Losing a talented MP such as Gordon Birtwhistle was tough on Burnley Liberal Democrats. Still they can take some comfort in that our vote held up better in Burnley than in some places in 2015, with Gordon polling 11,707 votes on a 29.5% share of the vote, behind Labour who managed 14,951 votes and a 37.6% share.
Far from giving up Burnley Liberal Democrats have started the process of a fightback. This year in the Borough Council results they gained three seats, and in the County elections next year they are looking also to make gains against Labour.
Burnley’s Liberal Democrats have now opened new offices in the centre of Rosegrove. The former shop at 15 Rosegrove Lane has been fitted out and will be the base for the town’s Liberal Democrats as they open their campaign to win a majority of County Council seats next May and take back control of Burnley Council. Lib Dem councillors and campaigners will use the shop to listen to local people and to bring Lib Dem members and supporters together to talk politics.
The party is campaigning hard on the issues affecting people, not shying away from campaigning on Crime, or attacking the local Labour party with straight talking, hard hitting leaflets.
Work on the office has been led by Lib Dem local organiser, Councillor Neil Mottershead. Talking to ALDC Neil said: “Our new office is in the heart of one of Burnley’s strong communities. People in The Grove are already dropping in to ask our help with local problems. Lib Dem Councillors have a great record of standing up for people on the issues that matter most to them – all year round, not just at election times”.
“This new office will be the centre for our campaigning across all of Burnley. Our town deserves councillors who are fighting for local people and local services”.
Councillor Gordon Birtwistle, Leader of the LibDems on Burnley Council, thanked Neil Mottershead for his hard work in bringing the office up to scratch. He said: “The new office will be a centre for our members. Our membership has grown by over 50% in the last eighteen months. Unlike Labour, they are joining to work with us on campaigns not just to fall out with their leaders and each other. Frankly, Labour has now got to the point where they can’t offer a decent opposition to the Conservatives in Parliament, they are implementing the Tories’ cuts from the County Council, and they are failing to deal with Burnley’s problems”.
Burnley Liberal Democrats are demonstrating how proper community politics can still have an impact on voters in the urban North. They do the basics well, they deliver leaflets, and their Councillors are seen in their communities. By sticking to bread and butter issues that matter to local people such as crime, housing, and local transport and having Focuses with clear and powerful messages they are demonstrating we don’t have to abandoned voters in urban towns across the North to Labour or UKIP. They used these kinds of tactics to beat off the BNP in the past, and they can use it again to beat off Labour and any rising UKIP threat in the future.