"Lib Dems" spelled out in Scrabble pieces

Former Cambridge MP David Howarth and Liberal Democrat Newswire editor Mark Pack have been taking a look at the evidence on what the Liberal Democrats need to do to recover from the May 2015 general election disaster.

Here’s the second edition of their booklet (published January 2016), setting out a new strategy for the party. It is based on building a larger core vote for the Liberal Democrats and rooted in the evidence about who shares

They set out the evidence showing why the party needs to build a larger core vote, and how the Liberal Democrats can go about doing just that, based on appealing to the 20%+ slice of the electorate who share the party’s values.

A follow up to this pamphlet is Mark Pack’s Targeting Plus, which sets out a practical fifty-three step guide to turning the core vote idea into political success. Reinventing the Liberal Democrats (by Jim Williams and Mark Pack) then extends this into a strategy for the party.


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45 responses to “Building a core vote for the Lib Dems: the 20% strategy”

    • The core values were why I was a committed Lib Dem. I worked in my local constituency office (MP Jeremy Hunt) to help the campaign. I did not change my values, the Lib Dems deserted me by going into coalition. They simply did not listen to their members. Nothing wrong with core values. It is trust that is damaged!

  1. […] footnote on what this means for the Liberal Democrats: as I’ve written elsewhere, the Liberal Democrats needs to build a much bigger core vote, and do so by being clear about our bel…. Part of that has to be about winning on valance – showing competence and an ability to […]

  2. […] This result in Aylesbury Vale is another example of both the strength and the limitations of the Lib Dem recovery in council by-elections. The party isn’t withering away in them, and is frequently moving back to be well ahead of Ukip and the Greens. But as with other examples of this trends I’ve covered, this was a very strong second for the Liberal Democrats, rather than a win. Steps in the right direction. More steps to go in 2016. (Hopefully in this direction). […]

  3. […] A more diverse team also, we should note, makes for greater electoral appeal. The electorate likes political parties which look like themselves rather than a group of others. That is particularly important for the Lib Dems given that the chunk of the electorate which shares our values – and so makes for our most fruitful ground fo…. […]

  4. […] That latter includes the latest, slow but steady, progress on one of my long-standing issues – reducing the level of secrecy about the party’s committee meetings and improving the reporting back to members about what is being done in their name. It also raises again the question of whether the Liberal Democrats should have an elected Deputy Leader – something which David Howarth and I put the case for, and provide a remit for the role, in our ‘core votes’ pamphlet. […]

  5. […] This piece appears with the kind permission of the authors and thanks to the kind help of Krijn van Eeden who both suggested republishing it in English and translated it. I’ve edited it slightly since, so any errors and omissions are mine. For more on how the lessons apply to the UK, see my pamphlet with David Howarth. […]

  6. […] As a constituency goes, the creative sector is not large; only about 2.8 million people work as designers, chefs, publishers, dancers, filmmakers and so on, which is about 6 per cent of the UK’s total electorate, but it’s growing and they are an articulate bunch who punch above their weight in the popular imagination and receive above-average media attention. In other words, when they argue in favour of something other people listen. If they come to see us as representing their interests (which we do), then they may help attract other liberal-minded internationalists, the 20% of voters described by David Howarth and Mark Pack in their report, “The 20% Strategy: Building a core vote for the Liberal Democrats”. […]

  7. What’s required is for those who are liberal in outlook (with a small ‘l’) and who are currently members or even councillors or MPs in the Liberal Democrat, Labour or Conservative parties to put their prejudices aside and unite under the banner of ‘Liberal’ with a capital ‘L’ and calling itself something like The Liberal Union. Joining the Lib Dems would be the easiest thing to do, but would be too much of a sacrifice for some (most?) Labour or Tory MPs, but if we ALL put our existing party name to one side and fight under that banner there would be no need for anyone to have to swallow their pride and change parties or co=-habit with ‘the enemy’.
    I think Vince Cable, Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry all ought to be fighting under the same banner even if they can’t quite bring themselves to be in the same party. Once they get elected on a ‘Stop Brexit’ programme as a Liberal Union MP nature will take its course as to party re-alignments and nomenclature.

  8. I think the time is right to consider a re-branding exercise. For it to work we need to admit that our image is not perfect. The purpose is to make us acceptable to that broad section of the population that shares our values and does not feel it can join us.

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