I for one am hopeful that we can make gains not least because the last cycle of these particular elections coincided with the last General Election and we all know how that turned out.

So what are the critical messages that Liberal Democrats must attempt to get across between now and next May?

Well, firstly the obvious one is to emphasise our commitment to community politics particularly in wards and districts where we are trying to build up support for the first time.

The slogan ‘Working all Year round not just at Election Time’ is one that sums up our approach and needs to feature prominently in our campaigns in 2019.

Our message to residents is that if they vote for a Liberal Democrat councillor, they will get a representative devoted to doing what is best for them and their area. A familiar message but one that only we as Liberals can say with conviction.

Secondly, we need to focus on local services.  That will vary from area to area, but there are some generic ones. I have moved from a large urban borough to a rural district in the last few months, but the issues are similar.

High Streets are in decline whether you live in a large town or a small village. Shops are closing, and premises are standing open for months. Banks and Post Offices, in particular, are moving out leaving many communities isolated. Bus services already inadequate are being cut, GP surgeries, if you have one, are overstretched. People are being forced to travel further and further to access key services inevitably means an increase in car use with a negative impact on our environment. Bin collections are another thing that causes consternation amongst many given the inability of some local authorities to collect our rubbish on a regular basis.

Our Liberal Democrat campaigns need to focus on these issues whether it’s in town or country.

Thirdly we need to use these elections to campaign for our long-held policy of getting PR for all local authority elections.

So many councils have effectively been one-party states for decades simply due to the unfairness of the First Past The Post voting system.

This occurs even in areas where the ‘winning’ party doesn’t get 50 percent of the vote borough or district-wide but maintains control by just winning a majority of wards. The result is profoundly undemocratic, and the losers are the people. I realise success in these local elections doesn’t mean that we can change the voting system, but it should feature in our campaign.

So the three key messages are:

  • Working For You All Year Round not Just At Election Time
  • Protecting and Enhancing Local Services
  • Fighting For Reform To Our Broken Voting System

I am looking forward to the campaign and look forward to playing my part.



* David is a member of Horsham and Crawley Liberal Democrats

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  • David Warren 12th Dec '18 - 9:58pm


    I am not sure what point you are trying to make when you quote a budget from eight years ago.

    In my article I talk about mainly about services that are not directly funded by local authorities but which our party has traditionally campaigned for.

    I did this because I have in mind the strain council budgets are under.

    That said given what I know there is still scope for efficiencies and elimination of waste in councils.

    Of course most council leaders haven’t identified them due to the fact that they rely heavily on guidance from senior officers who would rather cut services than their empires.

  • @David Raw. I doubt that I am alone in wishing you would live in 2018 rather than 2010. In 2010 we were in government and as a result we are now at 11 MPs. Don’t you think that’s punishment enough? What possible good purpose is served by going on and on and on about the coalition? No-one in the party is looking to repeat that experience any time soon and everyone I know wants to move on and put forward solutions to today’s problems, rather than 2010’s problems.
    It seems you would rather harp on about the coalition than help the party start to win again with solutions to today’s problems.
    And please don’t start another diatribe about apologies. No one gives a shit about them. What they want is for us to be offering relevant and practical solutions to the very real problems of today, especially the issues thrown up by the 2016 referendum and – I know you disagree – focusing on giving people a chance to remain in the EU by winning the arguments.
    So please, if you can’t stop running the party down, why not take a. break and let those of us who want the Liberal Democrats to succeed get on with the job.

  • Martin,

    speaking of Lloyd George in 1922, after his handling of the threat of war with Turkey, the Unionist backbenchers (the origins of today’s Conservative 1922 committee) voted down the Coalition government. Lloyd George and the Liberal Party were out of office after 17 years in government.

  • Is that the same Lloyd George who got involved in the Marconi scandal, sold peerages like there was no next week, split his own party with near terminal results, used DORA to imprison pacifists, was going to hang the Kaiser, sent troops into the coalfields in 1921 when there was a wage cut and a lock out, allowed the Black and Tans to commit atrocities in Ireland.

    You should have said ‘some Liberals’, Joe.

    Granted he had great charm, especially with other men’s wives.

  • Yes, Mick, it would be nice if it all went away and was a distant memory. Unfortunately the effects linger on. Universal credit and pip haven’t gone away and my local Foodbank provided 5,000 meals last year.

    Indeed it could be argued that the Brexit vote was the monster created by it all.

  • OnceALibDem 13th Dec '18 - 3:42pm

    “Our message to residents is that if they vote for a Liberal Democrat councillor, they will get a representative devoted to doing what is best for them and their area. A familiar message but one that only we as Liberals can say with conviction.”

    Even if ‘what is best for their area’ was clear and unequivocal (which it isn’t), this manifestly isn’t true as a generic, distinctive. only the Lib Dems can say this campaign slogan.

  • David Warren 13th Dec '18 - 4:50pm


    The point I was trying to make is that Lib Dems through their commitment to community politics have a good record of putting residents interest above those of party.

  • David Raw

    I think that you should think of the period after the 2008 financial crisis caused in our country by the Labour Party as analogous to a time when a company is forced into administration by the bad management of its board. The administrator has to pick up the pieces, and secure the company (if he or she can!). This will almost invariably mean a period of austerity whilst that company gets back on its feet. The Labour Government was responsible for the bad management of the country and the Coalition was the Administrator who had the arduous job of putting the country back together again. The role of the administrator is a thankless task it seems, but Labour was to blame for the mess (no matter what they say). Turning to today’s crisis, the Tories are entirely to blame for the Brexit crisis and we may have to play a role helping to pick up the pieces again. I hope we are ready for the challenge!

  • Paul D B 13th Dec ’18 – 6:26pm…………….the 2008 financial crisis caused in our country by the Labour Party……………


  • @Paul D B. Well, we all learn something every day.

    You’ve finally convinced me that the real name of the Miliband brothers was the Lehmann brothers, that the Labour Cabinet met regularly in Wall Street, that the PM had an Oval Office in a White House, and that they all indulged in sub prime mortgages, and that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was the real name of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.

    You’ve also convinced me that if you tell yourself something regularly, even though it’s a fairy story put out by wicked Tory barons, you can actually, as a Good Little Lib Dem, believe in the tooth fairy.

    Me ? I’m going to sit by the fire on Christmas Eve with your mate Fred the Shread of RBS and a glass of sherry waiting for Father Christmas……… ‘cos you’ve convinced me I’ve got to believe in what you say and the cloth has been pulled from my eyes.

  • Sean Hyland 13th Dec '18 - 9:15pm

    Did Labour cause the 2008 Financial Crisis? – no
    Was Gordon Brown a great Chancellor? – no
    Did Labour reduce regulation on the finance Industry too much ? – yes but George Osborne wanted it reduced even more!!!

    Should Gordon Brown have pumped Billions in to prop up the banks or let them fold? In the spirit of the Unlock Democracy quiz – you decide.

    Overall Labour were not great stewards of the economy but you can’t blame them for 2008 Paul D B.

  • People should not be apologists for the Labour Party. They created the free-loading loosely regulated conditions (in parallel with the USA) that meant that the finance industry were able to take risks unconstrained and debt in the UK spiraled out of control (Vince’s warnings were ignored). So was the Labour Party a significant contributor to the financial crisis. Indeed they were! If we are not careful history will be rewritten, and maybe the Iraq war will be the next thing that didn’t happen.

  • Paul D B – note that i was not apologising for Labour. Just saying to correct your initial post that they caused the 2008 crash. think you need to look to the USA financial industry – early signs came in approx 2006 i think based on their financial industries behaviours and regulation.
    Just remember that for all Gordon Brown did to loosen regulation your coalition partner George Osborne wanted to go even further.

  • Paul D B 13th Dec ’18 – 9:40pm……….People should not be apologists for the Labour Party. They created the free-loading loosely regulated conditions (in parallel with the USA) that meant that the finance industry were able to take risks unconstrained and debt in the UK spiraled out of control………..

    May I humbly suggest that you might widen your reading from ‘How Labour destroyed the world’ (published 2010-15 by Cameron, Clegg and Co.)

    The ‘Big Bang’ of 1986 is a useful guide..

  • David Evans 14th Dec '18 - 1:08am

    David Warren, Indeed you are right. Unfortunately our MPs have a reputation of putting looking after the Conservatives ahead of looking after our Voters and our party, and they have the biggest influence on where we are now.

    Mick Taylor, That is why David Raw is right to repeatedly raise his concerns. It is not because he wants to live in 2010, but he wants the party to thrive, and it will not so long as you (and so many others) close your mind to how we deal with the disaster for Liberal Democracy that was the period in coalition, which you seem to want to do anything but face up to.

    As a party most of us have kicked the can up the road for eight years now, pretending all we have to do is do anything but face up to our past. As a result, things have continued level at best, but probably more of a slow decline throughout that period. The Brexit boost has gone and we are going nowhere, 6% – 10% in the polls. Down to 7.4% at the last general election. All despite being right on Brexit.

    Perhaps it is because David Raw is right and does give a whatever about the party, that you seem to dislike what he says so much, but it is the attitude you express that is the problem, not David’s. The only question is how bad do things have to get before you admit it?

  • Alex Macfie 15th Dec '18 - 4:00pm

    So here we have the Three Davids. I hope that works out better than the Two Davids did!
    So “our MPs have a reputation of putting looking after the Conservatives ahead of looking after our Voters and our party,” never mind that we refused even to negotiate with the Tories after they lost their majority after the last election, and since becoming leader Vince has likened coalition with them to “mating with a praying mantis”. Vince was always the least enthusiastic Lib Dem member of the Coalition cabinet, and most of the Cleggites have left the building (including Clegg himself). As Mick has said, there is virtually no enthusiasm for another coalition with the Tories in the Lib Dems now. “Once bitten, twice shy” and all that.
    Our principal struggle in recent years (after the Coalition) is reminding voters we still exist. Recent local by-election results show that where we campaign and people know we exist, we can do well. If your narrative were true, David Evans, and voters were consciously rejecting us because we had not “come to terms” with the Coalition, then we would be failing even in areas where we do run a strong campaign.

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