There has been a lot of talk in the media about the New Politics in this country. I personally think the new coalition government has the potential to help us get away from the old tribalism and encourage people to think more and condemn less. It, and the country, will only succeed if we listen more and lecture less. That challenge is there for all parties but is of course very relevant to the Liberal Democrats, as a party that has been preaching Pluralistic politics for many years and now has to work out how to practice it.
We in the Lib Dems also have to work out how to fashion a new way to engage with our supporters and then get enthusiasm for our positive political agenda. I was struck at the election during a hustings how we had gone about 20 minutes into the session without any of the three party candidates talking about policy. The debate was focusing on how the leaders did in the debates and how voting for one of the other parties was a waste of time. In addition of course the other two parties returned frequently to the idea that a vote for the Liberal Democrats was of course a sneaky way of supporting their opponent!
I believe that lie has been disproved. As I have detailed in some of my earlier posts, voting Lib Dem this time has meant that a significant amount of our policies are to be put into practice.
It is clear to me that all the parties are going to have to have a rethink about how to engage with voters. I hope that the day of the negative attack leaflet is on the wain. I think there was some evidence during the campaign that this worked less well than before for all three major parties.
Voters are keen for more personal contact and new activists want to do things differently.
I would welcome people getting in touch with ideas of how politicians can engage positively with their communities. I have some ideas, which I will probably pad out in further posts, but I am aware that I do not have all the answers. Contact me at Neil at Blaydonlibdems.org.uk