Saturday, November 06, 2021

Lib Dems to fight North Shropshire by-election - and they are right

No one moves as quickly as the Liberal Democrats requesting donations for a by-election campaign: the party already has a page up for the North Shropshire contest.

A tweet from Jim Pickard, chief political correspondent at the Financial Times, tweeted earlier today quoted a Lib Dem official as saying:

"there was a scintilla of independent unity candidate of a Martin Bell nature..compliance rules & electoral legislation has changed dramatically since then making it virtually impossible"

But even if a Martin Bell candidate were possible in North Shropshire, would it be desirable?

As Andy Boddington points out on Lib Dem Voice, Bell's election did not lead to long-term change,

So the Lib Dems will be fighting North Shropshire and Andy thinks it is worth our time and money:
In the Shropshire unitary council elections last May, our Lib Dem candidates took 25 per cent of the vote amid the Blue Fields of North Shropshire. That was way behind the Tories who gained 55 per cent but this seat is not unassailable with the right candidate and if we pump sufficient energy in the campaign. 
When we look at local areas within North Shropshire, we have towns and villages where we are tantalising close to a Lib Dem majority. Building on that will require a Chesham and Amersham level of effort. Surely, we can do that.
I have hundreds, possibly thousands, of photos of south Shropshire, but the one above is one of the few I have taken in the north of the county.


nigel hunter said...

That picture does not look as if he has done much in the area.
At the moment I do not think we can win this time round but by concentrating in winnable council areas winning the seat next time round is on the cards

Anonymous said...

If you do go to North Shropshire for research, I'd advise going into the independent bookshop in Whitchurch and buying the book of local walks, the best of which goes from the town to Brown Moss Nature Reserve, through villages of just the sort I'd guess you would be into.

You will doubtless wish to drink some of Joules Brewery's offerings after this trip.

The political culture of the area is rather less appealing though!

asquith (stopped using google) said...

Sorry the above was me. I no longer have a Google login as I don't like or trust them.

Phil Beesley said...

The vehicle repair yard seems reasonable to me Nigel, as long as it is outside a residential area. Cleaning off rust from the back end bodywork of a Morris 1000 van is a mucky job and somebody needs a safe place to park their retired minibus which has been converted into a mobile home.

The business owners need a no frills workshop where they can operate with minimum impact -- the whole point of planning zones. Potentially good prices for customers. The business model is the sort which should appeal to liberals. Prestigious premises work for some businesses but at other times you just need cheap and cheerful.

Matt Pennell said...

Recently I came across a podcast interview with George Ferguson, the recent Mayor of Bristol - of interest to us as he was a Liberal Cllr and parliamentary candidate in Bristol in the '80s (he won the Mayor Election as an independent). The interviewer was surprised there was no strong independent candidate for the post last time round. Ferguson explained patiently that he had been a 'known name' in Bristol for a long time and the set of circumstances leading to his win were pretty niche.

Some people have assumed that a Martin Bell-style Umbrella Integrity candidate would suddenly pop up, be agreeable to everyone and really trounce the Tories. That's just not going to happen every time and our political history is mostly one of parties prevailing over independents above council ward level nearly every time.

Frank Little said...

Martin Bell made a promise in his electoral campaign that he would be only a one-term member. Towards the end of that term, he expressed some regret at having to leave the Commons, but he maintained his integrity by standing down at the next election. If he had not made the promise, we might not have had George Osborne as MP.