John Pugh writes….Time to be practical

There’s always been a tinge of otherworldly eccentricity about some liberals- the ability to hold a conversation about the merits of site-value rating while simultaneously clutching a bundle of ready-to -go Focuses- the blending of the theoretical with the practical.

Now is the time for the practical. Here in Southport we are fighting off the Tory hordes with our excellent candidate Sue McGuire – and we all know that as a party we need more women MPs.

We need more MPs period……and Southport has provided the party with one since 1987. It’s a winnable seat that has to be won and has never been won easily. Its one of only two held in the North West.

Every rational activist in the North West should be asking themselves “When am I going to go to Southport” and possibly “How often?”. Those troubled by the current ,relative lack of Lib Dem women MPs should be asking themselves what practical help can I give ?

The threat to our electoral prospects is never people actually being inactive but the super-optimism that sees Tory strongholds and Labour heartlands toppling like ninepins to a Lib Dem surge in one electoral cycle. The threat is not concentrating our firepower but exerting huge amounts of energy in pursuit of a good second place. 

The County Council elections gave us reasons for optimism but not super-optimism. The best thing anyone can do in seat where the odds are frankly against us is to ensure we win in seats where we stand a good chance. Victories help us all- second places don’t.

When you are in a more difficult seat ,it helps to point to somewhere not too far away where Lib Dems win but it helps even more if you assist that victory.

Sad to say -pleasing endorsements on this site, Facebook likes, good wishes etc don’t see off the Tories in the hard world of British politics. Its not practical for most activists and members to come to Southport everyday- much as we would be happy to see you  but book some time in.

Campaigning in your own neck of the woods will always be easier/more convenient but there’s an argument here from self-interest. Coming to sunny Southport and helping elect a Lib Dem MP is not only good for your health but good for the credibility and political health of the whole party. We often urge people to make their votes count – time to make our activism count too methinks .


* John Pugh was Liberal Democrat MP for Southport until 2017 and was elected as a Councillor for the Dukes ward of Sefton Borough Council on 2 November 2017.

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  • Absolutely agree about targetting. The party should actually be ruthless and ask folks to go to the nearest target and identify where they are to party chairs, obviously not in public. Cheltenham is the nearest to me and I plan to work there. Inconveniently Mrs May obviously did not realise my daughter is getting married on 2 June.

  • Couldn’t agree more. Islington? A waste of time. Ealing? A waste of time. We all know where we can win. Get there. Not where we can’t.

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