Final by-elections of 2021 have a lesson for Lib Dems in 2022

There was no Liberal Democrat candidate in this week’s principal authority council by-election, the last of the year. That continued a run of no-shows for the party in the ward that now stretches over 10 years and four contests.

There is a whole bundle of reasons why a particular contest may pass without a Liberal Democrat candidate, including at times a hard-working volunteer team being hit by a last minute crisis. So the absence of a candidate from any one contest should never be a reason for automatic condemnation. However, it’s also fair to say that the overall pattern is that we don’t stand in nearly enough contests.

That damages our electoral prospects in the long run as it sends a message to the public about us not being a relevant party on the main political stage, and it hinders us building up a larger base of voters who regularly vote for us. (More on both those points and the other costs of not standing here.)

There’s a shared responsibility for that – both from local parties whose reasons for existing include standing in elections and from the other parts of the party whose reasons for existing include supporting local parties.

We don’t want to be one of the smaller parties. We want to be contesting politics with the biggest parties on equal terms. Standing candidates more frequently, rather than lagging behind other parties, is a part of that.

So here’s a suggestion for a new year’s resolution: we’ve made good progress in standing more candidates in the last few years. Let’s redouble that progress next year.

And to end on some good news, there was another by-election, town council rather than principal authority. And look what can happen when Lib Dems stand:

Congratulations Jemma!

For what this means for the running total of council by-election results since the last May elections, see my council by-elections scorecard here.

Layla Moran quote praising 101 Ways To Win An Election

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4 responses to “Final by-elections of 2021 have a lesson for Lib Dems in 2022”

  1. Looks like,where we stand we gain.That New Forest result. Con, Lab into 3rd 4th looks like straight swop to Indie and Green.Could there be a feeling of tiredness with the ‘old ways’ of Lab Cons basically fighting it out ?A feeling that a new era is dawning?How about a bit of research about that possibility,it could help us in the future.Or we could just campaign on slogan ;A TIME FOR CHANGE; towards and for the next election.

    Happy Christmas and New Year

  2. Exactly you want to be a Premier League team not a Championship one. I am really surprised no candidate stood in the New Forest. Does the party investigate this afterwards and isn’t there a lesson that the Party should be contacting people to stand whether active or not with similar values.

  3. Simple.. we have a ‘Region’ structure, and the job of the Region is to support all Local Parties in their Region. Especially this requires the Region to look at moribund areas and allocate a neighbouring Local Party to extend their remit, to work with them and other neighbouring Local Parties, to find supporters and build a local base. Then a local Party can be formed. That should initially be on a ‘buddy’ basis, and can be geographically, according to what works for the local area, not necessarily a constituency.
    If the Region are not doing this then they are letting the Party down and the State Party needs to step in and sort them out. There is no excuse for allowing this situation to continue.! The Party MUST put up a candidate for EVERY vacancy, except parish/town elections. This is the only way to justify a claim of being a National Party.

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