Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Professor Colin Rallings tips nine councils as potential Lib Dem gains next year

In an article on the Local Government Chronicle site, the magazine's elections specialist Professor Colin Rallings names nine councils as potential Lib Dem gains in 2023:

  • North Devon Council
  • Teignbridge DC
  • Harborough DC [hem hem]
  • West Lindsey DC
  • South Oxfordshire DC
  • Guildford BC
  • Stratford-on-Avon DC
  • South Gloucestershire
  • West Berkshire

He says:

"I can’t see them falling back next year unless there are toxic local issues which tend to become apparent nearer the time."

The article also cites research by John Curtice that was first published in the Journal of Liberal History:
He found 2022 “represents the party’s best local election performance” since before the coalition. 
It was "still well short of what the party regularly achieved between 1993 and 2010" and its support tends to be higher in 'remain' voting areas, making it "wrong to assume the party has put all of the legacy of Brexit behind it.", ...

For example, there has been limited progress in the party’s former south-west heartland, which despite historic Lib Dem support voted strongly for leave in 2016.
So there is reason for some optimism about next year's elections, but the boffins expect the advances we make to be in areas of existing strength.


Phil Beesley said...

Part of the week commuting distance from London? I've thought for a few years that places like Stratford -- a little bit further from London -- would be fertile ground. Lots of educated incomers and upset locals.

John of Louth said...

Stratford on Avon DC is about to merge with Warwick DC, which will make it a very different electoral entity. Even in its original form, there were a lot of rock solid safe Conservative wards in its rural hinterland. I know, I lived there for 26 years.

David Evans said...

I'm afraid John Curtice, while having a great deal of knowledge of electoral behaviour, always sugar coats his conclusions when talking to and about the Lib Dems. Perhaps he is just very polite when talking to people in general or perhaps he likes us. However what this means is that he frames his conclusions in ways designed not to upset, and so doesn't make people face up to objective hard truths.

Thus the points he expresses simply provide succour to far too many of our leading lights do who still don't want to admit things have gone catastrophically and have done so because of mistakes made by those leading lights. Thus he says "wrong to assume the party has put all of the legacy of Brexit behind it," when the truth is much more stark - no one wants to admit that they made a total mess of coalition and it has nearly destroyed the party. That was when we lost the South West, when people there lost faith in us. All 2019 did was prove that once they lost faith in us in 2015 and 2017, by 2019 they had lost faith in that we stood for as well.

Ultimately until we get leading lights who are prepared to come to terms with the fact that we are no longer a large party, we will continue to tread water at best. These days we are not even a medium sized party. What we have become is a small party, struggling to get noticed as the fourth biggest party in parliament. In addition we have spent up all the money we received in donations and memberships due to our Brexit stance - i.e. we lost tens of thousands of new members who were mainly people like us (through lack of a plan and effort to get them to stay), while perpetually going on about the need to make our party more diverse by attracting people most of whom in the main are not like us for so many cultural, racial and religious reasons.

Although there is a grain of truth it when he says it is wrong to assume "the party has put all of the legacy of Brexit behind it," it would be better put if he had said it was perfectly clear that "the party has *squandered* the large legacy of Brexit it inherited".

That might just get some focus on putting things right in our party and not just leave us clinging to platitudes like "Looks like we might do well in a few councils again."