How Mosborough’s mascot motivated an energetic campaign

Every time I hear the word Mosborough, it makes me smile. What a brilliant result. From 14% and 4th place just 4 months ago, the Liberal Democrats took a stunning victory in a local by-election on Thursday night. I’m told Mosborough is a bellweather ward in Sheffield so it may well reflect how voters across the city are feeling.

This takes me back to the 90s when we were routinely winning by-elections against Labour in Sheffield and Chesterfield. Let’s hope that Thursday’s victory is a big leap forward to getting that sort of success again.

The Sheffield Star has some great coverage, including one of returning Cllr Gail Smith and the Lib Dem Leader on Sheffield City Council.  Shaffaq Mohammed, looking very pleased. Shaffaq said of Gail’s victory:

In 2008, we actually took control of the council by winning Mosborough. “This is a huge victory, it shows the Lib Dems in Sheffield are back and actually, all those seats we lost during the coalition years are there up for grabs. “This arrogant Labour council has been sent a very strong message that they cannot take the people of Sheffield for granted. “Mosborough has spoken on behalf of Sheffield – well done to the people of Mosborough for electing Gail Smith who is going to be an outstanding councillor.

Elsewhere, just like the losing team on the Apprentice, Labour are sobbing into their tea and kicking lumps out of each other. I saw on social media yesterday that some of them were saying that the candidate wasn’t a Corbyn backer, which is why the local Corbynista were to be found phoning for Corbyn, not their candidate on polling day. The voters, of course, didn’t know the candidate wasn’t a Corbyn fan so she was, they said, caught between a rock and a hard place. The Sheffield Star reports on that angle and on Sheffield MP Angela Smith blaming Corbyn for the terrible result. Isn’t it funny how none of them blame their awful local council? 

It is clear that Sheffield’s Labour voters are looking for somewhere else to go. That may well be the case across all Labour seats. It is our responsibility as a party to get out and speak to these people because we have a lot to offer them. We have very strong policy on low pay and housing and inequality that, if communicated properly, could address the things that worry them most. We want people to look to us, not the nasty, spite-filled,  divisive rhetoric of UKIP.

Our victory in Mosborough was won by us, not lost by Labour, though. We had an amazing candidate with a strong record of delivering for the ward when she was a councillor before. We had an ace campaign team delivering strong local messages. And we had our secret weapon, Charlie, who drove them on to work even harder.

Charlie was their mascot.

Mosborough's mascot - Charlie

Isn’t he gorgeous? Here he is with winning candidate Cllr Gail Smith and some bloke whose name escapes me.

People would turn out in droves to help the campaign and then get their photo taken with Charlie. What a good dog he is. My Hazel looks away whenever she sees a camera.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Ruth Bright 10th Sep '16 - 7:16pm

    Shameless! Clegg using the infinitely more charismatic Charlie to plug his new book.

  • Your photo caption is wrong. That is Gail Smith, the winning candidate.

  • Thanks, Iain. That’s sorted. I was giving away my sources inadvertently there.

  • david franks 11th Sep '16 - 11:40am

    Congratulations to Gail and the team. We are making gains in local Council by elections in all sorts of places. Some critics say we are only getting back seats we lost due to the coalition effect – but we are winning them back!!!

  • Sue Sutherland 11th Sep '16 - 1:35pm

    Exactly David. If our vote is coming back that seems like good news to me! Now we have so many members we can build on that success.

  • Bernard Aris 11th Sep '16 - 3:52pm

    Congratulations from the European continent for the Sheffield campaigners and their candidate!

    As a Dutchman I recognise Labour’s (and, ceteris paribus, the Tories’) tendency to take a partonizing, non-delivering attitude once they think they’ve got a council majority sown up. In the Netherlands the (Labour) PvdA and the christian democrats from CDA have the same insensitive flaw. That is why after 80 years of PvdA calling the shots, we even conquered a majority against them in Amsterdam, our capital and biggest city, in our last council elections in 2014, and boy did they leave an administrative and financial mess! A D66 (Dutch Libdem) alderman has sorted the cash and accountability problems out, but it took two years of hard work with plenty of skelletons dropping from cupboards in all departments.

    Every time a faction with a name starting wit M (Militant, Monumentum) pops up in the Labour Party, you see factionalism getting priority over party interests or the interest of voters in elections. Kindergarten politics…

    We social liberals, both in the UK and the Netherlands, have a social and international-humanitarian agenda that predates the start of organized socialist or social-democratic politics. We should empasise that, saying: “you’re better off, you can be more sure you get what’s promised by voting the Original instead of the copy”.

  • Well said Bernard 🙂

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