On the 27th of October, several members of Cambridge Liberal Democrats and the CSLD executive attended a policy workshop led by Michael Meadowcroft. As much of CSLD’s work involves campaigning – either on behalf of ourselves or working with CLD and their candidates – this was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the writing of campaign literature and the messages we need to be conveying.
Michael Meadowcroft, a former MP for Leeds West, has a wealth of political experience, both in the UK and abroad. Although currently a member of the Lib Dems, from 1989 to 2002 he was the leader of the refounded Liberal Party. He has also served as a senior visiting fellow of the Policy Studies Institute and as Chairman of the Electoral Reform Society – it was in this role that he has helped oversee the transition to democracy in 35 different countries, including Bosnia, Cambodia, the Palestinian Territories and Russia. He recently published a pamphlet, which he discussed at the meeting, entitled ‘Freedom, Liberty and Fairness: Liberal Democrat Values for the 21st Century’ in which he discusses the role of ideology in shaping policy.
At the workshop, Michael spoke about his experience working with and selecting candidates for Leeds city council and discussed new ideas that he had been helping to implement in producing campaign literature for Leeds Liberal Democrats. The thrust of his message was the need to integrate, at a basic level, key liberal values into every piece of literature produced – positions on local issues, he argued, have to be explained by referencing concepts fundamental to our beliefs. He also spoke about what he believes is the widespread support for the principles, if not all the policies, of the Lib Dems, and how the party can be tapping into this support.
During the workshop there was much lively discussion, and the CSLD members in attendance came away with a much better understanding of the thought process that goes into crafting party policy and producing local campaign literature.