I need help with my Smugness

tim praying

Tim praying for a Leadsom and Corbyn fight at the next General Election. Good for the Lib Dems but bad for the Country!!

For the past two weeks I have been feeling something which I have never really felt before and I didn’t know what it was. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is smugness! Well I wouldn’t really understand that feeling too much would I having been in the Lib Dems for almost 50 years?

Yes I’ve had the odd twinge after some famous by-elections or when we went up to 62 seats in the General Election with Charles Kennedy as our Leader or when we came back from a near death experience in Liverpool but for years there have been far more thins than thicks in our existence but things seem to me to have fundamentally changed.

Let’s start with the Referendum. It was a bitter blow to lose it BUT it has provoked the most amazing affection for the EU. The largest demonstrations in favour of the EU have occurred here in the UK post 23rd June because many, many people have realised just how much they will miss the institution. Of course we are still in Europe. Of course we are still European, of course our major trading partner will be the EU. Our job now is to make the best of the pile of dog dos that Brexit was and maintain the strongest possible links with the EU.

So who will have to sort the mess out? Not the ‘Leavers’ as they have taken their own advice and disappeared. Cameron whose refusal to stand up to his right wing got us into this mess in the first place is going. Gove; Johnson and Farage the leading voices for Leave have gone. The only Leaver left is this Leadsom woman who must of us had never really heard of until a week ago. And what a frightful person she is. It’s bad enough for anyone to make comments about a woman’s beliefs and commitment on the basis of their fertility. Somehow it seems even worse when another woman does it.

So as I survey the field I see the wreckage of the other national UK Wide Parties.

The Tories are having a bitter election with blue on blue stabbings well to the fore. But do not under-estimate the ability of the Tories to come together. Their naked desire for power to preserve privilege is always the uniting factor.

Labour is engaged in fratricide. Whether or not there will be two Parties legally is almost irrelevant as there are certainly two Parties in practice. I’ve no doubt that Corbyn will energise the core 25% Labour vote but his appeal will reach no further than that. I literally knocked on thousands of doors during the local election and referendum. The marginal Labour voters who they need to win an election overwhelmingly voted for me in the Mayoral election when my vote was up more than threefold. They won’t all stay for a General Election but many of them will. Indeed I know that some of our new members here in Liverpool have come straight over from being Labour voters and in some cases Labour members.

UKIP will have some sort of contest but I doubt that it will end well for them. UKIP has been a one-horse party and the horse has gone. Commentators talk about the rise of UKIP in the North. Well not in Liverpool. In the local elections in May they couldn’t put up a candidate for either the Mayoral or PCC elections and scored 2% of the vote in the council election. They have no credible force here which is surprising as their deputy Leader and possible Leader is based in Bootle. In fact come to think of it UKIP have not a single councillor elected in the whole of the Liverpool City Region.

The Greens, bless them, are also having a leadership election. I hadn’t realised that until I was told as they seem to have sunk without trace over the past few months both in Liverpool and nationally. Apparently there is now another of their crackpot ideas that there could be a joint Leader position. So the woman no one had ever heard of might be replaced by half the woman that a few people have heard of and half someone else that no one has ever heard of. I couldn’t make it up!

So in the meantime what is happening in the Lib Dems? Well we are doing well. Not absolutely, of course, but certainly relatively. Nationally we gained 45 seats at the local elections of which 2 were in Liverpool and took 15% of the vote. Not bad for a Party that only 12 months before had been written off for ever by the political pundits. Nationally our membership has almost doubled and in Liverpool our membership has more than doubled. In fact we have more members now with just 4 councillors than we had when we controlled the Council with 60 councillors. Some of last year’s joiners are already being lined up for the 2018 local elections. Many newbies have joined us since the Referendum and what a pleasure it is to talk and correspond with them. They are:

  • Articulate and intelligent.
  • Committed to liberalism although their route to it has been primarily and in the first instance about Europe and Brexit.
  • Committed to doing something. They haven’t joined the Party to campaign for or against a Leader but to campaign for our basic beliefs. Already they are asking me, “now we are in what can we do to help?’

So we have been defining what they can do. At our meeting on Thursday we spent our time looking at how we will fight a snap General Election if there is one. We looked at our approach to the Regional Mayor election to be held next May and looked at our joint strategy with our 5 other Boroughs. We looked at the adoption of candidates in our key seats for May 2018. We did this without serious disagreement; respectful listening when disagreements arose and left our meeting united and went to the Pub!

On Tuesday at the event at St George’s Hall some of our new members came and the Lib Dems were the biggest Party represented there. Loads of members of the public came to talk to us afterwards and many of them are considering switching their vote to us because of the principled stand we are making on Europe and other key issues.

Of course I am not really feeling smug. I just have a rosy glow. There’s lots of potential out there for us. The coalition days are largely forgotten and forgiven and I am sure as are most people that a Lib Dem rebirth is on. It’s difficult to be smug when you spent all morning delivering recruiting leaflets in the rain. But the rosy glow persisted through the damp.

Come and help us. If you are instinctive liberal; if you instinctively believe in one world; one environment and the unity of people you cannot afford to sit and the side-lines. Tweeting isn’t enough! We need you in the Party and out with us developing policies and converting others to our beliefs. You can contact me at richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk if you want to talk. You can see the speech I made on Tuesday at the Malcolm Kelly Woolton Facebook site. You can join the Lib Dems at www.libdems.org.uk. Come on in – the water’s fine!

MONDAY 11 JULY UPDATE. Apparently the Leader of the NHA Party has now also resigned because of irreconcilable differences on the National Executive!! Whatever is going around it’s catching everywhere except the Lib Dems

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Liberal Democrat and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s