En­cour­aged by new growth

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS - AN­DREW HAL­DANE

I BEGIN this col­umn by thank­ing de­feated Coun­cil­lor David Neilson for over 20 years of un­stint­ing ser­vice to his elec­torate, which in­cluded be­ing cho­sen as Mayor for the 750th an­niver­sary of Macclesfield’s Bor­ough Char­ter in 2011.

It is al­ways es­pe­cially sad when a na­tional swing sweeps away those who, if judged only on their per­sonal record, de­serve bet­ter.

Lo­cal ac­tivists, es­pe­cially those of us, who have ex­pe­ri­ence of ob­serv­ing Nick Clegg, for­mer min­is­ters and MPs at close quar­ters, feel the same way about them.

We know that, con­fronted by an econ­omy in even worse shape than they had ex­pected or feared, they gen­uinely felt the need to make tough, even ag­o­nis­ing, choices.

We know, con­trary to op­po­nents’ and me­dia “spin”, that they are thor­oughly de­cent peo­ple, mo­ti­vated, not by power, but by a wish to do their best for our coun­try.

We sup­ported them as they risked their ca­reers, and our party’s best in­ter­ests, in the na­tional in­ter­est.

We, and they, knew that the Tories may suc­cess­fully claim the credit for popular poli­cies that we in­sisted upon, such as rais­ing the tax thresh­old.

De­spite the out­come, they and we, be­lieve it was the right thing to do and would do it again.

On a hap­pier note, one of the fas­ci­nat­ing quirks of na­ture is how hard prun­ing can lead to new growth.

Since the elec­tion over 13,000 new mem­bers have joined the party.

En­cour­ag­ingly, while new mem­bers of all ages have signed up (mostly via party HQ, and mostly on line) they are, on av­er­age, younger than our ex­ist­ing mem­bers and those of other par­ties.

This is true of the new re­cruits in Macclesfield, where the lo­cal membership surge has been higher than the na­tional av­er­age. Long may it con­tinue! In con­clu­sion, we would like to thank all read­ers who voted for us in the lo­cal or na­tional elec­tions and as­sure them that, be­hind the scenes, the fight­back has be­gun.

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