On the 213th anniversary of the first peaceful transfer of power between two democratically elected leaders (Washington and Adams), British liberal democracy enjoyed a rather quiet tally of one principal by-election and two reported contests for a total of three Town Council seats.  The former resulted in a Tory hold, whilst of the three Town Council seats, two now find themselves occupied by the Liberal Democrats.

Tory dominated Fenland District Council’s by-election in The Mills saw the Conservatives hold on despite a dramatic 11% decline in their vote, the majority of which fell to UKIP.  The Liberal Democrat campaign varied A3 and A4 literature, with EARS, Mosaic, and partial telephone canvassing making up the hi-tech end of the effort.  Whilst canvass coverage was slightly depressed due to inclement weather, a blanket Eve of Poll and targeted Good Morning held the Lib Dem vote steady and ensured a good second place for well-respected local campaigner Chris Howes.  Nestled in the constituency of North East Cambridgeshire, a former Liberal stronghold and parliamentary seat of Clement Freud, one wonders whether Fenland Lib Dems stand on the verge of further successes in the future.

The Mills was also the venue for a double-contest for Chatteris Town Council.  Caused by the death of one Conservative councillor and the resignation of another (a co-opted councillor whose party affiliation, if any, remains unclear), we are pleased to report a Lib Dem gain in the form of Town Councillor Diane Baldry, who came within 16 votes of first place.  

Finally, fast times indeed at Winsford Town Council, where the victory of Alfred Beverly Theron (pictured, right) in the town’s Wharton ward, took the council into Lib Dem control for the first time in its history.  Jumping four places from their last result, the traditional ingredients of Liberal Democrat success – numbers on the ground, effective canvassing, local issues, and a dedicated team – took the seat from a Tory party that is still failing to regain the trust of voters on the doorstep, despite the deep unpopularity of the Labour government.  

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