2021 – the year in review: July

The month began with a lost deposit in the Batley and Spen by-election and an argument over whether or not our candidacy aided or hindered Labour’s narrow retention of the seat. For the record, I’m generally minded to prefer the arguments of the locals (including local councillor and past-President of ALDC, Baroness Kath Pinnock) over, for example, someone trying to apply data from Cambridgeshire. Competing hard for votes in predominantly Liberal Democrat/Conservative wards hardly seems likely to harm Labour turnout, but what do I know?

There were, however, successful by-election gains in Elmbridge, where a more than 24% swing removed a Conservative, and on Norfolk County Council, where Rob Colwell did similarly with an even bigger near 27% swing. In London, the legendary Flick Rea had retired from her seat in Fortune Green ward, and it was retained by Nancy Jirira in a hard-fought campaign.

England were decent at football as a team of rather likeable young men, led by a decent (in every sense) manager, made it to the final of a major tournament for the first time since 1966. They didn’t win, but the way in which they lost said volumes about them. The vile abuse that some of them took afterwards said as much about the abusers. Max Wilkinson welcomed the sense of patriotism that they evoked and the society that they represented.

The debate on how to tackle the pandemic and its repercussions continued, with the Party calling for mandatory masking on public transport and against vaccine coercion. I, not entirely intentionally, kick-started an argument between the more libertarian participants on the site and the more communitarian ones about mask wearing. I still stand by my view that mask wearing is something you do as much for others as you do for yourself.

Willie Rennie announced that he was standing down as our Leader in Scotland after a decade in the top job. It wasn’t too long before Alex Cole-Hamilton threw his hat into the ring. As it turned out, it was to be a lone hat…

The Conservative culture wars continued with attempts to “protect” academic freedom, and William Wallace explained what was wrong with their proposals and what we were going to do about them. Elsewhere, our Leader in the Lords, Dick Newby, considered the question of a progressive alliance.

The opinion polls were slowly, agonisingly slowly, improving from a Liberal Democrat perspective;

Conservatives 41%, Labour 32%, Liberal Democrats 9%, Greens 8%

But, after the boost that came from the win in Chesham and Amersham, things seemed a bit more promising. Could we take advantage of the opportunity though?

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One Comment

  • Peter Hirst 1st Jan '22 - 11:49am

    Perhaps the misunderstanding of public health message is an opportunity for an increased focus on such in schools and colleges. Part of the challenge is that we don’t thankfully have many public health crises these days. Enlarging the syllabus to include teaching on public health, the what’s, the why’s and the how’s might help to prevent the next one. This could be included with increased teaching on climate change.

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