After a period of being too busy to blog and after the disastrous results of the election, I thought it was time to digest what the future holds for the Liberal Democrats after Cleggism. I wanted to start in prosaic fashion by looking at what’s left of the party, before looking at different aspects of the rebuilding job and indeed Cleggism itself.

8 MPs. Just over 100 peers, soon to be augmented by a handful of ex-MPs (and the last we are likely to get for a while). The near-certainty of a huge reduction in staff numbers, which is horrible for them. Not to mention a huge further loss of the local councillor base – yes, the 2015 results somehow managed to be even worse than 2011.

That will lead immediately to an overwhelming need to raise funds. On the assumption that Nick Clegg’s recent role will appeal to some donors more than the general public, this might be his most practical contribution to the rebuild.

It also leads to the need to deal with some historical dysfunctions in the relationships among and between our two Parliamentary Parties, our headquarters and a wider party that at once loses central support and becomes more important. The role of our peers in particular becomes fascinating.

Perhaps the biggest problem as the party picks up the pieces is the loss of experience that comes as local ward organisations atomise. The decline of urban Toryism in the 1990s is a salutary lesson for those of us who relished it at the time; two decades later, and the Tory presence in the Oxford Town Halls as well as the Liverpools and Manchesters remains non-existent. In other places, though, the Tories did rebuild, and the lessons of how they managed that must be learned. It goes without saying that the huge energy created by our influx of new members must be harnessed immediately.

A by-election – a Warrington, perhaps, rather than an Orpington – will help. However, the party’s record in by-elections has declined over some time in ways largely unrelated to the electoral effects of Cleggism. Without wanting to pre-empt the review of the General Election campaign itself, some things are clear: the air war made the same mistakes they weren’t supposed to repeat after 2014, the ground campaigns were less advanced than those of other parties and not adapted to cope with the drop in numbers of campaigners. A root and branch review of the way field campaigns are thought is essential.

And in many ways there will be no better time than in 2016 to go back to basics that we know work; community politics, hard work locally and dedicated teams to rebuild our council base. Especially the former: the 13,000-plus new members are the community politicians that form the basis of the rebuilding. Providing the resources to support them is the basis of the Liberal fightback.

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