Despite falling on the 344th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, this week’s crop of by-elections didn’t set the world on fire; we had no candidates in either of the two principal by-elections, and three of the four elections out in the towns were unremarkable Tory holds.  Both principals took place in West Lancashire, Labour held in Upholland on a 30% turnout and in Skelmersdale on 17%.  The Conservative holds at Town Council level were in the West Ward of Camborne T.C. in Cornwall, the Castle ward on Oswestry T.C. in Shropshire, and the Town ward of Sevenoaks T.C. in Kent.  
Bucking the trend were the Lib Dem campaign team in the Castle ward of Alnwick Town Council in Berwick-upon-Tweed, represented in parliament by the venerable Sir Alan Beith.  The Castle ward itself is now represented by Lib Dem Sarah Walton, herself an activist recruit during the 2010 General Election.  In Castle’s first competitive election, after a long history of uncontested co-options, the Lib Dem campaign team outmanoeuvred the complacent Conservative defence by keeping the focus firmly on local issues.  Sarah’s campaign to restore a recently-closed community play area was a key vote-winner and an excellent example of the traditional Lib Dem concern with community politics.  Congratulations to the entire Alnwick team.
Finally, a quick reminder that ALDC will be laying on a full training and fringe complement at Conference, details can be found at here.  Also, the ALDC website has two features under development; a ‘Big Picture’ of all council compositions across the country and our ‘Who’s Up in 2011’ page.  We would like readers to help us build these pages into a valuable resource for all of our campaigners by having a quick look and making sure our details for your area are fully up to date.  The best of luck to all of our campaign teams out in the field.ALDC By-Elections Team

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