There have been some interesting posts on Liberal Democrat Voice in the aftermath of the Henley by-election. Several of the posters there seem to have finally decided they don't like their party's way of campaigning. This is, of course, not a new complaint from activists - see Another Lib Dem speaks out. But they're being spoken with an even louder voice. And of course the recent run of Liberal Democrat failures in Ealing Southall (the first time they failed to take a government held seat from second place since 1989), Crewe & Nantwich and Henley has shown it's not always the best strategy.
We can leave aside the bar charts based on any old numbers that make it look like they're "winning here" (although when knocking up in Henley I met a Lib Dem activist delivering leaflets who very kindly let me have one and she didn't like the bar charts either) and also the very "Winning Here" signs which aren't always the most popular and focus on one issue - local candidacies. When the Liberal Democrats have picked a local candidate they will go all out to demonise other parties' candidates for not being from the constituency. When the boot is on the other foot they'll use their other face to complain about "living here" slogans and attack the rival candidate as an "unpopular decision maker". And then we get candidates who literally take up residence after being selected just to pretend they're local.
Yes other parties have picked up these tactics as well. But the reason they do so is in order to counter the Liberal Democrat By-election Machine and it creates a vicious circle. Only when the need to counter is removed can this, and other problems in by-elections for both parties and voters, can things get better.
Liberal Democrat Voice: But Mr Gladstone, are you local enough? addresses the issue of locality head on, both in terms of what it means for Parliament if it's full of parish pump politicians (indeed one of the reasons I'm sceptical of STV) and also for the Lib Dem campaigns.
Now will the Lib Dem leadership take things on board or will they carry on being the same old Lib Dems? Unfortunately I think we already know the answer.