Alison Holmes will have to use her Lib Dems budget carefully.
Alison Holmes, the Liberal Democrats’ planning manager, wishes she could
get her hands on a proper budget. ‘If we had a six-figure sum to spend
at the next election, I’d be over the moon. The Tories get loads of
invisible support from huge corporations,’ the fast-talking American
But however little the party can muster, she’s determined to spend it
wisely. ‘We have to be very resourceful with our two-and-a-half pence,’
Last week, Knight Leach Delaney was declared the recipient of that tidy
sum (Campaign, 15 March). Previous work, such as a campaign for Mates
condoms, had impressed Holmes and the Lib Dems’ general election team.
‘Stuart Leach [KLD’s managing director] has already shown he is very
good at adapting an idea across lots of different media using things
such as postcards and puzzles,’ Holmes explains. ‘A political campaign
is not just about TV.’
The decision was made easier by Leach’s support for the party. After
many years’ involvement, he became a key member of the party’s
advertising advice committee when it was set up last September.
Holmes, 31, comes from a family of fervent Democrats; both she and her
two brothers have campaigned for the party cause.
Since she moved to the UK in 1988, Holmes has worked across a number of
portfolios for the Lib Dems - as a researcher on Irish affairs for David
Alton and then for Paddy Ashdown. During the last election she was the
principal support for the party’s communications chief, Des Wilson.
Holmes has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. She has topped up her
US masters degree in social policy with an international relations
diploma from the London School of Economics. She is now researching a
PhD looking at the conflict in Northern Ireland.
But has this feisty American any desire to become an MP herself? ‘It’s
very difficult for a foreigner - although Brian Gould did it. At the
moment, it’s enough for me to be involved in the campaign. But perhaps
I’m just waiting for someone to ask.’