The huge swing and proportion of our vote in the Witney by-election was outstanding and not to be underestimated. Congratulations to Liz and her team and all others who helped.
When the dust settles and parliament next meets it won’t be one extra Libdem taking a seat. Unfortunately records will show that a Tory is representing Witney. I say this as a realist and not, for want of a better term, a party-pooper.
I am truly heartened by the support for Liz, the hard work and commitment from all over the country etc. I am also truly heartened by the council by-election success (21 gains and no losses since May, at time of writing). I have and will continue to defend the Libdem position and that there will always be a Liberal Democratic Party, it will not disappear as some keep predicting. Should we give up? Never!!
It was telling and I suspect will continue to be so, that although we did get some recognition in the press, more so than usual and some quite praiseworthy, that some press reaction was still downbeat. Witney was competing with Mrs May being shunned by EU ministers in Brussels, so hardly a surprise.
We continue to be the forgotten party, seen as a joke by some. I know, from my work within the party, that we have a sound base and an ethic for equality etc. that is unrivalled. Getting others to see that is the problem. BBC Question time, for instance would rather feature UKIP than us. Although two appearances on Have I Got News for you out of three programmes in the new series so far is definitely a plus.
If faced with a by-election such as Witney, Eastleigh etc. the Libdem machine is undoubtedly second to none in commitment and resource. We don’t need to bus people in as has been quoted, activists and members just do what is necessary and work their socks off. Can we transfer that across all seats in a General Election? That is doubtful, although with the membership still rising I guess possible, but we are not there yet. Working with Daisy Benson in our constituency, seeing her positive approach, seeing the growth in LibDem Newbies on Facebook, etc. it is hard for that not to rub off and encourage positivity.
Given the demise at the last General Election, we are now in a far better place, but with a long way to go, obviously. We will in our usual way keep pressing and pushing, keep chipping away at the establishment that is the British press, keep putting the message out to the wider public in the hope that some will see through the façade that is painted, masking the true vision of our Party.
As a Libdem I am on cloud nine with recent results etc. As a realist my pseudo lead boots are firmly on the ground, but I do have a smile on my face…