Friday, January 25, 2008

Campaigning - Montgomeryshire style.

We arranged a lunch today at the Village Hall in Llandrinio. The speaker was the very engaging MP for Shrewsbury, Daniel Kawczynski. Over 70 people turned up - about a third of them non-members of the Party. So I decided to introduce Daniel, and outline a few thoughts on what sort of an approach I want to take towards campaigning.

Like every political association, we want to win elections - but I want us to be a lot more than just a vote gathering operation. We run a full time office, which is difficult to finance without the support of any local councillors, an AM, or an MP. But we do it. We set out to be accessible to everyone in Montgomeryshire, irrespective of political affiliation, to do what we can to help with issues that concern them. We are setting out to build a solid reputation as dependable and responsive.

Another key aspect of our approach is not to be in any way dismissive of those who support our opponents. It just makes no sense. If we are going to start winning elections in Montgomeryshire, we need to persuade people who have never previously considered voting for us to change their minds. They won't do that if we insult them. So everybody is welcome in our office. Daniel K slots very well into that strategy.

Biggest issue today was the EU Constitution/Treaty. I was surprised how angry people are about it. They insisted on signing a petition to send to our local Liberal Democrat MP, demanding that he stand by his promise to vote for a referendum. Some chance of that, I don't think! The Lib Dems position on this issue is deeply duplicitous. Nick Clegg has been calamitously unconvincing. They are trying to maintain that the 'constitution' that was previously proposed (and on which they promised a referendum) is a significantly different document from the treaty that Gordon Brown wants the UK to sign up to. David Laws was adamant on this point on Question Time last night. I don't think many people believed him - and I don't think many people would believe our MP if he said the same thing. I'm told that the Lib Dem MPs are deeply split on this issue. Its certainly true that Lib Dem bloggers are kicking lumps out of Nick Clegg over this. Quite right too. They are trying to hoodwink the voters. Off to the Farmer's Ball now. I wonder what they'll have to say about the EU Treaty.


Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Clegg's head is spinning faster than a spinning-top toy. Isn't Clegg ‘the one’ who did community service for carrying out an experiment in combustion in Germany? Maybe Clegg has progressed to burning up pledges. How can the Lib-Dems now argue against a referendum on this treaty, a treaty hated by the people of Great Britain. Answer: look no further than ST-Clegg (spinning-top Clegg).

Ryan Paul Rogers said...

Glyn, I have to admit I have been very impressed with the progress made in Montgomeryshire in recent years in comparison with other constituencies. It is important to run a professional campaign that build the party a good reputation. Keep up the good work!

With regards to the EU treaty it appears the cross party campaign "I Want A Referendum" are balloting Aberconwy on whether there should be a referendum ... should be quite interesting... shame it hasnt had much press coverage so far!

peredur said...

If you are surprised about the strength of feeling about the EU, you are clearly not in touch.

This is by far the biggest issue to me and to most of the people I speak to.

I think you are probably still in Welsh assembly mode. Most people, however, get passionate about national, not parochial, affairs. That is why assembly elections have such a low turnout.

Glyn Davies said...

Chris - Clegg has sacrificed his credibility already over this issue.

Paul - it is going well here. There's a bit of truth in my nain's saying that if you work hard, results look after themselves.

Peredur - On the contrary, I have to try hard not to lose my great interest in Assembly matters. I agree with you that this is a crucial issue. I have been shocked that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are being so duplicitous. If they were to admit that they have changed their minds, I could have some respect for them - but both parties deserve the British public's contempt.

The Finch said...

"arranged a lunch today at the Village Hall in Llandrinio. The speaker was the very engaging MP for Shrewsbury, Daniel Kawczynski. Over 70 people turned up" -

Poor bugger after the week he had, then having to go to the lunch.
You would think he had better things to do with his time, not least his own constiuency.

Glyn Davies said...

finch - Daniel is a good friend of mine, and wants to help my cause. It was absolutely nothing to do with the facts that Llandrinio is just a hop from his constituency and that there were some guests there from Shrewsbury!

Anonymous said...

Free Europe! Vote YES at

The Finch said...

"that there were some guests there from Shrewsbury"!

Ah taking coals to Newcastle, as my Dad would say!

Glyn Davies said...

finch - more reaching out to Llandrinio. As it happens, Daniel lives quite near to shawbury, which is itself quite near to Newcastle (Staffs). I hope to work very closely with Owen Paterson, (North Shrops) Phillip Dunne (South Shrops) and Daniel on cross border issues - which is crucial for Montgomeryshire. So don't knock it.

Anonymous said...

The Finch has a very good point.
Why was Daniel having to bus them in?
The other "local" lads will have enough on their plate as it is, so I would have thought.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - Not sure what you are getting at. Offa's Dyke is not a physical obstuction. Several Shropshire people will attend our events - just as Montgomeryshire people will attend theirs. Owen, Phillip and Daniel are supportive of me and have been to Montgomeryshire before. Since devolution, these cross border links have become even more important, and I hope that contact between Conservatives (and others) will increase. It can only benefit both sides.