Another poor showing from South Norfolk Lib Dems

I shouldn't really have been surprised to see South Norfolk Lib Dems produce another poor election result in the Diss by election held, rather oddly, last Thursday.

Con 1041 56%
LibDem 768 41%
Lab 63 3%
Turnout 33.44%
Diss was, until 5 years ago, a bastion of Lib Dem support. The Lib Dems held seats on the District Council with good majorities and the County Council seat was "safe as houses", but like much of the area once called "safe" by South Norfolk Lib Dems, too little was done between elections, and as soon as the Tories recovered in the polls, the Lib Dem voters had forgotten why they elected lib Dems in the first place and so elected someone else instead.
With the Tories now running South Norfolk Council, and none too well either if my wife's family are to be believed (and they are natural Tory voters who live in Diss), then you might guess from their surprise that the Tories held on here with a large majority, that this really was a seat the Lib Dems should have been challenging in.
I well remember in the run up to the 2001 General Election when in North Norfolk we were running our campaign in the way Cowley Street and our target seat officer told us to, how we had to almost fight off South Norfolk Lib Dems who tried to muscle in on the publicity we were garnering, which in turn actually diminished what we were doing in North Norfolk. The problem is that for too long South Norfolk Lib Dems have done it "their way", which in many ways is the way the Lib Dems (or Alliance as it then was) did it in the 1980's, but they have not really moved on. This is not to say that they do not have some excellent people. In Costessey, for example, the Lib Dems have enormous majorities (counted in thousands), but that is because they work "all year round " and "not just at election time". That is what we did in North Norfolk and what they continue to do. It is also what Norwich South did, but then forgot to do when they ran the council, and it is something they are now starting to do again.
For the Lib Dems sakes, South Norfolk have got to re-learn the message that they have to get out on the streets and give people a reason to vote Lib Dems. Invariably, that means finding issues, writing about them and then sticking them through people's doors.


Lord James Bigglesworth said...

The Lib Dems are always going to be up against it in what is definitely moving towards a two party situation. Labour's current blip is temporary.

You're right that they have to get out there but the thinking person's party has been doing less of that of late.

Alexfromnorfolk said...

Get used to it, Cameron is coming.

No matter how bad the Tories are, the Lib Dems are doomed as Labour.

A funny story I heard the other day....This gentleman said to me.
"You cant trust the Labour lot, what the hell have they done? As for the Libs, well they are a waste of space!"

"Not into politics then?" I replied

"Oh yes, Tory me. The years of real growth are down to them, Maggie and so on made us rich"

"So you done really well here in England during the 80's and 90's then?" I asked

"No....I was in Germany for 15 years or more, loads of money to be had"

"When did you come back?"

"97 just after Blair got in, cause the pound was stronger and there was loads of work around."

"Thats down to the Tories?" I asked

"Oh yes, we may have had a Labour Government, but we had a Tory council!!"

I think the point is for all the good work and talk, most of the people are ready to embrace the Tories again. Years of struggle are ahead. Not under this lot. The truth is weve never had it so good and yet those who think only for themselves are to elect Cameron and his Eaton buddies.

The lIbs have a good track record in local council, but local council does not tend to relate to the national picture.

Unlucky, but like me get ready for depression.

Dan said...

"Tories now running South Norfolk Council, and none too well"

Christ...imagine what it'll be like for the libdems when they REALLY get going