A win in Richmond Park will put rocket boosters under the Lib Dem Fightback

sarah-olney-for-rp-600There are a lot of good reasons to go and campaign for Sarah Olney in Richmond Park – to send the government a message on Brexit, Heathrow and our NHS, to champion our open, tolerant and united message and to support our fantastic candidate Sarah.

But if that’s not enough for some of you, think about this: We lost 3 seats in South West London in 2015 – at least 2 of which voted heavily to remain in the referendum on 23rd June. And neighbouring seats like Wimbledon where I’m the candidate and even Putney, are stack full of moderate, centrist, pro-EU voters who are just as open to our pro-EU message.

That means if we can win in Richmond Park, we can show that we can give a real voice to the 60-70%+ of voters in these areas that wanted to remain in the EU and are worried about what comes next. It means that we can challenge the Conservatives in areas we never thought possible before – areas that voted strongly to remain but have not had a Lib Dem MP for a long time, if ever– areas like Wimbledon, Battersea or even Kensington. Taking the fight to the Tories almost literally where they live.

That means government MPs and even some Ministers will be under pressure again for the first time in a long time – and certainly since the near collapse of the Labour as an effective opposition. They’ll be under pressure again on issues that we all care about: from the NHS, through the environment and to Brexit itself. Labour have proven they can’t or won’t do that job in most of the south but we can.

In Wimbledon, we already have a strong campaign team ready to take advantage of a good result in Richmond Park but we’re not alone. If you can get to Richmond Park this weekend or any time before next Thursday you could help us put rocket boosters under the Lib Dem fight back.

Together we can show Theresa May that there will be consequences to a Hard Brexit that takes us out of the single market, undermines the rights of EU citizens and makes us all £200 billion or more worse off.

I’ll be there this weekend and next week – I hope to see you all there too! Here’s how to volunteer to help.

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17 Comments

  • According to the Guardian “Goldsmith’s campaign has kept the focus local, holding quiet public meetings with residents rather than boisterous rallies like that of the Lib Dems.”

    It will be interesting to see which approach works.

  • In addition, it is the only way to stop the Third Runway. Zac winning will not worry Theresa May one bit. A Lib Dem win for Sarah will mean the Conservatives could expect a whole raft of Lib Dems gains in SW London in 2020. That would stop the third runway.

  • paul barker 26th Nov '16 - 1:15pm

    I hope Carl Quilliam is right but I dont think we should rely on it. Many in the Media have already priced in a Libdem Victory, it will come 3 weeks before Xmas & Byelections arent as closely watched as they used to be. It may take more than just Richmond to shift our Polling.

  • John Peters 26th Nov '16 - 1:31pm

    @paul barker

    “Many in the Media have already priced in a Libdem Victory”.

    How have they priced in a Libdem Victory? Was that a typo for “Libdem Loss”? The odds seem pretty stacked on Zac Goldsmith.

  • A win would be nice, but the postal vote is probably heavily Goldsmith and realism says if we could get 40% that would be about tops, leaving Goldsmith around 50%.

  • It would be terrible for the lib dems if they didn’t win Richmond. If they can’t win a by-election where they can throw everything at it in one of the most pro EU and liberal places in the entire country they can’t win anywhere in a general election.

    Richmond was about 70% remain. But the debate as now shifted from leave or remain to leave or overturn the result some how. Support for refusing to honour the original leave result is a lot lower than support for remaining was, but how much lower?…

  • In order to win the libdems need to win support from people like me, people who may have strong leaning towards some other party but can be persuaded to vote for the party they feel have the best policies at the time, Tim gave a very strong peformance on Question Time this week, but I think the Libdems will need a lot more of that type of peformance and to review some of their policies and their approach in promoting them to people outside the party before they see any real sustained movement in the polls. I preferred Paddy until he had a major sulk when Nick agreed to form the coalition.

  • I think the short run-in time for this election makes it harder for any non-Zac candidate, which was presumably intentional. Having the US election in the middle compounded the issue. I suppose it depends how engaged the locals are in the by-election, and how many voters intend to vote as they did last time.

    Tim’s appearance on Question Time was excellent, and I’m sure will be compelling for any voters watching, but realistically, most people don’t watch Question Time. I saw a piece on the main evening news, but it was very brief, and had Zac talking about how he’d stopped Heathrow up until now, and then had Sarah talking about Brexit, not bothering to mention that she, and other candidates, were also against it. I noticed that Zac had claimed he had the support of Caroline Lucas, which she has since denied. She was in Richmond today, getting her photo taken with Sarah, so hopefully that news gets out into the mainstream, but I suspect it will be ignored by most of the media, and most voters won’t know any better.

    The MoreUnited teams were out today, and while I’ve no idea just how many leaflets they posted, or how many people they spoke with, there’s a chance they’ll get some media coverage which will encourage some voters to think twice about what they might achieve with this by-election.

  • Richard Underhill 26th Nov '16 - 9:58pm

    19/10 at one bookie, 3/1 at another. We were 8/1 at Witney. Bookies are not trying to predict the result, they are trying to make a profit whoever wins. Rich people with right wing opinions can therefore affect the odds.

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Nov '16 - 12:36am

    I do hope there are not going to be any expenses problems with these third parties promoting our candidate?

    El Sid: This by-election has many unpredictable aspects about it. By-elections against incumbents have generally been won by them in the few cases where they have occurred. I think it really depends on whether Tory voters see Goldsmith’s stand as a) principled; (vote for him) b) pointless expensive posturing (vote Lib Dem) c) treacherous (abstain or vote for Syms, if they have noticed her)

  • @Andrew

    Everything is in the lib dems favour here.

    They have enough activists on this campaign to talk to every single voter.

    They have effectively rebranded themselves as the overturn the referendum party in the most pro eu constituency in England.

    Even the Green Party have stepped aside so as not to split their vote (which I really don’t understand because the liberal democrats are moderate Tories with internationalism and some socially liberal views except when it comes to free speech) so I doubt they have much in common at all with the greens but nevertheless even the greens seem to have endorsed them.

    Everything is in their favour. This is why i say that the lib dems are in trouble if they can’t win this, because they have effectively become the stop Brexit party and if that message doesn’t win here it won’t win anywhere.

    It’s clear that the lib dems don’t really respect the referendum result and are seeking ways in which to overturn it. Telling the electorate that they were wrong and you wish to thwart their decision is risky. Will the lib dems win Richmond with that message? I give them a 50/50 chance.

  • El Sid
    You speak for others (? yourself?) as Lib Dems as “moderate Tories”! I and thousands like me have little in common with the Tories. On the contrary, many of us share many ideas with Greens, including their central thesis of having policies aimed at reducing the multiple man-made threats to the environment.

  • Peter Watson 27th Nov '16 - 5:30pm

    @Tim13 “You speak for others (? yourself?) as Lib Dems as “moderate Tories”! I and thousands like me have little in common with the Tories.”
    Sadly, for the last few years the Lib Dems have very much looked like Tories with more of a social conscience. Even Tim Farron, apparently the great hope for the left of the party, is pitching Lib Dems as “the free market, free trade pro-business party now”, and in a parallel thread it is unclear whether the “party of freedom” is more about “freedom to” rather than “freedom from”.
    There are plenty of voices on this site I agree with, but most of them seem to be those Lib Dems who are unhappy with the party’s direction since 2010. and I don’t detect a change in direction since 2015. Indeed, the party seems quite happy to occupy the right of centre political territory of David Cameron that the Tories have vacated.

  • El Sid “Telling the electorate that they were wrong and you wish to thwart their decision is risky.” which is presumably why Farage oppose a second referendum worried that the same trick won’t work twice. If Gove is so confident that people voted to leave the singe market, what is wrong with having that endorsed in a referendum ? Do we really have to rely on the mindreading and ESP of a few leave campaigners when we can put it to the votes of the many.

  • I doubt the media have factored in a Lib Dem win, a strong second probably. A win would be great although I am not convinced by-election wins will have much impact but if it gets people to look again at the party, we need to be ready and show that we have moved on from Clegg, otherwise it is snakes and ladders.

  • Simon Freeman 28th Nov '16 - 6:58am

    i sincerely hope the Liberal Democrats win or get a very strong second on Thursday. You do need moderate Labour 2015 voters like me-an ex SDP type, but also pale blue Tories as well. Pushing for a soft Brexit, opposing Heathrow expansion are the right things to do. I’d like to see a strong opposition to Fracking, big support for renewable energy combined with Nuclear power, more spending on the NHS including mental health, big improvements in public transport, a reduction in costs for students, a House of Lords replaced by a 400 member Senate elected by PR. Corporation Tax at 17% in the UK is too low. There is too much Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion. £7.2 Trillion in off shore accounts according to one report. i’d pay more tax for a better NHS. Tim Farron needs to keep going and Nick Clegg is saying some good things. It would be good to have Vince Cable back in parliament, but the party does need more women and a better ethic balance as well. I still keep thinking should I join? Maybe a decision for the New Year. To sarah I would say from afar that you’ve fought a good campaign, and if it doesn’t happen this week come back for another try. it is good to have Green Part support. Perhaps there could be reciprocal agreements in more seats? EG in Sheffield Lib Dems stand down in Central and Greens stand down in Hallam? In the South Lib Dems stand down in Brighton and Greens stand down in Lewes?

  • Simon Banks 28th Nov '16 - 4:04pm

    It’s obviously one of the more promising seats for us. If the by-election had been caused by a Tory MP dying or moving to a preferred job, I think we’d almost certainly have won it. The problem is, Goldsmith can present himself as a principled independent Doing the Right Thing. So those regular snipers who say we’ve done terribly if we don’t win it are wrong.

    Will a win put rocket boosters under the fightback? Perhaps; but at worse, it’ll help it a lot. We’re gradually regaining credibility with the Witney result and a steady sequence of local election gains, which the broadsheets have noticed. The process is in the right direction.

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