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The Colindale poll was also postponed after the Green candidate, Jessica Yorke, died of cancer.
Our place to talk – an independent website for supporters of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK. The Lib Dem figure is down markedly on 2010, when these seats were last contested – then the party stood in 500 more seats, around 75%, though that did also coincide with the general election. The failure to put up candidates, the unwillingness of people to put themselves forward, the decline of the grassroots of the party, are all evidenced by these figures. Whatever is happening in the Westminster Bubble, out there in the real world the party is suffering.
The results as they come in on the 23 May will bring some good stories, some local achievements, despite everything some people at local level will win. But if the story is already being spun around how many seats we lose in the much reduced number where we have struggled to put up a candidate things really must seem dire even to those at the top of the party who look at the facts rather than look at Clegg’s dreams of another five years in a ministerial limousine. These are the hard facts that should wake up Liberal Democrat MPs to their fate next year if they do not take the logical and sensible course of action and get rid of Clegg. If the party at grassroots level is so diminished and so demoralised in this way we will not hold on to those decent, hard-working MPs who through no fault of their own are being dragged down by Clegg. John, although I agree with you, lets not over egg the pudding – The Lib Dems will be down just short of 500 candidates against 2010. This year will be the first time there are local elections where I am living, but I am not standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate since the 1980s.
On the extreme right fringes of the party we can see people like Jeremy Browne taking it even further, and explicitly stating that the formation of the coalition means the party has to make a permanent move to the right, abandoning most of its former supporters in the hope there’s some big bunch of people who want a party which is throughly Thatcherite in its economics, but without the social conservatism which tempered that.
An alternative explanation for the decline in numbers standing is the demoralisation caused by the noisy Anti-Coalition minority, the corroding effect of their constant negativity.
As usual Matthew and John speak with commitment, clarity and also reflect my views very closely.
Well the Tories may be standing in over 90% of seats but they’re not standing in Crookes and Stannington wards of Sheffield City Council.
The Cleggies conflate these two things, making out that anyone who is critical of the leadership is unrealistic because they have not understood the situation that meant the coalition was a necessary way forward. It seems pointless to support the Lib Dems and to campaign for electoral reform without accepting the need to work with any or all other political parties, and there is a record of Lib Dems doing this successfully at different levels throughout the UK. Whatever the exact numbers, it seems clear enough that the last three decades of Lib Dem progress in local government will have been wiped out.
Maybe you would do well to get out their on the campaign trail yourself rather than spending your time tirelessly criticizing those who have who do not share your views. This year I am again a paper candidate even though I will not be doing any work because I cannot support the party’s defence of the tuition fee increase and its failure to deal with those MPs who broke their personal pledge and the failure of Nick Clegg to veto the worse aspects of the Conservative policies.
BTW I’m voting Green in the Euros and voting on a personal basis for my hard working Lib Dem councillor in the locals. For reasons that continue to baffle me, I was sent a new membership card that I neither wanted nor expected – but I am now delighted to have it. We would probably have got more candidates if we had legislated to get rid of the stupid, daft, pointless, waste of time bureaucratic nonsense that is the collecting of ten signatures. I think what the graph clearly shows is that being in government is usually bad for your local election success, whoever your leader is, whatever your ideology. Also, like Paul, depressed by the negativity and constant whingeing of the same handful of people on here. Sadly Mark, Those of us who judge things by what is rather than what we would wish it would be, know the leader has bought his short term of influence by sacrificing the party’s right ideas. Your chosen message might fly a little further if Britain were a consensual democracy with an electorate that accepts power-sharing among minority parties. Is there a mechanism which activates a leadership election if the existing leader decides they wish to continue – however bad election results are under their leadership? I find it depressing when the comments of people who are struggling to find reasons to stay in the party they’ve loved and worked for are dismissed as constant carping. Thanks David, my concern was that, because virtually any other leader would resign if the Party suffered serious setbacks under their leadership – they would resign [ or at least offer to resign] there may never been a need for a mechanism that sparked a leadership contest. The Tories' response this morning has been to promise action on the things Ukip voters care about (EU, welfare, immigration.) "We are the party of answer, not anger," is the PM's refrain. No party is contesting them all, though as you can see both Labour and Conservatives are fielding candidates in more than 90% of them, while the Lib Dems are contesting 65%. Well, Mark Pack has pointed out in his latest Newswire that the Lib Dems have lost an average of 40% of seats in previous rounds of local elections during the Coalition. In how many seats where the Lib Dems are standing are they just “paper candidates” rather than running any sort of campaign?
I stood as a Liberal candidate with a full campaign in the 1986 County Council elections, then moved to London and stood in every set of London Borough elections – 1990 in Newham, 1994, 1998 and 2002 in Lewisham, 2006 in Greenwich.


It seems strange after decades not to be either a candidate or election agent in my local wards, but the party is almost unrecognisable in economic and more recently in environmental policy, that I feel I cannot so much as deliver even a leaflet.
Even with the flood of resignations, withdrawals from activity, and people just doing a lot less, this party has not fundamentally changed. I didn’t stand in 2006 because I was an outgoing councillor in Lewisham, and felt for that reason it would not be appropriate to stand as a paper candidate in the neighbouring borough I had moved to.
The two things are acceptance of the formation of the coalition, and belief that Clegg and others in leadership position are using the right strategy in leading the party in that situation.
In that way they can silence opposition to them, or make out it is just unrealistic fantasists. I could have made a public announcement in my local press about my dissatisfaction with the Liberal Democrats, and called on people not to support them – how would that have gone down, seeing as how I was Leader of the Opposition in the Borough of Lewisham ten years ago, and led it while the Liberal Democrats moved from third place in votes with just two councillors, to a major opposition across the Borough?
The one exception is the man who was the actual alternative to Clegg, try to imagine what that would have been like. These hard working grassroots who have campaigned tirelessly for the party in the past are far more informed of the feelings on the ground and are they are doing the right thing by highlighting the problems that the party faces. According to Stephen in 2010 we stood in about 75% of seats and according to Caracatus and the BBC we stood in about 76% of seats last year. It is vital that those of us who are unhappy with the party leadership post our views and make clear we are still members waiting for a leadership that reflects our views. Clegg and his ilk are a footnote in history I will still be an active member of this party: campaigning on a progressive agenda that I can be proud to represent on the doorstep. I may not think everything is perfect but this party is miles better than the alternatives and I am proud to be out campaigning. I can understand and respect people who are happy with the current direction of the party (most people who are still members, it seems) arguing that Nick Clegg and the rest are doing a good job and the right thing.
On that basis, the benchmark this time round is that the party will retain around 437 of the seats it’s defending and lose 291. In 1990 there was a token campaign (one leaflet), the three Lewisham elections were serious campaigns and I won my seat in each of them. Most of our former voters have been led by the likes of Clegg and Farron and the words they have used to believe we are in full support of the extreme right policies of this government, and so have fallen away.
If that’s the sort of party they want, they must face the consequences of people like me dropping out. It was similar economic policy to that which the party currently espouses (and which the likes of Jeremy Browne wishes to take further), that made me join the Liberals and Lib Dems to campaign and fight against.
Unfortunately the Prominent Persons who are still trying to engineer a top-down coup in the party get the ear of the media rather more than the legions of disaffected local activists.
You may infer what you want from these facts, but remember Shaffaq Mohammed, the leader of the Lib Dem group on SCC, is chicken-running from Broomhill to Crookes in the hope of not losing his seat (Broomhill has had crushing Labour victories since 2011).
However, in 2006 I played a full part in literature delivery and canvassing in the ward I was stepping down from.
It is quite possible to accept the formation of the coalition, accept that in policy terms the Liberal Democrats are doing what they can in that situation, but think Clegg and co are doing an appallingly bad job at presenting the party’s position and retaining its electoral support. I decided not to do that, because I still think they are doing a reasonable job locally, and I do have a personal loyalty to former colleagues. The Labour Party was reduced from about 7,000 in 2005 to 4,300 in 2009, a loss of about 38.6%.
Hopefully this will encourage others who are thinking of leaving the party to remain in the party. As long as people like Paul Barker bury their heads in the sand the slaughter of the innocents will continue. I can only urge others who have left to return and work for the return of this party to its guiding principles in the aftermath of May 22rd.
And I joined since 2010 because I thought the party had become influential in addition to having the right ideas.
In 2006 it was purely paper, no work done, but I was happy for my name to be put forward so that the party had a full slate in every ward in the borough.
Nor do I wish to join Labour as I have always believed in a society where “none shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance OR conformity”. One of the reasons I stay in the party is that I think much of the criticism which assumes we could have somehow manufactured a government which is 100% Liberal Democrat from the May 2010 Parliament is unrealistic, and I do not want to be associated with that. Caracatus makes the interesting point that where we have only paper candidates we receive hardly any votes now. If Mark Pack’s forecast is right then we will have been reduced from 4,200 in 2010 to 2,280, a loss of about 45.7%.
If, as seems likely, Clegg will lead the party to zero MEPs and a virtual halving of the number of councillors by 2015, how can he survive?
Despite being too ill to attend the count Nick Churchill retained his seat in the ward of Sumners and Kingsmoor. I feel Clegg and Farron etc are kicking down all I have helped build up with all my years activity in the party.


I know very well how weak it is to be a junior coalition partner, which is why I was prepare to give a lot of slack to Clegg and co over it – but they have made a difficult situation much worse by almost everythig they have said and done.
However the conclusion may be that we are fielding less paper candidates because people don’t wish to stand year after year to receive less than 100 votes. I am congenitally a conviction politician on the libertarian left of British politics, and probably have no party which is now my natural home.
So I agree with Caracatus it would be interesting to know how many of our candidates are paper candidates. Yet I think Nick Clegg is the wrong leader for several reasons, some to do with his political positions, some with his malleable performance in government and some to do with his evident difficulty in communicating passion or moving beyond a very narrow emotional band.
Note the loss of four councillors in Cambridge, the sort of university town that was its heartlands in the pre-tuition fees era.
If it doesn’t, the dedicated work way back to the 1970s, to not only win seats in parliament but also to have a presence in every county, city and constituency, will be discarded. Chris Huhne's old seat was held by the Lib Dems in a by-election despite him going to prison and a fierce Ukip challenge.
He was also awarded a knighthood aboard Golden Hind in Deptford, East London on 4 April 1581. And so what you're seeing in some parts of the country is people turning to UKIP as an expression of that discontent and a desire for change. Now I believe that we can persuade those people that Labour can offer answers to them and the challenges they see in their own lives and that's what I'm determined to do over the coming year. Look at the social demographic - you have lots of the sort of metropolitan elite who, I think, cannot really understand the heartache and the pain that many people around the country are feeling. Having to take these really painstaking decisions to get the economy right - of course that's not going to be universally popular. The Major Projects Authority, which produces a score card on government infrastructure works, has released its report.
The borough has two Tory and two Labour seats: Lee Scott, Iain Duncan Smith, John Cryer and Mike Gapes. Winston MacKenzie, the eccentric Ukip Commonwealth spokesman who called the town an unsafe "dump" during the party's "carnival", failed to secure a seat. And if you compare Labour's performance vote for vote with 2010, the advance is just 3% point - 3% on what was the day in which Labour recorded its second worst result. And if you actually compare these results with the position two years ago, which we can also compare most of these places with, Labour's vote is clearly well down, something like nine points. The latter, if the swing to Labour was universal across all seats, would give Labour a majority in the Commons of 72. The second table reinforces Prof Curtice's argument (see 0835) that Labour has gone backwards since 2012.
Based on a ward-by-ward results, Ukip would win the depressed fishing seat of Great Grimsby, held by Austin Mitchell, according to Prof Curtice. A plague on both your houses." He urged Labour to hold a snap referendum on EU membership. Well, but let's not get carried away, according to Prof John Curtice, one of the country's leading elections experts. The party believed it could allow Ukip to eat into the Tory vote, without admitting it would eat Labour too.
The coalition of the Labour party is not broad enough and we need to be part of it and if we're not, Labour won't win at the next general election. Some of the pointy heads at the top of the party thought that Ukip doing well is what we needed." In policy terms that means addressing some of these issues. There should be clear policies of what we're going to do and real, substantive policies, not just a nod and a wink saying 'we've heard you'. He's been to our office so many times people just go, 'Oh, him again'." The incumbent, Nigel Mills, has a majority of 536.
He is one a string of midlands seats the Tories simply cannot lose if they want to remain in government.
Host James O'Brien says his callers and listeners are unhappy with Miliband, including regular Labour voters. You might even describe it as a rant but what it hasn’t been is a lot of sloganeering. Less on sloganeering, more about having a passionate conversation with the electorate and in terms of policy. Think: when was the last time a party leader invited you to attend a meeting at your town hall?




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