To put it bluntly, people find it hard to remember lists of policies and successes and failures and generally vote based on their perceptions of a party. And the perceptions that people have of political parties is generally shaped by the stories that parties tell about themselves and the stories that other people tell about them.
For example, the tories tell a story about themselves where they're economically responsible,tough on crime and immigration and on scroungers (generally tough on anything that's unpopular) and contrast that with what they claim is the weakness of their opponents on these issues.
Labour, on the other hand, tell a story where they care about social justice, are champions for the poor and the working class and where they are the defenders of much loved public institutions like the NHS, and contrast with this with what they claim are their opponents' desires to destroy all these things.
Lib Dems, however, don't really have a narrative. So what I'd like to do is to spell out my own narrative for the Lib Dems and to outline the kind of story I think that we should be telling people:
"Put bluntly, we believe in fairness.
We believe in balancing the books and tackling today's problems, such as the economy and climate change, so that we don't pass them onto our children.
We believe in creating a level playing field and in education to give everyone an equal chance to succeed or fail on their own merits, such as by putting billions of pounds into improving education for pupils from deprived backgrounds.
We believe in making sure that there's always a safety net available for those who end up facing hard times, such as by protecting workers' rights and giving a fair deal to pensioners.
And we believe in fighting injustice by giving people the means to stand up for themselves through taking power away from bullying beuracracies and unaccountable politicians and giving it back to ordinary people.
That's what we mean by fairness and that's what we stand for."Or, as a shorter version.
"We believe in prudent public finances, in tackling today's problems, such as climate change, so that they aren't passed onto our children, in making sure that everyone is given a fair chance, in life, in providing a helping hand in times of hardship and in fighting injustice."Or, as an even shorter version.
"Fair with the budget and fair for ordinary people."