Just back in Cornwall after a totally exhausting 24 hours with Nick Clegg travelling the country to congratulate various victorious Lib Dem teams. Set off from Lanson at 3am Friday morning to drive to Cowley St and then made it to St Albans, Hull and Sheffield before coming home again.
Have to say, of all the great news stories (yes, I know we didn't do as well as the Tories, but...), the best was Sheffield. I've been there three times now in the past few months and they are a great bunch. And they managed to win everything they could have hoped for. The last Tory on the Council has finally been winkled out. And they picked up new wards by as many as 1100 vote majorities. Well done to Paul Scriven et al. Have to say that Nick was grinning from ear to ear when he heard that one.
Joke of the day was a comment from a Lib Dem staffer (who shall remain anonymous) who, on seeing the Eric Pickles, the corpulent Tory Local Govt spokesman, on TV asked if he was putting on a pound for every seat won.
When I got to Cowley St this morning, we stood at +12 councillors and one point ahead of Labour in the share of the vote. I thought that was pretty good. To be honest, there would be very little difference in reality if we had been a point down on Labour and -12 seats, but we were just on the right side of two close calls. And to actually increase our gains as the day went on was even better.
I have a message to those who think it was a bad day for the Party and particularly for Nick. Stick it. As noted above, of course we didn't do as well as the Tories - and well done to them - but we more than held our own. We gained seats and gained councils. We took seats off both other parties. Ok - not everything went well, but enough did to make it a very good firts election night for Nick.
Now, have I mentioned Sheffield?
PS - will post pics when alive