Tag Archives: by-elections

Time to end this defection madness

 

Yesterday, for the second time in the space of six months, one of my local Liberal Democrat councillors resigned the party whip. Two different geographical areas. Two entirely different sets of circumstances. But two similarly devastating impacts on the blood, sweat and tears of hard working local activists.

The first occasion was in Rochdale this summer. After our previous council leader Andy Kelly lost his Milnrow & Newhey seat by a meagre 15 votes a year earlier local activists worked around the clock to help deliver a stunning victory this May with a 700 plus majority in a general election year and in so doing return the party to ‘group status’ on the council. Or so we thought. Less than a month later our other long standing councillor, Peter Rush, crossed the floor to join Labour and we were back to square one.

Fast forward six months and you find me living in Edinburgh. Last night I learnt that our Almond Ward councillor, Alastair Shields, has resigned the party whip after losing out in his recent re-selection contest to local activist Kevin Lang. Cllr. Shields will now sit as an independent until May 2017. As a result the Lib Dem presence on Edinburgh City Council is reduced from three to two.

Posted in Op-eds | 25 Comments

Are by-elections the best use of activists’ time?

Over the course of November I lost count of the exhortations I received to contribute, either financially or through my time, to the Oldham campaign. But is our current approach to by-elections the best for our party, and, if not, what wider lessons can we draw? This article is written to provoke, to challenge, and to inspire debate; equally, it is not written to insult or degrade the hard work or enthusiasm of activists or candidates with which this party is blessed.

Activists are encouraged to get involved in a by-election for a number of reasons: (i) the excellent qualities of the local candidate; (ii) the opportunity to increase our representation at Westminster; (iii) there is value in 2nd/3rd/… place; (iv) to learn about effective methods of campaigning; (v) to spread our national message; and (vi) it’s fun/sociable/exciting! But we have to realise that we are a seriously resource constrained political party. Resources are financial and people-time: activists, party staff, and political figures (e.g. MPs). I would argue that these are all more seriously limited than at any time since I joined the party in 2005, with the possible exception of activists. Even here, many will have full time commitments, a family, other volunteering work etc. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments

Has Oldham had more parliamentary by-elections than any other place in the UK?

On Tuesday I asked: “Which piece of ground in the UK has had the most parliamentary by-elections?”. I genuinely didn’t know the answer to that question when I wrote that post. We had to employ Mounted Police to deal with the deluge of replies to the question. Thanks to Tim Hill for showing interest. Prompted by Tim’s enquiry, I did a bit of research and came up with the following tentative answer.

The Oldham wards of Crompton, Lees and Shaw have had more parliamentary by-elections, spread relatively frequently over two centuries, than any other part of the UK.

Those wards were part of Littleborough and Saddleworth constituency for the by-election there in 1995. They were part of Oldham East and Saddleworth for the by-election there in 2010. And they were part of the old Oldham Borough parliamentary constituency for by-elections there in:

  • 1835
  • 1852
  • 1857
  • 1862
  • 1877
  • 1899
  • 1911
  • 1925

I haven’t exhaustively researched this, so let me know in the comments thread below if you think differently. But I think it’s a fair bet, from my reading of the lists, that those three Oldham wards, or perhaps Oldham itself, have had the most by-elections when looked at over the last two centuries. The nearest contender I could find was the “Combined Scottish Universities” seat which had by-elections in 1936,1938 and 1945. If someone can point me in the direction of a list of pre-1900 by-elections that would be very helpful in nailing this question. I couldn’t find such a list.

I think that where the Oldham by-election frequency record is so impressive is that it covers a good range of pre-1900 and post-1900 by-elections. It’s just a shame that the current Oldham West and Royton by-election doesn’t cover those three wards mentioned above but it does cover wards in the old Oldham Borough such as Chadderton. So, you could actually say that Chadderton and other western wards have had the most by-elections but that would mainly be relying on pre-1900 by-elections. Lees, Crompton and Shaw are the wards in Oldham with the most impressive frequency of pre-1900 and post-1900 by-elections.

But you don’t get away with reading this that lightly! Please help Jane Brophy and the team at Oldham West and Royton in the next few days.

Here’s all the info you need on how to get there:

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

A message from Oldham from the Lib Dems there this weekend

imageThe Oldham West and Royton by-election HQ has been busy this weekend as Liberal Democrats head there from all over the country are heading there. Rather than snuggling up on the sofa with a good book and Majorsrise on Twitter (which is really getting exciting at the moment, possibly even more so than when I lived through it), they’ve headed out into the freezing cold to help the old #libdemfightback. Among those there today are our own Paul Walter who went up all the way from Newbury.

But why are they going? This video tells you.

I am so utterly soft that when I watched it, I had a wee tear in my eye.

IF you are wondering what to do with yourself tomorrow, why not head over there? They do seem to be having a great time.

Here’s all the info you need on how to get there:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Help get the Oldham postal vote out

Half of people in Oldham West and Royton get their ballot papers in the next few days. Can you encourage them to cast their votes for the excellent Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Brophy?

National Campaigns Officer Steve Jolly explains why you should:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Tim Farron MP writes…Come and help Jane Brophy in Oldham West and Royton

Tim Farron & Jane Brophy OldhamThis party has given me so much. I joined as a 16 year old and it has given me lifelong friends and an extended family.

Today I am asking a favour from you. I hope you know me well enough to know that I only do that when it matters. I am asking for your help to support my good friend Jane Brophy and our Oldham West & Royton campaign.

I was there a couple of weeks ago to launch the campaign and to be honest you will struggle to keep me away! Our MPs and virtually all of our peers will be going too to support Jane. So I am asking you to help her too.

The energy of the campaign was brilliant. It was great!

We are campaigning on our record – the only party that actually opposed tax credits, fought the welfare changes and is standing up for small business and entrepreneurship. We have a strong message. We just need to sell it.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Why I am standing in the Haringey by-election

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderTwo council by-elections have just been called in the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency. And – I’m pleased to say – I’ve been selected as the candidate for one of them.

It’s not the first time I’ve been involved in a Lib Dem campaign. I stood as a London target ward candidate in 2014, and then I ran Lynne Featherstone’s General Election campaign. Since then, I’ve helped Tim’s leadership campaign.

Now, I’m ready to take on this one. Here’s why.

Firstly, both wards are currently represented by a Labour-run Council and a Labour MP.

Posted in Council by-elections | 6 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAndy Hyde 5th May - 9:29am
    Must add Neil Lewis standing for PCC in Cheshire, doing a fantastic job and educating us all and social media campaigning.
  • User Avatarexpats 5th May - 9:15am
    ........................The electorate will decide the good doctor’s immediate fate, but if a historic turnout for South Yorkshire PCC elections of under 15% is maintained a...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 5th May - 9:02am
    Hywel "is a flawed statement as you don’t usually not knock people up a second time based on whether you spoke to them first time."...
  • User AvatarSimon Boyd 5th May - 7:50am
    Absolutely atrocious treatment of a man who helped Britain.
  • User AvatarManfarang 5th May - 2:58am
    Matt (Bristol) Being born in Britain in Britain no longer automatically gives British citizenship. Only in Nothern Ireland is there an allegiance question. Most of...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 5th May - 2:01am
    Anyone not aware of the difference between talking to people you not only do not like , but dislike , because you must, to seek...