LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (4): are the Lib Dems on the right or wrong track?

by Stephen Tall on August 7, 2008

All this week, Lib Dem Voice is publishing the results of our first ever survey of party members. Some 133 of you accessed the survey via our private members’ forum. We don’t pretend it’s a representative sample, but that doesn’t mean it’s without value either. We hope you, LDV’s readers, find it interesting. Perhaps the wider party will, too. This is the first in what we intend to be a monthly survey – if you have ideas for future survey questions, please email me at stephen@libdemvoice.org.

The fourth question asked about the current direction of the party.

LDV asked: Do you think, as a whole, the Liberal Democrats are on the right course or on the wrong track?

The right course 55%

The wrong track 30%
Don’t know/No opinion 14%

Here are a selection of your comments:

• The narrative is getting better, the policies need to show that narrative is, counter-intuitively for many, progressive
• Campaigning on tax cuts is all well and good – but it isn’t consistent with spokesman making spending commitments. It may also help the Tories as this is a core issue for then where they will get “brand reinforcement”
• Sense that there is a tacking to the right and feel that this will not draw on the many people who are currently disillusioned with Labour but are not ready to join the Tories.
• We’ve got the best policies in a lot of areas, but we’re failing to communicate them effectively. The Tories are a policy-free PR machine, and people are being fooled. We should stick to our guns on tax, the environment, public funding of further education, and so on.
• It’s a mixed bag. Some things (like the recent knife crime announcement) are in the wrong direction, others (like the tax cuts) in the right.
• Despite my reservations we do have positive factors going for us IF we avoid the trap of becoming starry-eyed market worshippers and make our brand image the defence of freedoms.
• A bit of both – policy-wise, it’s working, results-wise, it’s not, and that’s the deciding factor.
• Mildly drifting the right direction. We need some signature campaigns.
• The trouble is that we don’t seem to be on any track, we just have a bunch of policies that may well all be sound individually but don’t add up to a cohesive narrative, and that’s what we need. Fighting the other two parties on policies is suicidal for us, because the only time we can hope to get ours heard is straight after the other two have already had a turn, by which time no one is listening.
• but we need to up our game. In Scotland we should be more cooperative with the SNP to make things happen for Scots rather than playing silly games
• We haven’t accepted its going to be impossible to get from 60 seats to 150 until we deal with the issue of funding and profile

LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (1): the Lib Dems and by-elections
LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (2): what you think of Make it Happen’s tax-cutting agenda
LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (3): what do you think of Nick Clegg’s leadership?

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Interesting, comparing this and the last results that people are on the whole happier with Clegg (68% satisfied or fairly satisfied) than they are with the progress of the party in general (55%).

“Campaigning on tax cuts is all well and good – but it isn’t consistent with spokesman making spending commitments.”

This kind of line always sounds a bit too media-led to me. It is, obviously, possible to spend money on things while also making cuts. It’s one of the most irritating features of political discourse that politicians can get away with pretending they’re mutually exclusive. But perhaps the commenter’s point is that the majority of voters will accept this commonplace even though it’s a nonsense.

by Alix on August 7, 2008 at 9:43 am. Reply #

It’s interesting there is a lot of talk about Tories in the comments….

They’ve quite clearly got you rattled…

by Ed on August 7, 2008 at 10:56 am. Reply #

😀 Um, well, they’re a political party with, you know, 40% of the vote. So we have to sort of acknowledge their existence sometimes in discussion, much though we’d rather not.

Mind you, it depends what you mean by rattled. 40% of the vote, definitely less than ideal. But one of those Tory mentions is to point out that they’re a policy-free PR machine. So rattled in any profound sense, peut-etre non.

by Alix on August 7, 2008 at 11:07 am. Reply #

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