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The Lib Dems forgot that success was possible. That could now change

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There is a clear story from the local elections last night: a Liberal Democrat surge. It is important to note that voters see local elections as an opportunity to protest, and register their discontent with the sitting party. Even so, the Tory party’s performance was excruciatingly bad. One might have expected those gains to have gone to the main opposition party, too. Instead, Labour has lost seats. Those wishing to protest the current government have voted for the Lib Dems or Greens instead.

But it is the Lib Dems that have gained territory all over the map. They increased their majorities in places they already hold, such as North Norfolk. They crept into Brexiteer areas, such as Hinkley and Bosworth in Lincolnshire, which voted 60% to leave in the EU referendum. In Theresa May’s constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead, they cut a Tory majority of 38 down to five. But a major part of the story is the huge swing from Tories to Lib Dems in the area often referred to as the “former Lib Dem heartlands” – the south-west. The Lib Dems........

© The Guardian