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.