Author Archives: Wayne Chadburn

The challenge in Yorkshire


Nationally it might be argued that the General Election was a moderate success for the Liberal Democrats and, maybe, even baby steps towards a revival.  A net increase of 4 seats on 2015 with a marginal decrease in the national share, which could arguably be put down to significant tactical voting, could provide some evidence of this.  However I would argue this masks disastrous performances regionally which should be of massive concern to the national party going forward.

I’d like to focus on my own region, Yorkshire.  Yorkshire contains 51 seats.  Going into the 2017 election you would have thought that the Lib Dems couldn’t do worse than their performance in 2015 where we had been reduced to just 2 Yorkshire MPs (Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam and Greg Mulholland in Leeds North West) and a massively reduced share of the regional vote.  In 2010, the Lib Dems won 3 seats in Yorkshire with near misses in Sheffield Central (less than 200 votes away) and Hull North (less than 650 votes away).  They polled 23% of the vote in Yorkshire and retained every deposit easily.

Fast forward to what many consider the nadir of Liberal Democratic performance in 2015.  It still resulted in 2 MPs and saved deposits in almost half of the seats in Yorkshire and a 7.3% share of the vote.  Surely this was as bad as it could get for the Liberal Democrats in Yorkshire?  Unfortunately not.  On 8th June the Lib Dems lost both seats they held as well as 41 of their 51 deposits. They polled in excess of 10% of the vote in only 4 of the 51 seats in Yorkshire.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 43 Comments

Is there room in this party for a pro-Brexit liberal?

Since the result to the EU referendum result was declared on 24th June last year, one thing that has been crystal clear is that of the three main Britain wide political parties the Lib Dems are the party of the 48% whose driving ambition at the moment it seems is to fight to remain in the EU. If a man or woman on the street were approached by a pollster and asked which of the main nationwide parties has the most defined position on Brexit it would be the Lib Dems and that it is very much the most pro-EU national party.

Maybe because of this (or because of the contemptible joke the Labour party has become) the Liberal Democrat fortunes appear, at long last, to be on the up. For this I am very happy. This country needs a strong and vocal opposition and one that is capable of opposing the Tories across the length and breadth of Britain. Labour clearly either can’t or won’t do this, so the Lib Dems appear the only sane voice of reason opposing the increasingly extreme Tory government across England, Scotland and Wales.

Posted in Op-eds | 115 Comments

Opinion: A once in a generation chance for democracy

Yorkshire I wrote an opinion piece for LibDem Voice on 26th August arguing for devolution for the regions.  My piece elicited a mixed response.  The events of the last few days, in my opinion, have made this viewpoint more mainstream and catapulted this issue up the political agenda.  We have a once in a lifetime chance to change the way we are governed in this country for the better and repair the damage done by scandal, expenses and the notion that we are governed by a small number of people from the same socio-economic background.  We have an opportunity to re-invent a truly democratic model of governance at a national and local level.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 23 Comments

Opinion: The argument for devolution

Yorkshire DalesThe British economy and hence the politics of Britain are London-centric. Of this there is no doubt.  Gross Value Added figures, which show the value of goods and services produced by the different regions of the UK highlight this perfectly. The Gross Value Added figure for London is in excess of £37,000 per head of the population. The only other region which gets above £20,000 is the South East.

The gap between London, the South East and the other regions of the UK in terms of economic power and hence influence, is widening by the day. Government after government have used the trickle-down economic argument for saying a strong London means a strong UK. Time after time, this argument fails.  A radical change is needed if this process is to be arrested – or even slowed. The UK needs ALL its regions to be buoyant, efficient and net contributors to its economy.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 29 Comments

Opinion: Why I joined the Liberal Democrat Phoenix, not the Liberal Democrat Titanic

PhoenixNo-one can deny that this has been a horrible week electorally for the Liberal Democrats.  It might also be argued that to join the Liberal Democrats at this time is akin to landing on the Titanic prior to it hitting the iceberg.  At least that is what has been said to me but to no avail. A few weeks ago I resigned my membership of the Labour party and joined the Liberal Democrats. Whilst the events of the last few days have saddened me and caused me considerable angst, not for …

Posted in Op-eds | 34 Comments

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