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What are the Lib Dems doing about the missing 700?

May 2011 wasn’t the best month to be a Liberal Democrat. It was even worse if you were a Liberal Democrat Councillor that month. Plenty of good people up and down the country lost their seats on the back of a national backlash against the party for firstly daring to go into a coalition with the Tories and not winning the election outright but secondly and more importantly for the very public back down on student fees.

A lot of these good men and women have been left dangling by the national party. What do the party have planned for these people? Do they want to help them to get back on to local councils or do they not give a damn?

I was at a meeting last night with a former councillor who still gets calls from HQ addressing him as councillor. It riles him up no end and to be honest I’m not surprised. He has no contact from anyone up the hierarchy until they want something from him and even then they haven’t updated the databases to get him prefix right. It just smacks of a lack of class. I know the party aren’t flush with money but honestly how hard would it be for an intern to go through the databases and sort all this out or heck even a work experience kid?

Of course the database is one thing – and something that should be easy to sort but more importantly is what do the party want to do with these valuable assets? No doubt a few lost because they didn’t campaign well or because of natural shifts in the vote but the majority lost due to nothing they did. They lost because of the national perception of the party. They are in the main still angry at the national party for this and they need help and reassurance that they haven’t lost their seats in vein.

I know some who said they were done with politics but have been persuaded to give it another go because of how badly they feel people are being represented in their absence. These have done it off their own back but many haven’t and many need a guiding hand to steer them through.

Personally I think the party should look at this far more seriously than they have. They have been caught up in national issues and leaving the local parties far more isolated than they have done in the past. These ex-councillors not only deserve an explanation and some time but they also deserve respect from the party and they are also one of the most valuable resources that the party has at a local level.

I would urge the party to come up with a constructive plan to bring these 700 back into the fold. They are out of power today but they are a key to returning to power for the party in many local areas. Experience isn’t something that any political party can just cast aside without a care in the world. Also people flat out deserve to be treated better.

So lets get together a cohesive plan to get these people motivated by politics again and bring them back into the fold of the party. Most are still members but they laying low and finding it hard to justify putting in so much energy after losing so badly last year. A message of support from HQ wouldn’t go amiss and that is the very least that these people deserve. The very least.

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  1. […] author of a hand-wringing epistle on whether he should stand for council, wonders about the 700 Lib Dem councillors dumped by their electorate last year. He will have even more to worry about after this May, when I […]

  2. Richard Richard

    The correspondence offices of the Lib Dem ministers leave a lot to be desired. They either do not reply at all or send out a standard letter that does not reply to the specific points raised. When we write it is with the intention of being helpful.

    If a minister cannot manage their own correspondence office how on earth can they expect to manage their department?

  3. Alex Perkins Alex Perkins

    I couldn’t agree more!

    Sadly the 700 you refer too, and as many again who were either on the verge of winning or retaking a previously held seat, appear to be seen by the party hierarchy as “acceptable” loses strewn upon the battlefield as a result of an unfathomable master plan. Sent over the top like the ranks of private soldiers at the battle of the Somme – they were simply mown down and washed away by a tidal wave of public disappointment at the actions of Lib Dems in Parliament.

    The party’s same lack of interest is ably displayed in the apparent inability of our elected Lib Dem ministers to reply to letters and emails from serving LD cllrs, who HAD hoped that having Lib Dems in government might give them some access to those making policy in their name.

    Most of my councillor group have now given up emailing our ministers on any subject. Only one of us (last time I checked) has ever received a reply – and frankly, it wasn’t very helpful.

    Our once bottom-up party has sadly become decidedly top-down. (as further evidenced by the refusal to allow debate on crucial issues at conference) If the party won’t even communicate with elected councillors – what chance do the previously elected have?

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