A great EU election result for the Lib Dems. Now the hard work starts

Way back in 1986, I went to the launch in Oxford Town Hall of my friend Martin Stott’s book Spilling the Beans – subtitled “A style guide to the new age” – where he coined the phrase “the Muesli Belt”. He meant the places where ex-hippies and other inner-directed types were downshifting to.

A few years later, in 1989, the Green party leapt to third place in the European elections with 15% of the vote, its best ever national election result.

It was a first-past-the-post-election (the party got no seats) and, if you looked closely at the results, the Greens came second or beat the Lib Dems in nearly every constituency in the great circle around the outer Home Counties, from Dorset to Norfolk.

There was the muesli belt. Dorset and Norfolk were the fastest growing counties in the UK at the time. And these days, everyone eats muesli.

I thought about that on Sunday night as the results came in,….

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