Friday, 23 May 2008

Up all night

. So, the votes are counted and result is in and I have had a healthy couple of glasses of wine to keep the eyelids from drooping. Incidentally, quote of the night has to go to Eric Pickles who said on the BBC results programme that "in order to get Liberal Democrat policies people were realising they had to vote Conservative." So, it is not Tony Blair's clothes that David Cameron is stealing but Nick Cleggs.

Seriously, the first statistic of note is the high turn-out - 58%. Previously discontented Labour voters have sat on their hands and stayed at home; it is clear this is no longer the case. People are now so fed-up that they are actually willing to go out and vote against Labour and this should seriously worry Labour.

Nobody will be surprised this morning to wake-up to find that Crewe and Nantwich has a Conservative MP. The majority of slightly under 8,00o is a crushing blow to Labour and must now call into question Gordon Brown's continued leadership. However, Labour is effectively caught in a double-bind because if they ditch Brown the impression of panic and a sinking ship may well be reinforced.

Satisfactory is a word that best encapsulates the Liberal Democrat vote; with a strong anti-government sentiment it is to be expected that the main opposition party and thus it proved. In those circumstances a slight squeeze is expected. The 7.1% swing away from Labour shows where our main opportunity lies; in giving a voice to those disenfranchised by the Labour Party and it's policies who don't think the Conservatives can speak for them. Our challenge is to build the infrastructure to challenge the two main parties, especially in seats where we have a small vote. We are developing a loyal voter base which will stick with us, if just 1% of Elizabeth Shenton's vote could be persuaded into some kind of activity supporting the party that would be 60 new activists. Onwards to Henley!

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