LibLink: Tim Farron: Witney result shows that the Liberal Democrats are back in the political big time

winninghere-at-witney-from-holly-mathiesFollowing the excellent result for the Liberal Democrats, an excellent 30%, a swing from the Tories the likes of which hasn’t been seen for nearly two decades, Tim Farron has been writing for the Huffington Post. His message: we’re back.

The result not only signals that the Liberal Democrats are back in the political big time and the return to third party politics, but also a clear rejection of the Conservative Brexit government’s plan to take Britain out of the Single Market.

Don’t underestimate what we have achieved. We started here in fourth place but have blown Labour and UKIP out of the water. Voters rejected Labour because it has no economic credibility and is unfit for government.

This was the tenth safest Tory seat in the country with a massive 25,000 majority, yet the Conservatives were seriously rattled. They are riding high in the polls, but my sense is that has largely been because people did not feel there was a credible opposition. Witney proves there is now a credible opposition – and that opposition is the Liberal Democrats.

Real election results are proving that this party is revitalised, with amazing campaigning strength. Since May we had gained 21 council seats, and in Witney we proved that the Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit government.

You can read the whole article here.

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13 Comments

  • Don’t get carried away. It could be that the Lib Dems are returning as the Protest Vote Party in some seats.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/witney-by-election-results-david-cameron-old-seats-labour-lib-dems-fight-back-tim-farron-anti-brexit-a7373106.html

    Yes, 48% of the public voted Remain – from across the political spectrum and numerous parties. You need more than the EU to claw back support.

    In any case by the next election (assuming it is 2020), Brexit will be a reality and rejoining the EU would mean accepting the euro and having none of the opt-outs.

  • Laurence Cox 23rd Oct '16 - 11:51am

    @John B
    More to the point, the Labour Party now have over 1000 members in the constituency, doubling since Corbyn first stood for the leadership, so that is only about 5 voters for each member. You would expect a higher ratio of people voting for a Party (even in a by-election) to joining a Party, so it does not augur well for Labour’s chances of winning seats from the Tories in a General Election.

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Oct '16 - 12:23pm

    UKIP members can obviously choose a woman leader now, having chosen Diane James, who came second in the Eastleigh by-election.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21625726
    Private Eye this week has reported on what Nigel Farage said about Ms. Le Pen, although he is obviously not a teetotaller. We do not know what his wife thinks, but what he said about Donald Trump’s campaign is on the record.

  • paul barker 23rd Oct '16 - 1:38pm

    We should not expect that Polls will reflect the change yet. For one thing, Byelections are out of fashion, they now get very little coverage. Journalists are a conservative bunch & once they have a “Story” they dont change it till they have to. The story about The Libdems is that we are dead (again) or irrelevant at best. Voters mostly follow the media & very few will have heard anything about our Recovery.
    I dont expect much to change till next May, unless The Richmond Byelection comes first.

  • The media just have not tuned into the fact that the Greens and UKIp are declining badly.
    Andrew Neil and Andrew Marr are typical appear to be only able to meet the changed Lib Dem with cynical and lmost sarcastic comments. They are in catch up but have still to get on the bus whereas people I have met over the past month have known something saying “yes the Lib Dems are coming back”. It is the same with a “Will Mrs May call a General Election” when we all she cannot just “Call” an election. The Parliament Act rules. One problem they live on the Opinion Polls forgetting that campaigns and TV presentation during that period change them.

  • Having had to watch UKIP spokespeople on BOTH BBC and ITV morning programmes then Farage appearing to rubbish one of their leadership candidates, the fact that UKIP vote is collapsing in general terms inc Witney, they all unite to hate their only MP. The Welsh kippers seem more intent of demeaning their own members…..what the hell is the media doing

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Oct '16 - 8:36pm

    Bob ,

    The media is being outrageous, these days. We know the parties got a certain vote , and number of mps. How come then , we get less attention than the SNP and UKIP?! We got more votes than the SNP , less mps because of our electoral system. We got less votes than UKIP, more mps for the reason of that system. The media, judge the number of mps important , so give us less, much less coverage than the SNP, especially in parliamentary terms. Why then , if it is parliamentary representation that is important , do we get so much less coverage than UKIP ?!

    When we were by all and every measure the third party, UKIP got coverage out of all proportion, considering their vote and representation then. Farage got interest that no leader of a third or forth party gets. Shall we see the same happen with a successor to him ?

  • “We got more votes than the SNP , less mps because of our electoral system.”

    Oh, no it’s not….. the SNP only fought 59 seats whereas we fought over 600. In fact they got nearly 1.5 million votes in Scotland – the Lib Dems just over 200,000 – (i.e. seven times as many).

    Contacts in Bournemouth tell me they would have voted for Nicola if she had been standing down there, so don’t over egg the pudding, Lorenzo.

  • nvelope2003 23rd Oct '16 - 9:50pm

    The SNP does not get so much coverage at Westminster as it did to start with because few of its MPs say anything interesting. The BBC seems to give more coverage to Tim Farron than to the SNP leader at Westminster though obviously they do not, but should, ignore the deliberately provocative statements about another referendum made by Nicola Sturgeon, although most people have begun to tire of it.

    Nigel Farage gets attention because he keeps saying outrageous things which he knows winds up the journalists, whereas the Liberal Democrats tend on the whole to stick to rather sensible but dull comments – small earthquake in Tierra del Fuego – not many dead – does not grab the headlines.

    How many parties in Scotland campaigned for Independence as their main policy ? Not surprisingly the SNP got most of the votes. There is no comparable situation in England.

  • Philip Rolle 23rd Oct '16 - 11:22pm

    An improvement certainly. But Richmond Park will be your test.

  • @Lorenzo Cherin: “Why then …. do we get so much less coverage than UKIP ?!”

    Because the pivot of British politics in 2015 shifted away from a “centre” balancing point between “Left” and “right”, towards a nationalist narrative. The polls haven’t changed significantly since 2015.
    Maybe the party can capitalise on being ‘anti-nationalist’, but this ironically would risk being painted as being oblivious to defending uk industry- by the very same Conservatives extolling the virtues of an unprotected, unregulated free market!
    Don’t think the Conservatives can’t achieve such a ridiculous line. Look how they wriggled out of being caught arguing for a less regulated financial sector just before the 2008 crash….caused by an under-regulated financial sector!

  • Tony Dawson 24th Oct '16 - 8:20am

    @nvelope2003 :

    “The SNP does not get so much coverage at Westminster as it did to start with because few of its MPs say anything interesting. ”

    You clearly have a TV tuned in to a very different planet than mine is. Whether one agrees with them or not, the SNP generally provides the most coherent team in the Commons on most big issues. I say ‘team’ because, of course, the Lib Dems are lucky to get a single member called these days due to the 2015 ‘Massacre’.

  • nvelope2003 25th Oct '16 - 9:05pm

    Tony Dawson: I do not have a television but listen avidly to the radio. At the start of this Parliament the BBC frequently interviewed SNP spokes persons but this seemed to cease some time ago. I did not think they sounded very interesting and rarely said anything but slogans which is probably why the BBC stopped asking them on so often. They do still, however, appear on Any Questions ? at the weekend, mostly repeating whatever the Labour person has just said. Maybe compared to Labour they do seem a bit more coherent but that is not saying much.

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