A Newbie’s reflections

When I first walked in to the offices of Eastbourne and Willingdon Lib Dems in April of this year, I had little idea just how swept up in it all I would get. Like many new (and more established!) members, I had got to the point with politics in this country where I felt “something must be done”!

On the first action day of the GE, I was warmly welcomed and soon sent out with the first of many walks to deliver. The bonhomie, and feeling that we were all working towards a greater good has stayed with me ever since. Being on the ground for the tail end of the local elections and the full GE campaign gave me an appreciation of how many other people shared my new-found passion for challenge and change. It also made me appreciate the necessity of an army of supporters to ensure we can continue challenge the big money (business or union) backing of other parties.

After the briefest of introductions to the local elections, the GE rapidly got into full swing. Election night in Eastbourne was bittersweet for us, our local success being tempered by the knowledge that despite working just as hard, Lib Dems across the country were meeting a brick wall. It was also the night that fully cemented my anti-Tory sentiment – as the results were announced in the town hall by the returning officer, the Tories, each and every one, booed the Green party candidate. The Tories, true to pantomime-villain form, picking on the weakest member in the room.

Since then, more Focus deliveries (I have realised they are not a relic of 20th Century campaigning, but an essential part of our message), an ALDC Kickstarter weekend, and lots of bright ideas, big challenges and equally big hopes for 2018. It’s not always been easy, juggling work and a family that includes two children under 5, but the warmth and acceptance from the established members of the team locally has made it doable.

The tide is turning. The start of some more sensible approaches to Brexit from both Tory and Labour dissidents belie the fact that voters are beginning to understand the full implications of leaving the EU. The Tory cabinet is about to pull itself apart over their vision of a future relationship with the EU. For all the nimble tight-rope walking of Keir Starmer, Corbyn has been running scared, and will soon have to grasp the Brexit nettle. Our messages on the NHS and schools are beginning to embed, and our local election success across the country continues. More new members continue to join us. We will continue to work hard for local communities and show the country our progressive policies – the fight is there to be won.

* Peter Diplock is a member of the Liberal Democrats from Eastbourne

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  • Good to hear from someone who has become involved in the “suntrap of the south.” Lets hope the rays of Liberal sunshine spread throughout Britain in 2018.

  • Simon Banks 23rd Feb '18 - 5:49pm

    In North-east Essex we had a new member who joined between the 2015 election horror surge and the referendum result surge, was thrown almost immediately into a key local election campaign as a footsoldier and recently did an excellent job as a local by-election agent in addition to taking a key role on the Executive. Not all new members will do this much, but always remember some may have that potential!

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