Amongst the poor results at least Lib Dem results bode well for sitting Lib Dem MP's

Although the local elections were in no way a triumph for the Liberal Democrats, the results do show some interesting trends, particularly when looking at councils which have sitting Lib Dem MP's.

The Conservatives like to talk up the possibility of winning Lib Dem seats at the next general election and I am sure there will be one or two that go that way. However, the very best results from last Thursday tended to be in Liberal Democrat MP's seats or in long term target seats which have a strong Liberal Democrat tradition built up over a long time.

For example, North Norfolk, Lewes, South Somerset, South Lakeland, Caradon and Vale of White Horse, all saw excellent Lib Dem results and are part of MP's seats held by Tories up to 1997 in most cases, or in the case of North Norfolk and South Lakeland, even later than that.

Yes, there were some poor results too. Torbay did its usual of swinging back and forth between the Lib Dems and Tories whilst the Bournemouth general election results were a good indicator of what was to come there.

So as to the future, what do the results show ? Well there are some clear targets for the Lib Dems. Northampton North looks good whilst Watford is a must win seat and what about Eastbourne ? Will it buck the national trend ?

So overall, disappointing, but not a disaster. My old seat in Fakenham (North Norfolk) was comfortably held and my father was re-elected too in Broadland so I am happy.

I can now retire from front line politics until the general election and I do so knowing that the life does go on for the Lib Dems even when I am not doing the legwork.

Update : It has also been brought to my attention that the Lib Dems did well in marginal Solihul, gaining seats and new votes. It appears that some people who send me comments cannot read, so again I point out that the results on thursday are not indicative of Lib Dems losing MP's as quite cleary, the Lib Dem performed well in most seats held by MP's. Indeed, in North Norfolk the Lib Dem vote was up by more than 6%. This was the basic premise of my report and I am yet to read anything that disagrees with this.


Liberal Neil said...

We won 51% to the Tories' 40% across Oxford West & Abingdon and hat's without the Oxford wards being up where our margin over the Tories is higher.

Similarly good results in Eastleigh, Winchester, Eastbourne, Portsmouth South.

Anonymous said...

You failed to mention Colchester (the town part) which had good results for the Lib Dems. The outer bits (in Essex North) were the bits the Tories did well in.

Hywel said...

The key point though is not whether we "win" on local election share. Frankly if we don't we've got problems!

The important measure is how things have changed on previous years. Eg on the figures Neil gives if 4 years ago we were on 60% with the Tories on 30 then I wouldn't regard them as being as encouraging (Though those are just hypothetical figures).

Though I think if our spinning is along the lines of "these votes show we're polling really well in some of our held seats" really tells its own story.

Nothing wrong with spinning results - but my worry is that the spin after last year's results made people a bit complacent that they weren't too bad.

Anonymous said...

These results were bad. No question about it. Admittedly, we have done reasonably well in seats where we have Lib Dem MPs, but that's probably a testament more to the MPs themselves than effective targeting by Cowley Street.

We should be able to hold our own in areas where we don't have MPs, against the Tories. The fact we didn't is indicative of the negative influence of the leadership and the image Ming projects.

A change of leader after Brown has settled in is necessary. Ming must step down of his own accord, though, as the party is too indecisive and squeamish to launch another coup.

Unknown said...

Hywel, I am not spinning and rather resent the implication that I am.

Here are some real statistics based on real votes.

For North Norfolk, the Lib Dem share of the vote was 48.3% with the Tories on 40.2%, This compares with four years ago when the Lib Dems got 41.6% and the Tories 37.5%.

So in North Norfolk, the Lib Dem share rose by 8.1% and the Tories by a much smaller 4.1%.

So spin that however you like, but to me that sound very healthy.

The differences between the wards in North Norfolk and those moving in to the new Broadland constituency were negligable.

Anonymous said...

Norfolk blogger, shame on you for engaging a spin.

This is one of the worst local elections in 30 years for Liberals.

Time to assess why, calling 300 losses a "mixed bag" is a lie.

Unknown said...

Jim, explain please using facts and figures and real statistics why winning the number of councillors the Lib Dems in on Thursday was the worst results in 30 years. Admittedly, it was one of th ebiggest loss of councillors, but it was after an historic high in 2003. The results the Lib Dems had this time round were better than 1999's equivilent results.

however, if you read my story, and not the story you wanted to read, I wrote it clearly as hopeful for Lib Dem held seats. Please can you explain how I was wrong about this ?

Pathetic comments ctiticising someone then providing no evidence yourself just make you look silly.

Anonymous said...

The Libs control 23 councils at the moment whereas 30 years ago they had just one, so to describe at as the worst in 30 years is just stupid.

Anonymous said...

Which one was it?

Liberal Neil said...

Hywel - I don't have the precise percentages from four years ago but I'm pretyy sure this was a step forward for us, also reflected in the fact that we gained three seats from the Tories against one loss.

I am not dismissing the losses - we need to look at how and why they happened.

But in terms of the next general election the fact that we generally did well in our held AND priority seats is far more important.

Anonymous said...

What about Eastleigh? Only 6 votes away from a clean sweep of all the seats up, after running the council for 13 years!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure Lewes was a great success as the Tories gained 7 more seats which slashed the LibDem majority to just two seats. Norman Baker is looking to be getting past his 'sell by date'and this does not help.