The Big Moan - The Findings

July 20, 2016 10:30 PM
By Barry Holliday

Nottingham City Lib Dems, with friends from Broxtowe and Rushcliffe recently had a meeting and workshop to process our feelings post referendum and to start to turn these into actions to move forward. I'd like to share them with you all as I think they could apply to any local party and how we all campaign for a liberal Britain.

Working in pairs and with others on their table, there was a lot of discussion based on the following three questions:

  1. How have your thought and feelings changed since the referendum?
  2. What are your thoughts and feelings now?
  3. What are your thoughts now?

In a general discussion the following points were noted about thoughts now:

  • Can we stay close to Europe?
  • There are a lot of comments in the media
  • Single market = Free movement
  • Some leavers now regret their vote
  • Opportunities for LD party politics
  • It may be impossible to leave
  • Research funding is at risk
  • Loss of the European Arrest Warrant poses security risks
  • Leave campaign was dishonest
  • Need to address inequality
  • Talk about and prove benefits
  • Positives of immigration

To complete this session we asked everyone in their groups to consider what was the worst and the best as a result of the referendum. The results are shown in the table below:



Teresa May and her Government

Increased political awareness

Recognition of divided nation - society polarised - young v old, Scotland v England, Better off v poor - disunited kingdom

Focus on refined accessible messages

Constitutional problems - Scotland, Northern Ireland leads to confusion

Opportunity for Liberal Democrats

Exposure to economic forces - uncertainty

Cross party centre

End of EU project

Push for the EU to reform

Debasing of truth

Increased ability to sign new trade deals

Tories in control of Brexit vision. No mandate

Independence from EU rules

Internal Tory party machinations

Clear case for constitutional change

TTIP on steroids!

Farage gone!

Right press reinforced - dishonest press

Brexiteers given rope to hang themselves

Parliament and politics devalued

Both Tory and Labour party could split

Clearer knowledge of lack of a plan for Brexit

Clearer knowledge of lack of Brexit plan

Trust in politicians worse - distrust of lying politicians

Need a vision for Europe


50% increase in membership in the last 3 weeks

Economic disaster

Interest in politics - because it matters

May not even be possible

Is Norway enough?

UKIP could rise

Wake up to the Liberal tendency

Break up of EU?

Opportunity for centre coalition of cooperation

Company wants to trade

Where Are We Now?

We started campaigning early in Late January, over the course of the 6 months we held 12 street stalls in a variety of places, shopping areas, park & ride stops and focussing in the last 2 months on the market square in the city centre. We handed out or delivered over 18 thousand Lib Dem branded pro EU leaflets and over 6 thousand 'stronger in' leaflets. I also spoke at local debates. City lib dems also supported events held by lib dems and stronger in cross party events in Gedling, Erewash & Broxtowe.

Obviously the national result wasn't the one we wanted, but looking at local results 2 out of the 3 Nottingham constituencies delivered a majority remain vote, and every council ward we were able to work in delivered a remain vote. If you compare Nottingham to other similar northern, labour stronghold cities we should have seen a 65% leave vote, but Nottingham was 50.8%. If we write off the 2015 general election as a coalition backlash and look at the 2010 election, in East we polled 24% of votes and in south 23%. There is a liberal core in nottingham, we just need to reach them to show we are here, we are relevant and we can fight. It's clear that we have an impact, where we work, we win.

Where Next

All tables now worked on outlining some ideas for the future and these are summarised in the table below:

My street

My ward

My constituency


  • Talk to and encourage neighbours to join LDs
  • Talking to people
  • Publicise our social media address
  • Leaflet the street
  • Do case work
  • Have a street stall
  • Deliver
  • Canvass
  • Questionnaires
  • Promote EU stuff
  • Listening
  • Arrange teams to canvass in campaigns
  • Establish energetic council candidates
  • Pick up casework and local causes to insert into focus
  • Use of students
  • Focus, street stalls, petitions on local issues, surveys
  • Social events
  • Write letters to newspapers
  • Select PPC
  • Cross- party events/instructions not to talk to other parties
  • Include non target areas to build trust

  • Target swing groups - religious, Pride, trade unions, Remainers


  • Get Tim Farron and Sal Brinton visiting
  • Build up online email presence
  • Recruit neighbours
  • Lots more of Leaflet and door knocking
  • Contact EU citizens (clubs, Euro connections)
  • Work with pressure groups e.g. fracking
  • Regular focus
  • Target strategy - drip, drip
  • Produce local online content
  • Candidate recognition
  • Build up a PPC profile
  • Email/letter to MP
  • Nottingham Post letter
  • Write to local papers
  • Street stalls in the right locations
  • Asians - led by an Asian personality
  • Publicise our commitment to rejoin EU
  • Be prepared to exploit Labour, if they implode
  • Build active membership
  • Build up a strategic vision for post EU
  • Continue recruitment


  • Show liberal values
  • Re-contact past members
  • Street stalls with information

Bring Lib Dems together to do stuff

  • Win County elections
  • Implementing plan we have spent years developing
  • Policy formulation
  • Prepare for General Election
  • Raise funds for professional literature
  • Candidates in place
  • Educate the electorate
  • Be ready for County Council elections

Yours liberally,

Barry Holliday

Nottingham Lib Dems
Vice-Chairperson, Campaigns Officer