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By pursuing socially liberal policies on issues of lifestyle and by concentrating on traditional strong Liberal Democrat issues such as the environment and localism.”

You are the Conservative Party remember! Half your members think Dave is useless softie already!

No they are not all consistent. The worst advice for me is ignoring them ,the best is to highlight their more disastrous policies and to commit to beating them at 'pavement politics'.

And surely the best way to lose to them is to give them a veneer of legitimacy as Dave attempted to do yesterday?

I.D.S was the best recruiting sergeant the Lib Dems ever had. Because of his catastrophic misjudgement over Iraq, he tied us in to Blair and all the stigma that went with it from 2003-2005, giving Michael Howard no chance to capitalise in the 2005 election, and resulting in 62 Liberal MPs.

We don't need any advice from I.D.S on how to beat the Lib Dems, he had his chance, and boy did he blow it.

Sorry, but negative campaigning can work.
The lofty distain stuff is just a rationalisation for doing nothing

"I.D.S was the best recruiting sergeant the Lib Dems ever had"

Even under IDS, we didn't lose votes to the Lib Dems, although our stance on Iraq certainly prevented us picking up Labour voters who switched over that issue.

Q: Can today 90% of our Associations easily create a Survey from their voter systems?

Ans: No

Q: Why Not?

From local knowledge in Calderdale and other Pennine areas the following points are the most important, especially where they contest Town and parish Councils and we dont.

Mark Andrew

“Fight them on local issues in every village, every ward, and every constituency.”

“Beat them at their own game - local activism, regular leaflets, building up assocations locally. Requires hardwork and targetting.”

“Target vulnerable sitting Lib Dems with pavement politics. Focus on Local candidates both for local government and PPCs.”

"Work harder and spend more than them in marginal constituences."

"At grass roots level. The Lib Dem communications machine at local level is excellent in terms of feedback to the electorate - far better than ours and Labour's. But we need a funded distribution system and must not rely on local volunteers, who are overloaded as it is."

A lot of the above suggestions involve policy decisions that are disputed - if you are socially liberal then being socially liberal to defeat the Liberal Democrats is legitimate, if you arent then doing so is hypocrisy

"We don't need any advice from I.D.S on how to beat the Lib Dems, he had his chance, and boy did he blow it."

No he didn't, he was denied his chance by the backstabbers. The vast majority of conservatives supported the war with irag, I find it difficult to beleive that howard or davis or clark would not have made the same decision.

I was the one who said “By ignoring them” by the way.

I feel so proud that you chose to quote me.

I don't think any one would want to steal Proportional Representation.
We really must expose this policy as nothing less than a total submission to the EU and its thoroughly corrupt politics.
PR would cause total paralysis in Westminster and would fragment the poltical landscape for the worse.

# the vast majority of Conservatives supported the Iraq war #

You can also add the Hutton Report to the I.D.S charge sheet- once again we were unable to capitalise on WMD/dodgy dossiers because I.D.S had tied us to the political Titanic that was Iraq.

I.D.S was far too quick to jump in with Blair, firstly because he had no authority with the public, and secondly because he wanted to be seen to have gravitas on this matter. What a tragic error.

As for 'backstabbers', I am convinced we would have gone below 100 seats had I.D.S led us into the 2005 election with the albatross of supporting the Iraq War around our necks.

As for Lib Dems not taking votes off I.D.S, you obvioulsy were not looking at the opinion polls from 2001-2003.

John Major committed the murder, William Hague pushed the body into the coffin, I.D.S nailed the lid on.

"As for 'backstabbers', I am convinced we would have gone below 100 seats had I.D.S led us into the 2005 election with the albatross of supporting the Iraq War around our necks.

As for Lib Dems not taking votes off I.D.S, you obvioulsy were not looking at the opinion polls from 2001-2003."

Even though IDS was ahead?

I agree with much of what the Editor says. Although I do see some contradictions. How can you ignore the Libdems and at the same time trivialise them, steal some of their policies, undermine others, love bomb them etc.

To me it is a choice, either ignore them or take them at their worth. Personally, I think ignoring them has been one of the mistakes of the past and therefore it is better to follow the other course. It is better to take them at their worth and prove they have very little real value to our political future.

There are many contradictions in the Libdem policies. My particular favourite is how they describe themselves as being the true 'localist' party but at the same time would drag us further into the morass of EU bureacracy, centralism and statist authoritarianism.

I recognise there are genuine (but misguided) localists in the Libdem ranks. It should be a goal to convince them they are backing the wrong horse if they want their aspirations to be fulfilled.

Cameron was wise to put the offer to the Libdems to join the Conservatives in seeking further localism. It should leave them in a quandry.

Do they prove they are a 'true' localist party, join with the Conservatives on this, and potentially ruffle the feathers of many of their activists or do they drop the pretense of localism and leave the issue of localist policy solely to the Conservatives?

I would have thought that any Lib-Dem supporters of the Orange Book are ripe for conversion to Conservatism. It does seem odd that such free marketeers should be shacked up with sandled hippies.

David Laws would make an excellent addition to our front bench, but Clegg has gone right down in my estimation after the leadership election.

He is totally vacuous.

It is social issues that allow the Liberals to pull in disaffected votes. The Conservative party must continue to put itself forward as the most socially conscious party. The party that believes in community and wants to address social issues. The Liberal strength at local level is their ability to interact, or seem to interact, with local communities. The Conservative party must do more to promote David Cameron's less-is-more philosophy of promoting community over the big-fix of the state.

If Brown's government doesn't implode in the next few months, we have just about time before the next GE to outdo the Libdems where they hold marginal constituencies.

This is why I believe the last section "Beat them at pavement politics" has the most practical suggestions.

We have to beat them at localism and therefore need to hear a lot more from the DC and the shadow cabinet on this.

We need good candidates in place soon in these constituencies and, just as important, we need "active" activists to make sure that our message is heard by all voters in the constituency, not once but several times.

By all means play the Libdems at their own game a little by selecting the message that the voters most want to hear (without too much spin or downright deceitfulness).

To defeat Lib Dems you gotta work harder than they do, and get lucky. In Guildford they campaigned against a waste incinerator near Guildford while secretly sending Guildford's waste overnight to a waste incinerator on the south coast - past the homes of loyal Tories I met at a conference. Then we phoned the electorate and asked them what they thought about that.
Get their leaflets, find out what they are doing in other areas that is different and challenge on that one to one with the electorate - ignoring the Lib Dems themselves. For instance they signed up to having house building en masse in Surrey and ran petitions against local house building - so we phoned the electorate and asked what they thought about Lib Dems having agreed to 45,000 houses being built at the end of their street.
Don't forget to explain by phone that the named person saying in the papers how marvellous their Lib Dem is should be saying it across the breakfast table - they are married!
Happens so often.
So pavement politics works, but it can be done one to one on the telephone as well.

I think that making lots of fresh and incisive comments about the 'beard and sandals brigade' would be a very constructive way forward

We must always remind the electorate to "Remember, Rinka! Vote Conservative, if you believe that dogs have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!"

Had a good a good lunch Mr Fear?

re Sue Doughty - I wonder if that is the lady of the same name who used to be Lib Dem MP and now Lib Dem ppc for Guildford......

Although IDS is not cut out to lead a political party, he is a thoroughly decent man and the main reason he backed the Iraq war is, that like most decent people, it never occurred to him that a British Prime Minister would lie over something so serious. Now we all know better and I hope that no other PM will be allowed to get away with such appalling mendacity.
The second reason was that Parliament was presented with a fait accompli - our troops had already been mobilised and you cannot stand up in the House and condemn people who are risking their lives, albeit on the orders of a bunch of politicians not fit to clean their boots.

Although IDS is not cut out to lead a political party, he is a thoroughly decent man and the main reason he backed the Iraq war is, that like most decent people, it never occurred to him that a British Prime Minister would lie over something so serious.
Michael Howard also supported the war. It isn't a matter of whether someone agreed with the government's or the White House reasons for war whether given or suspected, or the war strategy - in the UK, the government handled the issue terriby. The White House were more adept politicaly on the issue, but the Rumsfeld stategy was fundamentally flawed, the Pentagon warned him against it - it is long established in military strategy that it takes more troops to hold land than to take it.

The Baathist regime broke the 1991 Ceasefire Treaty - the 150km missile range limit, limits on guidance systems and they failed to co-operate with inspectors and were found not to have declared many banned weaponry. In addition the regime was a threat to the stability of the area, funding terrorist bombers in Israel, attacking Iran and Saudi Arabia - they used chemical weapons against border Iranian villages and against Kurdish cities in Iraq. They were destroying the marshes and attacking the Marsh Arabs as well as Kurds. Indeed in the 1980s it was illegal in Iraq to have a beard, people with beards were seen as being religious extremists. 20% of GDP on armed forces, huge idolatrous statues to Saddam Hussein and palaces built for the party leaders who lived a playboy lifestyle while running Iraq's economy and environment into the ground, a regime that had little support outside of a small area to the north of Baghdad.

I still believe it was right to remove Saddam Hussein and the evil entrenched Ba'athist regime, without the action sanctions and periodic bombing would still be going on, the Ba'athist leaders would be biding their time for international attention to slip away so that they could resume their nuclear programme and perhaps have a nuclear warhead and new guided missiles capable of striking Tehran, Damascus, Tel Aviv and Riyadh.

The Coalition of the Willing doesn't have to share the same reasons for prosecuting the war, and nor do others supporting the war.

There is a danger of anti-war groups using a kind of divide and rule strategy to block through the political system any military action overseas whatsoever.

"Posted by: Sue Doughty | December 17, 2007 at 17:06 "

I like it!
Very funny.

Good advice.

BTW, the Tories gained a seat off the Lib Dems in Guildford, about 2 months ago.

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