Friday, May 02, 2008

The 2008 local elections

I had intended to blog the results last night, but did not get any further than offering an unrivalled service to Derby Arboretum Ward. Incidentally, we made a total of five gains in Derby and are now the largest party on the council there.

But I was driven off to bed by Jeremy Vine and David Dimbleby. Vine's attempts to make the programme interesting were merely embarrassing. Why can't the BBC grasp that the only people who watch results programmes after midnight are political junkies anyway, so they don't want gimmicks. And why oh why do they have to get David Dimbleby out of mothballs for these programmes? Here's why, come to think of it.

And did I really hear Charles Kennedy say we should look particularly for the results in Somerset? There were no elections in Somerset yesterday.

As to the results, I think it fair to say that the Liberal Democrats have done significantly better than we expected. Hull and Sheffield were gained: Newscastle and (just) Liverpool were retained. And we have also done well in areas where we have MPs (Winchester, Cheltenham, Colchester) or hope to make gains next time (Watford, St Albans).

Last night's results will also consolidate Nick Clegg's position. This is welcome, though I suspect that the results had far more to do with the hard work and professionalism of our local parties than with his leadership.

The Liberal Democrats are not about to sweep into government, but nor are we going to go away. We are what we are: a party that consistently wins the support of a quarter or just less of the British people and has areas of considerable local strength scattered across the country.


Peter Black said...

As a pedant I think I should point out that there was a Council by-election in Taunton on Thursday! :-)

Jonathan Calder said...

That just shows how thoroughly Charles researched the matter.