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Graeme Archer

I'm a broken, dull record on this, and moreover one that no-one listens to. The Suzy Quattro of Conservative Home? I can't help it though: you put your finger on the whole point of love-bombing in your intro above. It's not anything to do with the actual Lib Dems. It's to do with fixing the perception that people had of us as the unpleasant party:

The love-bombing strategy [...] was partly a result of Tory fears that negative campaigning against the LibDems risked reinforcing voters' perceptions of the Conservatives as mean-spirited rather than affecting voters' perceptions of the 'nice' LibDems.

The strategy is that voters connect 'nice' and 'liberal' with us and not with our opponents.

Tony Makara

Are the Liberals the amateur party for the amateur voter? The Liberal vote does seem to be so unreliable and fickle. Perhaps it is a case of the party reflecting its core vote and vice versa.

John Moss

Graeme is spot on - as ever.

The whole point of "campaigning", which is all an opposition can do, is to convince people who used to vote for other people, to vote for you instead.

The old adage about Governments losing elections rather than oppositions winning them still holds true, but the latter needs to be done, once the former has happened.

Now Brown really does look like a busted flush - even Major lasted nearly two years before the wheels spectacuarly exploded off his cart, Brown has barely managed three months - it is paramount that we win the support of those who are peeling off Labour. What is interesting in the latest poll is that Labour and "Others" both lost 2 points with us picking up three and LDs just one.

Deeper analysis than mine is required, but I suspect we are finally seeing the return of the traditional floating vote, rather than the propensity of the last 12-15 years where the "anti-tory" vote switched around between Labour and Lib-Dems. I think the general reduction in the LD average to their historical norm of 12-15% backs this up.

We have to now use this window to press home our ideas and get people humming our tune. They don't need the details, but they need to feel comfortable with choosing us over the other lot.

The next two years is going to be fun!

John Reeks

Love bombing worked! Remember May when we took over 200 council seats from the Lib Dems, after a campaign in which we didn't aggravate their supporters by attacking them too ferociously?

John Fuller

Back in May, I was responsible for 10% of the national LibDem losses by taking 20 seats off them in the South Norfolk Council elections.

I turned a deficit of 8 seats into a majority of 32.

We just fought them hard ward-by-ward highlighting their shortcomings and record of failure [ie 270% increase in council tax in 12 years]. Good literature and hard campaigning is what did it. Not much love-bombing there.

I was serious about winning and love-bombing isn't a strategy for people who are serious about winning.

Bill Melotti

Here in the Vale of White Horse we got royally shafted by the LDs in May, bucking the trend. There were some local issues which they managed to turn against us or we failed to capitalise on properly, particularly in Abingdon. However by and large I think we went along with the love bombing idea and I'm not sure there was a great deal of benefit.

The main issue is not to attack the voter; 'A Lib Dem vote is a wasted vote' is an attack on the voter, telling someone they're foolish is not going to win them to your cause.

However we have to accept LDs are completely unprincipled campaigners, but that voters believe that they are nice, principled and truthful people, and that is what we have to expose, to then be able to have a serious battle with them.

Like it or not, there is a perception problem we have to deal with.

Anti Lib Dem

In one ward I was involved in the local Lib Dems went from 300 votes in 2002 to 1600 votes last May. We Love Bombed them and had assistance from regional agents and lost more votes. Fundamentally we needed to keep our tory votes rather than lose more to them and I don't believe Love Bombing helped at all. It actually detracted from our local issue based campaign. When we did criticise the Lib Dems in prior campaigns our criticism was able to alter their campaign literature, take them off their agenda and force them to deny what we had said. Love Bombing is not as good as specific targetted criticism. The weakness is criticising too much and losing credability as a result.

Anti Lib Dem

In terms of a "Lib Dem voted is a wasted vote" that is not the best way to phrase a good idea. In Lib Dem campaign literatue they used a bar chart on every leaflet (where they did not come 3rd) and made the point that the only party that can beat Labour/Conservatives are the Liberal Democrats. This destroyed our campaign, time and time again we heard it on the doorstep from tory voters that they were voting Lib Dem because the Conservatives cant win here (in a ward where we had 3 councillors 2 years prior to this). The fact that we had to Love Bomb meant that we could not point out to voters that the Lib Dems are to the left Labour and voted with Labour on the council.

Jimmy Toon

I thought it was Eric Pickles who came up with the art of "love bombing". Let's credit the architect of this idea at least please.

Simon R.

I think 'love-bombing' has its place, but it's not necessarily a magic bullet universally applicable solution. On a national level, things like Caroline Spellman's love bomb on Clegg's election win are likely to divide the Lib Dem's, make them look churlish (removing their mask of reasonability), and give them pause for thought. At a local level, with Lib Dems being seasoned and unscrupulous guerilla fighters, the strategy would be akin to playing cricket when your opponents are playing rugby.

Moral minority

Elections are won by working hard and campaigning on local issues that matter to the electorate. Everyone knows that negative campaigning, especially where the Lib Dems are the main opposition, does not work. "Love-bombing" is yet more Westminster village nonsense.

The real nasty Party was the Parliamentary Party at Westminster. They were greedy, arrogant and sleazy. The activists have always been decent, charitable and well liked by local people. Yet the activists are the ones who the Cameroons blame for the nasty image.

The main person to blame for the "nasty party" was Theresa May. Her speech was written by Douglas Smith, one of the nastiest people (just ask the BBC's Nick Robinson) in Conservative politics. Smith is now a Cameron speechwriter. He contaminates the leadership by his very presence.


"Half a mo. Not two days later and you'e down to 22%, just one percentage point up on the Lib Dems.That's acndoricg to Political Betting.It fits. You're fucked. You're going down for a decade."Hold on one darn minute!Angus Reid is so to speak a "New Kid on the Block". It seems to give a disproportionately high Conservative Poll lead compared to the established Polling Firms such as YouGov, Populus and Ipsos MORI.To get a better idea as to whether Angus Reid is rather unusual, or not as the case may be, in the high Poll lead it gives the Conservatives, we will have to see more of their Polls in the future. this will ascertain whether Angus Reids Poll figures/ results are broadly in line with YouGov etc...In any case, as the saying goes: "It aint over Till the Fat Lady Sings".(No offence meant to Fat Ladies either). ;)

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