Grassroots beats astroturfing – official

With apologies for running two Lib Dem presidential election stories in one day – I am trying to cut down – promise!

Remember Lembit claiming he was set to win because he had more members on his Facebook group than the other candidates? Of course, since anyone can join a Facebook group, it turned out that Mark Littlewood for one was only registered so he could get more information, and a large number of other people appeared to simply be members because they were nutty-bonkers students, it didn’t mean very much.

But it is pretty significant when even Lembit’s attempts at astroturfing pale away into insignificance compared to Ros’ attempts at recruiting actual supporters:

If I were running Ros’ campaign, I’d be on the blower to the BBC to insist they do a piece on this, for balance.

Oh, and don’t forget to join my new group.


  1. I doubt the BBC would be interested in the balance point, James. They merely covered Lembit’s claim at the close of nominations. If he’d said “I’m going to win because I’m the tallest candidate”, they would have covered that too (and wouldn’t print an update if Ros had now grown by 6 inches…although they might cover that as a story in its own right!).

    The bigger point for me, which I have found pretty jaw-dropping is the nature of the rules governing the election. So insanely restrictive are the channels of permitted communication that if you’re an interested voter, joining facebook groups or the like is probably the best way of hearing from the pitch from each candidate.

  2. I may or may not develop opinions on the party’s election regulations in, oh, about a fortnight? 🙂

  3. Yeah, I guess that’s fair. It’s probably wrong to second guess the system in the heat of battle.

    But sod it…

    By God, isn’t the system mad?

    For about a month now, I’ve been guessing (quite publicly) that the result will be 60-70% Ros, 20-30% Lembit, 2-3% Chandila.

    Actually, I think Chandila might perform a bit better than those predictions, but it is definitely going to be a Ros landslide win.

    The electoral rules and procedures really are loopy. If this was an election that was (a) very close or (b) seriously contentious or (c) of interest to the wider public, then the party would be very exposed. And rightly so.

  4. All of our internal elections, except for the leadership, all suffer from the same limiting campaign rules.
    It’s all well and good trying to provide a level playing field, but in doing so and going for the lowest common denominator it severly restricts campaigning. And also means that the rules lag behind current campaigning methods.
    During the Euro selections Facebook groups (and other social networking stuff) were essentially barred if set up by the candidate! At least the curreny presidential election seems to have taken a small step fwd…

  5. I,m on Lembit’s facebook group and I’m not bonkers. I resnt the claim that anybody who votes for Lembit is.

  6. Given that I didn’t say that everyone on the FB group, let alone that everyone who voted for him, was bonkers, and that the exact phrase I used was “nutty-bonkers students,” (I’m not accusing you of being a student either, although you may well be), I’m afraid I must question either your sanity or your English literacy.

    It’s spelt “resent” by the way.

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