2019 – a mixed year for the Lib Dems

2019 was a mixed year for the Lib Dems but we came through it stronger and more united at the end of the year than we were at the beginning. Best wishes for |Christmas everyone!

Well it was quite a year for the Lib Dems. It had its ups and its ups and its ups but then we had not so much a big down as a major disappointment!

What was the good stuff that happened?

704 gains in local elections which means that we control about 30 councils and lead about 20 more with some Lib Dem cabinet members etc on a range of balanced councils. Since then we have also had about 20 gains in local council by-elections.

The European elections were fantastic for us. Going up from one seat to 16 including two in the North West. Our MEPs set to work with urgency and conviction. In particular, Chris Davies took the Chair of the vital fisheries committee and in his limited time as Chair has been able to sort out this difficult and controversial area.

Our membership is at its highest ever level with more than 120,000 members and about 25,000 registered supporters. Not so many as the other Parties but with a much higher proportion of activists.

The disappointment, of course, was the General Election itself. 1,250,000 more votes and one less seat than in 2017. Lib Dems kept out of power and influence by a corrupt and corrupting electoral system which leads to a corrupt and corrupting Parliament.

Locally, all these national positions were reflected in our position in Liverpool.

2 gains and 2 near misses in the local elections has left us clearly as the main opposition Party with 10 members. Our councillors are high quality, committed and determined.

The EU elections brought new members and new opportunities and we trebled our vote compared with the 2014 elections.

Our membership is at its highest level ever which is amazing considering that we have more members now than when there were 70 of us on the Council.

Locally and nationally we are a Party of friendships, unity and purpose. Of course, we have debates and disagreements. These take place in a spirit of friendship and a desire to move forward our Party, our city and our country. It’s a privilege to be a member of and to lead locally such a great group of people.

All these things put us in great contrast to our opponents.

The Greens did poorly at the local elections in Liverpool and in the General Election nationally. They still have just the one MP and their number of potential parliamentary seats is a small handful! In Liverpool they are confined to two wards in one constituency.

The Labour Party were comprehensively stuffed at the General Election and it was always going to be so. As soon as the normal ‘Presidential’ conditions of a General Election set in it was obvious that Labour were going to do badly. There was no way that the most unpopular Leader Of The Opposition since records were kept was ever going to do well. The recriminations have started and a civil war has clearly commenced between the Corbyn Cult and anyone else in the Party. This will distract Labour from the huge problems that Brexit will face us with as could be soon when about 30 MPs failed to back Corbyn’s line in the recent Withdrawal Agreement debate.

The Tories did well in the General Election but at the expense of not being the Conservative Party that has existed since the war. The hard right has moved in and the one nation Tories have moved out. To win a General Election the Tories had to duck and dive, dodge and weave more than even the Trotter family could manage. They produced not a manifesto but an extended leaflet which was vacuous and uncosted. Yet despite this they have made lots of promises that are undeliverable. They now own all those undeliverable promises. There will be major problems to our economy and major problems in our relationships with Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The NHS and education and housing will not have more money spent on them Climate Change and Universal Credit will not be tackled.

The electorate assisted by the Lib Dems will remind them of all promises and all shortcomings. In particular we will remind that that far from BREXIT being done, the 31st January only starts the process.

So, what does the future hold for the Lib Dems? Well Olde Kempe has yet to consult his Crystal Ball and record things in Ye Famouse Kempe Almanack! I will do this after the odd snifter or two over Christmas and will feel emboldened to make my prognostications known soon after Christmas Day.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone in Liverpool because together we have a beautiful and caring City. Thank you to everyone in the Lib Dems because together we have a caring and beautiful Party.

Or to put it more simply in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us everyone”

Enjoy – I’ll be in touch soon

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.
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