A special blog post from Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough Council and chair of ALDC.
I know this advice comes from ALDC every year – make sure you have a full slate of candidates standing in every ward – but I want to tell you it is possible and you should really try to make this a reality.
If the recent result in Sunderland is anything to go by, it is vital that we stand again everywhere. The party can win seats in areas that campaigners had previously written off and that is why I want you to make it your top priority in the weeks ahead.
There are a few steps to make this easier for you this May.
Ask – With our high membership numbers, there’s a new pool of people who might be willing to stand. I know from discussions with campaigners on the ground across the UK, 20% of our candidates have never stood before and are keen to make an impact this May. It is also a question of asking previous candidates, who maybe had a tough past experience, to stand again. It might not be a totally new political climate, but I know from my own experience, it definitely feels nicer on the doorsteps. The Liberal Democrats can only achieve more gains if there are people to stand and fight in town halls for the open, tolerant, united Britain that we believe in. A few top tips from ALDC.
Share the LGA and ALDC’s Be A Councillor Guide – This guide simply explains and answers many of those difficult questions about what is involved – everything from the time commitment to casework. It is important we are truthful – work is involved, but it is also great fun. Download the guide.
Use ALDC’s Approval and Selection toolkit – This has taken some of the best practice from Portsmouth and other successful seats, to help you make sure you are approving and selecting candidates in a consistent way. Get a copy of the toolkit.
You still need paper candidates – While the Lib Dems are winning in lots of seats, we do still need to make sure we are targeting our resources. The by-election results have not just happened; they have taken a tremendous amount of work. Therefore, we need people who are just prepared to stand and not win. Again we just need to make sure we are asking.
Get the nominations – You require 10 signatures from voters in the ward. The quickest method is just to walk down the street with the register and ask people by knocking on doors. [Keep a record of who signs on Connect for next time.] Explain the process: “We want to stand a candidate to give voters a choice and we have to collect 10 signatures to get their name on the ballot paper. It doesn’t mean you have to vote for them or that you necessarily support the party.”
All in all I want you to go away and ensure we have a full selection of candidates this May, to give voters a democratic choice. It is also vital that we all contribute to the Lib Dem national share of the vote and candidates in every seat improves credibility. Part of this is being seen to be fighting on the broadest possible front.
If you are looking for more help or advice, be sure to contact ALDC.
And finally good luck! I know a full slate can seem like hard work, but it really does pay dividends in the long run.
PS. Don’t forget to tell ALDC. Please make sure you let ALDC know where you have a candidate standing this May by filling in this quickform. They can then provide you with help and support. Please don’t leave it to someone else, we’d rather have the information twice than not at all. If you have a long list of candidates to tell us, it might be easier to put the contents in an email and send it to Jenny (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please also email if you are standing down this time, and fill in the new candidate’s details if you know them.