Having read through Baroness Thornhill’s recent ‘Liberal Democrat General Election Review’, we have real hope its objectives can be delivered by the Party in the future.
The report highlights the need for the Party to concentrate on issues that affect ordinary people, and these references are welcome.
To widen our appeal within the Midlands we need to emphasise the big ticket issues that concern people here. Education is one of them. Schools in many parts of the Midlands are among the worst funded in the country. This affects wider life opportunities for many in our region. Tragically, some of the places with the worst levels of social mobility, meaning a young person brought up in poverty stays there, are in the Midlands.
The Liberal Democrat commitment to properly funding education and skills can offer hope to younger people in our area.
The NHS, transport, policing, ensuring access to high quality and well paid jobs, the bread and butter issues, are what matters to so many people in the Midlands. If we can develop strong, distinctive, popular, policies here, then over the next few years, the Liberal Democrats can regain past support and build new support in both the East and West of our region.
The review rightly points out that the party’s decision to adopt the “Revoke” policy went down badly with many people. Not just among Leave voters, but also among those who had been for Remain but for whom other issues apart from Europe were key. Nowhere did the Revoke policy hit the party harder than in the Midlands, which had had the largest Leave vote, nearly 60%, in Britain.
But going forward, we’ve shown we can win councils in the Midlands. In 2019 we achieved a massive majority in Oadby and Wigston and gained Hinckley and Bosworth by a comfortable margin by campaigning on local issues important to residents.
The Lib Dems have elected MPs in the Midlands in the past. In 2005, voters here sent four Liberal Democrats to Westminster. These four were elected in part, by fighting for popular policies on education, social care and health and connected to people’s everyday lives. We can and must elect Liberal Democrat MPs again.
The election review gives us hope that the party will and can support us to do that.
Cllr Michael Mullaney has been a Liberal Democrat member since 2004 and is Leicestershire County Councillor for Hinckley De Montfort and opposition Finance spokesman. Michael’s a Borough Councillor and Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety on Liberal Democrat run Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council. He was Liberal Democrat PPC for Bosworth in 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019. He serves as LDfHE Chair.