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Where now in RCT – by Karen Roberts

There is nothing I can say regarding last Thursday that hasn't already been said by many others. It was an absolutely devastating night to be a Lib Dem.

Our Parliamentary group was decimated and we lost two out of our three MPs in Wales, people I have worked with for years. Not forgetting of course that for every MP who lost his / her seat there were 3 or 4 staff members who lost their jobs, colleagues of mine who have put their all into helping people in their respective constituencies.

In RCT we lost our deposit in Rhondda and Cynon i.e. we got less than 5% of the vote. That was not altogether unexpected as we had neither the money nor the manpower to run any real campaign in either of those places.

In Pontypridd the result was little short of devastating. Mike Powell and myself with the help of various others along the way have worked hard there not just to gain votes but to try and make a difference. The nursery cuts campaign, the fight to retain services at the Royal Glamorgan, the battle for Pontypridd paddling pool. Holding RCT Council to account over all sorts of issues. Not just a last minute rush to get votes or turning up for photo opportunities, but really getting involved because these are things we care deeply about.

It is hard to think that on one level whatever we do is not enough. People complain bitterly about politicians who rigidly toe the party line and about needing a representative to fight for residents, but when given the opportunity to vote for just such a person they instead turned to party lines.

People in Pontypridd, and indeed the Rhondda and Cynon are now in the worse possible situation. They have returned Labour MPs who have done absolutely nothing for this area and who will undoubtedly continue in that vein. (Owen Smith doubtless thought Labour would regain power and he would be climbing further up that greasy career pole. There is some consolation in the fact that didn't happen, now perhaps he can pay more attention to his constituency. ) They will continue to get trampled over by RCT Labour Council and the Labour run Welsh Government will continue to wreck our education system and NHS and ensure Wales lags behind the rest of the UK.

Then at Westminster level the UK will be run by a Tory government who are untempered by the Liberal Democrat influence that has kept them in check for the last 5 years. Welfare benefits will be slashed, and the policy of increasing the personal tax allowance to give working people more money in their pockets which we championed is unlikely to continue.

They are already talking about scrapping the Human Rights Act and introducing the "snoopers' charter" again things we had blocked.

On top of this there has been a frightening rise in the UKIP vote and in the politics of hate. The huge dominance of the SNP in Scotland has given rise to a whole new tide of racial hatred - this time between England and Scotland.

There are tough times ahead.

As for RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats we will lick our wounds for a while but no doubt bounce back. It is what the Labour party really hate about us - try as they might they can't get rid of us.

For some reason that nobody can quite explain the membership of the Liberal Democrats across the UK has rocketed since Thursday with new members cropping up everywhere - including here in RCT. If you want to join us and help the fight back you would be very welcome.Just follow this link