Friday, 8 July 2011

Local By-election Review : July 5th 2011

If, like me, you're a Liberal Democrat member, activist and former council candidate, local by-elections are a very good indication of how things may turn out in your next set of elections. You can imagine my dismay then when (for what is becoming far too often an occurance for my liking) the Conservatives GAINED Lytchett Matravers from the Liberal Democrats on Purbeck (on a 6% swing) and in essence gained control of the council, came a distant third in Sawley on Derbyshire (Lab GAIN friom Ind), were beaten by UKIP in Horbury on Wakefield (Lab GAIN from Con) and Churnet Valley on Staffordshire (Con HOLD) and although polling 22% to get second place in Peckham on Southwark (Lab HOLD) were a good 38% behind Labour.

Add to which that as next year's elections will be a combination of wards last fought in 2007 (Scotland), 2008 (Wales) and 2011 (English mets and third rule non mets) and the average swing in the wards where by-elections have been held since the general election has been 1% from Lib Dem to Con and 9% from Lib Dem to Lab, you can see why I am extremely concerned for myself and my Lib Dem colleagues.


  1. I'm sure you'll understand the popular view which I share that the Lib Dems sold out their principles. I'll never vote Lib Dem again.

    The only possible salvation will be a change of Leader, and I don't see that happening any time soon.

  2. The only other alternative I see to Bill's conclusion is for what I loosely call "real Liberal Democrats", with high-profile figures such as Charles Kennedy and Simon Hughes at the forefront, leading an SDP-style breakaway from the Clegg "Orange Bookers", who failed to grasp that the large majority of their vote was, as in 1997, a vote for who was best placed to keep the Conservatives out of their seat, and are leading the Party to electoral annihilation.

    I realise as Labour Party activist I may be regarded as biased, but I had an interesting conversation last week with my 81 year-old Uncle, who abandoned a lifetime of Conservative voting in 2001 to vote Lib Dem, and who now genuinely does not feel he has anyone to vote for, and I don't believe he's alone.

  3. Why isn't there a grouping available for non-Coalition Liberal Democrats? There was in 1918-1922 and an unofficial one in 1931-33.