I hope that this blog makes sense! Yesterday I was working for 22 hours (well the last two of those hours were watching the results on the BBC).
Locally, we had hoped for three gains and were a very sad 60 votes short in Cressington when Norman Mills reduced a 950 deficit from 2018 and converted it into a loss by 60 votes yesterday. But it was great to welcome Barbara Mace back on to the Council when she regained her seat in Woolton and to see Alan Tormey storm through to take a second seat in Childwall. Alan wasn’t even a Party member 3 years ago!
Of course, I was delighted with my own result in Church Ward. In 2011 I had a majority of 234. In 2015 I had a majority of 851 and last night I had a majority of 1,504. So, thank you to all those people who supported me.
In Liverpool we are back in double figures with 10 seats. Not a huge number but if you look back four years to when these seats were last fought, I was the only Lib Dem elected and we had a group of 2, Erica and I. So, sitting in the Town Hall with 10 of us just feels so much better.
What will we do in the Council? Continue to win the arguments and drag the Labour Party kicking and fighting into a better way of doing things. We won the arguments about the green spaces both in the council and with a huge campaign by the community. Labour moved their position and apparently every Labour Councillor is a ‘green’ councillor now! Its just that they have never voted that way before.
We also hear that Cllr O’Byrne is now planning a coup to depose the elected mayor by voting to abolish the position. Funny that because she voted to establish the position and then benefitted it when she was Deputy Mayor. Then last July she voted against a Lib Dem motion at an Extraordinary Meeting that we called. I’ll deal with this in more detail in another blog but I must say this seems to be nothing about principle and all about the Machiavellian disputes within Liverpool Labour which will not go away.
Nationally – what a night! As I write the Party has gained more than 350 seats locally and overall control of 9 councils. There is no doubt that not only locally but nationally we have come back from the virtual dead since 2015. Neighbourhood by neighbourhood, ward by ward and council by council we are ensuring that the Country has a three-Party system. All Parties seek to spin results to show how they did well but no-one inside the Party thought that we would make more than 400 – 450 gains. Indeed, the respected analysts Rawlins and Thrasher (always sounds like a real ale to me!) suggested that we would get 400 gains. We would have been delighted with that but that figure is likely to be well exceeded during the course of the day.
This has important ramifications for the future. Traditionally Liberals and then Lib Dems have built up our Parliamentary strength by building on our council strength. When you look at where the gains occurred you can see many of them in parliamentary seats we have previously held. That bodes well for the next General Election. Some of the gains are almost unbelievable. In the Council which includes Theresa May’s seat the Lib Dems took 23 seats from the Tories and almost took control of the council from a tiny, tiny base.
Of course, the next election that people will face will be the European Elections on May 23rd. We look forward to these. 5 years ago, we dropped to just one MEP – in three weeks’ time we will move far higher than that.
So, what do Lib Dems do now? We start campaigning again. We are in the process of preparing a newspaper which will start our Liverpool Euro campaign and include the “Thank You” to all those that voted for us yesterday. That’s the real difference between us and our opponents. For us our ward is a place in which to do things and not just a way to get us a seat. We campaign every day on behalf of the people that we represent.
In the meantime, just a small glow of satisfaction that we have once again moved forward and perhaps just a little time for a nap to make up for all the sleep that we have lost in the last 3 weeks.