Author Archives: Stephen Tall

Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from May 2007 to Jan 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall. He writes a fortnightly column for ConservativeHome and 'The Underdog' column for Total Politics magazine. He edited the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead, and is a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum. He was awarded the inaugural Lib Dem ‘Blogger of the Year’ prize in 2006, was a councillor for eight years in Oxford, including a year as Deputy Lord Mayor, and appears frequently in the media in person, in print and online. Stephen combines his political interests with his professional life as Development Director for the Education Endowment Foundation, though writes here in a personal capacity.

LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: the final table

Today marks the traditional climax to the English football season, the FA Cup Final. It also brings to a close this season’s LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League.

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 36

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 34

Congratulations to George Murray, whose Marauding Fullbacks (2,064 points) continue to top the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 34, almost 100 points ahead of Jon Featonby’s What bitey racist (1,966)? They think it’s all over…

But let’s also hear it for three players outside the top 10: Robbie Cowbury’s Resplendent Quetzals had the best week’s performance, with 88 points. Honourable mentions go to Louis Urruty’s Louis’ XI and Henry Compson’s Status:Relegated, both with 86 points.

LDV FANTASY FOOTBALL 34

There are 163 players in total and you can still join the league …

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 33

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 32

Congratulations to George Murray, whose Marauding Fullbacks again top the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 32, with 1,925 points. Meanwhile, Jon Featonby (1,856), Mark Widdop (1,829), Sam Bowman (1,827) and Edward Douglas (1,826) vie for the number two slot.

But let’s also hear it for the two who achieved the best week’s performances: Kye Dorricott’s Chip Bang Utd (84 points) and Jamie Saddler’s Scotland In Disguise (81).

Here’s the top 10:

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 31

Congratulations to George Murray, still topping the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 31

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 30

Congratulations to George Murray, whose Marauding Fullbacks lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 30

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 29

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 26

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 25

There’s no change at the top, as George Murray’s Marauding Fullbacks continue to lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 25, with 1,491 points, just ahead of Jon Featonby and Sam Bowman.

But let’s also hear it for three players outside the top 10: Will Barter (Mid-Table Meanderer) had the best week’s performance, with 70 points. Honourable mentions go to Max Wilkinson (Regency Spa Town) and Richard Farrance (Wirral_Rovers), with 68 and 67 points respectively.

LDV FANTASY FOOTBALL 26

There are 161 players in total and you can still join the …

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 25

No change in the top 10 this week, with George Murray’s Marauding Fullbacks continuing to lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 25.

But let’s also hear it for three players outside the top 10: Will Barter (Mid-Table Meanderers) had last gamesweek’s best performance, with 70 points. Honourable mentions go to Max Wilkinson (Regency Spa Town) and Richard Farrance (Wirral_Rovers), with 68 and 67 points respectively.

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 23

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 22

After the FA Cup hiatus, Premiership football returns this weekend – and so does our latest round-up from the LDV Fantasy Football League.

Congratulations to George Murray, whose Marauding Fullbacks continue to lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 22, just ahead of Jon Featonby and Sam Bowman.

But let’s also hear it for three players outside the top 10: Michael Brown (Mike’s Dream Team v4) had the best week’s performance, with 88 points. Honourable mentions go to James King (Kings Park Rangers) and Richard Sealy (Coolcat69 United), with 87 and 86 points respectively.

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 21

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 20

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 20

 

We’re half-way through the season… Congratulations to George Murray, whose ‘Marauding Fullbacks’ continue to lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 20, with an impressive 1,178 points. Not far behind are a hat-trick of contenders (Mark Widdop, Sam Bowman and Jon Featonby), separated by just seven points.

George wasn’t in fact the winner of either quarter of the season so far. Quarter 1 was won by Jon Featonby, and Quarter 2 by Edward Douglas; but George has been consistent across the season. So far: it can of course all change in the five months to come.

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The polls in 2014: what they show with 133 days left til 7 May 2015

The final polls of the year have been published — getting on for 500 have been commissioned in 2014 — and their story is told in the graph below.

It shows Labour’s declining (down from c.38% to c.33%), the Tories static (at c.32%), Ukip on the rise (up from c.12% to c.16%), and the Lib Dems dipping (down from c.10% to c.8%). I’ve added trendlines to cut through the noise and give us a signal:

2014 in polls

The last month has done little to alter this overall picture.

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 16

Congratulations to George Murray’s ‘Marauding Fullbacks’, who, with an impressive 928 points, continue to lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 16. It’s tight, though: just 12 points separate the top 3.

We’re entering the festive period, a time when you’ve probably got lots of other things to do. But, beware: there’s lots of football action, so, if you take your eye off the ball, you could find yourselves plummeting.

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Fifa World Cup row: Lib Dem members say no to Qatar but split on 2022 boycott

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what our sample of Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 747 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Yesterday, Fifa’s independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia quit in protest over the handling of his report into bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Here’s what Lib Dem members had to say about Fifa in our latest survey…

Do you think the 2022 football FIFA World Cup should go ahead in Qatar, or should it be hosted elsewhere?

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Fixed-term parliaments: 56% of voters support them, finds YouGov

I’ve written before about the fact I like fixed-term parliaments: In praise of 5-year fixed-term parliaments. You may remember that a few years ago, former Cambridge MP David Howarth tried to introduce them. Then in the Coalition Agreement, they became reality.

YouGov has asked the public what they think about them, and you can see the result below courtesy the New Statesman’s May2015 polling website:

yougov fixed term parliaments - 1

photo by: garryknight
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Our worst nightmare? Peter Kellner’s scenario 3: “Lib Dems choose who’s the PM”

cameron clegg miliband 2Just over a year ago I wrote a piece titled Nightmare scenarios: what are the 2015 election results the Lib Dems, Tories and Labour most dread?

In it, I argued that the trickiest prospect for the Lib Dems would be an evenly poised general election outcome in which the Lib Dems held the balance of power:

In the nightmare scenario would have a genuine choice open to us: a second coalition with the Tories or a Lib-Lab pact.

Do a deal with the Tories – if that’s even

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 15

Congratulations to George Murray, who has re-gained the lead from Jon Featonby in the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 15. But it’s tight at the top: just four points separate them… almost a two-horse race, you might say.

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Why IDS is still in his job is revealing of Conservative attitudes to social security

Iain Duncan SmithWhen Andrew Lansley’s health reforms ran into trouble – and his inability to take with him the public or those working in the NHS proved toxic – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Jeremy Hunt was brought in to make nice to the health sector and patients.

When Michael Gove’s education reforms started to run before they could walk – and his inability to take with him the public or the teachers proved toxic, especially in marginal constituencies – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Nicky …

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Reasons to be careful about new analysis suggesting Lib Dems “set to lose several more seats than national polls with uniform swing would predict”

A new analysis by Oxford academic Stephen Fisher (a member of the team which was behind the scarily accurate BBC/ITN exit poll at the 2010 election) douses the comfort blanket to which many of us Lib Dems have been clinging, suggesting as it does that the Lib Dems are losing more votes in our strongest seats:

The most significant factor affecting party performance at the constituency level is prior Liberal Democrat strength. … the Liberal Democrats are clearly loosing most in the seats where they started strongest and losing least where they started weakest. Partly this is inevitable. There are over 100 seats where the Lib Dems got less than 16% of the vote in 2010 and so their vote share cannot fall by this much. Moreover it is unlikely that the party will fall exactly to zero even where it does very badly. So if the GB polls are right overall, the Liberal Democrats must be falling more where they started stronger, and the BES data suggest the drop is broadly proportional to their prior strength. This mirrors the pattern of change at the local authority level at the European Parliament elections this year, adding confidence that the effect is real. The implications for Liberal Democrat seats are straightforward. If they are indeed losing most heavily in the seats they are defending they are set to lose several more seats than national polls with uniform swing would predict.

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LDVideo: Crosstalk with Jeremy Thorpe (BBC1, 24 March 1974)

With thanks to Ed Stradling, here’s a 40 minute interview between Jeremy Thorpe and Richard Crossman, originally broadcast on BBC1 on 24th March 1974.

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And it’s good-bye from me as LibDemVoice Co-Editor…

Today marks the countdown to my final day as Co-Editor of LibDemVoice. I guess I could say the past seven years and seven months have flown by, but actually it seems like a long, long time since I started here. Tony Blair was prime minister, Ming Campbell was Lib Dem leader, and I was still a councillor.

I think I officially took over as Editor (from the site’s co-founder Rob Fenwick) on 31st May, 2007, though I’d started the Golden Dozen round-up of the best of the Lib Dem blogs a few months earlier.

A couple of years later, …

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Former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe dies

jeremy thorpe_2The party website records the passing of former Liberal Party leader, Jeremy Thorpe, who died today aged 85:

Mr Thorpe died today (4 December) at his home in London. He had battled with Parkinson’s Disease for more than 35 years. He was elected as Liberal MP for North Devon in the 1959 General Election and held the seat for 20 years. Following the retirement of Jo Grimond, he was elected as leader of the Liberal Party in 1967. He was a fervent supporter of Britain’s membership of the the EU

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“This is not a snub. I thought it would be a nice change to get out of the Westminster bubble”: Clegg on his Autumn Statement absence

clegg on levesonNick Clegg has taken my advice.*

Back in July, I offered the Lib Dem leader five unsolicited pieces of advice. Most he’s ridden roughshod over: Vince Cable wasn’t appointed the party’s shadow chancellor for the next election, Jo Swinson wasn’t promoted to the cabinet, and (as far as I know) Nick continues to rule out options other than a full coalition in the event of a hung parliament.

But item number 4 was this:

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The graph which shows why the Lib Dem policy of raising the personal allowance is the wrong priority

Here’s a graph which should make Lib Dems who continue to advocate increasing the personal allowance as an effective way to help low- and middle-income earners sit up and pay attention.

It’s from the Resolution Foundation’s report, Missing the target: tax cuts and low to middle income Britain, published yesterday.

What it shows is which households gain from the party’s policy to increase the threshold at which income tax is payable to £12,500 over the course of the next parliament. As you can see, those households which benefit most are at the wealthier end of the spectrum; the poorest 20% benefit least.

res fdn tax cuts lib dem graph 1

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That LibDemVoice survey on the party presidency (which, ahem, called it wrong): 8 thoughts from me

What happened there, then? I refer to the LibDemVoice survey of party members reported here on Wednesday which showed Daisy Cooper with a clear lead over Sal Brinton in the contest for party president; when actual votes were counted the result was reversed. Is this moment to the LDV surveys what the 1992 election was to the pollsters? In haste, here are a few initial thoughts from me…

1. The sample itself is drawn from the 1,500+ current Lib Dems signed up to our members-only forum. This is therefore self-selecting; as is who chooses to respond. It isn’t the …

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