"Just think how many times you've been given promises from these old parties. and when they get back into government, you find that nothing really changes at all, we can do so much better than that this time"
The following big dip in national support for the Lib Dem's since is therefore understandable but what effect will it have locally in the forthcoming Borough Council Elections?
Well it will have some effect of course, no local party can ride out the unpopularity of their Westminster Leaders, but some local voters may look to more local issues, but there also it seems that the picture is not too rosy for the Local Lib Dem's.
Despite there brave attempts to rewrite the local press headlines people I speak to rate their four year term in office a lot lower than they themselves do. The Focus leaflets may tell us that they saved the market and managed the books efficiently, but on the doorstep voters say they have wrecked the market and cut services to the core. The fountain is either "a wonderful new addition to the street scene" if promoted by the local Lib Dem team or "Another waste of bloody money on something which never works" if you ask the public.
Shortlisted for "Most Improved Council" they tell us and show us their certificate withe competition was only open only to Lib Dem Councils who form part of the Liberal Democrat Group at the Local Government Association.
The problem the local Lib Dems have though is that on May the 5th it will be the public at large who will be casting the votes and expressing an opinion, not just their own membership.
But local Lib Dem campaigners are if nothing else an optimistic bunch, despite all signs pointing understandably to a melt down in Lib Dem support, Two sitting Northampton Borough Councillors I spoke to were adamant that the party will hang on to power at the Guildhall on May 5th.
Others are less bombastic and point to a reduction in their overall number but "not in my seat"
The truth of course is that none of us really know how the elections will turn out, everyone expects a rise in Labour's vote given their new role in opposition to the Tory dominated coalition with the Lib Dem's. The obvious victim of any Labour rise will be those who beat them into second place 4 years ago and that leaves a lot of Tory seats as well as Lib Dem seats in the balance.
As the only Independent elected I too must see off a rise in any Labour vote if myself and Malcolm are to take 2 seats in Castle Ward, but don't write off the Independents and non aligned candidates as many did at the General Election.
Then because of those awful TV debates anyone standing as a non Tory, Lab or Lib Dem candidate were sidelined and ignored and as I have said elsewhere, many voters went to the polling station to vote Brown, Cameron or Clegg without a thought as to who their local candidateswere . How else can anyone explain the ridiculously good result for Labour's Clyde Loakes polling nearly 10,000 votes and securing second place as an absent and non interested candidate?
The County Elections of 2009 are therefore probably a better measure of the support out there for the candidates and it will be interesting to see what effect the cooperation of non aligned candidates who are not standing in the same seats against each other or supporting each other in seats, has this time has on the result.
In Castle Ward in 2009 I topped the poll with 38.9 of the vote and the Green Party polled over 10.4% given that we are supporting each other this time and have 3 three candidates between us for three vacancy's then a collective vote from our supporters on the doorstep could secure over 50 % of the vote! But of course the new wards and changes to boundaries throw another unknown factor into the complex mix.
The picture I paint above is in pointing out the differences between voting habits and results at national and local levels, the 35-40% who vote in Local Government elections it would seem are less likely to be swayed by national events or trends and more likely to be strong supporters of their party's or local Cllrs.
But the Lib Dem "swingers" (no there is another blog posting, altogether) could make the real difference, will they go red? or blue? or look to the Independents and others to find a new home for their vote?
If you are an ex Lib Dem supporter I would welcome your views on where your vote may be cast this time, as always, all comments are very welcome.