Scotland council elections 2022: The Lib Dem revival has begun – Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

I’m writing this with a smile on my face. For the first time since 2007, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have taken a significant step forward in Scottish local authority elections. We’re back and it feels amazing.

We’ve elected councillors in places we have never had representation before, we’ve got a councillor base that is younger, more diverse and who are already delivering for new parts of Scotland.

In Edinburgh we’ve doubled our number of councillors up from six to 12 and in the Almond ward, we made history by electing three councillors in a four-member ward – with 60 per cent first preferences (more than the SNP got in the whole of West Edinburgh).

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I’m going on a bit, I know, but you need to understand what this means to the thousands of Lib Dem activists who have toiled away over the hard yards these past few years.

We’ve proven in streets and towns across Scotland that a thousand seemingly tiny acts of public service can move a mountain of public opinion, that when you elect a Lib Dem, you get a councillor who will stay up late thinking about the problems in your street and how to fix them.

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This has been a catastrophic election for the Conservative party. Partygate was certainly a factor, but time and time again we were picking up on the doors that Douglas Ross is regarded as weak and out of touch. His vacillation over Boris Johnson’s position has angered the electorate.

What happens now in terms of coalition make-ups is anyone’s guess. Lib Dems didn’t get in to politics to carp from the side-lines so we will look to deals with parties that share our values. I struggle to see how that can happen with either the Tories or the SNP, but that’s for my newly inflated council groups to decide.

Lib Dems Kevin Lang, Louise Young and Lewis Younie were all elected in Edinburgh's Almond ward

People keep asking me what the secret of today’s Lib Dem success is, and in reality it’s not rocket science. Lib Dems are thrilled by the idea of community politics and we’re good at it.

I said when became leader our revival would begin in local government. That revival is now underway.

Alex Cole-Hamilton is Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and MSP for Edinburgh Western

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