Whilst the good people of São Tomé and Princípe were busy celebrating their annual ‘Agricultural Reform Day’, an altogether less exciting spectacle was developing across the Atlantic.  Of the six principal council by-elections that took place on the 30th, Liberal Democrats only ran in four, and came second in all of them!  
Admittedly, grabbing second place wasn’t the greatest of challenges in the Alderley ward of Cheshire East, an election that featured only two candidates.  Elsewhere, our strong showing in the South West continued with the Sedgemoor Lib Dems pushing the defending Labour party into third place, taking over 30% of the vote in Woolavington.  The Battle Hill ward of North Tyneside council saw the Lib Dems hold at a comfortable 35% of the vote, dropping marginally on May’s result but not by much.  The more distant finish was second place in Brandon ward of Durham County Council, where Labour’s 64% vote-share saw them through to an easy hold – the Durham Lib Dems still out-polled the third-place Tories by around four to one.  Tameside remains a bit of a desert, with no Lib Dem candidate in the Longendale by-election, and the presence of three fringe party candidates failed to stop Labour and the Conservatives taking 90% of the vote between them – in the end, Labour held with a 5% swing and majority around 200.  Finally, the defending Llais Gwynedd (‘Voice of Gwynedd’ for the Anglophones amongst us) were silenced by Plaid Cymru in Gwynedd’s Bowydd and Rhiw by-election, where Plaid appeared to be the main beneficiary of the absence of the Green Party from the ballot.

With no reported elections out in the towns, we have space to mention ALDC’s Kickstart residential training programme for the 2011 elections.  The ‘Early Bird’ discount runs out on the 8th of October, but some concessions for participants willing to share accommodation and campaigners from ‘starting off’ areas around the country remain.  More information and registration details, as ever, can be found on the ALDC website.  There will be nine principal council by-elections, two of which are Lib Dem defences, next week.  The very best of luck to our candidates and campaigners across the country.  

ALDC By-elections Team

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