You know how it is. Whatever the reason, be it having a bit of a tiff with you current partner, perhaps they really miffed you off about something or were just getting on your nerves that night but it just happened. You decided to say sod them and hit the pub. Blasting away the frustration and annoyance with a few drinks and suddenly the world started to look a bit different. A few drinks more and you felt empowered as if you could take on the world. It’s then when it happened. In walked someone new you’d never seen before. Didn’t look much to start with but after a few drinks more and a bit of chit chat they appeared charming and everything different from what you’d become used to.
A few drinks more and you’d made up the decision, this person was wonderful, so refreshing to be with, they promised you everything you had been yearning for all these years. One thing led to another and that was it.
Then the next day you awake, a bit delirious to roll over and realise they weren’t quite what you recall from the night before. In fact, they’re pretty damn rough as hell and you wonder what possessed you but you make the best of a bad job, no one will ever know if you don’t mention it so you sneak out to pretend it never happened.
Then you realise this wasn’t just a simple one night stand, not something you could just get away with and go back to normal. No, this was the full on bunny boiler of a one night stand. They kept cropping up before you in different places. They’d taken your telephone number and kept trying to call you at the most difficult of times even though you’d realised your mistake and just wanted things to go back to the way they used to be. They’d do things to make your life more difficult and simply not get the hint that you’re not interested anymore.
The problem is they just wouldn’t go away. They’d continue to keep making your life more difficult for years to come, all the time you wishing you just hadn’t done it.
Yesterday there was a by-election in the ward just across the border from me in Wolverhampton; Bilston North. It’s not natural LibDem territory by any means but it’s very telling to watch what happened to the LibDem vote there. I think a fair comparison would be to the result in the 2008 local government elections to avoid the disparities of the relative turnout at this year’s combined elections which give even more damning figures. However between 2008, a particularly bad year for Labour when we lost the seat to the Tories which we gained back last night, the LibDem vote is down 75%, coming last of 5 behind both the BNP and UKIP.
I’ve been doing psephology for more years than I care to think but on the back of the recent Bloxwich West by-election in Walsall there is a distinct pattern emerging in the Midlands. The LibDems are losing votes heavily and with all things being equal, they’re not just staying at home but actively switching and it looks like they’re mostly going to Labour.
Personally I’m not surprised. As someone who does the rounds on campaigning there’s a message coming from LibDem voters that just keeps cropping up. “This isn’t what we voted for”. During the combined General and local elections, LibDem leaflets were ablaze with Nick Clegg. Local candidates described (rather dodgily in my mind) as Nick Cleggs man/woman in (insert area). Those familiar with LibDem campaigning practices know all too well if there’s a populist bandwagon to jump on, you’ll find a LibDem already sitting there. I can’t help thinking that there’ll be a lot of local LibDems that wish they hadn’t played that card now people have woken up to the realisation he’s little more than a quite right-wing neo-liberal wolf in sheep’s clothing who could quite possibly destroy their party along the way.