In what is fast becoming a pre-New Year tradition as eagerly anticipated as ‘the biggest ever DFS sale’, Lib Dem Voice is publishing its list of 10 key questions, the answers to which we think might well help shape 2010 for the party. You can read last year’s list here; and our answers to those questions here (Part I) and here (Part II).
Here below, then, are my top 10 questions for the coming year in Lib Demmery:
1. In the 2010 general election, how many Lib Dem MPs will be elected? Will we increase our number from the current total of 63; or will we fall back? Will we increase our vote percentage compared with 2005, when we polled 22% of the popular vote? Or could we do, as we did in 1997, see our popular vote drop, but our Parliamentary strength grow?
2. How will Nick Clegg perform in his first ever general election campaign as leader: will it make or break him? And how will he fare in the first ever televised leaders’ debates in the run-up to the general election? Will his mere presence at the top table boost the party’s fortunes; will it make no difference; or might a gaffe hurt the Lib Dems’ chances?
3. In 2010′s local elections in England – scheduled for 6 May – will the Lib Dems build on our 2006 performance (the last time the seats were contested), when we scored 25% of the vote to Labour’s 26%, and elected 909 councillors?
4. How will Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems respond in the event of a ‘hung Parliament’? Will we let the Tories (if they are the largest single party) form a minority administration but steer clear of a coalition; or will we attempt to enter into negotiations? Will any Lib Dem policies be implemented in 2010 as a result?
5. How will we respond to the new post-general election politics, with a likely Tory administration under Prime Minister David Cameron, and a new Labour leader replacing Gordon Brown? And how will the party step up our attempts to replace Labour by building the party’s capacity in areas where our potential outstrips our resources?
6. Will any of the party’s senior figures – within or without the Lib Dem shadow cabinet – take an official position offered by whoever forms the next government?
7. Will the party’s December 2010 poll ratings exceed the 19% recorded this year?
8. Will the Lib Dems maintain or even better their position in Scotland (12 MPs) and in Wales (4 MPs)?
9. What role will Ros Scott play in the inevitable post-general election inquest? Will she live up to her campaign pledge to be the voice of the membership, and be re-elected President of the Liberal Democrats unopposed; or will she face a challenge? And will the party’s membership increase in the next year?
10. Who will be crowned Lib Dem Blogger of the Year in 2010? Will the number and reach of Lib Dem blogs grow as a direct result of the general election? And will the internet prove decisive in any constituency election race, thanks to either brilliant campaigning or an embarrassing gaffe?
Have I missed any out? And how do you anticipate we might be answering these 10 questions in a year’s time?