X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Leaked Lib Dem briefing: ‘We have no evidence our tactics are working’

25 September 2012

10:17 AM

25 September 2012

10:17 AM

Lib Dem internal documents leaked to the Spectator warn that the party has no branding strategy, staff ‘lack research literacy’ and campaigns are based on ‘received wisdom’ rather than any evidence that current tactics are working.

I’ve been passed a presentation seen by aides close to Nick Clegg, staff at Lib Dem HQ, MPs and SpAds over the past few months which is damning about the party’s preparations for 2015. These slides cannot have made particularly comfortable reading for staffers and parliamentarians:

(Click on each image to view a larger version)

[Alt-Text]


The presentation paints a picture of a party operation where ‘staff lack research literacy and capacity to analyse data properly’, the impact of campaigns isn’t measured – the most damning line is ‘we have little valid evidence that our tactics actually work’ – and there is ‘no branding strategy’. This is the great leafletting problem –  the party continues to deliver Focus leaflets with incredible energy but no regard to whether those reams of paper are making any positive difference.

Ryan Coetzee will join the Lib Dems as the party’s new strategy adviser later this autumn. He is a former MP and chief executive of the South African Democratic Alliance, and has quite a job on his hands in enticing voters to back the party in 2015.  It seems the internal party machine will keep him very well-occupied, too.

I understand that those already in HQ are pushing for a strategy called ’75 by-elections’ in 2015, as an extension of the party’s great love of localism, and the great belief, which runs deep, that by-elections and local battles are where the Liberal Democrats are strongest. Of course, the great irony of the party’s narrative of the ‘By-Election Machine’ is that the last parliamentary by-election win was four years before entering the Coalition Government: in 2006 in Dunfermline and West Fife. The strategy also runs contrary to what Clegg and outgoing strategist Richard Reeves believe: that the party needs to forge a sharp national identity for itself, rather than being all things to all men.

The presentation also slams the party’s attempts at profiling voters. The slide below shows how far behind the other two parties the Liberal Democrats are:

 

leaked Lib Dem documents

(Click on the image to view a larger version.)

The Liberal Democrats are far behind the two main parties in the amount of data they hold on voters, and have only recently acquired a sophisticated database to be able to handle that sort of data (I’ve written more about this here). In 2004, the Conservatives procured their powerful Voter Vault, the same voter targeting system used by the US Republicans. Liam Fox, the party’s Chairman at the time, said: ‘Politics is now becoming very fragmented. The days when you could say this is a Labour street or this is a Tory street have gone. You can’t even say this is a Tory or a Labour house.’

Using complex modelling, Voter Vault was able to predict individual voting intentions with over 80 per cent accuracy in 2005. In 2009, Labour developed their own system, complete with psycho-demographic modelling. Yet, unlike their counterparts, the Liberal Democrats’ new Connect system suffers from a severe lack of data.

There is still time before 2015 for these gaping holes to be addressed, but Coetzee will need to set to work pretty sharpish to achieve that and put it to good use. I wonder whether he will be shown this presentation as part of his induction?

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close