Tag Archives: general election 2015

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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Ed Miliband has his economic deficiencies but is the Liberal Democrat response adequate?

I’m getting as fed up with arguments about the economy as I was about the quality of the debate in the independence referendum. We seem to be stuck in a yah-boo soundbite fest that is deeply uninspiring.

Ed Miliband’s latest contribution on the deficit was pretty risible if you looked at it in terms of facts. He’s opposed practically every single cut the Coalition has made over the last four years but presumably his “sensible cuts” won’t actually affect anyone. Of course he’s not actually told us what they are, so we can’t really judge. Our problem is that with the way our newspapers and broadcasters work, neither Labour nor the Tories have to be that good to get their message across. Already we seem to be being demoted to an afterthought in most news reports. We have to work ten times as hard as everyone else to grab even a tiny bit of attention.

The nagging worry I have about Labour appropriating policies like our Mansion Tax is that they can then position themselves to say “vote for us, we come without their baggage”. This, I grant you, is pretty much the same as “vote for us cos we’re fairer than them and more economically responsible than them” which seems to be our pitch.

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Opinion: Is the centre ground disappearing from British politics?

Ballot boxIs it just me, or has something recently changed in British politics? In fact, this apparent move towards what some might see as extremism may also be a characteristic of the political scene in Europe and further afield, too. It is almost akin to the frenzy that seems to hit societies at the end of each century, but manifesting itself a decade and a half late.

What the opinion polls appear to show is that the centre ground, represented primarily by the Liberal Democrats, has lost ground in favour of a …

photo by: FutUndBeidl
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In the next month 21 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | 4 Comments

Taunton Deane Liberal Democrats select Rachel Gilmour

Rachel GilmourFrom the Taunton Deane Liberal Democrat website:

Rachel Gilmour was selected at the members’ hustings on 6 Dec 2014 in Taunton by a full turnout of Members as their prospective Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 General Election.  She succeeds Jeremy Browne , MP,  who will stand down when parliament is dissolved in March 2015.

 

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In the next month 43 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | 27 Comments

Opinion: Jewish and Muslim voting intentions

The Independent on Sunday headline on 9 November suggested that Jewish donors were deserting Labour because Miliband and Alexander have been so forthright in their criticism of Israel over the Gaza invasion this summer and their strong support for recognition of the state of Palestine.  A day earlier Jewish News published the results of a poll carried out within the Jewish Community.

The headline was that Jewish voters were 30% less likely to vote Labour because of its leadership’s stance.  What was much more interesting was that 19% say they would vote Labour compared with 15% who actually voted Labour in 2010 – i.e. at a time when the Brown/Blair governments had been pretty slavish in their support of Israel even during previous Gaza conflicts and the invasion of Lebanon.  Could this perhaps show that the most vocal leaders of the Jewish Community are out of step with the masses and that significant numbers in that Community in fact would rather support a Party that is highly critical of the present government of Israel?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

In the next month 37 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | 3 Comments

In the next month 22 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications. They include Taunton Deane, Jeremy Browne’s seat since 2005, and which he held at the last election with a majority of 3,993 (6.9%) over the Conservatves.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Alex Salmond to make Westminster comeback – threat to Lib Dem seat of Gordon?

Alex Salmond - License Some rights reserved by Ewan McIntoshFormer Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has hinted he might make a comeback at Westminster, as the BBC reports:

Alex Salmond has said he has not made up his mind whether or not to stand for a Westminster seat at the next general election. The outgoing Scottish first minister was asked on the BBC’s Question Time programme if he would consider becoming an MP again. Mr Salmond said he had “absolutely decisively” not made up his mind, but agreed that the door was not closed.

Alex Salmond made his name at Westminster, as MP for Banff and Buchan for 23 years (1987-2010). However, two factors will be in his mind.

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Voters give Liberal Democrats credit for tax threshold rise according to IPSOS-MORI poll

We all heard David Cameron and George Osborne take credit as often as they can for the raising of the tax threshold during this Parliament but a poll from IPSOS-MORI with fieldwork done after our Conference shows that the public just aren’t buying the Tory claims. 41% give the Liberal Democrats the credit for the policy compared to just 26% for the Conservatives as this graphic shows.

ISPOS-MORI tax threshold poll

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Liberal Democrat Lucy Care answers questions from NUS students

The National Union of Students is questioning candidates across the country via the medium of Twitter as part of its build up to next year’s General Election.

The idea is that they will take one marginal seat at a time and ask each of its candidates a series of ten questions. The  candidates will then tweet their replies. The first such event took place last Wednesday involving the candidates from Derby North, including our own Lucy Care. Tackling the subject of tuition fees in 140 characters and doing it justice was quite a challenge but Lucy managed it.

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Danny Alexander, not Vince Cable, designated Lib Dem shadow chancellor (oh, and no Lib Dem reshuffle)

speech danny alexander 6The Guardian’s Nick Watt reports today the long-trailed announcement that Danny Alexander, Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury, will take on the role of the party’s shadow chancellor at the 2015 election:

Nick Clegg has decided that Alexander, his closest ally in the cabinet, will be the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman during the campaign and will face George Osborne and Ed Balls in any television debates on the economy. … The Lib Dems insisted that the election roles for Alexander and Cable were consistent with their cabinet roles. A Lib Dem spokesman said: “We are enormously fortunate to have two talented and well-known ministers on economic matters that are recognised and respected by the public. By the next election Danny Alexander and Vince Cable will have both served for five years as chief secretary and business secretary respectively, so they know their areas inside out. It therefore makes complete sense that they should continue in those roles during the election.”

I’ve made no secret of my view on this: there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Vince Cable should have continued in the role he held in 2010 as the party’s shadow chancellor. He is, quite simply, head and shoulders above any of his colleagues when it comes not only to understanding the British economy, but, just as crucially, explaining it in a way that is both credible and distinct from the Tories.

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Mori’s Sir Bob Worcester increases his forecast for Lib Dem seats in May 2015

Sir-Robert-WorcesterYes, you read that headline right: founder of MORI, Sir Bob Worcester, increased his forecast of how many seats the Lib Dems would win in May 2015 when asked for a prediction at last week’s Lib Dem conference.

I’ll be honest, though: I don’t think he meant to.

Last year, you may recall he predicted the party would win 24 seats. I certainly remember: Bob Worcester forecasts Lib Dems to be reduced to 24 seats in 2015. I’ll run naked down Whitehall if that’s the result (17th Sept 2013). I …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , and | 39 Comments

Opinion: The proposed televised debate format does not help pluralism

So, there will be televised debates prior to the 2015 General Election. The question that beckons is what form they should take. ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC are all set to host the party leaders, each with a different composition. Channel 4 have invited Ed Miliband and David Cameron, the BBC have added Nick Clegg to the mix and the trio becomes four as Nigel Farage will attend the ITV debate.

The big controversy, of course, is ITV’s decision to invite UKIP to their debate, given they have only one MP. Personally, I absolutely support the move. As Liberal Democrats we support a pluralistic approach to politics that welcome many democratic voices. Furthermore, UKIP have been able to ride on a wave of press hype that been allowed to ferment exactly because they have been the outriders of traditional political debate.  By inviting them into the fold in televised debates we are able to call UKIP out on the flaws in their policy platform. We can paint ourselves as the antithesis of UKIP’s insular and nationalist philosophy and appeal to those voters that oppose this view. Ultimately, the inclusion of UKIP offers an opportunity to bring the party to account.

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Opinion: Debates, PEBs and Judical Review: A graveyard of lost causes

This week’s announcement of broadcasters’ provisional plans for the 2015 General Election Debates predictably drew complaints and threats of legal action.

The plan is undoubtedly odd in some respects.  Glen Oglaza, who has been a senior political broadcast journalist for as long as I can remember, tweeted that the idea of excluding a party in government (the Liberal Democrats) from one debate was “bizarre.”

Broadcasters will have to review their plans nearer to the election period, taking into account what the polling situation may be at that time, the number of candidates each party is set to field and other election results between now and then.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

General election 2015: broadcasters propose 2-3-4 leaders’ debates formula

Nick Clegg in TV leaders debate, 2010The BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 have announced their preferred plans to hold three debates during the 2015 general election campaign. The BBC reports:

One would involve a head-to-head debate between just the Conservative and Labour leaders, and another would include the Liberal Democrat leader. The other debate would involve all three leaders plus Mr Farage. The broadcasters said the proposed formats reflected “changes in the political landscape” since the three prime ministerial debates during the 2010 general election, which featured Conservative Mr Cameron, Labour’s Gordon Brown and Lib Dem Mr Clegg. … The broadcasters have written to the party leaders to invite them to take part. The suggested schedule is for debates on 2, 16 and 30 April, ahead of the election on 7 May.

Here’s how the Lib Dems have responded to the proposal:

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In the next month 19 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | 5 Comments

Lib Dem pre-manifesto launched: includes policies to reform drugs laws and bus pass discount for under-21s

pre manifesto documentLast week’s pre-manifesto launch by the Lib Dems was postponed owing to the international situation. Thankfully no important news has broken over the past couple of days which might over-shadow today’s launch. Unless, that is, you think the potential break-up of the UK or a new Royal Baby are headline-grabbing events.

You can read the Pre-Manifesto in full below.

The party trailed its publication today with a couple of announcements intended to highlight key policies:

  • ‘Exclusive: Liberal Democrats to announce decriminalisation of all drugs’ headlined Politics.co.uk:
  • Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 32 Comments

    The Independent View: What are the most ‘Ukip-friendly’ Liberal Democrat seats?

    revolt on the right ukipIn our recent book, Revolt on the Right, we compiled a list of the most demographically receptive seats in the country for Ukip. This allowed us to rank all seats in the country according to how favourable their populations are for Ukip, using the most recent census data.

    The ideal seats for Ukip share key characteristics: they have lots of ‘left behind’ voters who we also know from our research are the most receptive to Ukip and its policies. These ideal seats also have very low numbers of voters who have, instead, tended to remain resistant to Ukip, including university graduates, ethnic minorities and people in professional and economically secure occupations. This is a useful first exercise in filtering through all seats to find those where -if Ukip stood a strong candidate and knocked on plenty of doors – they would probably find the most voters receptive to their message.

    Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 42 Comments

    Clacton and the Lib Dems’ post-2015 wastelands problem

    Clacton Pier.The Clacton by-election triggered by Douglas Carswell’s defection from the Tories to Ukip will take place on 9th October – David Cameron’s birthday, but also the day after the Lib Dems’ autumn conference concludes.

    That’s not great news for the Lib Dems on two counts. First, it means the media will likely be obsessing more about Clacton than what’s happening in Glasgow (unless, that is, Yes Scotland has won the referendum).

    And secondly, the party’s not expecting a great result. There have been two constituency polls conducted to date (

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 49 Comments

    Postponed: Lib Dem pre-manifesto launch delayed owing to international situation

    Liberal Democrat manifesto front coverThe news of a further murder of a US hostage by ‘Islamic State’ broke last night. The Lib Dems have, therefore, decided to postpone today’s scheduled launch of the party’s pre-manifesto.

    The pre-manifesto is the document agreed by the Lib Dems’ elected federal policy committee (FPC) to be submitted to this autumn’s conference for approval. Its contents have been heavily trailed throughout the summer. By my count, 19 policies (mostly policies already agreed by conference, and listed at the foot of this post) have been unveiled, as the party gears up the publicity machine to try and get its key messages heard by the voters ahead of May’s general election.

    Party process purists won’t much like the publicity preceding the official conference vote, but the reality is unless the Lib Dems take every opportunity to hammer our policy messages home then what we have to say won’t ever be heard. A bit like leaflet delivery in an election campaign, it’s only when we’re sick and tired of hearing the message that there’s a slim chance the electorate might have noticed it even once.

    Posted in News | Also tagged | 32 Comments

    In the next month 32 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

    Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

    The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

    Posted in Selection news | 5 Comments

    In the next month 39 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

    Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications. They include Watford, on paper the 6th most winnable Tory seat for the Lib Dems, needing a swing of just 1.39%, as well as Redcar, where incumbent MP Ian Swales, whose majority over Labour is 5,214, is stepping down. And if anyone fancies taking on health secretary Jeremy Hunt, his South West Surrey seat is also up for grabs.

    The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

    Posted in Selection news | 4 Comments

    Incumbency and the sophomore surge: why these two effects will matter for the Lib Dems in 2015

    Lib Dems winning hereWith the Lib Dem vote at least halved in the polls since the last general election, there’s been much focus within the party on what’s known as the ‘incumbency effect’ – the personal vote that benefits Lib Dem MPs. This typically boosts Lib Dems by 8%, compared to 1-2% for Tories and 1.5-2.5% for Labour MPs.

    It’s this effect which, Lib Dems hope, will enable the party to buck the national trend at the next election. It is, however, limited to those seats where the current MP will …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 16 Comments

    In the next month 17 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

    Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications. They include Watford, on paper the 6th most winnable Tory seat for the Lib Dems, needing a swing of just 1.29%; and also Ludlow, a Lib Dem seat from 2001-05, held by Matthew Green.

    The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

    Posted in Selection news | 6 Comments

    Ukip may well win a seat in May 2015. But the least likely person to get elected is Nigel Farage

    Nigel Farage, Leader, UK Independence Party (UKIP)This week saw the latest in Lord Ashcroft’s polls of the marginal battleground seats that will decide the result of the next general election. This crop focused on 14 marginal Conservative-held seats where Labour are in second place.

    The overall news was half-encouraging for Labour. As it stands, Ed Miliband’s party is poised to win 11 of these 14 seats next May. The average swing from Tory to Labour of 4.5% would be enough to win 53 Tory seats, which, as as Ashcroft notes, “combined with the 17 seats my recent polling suggested they could gain from the Lib Dems, would be enough for a small overall majority”.

    Of course, this poll is a snapshot, not a prediction (as Ashcroft repeatedly stresses). A similar exercise conducted by Ashcroft for PoliticsHome in 2009 pointed to a Tory majority of 70 seats and we all know how that turned out a few months later. Usually the governing party picks up support as the election nears, while the opposition party loses support. We’ll see how that historical pattern bears out in Coalition conditions and as voting becomes yet more fragmented between five national parties, as well as the nationalists in Scotland and Wales.

    But the most newsworthy finding from Ashcroft’s poll was that Ukip would win two Conservative-held seats, Thanet South and Thurrock.

    Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

    In the next month 28 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

    Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

    The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

    Posted in Selection news | Leave a comment

    In the next month 15 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

    Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

    They include Portsmouth South, where the incumbent MP, Mike Hancock, is currently suspended from the Lib Dems and is therefore ineligible to be selected for the party; and also the City of Durham, on paper the 27th most winnable seat for the Lib Dems, needing a swing of just over 3%.

    The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

    Posted in Selection news | 14 Comments
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    • User AvatarTony Greaves 20th Dec - 8:06pm
      Parliaments were of rooks. For ever gathering together with their own kind, squawking, bullying other birds, covering the world beneath them with excrement. Tony
    • User AvatarJane Ann Liston 20th Dec - 8:05pm
      One anomaly a basic income for everybody would solve is the fact that while income tax is based on the individual's income, benefits are awarded...
    • User AvatarTony Greaves 20th Dec - 7:59pm
      John Tilley - I think it's about 50-50 (I write "about" without checking the earlier lists in detail - the last list was 3-3). Paul...
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      Dave Fawcett, I was a member and activist in Durham back in the 80s. Remember Gateshead and its development well. Note I said in "many...
    • User AvatarMartin Land 20th Dec - 7:43pm
      Liberal Democrats. Winning Somewhere.
    • User Avatartheakes 20th Dec - 7:43pm
      "We know young people 18 - 24 are likely to switch to us", evidence base please..
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