General election: Labour plummets as Tories strengthen grip on the country and Lib Dems fall flat

At the time of publishing this (6.00am), Boris Johnson will command a very comfortable majority in the House of Commons. Jeremy Corbyn’s leftist agenda and dithering over Brexit has cost his party seats and influence in parliament. He will also stand down as leader. The Lib Dems fell flat with a campaign that was too much focused on Jo Swinson. She lost her seat by just 149 votes. The Greens kept their one seat. The Brexit party proved to be a figment of Nigel Farage’s imagination.

A new vote on Scottish independence looks to be on the cards after Nicola Sturgeon strengthened the SNP’s dominance in Scotland. Over the border in Wales, the Conservatives gained seats at the expense of Labour.

The political geography of our country has changed. Outside Scotland, we live in a more illiberal country. All hopes of electoral reform for the voting system and the Lords are once again as dead as a dodo. The two party system survived both in parliament and in media coverage.

We now are aboard a runaway train hurtling towards Brexit. Only time will tell if we are heading towards a train crash for our economy, society and the future of our continent. But the brakes are off. Boris is on the footplate and Donald Trump will be shovelling the coal to light Johnson’s fire.

I am not going to hide the reality that I feel deflated. Support for Lib Dems has always been strong at a local level but we have failed to translate that into a national crusade. The manifesto and campaign were badged as a Jo Swinson product, with the Lib Dem mission taking second place. It was presidential in style. Yet we are a party with a collective, collaborative way of working. The early message that the Lib Dems would revoke Article 50 without a second people’s vote was a mistake. Although that message was changed, it left an aftertaste of the Lib Dems telling the people they know best. That’s not the way we think and work.

But when you get a bad result, you pick yourself up and start over again. We have fielded many excellent candidates across the country. Strong people with a future in politics. With Brexit soon to be behind us, the Lib Dems will be able to concentrate on their core message of a greener, fairer society.

Labour bombed. Corbyn proved toxic. He spouted promises but always looked like an addicted gambler spending up to his credit card limit. He eventually backed a people’s vote but there was always confusion on what his stance on Brexit really was. The election was a catastrophe for him and the hard left Momentum philosophy that poisoned Labour’s campaign. Even the Beast of Bolsover lost his seat taking some of the most colourful language out of the Commons,

The Greens did not get another MP. Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton Pavilion is an excellent MP and deserves some company in the house.

The Tories did well and Brexit was the biggest factor. Environment, health, education and social care were at times reduced to anecdotes on the campaign trail. The concept of One Nation Conservativism was sacrificed on the altar of Brexit.  

Our exit from the EU will now happen at break neck speed. We will leave the maelstrom of European politics behind and turn our eyes west to America. Just as Tony Blair became George Bush’s poodle, Boris Johnson will become Donald Trump’s donkey.

Our nation has elected its leaders. We must work with that.

General election: Clean sweep for the Conservatives in Shropshire and Dunne wins again

Congratulations to Philip Dunne on being elected MP for Ludlow for the fourth time. He has now been MP since 2005. He has a vote share of 64%, up just 1% on 2017, and commands a 23,648 majority. Heather Kidd increased the Lib Dem vote share by 6%. Labour’s vote dropped by 9% coming third after parachuting Kuldip Sahota in as a last minute candidate. Hilary Wendt achieved a small increase for the Greens.

Shrewsbury & Atcham, Shropshire North, Wrekin and Telford were returned for the Conservatives.

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Was this the craziest election of our lifetime?

10pm, 12 December. It’s all over bar the counting.

It was an election where we heard of plonkers. Joshing. Post stratification. An election where blocks of ice made more of a contribution to the climate emergency debate than most politicians. An election where children lay on the floor.

There were false facts. False fact checkers. Tony Blair unbelievably accused parties of peddling fantasies. We didn’t see much of Jacob Rees Mogg. Lifelong Tories recommended voting against the Conservatives.

This article is not about political parties and policies. It’s about political antics. Things that have caught my attention.

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Planting millions of trees to be on Shropshire Council agenda 19 December

We are struggling to save trees. Our record in Ludlow is appalling. Trees have been lost with abandon on the conservation area. More than 100 decent trees are to be felled on Foldgate Lane. Hedges have been netted ahead of being cleared.  We are denuding our landscape.

We need to turn this around. We are in a climate emergency. We face a biodiversity crisis. We must plant at least ten trees for every one we fell. Let’s plant a huge forest.

First, we need to get the political and bureaucratic support. That’s why Lib Dems and Greens have tabled a motion at next Thursday’s meeting of Shropshire Council. It calls for doubling of Shropshire’s woodland cover. We hope it will get unanimous support from councillors of all parties.

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Hurrah! Ludlow Town Council to buy Sidney Road Green for a nominal sum and protect it forever

I became quite emotional as I walked home from Ludlow Town Council last night. My route took me across Sidney Road Green. The whole town has been trying to save this green space from development for five years. But five bungalows were approved and the green space was slated to be destroyed.

Despite light pollution, I could see the outline of Taurus above the Norway Maple as I walked. As the ground began to freeze underfoot, I could imagine a great future for this space. More trees. Wildflower meadows. Bee corridors and more.

This is no longer a figment of my imagination. Last night, Ludlow Town Council agreed to buy the green space from the housing association for the nominal sum of £1.

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