Why a trip to Oldham will help you make friends for life!

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Cllr Jane Brophy – A great Candidiate for OldhamWest & Royton

On Friday I spent the afternoon with a colleague from Liverpool, Kris Brown, at the Oldham by-election. I am going again for most of tomorrow and will be there all day on 21st November.
For those who are new to the Party a Parliamentary by-election might be a strange experience. But it’s one that you will enjoy. To be blunt it’s occasionally quite lonely being a Lib Dem or indeed a member of any political party. You trudge through the rain to do things sometimes by yourself sometimes with others but you feel quite isolated.
That is not what will happen in Oldham. Our Party is running a major campaign in this election – the first really since Eastleigh. When I went there I spent precisely 3 minutes in the HQ. I hadn’t gone there to chat I had gone there to work. The excellent staff turned us round quickly with 3 bundles of leaflets and some hillsides to climb to deliver them in! But in even in that brief period I met 6 people I know well – some of whom I have known for decades.
Even as Kris and I trudged out we were hugely aware that we were part of a national party coming together to deliver a result. We saw another delivery team on an adjacent patch. We got up the nose of 4 Labour deliverers who thought they had a divine right to rule. We knew that inside the HQ other people were hitting the telephone canvass lines. That yet further people were preparing the next leaflet; send out telephone canvassing instruction, preparing for the next day. We knew we were contributing to and playing our part in an event which is important for our Lib Dem family.
On 21st November Daisy Benson is arranging gathering of new and newish members to come to the by-election. A few people like me will be around on that day to take you out and work with you so you are not left alone and isolated. I just want to give you 4 reasons why you should join us on that or other days:
1. I am doing it because we have a first class candidate. As a flag bearer for our Party we could not have chosen better than Jane Brophy. She is skilled, articulate and experienced. And on top of those virtues she is a SHE!
2. I am doing it for two leaders. I went out in the rain on Friday in memory of Charles Kennedy a great leader who was a source of great inspiration to me. I will go tomorrow for Tim Farron. We have in him a young leader who deserves to do well in his first by-election. He showed the commitment to going yesterday when others might not have done.
3. I am doing it because we need to hammer home the differences between us and the other Parties. The Tory viciousness; the tory-lite behaviour of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the disgusting nature of UKIP
4. I am doing it because it really matters. We had a dismal run of by-elections in the last Parliament. Now even a modest upturn in our vote will show that those days are over. The big beasts of Parliamentary journalism such as Michael white and Michael Crick will notice what our Party is doing – or even worse – not doing. A good result will put a spring in the step of every Party member as they do their local work.
So come any day if you can but try and make a special effort to come on 21st with Daisy and I. If you cannot come do some telephone canvassing. Someone in your local party will show you how if you have not done it before. If you can’t do these things bung a few bob in the appeal which I am sure will be winging its way to you.
Be sure that this is a by-election that the Party is taking very seriously. If you are a new member come along to reinvigorate old hacks like; put a spring in our step and gladden our heart as we remember of first parliamentary by-elections as newbies (mine was in 1969) but above all come and have fun and satisfaction with other members of your new family.

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. UK representative on UCLG Finance Committee, Executive Bureau and World Council. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperon on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and three grandchildren.
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