Liberal Democrat Expand was on hiatus for the local elections, but returns now brimming with ideas
“When we launched we were riding high on the Liberal Democrat successes of the local elections. In areas like Watford, Southport and Portsmouth we showed that we were one again a force to be reckoned with. We were fighting back. We also saw many parts of the country where that fightback just didn’t materialise. The recovery from 2015 wasn’t underway. There were no candidates and no campaigns.”
Things have improved a lot since then. In May the Liberal Democrats secured our best results in 15 years:
“We held every single Council and Mayoralty we were defending including, Eastleigh, South Lakeland, Sutton, Cheltenham and Watford.
And we took control of Richmond, South Cambridgeshire, Three Rivers and Kingston-upon-Thames.
Topping it off, we’ve gained seats across the country in Hull, Liverpool, Cambridge, Sunderland, Gosport, Merton, Portsmouth, Sheffield, St Albans, Winchester, Bolton, Barnsley (electing our first councillor in eight years with a massive majority!) and Haringey and in many, many more!”
Those are results to be proud of. But — of course — the work doesn’t end there. In many places we improved our vote share considerably, but didn’t quite cross the final hurdle. And in many places we are still far behind — or worse, completely dormant.
The challenge for the party now, as has been advocated by Liberal Demcorat Expand since inception, is to help all parts of the party to grow. We need to keep growing where we’re strong and ahead — and make sure that we stay ahead.
And we also need to do what we can to nurture and revive inactive or just-starting local parties. Part of that is sharing the best practice from where we’re winning.
That’s part of what we’ll be doing this summer. We’ll be shining the spotlight on the up-and-coming activists who need your support. We’ll be inviting people to share their success stories. And we’ll be doing what we can to provide useful guidance. For example, a simple diversity audit for your local party, asking you tough questions, and pointing you to what to do next.
There are also a lot of interesting things going on across the Atlantic.
You may remember that LDE is inspired by Howard Dean’s ’50 State Strategy’for the Democrats, an idea which is enjoying something of a comeback. For instance, the DNC has recently launched:
- IWillVote — an ambitious plan to reach 50 million voters by Election Day. It will help people register to vote, provide voter education and protection, and make sure these voters cast their ballot.
- Best Practices Institute — The DNC is investing in sharing information and best practice across their party, investing in innovative new ideas while building on established strategies of grassroots organising.
- Every ZIP Code Counts — the 50 State Strategy by another name. As Tom Perez, Chair of the DNC, recently wrote: “Gone are the days when Democrats are unwilling to play in states or districts that are “too red.” We are organising and competing everywhere to win elections in 2018 and beyond”. As part of this the DNC is increasing its monthly investment to $10,000 to every state party across the US. From the school board to the Senate, the Democrats are fighting to win.
This is an exciting time for the Liberal Democrats, and exciting time for the idea of a ’50 State Strategy’ both here and in the US.
We hope that you’ll stay up to date, that you’ll get in touch, and that you’ll even be part of it.