Friday, May 06, 2011

New political landscape in Liverpool

We felt the wind of change on the doorsteps, campaigners reporting  story after story of disillusioned LibDem voters turning to Labour, but nobody could have imagined the tornado that swept through traditional LibDem heartlands, bowling over senior figures with huge majorities.

Labour won 12 seats from the LibDems - although the journalists are trying to spin it as only 11 on the grounds that the LibDem who won Picton in 2007 subsequently defected. It was a new candidate who won the seat for Labour this year. Psephologists would disagree I am sure.

Lord Mayor Councillor Hazel Williams was cheered by all parties as she won a very comfortable victory in Tuebrook and Stoneycroft for the Liberal Party and had some very kind words of encouragement for her Labour opponent.

Deputy Leader of the Green Party, John Coyne held St Michael's comfortably and will no doubt be wondering about the implications of today's announcement about the third councillor in his ward, shamed LibDem councillor Sharon Green defecting to Independent.

Labour's doorstep campaign across the last nine months saw us talk to many thousands of voters and build relations with them so that they didn't just turn out to vote against the LibDems, they positively voted Labour. The turnout across the city being around 36% which is better than usual.

The tired LibDem practice of "Just put six leaflets out" so beloved of Lord Rennard, Chris Davies and local campaign managers completely backfired. In Wavertree they must have put a dozen leaflets out, including the increasingly hysterical attacks on the Labour candidate for daring to be young and keen - oh and the ubiquitous map showing "he doesn't live here". Guess what guys, it didnt work in 2010 and it didnt work this year either!

I am sorry to see Paul Clein go, I would much rather he had won and Kemp had lost instead, but we don't get to choose, that is for the people to decide. Paul has been a great councillor, in the community and in select commitees - and as Education Executive Member, although I wont miss his Town Hall chamber contributions quite as much. It is no secret that he was struggling with his LibDem membership after the coalition agreement nationally and so it seems unfair that he was swept away with the rest of them - not that I am not pleased to have Laura Robertson-Collins on the council in Greenbank, of course I am, but the one does not preclude the other.

I shall shed no tears for some of the others who have gone, given their authorship of some of the most scurrilous and nasty leaflets, websites etc. You reap what you sew. Don't ever forget that. When the political mood is against your party, you have to look to your relationships with your colleagues and your electorate to help you to stave off defeat, some LibDems were not able to rely on either.

I am delighted to welcome a whole range of new councillors to the Labour group in the Town Hall, young -Jake Morrison at 18 and Dan Barrington at 21 for instance and old(er), black and white, we now have three BME councillors - still a long way to go but it is a good start, gay and straight, Muslim and Jewish as well as Christians and no doubt atheists too, councillors with young families and councillors with grandchildren, from all different backgrounds - and a welcome return for two former Labour councillors, Roy Gladden and Peter Brennan.

It will be our very serious duty to continue to govern for the whole city - a task made simpler by having at least one Labour councillor in 27 of the 30 wards, we will be able to listen and respond to residents about their concerns, personally. Richard Kemp said in the paper today that part of the LibDem defeat in Liverpool came through their factionalism and infighting, that is something we must now guard against. We have been a united party since Joe Anderson gained the leadership and we owe it to the people of Liverpool to maintain that unity as we accept their trust and continue to tackle the serious problems of jobs, the economy and housing.

Great news in Kensington and Fairfield where Wendy Simon won 76% of the vote (the LibDems coming third). She has a majority of over 2000, having been elected by only 52 votes four years ago. A tremendous result that was made even more sweet by all the positive and welcoming texts and emails that came her way.

And finally, congratulations to Frank Doran on his engagement and proposed house move, good luck, we wish you all the best.


Gerard said...


just wanted to pass on my congratulations. A good campaign is a good campaign, indifferent to political sidings. Well done.

Of course , I would say that - i'm an organiser for a council group who was one of the few on the night to retain a Lib Dem council!

It goes without saying I was gutted at some of the slayings, and indeed Paul Clein's absence from the chamber will be missed, amongst others.

In the end, I finally got a happy evening at a counting hall, and what had occured in Liverpool did seep back even to the south coast.

We MUST go for that coffee if your still up for it when i'm back for my holidays.

Best regards,


p.s - I keep seeing old school friends in some of your pictures of the activists!!!

Louise Baldock said...

Thanks for the kind words

Yes of course, email me!

PS we are slowly recruiting ALL your mates, it is a world take-over bid!

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't that be 26 wards? No Labour in Tuebrook & Stoneycroft, Church, Woolton, St Michaels wards.