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Mynott's Musings: The European Parliament Election Results

May 31, 2019 7:34 PM
Cllr Philip MynottNow that the results have sunk in, we can see that Thursday 23rd May was another epoch making moment in British politics - with the Lib Dems, yet again, after the local election results at the beginning of May, teaching the other historically "major" parties a basic lesson in how to keep faith with voters.
Whilst support for the Tories and Labour collapsed to an an all time low, with just of 23% of the vote between them (a share plummeting by a combined total of 39%), the Lib Dems gained 21% of the vote all by ourselves (our share of the vote rising by 13%). On the night that the Conservative party had its worst result since 1832, falling to fifth place overall, and not coming first in a single local authority area, the Lib Dems had our best ever EU election. We came second in the East of England, second in the South East region, second nationally, and, remarkably, topped the poll in London. At a time when the bitter divisions and increasing extremism of politics worries so many, we took, and maintained, a firm but moderate, unifying, stance. In so doing we garnered the support, and the votes, of prominent figures both to the left and the right of the political spectrum such as Alastair Campbell and Michael Hestletine.
It was surely also this that helped us crush the Tories in Theresa May's constituency (31% vs 13% of the vote), whilst simultaneously beating Labour into second place in Jeremy Corbyn's constituency.
Unlike either the Tories or Labour, we're also a truly national party - with local authority victories from the south coast of England to the Orkneys (also gaining a spectacular 77% of the vote in Gibraltar - where they really understand the potential costs of leaving Europe).
Lib Dem surgeThese results are also fascinating in terms of the evidence they provide about the respective strengths of Remain and Leave support both locally and nationally. Combining the respective support for unequivocally Remain parties across the country, including the nationalists, shows a 40.4% share of the vote, whereas the unequivocally Leave parties gained only 34.9%. Maybe simply because of the devastating results for the Tories, and the excessive coverage he receives, one might be forgiven for thinking that Nigel Farage's latest ego-vehicle (the old one having been discarded), picked up strong support in the south eastern corner of England. In fact, however, adding up the votes cast across the East of England region, the South East region and London shows that, even without taking Change UK into account, almost two and a half million were cast for the Lib Dems and Greens combined (2,448,697), whilst the Brexit Party and UKIP managed only just over two million between them (2,078,318).
With consistent, moderate, progressive policies the Lib Dems show that there really is way forward in tempestuous political times. In the future, with the support of even greater numbers, so much more can still be achieved. It's time to step forward, and make a real difference.
Cllr Philip Mynott is deputy leader of the council group and has been councillor for Brentwood North since 2010.