A wander around the opinion polls

Lib Dems are still waiting for a bounce in the opinion polls. So far this year, we’ve had Westminster voting intentions at 6, 7 and 9%.

However, there are some very interesting things coming out of current polling generally.

Scotland

There was a very interesting YouGov Scottish poll this week which showed that we are not just hanging in there, but making progress as the SNP and Labour slip since the last poll in October Lib Dems show a slight rise in voting intention for Westminster and Holyrood constituency and regional votes. The Tories are holding their own at Westminster, despite a deeply unpopular (floating at around -50 across the two polls) leader. Ruth Davidson is Scotland’s most popular leader with an approval rating of +15, yet her party has lost ground since the Holyrood elections. While they have gained slightly in this poll to the mid twenties, they achieved 31% two years ago. Perhaps that’s because people see Scottish Conservative MPs troop meekly into the voting lobbies behind Theresa May rather than stand up for Scotland’s interests, particularly with regard to the devolution aspects of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Jeremy Corbyn is a massive loser in this recent poll. He was +20 in October and now he’s -3. Perhaps his Brexit stance is not going down so well in a country that predominantly voted to Remain.

Scotland is neutral on its first minister who continues with a neutral approval rating. It’s only a couple of years since she was given a rock star welcome everywhere she went.

Scottish Lib Dems are getting some attention in the media on housing, health, justice and our stance on Brexit. There is still a lot of work to be done and this first non-election year since 2013 provides a good opportunity for the party to develop a longer term strategy. Willie Rennie held a strategy day with key party stakeholders in November which was described by an observer from south of the border as one of the most constructive party events they had ever seen.

Referenda

Depending on the question you ask, you can get very different results.

On a simple question about whether Scotland should be an independent country, the YouGov poll cited above has 37% in favour (down 2 from October) and 50% against. Those were roughly the levels we were seeing from about 2008-2013 before the referendum campaign and the failure of the dire Better Together campaign to put the issue beyond doubt.

If you ask people whether there should be a referendum on independence in the next 5 years, 36% say yes, 54% say no. Those in favour stay constant but the number opposed falls to 51% after the conclusion of Brexit negotiations but before we leave and to 47% after we leave the EU.

Similarly, you get different results if you ask about another referendum on Brexit. Lord Ashcroft discovered that the number opposed goes down if you give a scenario which includes a choice on the deal.

Maybe no majority but still around 40% in support which is way ahead of where it was last year. Last March YouGov found only 21% in support. 

Comedy

Our feelings about tv programmes can give an insight into our politics. I’d rather listen to nails on a blackboard while being made to eat cauliflower cheese (food of he devil, in my opinion) than watch an episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys. Brexit voting, Tory inclined family members love it. That pattern is replicated in a YouGov poll with Leave voters being far more likely to like the programme and Liberal Democrat voters in last year’s general election being more likely to dislike it by a factor of 2:1.

What little I have seen of Mrs Brown’s Boys reminds me of the worst of sitcoms from the 1970s that I grew up with. I don’t think it has ever made me laugh. But then the people who love it wouldn’t find the satirical comedy that I like funny either.

Is there a message in this for us? I tend to think that we sometimes fudge stuff to try to appeal to a wider range of people.  There is an argument that we need to concentrate on being ourselves, throwing a way the nuance and just saying what we think. Our message on Brexit has been getting more firmly opposed but do we need to be even more explicit about the need to stop it? What I’m saying is that we need to let go the people who are never going to vote for us and concentrate on those who will.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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45 Comments

  • Malcolm Todd 19th Jan '18 - 11:33am

    I fervently disagree with you – in the matter of cauliflower cheese. Apart from that* I think your point about comedy and messaging is almost certainly right.

    *and an understandable but slightly desperate outbreak of rose-tinted glasses on opinion polls showing a rise from 5 to 6 or 7 per cent!

  • Trevor Warne 19th Jan '18 - 1:01pm

    “Those who will” are clearly Labour voters. Empty chairing the “handmaiden of Brexit” could be the snowball that starts the avalanche. 48 brave Labour MP’s stood up to the Labour whip just this week – many of whom may also be fearful of deselection by the far-left Labour NEC. If just one of those MPs (or the 172 who voted against Corbyn in the 2016 leadership contest) could be enticed to abandon the co-conspirators that too could start an avalanche where it is needed – within the House of Commons! If a group of Labour MPs wished to start a new party then we should make it clear that we will work with them on EU policy and have by-election/election pacts to not contest a sitting constituency. Time is running out – I fear only something as dramatic as a Labour MP quitting that party due to Corbyn’s Breit stance will gain the traction we need.

  • I can’t stand Mrs. Brown’s Boys (prefer Dad’s Army, Porridge and the Good Life), but as a war baby born in the 1940’s I just love cauliflower cheese with the caulis grown in my own garden. – talking of which- I notice Caron omits on the basis of the quoted polls that the Greens at Holyrood would go up from six to ten MSP’s, whilst the Lib Dems would be up by one to six. Progress, yes, but full disclosure is a basic principle of liberalism, n’est ce pas ?

    As for Ashcroft, (Farage’s pal), I do wish now that he’s finally admitted to being a non-dom he would kindly leave the stage instead of using his accumulated wealth to buy up V.C. medasl and interfere in British politics.

  • You seem to have avoided mentioning the elephant in the room….why, given the current state of politics, there seems to be no serious prospect of recovery/revival whatsoever. It seems to me that the current approach, which is “continuity Farron” as far as I can see, isn’t making any difference to the general level of public support, which has barely moved since early in the coalition years.

    Perhaps we should play the long game, keep on as we are and let people see us proved right on Brexit, but that’s a risky strategy. Taking a new, more radical approach, might make a difference, such as completely removing inheritance tax below £1m per person, abolishing stamp duty and cutting income tax in half for those earning less than £100k.

  • Malcolm Todd 19th Jan '18 - 2:31pm

    Rob Parker 19th Jan ’18 – 2:22pm
    If I may simplify: “Taking a new, more radical approach, might make a difference, such as [becoming the Conservative Party].”
    Well, yes, it might make a difference…

  • William Fowler 19th Jan '18 - 2:42pm

    “Perhaps we should play the long game, keep on as we are and let people see us proved right on Brexit, but that’s a risky strategy. Taking a new, more radical approach, might make a difference, such as completely removing inheritance tax below £1m per person, abolishing stamp duty and cutting income tax in half for those earning less than £100k.”

    There are a lot of contributors to this site who want punitive wealth taxes on the mildly well off so I take it that would replace the inheritance tax free ride and huge loss of income tax revenue… no, if you really want radical tax reform merge income tax and nat insurance into one tax with much fairer bands (benefits and pensions then based on residence), phase out council tax and replace business tax/employer NI with a turnover tax (in each instance getting more tax out of the system to spend on NHS etc) and once that unholy mess is sorted out replace benefits/tax credit/child allowance/personal tax allowance with a citizen’s income. The phasing out of council tax being the one that will get the public interest. A 5-10 percent levy on all inherited money plus 10-20 percent on trusts/companies set up to avoid IH should add to the coffers, designated for house building.

  • William Fowler 19th Jan '18 - 2:52pm

    The Tories advantage in Scotland are that they are the only right wing party whilst you have three shades of left opposing them so the LibDems major contribution may be to splitting the vote and letting the Conservatives in by default.

  • paul holmes 19th Jan '18 - 5:02pm

    Caron, lots of people who normally voted for us will not do so currently precisely because of our Brexit stance. Meanwhile that same stance has not won over lots of new voters. Time to move on instead of obsessing about refighting an already lost battle.

  • “we need to let go the people who are never going to vote for us and concentrate on those who will.”

    *applause and whistling*

    If we could stop actively putting them off, that would be a massive start.

  • John Marriott 19th Jan '18 - 6:41pm

    I agree with Paul Holmes regarding obsessing on Brexit. Oh, and I love Mrs Brown’s Boys, one step on from the ‘Carry On’ films in its (sometime surreal) schoolboy humour. Sorry.

  • Peter Watson 19th Jan '18 - 8:36pm

    @Martin “barring a miracle, Brexit is set to dominate UK politics for decades”
    Surely though, if Lib Dems really want to set aside other policy areas and prioritise stopping Brexit they should be channelling their energies into a genuine single-issue pressure group that can speak to the 48% who voted Remain rather than playing party politics (with all of the unfortunate baggage that Lib Dems carry) and speak only to to 7%.

  • @ John Marriott “Oh, and I love Mrs Brown’s Boys,”

    Well, I suppose nobody’s perfect.

  • paul holmes 19th Jan '18 - 9:34pm

    Martin -where to start with your points?

    The last few years have seen our MP’s, MEP’s, MSP’s, Welsh AM’s, London Assembly Members and our Cllrs slaughtered. 2015 saw us take a record low 7.9% of the vote and a record number of Lost Deposits. 2017 saw us do even worse in both respects. We have flat lined at around 7% in the Opinion Polls for the last 7 years. If that does not qualify as eviscerated then what does?

    Your refer to 91% of our Members wanting a Second Referendum and 95/6% wanting to stay in the Customs Union or Single Market. Since I am included in all of those categories I don’t understand your point?

    You say Brexit is set to dominate British politics for decades to come. No, really it is not. We have another 2 or 3 years of the Westminster bubble and British media obsessing on it but the electorate have already moved on. Neither, as the problems of Brexit slowly unfold in real time, are they going to suddenly stampede to want to rejoin the EU on what would be far worse terms than those they rejected in 2016.

    You ask for a non Brexit issue that will grab the attention of electorate and media? Well I don’t know what you find where you live in Brussels, but here in the UK the last few weeks have been dominated by issues such as Universal Credit, NHS, Housing, Carillion, the PFI scam and Railways to name a few. Are we a Political Party or a single issue Pressure Group?

  • @ Rob Parker
    “Taking a new, more radical approach, might make a difference, such as completely removing inheritance tax below £1m per person, abolishing stamp duty and cutting income tax in half for those earning less than £100k.”

    I don’t understand why you think your three suggestions are radical in a liberal sense. Increasing the threshold to £1m for inheritance tax is not radical even if I think long-term it will be implemented as house prices rise in London. I might be persuaded to support abolishing stamp duty on a person’s first home, but I can’t see any liberal argument for abolishing it all together. Cutting income tax in half for those earning between £12,500 and £100,000 would not assist in making income more equal for the majority of people. Abolishing the Income Tax Personal Allowance and giving everyone a Basic Citizens Income of £72 a week would help improve income equality.

    @ Jenny Barnes

    I like the idea of reforming Inheritance Tax into a Gift Tax.

    We should be advocating LVT on non-residential land and reforming Council Tax into a property tax which is fairer to those who live in cheaper homes and increases the rates for higher valued homes.

    @ William Fowler

    The political cost for merging Income Tax and National Insurance is just too big. It would be much better to expand National Insurance to all forms of income not just earnings. You have never explained how your turnover tax would be different to how VAT works.

    The Labour Party in the general election stated that all trusts should be registered stating their assets and beneficiaries. Perhaps we should have the same policy. Also I am not sure you understand how trusts are taxed at the moment.

  • Phil Wainewright 20th Jan '18 - 12:40am

    I sympathise with Paul Holmes because I know that most of the voters he talks to believe that Brexit has been settled and just expect the politicians to get on and sort it out.

    As other posters have mentioned, they’re much more fired up by the state of the NHS, the mishandling of universal credit and disability benefit, the shortage of social housing and the general lack of opportunity facing many in society.

    Our problem as a party is that in focusing on Brexit we give the impression of having no answers on those other issues. We should not talk about Brexit without putting it into that wider context. The difficult truth is that Brexit hampers the country’s ability to deal with its real problems and the reason we oppose Brexit is precisely because we want to prioritize those issues.

  • Those who think we are concentrating on brexit to the detriment of all else are clearly not subjected to the daily firehose of press releases from party HQ.

    We’re saying lots on the NHS, Carrillion, PFI, and lots of other stuff besides from rural bus services to gender reassignment legislation.

    It’s just that nobody is listening to anything we say on topics other than brexit, including, it seems, many of the contributors to this thread.

  • Just one thought: the only thing that counts is the actual apparent national state of the party. There can be no glossing of the reality, it is bad, not even coming second at Newport Pagnell seems to say it all.

  • @jennie, you are absolutely correct. Meanwhile, Boris makes a daft comment about a daft bridge, and it gets pages of newspaper coverage, hours of discussion on radio and tv, providing a convenient distraction from those other issues.

    Even when the news is covering the political response to Carillion, it’s quite common for news sources to give only the Labour response, and not bother with any of the genuinely insightful comments, and frankly more useful, comments we’ve had from Vince. I suppose the argument is that they’d need to give space to the comments from all opposing parties, possibly in order of how many seats each have, but in doing so, that would give too many anti-government views for ‘balance’. Frustratingly, I’ve seen praise for Labour politicians who have paraphrased from the same people who mock us for being a waste of time.

    I don’t know how we fix that. It seems far too easy for the likes of Johnson, Trump and Farage to get coverage for saying something ridiculous.

  • John Marriott 20th Jan '18 - 10:13am

    David Raw. Sorry to let you down in my choice of sitcom. It’s interesting that your favourites (Dad’s Army, Porridge, The Good Life) all date from the 1970s, although the latter has been revived lately. Why? Because that how the political scene feels at the moment – economic uncertainty, two ‘big’ parties and the Liberals around 8%.

    As regards Brexit (here we go again), why not give Davis and co the chance to come up with something, THEN campaign for a people’s vote before we decide what to do? As I said the Lib Dems played the anti Frexit card at last year’s general election and all it appeared to do was to push votes Labour’s way.

  • John Marriott 20th Jan '18 - 10:15am

    Sorry, it was, of course, Porridge that was revived (and not a patch on the original).

  • David Allen 20th Jan '18 - 1:36pm

    Why are we failing in the polls? It’s not about Brexit.

    It’s about a leadership from 2010-2015 which comprehensively sold out its principles, broke its pledges, and struck a coalition deal which brought ministerial limousines and not much else. It’s about a leadership from 2015-2017 which tried hard to put that right, but then ended up with the self-destructive inability to give a true and fair answer to entirely valid questioning about critical issues of sexuality and religious belief. And now we read that one Lib Dem MP is championing the proposal to give rich donors to past referendum campaigns a massive retrospective tax break!

    Brexit is not killing us as a political party, and nor is it saving us. It is mistakes, abandonment of principles, and political incompetence which are killing us. Sure, the Tories are in an even worse condition, and Labour are little better.

    So the stage is well set for a charismatic character to emerge and blow away all our failing political parties. Let’s hope it’s a British Macron and not a British Trump.

  • Yeovil Yokel 20th Jan '18 - 1:59pm

    Well said, Jennie & Fiona.

  • Jayne mansfield 20th Jan '18 - 2:30pm

    @ David Allen,
    It is a scandal that any MP would back the proposal, especially the idea that changes should be retrospective.

  • @David Allen
    Totally agree and the the current leadership seems to be in complete denial. We are in the process of driving a whole generation of young voters into the hands of the Labour party from whence it will be very hard to get them back. In addition the Tories are now planning to bring in reforms to the student loan system which may leave us looking totally incompetent. But don’t worry, if we get an exit from Brexit voters will sweep us into power. If not, when the economy is on its knees, they will see that we were right all along and they will sweep us into power (lol).

  • William Fowler 20th Jan '18 - 3:21pm

    We have two utterly ruthless political machines in the Labour and Tory parties and some nice chaps and ladies in the Liberals, guess where that ends up…

  • paul barker 20th Jan '18 - 3:27pm

    The National Polls measure something real ^ are probably mostly “Right”, as far as they go. They dont tell the whole story though, they are a very poor measure of Local support. Last May, for example we got 18% in The Local Elections (measured on a National Equivalent basis) at the same time we were averageing 10% in National Polls. Both the 10% & the 18% were correct but they were measuring very different things.
    The big difference of course is that in actual campaigns Voters can see us in action while on The National stage we depend on The Media whose standard position is our Irrelevance. We have to prove our right to be heard.
    Improvements in our performance in Local Byelections are real & dramatic & will feed through to our National Polling at some point, we just have to keep plugging away.

  • David Evans 20th Jan '18 - 6:15pm

    Rob Parker, you state ‘the current approach, which is “continuity Farron” as far as I can see, isn’t making any difference to the general level of public support”, to which you add ‘which has barely moved since early in the coalition years’, and the second part is absolutely key.

    As Tim said in his first leadership speech to conference ‘You know, there are those that would like me to take this opportunity to distance myself from the past five years, to say it was all some dreadful mistake, to say: “I disagree with Nick.” But I don’t. So I won’t.’ Oh what a chance to draw a line under the disaster of coalition and set off back on the road to success. Sadly it was fluffed, and continuing Tory austerity is being applied to the poor and the public sector with absolute relish, and Brexit marches on because its natural opponents have allowed themselves to be totally destroyed protecting David Cameron so there were none left to oppose Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.

    It really is the Continuity Clegg message “We’ve done nothing wrong.”

  • paul holmes 20th Jan '18 - 6:57pm

    Martin, you seem to be setting up a straw man in order to shift the goalposts. No one said Brexit would be a non issue in a couple of years -indeed I specifically said that ‘the problems of Brexit would slowly unfold in real time.’ Of course there will be issues.

    Your initial claim however was that Brexit “would dominate British politics for decades.” It will not. I doubt that in just one decades time (2028) that it will be dominating British Politics let alone in 2038 or 2048 or 2058 as you claim. For another year we have the Parliamentary timetable dominated by Brexit and for 2 years after the Leave date we have the Transition period and further detailed negotiations. Westminster and the media will continue to be dominated by Brexit over that period -although the electorate will not be. After that Brexit will get flashes of coverage when yet another firm shifts overseas or a particular set of economic statistics is variously claimed as proof that Brexit is or is not a disaster, but it will not dominate British Politics.

    As for ‘where were we in December’ when Brexit legislation reached a first milestone the answer is we were banging the drum mightily. But our amendment calling for a Second Referendum received just 25 votes or so out of 650 possible -so not very newsworthy? Labour’s rebel amendment on the Single Market/Customs Union managed a mighty 60 or so votes. The Brexit Bill so far is substantially unchanged for all the acres and acres of media words devoted to potential rebellions.

    Meanwhile I was out for a couple of hours this morning knocking on doors with 8 of our Cllrs and Campaigners. Not a single everyday resident stormed to the door demanding to know what was going on with Brexit.

    As for your idea that there is a single policy stance out there that will set the electorate alight with a passion for voting Lib Dem -no it really does not work like that. In very recent years -regardless for the moment as to why -no one can deny that our Party, virtually overnight, destroyed 40-50 years hard won political success and credibilty. No Party bounces back from that overnight however whizzy its policies might be. Furthemore, as Labour discovered between 1979-1983, turning inwards and concentrating solely on core vote obsessions regardless of electoral reality just makes recovery even slower.

  • paul holmes 20th Jan '18 - 7:30pm

    @Jennie. Yes I get all the daily Press Releases from Great George Street. I have been delighted to see that there has been a marked increase, since last summer, in non Brexit campaigning and that not everything has a postscript comment that ‘really its all the fault of Brexit’.

    Of course we should be pointing out the ongoing folly of Brexit but not to the exclusion of all else as we did 2016-2017. The idea that pinning our colours to a single minded gung ho, no questions asked, ‘Party of In’ approach would transform our electoral position failed entirely, both in the 2014 Euro elections and in the 2017 General Election.

    Niche Liberal parties can take 5-10% of the vote and maintain a decent Parliamenatry presence under most European PR systems. But that does not work under FPTP elections. Our steady average of 20% of the national vote across all the General Elections from 1974-2010 made us stand out as the most successful Liberal (Democrat) Party in Europe, in terms of votes though not of seats until our historic election bests of 1997, 2001 and 2005. That success was based upon appealing to voters beyond our ‘Core’. Concentrating purely on supposed core voters will not restore our electoral fortunes just make the slow recovery from recent self immolation even slower.

  • Peter Martin 21st Jan '18 - 11:57am

    The coming of Brexit does present an opportunity for all political parties in Scotland apart from the SNP. Curiously, at one time the SNP were anti the EU but they realised that the EU made Scottish independence, or pseudo-independence, much easier sometime in the 80s. If the UK is a part of the EU then independence for Scotland is a relatively easy matter. There’s the continuity of EU membership, subject to EU agreement, and continuity of the single market and the customs union.

    But if Scotland has to leave the UK, exist on its own for some time and then rejoin the EU, the hurdle is much higher. Scotland has either to establish its own currency, use the pound or adopt the euro. There would be no transfer of money, to cover any deficits, from Westminster even if Scotland used the pound. It’s going to be a difficult process.

    This will become more apparent in the next few years to the Scottish electorate. The SNP is likely to continue on a downward path for the foreseeable future.

  • paul holmes 21st Jan '18 - 2:08pm

    Martin, Caron’s article was about national Opinion Polls and ended with her view (which I disagree with, old friend as she is), about what National Party Strategy should be. The ensuing thread has been about the same issue not about what an individual might campaign about on the streets of their hometown. As we know, local campaigning will be obliterated anyway if the national strategy gets it badly wrong, as of course happened to the Liberal Democrats in the General Elections of 2015 and 2017 and in all the other lower tier elections from 2011-2017.

    I recall an old childhood joke about “Why are you banging your head against that wall? Because it will be so nice when I stop.” I fear that despite the abject failure of the ‘Party of In’ approach in 2014 and 2017 there are still strong voices advocating not just more of the same but redoubled emphasis on ‘headbanging’. In the last few days we have had people commenting on Lib Dem Voice that every election and every leaflet at every level of campaigning should be about Brexit. Yes, keep pointing out the folly of Brexit and the need to stay in the Single Market. No, don’t sacrifice the very survival of our already badly damaged Party by obsessing about a battle that has already been repeatedly lost.

  • nvelope2003 21st Jan '18 - 3:30pm

    Maybe the voters are not so dissatisfied with things as the media and websites seem or pretend to believe. If like most people you do not use rural bus services or village libraries you will not be too concerned if they are closed – I have even heard people, including local councillors, support their closure as they consider them a waste of money. My own attempts to stop these closures were met with complete indifference, even by the users. The only thing the public seem to be angry about is the obsession with the EU and Brexit. Whenever I have even hinted at it I have been firmly told that they are not interested, they voted and they do not want to hear another word. No wonder the Liberal Democrats are stuck at 7% and they will stay there until they drop the subject. Sorry but sometimes hard lessons have to be learned.

  • Katharine Pindar 21st Jan '18 - 6:01pm

    This debate as to how far concentrating on Brexit in publicity this year will benefit our party is, understandably, not to be easily settled. But I was struck by one of Paul Holmes’s comments yesterday evening, Reflecting on how difficult it is to recover the hard-won political success and credibility that has been lost, he wrote that no party can recover quickly ‘with whizzy policies’. But, I thought, isn’t that just what UKIP did in 2014 and 2016, that Labour has done in 2017, and Mr Macron also did last autumn? Since we haven’t got any, not since the heady days of 2010 anyway (though I don’t remember why ‘I agree with Nick’ was temporarily all the rage), we can perhaps console ourselves by thinking that ‘whizzy policies’ only get parties so far before disunity surfaces and break-up ensues. Unless, of course, Mr Macron continues to be a real, lasting, radical success.

  • David Evans 21st Jan '18 - 6:18pm

    Paul Holmes is absolutely right. Liberalism in the UK is much more than a niche political movement for those concerned about the personal freedoms of individuals in all their different guises, and it is certainly much, much more than the economic liberty for the affluent like the Japanese LDP or the German FDP. Well before the First World War it had a clear social liberal agenda of economic help for the disadvantaged whether it was unemployment, sickness or poverty, based on a clear sense that community was the glue that enabled people to flourish as individuals. It is that that makes Liberalism and Liberal Democracy relevant to this very day to the problems of all our citizens and not just a pressure group for special interest groups.

    Sadly we people stopped believing that we stood for them during the National Government between the wars which led to the party splitting with half joining the Conservatives, and we made the same mistake in coalition this time.

    Now, despite the fact that most say we still believe in those matters, you just have to look at LDV to see that we still spend much more time discussing matters that excite us personally than matters of relevance to the majority of the public.

    We need to learn to do that again, and we need to do it quickly or we will remain an irrelevance to most people and, even worse, perhaps just a footnote in history.

  • Alex Macfie 21st Jan '18 - 9:30pm

    Point of information (for David Evans): The “Liberal Democratic Party” of Japan is not a member of Liberal International, and does not pretend to be ‘liberal’ in the sense of political philosophy. It is instead a catch-all party, usually identified with right-wing populism, but whose main political agenda is to stay in power.
    Similarly, the Liberal Party of Australia also does not pretend to be liberal party: it is Australia’s centre-right party, and has the same international affiliation as our Tories.
    The Russian Liberal Democratic Party is also neither Liberal nor Democratic, nor affiliated to us.

  • paul holmes 23rd Jan '18 - 7:40pm

    Katherine, UKIP didn’t ‘recover’ with a new whizzy policy. They banged on about a single issue for nearly 30 years, won virtually nothing in FPTP elections and had some transient success in PR elections such as those for MEP’s. Now their single issue has ‘gone’ they have all but disappeared into a black hole of electoral oblivion -a warning to anyone wanting to major entirely on a single issue.

    I would also question whether Labour recovered because of ‘new whizzy policies’ in the 2017 General Election -which saw the most dramatic turnaround in expectations of any GE since 1945. They put forward a raft of policies, many of which were traditional Labour ones before Blair and New Labour abandoned them and few of which were ‘new’. But it was a range of policies (NHS, education, Tuition Fees, economy) which -rightly or wrongly -40% of the electorate saw as offering a ‘Progressive hope’ or alternative to endless austerity. Meanwhile Cons and Lib Dems tried to fight the election mainly on opposing views of Brexit.

    By ‘whizzy policies’ I mean those single overwhelming issues, such as opposing Brexit, which some believed would overnight transform our wipeout of 2011-2015 as swathes of Remain voters abandoned their normal Party allegiance. Or the call some have made for us to come up with radical new ideas such as campaigning for greater use of Block Chain Technology. This is a quick fix view which ignores where the electorate are in preference for where we would like them to be. The Greens are to a large extent trapped in this sort of loop.

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