I feel like I’ve written this blog before.
I have, in fact — at the start of the year. Then, I wondered why the Liberal Democrats in Southend were still without a parliamentary candidate, mere months from the election. The local Lib Dem activist got very upset at me pointing out the bleeding obvious, and lo and behold mere days later they had miraculously remembered that there was an election coming.
Thing is, it’s now 37 days until the election, and whilst the Liberal Democrats have a parliamentary candidate in Southend West, and a smattering of local election candidates, they still don’t have a parliamentary candidate for Rochford & Southend East.
It’s like they’ve forgotten about the whole eastern half of the town. This being a town which they used to run — as senior partner in a coalition administration with Labour. This being a town where they form part of the present administration. This being a town where they used to boast that they, not Labour, were the real opposition to the Tories.
If any one-time Lib Dem supporters are still undecided, look at the disorganisation which has gripped the local party. They have one lacklustre candidate in the west — a former councillor who mashed into sixth place last year by Labour’s Kevin Robinson — and can’t even find anyone to volunteer for the chopping block in the east.
The last five years have shown that, far from being an alternative to the Tories, the Lib Dems have been enablers to the worst instincts of the right-wing. Those in Southend who want a positive, progressive party to kick the Tories out need to be looking to the red rose of Labour, not the dead bird of the Liberal Democrats.