Category Archives: General Election

Manifesto 2015: Join the debate

Following David Laws’ call for proposals for the Liberal Democrats’ 2015 Manifesto, the first submissions from members are now up on the Manifesto Website.

Watch this space for more members’ ideas to be discussed. Or submit your own idea and maybe you’ll see it up there soon!

Also posted in Online politics | Tagged | 2 Comments

Menzies and Paddy on coalition politics and the election

Menzies and PaddyIn today’s Guardian, Menzies Campbell says that Nick Clegg has turned the corner and his role as leader is no longer under threat:

Coalition politics is not for the faint-hearted. Nor is leadership, as Nick Clegg will tell you. As he contemplates his fourth party conference as deputy PM, his thoughts, and his leader’s speech, need to be turning to the general election, now less than two years away. He can do so with more confidence than 12 months ago. Last year’s atrial flutterings over his leadership have died away. His policy of differentiation between the Liberal Democrats and their Tory partners has become overt and even reciprocated.

Also posted in Conference | Tagged and | 17 Comments

Paddy Ashdown: “The time for action is imminent”

Paddy Ashdown video screenshotIf you thought Paddy Ashdown had been a bit quiet since he was appointed General Election chair, then I can confidently predict that our time of peace is soon to come to an end. Have a good break this Christmas, Liberal Democrat activist, because if our energetic peer has his way, it’ll be the last chance you get until May 7 2015.

He emailed members yesterday to let them know 3 things.

Also posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Britain Votes 2010: another book, but any more information?

As with other post-election books such as Britain at the Polls, Britain Votes 2010 edited by Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge faces a dual challenge. On the one hand the growth of online political coverage means there is much detailed analysis which appears months before books such as this come out, and on the other hand the revitalisation of the long-running Nuffield general election series means there is less room for a successful book such as this.

Britain Votes 2010 therefore, whilst a decent successor to the previous titles in the series, is also a book in part …

Also posted in Books | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Britain at the Polls: four parts standard fare to five parts novel analysis

The rise of online political coverage has done no harm to the mini-publishing boom brought about by a general election. In addition to the one-off books and the relatively new series there are some long running series that churn out a new edition for every general election. The Nuffield series is the most famous and longest-running but the Britain at the Polls series is a worthy and complimentary series. Its latest offering, Britain at the Polls 2010 (edited by Nicholas Allen and John Bartle), provides something extra even in the face of the latest Nuffield offering, The British

Also posted in Books and Op-eds | Tagged and | Leave a comment

The British General Election of 2010: a book worth reading

There are two simple tests I have for books that recount events I was in some way involved in: do they accurately retell events that I have direct first-hand knowledge of and do they tell me something new about events I was one step removed from? If a book pasts both those tests, chances are the rest of the book is interesting and well-informed too – and The British General Election of 2010 by Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley passes both tests with near flying colours (the description of Guildford as a “top” Liberal Democrat target betraying an over-attention to swings to win list over actual party priorities whilst the quote from Disraeli about coalitions is actually rather misleading).

In large part that is because their account is based on hundreds of off the record interviews carried out during the last Parliament and in the immediate aftermath of the general election. Because the interviews have been carried out across political parties (and across factions within them), the authors present a much more robust picture of events than is the fate of some journalists who source their off the record information much more narrowly.

Also posted in Books | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Can you predict what people are thinking based on analysis of online debate?

That’s the question a company called, somewhat improbably, Onalytica have set out to answer in their paper, Using the Internet as a Market Research Database.

They’ve summarised their key findngs thus:

1. Changes in daily election poll results could be estimated by measuring the changes in the relative amount of online discussion
2. We find that ‘traditional media’ maintains a high level of influence, and that the influence of ‘social media’ was small
3. The Lib Dem’s performance was similar to that of

Also posted in Online politics | 28 Comments

The class dimension to turnout

It’s been a long established pattern of British politics that the higher you go up the social scale, the higher turnout is in elections. The 2010 general election is no exception but looking through the numbers one class dimension comes out. Overall turnout collapsed after 1997 and has since had a modest recovery, but the pattern of that recovery across the classes is far from even.

Amongst DEs, turnout in 2010 was 57%, still 9 points down on the 66% turnout in 1997. It was a similar picture amongst C2s (58%, still 11 points down) and C1s (66%, still 9 points …

Tagged and | 1 Comment

Allegations of electoral fraud in Halifax

Police are investigating allegations of electoral fraud in Halifax after unusually high numbers of postal ballots were hand-delivered to polling stations on May 6.

From the Independent:

More than 4,000 ballots arrived in the West Yorkshire town on 6 May, with the majority being delivered directly to polling stations. Although there are no rules forbidding the delivery of postal ballots by hand, such a large number arriving on the day of the election itself is considered unusual and risks overwhelming the already-stretched safety checks aimed at minimising fraud.

Local Tory officials raised questions over the validity of some of the postal ballots after they discovered that a number of empty and derelict addresses in one particular ward had voters registered to them. They allege that Labour Party activists spent the days before the election “farming” postal ballots to deliver directly on 6 May and have asked both the police and the Electoral Commission to investigate.

Also posted in Election law and News | Tagged | Leave a comment

1,831 Thank Yous to all LDV readers who supported our election appeal

A couple of months ago, Lib Dem Voice identified five candidates standing for the party in this general election in winnable seats whose campaigns needed a helping hand from readers willing to make a donation.

Thank you to all LDV readers who responded – collectively you helped raise some £1,831, a terrific response. Two of the five candidates, Lorely Burt and Stephen Lloyd, are now MPs thanks to the campaigns they ran. Our commiserations and best wishes for their future campaigns go to the three – Willie Rennie, Sal Brinton and Carol Woods – who didn’t make it this time.

All general donations to the LDV election appeal have been shared equally between the five, and cheques will be winging their way to their local parties this week.

Here’s the final tally for the LDV election appeal:

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The General Election campaign in Mid-Ulster

To be honest I love going on the stump, all of it! Even though you know it is going to be a very hard campaign. There are none harder than campaigning for a liberal party in the deeply polarised area West of the Bann. The hardest bit is getting started – Knowing that whatever you do, however hard you fight, however good your arguments or your candidates, you are going to lose and lose very big.

The street pounding, the leafleting, the phone calls, the “grip and grin”, the talking, talking, talking, persuasion, persuasion, persuasion, cajoling, joling, joling, joling.

The campaign begins so long before the date that the election is called and yet, yet, yet…

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 26 Comments

Understanding the election result requires understanding the previous five years

The likely explanation emerging for the Liberal Democrat vote share in the general election coming in much lower than even the immediately previous polls suggested is that there was a late swing away from the party, partly due to Lib Dem supporters being less willing to turn out (see, for example, this from ComRes). It’s natural to slide from that into a general story about the party peaking after the first TV debate and then being in decline during the rest of the campaign.

However, there is a risk of missing the wider context – and is show by these …

Also posted in Polls | Tagged | 9 Comments

How did uniform national swing do in 2010?

The question of whether or not uniform national swing (UNS) calculations are a sensible way of trying to turn national opinion poll vote figures into seat estimates has been much debated in the last few months. So how did UNS do this time round?

Here is how the May 2010 result compares with a UNS projection based on the actual vote changes which occurred between 2005 (notional results) and this time:

Conservatives: 305 seats*. UNS prediction: 291 (-14)
Labour: 258 seats. UNS: 266 (+8)
Liberal Democrats: 57 seats. UNS: 62 (+5)

* Excluding Thirsk & Malton from calculations

In a close election the errors …

Tagged | 8 Comments

The Internet election?

Cross-posted from Liberal Democrat News:

“This will be the first real internet election,” was the oft-repeated claim made in the run up to 2010’s national poll. So how did that claim stack up against the reality?

Some will point to the hype surrounding the leaders’ debates as evidence that television remains the dominant force. Ten million tuned into ITV on 15 April, and ‘Cleggmania’ gripped the nation for the next fortnight. Meanwhile, the principal gaffe of the campaign – Gordon Brown’s ‘Bigotgate’ – was captured not by a citizen journalist, but was an old-fashioned ‘hot-mike’ incident caught by Sky News.

Does this …

Also posted in Online politics and Op-eds | 6 Comments

Bright spots of the 2010 election result: growth in number of winnable seats

The small overall net loss of seats in this month’s general election understandably rather overshadowed the growth in the party’s share of the popular vote, which was up for the third general election in a row.

The seat total was hit by the party not getting the lucky breaks in very close contests. The party won five of these knife-edge results but lost eleventwelve.

That gives a hint as to what was happening overall to the number of seats won or close to won. If you total up the number of seats the party has won or come within …

Tagged | 28 Comments

Top twenty tables from the election results: part 4

Twenty largest Liberal Democrat majorities:

Orkney and Shetland 51.3
Ross, Skye and Lochaber 37.5
Sheffield Hallam 29.9
Bath 25.2
Westmorland and Lonsdale 23.8
Norfolk North 23.4
Yeovil 22.8
Fife North East 22.6
Ceredigion 21.8
Leeds North West 20.9
Bristol West 20.5
Twickenham 20.3
Bermondsey and Old Southwark 19.1
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 18.6
Caithness, Sutherland and East Ross 16.8
Lewes 15.3
Hazel Grove 15.2
Colchester 15.1
Thornbury and Yate 14.8
Gordon 13.8
Southport 13.8

(Actually that’s 21, but the bottom two are tied)

Twenty smallest Liberal Democrat majorities:

Solihull .3
Dorset Mid and Poole North .6
Norwich South .7
Bradford East .9
Wells 1.4
St Austell and Newquay 2.8
Brent Central 3.0
Somerton and Frome 3.0
Sutton and Cheam 3.3
St Ives 3.7
Manchester Withington 4.2
Burnley 4.3
Dunbartonshire East 4.6
Chippenham 4.7
Cheadle 6.2
Cornwall North 6.4
Eastbourne 6.6
Taunton Deane 6.9
Berwick-upon-Tweed 7.0
Eastleigh 7.2

3 Comments

Top twenty tables from the election results: part 3

Twenty largest swings from Labour to Liberal Democrats:

Redcar 21.8
Ashfield 17.2
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney 16.9
Barnsley East 14.0
St Albans 13.9
Bosworth 13.8
Norfolk North West 13.4
Pontypridd 13.3
Maidstone and The Weald 12.9
Hemel Hempstead 12.5
Selby and Ainsty 12.4
Hull North 12.2
Wycombe 11.9
Canterbury 11.5
Chelmsford 11.3
Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford 11.2
Sedgefield 11.0
Northampton South 11.0
Brent Central 11.0
Wellingborough 10.8
Sheffield Brightside and Hills 10.8
Leeds North West 10.8

(Actually that’s 22, but the bottom three are all tied.)

Twenty largest swings from Liberal Democrats to Labour:

Edinburgh West -11.4
Orpington -9.5
Renfrewshire East -8.0
Paisley and Renfrewshire North -8.0
East Ham -8.0
Dunbartonshire West -7.9
Glenrothes -7.7
Paisley and Renfrewshire South -7.6
Blaenau Gwent -7.1
Bradford West -6.5
Caithness, Sutherland and East -6.4
Haltemprice and Howden -6.1
Fife North East -6.1
Stirling -6.0
Glasgow South -5.9
Garston and Halewood -5.7
Lanark and Hamilton East -5.6
East Lothian -5.5
Blackburn -5.5
Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East -5.4

It’s notable that thirteen of these swings were in Scotland.

6 Comments

How general election vote shares have changed over the years, part 2

A follow up as requested in the comments on my earlier post, this time showing what proportion of the electorate each of the main parties won in previous general elections and also the proportion who did not vote for any party:

Vote shares graph

13 Comments

Top twenty tables from the election results: part 2

Twenty largest swings from Conservatives to Liberal Democrats:

Redcar 14.5
Westmorland and Lonsdale 11.1
Ashfield 10.8
Dunfermline and Fife West 9.2
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney 9.2
Maidstone and The Weald 8.5
Brent Central 7.5
Ceredigion 7.2
Sheffield Hallam 6.9
Orkney and Shetland 6.6
Spelthorne 6.1
Bosworth 5.9
Bromsgrove 5.9
Bath 5.8
Hull North 5.7
Leeds North West 5.4
Canterbury 5.4
Wycombe 4.8
Newport East 4.5
Lewisham East 4.5

Twenty largest swings from Liberal Democrats to Conservatives:

Hartlepool -15.0
Montgomeryshire -13.1
Orpington -12.2
St Ives -10.4
Cardiff Central -10.3
Meon Valley -9.4
Cornwall South East -9.1
Harrogate and Knaresborough -9.1
Winchester -9.1
Esher and Walton -9.0
Edinburgh West -8.7
Surrey South West -8.6
Berwick-upon-Tweed -8.3
Chesterfield -8.3
Crewe and Nantwich -8.3
Blaydon -8.2
Garston and Halewood -8.1
Windsor -8.1
Ludlow -7.8
Maidenhead -7.8

8 Comments

So. Farewell Then Labservative.com

So. Farewell
Then
Labservative.com

Spoof Lib Dem website
Which introduced the
World to
Gorvid Camerown.

Yes. You are
The first victim of
The coalition cuts.

65 years of
Two-party rule
Was your catchphrase.

You just
Never said
Which two parties.

Now gone from the web
Twitter and YouTube.

But we shall
Always have
The memories.

Rest in
Taking the piss.

EJ Thribb (17½)

Also posted in Humour | Tagged | 8 Comments

Top twenty tables from the election results: part 1

This is the first in a series of posts pulling out some of the constituency results which we’ll be running this week. The data is taken from Pippa Norris’s data set (for which thanks).

Twenty highest Liberal Democrat vote shares:

12 Comments

How general election vote shares have changed over the years

This graph shows the UK-wide vote shares for each of the three main parties, along with the total Conservative plus Labour share. As you can see, the proportion of people voting for one of the two largest parties dropped again this time, hitting another record post-war low.

The combination of this and our voting system means that the Conservative Party’s share of the vote was sufficient to make the party the largest, but at any previous election it would have been a vote share that would have sent the party to defeat rather than 10 Downing Street. The Liberal Democrat vote …

25 Comments

Coalition ahoy

News trickling in that the Conservatives have offered the Liberal Democrats a coalition. The Lib Dem parliamentary party and Federal Executives, without whom a coalition cannot be ratified, are currently meeting to consider it.

There’s even talk of an emergency Special Conference this weekend which will mean conference representatives across the country pricking their ears up.

But the rolling news media are considering it a done deal already.

Amongst the headlines are that Nick Clegg will serve as Deputy Prime Minister, Danny Alexander as Secretary of State for Scotland, along with three other Lib Dems in the cabinet and a further …

Tagged , , , , and | 98 Comments

What Lib Dem members think about talking to the Tories: LDV poll results

Lib Dem Voice has been conducting a survey today of party members registered on our members’ forum asking them for their views of the discussions that have been taking place between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. Here’s what you’ve told us …

  • 89% support Nick Clegg’s decision to let the party with the most votes and most seats try and form a government;
  • 90% support Nick Clegg’s decision to enter into discussions with the Conservative party on that basis;
  • 80% say that significant progress on electoral reform is a deal-breaker;
  • 98% rate Nick Clegg’s performance during the campaign as effective or very effective, with Vince Cable scoring 85%.

Full results below:

Also posted in LDV Members poll | Tagged | 91 Comments

Looks like Lord Ashcroft flopped again

Back in March I doubted how good Lord Ashcroft’s target seat operation for the Conservatives might actually be, pointing out:

Here’s his own account of his record supporting target seats at the 2005 general election:

The national swing from Labour to Conservatives was 3.2 per cent, yet the swing in the seats which we supported was 3.8 per cent.
Dirty Politics, Dirty Times by Michael Ashcroft, p.296

You read that right: by his own admission, all his expertise and money achieved was a paltry o.6 per cent extra swing.

Looks like my doubts were right because, as Anthony Wells points out:

The Conservatives performed

Tagged | 3 Comments

Opinion: The linked vote shares of UKIP and the BNP

The 2010 General Election was a failure for Britain’s two openly xenophobic parties.

UKIP stood in 556 constituencies and lost their deposit in 459 (83%). Their vote share varied between 0.65 and Nigel Farage’s 17.3 in Buckingham where none of the three main parties contested the Speaker’s seat. No other UKIP candidate hit double digits.

The average vote share per UKIP candidate was 3.54.

The BNP stood in 338 constituencies and lost their deposit in 267 (80%). Their vote share varied between 0.4 and Nick Griffin’s 14.6 in Barking. Only two other BNP candidates hit double digits.

Eight out UKIP’s …

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

Lib Dems in 1st or 2nd place in almost 300 seats across UK

One of the least known facts about the last parliament, and which deserved to be more widely publicised, was that the Lib Dems were either in first or second place in 250 constituencies across the UK – which made the media’s tired and almost exclusive concentration on Labour and the Tories for most of the last five years all the more irritating.

Well, for all the disappointment of last Thursday’s election results, the party has by one measure at least made a big stride forward, as Anthony Wells’ UK Polling Report makes clear:

The notional 2005 figures had the Lib Dems

Also posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

Party President Ros Scott’s message to Lib Dem members

Lib Dem party president Baroness Ros Scott today emailed members with the following message to keep everyone updated on the progress of talks:

Dear Friend,

On Saturday we had a very positive discussion. The Parliamentary Party, Shadow Cabinet and the Federal Executive have fully endorsed the position set out by Nick Clegg.

We will continue to put the national interest first and play a constructive role in providing the stable and good government people deserve.

We have heard what the Labour Party and Gordon Brown are saying but in line with the position Nick Clegg outlined yesterday we are continuing discussions with the Conservative

24 Comments

Proportion matters – the diagram that shows the election result is balls


(Hat-tip http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/).

4 Comments

What do you make of David Cameron’s “offer”?

I’ve not seen a transcript yet, but here’s ConservativeHome’s paraphrase of David Cameron’s supposed “offer” to the Lib Dems:

I thank Nick Clegg for recognising that the Tories won most new seats and I will now talk to the Liberal Democrats about delivering the kind of government Britain needs.

I offer reassurances to the Liberal Democrats so that they support a minority Conservative government but I am also willing to discuss other possibilities.

There are some non-negotiables. No government can give more powers to Europe. We must be strong on immigration. It is reasonable that the bulk of the Tory manifesto is

Tagged | 45 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 22nd Nov - 4:20pm
    @A Social Liberal "Simon Shaw once again plays with words. Yes, we managed not to lose 427, but 310 Liberal Democrat councillors lost their seats...
  • User AvatarSue Doughty 22nd Nov - 4:18pm
    A very timely piece. For a long time I have felt that we need to do more about immigration in terms of recognising that a...
  • User AvatarPeter Chegwyn 22nd Nov - 4:01pm
    John - Are you really sure the Dear Leader came out of hiding 46 minutes ago? Photos on Twitter could have been photo-shopped or be...
  • User Avatarmatt 22nd Nov - 3:56pm
    @John Tilley "If you believe photographs on Twitter, Nick Clegg came out of hiding 46 minutes ago" He is certainly doing a good impression of...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 22nd Nov - 3:48pm
    I do wish we would stop rolling over and playing dead .There will be no EU referendum until the PM of the day completes negotiations...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 22nd Nov - 3:40pm
    60 votes in the Medway council election. What? Are we down to friends and family of the candidate in some places?