With my oft-repeated refrain that the party needs to treat members and supporters far more as active participants in the battle for Liberal Democrat policies, rather than as passive spectators, it is no surprise that I think Simon Hughes’s email yesterday was a good move. It called on people to sign the grassroots generated Parliamentary e-petition calling for the moves to a £10,000 income tax allowance to be speeded up.
That’s the good side. The bad side? The email’s content itself.
It’s one of the basics of email campaigning that if you want people take an action as a result of an email, the whole message needs to be built around pointing people at that one action. Text that goes off on different points and links that take you to different sites all undermine the aim of getting people to take that one action.
On that score the email was pretty poor. Not only were there links in the body of the message taking you to four different destinations, only one of which gave the option to sign the petition, but the action link was the third of the four.
It’s no surprise that as a result if you look at the number of additional sign-ups to the e-petition overnight, the email has generated a three figure boost rather than a four figure boost to the petition, and still left it a long way short of a good total.
Here’s the text of the body of the email (which then went on to have another six links in its footer, less of an issue but still leaving the message with ten links only one of which goes to the action page):
In tough times, I believe you should keep more of the money that you earn. That’s why the Liberal Democrats want to see the tax-free threshold raised to £10,000 – giving you a tax cut when you need it most.
Liberal Democrat plans would save working people £700 a year –that’s an extra £60 in your wages every month. And more than 3.5million older and low-paid people will be freed from paying any income tax altogether.
This is a plan we put on the front page of our General Election manifesto and it went into the Coalition Agreement.
And we have already started.
In April last year, millions of ordinary working people were given a £200 annual tax cut and since last April 800,000 low paid people no longer pay any income tax at all.
But I believe our tax cuts need to happen faster and go further.
Ahead of the Budget next month, Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats in the government will be pushing to speed up our tax plans.
Please join this campaign and sign the petition, set up by a grassroots Liberal Democrat member, which is on the Number 10 website here.
Liberal Democrats want tax cuts for working people, not the rich.
Please help us to make that happen.
Simon Hughes MP
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
PS At Liberal Democrat Conference next month, we will be debating how to make the tax system fairer. Register here.