Category Archives: General Election

UPDATED: The 91 seats where the Liberal Democrats came second in the general election (or The Sunday data workshop experiment continues…)

Thank you all for your excellent comments to my earlier post, pointing out the errors in my spreadsheet!

I see it as an experiment in community data creation!

My main problem is that I did not screen out seats with a large Nationalist element, mainly in Scotland.

Tagged and | 6 Comments

Community data creation – A first (and wrong) attempt at listing the constituencies where the Liberal Democrats were second in the general election

UPDATE: This post has now been superseded. I have now issued a new post with the revised spreadsheet showing 91 seats.
Thanks everyone for your input on my errors, I hope you enjoyed joining in!

A friend asked me if I knew where, on Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s ingenious interweb device, there is a list of the 90 seats where the LibDems were second in the general election in December.

It turns out that I couldn’t find such a list, so I have created it – displayed below through the magic of Scribd.

Tagged | 30 Comments

Vintage election nights: the time a painter had to come on screen to extend the Swingometer

I have always remembered the classic moment when, during the BBC general election night TV coverage of 1970, a painter had to be brought on to extend the swingometer. This was because the Conservative swings were unexpectedly high, and the swingometer didn’t go far enough to cover some of them.

In these days of high tech, it is difficult to believe that such a thing happened. Indeed, as I have recalled the incident over the years, I don’t think many people have believed me.

Also posted in TV and film | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Is this the best email of the election?

As clickbait goes, it is rather eye-catching, and I was intrigued.

And the first sentence drew me in:

Theresa May is about to lock down the internet. Will you let her?

There is only one response offered – but then there can only be one way to reply to the question – NO.

So I clicked, I signed the petition, I shared on Facebook. If I wasn’t convinced after the first question, the email then went on to invite me to click two further buttons which repeated the message in slightly different ways.

But there is a killer PS:

PS: Based on user feedback, we’ve been asked to include more GIFs in our email, so as a special reward for joining our fight, we’ll send you something extra special.

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The LibDemVoice Election Live Blog

We are going to be here all night

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Tales from the doorstep

Some of us have received an email from HQ asking us for 30 second videos describing our funniest canvassing story.  It included links to some ‘Here is one I made earlier’ videos and this is our favourite so far:

Tagged | 2 Comments

Campaigning in Watford

I am twenty-three years old, a politics graduate and a political activist. I am a Liberal Democrat and I have volunteered with the local party. Several issues spring to mind when I think about the Liberal Democrats: equality, civil liberties, pro-Europe and of course working towards a stronger and fairer economy.

Whilst studying Politics at university, I was really happy to say I was from a marginal constituency because I felt like it made the general election a little more exciting as opposed to other constituencies.

Also posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Liberal Democrat manifesto – detailed costings published

The Liberal Democrats have published the detailed costings for their 2015 manifesto here.

Also posted in News | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

And now for something completely different…


Someone in the Lib Dem campaign team is a fiscal sadist.

Tagged and | 3 Comments

In 2015, if the Lib Dems hold on to as many seats as latest polling suggests, should we thank NO2AV?

liberal democrat tory conservative logosEarlier in the week, Stephen Tall covered the latest Ashcroft poll of Lib Dem held seats, which was encouraging. Over on Political Betting, our old friend Mike Smithson offers this intriguing thought:

If the LDs hold on to as many seats as the latest polling suggests then Clegg should thank NO2AV.

Tagged and | 92 Comments

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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


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.


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


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


So. Farewell Then

So. Farewell

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

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