Not had your fill of Henley analysis yet?

by Stephen Tall on June 27, 2008

Then why not seek out former Lib Dem media chief Mark Littlewood’s analysis in today’s Telegraph? I don’t agree with it all, but here’s a thought-provoking extract to chew on:

The truth is that the Liberal Democrats have yet to develop a compelling narrative to deal with the threat posed by Cameron – and with many Liberal MPs defending small majorities over the Tories in the south of England, the threat is very real indeed. Many may now conclude that a record of being a hardworking constituency MP and championing local causes will not be enough to save them in the face of the rising tide of Cameronism.

Greatly to his credit, Nick Clegg has dropped some hints that the LibDems could become the party of low taxation at the next election. But he has yet to adopt the policies to make such a claim truly plausible. Supporting changes in current tax rates without committing to reduce the overall tax burden is too complicated a message – and not one that is obviously attractive to soft Conservative voters. But if Clegg was willing to take the next logical step – and support a lower total tax package than the Tories in the party’s manifesto – this could make a considerable difference to the party’s prospects in the electoral battlegrounds of southern England.

The LibDems need to spend more time and effort in honing and developing their key national messages. They should start now. And they need to become a little more circumspect about the upsides of spending a six-figure sum and deploying hundreds of activists in one-off contests that sometimes look and feel like little more than glorified local council by-elections.