Friday, June 27, 2008

It's time to dump some sacred cows

There have been some interesting blog posts and LDV comments about Henley. Darrell on the LDV thread mentioned doing away with "Winning here". Agreed. It is nauseating.

Tabman asked: “How much time and activists is “enough”? ”

Well, there were 400 activists at the last weekend. I seem to remember nearly 1,000 at the last weekend of the Newbury by-election. I apologise if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is true that activist turnout was down - why was this?

I am not sure how “hands on” Chris Rennard’s role was at Henley. But any Chief Executive should take a fairly back seat role in such a situation.

We need to consider that Chris Rennard’s old 15 seconds “doormat to dustbin” no longer applies, perhaps. It’s more like 0.5 seconds from doormat pile to recycling bin in some cases. I saw a bloke in Henley-on-Thames come home from work, stand at his door and literally throw thirty pieces of paper straight from picking them up on his doormat into the recycling bin. Not much chance of getting the message through there! People often have their recycling bin on their doorstep now - so there is no time for them to glance at the leaflet while they walk through to the kitchen to put it into the bin. So does one of the fundamental building-blocks of "Rennardism" now no longer apply? As Liberty Alone says, around the year a Focus is likely to be read. But in the heat of a campaign, maybe we need to have less quantity? (Gosh - did I say that? Crikey - I never thought I would).

It is worth considering the comparative turn outs for us in the various areas in Henley constituency. I hear Thame was not good, and we were relying on it. Henley-on-Thames - itself - we were not expecting much of but in the event our turnout was good there. Why was that? Could it be - perish the thought - that our message about Townlands hospital in Henley-on-Thames got through locally there, whereas there was no equivalent "ginger message" in Thame to send people beetling off to the polling booths?

And are we putting enough focus and resource into getting our postal vote proportions up? The Tories consistently beat us here. Why is that - and what can we do to correct it?

I agree with Andy M on the LDV comments thread that we need to place less reliance on by-elections and concentrate on success elsewhere.

We first started inventing ourselves as the little tiddler fish of the parties which won by-elections in the sixties. For a while that's all we did in the public eye - win by-elections. We’re bigger now. It’s time to change our attitude to by-elections so that they are not such an important part of our game plan and such a huge chunk of our self-perception of our party's strength.

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