Local News

Canvassing in Rayners Lane
Canvassing in Rayners Lane


The last few years have been – admittedly - difficult for the LibDems. We had to cancel two autumn conferences, one due to Covid, and the other when the Queen died. And many still blame us for the coalition – not noticing what has gone on subsequently.

But despite apparently low opinion poll ratings, we’ve won every by-election where we had even a remote chance of winning. Chesham and Amersham springs to mind – it’s a local seat which we won with a huge swing. Our 20% share of the vote in the recent Council elections came as no surprise toour activists.

We are now about 18 months away at most from the next general election, an election that the Conservatives seem destined to lose. The question is by how much, and to whom?

“It’s the economy, stupid.” The words of Bill Clinton are just as apt for Great Britain, but with one subtle and crucial difference. Of course, our economy is in a mess, as are those of most other nations due to Covid and the Ukraine War. The subtle difference is that our economy is doing worse than countries in the EU, and that is projected to continue. This is the Brexit dividend.

The key issue of economic competence is tied up with Brexit. If traditional Conservative voters feel that the country would be better off either in the Single Market, or even rejoining the European Union, they may well desert the Tories and vote for the one party – the Libdems - that is prepared to abandon Brexit.

As this country’s economy underperforms its rivals, we may see a strong drift from the Tories to the LibDems. The present position is that, in marginal seats, the anti-conservative elector is voting tactically.

Let us see how that might play out in Harrow at the next general election.

Harrow East: A boundary redistribution has added the strongly Labour Queensbury ward in Barnet. Labour will be very disappointed not to win this seat back form the Conservatives.

Harrow West: Labour were surprised to win this seat in 1997 when the right was split between Tories and Referendum and have held it ever since. But the removal of Pinner, Pinner South and Hatch End wards have turned this into a safe Labour seat.

Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner was a new seat carved out before the 2010 general election. In 2019, a bit of a disaster for the LibDems, we surprised ourselves by doubling our vote to over 15% not far behind the second place Labour.

Boundary redistribution means that the Conservative sitting MP loses the ward where he was a local councillor for many years, which will take away some of his personal vote.

With Labour seemingly having little chance of achieving the swing of over 15% needed to unseat the current MP, the LibDems have a better chance of winning, if we can persuade a sufficient number of anti-Brexit Tories to vote for us. The seat will not be an official LibDem target for 2024, but may well be for the following election. So we should work towards that as well as the next election.

By Philip Levy

The Lib Dems in Harrow and the wider world

Why I support the Lib Dems

Let’s face it, we are a small party in Harrow. As the recently elected Chair for the LibDems in Harrow, I want to make our country a place we want to live and thrive in. So we must go back to running this nation from the moderate and reasonable centre, not from the extreme right of Toryism or the extreme left of Labourism.

We should go back to that traditional British pragmatism, which has served us so well. The LibDems are the best placed and only party to offer voters this future. 

We cannot move on by simply trying to recreate the past, or rather an imagined past, no matter how much it suits our nostalgia. The world is not what it was in past decades. We must deal with the world as it is now.

That means dealing with climate change, whose effects become daily more apparent, in a determined but realistic way, retaining democratic support for measures which at times, it is impossible to deny, will inconvenience some individuals.

It means at a national level not opening new coal mines, and in Harrow not encouraging greater car use.

It means pursuing pragmatic economic policies which provide good jobs and good incomes, and which will finance the public services we all want.

Creating a dynamic economy involves getting a lot of things right, rather like conducting an orchestra. Good education, appropriate investment incentives, a labour force with the right skills, easy access to markets, first class infrastructure and stable government are all essential.

The present Government is presiding over declining investment because, as a result of Brexit, we have much less access to markets, and we no longer can efficiently draw on talent to meet anyworkforce shortages. Simply changing taxation or allowing bankers to take bigger risks (a dubious endeavour in itself) is just one impediment.

I want to re-join the EU, and the LibDems are the only party committed to that. But that will not happen quickly and will require an unequivocal commitment from the UK to membership.

Leaving the EU has damaged our economy (as have Covid and Putin) and will do so increasingly as it is fully implemented (for example we are yet to introduce our own customs controls on imported goods). Brexit has weakened our influence in Europe and the world at a time when it is more needed than ever. Our way of life is threatened by Putin’s evil war in Ukraine. We need greater European solidarity not less. 

Finally, our constitution is creaking. The gentlemanly conventions of the 19th century are no longer sufficient. MPs are now ultra-partisan and rarely change party or even listen to the other party at all. If we are to get back a pragmatic Parliament, we need proportional representation. And we need a reformed house of Lords which can help bind the varied parts of the UK. 

None of this is or will be easy. But the LibDems are the only way forward.

Derek Hill

ULEZ - A tale of two views

Which one better protects the vulnerable?

The cash strapped Conservative Harrow Council, which cannot afford decent street cleaning or weed removal from pavements, is spending an estimated £400,000 (according to local media) on legal fees to take on Transport for London (TfL) over its plans to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the whole of greater London. It wants Harrow excluded from the zone.

This is a waste of our money and a waste of the council tax we pay towards Greater London which will have to defend the issue. The only people who are rubbing their hands with glee are lawyers.

Win or lose, Harrow runs the risk of being again (the previous Labour administration were already on the naughty step) the loser when it comes toTfL money. TfL will find reasons not to give funding to Harrow.

Our view is that “clean air is vital to the whole community,” and especially so to children who do not have the vote. Pollution kills. And just because the pollution is invisible, it does not mean it is not deadly.

And even if the council wins, it will be pyrrhic. Besides TfL putting its cameras up on traffic lights and elsewhere, all this could do is to move the border. Already, those with polluting cars and vans are charged within the North/South Circular Roads. They could end up facing a charge when going into Brent, Ealing and other near-by boroughs.

The Tories claim they support clean air but are fighting a measure which endeavours to improve air quality. That risks our children’s very lives.

LibDems have throughout campaigned for a way forward which will deliver better health yet retain the support of the minority who still own polluting vehicles.

LibDem members of the London Assembly have secured a package doubling the size of the scrappage scheme with an additional £100 million and allowing Blue Badge holders to apply, as well as investing £25 million in bus services in Outer London, including demand-responsive buses such as Go Sutton Bus.

Harrow Tories are making much of “poverty” and the “cost of living crisis”. But they and their allies in Westminster helped cause this.

We urge Harrow Tories not to grandstand and enrich lawyers at Harrow Council Taxpayers’ expense but to try to find a sensible compromise for the good of the health of all.

This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.