Visiting Broomhill High Street

Last weekend, I visited Broomhill High Street to check up on changes made along the pavement. I was disappointed to see barriers left out and uneven surfaces, all for the most unimaginative alteration to the area.

There is a real concern amongst businesses here that these changes to parking will reduce customer numbers and make the area less accessible to visitors from other parts of the City or further afield. The council could have made space for a small market and still maintained the appropriate number of disabled parking spaces.

On Saturday, the Lib Dem team was out in force for an early morning litter pick in Crookes in a bid to keep our streets clean. We spoke to local residents on issues of housing, planning and street lighting.

Want something to read? Here’s 5 liberal books to keep you going!

As the UK heads into at least three weeks of lockdown, here are some suggestions for Liberal Democrats in want of a good book.

British Liberal Leaders (2015) – Edited by Duncan Brack, Robert Ingham and Tony Little

British Liberal Leaders - British Leaders (Hardback)

The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics – New Directions in Critical Theory (2014) – Adrian Parr

The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics - New Directions in Critical Theory 48 (Paperback)

A fascinating case put foward by Adrian Parr. Here, Parr argues that only when we understand the dominating role played by capital in international diplomacy and environmental politics, can we begin to truly reshape our economy to support a stable and flourishing environment.

The End of History and the Last Man (2012 Penguin; 1st Edition) – Francis Fukuyama

 

The End of History and the Last Man (Paperback)

Fukuyama’s 1992 classic text proclaiming the victory of Western liberal democracy makes interesting reading in a decade of Brexit and Trump. A reminder of how quickly the global political landscape changes. Liberal democracy is fragile and needs constant work and protection.

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction (2016) – Philip E Tetlock and Dan Gardener

Superforecasting

In what now feels like decades ago, Dominic Cummings told journalists waiting outside his London home to read Philip Tetlock’s book ‘Superforcasting’ to better understand sacked Downing Street adviser Andrew Sabinsky. Well…now you can!

Capital and Ideology (2020) – Thomas Piketty

Capital and Ideology

Following the success of Piketty’s first international bestselling tome ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ (2013), he has returned. This time, the French economist presents a volume almost twice the size as his initial bestseller. I can’t say I’ve finished this new volume, but it certainly is a work in progress!

Crookes Canvassing Session – Sheffield Lib Dems

On a very rainy Wednesday afternoon, the Sheffield team were out again, this time in Crookes, canvassing to get Bex Atkinson elected to the City Council in May.

Bex runs a zero-waste shop on Crookes high street and runs as a Green Liberal Democrat. Her experience as a local business person and environmental activist is much needed at City Hall.

Beighton Canvassing Session – Sheffield Lib Dems

The Sheffield Liberal Democrats had another successful canvassing session in Beighton yesterday evening.

Well done to the Lib Dem team for going out on the doors!

We even managed an action shot! (Featuring THREE Toms)

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Another Sheffield Lib Dem Action Day with Layla Moran MP

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-16 at 14.06.42I had an excellent morning door knocking in Sheffield with Layla Moran MP. The Lib Dem team were met with a really positive response on the door step.

Residents fed up with a complacent Labour council.

Some of the major issues that came up time and again are trees, air pollusion and traffic congestion in and around the city.

Massive thanks to Layla for coming to the city and helping out with our local election effort.

Election day is 7 May.

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-16 at 14.35.23

Action Day – Sheffield Lib Dems

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1 February 2020: Action day with the Sheffield Liberal Democrats. Source: Laura Gordon (@LibDemLaura)

Out on the doorstep this morning to help elect two excellent candidates, Alan Woodcock and Ann Whittaker, to the council in May.

On the UK’s first day outside the European Union, it is more important now than ever to campaign for a liberal UK. That campaign starts with local politics and local councillors.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR ON ELECTION NIGHT 2019

 

 

Historic Conservative targets – Sedgefield and Bolsover

 

Should Sedgefield and Bolsover flip tomorrow night, it would represent a historic loss for the Labour Party. Sedgefield, once the home of Tony Blair from 1983 to 2007, could reject Labour for the first time in eighty four years. Coupled with the possibility of losing Bolsover (also to the Conservatives), this election could see a serious disintegration of support for the Labour Party in the north of England.

Dennis Skinner has served as Bolsover’s MP since 1970.

The Brexit Party are fielding candidates in both seats. The possibility of a divided right successfully executing such aggressive campaigns highlights the extent of the challenge facing Labour.

For the past twenty years, commentators and party strategists have commented on the general migration of working-class votes away from the Labour Party to both the SNP in Scotland and Conservatives in the north of England. It’s nothing new. But tomorrow night, the shift might be enough to swing some of the major seats in the region.

 

A sign for Labour? – Canterbury

 

Although an unexpected and late win for the Labour Party in 2017, Canterbury could hold for Rosie Duffield. In recent years, the city has evolved to become part of the London commuter belt and many political commentators have remarked upon the influx of younger, affluent and more liberal-minded residents to the area. Duffield however, is defending a 187 vote majority. Should she increase her margin, Canterbury could, like Bolsover and Sedgefield, mark a point of no return in the changing nature of Labour’s core vote.

In November, Liberal Democrat candidate Tim Walker stepped down in favour of Duffield and encouraged fellow Liberal Democrats to vote tactically. Although replaced with another candidate, Walker’s decision to stand aside may have been enough to encourage local activists to vote defensively tomorrow.  

Key Liberal Democrat marginals – Sheffield Hallam and Cheltenham

As with every election, the success of the Liberal Democrats depends almost entirely on the high marginals. Sheffield Hallam and Cheltenham, two former Lib Dem strongholds could well return to the party. Recapturing the former would be particularly historic for the Lib Dems, as it was held by Nick Clegg from 2005 to 2017. In Cheltenham, the Conservative Alex Chalk succeeded in unseating Martin Horwood in 2015 and successfully fended off a strong Liberal Democrat challenge two years later.

The seat has bounced between the two parties since 1832.

Richmond Park, St Albans, South Cambridgeshire and Winchester are also likely to return Liberal Democrats to the House of Commons. Should all six seats change hands, about 40% of Liberal Democrats elected tomorrow night would serve their first term in the next parliament. Although over the course of the next parliament, this could represent an opportunity for the party, it could also pose as a short term challenge.

 

2019’s ‘Portillo moment’? – Esher and Walton

 

Possibly the most talked about swing seat of this election, Esher and Walton has returned Dominic Raab to the House of Commons since 2010. As Johnson’s Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, he is a leading target for the Liberal Democrats. Although he has never lost a constituency-wide poll, the lead has often fallen within the margin of error. For anyone in need of a ‘Portillo moment’, this is the seat to watch.

 

ANOTHER ‘Portillo moment’? – Chingford and Woodford Green

 

Iain Duncan Smith, former Leader of the Conservative Party, leave campaigner and champion of Universal Credit, has faced unusually stiff competition from Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen. IDS has represented Chingford and Woodford Green since 1992. At the last election, IDS held on with a 2,438 majority. 

In early September, the Labour candidate was subject to a Guardian video report. Two months later, the Green Party candidate withdrew in support. Should Raab’s 23,298 vote majority hold firm, it might be wise to save the champagne for this north London seat.

 

The Conservatives in Wales

 

This year, the Conservatives could see a quiet victory in Wales. A YouGov/Cardiff University poll (6-9 December; Sample 1,020) gave the party 37% support, just three points behind Labour. A result of this size could award the Conservatives sixteen seats, four short of Labour’s total. 

But there is cause for concern for some Conservatives. Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire since 2005, could lose to Labour’s Philippa Thompson. In 2017, Thompson’s vote increased by 14.5 points, cutting Crabb’s lead to just 314 votes.

But thanks to the Brexit Party’s decision not to put forward a candidate, I suspect the constituency will turn out as a Conservative hold.