P-6 Why Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham matter to Stoke-on-Trent.

In the world of politics “one more heave” has all the images of failure. It conjures up the notion that if you keep trying you succeed eventually thus creating the cycle of failure, by always trying again.

So in that sense, I have changed my own personal politics over time to ensure that every election is specific and that I get something out of it regardless of the result. Indeed, when I mentor candidates I often tell them “that you learn much more when you lose than if you win”. This has the added advantage for me as a Liberal Democrat of being involved in a range of elections and constantly learning.

But if you were in politics solely to win votes, then look elsewhere and outside the liberal family. I realise now, reflecting on nearly 30 years of political activism that many of the things I have achieved have been significant but have not come through a ballot box victory. Many of the ideas I have espoused have been taken up by others, sometimes of other political traditions, and implemented albeit differently. In this respect, I have regarded my politics as fruitful and I reflect positively. So I didn’t ever regard it as one more heave. I regard it as a long term commitment to the values I treasure and hold dear.

Further, I find the fact that I have lost all my personal attempts at a General Election victory curiously cathartic and humbling and places me in a long and humbling line of liberals who have sought office and not been elected. Many of those losers were far more worthy of wining than I.

So how does this affect Stoke-on-Trent Central? We are running a large confident, bold and sincere campaign. The people of the City will vote this Thursday coming. And they have the chance and opportunity to elect Dr Zulfiqar Ali as their new MP, He would be a massive advocate for better healthcare, funded healthcare and informed decision making in health. He would be a reformer, an advocate of the Sungle Market, a passionate and outstanding liberal and community campaigner.

So looking at the sign in sheets of helpers who have travelled far and wide to help Dr Ali and the Liberal Democrats in Stoke-on-Trent one of the proudest elements for me has been the number of people who have come from the small local party of Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham. Why so many?

Well, I am going to say that my years of losing my own elections has given me a distance and a compassion about standing up and fighting for what you believe in, in ensuring that the liberal cause is espoused, even when unpolpular and explaining that if you are a liberal you fight and fight alone if needs be for what you believe in. But when your friends stand up, you stand by them.

So to the Liberal Democrats of Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham who have been and helped with Dr Zulfiqar Ali’s campaign I thank you from the bottom of my heart. That by-election in your seat in December was one of the very best reasons why I am so proud to be a Liberal Democrat and by repaying our work in your seat, you have justified and illustrated why I do this every day, early in the morning, late at night.

And if you haven’t had a by-election in your parliamentary constituency – then come and join the fun in these last six days. If your MP resigns their seat, you will want fellow liberals to come and help – and I promise you as well as folks from Sleaford and North Hykeham, this time there will be liberals from Stoke-on-Trent too and with any luck Dr Zulfiqar Ali MP as well.

In the meantime – thank you Ross Pepper, Natasha Chapman and team. Keep the mutual support going. As liberals we have a responsibility to support each other. Believe me, over time it works.

* Ed Fordham is a councillor on Chesterfield Borough Council and runs Brockwell Books of Chesterfield, selling many thanks, not least ephemera he bought from Liber Books over the last 25 years.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Quite right Ed.

  • Well said Ed. It was also brilliant to see Sarah Olney up in Stoke the other day….and Liz Leffman. But I very much appreciate the emotional attachment to the Sleaford crew you must have after working so hard in their by-election.

  • Ian Patterson 17th Feb '17 - 11:40pm

    Breaking: Lib Dem gain Emmbrook Ward from Tories today.

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