This is Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter, exclusively for Reaction subscribers

The 2nd of May 1991 was a great day for the Liberal Democrats. As the results came in from that year’s local elections, action man leader Paddy Ashdown hailed the progress made by his party. The Lib Dems gained more than 400 seats and hit a projected vote share of 22%. Three party politics was declared to be back in England.

The Tories had a terrible night in 1991, losing more than 1000 councillors, even though they had replaced their leader and the country’s Prime Minister late the previous year.