Yesterday afternoon a new political website was launched. The title for the website is the seemingly anti-LD http://www.WhatTheHellHaveTheLibDemsDone.com.
An initially tempting concept designed to attract ardent Labourites and staunch Tories to gloat in their public flogging of the Liberals over the tuition fees u-turn and other seemingly irreversibly damaging decisions since entering the Coalition Government last year.
Once in, the rather bland yet suitable website all becomes clear. Since forming the Government with the Conservatives they have, according to the site, achieved a great deal that they had promised in their pre-Coalition manifesto. Obviously the creator, failed LD Northwest Norfolk PPC William Summers, seems to have noticed that his party has been receiving a hard time of late.
Whether or not it will pay dividends electorally and start to genuinely reconstruct the credibility of their party remains to be seen; but with them currently trailing at 10% (YouGov) it may seem like a long way off before any campaigning, digital or otherwise, can restore the power they had after the initial TV debates.
It is worth highlighting that this bears no formal endorsement from the Liberal Democrat office, and why would it? The current toxicity of their brand would only serve to pollute the simple and elegant attempt at viral marketing that is so popular with the Twitter generation. It takes an ingenious loner activist to come up with a concept as philosophically witty as this, and as the creator was a PPC there is little doubt the LDHQ would have at least been aware of his antics.
One logical route that this site ignores is the role that Conservative politicians have agreed, aided and supported these campaigns for policy reform. This website makes the unconscious association that as these developments were in the LD manifesto that they must only have been pushed through due process solely by the Liberal Democrats. It will be interesting to see how CCHQ respond (if at all!) to this guerilla style of public relations activity, especially as they appear to need to up their game at present.
Establishing credible institutional reputation following crises (e.g. BP) will take a while. But items such as this will be the welcome first salvos for Lib Dem activists everywhere. The 3,000 hits the site has received in the measly few hours since its launch is testament to this. The fight to regain their momentum seems to be starting here, and the Conservatives need to prepare for it.