Neil Reddin, a Councillor in the London Borough of Bromley, looks at the upcoming LibDem Vs Tory by-election to succeed Boris Johnson.
It is difficult to say this, but one has to give the Lib Dems credit... some of them really are eternal optimists. I guess you’d have to be as a member of that party, forever trying to believe that you really are the third force in British politics, even if that force’s greatest achievement in the last thirty years has been to help keep Mrs Thatcher in power for a decade by splitting the left-wing vote (which proves the LibDems, in their various incarnations over the years, are useful for something).
That optimism has been seen recently on Lib Dem sites such as LibDem Voice, despite their uninspiring result in Crewe and Nantwich, as they look ahead to the Henley by-election. The motto for the activists seems to be “remember Bromley”. Against all the signs that the Conservative by-election machine has now been properly tuned up, and that the political landscape for the Lib Dems has changed, they seem to think that it’ll come right for them. So, are there any grounds for their optimism, or are they more like the outdated generals, comforted by the false hope that the horses of the cavalry will somehow win the battle against the modern tanks and machine guns, just like they used to against muskets and swords.
Firstly, let’s look at the similarities between Bromley & Chislehurst (where my own ward partly lies, currently) and Henley.