I'd already got an inkling of the seriousness with which the Liberal Democrats were taking the elections to Northumberland County Council (no elections in Scotland this time) from the fact that my mail box was so stuffed with their electoral leaflets that there was hardly any room left for real letters. Spotting Mr Cable was an indicator of a whole new level of seriousness. And subsequently finding out that Nick Clegg, the party leader, was in Berwick at the same time ... well, that made me reflect that I haven't seen any party machine put this much effort into an election in North Northumberland since 1979. I should point out that I haven't been living in the area continuously since the 1970s so I've missed a few elections, but in my personal recollection I haven't felt this courted by a party since the local Liberals successfully resisted the national swing to the Conservatives in the general election which made Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister. Yes, I was very young in those days, thank you for your astonishment.
Alan Beith is the Liberal Democrat MP for the Berwick upon Tweed constituency, which includes Alnwick - it's the largest constituency by area in England, because the population here is so sparse. He's been our MP continuously since 1973, since the downfall of Lord Lambton, the previous incumbent, which I mentioned in a previous post (here). He works very hard for the area and people here tend to prioritise that over party policies. Unfortunately for them, everything they could throw at it was not enough for the LibDems to hold on to Northumberland County Council. They lost overall control to Labour. UKIP did not field any candidates up here. When they do, that really will be, in the term now being bandied about, a game-changer.