The May 7th General election results were shattering but not unexpected. However here are five reasons why I am optimistic about our future.
1) There was no major surge in Tory support.
Although they won by a clear majority, the Tory national share of the vote only increased fractionally from 36.1% in 2010 to 36.9% in 2015 an increase of just 0.8%
In contrast the Lib Dem vote decreased by 15.2%. From 23.1% in 2010 to just 7.9% in 2015. So the loss of so many seats was due to our own vote going to, Labour, Green, UKIP and the Nationalists with very little going to the Tories.
2) UKIP, GREEN, Labour and Nationalist Support has peaked.
These parties all took a substantial share of the Lib Dem vote. They all received massive press and media coverage during the run up to the election. However I think their support has peaked. UKIP support actually peaked in 2014 and support has been drifting down since. They failed to make a breakthrough and are riven by infighting at the moment. Likewise for the Labour party, who will spend years looking inwards whilst trying to re align itself.
3) Lib Dems are now free from the Tories
Although the coalition provided stable government and achieved much, it was never directly endorsed by the voting public and joining with the Tories and breaking promises was seen as a betrayal to many voters. In many areas in the North and Scotland the Tories are seen as unrepresentative and toxic.
4) Over 12 000 New Members
This is a massive vote of confidence for the Lib Dem cause. I think many people thought the Lib Dems had been too harshly punished and they wanted to support its values. Many of these new members are young people who will provide a dynamic force to help rebuild our party. In Worcester our new members, will help us get our message across more effectively. This will to help us win Council seats and provide better representation throughout the City.
5) There must be an opposition.
I have confidence that the voting public will try to ensure there is an effective opposition. The Lib Dems have benefited from this in the past. But any party has to be united, professional, realistic and have clear and distinct policies. In many areas of the country the Lib Dems still provide this opposition. Hopefully with time and effort we can strengthen our voice and expand these areas and maybe one day replace Labour as the main opposition.
This article was written by Worcester Lib Dem Chairman Mike Mullins.
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