Friday, 8 June 2012

A narrative for Liberal Democrats

One consistently highlighted problem with Lib Dem campaigning is the lack of a consistent narrative, or 'story' to tell about what we stand for.

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."


  1. Good narrative but those in parliament are simply not doing any of it! People will hear the words, look at the actions and not see any resemblance I'm afraid. Time for party members to demand the leaders honour the constitution or get out.

  2. I was told quite proudly by my Lib Dem MP that £20 Billion bill for housing benefit was too much, I think $26 Trillion bailout for Wall Street was too much.

    Lib Dem activists will get a lot of sympathy from me because you have been betrayed by the MPs that you have championed as responsible fair people who have shown themselves to be privately educated power hungry gouls.

    Idea for Climate Change. Rather than fly across the world for climate conferences how about you conference call. cut your emissions that way.

    The longer this Lunatic Government goes on the worse it will be for the Liberal Democrats. The local & council elections are just the beggining of a cull.

  3. To win the next election then the public have to be able to trust in you.

    The fact that disabled and sick people are being thrown away is not instilling any trust in any party at all!

    Lying to people does not instill trust. Scameron has just shown us what liars Conservascum are! Labour have just shown us that they are Red Conservascum!

    So - Are Liberals just the lapdogs of these two other parties?

    And are the lapdogs being fed by the flesh of the weak and the broken?

    To be honest I now trust no party at all, and dont know who I can trust with my life. What little life I have left after the WCA gets at me.

  4. In fairness Anon (and there is much in what you say), Labour doesn't do what it says it will do. As George says, they like to portray themselves as champions of the poor, looking after the old, the sick, social justice, and defending public institutions.

    But for all the Tories love it, the welfare reforms were brought in by Labour, dying to show the rich that they would save money on 'welfare scroungers'. The Tories have just carried it on. Blair's messing with English education, the formation of academy schools was hardly protecting their education system. Furthermore Labour's love affair with the neo-cons of the White House, and embracing of nuclear weaponry of mass destruction isn't very socialist and going to war at the word of a right wing nut job is certainly not what Labour is supposedly about.

    The Tories are nearer what they say on the tin, but they are supposed to be for fiscal responsibility and this idiot, Osborne, has to be the stupidest more incompetent finance minister ever. Everything he does makes the situation worse. They say that they do care for the poor and the sick but show no signs whatsoever of it in their policies.

    The long and the short is that all these parties are liars. They all let their grass roots down.

    Of course they will say that when they promised this and that they didn't know how bad things were, but... if they didn't know the situation then they shouldn't have made promises.

    I see, by the way, that one thing they have resurrected, that might have been expected of Tories (but not Liberals), is the parliamentary honours committee. In future we can look forward to honours being dished out to parliamentarians for ....erm... doing their job, as it turns out, not very well.

    I'd sack the lot.

  5. tris - Yes Labour brought in the WCA etc but Scamerons lot have made it far far harsher so that even people at deaths door are 'fit to work' in jobs that dont exist. My MS nurse has already said I would be a health and safety ris to any companmy fool enough to employ me. She is not the only one of my specialists to say this or similar. I so much want the Libs to be the champions for us. I dont like this life i am forced to lead! Ths is not fun for me! Not fun at all - I would go into my medical historybut there is no point as I am one of many.

    I just want a party FOR the people - a fair and nice party - One who is not gonna say one thing and do the opposite. Yes I know i live in a dream world! But why they are allowed to say one thing at elesction - all lies - then when they get in do another - is beyond me.

    In my 'dream world' if you get in by lies - You should be thrown out. What is the point if nobody can be trusted and everybody lies? All i see is the only people getting rich and happier by this is the private companies and the alkready millionaires! The poor peple who werent born with dosh - They are expendable i guess. We dont have people to hide out millions, mainly cos we dont have any money - even less now with this govt and the collapse of what once was what i thought was a great country - Now - If the 'mother country' treats people like this (yes i KNOW other countries are in the same or worse boat) but if bGreat Britain is like this ---- I just fear what the future brings..


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.