I’m going to do a proper post tomorrow, but thought I’d signal-boost something Penny Goodman told me about just now.
One of the things I’m most worried about this election is that while the Lib Dems have our highest number of members ever, that might not translate into useful activism. One problem we had in 2010 was that we gained in votes but lost seats — partly because a lot of members decided that since we were getting popular they should campaign in their local seat rather than in a nearby target.
As a minority party, we have to target *ruthlessly* at election times. There’s no point in fifty people working themselves to death in Constituency A, and fifty more next door in Constituency B, to get good second places in both, when if everyone worked in Constituency A we’d win comfortably.
(That’s not to say we shouldn’t work in both seats all the rest of the time — a seat only moves from unwinnable to winnable after that work — but at election time, targeting resources is necessary to win seats.)
But how as an activist do you best know where to spend that crucial next three and a half weeks? Visit http://www.libdems.org.uk/win and enter your postcode. That will tell you what seat near you (it seems to be within a ten mile radius) most needs help. Note that that’s not necessarily the same as what seat is most winnable — it may be that you live in a seat we’re fairly sure we’re going to win comfortably, but you could do most good in the next constituency over. It’s telling you *where you can make most difference*.
Now that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference where you are — if you’re isolated by geography, disability, or something like that, working where you are is always worthwhile. But if you’re in a no-hope seat and you can get to a key marginal five miles away which needs help, this will help you discover that.
If you’re an activist, you want to make a difference. This site will help you discover where you can make most difference.
Why the heck are westmoreland & leeds north west down as places most needing help (i’m in newcastle!) Surely we can’t be in trouble in those seats too?!!
How odd. I mean, held seats *do* need help quite a bit (there’s no such thing as a safe seat for the Lib Dems, after all — we need to work to keep all of them), but eighty miles or so would seem a *little* too far to expect someone to travel, even given that the North East is sadly not our strongest area.
My best guess is that the list of places needing help will contain our nine held seats and, say, the top fifty targets (I wouldn’t know for sure without trying the kind of exhaustive enumeration that would take all day). We haven’t released what our top fifty targets are publicly, of course, but looking at http://www.electionpolling.co.uk/battleground/targets/liberal-democrat , which ranks the 150 seats which would be our targets based on the 2015 election results, the top fifty would only contain Berwick and Redcar in the North East. So if it works that way, then Westmorland and Leeds NW probably *would* pop up — we *really* need to get more of a base in the North East, because we’re currently nowhere there :-/
(That’s definitely not the actual target list we’re using — I know at least a couple of tier one targets I’ve been told of that aren’t in that top 150 at all, because of very unusual local circumstances — but it’s probably fairly close).
Frankly if I were in Newcastle I’d just donate the money I would have spent travelling to a target seat to the party’s campaign fund and then do a couple of leaflet rounds there, in the hope of building some sort of base for the next election or the one after :-/
Speaking as a Leeds North West activist, we really do need the help there. We can win it, but it’s tight and we’ll only pull it off if we get the numbers through the doors. If you can make it down to help, please do – you will be very welcome!