...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, November 02, 2018

Day 6515: Making the Case (part deux)


I believe that it is VITAL that the Liberal Democrats make the case for a LIBERAL BRITAIN.

(You would think that was obvious, but apparently not.)

Particularly in these days when Sir Vince wants to make us a movement, I think we need a REASON to MOVE people, and if we don’t talk about our VALUES, they will move somewhere else.

That is what Daddy Richard stands for.

Yesterday, I shared daddy’s hustings speech from the END of the Cheadle selection. Today, let’s go back and look at some of the written material we put out from the START.

We wanted to hit the ground running with a hand-addressed “cream envelope” letter, delivered to all members on day one of the campaign.

A letter to the members

Here’s what it said:

9th October 2018

Dear Dave,

Cheadle needs a Liberal voice. Britain needs a Liberal voice, now more than ever.

We’ve had some dark times since 2015. We lost the EU referendum. Extremists on left and right are setting the agenda. Immigrants and other minorities are living in fear. But we were barely heard in the 2017 General Election.

Yet I still have hope. I was knocking on doors in Cheadle Hulme, near where I live, when I spoke with a local nurse, worried about the short-staffing at Stepping Hill because of Tory cuts, and she said: “This has always been a Liberal town”. She’s right. And that gives me hope.

I want to give you hope too.

So let’s talk about my vision.

I absolutely believe that Cheadle can be a beacon of Liberalism, shining a light that shows how our policies do work for people, and that there is a better future.

We need someone who will speak up for Cheadle, to say we need a fair share for schools; an economy for opportunity and jobs; and cleaner air and less congestion. I grew up here, I live here, I’ve got the local story to do that.

We need someone who will speak up for Liberalism as well, to say that schools set people free from ignorance; that jobs and a welfare state together set people free from poverty; and to make a positive case for freedom of movement and Europe because we all benefit from diversity, not conformity.

Because above all we need to give people reasons to want to vote Liberal Democrat again. We need to speak with a Liberal voice so people hear how we are the Party for freedom, for fairness, for the future.

With your help, we can restore Britain’s Liberal voice. So please give me your 1st preference to be Cheadle’s next Lib Dem MP.

Thank you


PS: add your voice to mine. Together we will win.

Friends and family helped address the envelopes, and we were able to produce the letters in the period between close of applications and start of campaigning.

That delivery target proved optimistic, though. 250 deliveries is an hour’s work when they are all in one road. When they are scattered over 7 wards… not so much. As with so many Lib Dem things, more deliverers would have been key.

We didn’t manage day one, but we DID get them done by the end of the first weekend.

We then went on to door-knocking, combined with delivering a colour leaflet.

Our Voice leaflet

The original plan for the three week campaign had been, obviously, three pieces of literature:

Day 1: the hand-addressed letter
Week 2: a full-colour leaflet
Week 3: a 4-page tabloid

But that was based on an estimated budget of £500.

When the spending limit of just £250 was announced (which I still think is too small for a target seat where candidates are supposed to show their talent in a wide range of campaigning), it meant cutting the campaign and the tabloid had to go.

Just for you - the Unseen Tabloid

We shuffled the more local tone from the tabloid into the colour leaflet, which had been more values/philosophical based. And that was probably an improvement, anyway.

The last piece of literature, we saved for the night of the hustings, a striking 10” square – based on the Lib Dem diamond.

A square splash!

By this point the campaign had, unfortunately, probably already been decided. But it was worth going out on a high!

One tip – if you’re ever thinking of doing this yourself – start taking round a book of “permission slips” so that you can get everyone in every photo to give their permission for use. A returning officer saying they would want to see a signed approval from everyone in all your photos can be quite a shock starting the campaign.

Tomorrow, we can talk about the modern internets and email communications!

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