Try as I might I can never keep up this blog during the local election period. It's partly that there's always another leaflet to write, or deliver, or canvassing to do, but also that I'm too focused the election campaign to write anything that would be of any interest to those other than anyone involved in Watford elections.
But here we did well - comfortably ahead on the popular vote in the Watford constituency (which includes part of Three Rivers District) and winning 14 out of 17 seats. We narrowly missed out on two more seats.
Indeed we and Three Rivers were the Lib Dem success stories within the M25 - things not turning out so well in London. It seems to me that the party didn't quite decide what it was trying to achieve in the London elections. Brian Paddick was selected way too late to have a real tilt at taking on Boris and Ken, and yet was too good a candidate to be a mere token presence. However, his campaign probably drew attention from the GLA contest where we really needed the votes.
If the party is serious about mounting a real challenge for the London mayoralty in 2012, I suggest that campaigners study the Mary Robinson presidential campaign in 1990 in the Irish republic - the only other example I can think of where a third party won a campaign with a multi-million sized electorate. If I remember rightly the key elements of that were early selection, a candidate with a reach well beyond the party base (which strangely Paddick didn't seem to have), clear unique selling points for the candidate, a really strong grassroots campaign building up credibility for an effective air war during the campaign itself. These things combined with an awful lot of luck.
Failing that the party would be better to concentrate on its GLA campaign and candidates even at the risk of looking less than serious in the Mayoral contest. But then my experience is of fighting elections in a town of 80,000 population not a city of 7 million. What do I know?