Lib Dem campaign guide: "be wicked, act shamelessly, stir endlessly"

The underhand tactics evidently often deployed by the Lib Dems at the local level could perhaps best be described by one line from a campaigning guide published by a group representing Lib Dem councillors.

The strategy guide titled Effective Opposition, first exposed back in 2002 but remaining available for several years until discontinued, set out clearly the group's attitude to how Lib Dem campaigners should approach local elections.

Published by the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors (ALDC) - an autonomous but official 'Associated Organisation' of the party - the handbook's most controversial recommendation was to: "be wicked, act shamelessly, stir endlessly".

However it also advises candidates to "exaggerate" claims and to use a range of other negative campaigning tactics.

As a blog posting on The Guardian's website reminded us more recently, on page 23 the handbook advises candidates "Don't be afraid to exaggerate" and on page 4 "Positive campaigning will NOT be enough to win control of the council."

On page 6 the handbook encourages duplicity, saying "you can secure support from voters who normally vote Tory by being effectively anti-Labour and similarly in a Tory area secure Labour votes by being anti-Tory."

We're finding evidence of all these tactics being employed in the Lib Dems' local campaigning.

What this publication shows is that the incidents we're uncovering can't just be dismissed as the ill-judged actions of the occasional 'bad apple', but are instead symptomatic of broader, rotten attitudes to democracy.


  1. see this blog post on application of this guide in Bristol

  2. Unknown to the other two main political parties, this has gone on for years.

    Suggestion, any Lib-Dem who wants to join either of the other parties should be questioned very carefully on these issues and invited to give up their copy of this disgraceful book.

    This book is now only available to Lib-Dem members.

    This may explain why the are continually trying to clam the high moral middle ground !

  3. Ever read Labour's "Beating the Liberals: Lessons from Lambeth"?

  4. Be assured that the Lib Dems in Romsey have acted on the guidance so much over the last ten years it wouldn't come as a surprise to find that they are the authors of the handbook, despite the fact that Clegg is supposed to have "withdrawn" it last October! Old habits die hard!