Tag Archives: local elections

The Brexit Myth

The recent success of the Liberal Democrats at the 2019 Local Elections is something which, undoubtedly, has brought a great amount of joy to all of us who have weathered this five year storm. However, a narrative has already taken shape, one that threatens future momentum and growth – that this is attributable only to Brexit and Brexit related issues. This is a reading that is surface level. A little thought and a cursory digging dispels this myth.

First of all, we must look at who benefited most from the Conservative and Labour defeat. Of course, at a gain of 704 we have come first, with independents taking second, Greens third, and Residents Associations taking fourth, with smaller parties making up the rest. This break down is important. Surely, if this was an affect only of a Brexit backlash then RA’s would not have done as well? Indeed, the SDP came second in the wards they ran in, and independents fly under a myriad of different banners. Even the Brexit supporting Liberal Party gained a councillor in Liverpool and regained prominence on Pickering Town Council. The question, then, is this – what do these groups have in common? The trend seems to be one of a yearning for community, with each grouping possessing a strong communitarian streak. The Liberal Democrats were the forerunners of community politics, independent candidates tend toward community issues, and RA’s are based in this kind of thought. The SDP also describe themselves as “nation state communitarians”.

The second important indicator is the local election results in Northern Ireland, with the performance of the non-sectarian Alliance and Green parties. Though the DUP and Sinn Fein still retained the majority of councillors, both experienced a drop in seat share. The UUP experienced a drop that was more akin to the Tories, with Alliance being the main beneficiary. That non-sectarian parties are finally expanding their influence on the local level, even if the hegemony has not been broken, is indicative of the same trend seen in England – people are looking for community-centric alternatives who act in the interests of all who are living in the immediate area.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Time to be the Party of Local Government again

It’s local election time – indeed for someone, somewhere each April and May it is always a local election year. Of late, over the recent years you could be forgiven for not noticing – we Liberal Democrats have, somehow and for some reason, ceased to be “The Party of Local Government”.

For the first time in nearly a decade I have thrown myself back into the front line of party politics – so irritated am I by the body politic that I have concluded that locally, on my small patch of British, I might be the answer. So I am nominated to be a Liberal Democrat candidate for the Brockwell Ward of Chesterfield Borough Council. If it all goes wrong and I win (joke!) then I will be one of what we hope will be several gains from Labour in Chesterfield.

I am following a good tradition locally – the Ward has been previously held by Nicky Qazi, Roland Beckingham, Ray Russell and more. All giants of localism and liberal democracy in Chesterfield and indeed Derbyshire. Maureen Davenport is our sole remaining councillor in the three-member Ward and is defending her seat – Focus willing, we will re-elect Maureen and make two gains for the Liberal Democrats in this Ward.

Posted in News and Op-eds | 14 Comments

Will they all froth off?

The real advantage of having been around a long time (52 years as a member and 36 as a councillor) is that you can usually say, “I’ve seen it all before”. There are two things about the emergence of the “Independent Group” which are different to the huge surge of support for the SDP when it was created. Firstly, there are no big names amongst them. Most people outside their own constituencies probably couldn’t put a name to a face if shown the magnificent 11. Secondly, this time there are splits in both the other Parties not just one.

It’s very tempting for journalists to see things only through the Westminster prism. Numbers matter there in terms of votes and majorities. Big press conferences and breakaways are good news stories but not necessarily real politics. The numbers that really matter are the numbers on the ground and in particular the number of councillors. Political Parties are very like armies. We have Colonels and Generals in Parliament. We have the poor bloody infantry who knock on the doors and stuff the envelopes. The glue that holds them together and makes sure things happen are the NCOs. In our parlance, Councillors.

Surges in membership for political parties are nothing new for a variety of reasons. In addition to the SDP we often get local surges as people support the people locally who they think might win and have influence or who, quite simply, might find them an easy seat. The SDP surge has actually been outperformed by the huge increase in Labour and to a lesser extent in the Lib Dems since 2015. But the real question is, “how many stick to actually make the Party, new or old, work?” Many of the people who will excitedly sign up when the Independent Group becomes a Party will rapidly find that politics is not very exciting at all. Much of it is necessary but boring work interspersed with the stuff they have seen on the telly. They will be like the froth on the top of a cup of coffee that quickly disappears after the fresh bre begins to cool.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 53 Comments

ALDC By-election report 7th February 2019

A busy Thursday of six by-elections welcomed campaigners into February, with 1 hold, 1 gain and a 21% swing for the team in Lambeth.

 

Bradford MB, Bolton & Undercliffe
LD Rachel Sunderland 1733
Lab 1153
Con 418
Green 73
LD gain from Lab
Percentage change from 2018

We jump straight in at our standout result of the night in the Bolton & Undercliffe by-election. A hard-worked campaign from Rachel Sunderland and the Bradford team saw a fantastic first gain of the year for the Lib Dems and first gain from Labour since October. With a huge increase of 9% of the vote share and a lead of over 500 votes the whole team can be proud. Congratulations on a great result!

 

Wokingham BC, Evendons
LD Sarah Kerr 1441

Con 729
Lab 115
LD Hold
Percentage change from 2018

Sarah Kerr put on a brilliant showing to hold Evendons seat in Wokingham BC. Not only did Sarah successfully defend the seat, she also increased her vote by a whopping 16.3% leaving her with a majority of over 700 votes! This result is an extremely positive showing for the party and is a great sign in the run up to the elections in May. Well done Sarah and the team for what was a brilliant result.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments

What do the local elections tell us about Lib Dem prospects?

When it comes to local election results, punditry usually heads in one of two directions. Either the local elections will be held up as an ironclad prediction for the next general election result or they are an utter irrelevance which tells you nothing about how people will vote in national elections.

Strangely, which of the two positions punditry tends towards seems to be very much linked to whether the local elections have been bad or good for the party backed by the pundit in question.

As you might expect, of course, the truth lies somewhere in between – and the data can actually tell us something useful about Liberal Democrat prospects at the next general election, whenever that may be.

For decades various teams of political scientists have been working out National Equivalent Vote Shares (NEVS) based on local election results. That is, they take the raw figures and make adjustments to take account of the fact that local elections take place in different parts of the country each year (for instance, most of the councils which had elections in May this year won’t have elections again until 2022).

This means that the NEVS is, broadly speaking, a reliable snapshot of support for each party UK-wide at the time of the local elections.

However, this does not mean that a NEVS is the same thing as how the party will perform in a general election. In the case of the Lib Dems, we have routinely underperformed our NEVS from the previous year in a general election.

The table below shows the Lib Dem performance in each of the past six general elections as well as our NEVS in the year before’s local elections. As can be seen, typically the Lib Dem vote has dropped by 1 to 7 points between the local election and the general election – and the two general elections with the lowest drop were dominated by the Iraq War and Cleggmania respectively, making them fairly atypical.

GE Result Year Before’s NEVS Difference
1997 17% 24% -7
2001 19% 26% -7
2005 23% 27% -4
2010 24% 25% -1
2015 8% 13% -5
2017 7% 14% -7

 

So, given that the typical drop has been 6 or 7 points, what does this tell us about Lib Dem prospects at the next general election?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

Martin Horwood standing for local council

FORMER CHELTENHAM MP Martin Horwood is putting on his rosette again – this time to stand for Cheltenham Borough Council. There’s an unexpected vacancy in Leckhampton ward following independent councillor Ian Bickerton’s recent resignation. That means the ward will be electing two councillors in the borough council elections on 3 May instead of one. Glenn Andrews is the other Lib Dem candidate.

Martin handed in his nomination papers at the council offices today – and the retiring independent councillor Ian Bickerton was one of his nominators. Martin stood down as Lib Dem …

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ALDC launches its Election Law Helpline

It is vital that everyone in the Liberal Democrats stays on the right side of the law throughout the forthcoming election campaigns, and ALDC are on hand to help you do this through our Election Law Helpline – launching on Thursday 1 March 2018.

The team at ALDC are providing free election law advice to campaigners in England for their forthcoming local elections, regardless of whether you are a member of ALDC.

They can provide practical issues around election law – nominations, DNOs, imprints, expenses, etc. as well as detailed queries about election …

Posted in Campaign Corner and Election law | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

After a year of Tory rule, we have the chance to show our disapproval

When Labour has moved to the unelectable far left (however admirably unpolitician-ish Corbyn may be) and the Tories are hell bent on ruining the lives of teachers, junior doctors and the disabled, just to shrink the state, we need a party that actually will do good for the country more than ever.

Look at Canada, electing the inspiring Justin Trudeau, and implementing that shared liberal idea of making life better for everyone. protecting the disadvantaged, and the disabled, caring for the environment yet -here in the UK – being able to save the economy from the worst recession since the 1930s whilst being pro-business and pro-aspiration.

Increased mental health funding? Lib Dem legislation. £11,500 tax free income? Lib Dem legislation. We should also mention 5 years of stopping the worst Tory policies, which are now being enacted unopposed by the divided squabbling mess that Labour has become. Whilst the Lib Dems made a grave mistake with tuition fees, they’ve actually admitted they were wrong, learned from that, and fought to make life better for all of us during the recession despite knowing they would lose the next election and their work wouldn’t be praised by the press. How often can you say that about politicians? And happily, more disadvantaged people are now going to university thanks to grants which the Tories are now scrapping.

Posted in Op-eds | 13 Comments

The #LibDemFightback: things to look for on May 5th

Eastleigh HQ leaflets

I’ve never been one for negativity.  I’m all for realism, however stark – provided that one is permitted to also consider how to change one’s circumstances if the current ones are dire.  This is one of the many reasons why the Lib Dems attracted me as a party – evidence-based policy, and a ‘well, let’s fix it’ attitude to tackling problems, offering solutions and alternatives instead of simply complaining.

The membership surge after last May’s elections, and the ensuing #LibDemFightback have been extremely heartening.  Outside the comfort zones of the Liberal Democrat community, the evidence for that fightback is there, but the new reality we face is that it is much harder to make ourselves heard than it was before last May.

So, I thought I’d try some evidence-gathering myself from council by-elections; you can see what I found here.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 7 Comments

ALDC by-election report 22 January – two second place finishes

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)Six principal council by-elections were held yesterday, five of which resulted in holds. There were two second place finishes for Liberal Democrats in Southwark (LB) and Hertfordshire (CC). In the London contest, Lauren Pemberton-Nelson polled 14.5% with an 8.2% vote share increase from 2014 in Faraday ward, with Labour holding their seat comfortably with over 60% of the vote. Shailain Shah was also a runner-up in the Bushey North by-election polling 19.9%, with an increased vote share of 5.8% from two years ago. The Conservatives held the seat with 52.6%.

The Tories also successfully defended a seat in Crowborough East ward in Wealden (DC) with 64% of the vote. Jane Clark came second for the Liberal Democrats with 24.5%, a vote share decrease of 10.1% from May.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Tim Farron says thanks to Liberal Democrat candidates: “Everything you do can and will make a massive difference to the outcome on Thursday”

The Party President sends his thanks to the 2,730 Liberal Democrats standing in the local elections.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Farron: It’s Lib Dems v UKIP in European elections

Last year on the eve of Spring Conference, we reported Tim Farron’s controversial interview in House magazine in which he described activists as cockroaches and said the party was in a critical state. He certainly got into a bit of trouble from Them Indoors, but, as Stephen Tall pointed out:

The language is colourful: that’s Tim for you. He could give dull, measured interviews that are risk-free. But it’s not his way. And I don’t think many activists would want him to be anything other than himself. It is precisely because Tim is un-spun, a straight-talker who takes his role

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron’s Winning here blog

Party President Tim Farron has taken to writing a monthly blog on the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners’ website. It’s for ALDC members only, but if you have even the slightest link to any election campaign this May, I’d strongly recommend that you join them. People who do what they say have more chance of winning. They have so many good campaigning resources that they really are invaluable.

Back to Tim’s blog. He talks about why councillors and community campaigners are so important:

You have the track record of action, the record of success and the community knowledge to

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Byelection results – 24 October

The Lib Dems gained one seat at yesterday’s county, district and unitary byelections.

Congratulations to Eric Seward who held North Walsham East for the Lib Dems with a decent 5.8% rise in votes.

North Walsham result

Posted in News | 8 Comments

Lib Dems hold Aylesbury Oakfield and Taunton Halcon

There were three very good local election results for the Lib Dems last night.

Congratulations to Allison Harrison and Mark Willis who held Oakfield in Aylesbury for the Liberal Democrats. UKIP came in 80 or so votes behind, and took almost double the votes of the Tories who were in third place.

We also take our hat off to Roger Hurst who held Mickleham in the Mole Valley on an impressive 49% turnout.

AV Oakfield 1
AV Oakfield 2
Posted in Local government and News | 5 Comments

What you get from Liberal Democrat Councillors – a record of action

Liberal Democrats around the country are taking to the streets or phones to get out the vote. Here’s Lib Dem HQ in sunny Ludlow. Ludlow HQ

From the Liberal Democrat website:

The Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

Our councillors have proud records locally, standing up for local people:

  • No library will be closed in any Lib Dem-run or Lib Dem-led authorities this year
    • Northumberland County Council, Portsmouth and Stockport are opening new ones
  • Liberal Democrats are helping businesses and customers to get their economies

Posted in Op-eds | Leave a comment

Clegg and Farron say Liberal Democrats fairest in tough economic times

nick clegg eastleighThere was a double dose of senior Lib Demmery on yesterday’s World at One with Nick Clegg and Tim Farron both talking about the local elections. Firstly, Nick on the Liberal Democrats making fair decisions in challenging economic times:

Everybody knows money is tight and that local councillors have done and will continue to have to make savings. The question is who can be relied on to do it most fairly. You certainly can’t rely on either Conservative or Labour parties if you look at their local records. I think

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

Nick Clegg launches local election campaign

Nick-CleggThe launch of our local election campaign yesterday was rather overshadowed by some other news.

Here is an extract from Nick Clegg’s speech:

Next month, in wards across the country, people will be confronted with the same choice. Despite all their stated differences, a vote for Labour or the Tories will be a vote for the same thing.

Their record in local government shows that, even when millions of families are feeling the pinch, they’ll both squander taxpayers’ money on waste, inefficiency and their own vanity projects.

A vote for the Liberal Democrats, on

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Martin Horwood MP to chair Lib Dems’ 2013 local election campaign

From a Party news release:

Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, Martin Horwood has been appointed as the Chair of the Liberal Democrat 2013 Local Election Campaign.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

I am delighted that Martin will be heading our 2013 local election campaign.

With Martin’s wealth of local government and campaigning experience, I know he will do an excellent job.

I look forward to working with him to deliver the results our hard-working councillors and activists deserve.

Commenting further, Martin Horwood said:

I’m honoured and a little daunted to be asked to take on this role. It’s no secret

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Mystery of fake leaflets in North Richmond

The leaflet below appears to be normal Lib Dem election literature. It was one of three distributed widely over night on May2nd/3rd for the council by-election in North Richmond, in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames. You may wonder why it is titled Comments instead of Focus, but that is what Lib Dems have always called their leaflets in Richmond.

Indeed, the layout and photos are exact copies of earlier Lib Dem election leaflets. The bar chart, grumble sheet and contact details all look authentic. The writing style is credible.

But a closer inspection reveals something very worrying. The main story …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged | 21 Comments

Opinion: A bad election result – what now ?

The Liberal Democrats took another slap round the chops from the electorate on the May 3rd local elections. Yes, there were a few bright spots, especially those ably pointed out by Jeremy Browne MP, but the overall picture was still grim.

Of course it was not unexpected, and neither has the leadership’s response been – hold the course, reiterate what we have achieved and will achieve, compare our policy successes with those of the Conservatives, and emphasise that it was Labour who got us into the financial mess we are in. And so on. All good stuff, and well executed. …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 26 Comments

Good morning, voters

If you have just joined us after a heavy night at the count, or watching the results on TV, then welcome. LDV readers have been reporting and commenting on the results all through the night, so please join in the discussion on the local elections open thread.

Later this morning we will be starting a London elections open thread to reflect on the results at City Hall.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Local elections in Scotland: the key battlegrounds

Every Council seat in Scotland is up for grabs tomorrow.  There are currently 152 Liberal Democrat councillors in 23 of the 32 local authorities, from the Highlands to Dumfries and Galloway. Liberal Democrats are participants in 13 coalition administrations.

Five years ago, there was some trepidation about how these coalitions would work. It was predicted that they would fall apart in months, but most have lasted the course. The naysayers were mainly from the Labour party, who had lost many of their traditional fiefdoms thanks to the introduction of STV, brought in at the insistence of the Liberal Democrats following the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 3 Comments

Liberal Democrats Local Elections Broadcast 2012

Here is the Liberal Democrats’ 2012 English local election broadcast, first shown earlier this week.

Posted in Lib Dem TV, News and YouTube | 8 Comments

Labour candidate Shefali Begum wants “prosperous thieving” Rochdale

I guess there always has to be some humility when you see that an opposition candidate has had a bit of a proof-reading failure. After all, it could just as easily happen to you.

That said, Labour candidate for the Spotland and Falinge ward of Rochdale Council Shefali Begum will no doubt be very embarrassed after reading her pitch on the Rochdale Online website in which she says:

  I believe to make a prosperous thieving borough we need united and strong communities which are dedicated and passionate about where they live and their future generations will reside.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Labour’s not-so-very-local election broadcast shows how unimportant local decision-making is to Ed Miliband’s party

Tonight’s Labour local election broadcast, starring telly’s very own Lord (Robert) Winston, climaxes with the rallying cry:

On Thursday May 3rd, vote NHS, vote Labour

Exactly how voting Labour then will help the NHS isn’t explored — not surprisingly, because it won’t. There’s a reason these elections are called local elections, after all.

Before highlighting Labour’s misleading tactics I thought I should first check out the Lib Dem record on fighting local elections. I have to say I was expecting to find comparable examples, times when the party leadership had called …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 23 Comments

Andrew Stunell MP writes… Launching the Liberal Democrats’ local election campaign

Local Election Day is now exactly a month away for most of Metropolitan England as well as across the whole of Scotland and Wales. Nick Clegg was in my own area of Stockport earlier today to officially launch the Liberal Democrat local election campaign, visiting a local business and speaking with councillors, business owners and local people.

I’ve no doubt that many of you have been out on the doorstep over the last few months, talking to people and showing them what we are achieving both nationally and locally.

You will already have your big messages in place. Number one has got …

Posted in Local government | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: How much does geographical accident influence politics?

I have been wondering for a while how much of a role geographical accident plays in politics.

When I first decided to get involved with politics a few years back I chose the Liberal Democrats because they were the party that most closely matched my views. In my local area, the party did not have any council seats but there are a small group of very dedicated and experienced local members and campaigners who have fought a number of local and national elections with alacrity since I joined.

The situation, though, has got me thinking about how political careers are nurtured and …

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

“Thursday is decision day” – Charles Kennedy’s eve of poll message to members and supporters

Charles Kennedy MP has emailed Liberal Democrat members and supporters with a “get out and vote” (and “get out the vote”) message, ahead of tomorrow’s elections and referendum:

Tomorrow you have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to have your say on how we elect our MPs to Westminster. Important elections are also taking place across the country for the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament & local councils. Thursday is Decision Day.

When I was first elected in 1983, the idea of changing our voting system for Westminster elections seemed important, but the chance seemed remote. When the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly were established, neither

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Nick Clegg’s speech in Sheffield on the difference that Liberal Democrat councils are making

On Saturday, Nick Clegg delivered a speech to local party activists in Sheffield on the difference that Liberal Democrat councils across Britain are making. It’s a good speech which expands on many of the examples that we started to hear at conference in Sheffield last month about how Liberal Democrat councils are using innovative techniques to keep service and job losses to a minimum in these difficult financial times.

Here’s the speech in full:

The Liberal Democrats have a long, proud and successful history in local government.

We run some of the nation’s biggest cities and some of the most effective councils across

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments
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Recent Comments

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