For what they’re worth, here’s my thoughts on the election and, specifically, the failure of ‘Cleggmania’ to materialise in the polls.
It wasn’t the Sun wot hung it, it was the fact the party was unprepared for the recognition it got through the leaders debates.
Plenty of effort was put into Clegg’s personal campaign – battlebuses and media rooms and so on – but the Liberals don’t seem to have the rank and file organisation (yet) to achieve their aims. I was going to write more, then I discovered that Dan from the Empty Shops Network in Worthing had said everything I felt three weeks ago. Prescient git. Here’s his thoughts:
Clegg and the Lib Dems, however, don’t seem to have figured for becoming popular. There’s no system in place to get posters to local supporters, let alone mobilise those people into a mass door-knocking campaign. The Lib Dem party can’t maintain at a grassroots level the momentum it has at the top.
Read it, it’s a very good piece. All I’d add is that it isn’t just about having the mometum, it’s about having the money too. I don’t have the figures for the campaign overall, but in the first week contributions to Labour and the Conservatives were in the hundreds of thousands, while the LibDems – at the peak of their popularity – raised £20K. Probably enough for a day on the battlebus, in other words.