Over on The Spectator there’s a curious leaked document today, ostensibly a leaked internal party document setting out Liberal Democrat campaign weaknesses.
I say ostensibly because the memo is a strange mixture. Some of its content is either wrong or distorted – such as the reference to the party having canvass data for only 2% of voters. That’s wrong, and I’ve seen evidence which shows it is wrong. However, the 2% figure has the phrase “functional political data” attached to it at one point. That sounds like a carefully crafted definition designed to talk down rather than talk up how much data the party has.
Odd too is the reference to there being no link between the party’s social/web activities and its electoral database software. Odd because that wasn’t true in 2005, was true in 2010 and is already becoming untrue again with the party testing out a series of integration options across different national campaigns at the moment, including the Fair Tax campaign. So again, it looks like a carefully selected and presented statement to make things sound as bad as possible.
Even stranger is the number of people who you would expect to have seen such a document who have said they have never commissioned it, never seen it before and never used it.
Some of the comments in the document have a ring of truth to them, especially about how little work goes into analysing data compared to the other parties. However, it’s a document I understand written by a student who was temporarily employed by the party and with little background in it either.
It’s no surprise that in any organisation people sometimes have ideas on what should be done better or differently. I’ve seen plenty of these in the past. That doesn’t make all such documents well-informed or official.
The party’s take on this is:
The Spectator document was written by a 21-year old Canadian student who was employed some time ago to set up a computer system.
— Lib Dem Press Office (@LibDemPress) September 25, 2012