrat candidates around the country. Between candidates and agents, that is well over a thousand people who have volunteered to add even more burdens, strain and work to the next few weeks above and beyond even what all the rest of us are going to go through.
Even in the most fantastic election result for the Liberal Democrats, at the end of it many hundreds of them will not have a victory to show for it. The party, and our cause, will however, thanks to them, have much to show for it.
Losing campaigns can still be the step to winning next time – whether that is more victories in the next local government elections, more victories in the Scottish, Welsh and London elections or even moving on to win in the general election after this one. Those campaigns too help spread our message, grow our party and increase our political relevance.
So thank you, those who are leading the political and organisational charge to help achieve that. Especially as you will see, and I am sure understand, so much of the party’s attention, resources and assistance be diverted increasingly tightly to those who are in with a chance of winning.
Such a narrowing of resources onto key marginal seats is essential under first past the post. Targeting is what turns votes into seats at a far better rate of return than just spreading ourselves out equally.
Even as our collective attentions therefore shift, we should not forget our thanks to those who are standing and agenting outside the target seats. And double our thanks to those stand-out stars who not only candidate and agent in a non-target seat but also bring themselves and their colleagues over to target seats too. Building up your own area while helping us win target seats can be a tough double act to pull off. But the results are so worthwhile.
Thank you, and good luck.
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