Lincoln by-election contested by Lib Dems

In the run up to the by-election being held today (30th July, 2015) in the ward of North Kesteven in Lincoln, I decided to visit and help out with canvassing. Former MP Lembit Öpik joined me on the trip, which involved a 4 hour journey from Central London to the Northern town. We were lucky with the weather, and, despite the threat of rain, the conditions turned out to be perfect for canvassing. Tony Richardson, the Campaign Manager, greeted us there too and he supplied everything we needed to make the session effective and focussed.

Overall, the ‘outs’ had it – but of those who were in, it was clear that a number of recurring themes were prevalent. Firstly, it was interesting to note that most were aware a by-election was taking place. I often hear people moaning about how few people care about politics these days. I feel it hasn’t really changed much over the years – it’s just a popular mantra to say you’re ‘disillusioned with politics.’ Four children who were about 10 years of age made the effort to come and ask us what we were doing and what elections are. Lembit explained that elections choose people called Councillors who fix local problems and keep the roads clean and fix holes in them. They thanked us before running off – so the electoral future looks promising!

I also found it interesting that many of the local Independent Councillors and candidates used to be Liberal Democrats. They felt that they had a better chance of winning by leaving the party. All this occurred prior to the change of leadership, and perhaps under new Leader Tim Farron these types of Councillors might be tempted to return.

We won’t know the result till later this evening. However, that result is less important than the mood music. That was summed up by a resident of Nero Way – a street in the by-election area. The man said he had voted Lib Dem in 2010 on the promise of opposing tuition fees. Feeling betrayed, he hasn’t voted for us since – but might give us another chance now things have changed. I left Lincoln with the strong impression that, to use a weather analogy, the General Election was heavy weather but, things are improving and there’s every chance it will be brighter later.