Last night, there were grumblings on Twitter after an e-mail went out to party members from Nick Clegg addressed to Dear -name-.
I felt that the complaints about an obvious mail merge muck up were a bit unfair given that it was done by someone who’s doubtless worked stupid hours and needed to be sleeping.
That tired person also had little influence on the content of the e-mail, which I would suggest was its real problem.
What the Party needed was a cuddle, an indication that our leader understood how we were feeling after a bruising set of results. What we got was this:
“Yesterday’s election results were deeply disappointing. Across England, Scotland and Wales, we have lost many friends and colleagues who were fantastic servants to both our party and their local residents. And there is no doubt that Brian Paddick, Caroline Pidgeon and their team didn’t get the result in London that their fantastic campaign deserved. I am sorry for the losses in those elections.
But I would also like to congratulate those who bucked the trend by making gains against the Tories – teams such as Portsmouth, Cheltenham and Southport and also those who fought back strongly against Labour like Hull and Newcastle. Those results, and a vote share double what some polls had suggested, show that we will not be written off as easily as our critics may wish.
I am more determined than ever to not only to promote, but to pursue a radical liberal agenda.
Of course, being in Coalition Government brings challenges, but our party is used to setbacks and brickbats and our values remain steadfast. We’re implementing those values in Government: fairness, freedom and concern for the environment.
And we will make it crystal clear that we are fighting for those every step of the way in Government.
That’s why we have cut taxes for millions of ordinary working people, introduced the Youth Contract and Pupil Premium and are putting into place the Green Investment Bank and Green Deal.
Thank you for everything you did during the election campaign, and thank you for your ongoing support of the party.
The reason we joined the Coalition is as strong and as important today as it was two years ago: getting this country back on track, and doing it in a fair and liberal way. Only we, as Liberal Democrats, will do that.”
All a bit stiff upper lip and carry on as usual. Not enough understanding. This was not the time to go on about how right we are to be in the Coalition. It was the time to pay a real tribute to the work our councillors have done, to acknowledge the pain of losing.
Compare and contrast to Willie Rennie’s statement on Friday. He did actually write that himself and it shows that he has never stopped talking to people since he became leader. He not so much has his finger on the pulse of the party but has synchronised his own heartbeat to it.
“This is a very distressing day. We have lost many, many strong community activists who have stuck up for their area for many long years.
My message to them is this: I am sorry that you have lost out despite your tremendous efforts for the Liberal Democrats and for your communities.
These results should dispel any myth that the Liberal Democrats are only in the coalition for ourselves. We never were. It has always been about doing the right thing for the fortunes of the country.
Over this campaign I have helped fifty campaigns and met thousands of people. I have been listening and learning. I detected a change in the mood with people prepared to listen and consider us again. It wasn’t enough this time but I will be working to regain that trust and support.
We still have many strong Liberal Democrat Councillors who will join the rebuilding process for the party.
Scotland still needs strong liberal voices and we will continue to speak up for our strong liberal values.”
Nick’s ghost writer is doing him no favours. Nick himself does understand, does get how people are feeling. He’s been phoning people who have lost as has Willie. I know how much people appreciate these calls. The written communications he allows to go out in his name need his heart and soul and to show understanding of what the party needs to hear and how it needs to hear it. E-mails and party communications have improved a lot recently but this is a major step backwards and does Nick’s relationship with the Party no good at all. He needs a ghost writer with soul.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad