The most important reason why electing Liberal Democrat councillors and Mayors matters is because of the direct difference they can and make in their communities.
A second reason is that having a strong grassroots campaigning network is one of the distinctive edges that the Liberal Democrats have when up against other parties whose electoral appeal overlaps somewhat with those voters the Lib Dems are pitching for. Parties, that is, such as the Greens, the Women’s Equality Party and Change UK/The Independent Group.
However cooperative or competitive the relations between the Liberal Democrats and such others, the strong the Lib Dems are, the more likely the outcome is to be good for Liberal Democrat beliefs.
Even the more acerbic voices from Change UK about the Liberal Democrats often acknowledge that the Lib Dems posses the sort of campaigning infrastructure that Change UK lacks.
A striking example of this is from the candidate numbers for this May’s local elections:
Liberal Democrats: 4,463
Green Party: 2,612
Women’s Equality Party: 26
Change UK: 0
(Although these elections have come rather soon for Change UK, it is worth noting that 15 political parties founded this year have managed to stand at least one candidate in the local elections.)
Those figures are likely to be even starker when the votes are counted, councillors and Mayors elected and control of councils decided next month.
All the more reason for all Liberal Democrats to do our very best to maximise those numbers.
With thanks to the most excellent Democracy Club for the numbers quoted above.