A few days ago I went to the Epping Forest Liberal Democrats AGM to be their guest speaker, talking about the party’s policy making process ahead of the 2015 general election.
The great turnout (around 1 in 4 of the local party’s members were there), the slowly rising local party membership, local election results which are now headed back in the right direction and the very healthy finances were all interesting to see as local parties such as Epping are crucial to the long-term prospects of the Liberal Democrats.
In the short-term, it is the results next May in seats with Liberal Democrat MPs that are dominant in shaping the party’s future. But beyond that, to be a truly national party, it is local parties such as Epping Forest which need to prosper.
What I saw was promising in this respect. There’s lots of variation around the country, but in Epping as in several other local parties I’ve visited recently, it’s clear there is plenty of life in the party not only in seats held by Lib Dem MPs but in many other places too.