The Liberal Democrats just had a great round of council elections. In areas like Watford, Southport, Birmingham Yardley, Portsmouth, and many others, we showed we were a force to be reckoned with, and that you can knock us down, but that you can never keep us down.
While we celebrated like the rest of you there is something hard to ignore. In many parts of the country, the fightback simply did not happen. In 2015 we suffered many defeats from which we could rebuild. But in certain areas there is no longer a party machine. There are no candidates, there are no campaigns.
We have launched Liberal Democrat Expand to reverse this intolerable situation rebuild the party, inspired by Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 ’50 State Strategy’. Our motto is simple: no no-go areas. A message for every voter.
Being a truly national party is not the same as having representation in national parliaments, although it is a part. It is about campaigning in every part of the country to elect Liberal Democrats, building our membership and getting our message for the country out.
We are not eschewing targeting, and we are not saying that we expect to elect 632 Liberal Democrat MPs. What we are saying is that every Local Party should be ambitious for its own future, and for the future of the party as a whole. Whether that is snatching the parliamentary seat, taking control of the council or, indeed, having a council group for the first time. Liberal Democrat Expand will be doing the research and finding the best practice to help the 650 State Strategy become reality.
Originally posted 3 June 2016.