I sit here writing this column still buzzing from our stunning victory in the North Shropshire by-election. Helen Morgan will make a fantastic MP, and a great voice for ignored rural communities.
This result shows you that people are getting fed up with being taken for granted, and they will not tolerate being taken for fools.
“People are being driven out of their villages because of second home ownership and a lack of affordable housing”
We have all made sacrifices over the past year, and the scandal of the Downing Street parties rubbed salt into an open wound.
We were being laughed at by those in charge, by a government that seems more interested in looking after its friends than the wider public.
We hear a lot about ‘forgotten’ communities. In rural areas, these are the people who are driven out of their villages because of second home ownership – making it impossible to buy locally – and a lack of affordable housing.
They face non-existent bus services, poor broadband, NHS services on the verge of collapse, a massive shortage of GPs, village schools under threat – and don’t get me started on the pothole-ridden roads.
This is what I was being told on the doorstep when I went to help, and echoes so many similar messages that I hear from my Liberal Democrat colleagues up and down the country.
Rural communities are suffering, and the North Shropshire by-election result should be a wake-up call to those in power.
“Ignore us at your peril” is the message, in my view.