November's meeting opened with a discussion with Ed Davey in which he outlined his plans for the Parliamentary Party going forwards. Collectively we deliberated on how to make sure all parts of the party are collaborating effectively and making best use of Ed’s overarching strategy.
The Moving Forward Programme
The move to joint-fund staff between Federal, State and Regional parties is paying off and we now have full time Campaign Managers/Regional Development Officers working in every Region, working in cooperation with ALDC and a substantial staff team. Our field capacity is as large as it perhaps has ever been at this stage in a Parliament supporting our campaigns teams on the ground.
In quarter 3 of 2020 we focussed a lot of our work on mapping seats to the Tiering Strategy to ensure we have a shared understanding across the party of where each of our Local Parties sits. This will help us better target the different kinds of resources we have to get the maximum number of Lib Dems elected in forthcoming elections.
This isn’t the place for a full run-down, but the Tiers are roughly:
Tier 1 = Advanced – local parties that have won their Westminster / devolved government constituency seat or are genuinely challenging to win it in the current cycle.
Tier 2 = Moving forward – developed local organisations landing second in Westminster / devolved government level OR are challenging for/have control of their local authority looking to entrench and break into being ‘advanced’
Tier 3 = Developing – local parties with their first bridgehead gains at local authority level and working to expand.
Tier 4 = Start-up – local parties working to get themselves functioning smoothly and growing.
The next stage of the work will be helping local parties to draw up their local development plans so that they can progress up the tiers. Each and every seat is an opportunity.
Pacts with opposition parties
We discussed the use of pacts and agreed that, in our view, the expected starting point is to always field a full slate of candidates and to not make pacts with opposition parties.
Naturally, though, where there are exceptional circumstances and strong arguments, pacts can be the right thing. This is especially at local level, where of course FCEC’s remit does not extend!
As a committee of experienced campaigners, we would encourage local parties considering such pacts to work closely with their regions, who do have a remit over agreeing such pacts, and make the most of the support and expertise available to them from the party. We are all pulling in one direction - painting the map gold.