Come and help Sarah Green win Chesham and Amersham!

Yesterday a group from Hinckley and Bosworth went down to help out in the Chesham and Amersham by election.

It was great to see so many other Lib Dems from across the country there to help the campaign of our excellent candidate Sarah Green.

From speaking to people in the constituency it’s clear many people are fed up with being taken for granted by the Conservatives and many long standing traditional Tory voters are considering backing us this time.

Although it’s traditionally been a strong Tory seat many Tory voters are open to backing Sarah Green to send a message that they are unhappy with the Tories and many Labour and Green voters are open to voting Lib Dem in Chesham and Amersham to beat Boris Johnson’s Tory candidate.

We can only win though if enough Lib Dem campaigners come to Chesham and Amersham between now and June the 17th. We need to talk to as many voters as possible and get as much literature out promoting Sarah and what she will do for the area as possible.

There’s real potential for Chesham and Amersham to be added to that list of famous Lib Dem gains from the Tories. Eastbourne, Ribble Valley, Kincardine and Deeside, Newbury, Christchurch, Eastleigh, Littleborough and Saddleworth,
Romsey, Brecon and Radnor.

Can we add Chesham and Amersham to that list? Yes but only with your help!

* Michael Mullaney is Vice-Chair of the Social Democrat Group, an Executive Member on Lib Dem run Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and the Lib Dem Finance spokesperson on Leicestershire County Council.

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61 Comments

  • I would not be surprised if Lib Dems win on a landslide. However our problem is that the effect will be eliminated within 2 weeks if the Tories win Batley, you can just imagine the headlines. We would be back to square one. Best result for us in Yorkshire would probably be a Labour hold.

  • John Marriott 31st May '21 - 9:48am

    @Michael 1
    Whilst unable to read through all of your link unless I took out a subscription, I nevertheless get its drift. Oh yes, I would love to see those smug so and so’s get a kick in the teeth and, yes, it could happen, as it has many times before and I have nothing but admiration for all those dedicated souls answering the call to arms. Lib Dems just LOVE a good By Election, especially one that they have the potential to win.

    So, let’s dream for a moment that we get another Orpington, or a Christchurch, or any number of famous ‘victories’ from the past. What then? Well, the excuse will be on the lines of “Well, it’s a typical mid term protest vote” or something similar. The real problem post By election might be hanging onto the seat in a subsequent General Election. So, what happens if the party does throw the kitchen sink at Chesham and Amersham and still comes up short? Or worse, what if it fails to make second place? That must surely tell us something about the state of British politics. Also, if Labour and the Greens do actually break sweat in those leafy suburbs, what chance then for a ‘Progressive Alliance’?

    Having said that, it is clear that the party deserves a bit of a boost at the moment to keep it off life support. The real fun is possibly a couple of years away.

  • With a fear of repeating myself sorry, but the Chesham and Amersham constituency was the home of myself for more than fifty years of my life and for many generations of my family, if the unbelievable happened and the Lib Dems actually won next months By Election it would be a wonderful reward for all the hard work by all the Liberals and Liberal Democrats over many years, always coming in a valiant second place to the Tories, best wishes to Sarah Green, I came from Seer Green perhaps it’s an omen? One can dream anyway.

  • @John Marriott

    The point about a by-election win is that it tends to improve our opinion poll rating by at a guess around 4%, on average, despite the excuses the other parties may make as to why they lost.

    To win under FPTP you have to win…. And when voters see us winning we become a more credible destination for their vote.

    This in itself would mean many more Lib Dem councillors elected.

    Now personally I think we need more than a “one more heave” strategy… but that’s a different discussion.

    So there’s no doubt that the best thing someone can do to raise the Lib Dem vote in their local area is to go and help at the by-election.

    Many by-elections have been won at a subsequent general election – Orpington, Eastleigh, Romsey, Portsmouth South and Eastbourne (both after a few close attempts) etc.

    So we may or may not win it a subsequent general election. I actually think it relatively likely that we will be in with a good shout… But that’s not the point.

    I think at the moment that the winning majority whoever wins will be under 1,000. If it’s under 1,000 then actually if we come second or first is a similar swing. So us coming second or first won’t in itself “prove” much about politics at the moment – except winning will give us that bounce.

    But the question on whether we win or not and get that bounce in the polls is up to you, Lib Dem people!

    And of course if you can’t get there physically – there is always the telephone.

  • John Marriott 31st May '21 - 4:58pm

    @Michael 1
    I am not a fan of ‘cold calling’ and certainly not when I am on the receiving end. In fact, I thought that it was not exactly legal to canvass in this way. Anyway, as a former member, who knows nothing about the candidate or the area or the problems it might have, I think I’ll sit this one out, thank you very much.

  • @John Marriott

    Of course that’s fair enough. And I almost added to my last comment that I know you are not a fan of phoning which is your complete right. And as you say – you are a former member even if you wish us well.

    I can though foresee that you might well be tempted to comment in a few weeks time how terrible it was that the Lib Dems didn’t quite win – and you or at least those that are not “phoneophobic” (?) can help avert that by phoning or I am sure better still if they are within striking distance. going there. But we are now aware on LDV that you have hung up your boots, John, which is fine and thanks for all that you have done as a councillor and Lib Dem in the past.

    As I say at one level a loss by 1,000 votes is virtually the same as a win by 1,000 votes. But the latter *will* give us an opinion poll boost.

  • @ Michael 1 “Orpington, Eastleigh, Romsey, Portsmouth South and Eastbourne”.

    And why aren’t they still represented by Liberals/Lib Dems, give or take the odd opinion poll boost ? Was there something not quite right with the brand or the product ?

  • John McHugo 31st May '21 - 8:59pm

    Overlooked by all the above comments is the fact that a Lib Dem victory (or good performance) would spook Tories in so many places in the South East – places like Wimbledon, Esher and Walton where we came a close second in 2019, as well as virtually everywhere else in Surrey, and in much of Sussex and Kent.

  • @David Raw

    Lol!

    There is indeed something “wrong with the brand”. One of those is we stopped winning so under FPTP so we stopped winning…

    Winning a by-election helps rectify that a bit.

    Now “repairing the brand” is something that firstly takes time – see Labour and ’79 and Conservatives and ’97.

    And also I believe it needs a drawing of the line under the past (See Kinnock/Blair and Cameron) and a bold marching towards the sound of gunfire.

    There is also no question that life will be tough for us electorally while our principal opponents – the Conservatives are doing well in the opinion polls. Governments lose elections, oppositions don’t win them.

    But it is worth reminding ourselves that at the time of the Eastbourne by-election win we were a “dead parrot” – deceased, gone to met its maker…

    And at the time of Orpington we had only 6 MPs.

    So who knows… a by-election win may lead to a revival…

    Actually if it boosts our poll rating from around 10% to 14% – it would be close to (in fact I think from memory above) what we entered the 97 election campaigns with – even if we were helped then by the weak position of the Tories…

    We also “won” Eastleigh and Portsmouth South based on the local vote this year – although I am not claiming that means we will win them at the next general.

    And good news is that we run Portsmouth, Eastleigh and Eastbourne councils.

    But like you I will not be satisfied until we repeat the landslide of 1906!!!!

  • @ Michael 1 “a drawing of the line under the past.. and a bold marching towards the sound of gunfire”. Ayup, isn’t that a bit contradictory ?

    I heard Jo Grimond say that back in 1964 (you were probably still a twinkle in your Daddy’s eye ?). In those days the party had a Leader with charisma, and stirring oratorical powers….and he didn’t need to sniff the coffee.

    Orpington ? Nothing wrong then, or later, with Eric Lubbock’s radical Liberalism…..

    The modern Party could do with it today….. but somehow it failed to smell the coffee between 2010 and 2015. It was too busy getting knighthoods, cutting services and benefits, breaking promises, making excuses and then getting nice little earners abroad.

    1906 landslide ? Helpfully made possible to some extent back in 1903 by the common sense and cooperation of the Gladstone-Macdonald Pact between the Libs and Labour.

  • @David Raw

    I probably wasn’t clear – the past I was wanting to draw a line under was the coalition (not Grimond). Probably something that you would agree with! As I have said before on LDV for me – free university tuition fees would be a step towards that. While Blair may have tarnished the word “New” – essentially the first thing that Jo should have done was rebranded herself and the Lib Dems as the new Liberal Democrats.

    Although as I have explained before and no doubt as we will argue for the rest of eternity (roughly) on LDV – I don’t think the coalition was as bad as you – it’s easy to govern when the coffers are full – a little more difficult when “there’s no money left”.

    I was of course invoking Grimond – although you are right I wasn’t old enough to hear him speak as leader. But I am struck by the number of people that I have met that said they heard Grimond speak, joined the party and then built up their local parties and the famous Wikipedia says that John Pardoe, David Steel, Paddy Ashdown and Menzies Campbell were inspired to join the Liberals having heard him speak.

    And it obv. gave rise to the Young Liberal movement campaigning against apartheid and the development of community politics.

    I fear that we are not being bold enough at the moment to attract the next generation in the way that Grimond did. To be activists but also support us. And it is obvious that those that are not Tories and not Labour – esp. on green issues and Remain/Rejoin – are going to have difficulties supporting us – still – because of the coalition and we face a danger in terms of votes from the Greens who are almost matching us overall in the polls and exceeding us in younger age groups.

    We need to appeal to the XR generation and I am not sure that “decarbonising capitalism” does it – without alienating their parents (who being brought up in the 70s and 80s are fairly green on green issues but still like their cars!). For me a bold programme based on the environment and rejoin and putting coalition austerity behind us – could see us win 30+ seats – not too dissimilar to C&A. But there is the alternative theory that we should be bland and not frighten anyone and work hard locally…

    Anyway the first priority is the by-election.

  • Michael 1,

    The dead parrot document was in January 1988 before merger was agreed. In the 1990 local elections we received about 17% of the vote (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_United_Kingdom_local_elections) and the Eastbourne by-election was 18th October 1990. So we were not a dead parrot before the Eastbourne by-election. (1990 was not a great year for us. A great year was 1994 when in the local elections we received 27% of the vote (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_United_Kingdom_local_elections).

    In 2010 the government hadn’t run out of money. The Bank of England kept creating it – quantitative easing. In our manifesto we said we would stimulate the economy and not reduce the deficit until the economy was strong enough. We didn’t do this. Our MPs forgot how the economy works and carried out Conservative economic policies which meant that in 2012 it was reported we had a double-dip recession. The government’s response to Covid-19 proves that governments don’t have a problem with spending what the economy can cope with.

    The Greens are no-where near to us in terms of national share of the vote. This year in England and Wales we received 17% of the vote and the Greens are not shown with any percentage (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_United_Kingdom_local_elections).

  • Alex Macfie 1st Jun '21 - 5:49am

    Michael BG: The “dead parrot” that Michael 1 refers to is nothing to do with that doomed policy paper. At Tory Party Conference a month before our Eastbourne by-election victory, Margaret Thatcher in her Leader’s speech poked fun at the then new Lib Dem “bird of liberty” logo. calling it a “dead parrot” and quoting part of the Monty Python Parrot sketch. It’s not clear that she understood the joke; she’s said to have asked her speechwriter, “This Monty Python fellow: is he One of Us?”

  • @Michael BG

    Thanks for your further comments. On your points

    1.Dead parrot. I wasn’t referring to that as @Alex Macfie says. I was referring to Maggie Thatcher’s speech in which she referred to the Lib Dems as a “dead parrot”. This was just after we had adopted the “bird of liberty” as our logo. About 2 weeks later we won the Eastbourne by-election and 2 months later she was an “ex-PM”!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ6TgaPJcR0&t=6s

    Following that win we did increase our poll rating from about 11% to 14%.

    2.Borrowing in coalition. We have argued this to death on LDV. It was the Labour Government’s “money man” – their chief secretary to the treasury who left the note saying “Sorry, there is no money left”. And he should know! Yes, I know it was a joke but it made a serious point. And Government spending decisions are much, much easier if you have a booming economy and tax revenues.

    Now I am basically a supporter of MMT but the political and economic “fashions” change and it was more in favour of cutting deficits then (as was I and indeed the whole Lib Dem membership that agreed the coalition agreement that included a promise to cut the deficit and all but 50 members voted for the agreement at the special conference. I you went along and voted against the agreement all well and good).

    And it was our policy as outlined in our manifesto. From memory in broad terms all three parties said that they would cut the deficit by the same amount – possibly the Tories a bit more and Labour a bit less – but very much in the same ballpark.

    There will be debate about the pros and cons of borrowing and it is not all one way. But Keynes and Keynesism therefore was in favour of cutting the deficit as the economy improves. We didn’t have a double dip recession – the figures were revised but there will be a continued debate on whether the coalition cut the deficit too much but these are difficult things to get precisely right.

  • John Marriott 1st Jun '21 - 9:05am

    Come on, chaps, nobody really knows what the future for any party holds. Who would have thought it a few years ago? Tories winning in the North and possibly losing ground in the South East, Labour losing big time in Scotland and Liberalism losing out in the South West and North Wales? We’ve even had a proper peacetime Coalition government yes, David Raw, with those Lib Dem ministers queuing up for those government limos and the media temporarily taking Lib Dem conferences seriously. Why, we even left the European Union and are now still not out of the woods in the worst pandemic for several generations. Who thought that all our troubles would be over when the Berlin Wall came down?

    Oh my, what DO we do now? We’ve tried everything. More to the point, what does Joe Public want to do. At the moment it would appear to be going out for a meal or anticipating shortly jetting off to the sun or exotic places. A lot of people actually like working from home even if their bosses are more sceptical, as it appears to be trashing the economy (surely that was Bre….?).

    Politics seems to be the last thing on people’s minds at the moment and given the choice between hair -dark Lego, or blond haystack – the unkempt look seems currently to be in favour and, as for the sparse Lib Dem variety…. The idea of a ‘Progressive Alliance’ seems to be doing the rounds at the moment. That means some sort of coalition, doesn’t it? However, there would still appear to be one party in that bunch, namely the Labour Party, which some LDV contributors have already told us is not ‘progressive’ in any case, that still reckons it can do it alone, sorry two, if we also include the Lib Dems, as some LDV contributors would wish us to do. Depending on how you define ‘progressive’ a strong argument could be made for the shape shifting, ‘power at all costs’ Tories to have been over the past two hundred years or so the progressive party par excellence!

    I shall try to finish this off later by adding the final paragraphs I had to cut as I was informed that I had written too many words!

  • Barry Lofty 1st Jun '21 - 9:56am

    The worst decision made in the recent past by the Liberal Democrats was allowing Boris Johnson and his cronies to get away with calling a general election in 2019 at a time when they calculated, would be good them, and the opposition party’s got it completely wrong, which ended with this awful government gaining a massive majority. Surely most on this site would want to see Boris Johnson get a timely kick in the posterior, and a By Election win for the Lib Dems in Chesham and Amersham would be a great fillip for me anyway. It may not happen but hope springs eternal?

  • John Marriott 1st Jun '21 - 1:01pm

    @Barry Lofty
    I Ted to agree with you about the “worst decision made in the recent past”; but don’t just blame the Lib Dems, Barry. Blame ALL the opposition parties for allowing themselves to be suckered into an unnecessary General Election. (Digression alert – why abolish the Fixed Term Parliament Act? After all it was breached twice since 2015!)

    While on the subject of bad decisions by the Lib Dems in recent years, surely that ‘Revoke’ Manifesto came close. Further back, signing that ‘Pledge’ to abolish Tuition Fees ended with an ‘egg on face’ catharsis. The AV Referendum, granted by Cameron and then trashed by him and ‘Tax Payers’ Alliance’ chief, Matthew Elliott (he’s been quiet lately), must surely come close. The one chance of getting some change to the voting system and Clegg and Co blew it, with that photo of him following Cameron into No 10 being a clincher for the ‘No to AV’ campaign.

    @Michael 1
    As for the Lib Dems not being “bold enough….to attract the next generation” I wonder to which “generation” you are referring. My hunch is that, in general, many people have just moved on from the days when there were demonstrably many injustices that needed addressing. As was said after the collapse of the Soviet Union; “We are all capitalists now”. Just as Alexander Dubček in the 1968 ‘Prague Spring’ tried to bring about ‘Communism with a Human Face’ and failed, so, up to now, nobody has been capable of building ‘Capitalism with a Human Face’. One could point to Germany’s ‘Social Market Economy’; but even that has become little ragged at the edges. What capitalism has seemed capable of doing is making loads of money, some of which does trickle down; but most of which appears to make multinationals and a few people mega rich.

  • Barry Lofty 1st Jun '21 - 1:33pm

    @John Marriott, yes I agree it was all opposition party’s who were duped by Johnson but I have also believe that many of the Lib Dems mistakes in coalition were born from nativity but they also they should have had knowledge of way the Conservatives behave, which is quite common for them. A lesson learned ,I hope.

  • Peter Martin 1st Jun '21 - 1:58pm

    @ Michael1,

    “And Government spending decisions are much, much easier if you have a booming economy and tax revenues.”

    You’re not alone in thinking this.

    However, when the economy is booming with high tax revenues there is a tendency for Govts to overspend. Just as you and I would spend more if our incomes were higher.

    But we’re ‘households’ in economic jargon. That’s OK for us. But it isn’t OK for Govt!

    Their function, as the currency issuer, is to do the opposite of what seems intuitively obvious. When their income is low, like now, they need to spend more to keep the economy going. If it starts to overheat they need to wind back.

    Mind you, a booming economy is not a problem we are likely to have any time soon.

    You’re right about Liam Byrne. He should have known what he was talking about but he clearly didn’t. The Govt as a currency issuer can neither have nor not have any of its own currency as a possession. ££ are Govt IOUs. So when it creates them or acquires them the liability and asset value of them cancel out. Just as with your own IOUs. They are worth something to everyone else except yourself.

  • The by-election will be held on 17th June and I would echo the comments of Michael 1 on the significance of a by-election victory to national polling.
    On the comments on Keynesian economics a well-known quote from his 1923 Tract on Monetary Reform is apt:
    “this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.”
    It is what you have to say and do now as the pandemic subsides and state support is cut back that is of importance to people across the country. This economist article sets out the issues https://www.economist.com/briefing/2020/04/23/the-pandemic-will-leave-the-rich-world-deep-in-debt-and-force-some-hard-choices
    “Inflation would bring arbitrary redistributions of wealth to the disadvantage of the poor, just as Keynes observed it to have done in the late 1910s. Richer people are more likely to hold the houses and shares that rise in value with inflation, not to mention mortgages that would be inflated away alongside government debt. Higher inflation would also provide a bail-out that favoured more indebted companies over the less indebted.

    Higher taxes, tried a little in the wake of the financial crisis, could be targeted more precisely to reduce inequality—much as they were in some countries after the second world war. Wealth taxes, as favoured by Keynes back then and increasingly discussed by academics and left-wing politicians today, could find that their time had come. Post-pandemic populations may welcome the sort of cost-free-to-most all-in-it-togetherness they might provide. Less radically, a value-added tax in America (which lacks one), higher taxes on land or inheritance, or new taxes on carbon emissions could be on the cards. Like inflation, however, tax rises inhibit and distort the economy while producing a backlash among those who must pay.

    While the world’s chief problem is battling an economic slump in which inflation is falling, such choices are tomorrow’s business. They will not weigh heavily on policymakers’ minds. Even economists with reputations as fiscal hawks tend to support today’s emergency spending, and some want it enlarged. Yet one way or another, the bills will eventually come due. When they do, there may not be a painless way of settling them.”
    As Keynes observed “It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong”.

  • @John Marriott

    “in general, many people have just moved on from the days when there were demonstrably many injustices that needed addressing”

    Well people seem to be doing a lot of protesting still!

    People are very concerned about the climate emergency. Your friend, @David Raw, is concerned about the increased numbers going to food banks – even if he does blame the Lib Dems for it! I have a bee in my bonnet about improving education and closing the attainment gap – so we can get everyone going to university and improve social mobility. There’s social care. The ending of child poverty. Improving childcare. There is funding of the NHS after covid – so we kill a few less people from preventable diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and suicide (both totally preventable). There is the discrimination (still) against BAME and LGBTQI+ people. There is the discrimination as well as murder, rape and domestic abuse women face – normally at the hands of men. There is the gender gap in life expectancy that severely affects men – and more men dying of prostate cancer than women of breast cancer and men suffering more from suicide and being locked up more in prison – often those that are illiterate and been failed by the education system. And yes – as a nation we need to reconsider rejoining the EU. We have already missed out on £110 billion of services exports. Vital revenue that could be going to really level up people.

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/uk-missed-out-on-%c2%a3110bn-of-services-exports-after-brexit-referendum-say-wonks/ar-AAKALuk?ocid=msedgntp

    So I guess you are right nothing really to be bold about! No injustices at all that need addressing.

    (You are right though – it is the best, most marvellous time to be alive – far, far better than scrapping a living from the land as a peasant, being forced to work seven days a week in a factory or in service, or being sent down mines as a pregnant woman or up chimneys as a child).

    Let’s all throw large stones – boulders even – at our lazy incompetent Labservative councils, incompetent Government and slow moving international organisations!

  • Paul Barker 1st Jun '21 - 5:22pm

    I dont feel that I have anything new to say about The Byelection but I do follow The Polls & we have moved forward over the last Month. For A Year we were trapped around 7% – a range of 4-10%. Currently we are between 8% & 9% – a range of 6-11%.
    That is the beginnings of a possible recovery.

  • Alex and Michael 1

    You have telescoped the timeline. There is no date on that clip. It was the Tory conference of 1989 not 1990.

    “It’s actually meant to be the “bird of liberty”. The Lib Dems adopted the dove back in 1989, where it was instantly called out by Margaret Thatcher for being uninspiring, or “dead”.” (https://fabrikbrands.com/history-of-political-party-logos/). This is why I remember using it in the May 1990 local elections.

    The phase dead parrot for the policy document was widely used in 1988 and that is why her speech writers used the phase again a year later. Also the European elections had just happened in June 1989 and we were fourth behind the Greens on 5.9% of the vote. Our poor performance in these elections made the joke possible.

    Michael 1

    If you support MMT now you know that the government can’t run out of money and for you to quote someone who does makes no sense whatsoever.

    In the party manifestos Labour said they would reduce the deficit the least and the Conservatives the most with us in between. There was a large difference between them. The point I was making was that our manifesto said we would stimulate the economy and we didn’t in government with the Conservatives and this damaged the economy. You are correct in 2013 the double-dip recession which was reported in 2012 was reported as not happening. This doesn’t change the situation that the government’s policies were the wrong ones. There is a Brexiter who posts here from time to time and he would point out that we were not complying with the stability and growth pack and the EU was putting pressure on us to so and reduce our deficit. As I wrote our MPs forgot how the economy should be managed and there was no way the party membership was going to reject the Coalition agreement at Birmingham and it couldn’t even amend it! We need to accept that we got the economic policy wrong in 2010 and we now understand economics and how to manage the economy without causing high inflation (assuming that we do of course).

  • The Coalition Agreement paper that was presented to the Birmingham Conference on deficit reduction stated, “We have therefore agreed that there will need to be:- a significantly accelerated reduction in the structural deficit over the course of a Parliament, with the main burden of deficit reduction borne by reduced spending rather than increased taxes;- arrangements that will protect those on low incomes from the effect of public sector pay constraint and other spending constraints; and – protection of jobs by stopping Labour’s proposed jobs tax. The parties agree that a plan for deficit reduction should be set out in an emergency budget within 50 days of the signing of any agreement; the parties note that the credibility of a plan on deficit reduction depends on its long-term deliverability, not just the depth of immediate cuts …”

    “The parties agree that modest cuts of £6 billion to non-front line services can be made within the financial year 2010-11, subject to advice from the Treasury and the Bank of England on their feasibility and advisability. Some proportion of these savings can be used to support jobs, for example through the cancelling of some backdated demands for business rates. Other policies upon which we are agreed will further support job creation and green investment, such as work programmes for the unemployed and a green deal for energy efficiency investment.”

    This was not the economic policy which was carried out in the first two years of the Coalition government. If I had been at Birmingham I hope I would have voted against going into Coalition because of the need for our MPs to break their pledge to vote against all increases in tuition fees assuming this was made clear in the debate, as it was not clear in the wording of the agreement before conference.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Jun '21 - 7:20pm

    Michael BG: There is a date on the recording: “10/12/90”. This appears to be 12 October 1990 in US date format. Also Thatcher refers to the adoption of the Bird logo at our Blackpool conference, and that also places it in 1990 (our 1989 Conference was in Brighton, where we adopted the new party name, but no logo). In any case I remember it as being in 1990 that we adopted the new logo, and I hardly think anyone not heavily involved in the party would have been aware of our internal party squabbles over policy (the only thing the public were aware of about us back then was that we couldn’t even agree on a name!).

  • @ Michael 1 “Your friend, @David Raw, is concerned about the increased numbers going to food banks – even if he does blame the Lib Dems for it!”

    Of course I do, Michael. First as a Lib Dem Convenor for Social Care, as a CAB Adviser and then as a Trustee/Chair of a Foodbank, I saw it happen……. as Arthur Askey would say…. ‘”Before my very eyes”.

    Take a look at Sir Edward’s voting record on ‘They work for you’ if you don’t believe me.

  • @Michael BG

    I hate to be pedantic – and it doesn’t really matter whether it was 1989 or 1990 but right at the beginning of the youtube clip it says recorded 10/12/90 as this is taken from the American channel C-span this means 12th October 1990.

    The wikipedia page on the 1990 Eastbourne by-election notes: “The Liberal Democrats, whose newly adopted party emblem was a ‘bird of liberty’, had been compared by Margaret Thatcher in a Conservative party conference speech on 12 October to a “dead parrot”….”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_Eastbourne_by-election

    (My emphasis)

    An independent newspaper article on party logos says “he bird of liberty logo, introduced in 1990 , is now believed to look “weedy” and not “assertive enough”.

    (I think it has been beefed up since – and since its first introduction – in the first version – if you photocopied it too many times in the old days of “manual” clipart – its wings used to disappear… as they were quite thin…!!!)

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/party-logos-belong-to-a-bygone-era-say-agencies-103357.html

    I also remember getting the rewritten ALDC campaign guides in the Autumn of 1990 – that were newly produced and I know that was 1990 because I know where I was which was only for 1990 and had the new logo on the front of them for the first time. (And thanks once again to those that produced them or their predecessor or successors – an invaluable source)

    So it IS looking like 1990 🙂 !

    But hey – it doesn’t much matter either way and I am probably being pedantic 🙂 !!!!

  • @ Michael BG “If I had been at Birmingham I hope I would have voted against going into Coalition because of the need for our MPs to break their pledge to vote against all increases in tuition fees”.

    Indeed, and the leadership also played every trick in the book at Gateshead when the Lansley NHS ‘Reforms’ came up at Conference.

  • Peter Martin 1st Jun '21 - 8:36pm

    ” ……as the pandemic subsides and state support is cut back”

    The pandemic hasn’t been subsiding globally even when case rates were falling here. The newly named Delta variant is reportedly much more contagious than any of the previous variants with a R0 of between 5 and 6. So even with a 100% effective vaccine we’d need a take up of at least 80% of the population. This would have to include children. There are ethical difficulties about asking them to do that when they aren’t personally at too much risk. I wouldn’t advise anyone to allow their children to be vaccinated against Covid unless there were exceptional circumstances.

    But we don’t have anywhere near that level of take up and the vaccines aren’t 100%. And also we don’t know what follow Delta. Maybe epsilon, zeta etc will be even worse!

    So we could be a long way from having to consider what we might have to do when the Government decides it’s time to repay the money it has borrowed from itself!

  • Withdrawal of Covid support has begun with the end of renter eviction bans yesterday and repayments on Covid bounce back loans starting to fall due from this week. This month will also be the last of the furlough payments at 80% with a tapering away between July and September, when the Universal credit covid uplift of £20/week is also scheduled to end.
    That withdrawal in support and demand in the economy is expected to be offset by a robust economic and employment recovery as the lockdown is brought to an end. However, as always the distributional impacts are likely to be unevenly spread among different sectors of the economy, workers and those reliant on benefits.

  • Alex and Michael 1

    I am sorry, I was wrong. You have convinced me that it was the 1990 Tory conference.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jun '21 - 7:58am

    @ Joe,

    Yes, you’re right in saying the withdrawal of Covid support has started. My point is that such withdrawal may be premature and support policies may have to continue.

    This may sound overly pessimistic given that we recorded no deaths yesterday but just as deaths and cases numbers have fallen in recent months so they can rise again. Some scientists are warning that the new ‘Delta’ variant should be considered responsible for the start of a new epidemic rather than a third wave of the old one.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56529712

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jun '21 - 8:09am
  • John Marriott 2nd Jun '21 - 8:59am

    Finishing off what I wrote yesterday morning…

    It was very much on the line that Michael 1 was taking regarding ‘issues’ to protest about.
    Yes, climate change is happening and I am sure that human activity has and still is playing a rôle. Many people clearly share MP John Redwood’s view that it might be quite nice if the weather were a little warmer. After all, that’s surely the main reason so many jet off to sunnier climes for their holidays – it’s certainly not for the thrill of experiencing new lands and cultures. What most of these 40% or so don’t like is to have climate change rammed down their throats. I smiled a while back when those ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protesters were hauled off the roof of that train by angry commuters trying to get to work. I bet that would have gone down well at the ‘Dog and Duck’, where climate change is probably hoping for fine weather for a round of golf at the weekend. The regulars just want to get on with their lives and have little time for things like Black Lives Matter or LBGT rights. As for food banks, well, you can imagine the comments such as “shouldn’t have kids if they can’t afford to feed them and all they do is feed them junk anyway”, “Black lives matter. Don’t ALL lives matter?” I’m sure you know what I mean and, yes, these people are still amongst us and there are plenty of ‘Dog and Duck’s” in Lincolnshire where I live – and most of the faces are white. Not every Conservative is salivating to get down to the pub. Many just want to get on with their lives, pay their bills, see their children right with as little interference from the state as possible. Why mess things up?

    So, these are the kind of people, the ones that usually vote, whose mores and values are stuck in the past, and not necessarily loaded with money, some of whom the ‘progressive’ parties need to win over long enough to come up with a voting system based on support not on ‘winner takes all’. As long as it can get over 5% of the popular vote, a party that gets, say, 6% of the votes should get 6% of the seats in the House of Commons or the Council Chamber. Surely that’s fair, isn’t it?

    Good luck!

  • “This may sound overly pessimistic given that we recorded no deaths yesterday”.

    Has it never occurred to the media that Registrars Offices are closed on a Bank Holiday and a weekend ?

  • Laurence Cox 2nd Jun '21 - 10:58am

    “Has it never occurred to the media that Registrars Offices are closed on a Bank Holiday and a weekend ?”

    Has it never occurred to David Raw that we have had a number of Bank Holidays and over 50 weekends since the covid pandemic started, yet deaths from covid have been recorded throughout. Obviously, the deaths figure does not rely solely on returns from Registrars.

    More importantly, the seven-day rolling average of deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test is well down in single figures as reported by one of the more trustworthy media sources, the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56604632

    Perhaps Mr Raw should stop tarring all the media with the same brush.

  • Has somebody rattled your cage, Laurence ?

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Jun '21 - 11:51am

    I suggest nobody count their chickens yet even if the unbiased BBC reported otherwise!! I am as pessimistic about all the media reporting in our present world. I would dread another full lockdown and worry about another Johnson cockup.

  • David Evershed 2nd Jun '21 - 12:42pm

    Given the topic is the Chesham and Amersham by-election, do the comments display a lack of FOCUS?

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Jun '21 - 12:52pm

    I would suggest the performance of this government during the present pandemic will or should, be a major argument for the Liberal Democrats in this forthcoming by election even if the right wing press try to dismiss it and push the vaccine roll out!

  • Some single issue and new parties have been formed for this by-election including the Rejoin EU party; the Freedom Alliance. No Lockdowns. No Curfews party;and the breakthrough party represented by Carla Gregory https://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/19325517.breakthrough-party-announces-chesham-amersham-by-election-candidate/
    She said ““I’m running for MP of Chesham and Amersham because there is no one representing people who struggle to keep up with the cost of living in this constituency.
    “This is my hometown and where I am raising my children, so I want the best possible future for them and Chesham and Amersham.
    “For far too long the gap between the rich and the poor has been widening here and I want to be the voice of the unheard residents.”

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Jun '21 - 1:37pm

    It seems there will be numerous candidates to choose from and of course the pandemic is not the only topic around, but I merely suggest that it is still quite an important one.

  • With a 16,223 majority to overturn from the 2019 general election,winning this by-election would take a swing along the lines of that of the 1962 Orpington by-election. One of the issues in the Orpington by-election was the Conservative governments public sector pay freeze that particularly affected nurses. The current public sector pay freeze exempts nurses, but includes the armed forces, the police, teachers and the senior Civil Service.
    The independent writes “Defections of traditional Tories are believed to have been motivated by the damage done by Brexit to small businesses and distaste for the Johnson administration’s “culture war” messaging as well as by proposed planning reforms which critics warn will put the green belt at risk from development and which have raised concern from organisations like the National Trust and Council for Protection of Rural England.”
    Sarah Green has set out her priorities as:
    – making sure small and medium sized businesses are supported to recover from the pandemic;

    – fighting to protect our environment and green spaces for future generations;

    – getting more support for our local public services including stopping the closure of the public-facing police counter in Amersham.

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Jun '21 - 3:47pm

    Joe Bourke: As I wrote earlier I lived and ran a small business in this constituency for the best part of my life and I am under no illusions about the very difficult task facing Sarah Green, but await the result with more than normal interest, and wish her and her colleagues all the very best.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jun '21 - 5:29pm

    I think someone made the point that the comments on this thread lack focus. In other words, there seems to be a desire to talk about issues other than the upcoming Lib Dem win in C&A.

    I’m probably guilty of being off-topic too. So let me do something to redeem myself and get back on-topic with the following observation:

    Since the constituency was formed, in 1974, the Tories have never polled less than 50% and half a dozen times they’ve polled over 60%. In other words no-one else has ever come anywhere near to winning it.

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Jun '21 - 5:40pm

    Peter Martin: Yes your figures for parliamentary elections are correct but the Lib Dems have had some successes over the years in locals elections, much to chagrin of the local Conservatives,and it would nice to give the Tories a fright?

  • Surprise in Germany our sister party the FDP now up at 13/14%. A few years ago could not muster the 5% to get into the Parliament. Next Election September, let’s hope they maintain this measure of support and we win Chesham

  • John Marriott 3rd Jun '21 - 8:48am

    @ theakes
    Back in 2009 the FDP under the leadership of Guido Westerwelle got 14.9% of the vote and 93 of the Bundestag seats, the highest it has ever achieved so far, I believe. Most, if not all, of those seats probably came from Regional Lists as the party rarely wins what the Germans call ‘direct mandates’. So, if that level of support continues at the next elections, you can guarantee it a reasonable return, unlike in our ‘winner takes all’ elections. A ‘liberal’ party with over 10% of the vote and over 10% of the seats – now that’s what I call a fair result.

  • Peter Martin 3rd Jun '21 - 9:23am

    I would have thought that a “liberal” party should be somewhat less authoritarian and more to the left, economically, than they are according to the political compass.

    Just putting the word “free” in their name shouldn’t be enough for any party to qualify as being ‘liberal’. Or similarly with the words ‘social’ , ‘socialist’ and ‘labour’. It doesn’t mean anything if the policies don’t match the title.

    https://www.politicalcompass.org/germany2017

  • Peter Hirst 3rd Jun '21 - 10:33am

    What’s in a name, Peter? It depends on the name and the person reading it. Personally I prefer names to mean something but they don’t need to. It is silly and confusing however to have a name that is opposite to what you believe. Though that’s politics – anything almost to win votes. I pity people trying to make sense of the words we use, merely descriptive or more than that? Politics education should be compulsory in schools and can to at least explain this.

  • I just received an email from the SLF asking me to support the campaign in Chesham & Amersham which begins :

    ” People are fed up about HS2″,

    Now really. I thought official party policy was to support HS2…….. so can we please have some honest clarity ?

  • Peter Watson 3rd Jun '21 - 11:47am

    @Peter Martin “I would have thought that a “liberal” party should be somewhat less authoritarian and more to the left, economically, than they are according to the political compass.”
    Thanks for the fascinating link – though I’m much less interested in the German page than the pages for the UK on that site.
    Comparing the Lib Dems in 2010 (https://www.politicalcompass.org/ukparties2010) with 2019 (https://www.politicalcompass.org/uk2019) is somewhat depressing, made worse by comparisons with the intervening years which suggest that a slight shift to the centre from the 2015 position in 2017 was reversed in 2019.

  • Laurence Cox 3rd Jun '21 - 12:24pm

    @David Raw

    I obviously rattled your cage, because you condescended to spell my name correctly for the first time.

    Yes, this is a case where the local Party is opposed to Federal Party policy (Autumn 2016 F40) which Jo Swinson (and whoever else makes the decisions on the manifesto) put into the 2019 GE manifesto. But then, I thought we were a Party that believed in localism instead of top-down diktats. And, yes, I think that the Local Party are right on this issue; the HS2 project is a real mess that should never have got through Parliament. The project is over-specified (which drives up costs); see:

    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/future-of-high-speed-rail-europe

    and not as well thought-out as competing proposals like HSUK:

    http://www.highspeeduk.co.uk/

    HS2 is going to be the Concorde of rail travel; when what we needed was jumbos.

  • @ Laurence Cox I apologise if I inadvertently mis-spelt your name (I assume it was your first name ?). I wasn’t aware of it but nevertheless I do apologise. What I have not done, which I’m afraid you did, was to use your surname for caricature… tempting as that may be… but best to leave that for now.

    I agree the party’s policy on HS2 is a mess, although it is probably too late now to stop HS2 given the amount of work completed and contracted, I was opposed to HS2 from the beginning as an expensive (and no doubt seen in Chesham and Amersham) and destructive folly and vanity project. That is certainly so in Scotland.

    What I am sure of is that the mess you describe leaves the party open to all sorts of charges of being disingenuous with the electorate in this by-election. “Localism from top down diktats” is exceedingly generous and creative on your part. Will the Party Transport spokesperson,Baroness Randerson, be campaigning in Chesham ?

  • Laurence Cox 3rd Jun '21 - 2:52pm

    @David Raw

    I accept your apology, but would point out that you cast aspersions on my character in your post at 3:40 pm on 1st January this year. When you impugn someone’s integrity, you cannot be surprised if they strike back at you. The book, incidentally, has been well received outside political circles in Scotland including a recent event at the David Hume Institute.

  • Peter Watson 3rd Jun '21 - 8:35pm

    @David Raw “the mess you describe leaves the party open to all sorts of charges of being disingenuous with the electorate in this by-election”
    In a similar vein, I have to wonder if any of the activists have told the voters of Chesham and Amersham, with their shiny grammar schools, that the Lib Dem Conference in autumn 2016 “called on the government to abandon the selection by ability and social separation of young people, into different schools”. Then again, I don’t think the party has been keen to tell anybody about this policy/not-a-policy 🙁

  • Laurence Cox. I don’t recall impugning your character, Mr Cox.

    I do recall saying that closing Glasgow Airport and doubling the size of Edinburgh Airport was not a particular sensible idea….. and certainly not a vote winner for Christine Jardine or Alex Cole-Hamilton.

  • John Marriott 4th Jun '21 - 8:01am

    @Laurence Cox
    Wow, five months is a long time to remain offended, especially if you write on LDV. Some of us just get over it. I wonder whether, given the date of the original offence and knowing where Mr Raw now resides, the ‘aspersions’ that were cast, New Year celebrations had anything to do with his looseness of tongue (or finger). You do need to have a thick skin to venture into the of sometimes bizarre world of LDV! You win some; you lose some. Have a nice day!

  • @ John Marriott. Sorry to disappoint, John, but my Great Uncle George enrolled me as a little Blue Ribboner in the Band of Hope age five. Hail smiling morn.

  • John Marriott 4th Jun '21 - 5:49pm

    I gather that the Tory candidate is 6ft 9ins tall. A case of David versus Goliath in more ways than one?

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