Tag Archives: general election 2015

Edgbaston PPC Lee Dargue takes part in debate with Birmingham University students

Lee Dargue, Lib Dem PPC for Edgbaston, recently met students from the University of Birmingham to discuss the party’s policies and their concerns. The student website Redbrick described him as an MP. We can but wish. It would not be a bad thing to have the chair of the Lib Dem Mental Health Association in Parliament.

It was inevitable that tuition fees would come up:

Dargue stated, ‘It has caused us a lot of damage.’ He did highlight the fact that ‘not all Lib Dem MPs voted in favour of the tuition fee rise.’ However, he stressed the positive realities of the new system, comparing it to a ‘Graduate Tax’ and reminded students that these loans are ‘no longer tied to your credit rating.’

To continue the discussion, a student asked what the Lib Dems believe is the greatest student problem. In response, Dargue stated that ‘Tuition fees are a red herring.’ He added that his party were more concerned about ‘the cost of student accommodation and transport’ since these are more immediate factors that affect students.

Redbrick also has a report of the event as it happened. Lee said he wanted to see  16 year olds and prisoners have the right to vote, he questioned the need for LGBT only schools, saying:

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Open Doors: All 3 versions of the first Lib Dem broadcast of the year

The Liberal Democrats’ first crack at the General Election broadcasts is being shown as you read this.

With the theme of Open Doors, it’s about listening to voters and majors on how the Liberal Democrats would make a difference compared to Labour and the Conservatives.You may not be surprised to find that the phrases “stronger economy”, “fairer society” and “opportunity for everyone” feature.

Here is the English version. The Scottish and Welsh will follow below when they are available.

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Is there any chance you might have noticed that there’s 100 days till the General Election?

So far today, the election themed correspondence and social media from the Liberal Democrats has involved 3 separate emails, a poster on social media, a silly but scarily compelling and satisfying game and a fabulous video.

One thing in all of that that the party has missed is that this whole 100 days to go thing is a bit novel. We’ve known the date of this election since late 2010 when fixed term parliaments were introduced. Before then it was up to the Prime Minister to pick the date, usually at the time of maximum political benefit to their party unless, like Gordon Brown, they simply ran out of time – although, to be fair, he could have nabbed another month or so in No 10. It was the one piece of useful political reform that we managed to get through.

We’ve already brought you the lovely poster that was released this morning. I’ve had emails from the Scottish Party, Malcolm Bruce on behalf of Christine Jardine and LDHQ. My favourite was the last simply because of the fantastic video tour of our Party’s Central London HQ, chatting away to the staff. They seriously only filmed it yesterday. It was great seeing people like the excellent Wassim from Member and Supporter Development, Robert the fantastic guy on reception who never fails to make me smile (ask him about the litter of puppies on Eastleigh polling day) and digital whizz Bess Mayhew. If you haven’t watched it, do so now.

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Julian Huppert’s Green opponent in trouble for Twitter transphobia

One of the best moments for me of the debate on the Same Sex Marriage Bill was when Cambridge’s Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert spoke out against elements of the Bill which would cause real heartache and injustice for transgender people and their partners. His understanding, sensitivity and eloquence on these matters was second to none. Of course he was well briefed by Sarah Brown and Zoe O’Connell among others but he put his head above the parapet to try and secure fairness for people who are all too often marginalised.

His expertise on this matter (and many others) is a …

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Debates plan disadvantages the Liberal Democrats

Well, the new debates plan is even worse than the old one for the Liberal Democrats.

The original plan was that there would be a series of three debates involving Cameron and Miliband, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband and Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Farage.

This led to David Cameron showing more empathy to anything Green than he has had since he hugged that husky and refusing to take part if the Greens were excluded.

The new proposals create  the worst of all possible worlds for the Liberal Democrats:

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Edinburgh South PPC Pramod Subbaraman explains why he is a Liberal Democrat

We want to tell you as much as we can about the wonderful Liberal Democrats who will be putting themselves before the electorate in May. Our Edinburgh South candidate is Pramod Subbaraman who is a dentist.

Pramod is a dentist and recently, on GDPUK, a site for dental opinion and information, he explained his decision to join the Liberal Democrats, which was rooted in Nick’s sensible stance on immigration. He explains what liberalism means to him:

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The Greens: the Lib Dem fightback begins

Yesterday’s news that the Greens had overtaken the Liberal Democrats in terms of membership – their 44713, compared to our 44680 – has, from what I’ve seen on my social media, galvanised our activists rather than demoralised them. And so we should be proud of ourselves. For a party in government in the most trying economic circumstances since the 30s to have grown for 6 quarters in a row is nothing short of miraculous. The Labour party couldn’t manage that and they had the most benign economic circumstances in years.

The Green’s figures include Northern Ireland which ours don’t so like for like it’s more neck and neck.  (Update: Adam Ramsay on Twitter assures me that the Greens figures do not include Northern Ireland).  I’ve also seen some people say that it’s not fair because the Scottish Greens and the Green Party of England and Wales are two separate organisations. There’s no point in splitting hairs, though.

The Party has been making a bit of a concerted effort to make sure that the Greens don’t have the stage for themselves. Tim Farron has written an article of the New Statesman in which he emphasises what the Liberal Democrats have done in government to protect the environment:

The Conservatives’ approach to the environment in Europe shows what sort of approach they would take if they are allowed to govern alone. In coalition, Liberal Democrats have fought to make sure that the environment has stayed at the top of the agenda. We’ve doubled the amount of energy generated from offshore wind and stopped the Tories from slashing support for renewable energy. And while senior Conservative politicians voice their doubts about man-made climate change, Energy Secretary Ed Davey has been busy paving the way for a global deal to cut carbon emissions. Without the Lib Dems, there would be nothing to stop the Tories from lurching to the right on the environment. The truth is, the only way to make blue go green is by adding yellow.

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Should the SNP and Greens be included in leaders’ debates?

Welcome to another of our occasional series of posts where two writers offer an alternative view to one of the issues of the day. Today, it’s whether the SNP, Plaid and Greens should be invited to take part in leaders’  debates. 

Jonathan Waddell says there is a case for the Greens to be included on a UK basis but not the SNP and Plaid:

Earlier this week, Wings Over Scotland claimed that to exclude the SNP from UK-wide election debates would be to subjugate Scots to second-class citizens. Website owner and frequent contributor, Stuart Campbell, argued:

the only reason to bar them is that they’re Scottish. In other words, Scotland’s MPs are worth less than MPs from other parts of the UK, and therefore by extension Scottish votes are worth less than other people’s votes.

Speaking as a Scot who believes in giving a platform to a plurality of parties at any given election to encourage a representative debate of the issues and views affecting the country, surely the more obvious reason is that over 90% of the electorate can’t vote for them; or at least a question of electoral logistics rather than anti-Scottish sentiment?

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Playground, panto and poultry – a day in the life of a debate about a debate

I have to say I’m completely over this debate talk. I’m starting to think that we should just lock every party leader in the country in the Big Brother house after the current occupants have departed and leave them there till they start behaving like adults rather than 9 year olds in the playground.

We have Dave who doesn’t want to take on Nige who’s wooing his more prejudiced voters. And wasn’t he talking about “green crap” not so long ago. More opportunistic posturing than repenting sinner, though.

We have Nige who thinks he can come across as the man of the people and wipe the floor with everyone, except his stats are dodgy and his views based on misinformation and prejudice.

We have Ed who must know he’s more cut out for writing worthy books in a dusty attic than slugging it out in a tv studio where he’s going to look as uncomfortable as hell. He has something to fear from everyone. Nige and Nicola are after his vote, Dave can give him a pasting on the economy, Nick has done more for disadvantaged kids in 5 years than his party did in 13 and he knows his vote is vulnerable to the Greens on the left. He must be very grateful to Dave for giving him a get out of jail free card. All he needs to do is utter the magic words “let the Greens in” and Dave will have no choice but to find another excuse to avoid debating.

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Pub landlord to call time on Farage

Oh joy! Oh rapture!

At last the prospect of some fun during the election campaign!

All hail to the ale!

The Guardian reports:

Comedian Al Murray has announced he plans to stand against Nigel Farage in the seat of South Thanet in May’s general election.

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Opinion: could we have a better leader?

Some people will take this question to mean that we really should find a better leader, others that we have a good one already.

Perhaps unlike some of those who contribute to this website, I do not know Nick Clegg personally and can therefore only judge him from his television appearances, writings and what is written about him in the press.

He appears to come in for considerable criticism largely, as far as I can see, for being in coalition with the Conservatives, although some threads on this website also seem to have other reservations about his leadership.

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You can tell there’s an election coming up.. #1

You can always tell when there’s an election coming up when stories start appearing in the press in the category of: “Someone with an (incredibly tenuous) link to a Lib Dem has done a Bad Thing.”

The Guardian’s been guilty of two of those recently.

First they published a story saying that an “aide to Vince Cable” had tweeted that convicted rapist Ched Evans was “probably not guilty.” The person in question was a civil servant in Vince’s department.  I would imagine that the spokesman for Vince Cable quoted was also a BIS press spokesperson, not a Liberal Democrat.

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Tweets from the campaign trail – the first major campaign Saturday of 2015

I’m going to get told off for that headline, I’m sure, because I expect most Liberal Democrat campaign teams were out campaigning last Saturday too. Anyway, I thought I’d share a few tweets to give a wee flavour of what our candidates have been up to today.

We have to start with Tom Brake. Can you believe he’s been running street stalls in Wallington since 1990? That’s 300 separate occasions.

Lynne Featherstone shows that Lib Dem MPs get results:

The Cleggster was out and about in Sheffield.

And Christine Jardine wasn’t letting the snow stop her from socking it to Salmond in Gordon:

A warm reception on the doors, then.

Nobody was letting the seasonal weather put them off, especially not Tim Farron. It was quite appropriate that I’d been writing this morning’s article about him last night (I know how to live) while watching a programme about the excellent film Frozen.

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Trouble and strife for Labour in Redcar

In 2010, Liberal Democrat Ian Swales won the Redcar seat with a swing of 22% from Labour. He announced last July that he was standing down and in September local Councillor Josh Mason was selected to defend his 5200 majority.

It seems that while the Liberal Democrats in Redcar are working hard to elect Josh, all is not so well in the Labour camp where local leaders have been likened to North Korea and a neighbouring Labour MP has taken to using Freedom of Information legislation to find out what his party’s council is doing.

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats are the only party which can be trusted to get the European question right – we should say so

At some point during the next 2-3 years the British people will probably be faced with the most crucial decision to confront them since the end of World War II: that of whether or not to leave the European Union. The importance of this issue far transcends that of the individual policies listed in the emerging manifestos of the three main parties. The impact of these policies will be felt for, at best, the span of a single Parliament. The impact of our decision on Europe will be felt for decades.

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Vince Cable and Danny Alexander to be confirmed as Election Spokesmen for Cabinet jobs they have been doing for the last five years

 

Exclusive, Vince Cable will lose his economy job with the Lib Dems tomorrow screams the Spectator headline. In fact, this is the second biggest surprise since the sun last rose in the East. The first biggest surprise, by the way, was that Alex Salmond would stand in Gordon where he faces defeat by Lib Dem Christine Jardine in May.

Anyway, back to the story which is about the party announcing its spokespeople for the General Election. It is hardly a surprise that Vince and Danny have been named as covering the roles they have been doing for the last five years. Doesn’t sound quite so scandalous that way, does it? Some might say that’s a sensible choice and would be more of a story if it weren’t that way round.

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48 good things Nick Clegg has done

 

It’s Nick Clegg’s 48th birthday today and we at Liberal Democrat Voice obviously wish him a happy day and successful year ahead.

I thought it might be a good idea (with a little help from LDV colleagues) to take a look at some of the good things he’s done, 48 of them to be precise, and encourage party supporters to make 48 calls to voters in our key seats to tell them about them this week. Not all of them in each call, of course, but there’s plenty to be going on with.

So, here we go:

1.  From his very first major speech as leader, championing mental health and in government improving treatment and services.

2.  Investing money in disadvantaged kids in school which is already helping to improve attainment figures in that group.

3.  Defying both Labour and the Conservatives to cut income tax for people on low and middle incomes.

4.  Having the guts to take questions for half an hour every week from members of the public on live radio.

5.  Not just voting for same sex marriage but actively and enthusiastically being comfortable with it.

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Opinion: Could there be a National Government by the end of the year?

Many readers of Liberal Democrat Voice may have missed the Financial Times’ prediction that 2015 “will see the creation of a national government in the UK.” It sounds deeply implausible. But activists who remember the coalitions between Labour and Conservative that have operated in local government over the past 25 years will recognise that these two deeply self-interested parties have more in common than they admit – including a strong reluctance to share power with Liberal Democrats.  So here is a New Year fantasy on how the FT’s prediction might come true.

No-one was surprised that the General Election of May 2015 was inconclusive but the degree of uncertainty was even larger than expected. Labour won the most seats – some 279, on 30% of the vote.  33% voted for the Conservatives, but this gave them only 267 MPs.  UKIP came third in terms of votes, but won only 6 seats. The Liberal Democrats, with 38 MPs, were the third largest party in the Commons, but with 4% less votes than UKIP. The SNP won 36 MPs, claiming that with a loose alliance with the 3 Plaid MPs it now outweighed the Liberal Democrats.  3 Greens, and 18 Northern Ireland MPs (9 DUP, 3 SDLP, 5 Sinn Fein, 1 Alliance), completed the tally.

With three or four parties polling over 20% in many seats, nearly 50 MPs had been elected on less than a third of the vote; 15 were returned on less than 30%, including 2 Greens and several Liberal Democrats.  Newly elected MPs who had scraped small majorities in hard-fought contests had little enthusiasm for an early second election.

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Clegg says Lib Dems would spend extra £8bn on NHS

nhs sign lrgNick Clegg has set out how the Liberal Democrats would invest in the NHS in government for the next five years.

From the Guardian:

Fleshing out the figure released by the deputy prime minister at a press conference, the Lib Dems said they would increase the NHS’s funding by £8bn a year by 2020-21 in three stages. They would make permanent the coalition government’s extra £2bn a year – which was announced in the autumn statement – by 2015-16.

In addition, Clegg said the party would find another £1bn a year in real terms in 2016-17 by capping pension tax relief for the wealthiest (which the Lib Dems said would save £500m), aligning dividend tax with income tax for those earning more than £150,000 (saving £400m) and scrapping the shares for rights scheme, which allows employees to forfeit certain employment rights in return for company shares (saving £100m).

Once it had reduced the deficit in 2017-18, Clegg said that the party would increase health spending in line with growth in the economy. He said: “It’s a combination of change plus more money and the reason we can do that, and no other party will be able to do that, is firstly, as we explained at our party conference, is we are going to introduce some tax changes which only affect the very wealthiest, to put in an extra billion pounds into the NHS, and next year and the year after that.”

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LDVideo: Nick Clegg on buoyant form, saying: Liberal Democrats needed to govern responsibly and fairly

Nick Clegg looked not just ready for but enthusiastic about the 122 day long election campaign to come this morning. He was in great form at his monthly press conference and in a short video afterwards made 3 key points:

1. “The simple question is who can finish the job of sorting the economy but do so fairly.”

2. It’s not lefty Labour or never-ending austerity with the Tories. He also called the SNP, UKIP and Plaid a “rag bag” of factional and sectional interests who would make a mess of the next Parliament.

3. Liberal Democrats offer compassionate, fair government and economic competence.

Watch the whole thing here.

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Christine Jardine attracts cross-party support in her quest to become MP for Gordon

Christine jardineLiberal Democrat PPC for Gordon is receiving offers of help from people who campaigned for a No vote in the independence referendum last September. These include supporters of both Labour and Conservative parties who are prepared to vote for her to stop Alex Salmond’s return to Westminster.

There will be no official pact between the parties but Christine won a lot of friends during the referendum campaign with her infectious enthusiasm and endless energy so it’s hardly surprising that they think she’s more than a match for Salmond.

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Malcolm Bruce: People will realise the positive impact Lib Dems have made in Government and will want more of us there

Lib Dem Deputy Leader Sir Malcolm Bruce told the Herald recently that Nick Clegg is “strong and resilient” and that the Liberal Democrats have achieved much in government. When people reflected on the last five years, he said, they would want to see us in Government again:

The MP for Gordon said voters would in the next few months have to “think very hard” about what outcome they wanted on May 8.

“At the moment, people are in protest, they don’t like the fact we’ve had a really hard economic time and, therefore, they are not prepared at the moment to reward the Coalition government. But when they consider what the alternatives are and what the outcome might be, they will firm up their support for the Coalition because they will recognise that it has brought about a recovery that the other parties could throw away,” argued Sir Malcolm.

When it was pointed out that the Lib Dems were fourth in Scotland and fourth or sometimes fifth across the UK, the deputy leader insisted people should not prejudge the outcome of the election.

“There are people out there yet to make up their mind and when they reflect the positive things the Liberal Democrats have achieved on tax, pensions, the green agenda and schools, they will want to see more not fewer Liberal Democrats in the next parliament; that’s what our campaign’s going to be about.”

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Charles Kennedy MP writes…Our challenge for 2015 is to make positive case for UK political reform

 

As the BBC Radio Scotland self-promotional message has been reminding us at regular intervals throughout the holiday period 2014 certainly was “Scotland’s Year.” The best of times, the worst of times. From the sporting triumphs of the outstandingly successful Commonwealth Games and the hosting of the victorious Ryder Cup through to the referendum and ending on the tragedy of the Glasgow bin lorry crash we have never been out of the news.

The ever-perceptive journalist and commentator Iain MacWhirter (like myself, essentially, a federalist – unlike myself a Yes voter) reckons that the referendum represented the moment at which Scotland became “psychologically independent.” It is an interesting reflection and one which will be further tested as soon as May in the looming Westminster general election.

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Cadan ap Tomos selected to fight Cardiff West in the General Election

Cadan ap ThomasWelsh Liberal Democrat Cadan ap Tomos has been selected to fight the seat of Cardiff West at the General Election.

Wales Online has the details:

Fluent Welsh speaker Cadan grew up in Ceredigion and now works in the National Assembly for the party.

The University of York graduate said: “I’m delighted to have been selected to fight Cardiff West for the Welsh Lib Dems. Labour has been taking our communities for granted for far too long, and I look forward to running a strong campaign in the run up to next May.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams congratulated Cadan on his selection.

She said: “He is a terrific candidate with a breadth of experience who I know will work tirelessly for the people of Cardiff.”

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The General Election year is here – let’s make it a good one

 

2015.

It’s here.

Because of us, we’ve known exactly when the General Election would be since the Autumn of 2010. Taking away the ability of the Prime Minister to slot in an election at a politically expedient time is a good thing.

Anyway, this year is going to bring its challenges, its tears, its tribulations and, we hope, its joys. And they will just start with the General Election in May.

So, fellow Liberal Democrats take a breath, a few swigs of bubbly and enjoy today – for tomorrow and every other day until May 7th, we knock on doors. Nobody will tell our story for us. We have to do it for ourselves with heart and soul. We have a good one to tell. Even at a time when the country was strapped for cash, we did a whole load of good for children, for women, for anyone on a low and middle income. We did a lot of what we said we’d do. Kids from poorer backgrounds are performing better because of the money that Nick Clegg sent to spend on them. Families now have the choice over who takes the leave when a baby is born, something that Nick Clegg had been banging on about for years and Jo Swinson implemented. That policy sums up what liberalism is all about – giving people the right to make choices about their own lives that suit them. Those changes in the mental health system? Driven through by Nick Clegg. Sure, we’re not feeling the effect of them all yet, but the cultural change has been started. That’s why we need Norman Lamb in office as long as possible to finish the job. And there’s our Steve Webb. A proper pensions expert in charge of pensions. He’s done a great job of making sure that the pensions system is fairer for everyone, and more liberal, giving people more choice and power. And then there’s our Lynne Featherstone making a huge difference for women and girls across the world, taking action on sexual violence, education and FGM. And was there not something about same sex marriage too?

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Daniel Coleman selected to fight Dundee West for the Liberal Democrats

Daniel ColemanDaniel Coleman will be one of the youngest candidates in the country when he fights Dundee West for the Liberal Democrats in May. Last year, while still at school,  he was recognised by Dundee City Council as being truly community spirited when he was awarded the McManus Citizenship Award.

Daniel is a qualified football referee and has chaired Dundee Youth Council. He also represented the city in the Scottish Youth Parliament.

He’s also been the sole Scottish representative on the British Youth Select Committee at Westminster .

From the Dundee Liberal Democrats’ website:

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Gareth Wilson selected to stand for Liberal Democrats against George Osborne

Gareth Wilson and Paddy AshdownOccasional Liberal Democrat Voice contributor Gareth Wilson has been selected to fight George Osborne in his home constituency of Tatton in May. He is seen here with Paddy Ashdown at Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow.

Gareth lives in Mobberley in the constituency and recently successfully led a campaign which defeated an attempt to build an unsustainable large housing development.

On his selection, Gareth said:

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Study shows that voters in Liberal Democrat seats trust their MPs more

Mike Smithson at Political Betting talks about data from the British Election Study that shows how well thought of MPs are in their own constituencies. Liberal Democrat MPs come out well on top, being much more liked even among opponents than their Tory and Labour counterparts. His graph illustrates thus:

LD MPs wider respected

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Liberal Youth unveils its General Election campaign plans

LY Cardiff campaign weekend Dec 2014One of the nicest things that’s happened to me this year was when I logged on to Facebook last night and found an invitation asking me to sign up for a Liberal Youth Action Weekend. It’s a long time since I was involved in one of its predecessor organisations, but it brought back memories of the great fun we used to have campaigning in Aberdeenshire under the guidance of party legends like Sheila Ritchie. It was great being at university in Aberdeen because the local party really embraced the students and wanted them to be part of the local organisation outside the university and treated us all like human beings, not just fresh legs to deliver leaflets. It’s no coincidence that that combination helped to lay the foundations for such a strong base in the North East of Scotland. It’s also no coincidence that most of that Aberdeen University contingent are still involved in the party in some way. 

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“The best opinion poll I’ve seen in a long time” says Nick Clegg

Nick’s Bite the Ballot Leaders Live Q & A this evening went pretty well. Those watching were asked to tweet #yesNick or #noNick to indicate what they thought on four different subjects, jobs, education, health and immigration.

All I can say is that I hope all these young people have votes. Here are the scores on the doors:

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    JohnTilley 31st Jan ’15 – 12:31pm “This is the third LDV article in 24 hours on this Friday night TV programme. Are you perhaps getting...
  • User AvatarAlex Sabine 1st Feb - 3:43am
    @ Little Jackie Paper You raise a fair point in response to my comment. Let me clarify a few things. 1. I'm not saying immigration...
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    Are you expecting to see an increase in polling on the back of this performance ? Repeated exposure via Call Clegg doesn't appear to have...
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    @theakes As John Tilley had previously posted, last week it had 1.5m viewers - likely more this week. Many of these are people who are...
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