Yesterday Lib Dems were in a state of high excitement have won the Chesham and Amersham by-election by a mile and a half. Although I don’t often publish national political stuff on this blog, the result was game changer. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention it.
And the comments made by the defeated Tory candidate show how of touch the Tories have become. How arrogant they have become.
There was a 25% swing to the Lib Dems in Chesham and Amersham on Thursday. That is huge. Ludlow constituency has been Lib Dem in the past. We would need a swing of 23.5%. That now look achievable.
A big challenge. But achievable.
The following article was first published on Lib Dem Voice early yesterday.
Chesham & Amersham: Tories blame loss on a kitchen sink, a dog and a cat
The result was in just before 2am this morning. What a result.
Readers should beware that this post includes allegations of a kitchen sink drama and cruelty to animals. Allegations from the Tories of course.
When you read Peter Fleet’s comments – he was the low profile Conservative candidate by the way – you can understand why he didn’t win. He blamed the result on the Lib Dems working hard. Yes. That’s what we do. He hadn’t expected the result. How broken is the Tory machine that it can’t read the writing on the wall? The posters in the windows. The talk on the doorsteps. The changing demographics in a constituency.
Very broken it seems and nothing to do with kitchen sinks.
Quoted across the media including Sky News, Peter Fleet said:
“Clearly this was a very disappointing result, not the result that I was expecting nor my team. It’s an absolutely extraordinary result which must take into account the fact that the Liberal Democrat party didn’t just throw the kitchen sink at this constituency…”
You can see why Peter Fleet lost. He thinks the result is absolutely extraordinary. Was he so out of touch, that he was expecting to win? The Tories rolled out the big wigs. Even my local MP, Philip Dunne, turned out for an appearance.
The Lib Dems turned out the activists. Real people. On real streets. Talking on real doorsteps.
Blaming the Lib Dems for his historic loss, Peter Fleet tried to shrug off the reality that the Tories lost because, well, they are Tories. He said:
“The Liberal Democrat party didn’t just throw the kitchen sink at this constituency, I think it was the microwave, the table, the oven, the dishwasher, the dog, the cat and anything else that was lying around as well.
And we should consider that when we reflect upon the extraordinary nature of the result.”
I am sure Lib Dem campaigners saw microwaves and tables on their journeys around Chesham and Amersham. But we don’t throw dogs and cats around. Our regular correspondents to Lib Dem Voice, Newshound and Newsmoggie, would be very upset.
It is always difficult to speak after a defeat. But Peter Fleet’s comments show how out of touch the Tories have become. Even in what are claimed to be leafy Tory shires, Sarah Green and the Lib Dems won this by-election. Magnificently. But the Tories also lost the election. Lost it badly. And they were so out of reality, they clearly didn’t expect to lose.
The Tories don’t have a right to assume they own seats. No party or MP does. We won this by-election because our candidate and our teamwork were just the best. The Tories lost it because they expected to win and are just the worst.
* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Friday editor of Lib Dem Voice.