Well I lost the election for Leader of the Lib Dems on Liverpool City Council. It was pretty close but in the end Warren Bradley got 20 votes and I got 17. It was a reasonably good tempered event last night with speeches and questions and I don't at all regret doing it (although walking past the news stand with its poster saying Lib Dem Leadership fight made me feel a tad apprehensive).
I decided to challenge not because I have it in for the Leader but because there are some things I thought we, as Lib Dems, needed to change. I am a Lib Dem through and through. We exist to create a fair, free and open society in which we balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no one is enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. (That's an extract from our constitution) However I do sometimes feel that we don't communicate what we are doing in terms of those values. And I have felt that sometimes we are a bit deaf to some of the messages people are trying to get across to us. That's not because we don't want to listen but it's easy to get so sucked in to running things, dealing with problems, sorting out campaign mechanics etc that you just don't hear that well.
I suspect the opposition period will be good for us in the sense that we can do some thinking and building and changing.
If we do, I firmly believe that the Liberal Democrats, with our bedrock beliefs and our commitment to Liverpool, will again be the party of choice in the City. I am not sure how long that will take though. It's clear to me that the Labour administration will enjoy both a honeymoon period and the impression of "freshness and change" and I suspect that nitpicking attacks in the first few months will simply backfire.
I have to say that doing a "Leadership Challenge" is a strange experience. I have never had someone quite so eager to take a photo of me walking into a building!