Author Archives: Libby Local

Libby Local Episode 19: I’ll plan your every move

"Demsbury" - Bekonscot Model Village and Railway - London - Some rights reserved by bortescristian“As you all know,” Melissa said in a rather officious voice, “Maxwell Tarmac-Smyth has resigned with some haste and we have a by-election on our hands.”

We were clustered in the back room of the Market Tavern at a hastily convened meeting of our local campaign committee. Melissa had been my campaign manager for the 2013 election and had called the meeting as soon as the news of the by-election reached Demsbury.

Before she could continue with her introduction, …

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Libby Local Episode 18: Standing up for Demsbury

"Demsbury" - Bekonscot Model Village and Railway - London - Some rights reserved by bortescristian“Hey Libby. Are you standing? I’ll vote for you!”

I was puzzled by the shout and thought I had not heard it correctly. I was struggling to concentrate on anything after the events of the morning, else. I waved and walked on.

I was angry, almost in tears as I dragged my way up Crow Hill. I was very grateful when the bus stopped and the driver invited me on board his overcrowded bus.

“You look exhausted, Libby,” he said …

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Libby Local, The Finale: “The Bright Side of Life”

Since last October, the pseudonymous Libby Local has been keeping LDV readers up-to-date with her first-time attempt to win Demsbury Central in Libbyshire. We published the penultimate episode, “Election Day!” yesterday. Here’s the finale…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was moment’s silence after the pub band finished belting out “Wild Thing.” I leant on Mel and whispered in her ear. “Thank you. Thank you so much. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Twelve hours earlier, my stomach had been in a knot and I felt physically sick. I was standing with Melanie, @Demsburybess and a small clutch of supporters in front of the counting table in Libbytown. Maxwell Tarmac-Smyth and his team were huddled at the other end. The UKIP candidate had not bothered to turn up.

I could barely breath as my votes were bundled into twenty-fives and checked. We counted and made a mental note of my total. It was well over 500. I was in with a chance!

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Libby Local – The Final 2 Episodes: “Election Day!”

Since last October, the pseudonymous Libby Local has been keeping LDV readers up-to-date with her first-time attempt to win Demsbury Central in Libbyshire. Here’s the 16th and penultimate episode…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was mid-afternoon on Thursday and the grumbling old man at the bar shouted across to me: “Who’s your candidate?”

I was feeling exhausted and didn’t need this intrusion from a man who had just announced that he had voted UKIP.

The day had begun at 5am with letters delivered through letterboxes of hard-to-reach and wobbling voters. The post run also …

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Libby Local 15: Vile politics

Vile Tory propaganda was on my mind as I trudged up Crow Hill in a state of exhaustion. It was three on a Friday afternoon. Would I ever finish my last minute canvass for postal voters or would I collapse first?

The non-stop campaigning was just one reason I felt so tired. The vile propaganda in Tory leaflets was also getting to me.

The night before our core team met for an after-canvas drink in the Market Tavern.

The consensus was that the campaign was going well. @Demsburybess had taken charge of design, producing a clean, modern look to my Focus newsletters. It …

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Libby Local, Episode 14: “Team Libby”

“I’m not at all political but I’ll help you if like.”

My standard doorstep smile broke into a broad grin. Half an hour and a pot of Earl Grey tea later, I had recruited myself a designer and copyrighter – @Demsburybess.

Correction. ‘Team Libby’ had gained a designer and copywriter. One of the first suggestions @Demsburybess made is that we have a team identity. Team Libby it is. I’m just a little self-conscious about the sobriquet but I’m really excited about it at the same time.

Team Libby is growing rapidly. Our helpers have been recruited through church contacts, in …

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Libby Local, Episode 13: “Brighton Secrets”

My arrival at Brighton was a something of a financial shock. A huge £3.90 for a coffee in the Metropole. You can buy a coffee and a pint of beer for less than four pounds in Demsbury. A good slug of Pinot Grigio is only a few pence more!

The Liberal Democrat Spring Conference was not at all as I expected. I’m an avid conference goer in my professional life, but this conference proved totally different. Okay. I have never encountered so many bad taste yellow ties before. But what struck me most was the diverse group of people, disabled, young, …

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Libby Local, Episode 12: “Vox Pops”

“No I won’t vote for you,” the man growled as he began to shut the door in my face.

“Why…” I began to say.

“In a word,” he snarled, “Jewellery Tax.”

And the door was slammed shut. I was rather glad.

It was the last doorstep of the day and overall it had been a good afternoon. I’d met a lot of retired people, mothers at home for half-term and home workers. And a good number had pledged their votes.

The evening was spent with Melissa putting my Focus newsletter together. It was rather fun. I’d gathered a fair few vox …

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Libby Local, Episode 11: “Door knocking”

“It’s lovely to see a face on the door step.”

The genial middle-aged woman had invited me out of the bitter cold into her hall after I had explained that I was standing for in the May elections.

“And it’s lovely to see someone under fifty in politics,” she added.

It took me a little time to extract myself from her house, but I walked away with a promise of her vote and completed survey form. I felt distinctly cheerful, which was quite a turnaround as the day had not started well.

After a hectic morning trying to catch up …

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Libby Local, Episode 10: “Stalled!”

The day after a crazed man confronted me in Demsbury, Mark, the local community support officer came to see me. I had met him at a number of police and community meetings and we get on well.

Mark told me quite a bit about the man who confronted me. Whenever trouble erupted in Demsbury, it was like as not that this man was at the heart of it. Yet, because he mostly engaged in petty crimes and antisocial behaviour, they could do little to control him.

It was all rather depressing. Mark was very thorough, giving me advice on …

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Libby Local, Episode 9: “Civilisation”

"Demsbury" - Bekonscot Model Village and Railway - London - Some rights reserved by bortescristianOn Wednesday, I got back on the last train to Demsbury and was strolling homeward through the icy streets. The town centre is a fairly safe and usually free of drunks and ruffians on a midweek night. I half thought of popping in to the Market Tavern for last orders, but it’s Dry January and I was heartily fed up with drinking glasses of orange.

A few seconds later he was in front of me, …

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Libby Local, Episode 8: “Sneering and jeering”

I wasn’t going to be a Lib Dem. And at times during the last two weeks, I have wondered whether I still want to a councillor. As thick snow fell across Demsbury, I poured out my frustration to Melissa over a glass in the Market Tavern.

I leant across the table towards her. “I’m furious. I feel unaccountably angry,” I said. “I think I may have made a mistake in standing for council at all.”

The very good thing about Melissa is that she is both calm and calming. She talked about the weather, the lack of gritting of pavements …

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Libby Local, Episode 7: “New Year’s Resolutions”

"Demsbury" - Bekonscot Model Village and Railway - London - Some rights reserved by bortescristianIt’s true to say that I had not realised that being a Lib Dem and standing for Libbyshire Council was set to consume my life.

It is already mid-December and there is still so much work for my clients not yet done. But, heck, we are busy delivering a Focus across Demsbury. It does not help that one of my deliverers is too ill to continue. Another couple have inconveniently flown off to Goa for the winter. Others simply don’t have time. Inevitably, I’m delivering most of the leaflets

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Libby Local, Episode 6: “Kickstart”

It had been raining for days. A flood warning had already been issued for the River Libby. It was raging more than a metre above its normal level and had still not peaked.

As I hurried along Libbyside Terrace towards the rail station, I met Mary. Wet, dishevelled and very upset, she was hauling sandbags across the pavement.

“I’ve just got a text from the Environment Agency,” she told me. “We’re on flood alert now.” She was all but in tears. I stopped a while to help pile sandbags against her front door. “With the new kerbs, it should not be as …

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Libby Local, Episode 5: “Angst”

Melissa was gentle in her criticism. She is after all my campaign manager – despite being born a Tory. As we supped glasses of Pinot Grigio in the Market Tavern, she spoke softly to ensure that no one else can hear.

“You are my best mate, Libby. But these days you talk about nothing other than the next election. It has begun to take over your life!”

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Libby Local, Episode 4: “The Canvass”

It was late on a Tuesday night and I was parked up in the Market Tavern with Melissa having a good moan over a Pinot Grigio. I’d just finished a particularly scrappy and argumentative rehearsal with the Demsbury Orchestra. Susan, the new clarinet player, had caused us all grief.

“I’ve had enough of it,” I sounded off. “The Orchestra is not well-run anyway, and now we get this bloody new clarinet player who will not listen and does her own thing.” Melissa didn’t look the least bit interested, so I tried to bait her. “I bet she’s a Tory as …

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Libby Local, Episode 3: “Golden moments”

On Monday I was sitting in the Market Tavern sipping a milky latte and gazing vaguely at my iPad. I’d been asked to write a piece for Lib Dem Focus and was finding it quite a challenge. As I struggled to simplify a tortuous phrase, Tony, a neighbour of mine thankfully joined me.

We talked local politics and he asked whether I had finally decided whether to stand for council next year. I found myself replying with a curious mix of pride and caution that I found a little disconcerting.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m standing for the Lib Dems.”

He …

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Libby Local, Episode 2: “The selection panel and Mad Max”

Last Wednesday I was up before the selection panel. Beforehand I was experiencing that curious mix of feelings that is at once confidence and nervousness. I had no idea how to dress. What does a typical Lib Dem wear? A bit of lippy and my poshest high heels? My usual casually crumped look, replete with a hat that Dr Seuss would be proud of? A business suit? Lipstick and high heels won.

The day began badly with an encounter with Maxwell Tarmac-Smyth – the “Mad Max” of Libbyshire politics. He’s second peg in the Tory oligarchy that runs Libbyshire. He’s the …

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Introducing Libby Local, Episode 1: “I wasn’t going to be a Lib Dem”

I’m Libby, I’m local – to Demsbury and Libbyshire at least – and I wasn’t going to be a Lib Dem. I guess I have to blame that on Melissa, a dyed in the wool Conservative who I occasionally drink a half-bucket of Pinot Grigio with.

I’ve always stuck my head above the parapet rather than lay low. In the last couple of years, friends have suggested I become politically active. I have been listening to local voices, voices that are mostly ignored – voices that I could help get heard. Of late, I find more

Posted in Local government | Tagged | 45 Comments

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  • Peter Martin
    @ David Symonds, “Remember that Michael Foot and Margaret Thatcher were united in their hatred of the SDP/Liberal Alliance because they feared a new ...
  • Mick Taylor
    @TristanWard. Well, yes, but if you gain power with no reference to principles and then try to implement the principles you didn't mention, it usually goes tits...
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    Tristan, ... and apologies for the mis-spelling of your name. David...
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    Hi Tristran, I think you missed one here in your response to @David Allen. If you look at it a bit closer, I think you will find that David was using Irony....
  • Tristan Ward
    @David Allen "If what you are in politics for is simply to get a few more bums on seats in the Commons" If you get enough of them you can do stuff that ch...