Triple win in deferred Council election for Lib Dems

Good news from Southwark:

Well done to our new councillors.

In Doncaster, we stood a candidate and got 2.8% of the vote from a standing start. If the local party can find some of those people and engage them, then that is how we start to claw our way back up in places where we are not strong.

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  • The deferred wins in Southwark offer a useful boost to Lib Dems in Labour facing seats in the Northern Mets following some poor results in May. I know London is different and incredible effort went into some of our successful defences, but there are no short cuts to getting back to pre-2010 levels. Congratulations and thank you to London Bridge and West Bermondsey.

  • There is a large percentage of the electorate looking for an alternative to the Tories and Labour, often we pick up that vote but it can quite easily be Independents, Greens or in the case of Doncaster The Yorkshire Party. The challenge for the Lib Dems is to become the default choice, to do that the party needs to rebuild structures it lost during the dark times of the coalition.

  • Sue Sutherland 16th Jun '18 - 12:14pm

    Yes! Thank you and well done!

  • David Evans 16th Jun '18 - 1:31pm

    frankie, The problem isn’t that we lost those structures in coalition. We allowed our leader to destroy them. Sadly, I don’t see anyone near the top even worrying about it. You only have to see the latest joke of a Lib Dem Newsletter that came out today. it describes Lewisham as a spectacular and amazing result.

    I only suggest that the person who wrote it looks in the newspapers and the mainstream media. Amazing would have been a win a new MP, a new beginning, but as Caron has commented in another thread “We have to remember as well that this hasn’t had the Witney or Richmond Park intensity of campaign.”

    Now if we had given the Lewisham campaign the Richmond treatment, or maybe just the Witney treatment we might just have won. Instead we are trumpeting an increase in our vote of just under 3,500 as amazing, we might just have got ourselves an extra MP. Why didn’t we?

    I really do worry that so many of us are prepared to accept second (or even third) best.

  • David Blake 16th Jun '18 - 1:58pm

    As an indication of how the media is ignoring us, you only have to look at Sky News in one of their news bulletins on Friday morning. They covered Lewisham East and said that we came second, but made no mention of the increase in our vote or the fact that we pushed the Tories into third place. They also covered the upskirting issue and had three people speaking about it – but made no mention of Wera Hobhouse.

  • paul barker 16th Jun '18 - 3:49pm

    One thing we can definitely say wont help is obsessing over the Past & blaming each other. Those who turned up to The Special Conference to oppose Coalition have the right to pontificate but the rest of us dont. Why should I be held any less responsible than Nick Clegg ?
    On Lewisham East, there was never the slightest chance of us winning, whatever scale of Campaign we put on, this was an area where we came 4th, behind The Greens, just 6 Weeks earlier. To double our Vote share in 5 Weeks seems pretty impressive to me.

  • David,
    Indeed the blind lack of concern of the Libdem leadership during the coalition as the party was gutted of voters, activists and elected members was a wonder to behold. Many of us cried you are heading over a cliff, grow a spine turn back from the cliff but even as they hurtled over it they still thought they’d have 30 MP’s. They had gone hunting for unicorn voters who would appreciate their grown up politics, alas unicorns do not exist, as they found out eventually but for most of them at the cost of their seats. The interesting thing is now but a few years after finding people to defend the hunt for unicorns is getting harder and harder, no longer are the petorian guard rushing to their defence, no longer are dissenting voices muzzled, the best the leadership of that failed hunt get is “that’s in the past, we need to rebuild the party, quite, a pity it took so long to see that. As an aside I suspect a similar fate awaits the brave Brexiteers as we hurtle over that cliff they will still think it will be OK , only to find that finding a fellow believer in a few short years will be like finding a unicorn. Why we think they are all dead or have emigrated; in many case that will indeed be the case.

  • @David Blake ‘They also covered the upskirting issue and had three people speaking about it – but made no mention of Wera Hobhouse.’
    That is outrageous. But what we need to do is complain. I remember when I was press officer for the Scottish party I asked a senior BBC person why they didn’t cover us very much and he just shrugged and said, ‘because you don’t complain enough.’ So we started doing so, and urging members to do so, and sure enough our coverage improved. We need to be more bolshy. I’m going to complain to sky about this now and hopefully you and everyone reading this will do the same.
    Also, circulate these details to everyone in your local party and tell them to complain more often. Add the details of your local TV and radio stations as well.
    Sky News: [email protected]
    ITV and Channel 4:

  • Just a word about Doncaster. In some parts of Yorkshire the Yorkshire Party candidates are people who formerly stood for UKIP!

  • David Evans 16th Jun '18 - 8:14pm

    @Paul Barker, And one thing we can definitely say won’t help is portraying fellow Liberals, who are dismayed at our party’s unwillingness to even look at learning lessons, as obsessing and blaming. It may make us feel somehow more comfortable in ourselves, but in reality it is mere self protection.

    Did those who couldn’t arrange time off to attend the Special Conference not have any rights, did those who were not chosen as conference reps for their local party not have the right, did those who could not believe how totally unresponsive it transpired Nick Clegg would be once in government not have the right?

    And why describe it as pontificate except to try to belittle them?

    You ask why should I be held any less responsible than Nick Clegg? Well did you deliberately break a pledge? Did you ignore and vote in direct contradiction to two votes in conference that opposed Secret Courts? Did you do a deal to support benefit sanctions in return for a plastic bag tax?

    You say in in Lewisham East, there was never the slightest chance of us winning. How do you know? The one thing I know is that if you have a team that believes they can win, they might win. But if they believe they will lose, they will lose.

    As for our vote of 5,404 seeming “pretty impressive” to you, the Lib Dems got 13,700 votes in the Lewisham East wards as recently as 2010. In the by-election, we couldn’t even get 40% of people who voted for us eight years ago to do so this time. Perhaps you are too easily impressed.

    We can do so much better. But you have to be prepared to work harder than you ever have before.

    It is that important.

  • Paul,

    Harking on about the past isn’t done to justify those of us that foresaw the disaster the coalition would be for the Lib Dems (and by enabling the Tories an ongoing disaster for the country), to be blunt history has done that for us. It is done for the simple reason, if we don’t face up to the errors we made we will make them again and again. Reality is grim but trying to put a gloss on it just leads us to making the same mistakes again and again and again.

    I’d suggest people who think we should forget look back through this site at the level of delusion and it “Will be alright on the night” that dragged the party down (and by removing the Lib Dems as a functioning party the country into the mess we are in).

    a link to start with Fri 4th May 2012 – 8:50 pm

    p.s I intend to continue pointing out the stupidity of Brexit to the brave Brexiteers, as stupidity should never go unchallenged, hard as it is on them.

  • Paul,
    Having read frankie’s link I note…..

    paul barker 4th May ’12 – 5:14pm……I am beginning to wonder if voting in local elections is icreasingly being treated like a big opinion poll by many voters, a safe place to protest against recession, cuts & coalition while the important question of what to do at the general election is forgotten.
    I still believe that we will get more votes than labour in may 2015 but its quite possible that voters will go on thumping us in the locals next year & the year after & in the polls.
    The real danger for the coalition is that our members or the tories will lose their nerve before the real fight begins…………………….

    Well, we didn’t ‘lose our nerve’; we almost lost our party!

  • Peter Watson 17th Jun '18 - 10:11am

    @frankie “a link to start with…”
    A blast from the past!
    Back then I was writing “we” and “our leadership”, and looking for something “to help me decide whether or not to stick with the party I’ve supported since I was old enough to vote”. Now it’s “you” and “your leadership”, but at least I’m still looking!

  • Peter,
    By May 2012 I had long ago torn up my membership (it went when the coalition deal was signed, but that was OK I’d soon be replaced by a Unicorn who would work tirelessly for the new Lib Dems). I attemptted like many others to shout turn back, but few of my postings made it past the Petorian Guards, who loyal to a fault followed the leadership’s hunt for Unicorns. Why you asked did I rejoin, well with all its faults the party is preferable to the alternatives and I dare to think a strong Liberal party standing with the people makes us a better society. Certainly since the demise of the local party without an oppersition the Labour council have been evenmore dire and I suspect others have seen the same with Tory councils.

  • David Evans 17th Jun '18 - 2:47pm

    @Paul Walter – I presume you read my post in full so you know my question was based not simply on my experience in Lewisham which was in my judgement an insufficient basis to form a detailed opinon, but on Caron’s article in LDV. I suggest you ask her next time you contact her.

  • OnceALibDem 17th Jun '18 - 4:02pm

    “if we had given the Lewisham campaign the Richmond treatment, or maybe just the Witney treatment ”

    I’m not sure that the treatment being Richmond, Witney or Lewisham is any different. The outcomes are. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc if there are 14 lawyers in the room 🙂

  • @ Paul, I wonder if I am the only person here who finds it rather curious that you asked “did you go to Lewisham East during the campaign, David? – and, if so, what was your observation on the intensity of the campaign?” when in fact you “just wondered about your (i.e. my) conclusion.” If you doubt a conclusion, I suggest you ask about it directly, it saves a lot of time.

    Now I also know it can be a debating tactic to undermine a person someone disagrees with, by trying to cast doubt in others minds’ by first asking diversionary questions like ‘were you there?’ to possibly imply that the other person wasn’t and so his/her opinion is less worthy. So I sincerely hope you didn’t mean that, even though we have disagreed strongly in the past over the performance of the party (particularly the fundamental mistakes made I consider we made in coalition). I would simply point out that my presence was limited by the fact that I live in Cumbria, but I helped with all three and Shirley with two.

    However, your second, clarifying post is much more interesting, because it directly challenges what I have suggested in very clear ways, and I appreciate you have done this because it allows what is an important difference of opinion to be assessed against the underlying facts, and I hope you don’t mind me pointing out what I consider to be the counter arguments to your points.

    Firstly, you talk about your assessment of the Lewisham campaign where you refer to the fact that “all the usual Witney-like buttons were being pressed” and wonder “whether there is a law of diminishing returns, the timescale between calling and holding the election, and the amount of local councillors and members when comparing Witney to Lewisham.” Now I agree totally with your view that there is a Law of diminishing returns, but there is also the multiplier effect, the tipping point where it becomes clear to all that the third party are in with a chance and a snowball effect can occur. If you don’t give it enough early on, you simply don’t get the chance. The fact that Caron said it didn’t get the Witney intensity of campaign implies some of us decided (possibly a few centrally, possibly many individually, possibly both) decided not to give it that chance very early on.

    Now unfortunately I will have to go to bed, early breakfasts to prepare I’m afraid, but I will respond to your remaining points in the morning, if that is OK.

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