Friday, May 06, 2011

That most peculiar of places - a Lib Dem stronghold

We woke this morning to find that Marple is even more of an endangered and special area than ever. The Liberal Democrats held on to both their council seats in Marple North and Marple South. Elsewhere in the borough of Stockport the party lost its overall majority on the council. However, I find it unlikely that they will be ousted from power and will have to enter into a pact with the independents from Heald Green.

But what fascinates is how and why the Lib Dems have taken such a savage kicking across the country. It stems from a lack of roots in their electoral base, and that ability to be all things to all people. I was always curious as to what the Liverpool Lib Dems stood for, for example. Mike Storey, their leader, was said to be Tony Blair's favourite council leader. They don't stand for a smaller organisation, or a targetting of resources to the poorer areas. I didn't hear any political change of direction when I heard Labour leader Joe Anderson speak earlier this year.

It all comes back to their part in the coalition government, a business arrangement that seems to suit the Conservatives more than it clearly suits them. I can now see a scenario where the detoxified Tories could win an election comfortably. Forget the polls, it's about morale. The results haven't seen anything like a bounce by Ed Milliband's party, they haven't had enough of a period of reflection (and shame) to recover from a kicking at the last election.

And round here in Marple. I think people vote Liberal Democrat because they are liberally minded, fair, public spirited and community focused. All are core LibDem values, but they also are quite close to what David Cameron has in mind for his version of Conservatism.

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