European Election Results: Open Thread

Caron Lindsay 9:25pm

I am not sure how long I will last tonight, but I thought I’d at least start an open thread to bring news and views as things unfold tonight. It’s not, I fear, going to be a very good night, hence the large box of tissues next to me and cushions to hide behind. There’s emergency malt whisky in the cupboard, too, if I need it.

I’m starting off this Election Results night listening to Iain Dale and Duncan Barks on LBC. Tim Farron has already been on saying much as he did this morning, that he’s proud of the campaign Nick Clegg has fought and is proud of our Euro candidates.

Turnout news: Across Europe it’s 43.1%.

Grim news from France – the Front National has topped the poll. Marine Le Pen might have made it slightly more palatable than it was under her father, but that can never be good.

Proud of Nick for taking fight to UKIP

Tim Farron has written a piece in the Guardian to say that we should proud of Nick Clegg for the way he took the fight to UKIP.

Many Lib Dem councillors who deserved victory instead tasted defeat after Thursday’s local elections. Even so, our results were better than many predicted because of the staggering resilience of the Liberal Democrat family. I have been out on the doorsteps alongside Lib Dem activists right across the country, from Eastleigh to Sutton, Hull to Southwark and countless other places. Never have I seen Liberal Democrats working so hard as they did during this campaign. Clegg’s strong leadership of a campaign that was openly positive about Britain’s place in Europe has been the main spur for this activity.

Whatever the outcome of the European parliamentary elections, Britain’s interests will continue to be best served by staying within the EU. Britain’s interests will also be best served by standing by our decent, inclusive and tolerant values. And Britain’s interests will therefore be best served by a courageous Liberal Democrat party led by Nick Clegg, standing apart from, and ahead of, the timidity of Labour and the Conservatives.


Turnout is above 40% which you would think favours UKIP.

Vicky Pryce is reporting from Athens and is talking about the effects of austerity on the Greek vote.

Mark Valladares 21:55

Meanwhile, whilst we await our fate here, news elsewhere is coming in fast. I’ll be trying to keep you up to date as best I can.

Early news from Slovakia is that turnout there has actually dropped from the appallingly low 19% in 2009 to an almost unbelievable 13% this time. Meanwhile, in Austria, the recently formed NEOS – the new Austria, has apparently polled over 8%, meaning that there will be a liberal MEP for the first time since 1999.

Caron Lindsay 21:55

I keep hearing this figure of 6 seats touted as what would be acceptable from conversations with various Lib Dems 4 Change people. I also keep hearing the figure of 2 seats from more party sources.  I never thought 6 was on the cards, right from the start. I hope that an unrealistic bar hasn’t been set and then failure to meet it used as an excuse to demand Clegg’s resignation. That would be extremely unfair.

The first result

North East – Angelika Schneider loses out for Lib Dems, gaining 5.9% of the vote, down 11%.

Labour win 2, UKIP 1

Danny Alexander has just said on Sky News that he expects “low single figures” for the Liberal Democrats


An unofficial result from Edinburgh suggests that the Liberal Democrats have come 5th in the city behind the Greens. If the Greens were going to do well anywhere, it was going to be in Edinburgh. It looks like there are only around  35 votes between Labour and the SNP across the city. That means, though, that pro independence parties have won in Edinburgh.

Eastern Region – Andrew Duff loses

This is the first loss of a sitting MEP and very sad to see Andrew Duff, who’s been in there since 1999, go.

UKIP win 3 seats, Conservatives 3, Labour 1

Our vote share halves to 7.5%.

Danny knows Patrick O’Callaghan, UKIP’s new MEP as he was a lobby journalist and was quite congratulatory about him being elected. There’s magnanimity, but it doesn’t come easy when it’s towards a party like UKIP.

From Europe: Mark Valladares writes at 22:49

News from Romania, where ALDE member, the National Liberal Party (PNL) has accused the victorious Social Democrats of transporting citizens by bus around the country to vote several times. An exit poll there puts the Social Democrats on 41%, with the PNL on 15% in second place.

And, in Germany, where last year’s national elections represented a warning to junior coalition partners everywhere, the FDP are predicted to come sixth, losing nine of their twelve seats.

Predicted Europe-wide result;

European People’s Party – 211 seats
European Socialists (includes Labour) – 193 seats
Alliance of Liberal & Democrats (includes Liberal Democrats) – 74 seats
Greens – 58 seats
European United Left/Nordic Green Left – 47 seats
European Conservatives & Reformers (includes Conservatives) – 39 seats
Europe of Freedom & Democracy (includes UKIP) – 33 seats
Others – 96 seats

The tears begin – Caron Lindsay 23:15

With plenty reason.

Bill Newton Dunn is such a decent human being. It’s horrible to see him lose. We only managed to gain 60,000 votes across the whole of the East Midlands.

In a way the East Midlands seat was on borrowed time, We shouldn’t really have won it last time, but that doesn’t make it any less horrible.

Bad news from Scotland

No result till tomorrow, but we are currently in 6th place behind the Greens and UKIP. However, in one held seat our vote was 1200 up. I suspect once we’ve pored over the data from each seat tomorrow, we’ll find that we’re doing a bit better.

What is completely unedifying is that the SNP has been blaming the pro UK parties for the rise in UKIP’s vote (nowhere near as high as it is down south but they might get a seat) and Danny Alexander suggested that it was the SNP’s fault for characterising the competition between the SNP and UKIP. It’s not edifying to see. We should just all be mortified and determined to tackle their prejudice and fear mongering head on.

Our best hope gone as Sir Graham Watson loses in South West

Greens gain their first seat in the South West. Labour also win a seat, the Tories 2 and UKIP 2.

I’m going to open the wine before I actually start using sweary words.

Bill Newton Dunn, superstar

I did not hear him say it, but it is reported on Twiter that our lovely defeated East Midlands MEP said on Radio 4: “Nigel Farage talks complete bollocks”

Chris Davies – gone

The man who knows all about fish and sustainable fishing will not be bringing his expertise to Europe. He lost his North West seat.

Our best hope of a seat now lies with Catherine Bearder in the South East and I’m told that we might just have done it.  Fingers crossed.

Phil Bennion – gone

As of now, 12:35, we are 6 seats down. Phil Bennion is the latest casualty.

The humiliation of defeat teaches us more than the vanity of victory

So said Sir Graham Watson. He and Edward McMillan Scott were both interviewed on Sky. It strikes me that while I’ve been hiding in a quiet corner of Facebook swearing a lot, these amazing people have faced the press with such dignity. Feeling slightly ashamed of myself now.

“And the 9th seat goes to Catherine Zena Bearder”

Finally, at 00:45, we get our first and perhaps only MEP as Catherine Bearder squeaks in by around 7000 votes in the south east. Congratulations to her, our standard bearer.

“Desperately sad”

Willie Rennie’s reaction to the loss of George Lyon as MEP:

George Lyon was an outstanding representative for Scotland in Europe and has been a huge credit to himself and the Liberal Democrats. Although his loss was not a big surprise I am still desperately sad by his defeat.

I do take some comfort from our stronger performance in seats with Liberal Democrat MPs and that our share of vote has risen since the Holyrood Elections.  But that is not enough – I am determined that we will do better.

We continue to pay the price for being in coalition and for the decisions we have taken in government. I get that.

In this election we put forward a positive case which was unashamedly pro European.  Despite our defeat I am proud of that


So it looks like we’re not going to get the London result till morning. I have been reduced to playing Snog, Marry, Avoid by text with a friend as a displacement activity. Time for bed though. Let’s resume in the morning and chew it all over.

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  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 9:40pm

    If Clegg does not achieve at least 6 seats tonight he has to go. He has become toxic.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 9:47pm

    Praise to Caron for doing all this work this weekend and for however long she has been doing it. She’s not entirely happy with everything either, but she’s being constructive.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 25th May '14 - 9:50pm

    I don’t think 6 seats was ever on the cards. Right at the start I thought we’d be lucky to get 4 on a good day.

    And thanks, Eddie. It’s been a very busy weekend.

  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 9:52pm

    Why not 6? That still wouldn’t even be half what we got last time.

  • Paul In Twickenham 25th May '14 - 9:59pm

    My money is (quite literally) on 2 to 4, but most likely 3. Been saying this for 18 months during which I’ve gone from being regarded as a dreadful pessimist to a starry-eyed optimist. South-East, South-West and London (sorry, Caron!).

    I am however horrified by what is unfolding on the continent: the nationalist right is on the rise. Frankly I put the blame for this firmly at the feet of the elite who have pursued “the project” without feeling it necessary to bring the electorate with them.

  • I visit the site out of interest. I am amazed that LibDem supporters still feel hard done by, undervalued, their efforts not recognised etc,etc,

    As a party you betrayed the people by supporting the Tories. You did not keep them in check or balance the coalition extremes.
    Can you not recognise that LD MP’s such as Danny Alexander went native and became mor Tory than the Tories.

    I think you part will be punished for at least a generation – I do hope so.

  • Caron Lindsay “I don’t think 6 seats was ever on the cards.

    Really, why ever not?

  • Good look aitting through this . Not looking v good so far.

  • Julian Gibb – “You betrayed the people by supporting the Tories”

    What about the people who voted for the Tories? Presumably we betrayed them by keeping the Tories in check.

  • “There’s emergency malt whisky in the cupboard, too, if I need it.”

    But hopefully not a pearl handled revolver…. 😉

  • I just wish to say how sorry I am to hear of the loss of Andrew Duff, one of our parties hardest working members (which is a high bar).

    The fact he lost out to a group of populists makes it all the more depressing.

  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 10:38pm

    This is turning into a bloodbath

  • peter chapmanbsyb 25th May '14 - 10:41pm

    You can’t win elections if your party has been destroyed on the ground

  • Radical Liberal – tonight might be a good night to keep your glee under control.

  • I thought the expectation on Friday morning was 4 MEPs. It looks like three with the loss of Graham Watson in South West that the BBC have said is likely.

  • Someone saying that LDs came 5th in Sheffield. Heck.

  • Mr Gibb, we are not all Orange Bookers on here. I never was one and never will be neither is Radical Liberal so do keep up.

    Paul the rise in the far right is a real concern, The problem with the Lib Dem campaign was it was too middle class and didn’t get across to people how the EU can benefit them, their families etc,. My mate’s electricians course was funded by ESF from the EU, The Isolationists would’ve taken this away so that he couldn’t train in this career. Why wasn’t the ESF, inner city regeneration, benefits to trade of the Single Market and small businesses ever made clear on the election broadcasts. There have been plenty of EU funded infrastructure projects all over the country which were totally ignored and not even mentioned by Mr Clegg allowing the Isolationists to scaremonger on immigration which does need to be regulated but without all the scaremongering and demonising of immigrants they are renowned for.

  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 11:24pm

    6th in Scotland. Disgraceful.

  • Julian Critchley 25th May '14 - 11:26pm

    @Radical LIberal

    It’s not about Clegg. It’s really important that the remainder of the party don’t allow this to become some sort of Clegg-focused issue.

    The 2010 party hasn’t shed two-thirds of its support because of Clegg. It’s shed two-thirds of its support because two-thirds of us didn’t want the Orange Book, didn’t vote for the Orange Book, and have been appalled to see the LibDem Parliamentary Party implementing the Orange Book. It’s far too late now for the MPs to try and “differentiate” with the Tories. They were elected standing on a manifesto, and ten years of policy platforms, which did not adopt a “public=bad/private = good” default position, which did not back massive public spending cuts in a recession, which did not support the hammering of the poorest and the feather-bedding of the richest, which did not support the further fragmentation and selling off of our health and education services. We already had two right-wing Thatcherite parties in 2010, and we didn’t vote for them. So why on earth the leadership expected to retain our votes when they decided to become a third right-wing Thatcherite party remains an utter mystery to me.

    It’s not Clegg. It’s the policies which they have supported and implemented. Unless the rump party members realise that, then there is no way back. To be honest, I don’t see a way back anyway. The building of a viable third party, which took thirty years from 1981 to 2010, has been utterly destroyed in 4 years by the catastrophic political miscalculation of the current party leadership. It’s a tragedy for British politics, an absolute tragedy. But it’s not Clegg. Every single LibDem Parliamentarian who voted for NHS privatisation, for the bedroom tax, for Gove’s giveaway of our schools to his chums, and for the prolonging of the depression through masochistic economic illiteracy, is to blame.

    This isn’t the worst yet. The leadership and MPs are still kidding themselves that 2015 won’t be as bad as this at Westminster. Yes it will. If the LibDems still have double figures of MPs, they’ll be lucky.

  • I think we’ll be lucky to get 1.

  • John Barrett 25th May '14 - 11:27pm

    Despite what Tim and other party spokesmen are saying in the media, most party members know that our poor vote tonight is not because of our pro-European position, it is because of the complete lack of trust the public now have in the party. The loss of MEPs tonight, councillors last week and over the previous few years and those who were elected to the Scottish Parliament, is not because of the actions and record of those who have lost their seats, but because of the actions of and decisions taken at Westminster and by our leadership in Government. As long as they remain in complete denial, we will never be able to move forward.

  • peter chapmanbsyb 25th May '14 - 11:32pm

    no other party would allow the disaster unfolding tonight ,lead by Nick Cleggs disastrous euro campaign strategy ,without making the architect of the campaign accountable.Surely people can see there must be change now…..there’s nothing left to lose

  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 11:33pm

    This is a judgement on Clegg. He made this campaign about him the moment he agreed to the debates with Farage. He has been rejected by the voters and must be rejected by the party.

  • South-West lost.

  • Malcolm Todd 25th May '14 - 11:39pm

    Julian Critchley
    “The building of a viable third party, which took thirty years from 1981 to 2010” — oh dear. Prepare for the (justified) wrath of Huntbach to descend upon you.

  • @Radical
    Do you really think that the Farage debates were the key factor, not trust in general?

  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 11:42pm

    Voter – I think its a trust issue. But I also think it reflects Clegg’s lack of judgement in wanting the debate – he of course called for them not Farage. In both respects its about Clegg’s failings.

  • Philip Rolle 25th May '14 - 11:42pm

    Everyone seems to be talking about a change of leader, but I think any leader will fare much the same within the coalition. For effective differentiation, you will need to withdraw,

  • Graham Watson out. This is grim, grim, grim.

  • Julian Critchley 25th May '14 - 11:44pm


    I think perhaps part of the issue is that the LibDem hardcore are now so much in denial that they might well prefer to spend their time arguing semantic tosses, rather than engaging with why the justified wrath of the electorate has descended upon the party.

  • Paul In Twickenham 25th May '14 - 11:45pm

    Tim Farron says “we want to do the right thing”. How do you do that when you have no seats?

  • Bring out the whisky

  • Another hammering in Wales down 16%. Hammering after hammering which Nick Clegg has presided over party leader so if it’s not goodbye Mr Clegg now it will soon be and goodbye to our Party if he doesn’t resign.

  • 28,000 votes in Wales.

  • ““The building of a viable third party, which took thirty years from 1981 to 2010″ — oh dear. Prepare for the (justified) wrath of Huntbach to descend upon you.”

    I think we need some of his ever interesting wrath to give us something to smile about. 🙁

    This is as bad as we all feared (knew) it would be.

  • Little Jackie Paper 25th May '14 - 11:50pm

    John Barrett – ‘…our poor vote tonight is not because of our pro-European position, it is because of the complete lack of trust the public now have in the party.’

    Well, whether it is or it isn’t about trust I think that the party of IN message at the very least needs to be looked at in the context of these results (across Europe, not just the UK).

    I don’t know what the answer is here, or how far it is or is not an anti-EU per se vote. But I can not deny that being pro-EU now is swimming against the tide. That of course might be seen as principled – fair enough, But to reduce this to trust alone seems to me to be wilfully ducking what is being said about the EU by the voters Why people make that value judgment isn’t really the point.

  • At least the Greens got one, so it is not only UKIP celebrating winning a seat in an organisation they supposedly wish to leave. 😛

  • The Greens don’t want to leave the EU though, I thought their campaign about supporting the EU but making specific changes was quite clever.

  • Might Clegg lose his seat in 2015? LD came last in Sheffield. It’s not impossible .

  • Malcolm Todd 25th May '14 - 11:53pm

    Julian Critchley

    I don’t know why you think I’m part of the Lib Dem “hard core”. I voted Green (again). For all the difference it made.

  • Evidence from the UK and continental Europe that votes are heading for the extremes of left and right and away from the liberal centre.

    There was always going to be a headwind to fight against.

  • @Phyllis

    The vote went up in his constituency, so very unlikely that he would.

  • Loss in the South West as well pushed to 5th by the Greens….

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 11:55pm

    I want the UK to be in the centre of the EU, not at any price, but that should be the goal. We should also be brave enough to challenge the myths about the euro, but that’s another topic. The problem is once we start using dodgy figures and scaremongering it makes us look like we are on the side of the EU and not the people. I think people like John Pugh have been saying this by saying we are on the side of the governed and not the government and criticising spin. Summarising key points is fine, but figures shouldn’t be exaggerated.

  • Christine Headley 25th May '14 - 11:57pm

    I don’t understand why we aren’t going to win any seats in the South East, when we had two before. Can anyone explain?

    I’m gutted about Graham Watson, who I have admired since the early 80s.

  • All the more reason for Clegg to resign his leadership now as he might keep his seat. I wonder now whether we should have a referendum and see when it comes down to it if the right/far right will get their way or if people listen to the arguments and then the consequences of leaving on jobs, trade and inward investment and vote to stay in but with reforms. What happened to Ken Clarke, he kept a very low profile in despite being pro EU?

  • peter chapmanbsyb 25th May '14 - 11:58pm

    What these results show is just how hard our well our local candidates did on Thursday getting 13 per cent…..I think if the party keeps 15 seats next year it will be a miracle. The public has spoken …they disliked our euro message… They dislike our leader….why is nobody listening? At Westminster?

  • Julian Critchley 25th May '14 - 11:58pm

    @Little Jackie

    It’s badly mistaken to think the LibDem wipeout is as a result of simply Clegg, as some are suggesting. But it’s even more mistaken to believe that it’s got anything at all to do with Clegg’s stance on Europe. Not even UKIP’s vote is necessarily to do with Europe (most UKIP supporters don’t mention Europe in their top issues).

    The LibDems have been killed by their own active participation in pushing forward policies which most of their 2010 supporters and members did not support. It really is that simple. You could change to Farron, adopt an “Out Tomorrow” position, and re-run the election, and you’d still get the same woeful percentage.

    There was never any room in “the centre” for another Thatcherite party. All those voters were already taken. So when the Orange Bookers joyfully put the party there, they willingly sacrificed most of their support for no additional votes. This result was predicted in 2010, as soon as it became clear that they were fully signed up to supporting policies which weren’t even in the coalition agreement. The remaining LibDems are like the band on the titanic, arguing about whether throwing the captain overboard, or playing a different tune, will save them.

  • Little Jackie Paper 26th May '14 - 12:02am

    Eddie Sammon – With respect, give the public more credit.

    The public know spin when they see it and they know a good ‘un when they see it. The sort of comment-heavy media and the prevalence of internet talk-boardism might give a different impression – but the public aren’t stupid.

    This, by the way is why I hate the message, ‘people are anti-EU because they don’t understand it.’

    Voters can judge the claims of politicians for themselves – give them credit for it. And as I said earlier, frankly if there is an anti-EU mood then it is what it is.

  • @david, it is was mostly just a joke to get over the loss of Graham, who worked on several key issues that were really close to my heart. Just to clarify, it was not an attack on the Greens, who I actually respect and vote for on their social policies; however, I do believe that their party’s official policy is still to leave the EU. (Though, this was, of course, different to the campaign they run in the actual EU election.)

    If I am wrong on the above, please do correct me.

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 12:02am

    I’m inclined to agree that the wholesale rejection of the Lib Dems in this election doesn’t necessarily reflect voters’ attitudes to “Party of IN”, any more than the support for UKIP is a simple reflection of anti-EU sentiment. Just as people are voting UKIP because they imagine Nigel Farage is braver and more plain-spoken than most politicians, so they are voting against the Lib Dems because Nick Clegg’s bravely taking on NF in public debate has reminded them just how much they dislike Clegg. Probably.

  • Julian Critchley 26th May '14 - 12:03am


    My shoddy phrasing, I’m afraid. I was referring to the hardcore as those members still in the party who believe that there’s any mileage in continuing to try and find the electoral cigarette paper between New Labour and the Tories, or who think that somehow a vast, as-yet-unvoting, number of people will turn up in 2015 to reward the party for its principled and brave stand in supporting the most malevolent right-wing Government this country has had since WWII. Or even just those who perform mental gymnastics to try and find a way of believing that the whole LibDem parliamentary party won’t be able to fit into a small minibus this time next year.

    No offence to you. I split my vote – Greens where it would count in the Euros, and Labour in the locals. All three of my local LibDem councillors lost to Labour, and it looks like the Greens might take a LibDem seat in London. I think that’s the first time my vote has ever counted in any election – something of a record.

  • Peter – they live in a bubble like all the Orange Bookers do and like self destruction would see the party die to keep their right wing libertarian mantra.

  • David Williams more than 40 years as a Richmond councillor, Chris Maines 28 years as a councillor and probably more as a stalwart of thenConference organisation, and now Graham Watson our first MEP and someone who has a record as an MEP which is second to none in the EP.

    Between them they have clocked up more than 100 years loyal service to the party.
    They are mainstream, party loyalists and each of them is worth a thousand Nick Cleggs.

    If Clegg had any personal decency he would recognise the facts get on the phone to Graham Watson and apologise and then resign as leader of the party that he has failed repeatedly.

    All of the, and many, many more over the last seven years sacrificed on the altar of Clegg.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '14 - 12:06am

    Little Jackie, the way I would have done it the public would know they had a leader as well as a listener. There are loads of ways to achieve this goal, but they don’t just want someone to take their orders and let populists like Farage and Miliband drag debates into gutters.

  • Little Jackie Paper 26th May '14 - 12:06am

    Julian Critchley – I don’t as such disagree. But…
    1) The UK’s increase anti-EU sentiment is in line more-or-less with other parts of the EU. That to my mind is important.
    2) UKIP supporters don’t mention Europe because it goes without saying.
    3) If there is an anti-UK Coalition vote going on I’d have expected the LD and Con declines to be similar. The LD decline thus far looks markedly larger than the Con decline. I’m sure there is some anti-coalition element here, but that isn’t exclusive with a wider euroscepticism.

  • John Barrett 26th May '14 - 12:08am

    Two questions. Why could we not even get those who were pro-European to vote for us, when it was clear we were the only party who could spell out where they stood in relation to Europe? and would it have made any difference changing the captain, after the Titanic had hit the ice-berg?

  • Peter Chegwyn 26th May '14 - 12:11am

    Add Chris Davies to your list John. Guitted for him and Graham Watson along with the others who have already lost.

    I always had low expectations of how many Euro seats we would hold but I did think that even in the darkest hour Catherine Bearder would hold on in the South East. Now it looks as if even she may lose.

    Watching the results come in is like watching the Eurovision Song Contest knowing that Britain may end up with nil points. Depressing in the extreme.

  • I never thought he would, but after this result I think Clegg may resign. He is going to get hammered in the media and has – rightly or wrongly – become a laughting stock in the country.

  • Julian Critchley 26th May '14 - 12:12am

    @Little Jackie

    “3) If there is an anti-UK Coalition vote going on I’d have expected the LD and Con declines to be similar. The LD decline thus far looks markedly larger than the Con decline.”

    I wouldn’t. For the simple reason that prior Tory voters LIKE what the coalition has done, so there’s no reason why they’d lose large numbers of votes. Their voters wanted a right-wing government, and they got one. Most LibDem voters, on the other hand, voted for a Government which was not right-wing, or even “centrist”, as defined by the Orange Booker rump. The LibDem manifesto in 2010 was to the left even of Labour. So I don’t think it’s any surprise that those voters have deserted the party in millions, while the Tories haven’t suffered remotely as badly.

  • Might still get 1 LD MEP in London.

  • Thanks ATF.

  • Malc. I don’t see how any honourable leader could not resign after this annihilation. But then it’s Nick Clegg whose skin is thicker than a rhino’s.

  • Little Jackie Paper 26th May '14 - 12:17am

    Julian Critchley – You may well be right. Though it does beg the question of where the pro-EU ex-LD voters have now gone. Looking at the (small) Labour rise I would guess some have gone there.

  • Didn’t he get over 20% in those debates with Farrage and he has hardly taken any of that with him afterwards. Clegg out.

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 12:21am

    My guess would be that some of those pro-EU ex-LD voters have (like me) gone to the Greens, despite their ambivalent attitude to the EU. But don’t forget that for most people (and again I include myself) the EU actually isn’t that hugely important an issue.

  • BBC showing heat map – LD support vanished everywhere in the country apart from one or two pockets.

  • peter chapmanbsyb 26th May '14 - 12:23am

    Even people who accept that Britain needs to in the eu see many faults and are not enthusiastic….most of our local lib dem members aren’t that enthusiastic to be honest…..I think the leaders of the lib dems really are a tiny minority in their enthusism…I think some have voted green and some ukip

  • John Barrett 26th May '14 - 12:23am

    Caron – what you actually said about the result was that UKIP was nowhere in Scotland and would not win here.

  • The country is not uniformly anti-Europe. (Think how close any referendum vote will be.) Any suggestion that the Lib Dems are being wiped out solely for their pro Europe views seems unlikely?

  • We have now lost Chris Davies as well – down to only two?

  • Has everyone who appears in front of the cameras been ordered to say they support Clegg’s Farage debates? They are all parroting the same line.

  • Graham Watson on BBC TV — “The humiliation of defeat always teaches you more than the vanity of victory.”

    Clegg has given the party seven years of annual defeats, we must have learned a lot.

  • Toby Fenwick 26th May '14 - 12:33am

    Looks like Catherine has survived, but she’s the only one so far.

  • Toby Fenwick 26th May '14 - 12:35am

    Why does Danny (speaking now on R4) think Clegg is our “strongest asset”? He’s more unpopular than Michael Foot was – and if Danny really believes this, we should fold our tent and go home.

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 12:41am

    No amount of spin? I think you underestimate the spinners. “In the fourth year of a government making hard decisions blah blah … holding on to half our vote — alright, nearly half our vote … blah blah blah…”

  • peter chapmanbsyb 26th May '14 - 12:42am

    Think of all of those mep,s offices closing down which used to support our local campaigning….but no doubt Cleggs has a plan for how we are going to win elections with no infrastructure

  • South-East MEP has been saved. One out of 12 ain’t bad

  • daft ha'p'orth 26th May '14 - 12:45am

    @Malcolm Todd
    I voted Green, and just heard that a Green MEP was elected in my area. I shed a tear or so after voting and I shed another tear or two just now (not taking mickey regarding sadness – just fact). I didn’t want to vote Green – I wanted to vote for the Lib Dems I used to vote for, back before they reinvented themselves as whatever they think they are now. It makes me profoundly sad that I can’t do that any more. I wish they would come back so I don’t have to vote for hemp, sandals and weed just to register a vote for ‘ dear somewhat-left-leaning party, please come back and take this vote instead of leaving it to the hemp, sandals and weed brigade’ 🙁

  • Catherine looks very relieved awww 🙂

  • Peter Chegwyn 26th May '14 - 12:47am

    Catherine in. Thank goodness for that!

  • Catherine is in, but it was a near thing.

  • Richard Johnson 26th May '14 - 12:53am

    Good that Catherine is in, also seen a few of the Tories I like retain their seats, shame about UKIP surging though. As already pointed out before, im not sure how indicative this is of a general election due to the low turnout and the different electoral system.

  • Julian Critchley 26th May '14 - 12:54am


    [sarcasm] “South-East MEP has been saved. One out of 12 ain’t bad” [/sarcasm]

    Black humour is going to be important, I think.

    There will come a point when the LibDems lose critical mass, when they’re no longer seen as a major party, and take their place amongst the also-rans and nationalists. Then the media completely ignore them, and the death spiral really begins. Actually, they’re already there.

    Am I the first to point out that the last time the third party received such a small percentage of the vote, it was 1959 and Macmillan was PM ?

    The Orange Bookers haven’t just turned the clock back 30 years. They’ve turned it back 50 years. A truly historic achievement.

  • I don’t think our vote has been halved. Isn’t this quite good?

  • I don’t think our vote has been halved. Isn’t this quite good?

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 12:56am

    Oh well, Clegg will claim a triumph now. “Despite all the naysayers, we still have a Euro MP! It was all worth it!”

    I know what you mean, not-so-daft ha’p’orth. I feel a little similarly about my vote (though two of the Green candidates being friends of mine made it easier for me to bury my doubts).

    Daniel Hannan’s speech just now was interesting, though I don’t suppose it will come to anything either.

  • Is it all about Clegg? No, it is also about the way we betrayed our principles.

    So does that mean that ditching Clegg would be a futile waste of time? No, on the contrary, it is an absolutely essential first step. Clegg is indelibly identified with betrayal, with the Orange Blues, with failure. He cannot possibly lead our revival.

    Those who would ditch Clegg will also need to do more. A leadership election will provide the means toward that essential second step.

    Those who would retain Clegg must ask – to what end? Does retaining Clegg mean retaining Clegg’s commitment to the Right? If not, what other stance could Clegg credibly maintain?

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 12:59am

    If I can indulge in pedanticism again, Julian — the third party in this election is either Labour or the Tories, and has received the biggest third-party vote in a national election since 1983…

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 1:01am

    I think the point about ditching Clegg is not that it would have any chance of saving the Lib Dems in 2015, but by getting their rethink in first it might give them a better chance of recovery in 2020. (Or indeed in 2016/17, because another hung parliament remains highly possible and a stable coalition is probably less likely next time.)

  • Well, Malcolm, to me, Catherine retaining her seat completely vindicates our EU campaign and proves I am wholly right to blindly follow Nick to the sounds of gun fire (well, I will probably be in front, but still)!

  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '14 - 1:03am

    Well done to Catherine, but even if we got no MEPs many of us would have stood by the parliamentary party and not attempted a twitter putsch.

  • Julian Critchley 26th May '14 - 1:07am


    You’re a naughty boy. I only used “Third Party” because I knew that if I said the Liberal Democrats, some hair-splitter would turn up to say that in 1959 the party was just the Liberal Party. You can have that semantic victory. I think the point remains, however….

  • Danny on now, looks very teary. But still sticking to ‘the message’

  • If I have to hear much more of Danny Alexander talking drivel and saying he is “very proud” of the campaign we fought I may have to buy a new TV after I have put my foot through this one.

  • Ooh someone from Southampton telling it like it is.

  • Julian Critchley 26th May '14 - 1:09am

    That’s right Eddie, just because there’s an iceberg in front, and the ship is steaming straight towards it, doesn’t mean that’s any reason to disturb the skipper.

  • A Voter in UK 26th May '14 - 1:09am

    Danny Alexander is another poison chalice.

  • Peter Watson 26th May '14 - 1:10am

    Danny Alexander seems to be defending the virtues of first-past-the-post!

  • Danny cringe.

  • Peter Hayes 26th May '14 - 1:10am

    In my ward it was all to keep the council member elected, not a word on the focuses for Graham Watson. Do I want to support a party that wants to be parochial?

  • Ooh chap from Southampton saying ‘carry in delivering leaflets etc’ has not worked, something needs to change.

  • Well done Martin Tod on the BBC. Danny being loyal, but then he has too.

  • Ah the leadership question. You can’t just carry on as you are when you’ve lost all your MEPS bar one.

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 1:11am

    Julian — point does, indeed, remain, and my pedanticism is only an attempt to hide my pain…

  • Danny looks ill.

  • London at last – Sutton vote down 6%

  • I can hardly think that Danny Alexander believes a word he is saying.

  • Ah ok London rejects Lib Dems

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 1:15am

    Gosh, it’s late. I’ve had enough of this and I’m off to bed. See you tomorrow. The future is gloomy. The future is, it seems, purple.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '14 - 1:16am

    Julian, they should do the honourable thing and resign rather than pretending to be friends and trying to kick you when you are down.

  • Now Caron Lindsay is spinning that we won’t see the same poor results in a General Election.

  • Martin Tod has just shown on BBC TV why he hold be in parliament and why Danny Alexander is just not up to the job.

    Martin was clear, articulate, intelligent and able to think on his feet.
    Danny looked and sounded like a speak-your- weight machine that had stalled. A rabbit in the headlights would have been more impressive.

  • @JohnTolley
    So what Danny said does not carry much weight

  • Martin came second in Winchester about 3,000 behind. I expect it was difficult following Mark Oaten.

  • The whole strategy team need the boot – utterly clueless. I’ve never seen such a misguided and inept campaign in my life.

  • Peter Chegwyn 26th May '14 - 1:30am

    Just texted Martin Tod to say ‘Well Done’ on his TV showing.

    Danny looked so uncomfortable as if even he knows the time is up for Nick Clegg.

    Many of the MPs who have stood loyally by him will, like the Conservatives with Margaret Thatcher in 1990, start putting self-preservation above loyalty to a Leader who has lost it with the electorate.

  • Just a few thoughts that I’m going to leave here.

    ‘The Orange Bookers’. This is useless fingerpointing. We will not recover from this if we decide that there is a scapegoat, that member there, yes, that one, and that we should get rid of that terrible member and then everything will be OK. If we do that, we will descend into infighting, people will get defensive and then everything will fall apart.

    The result. Its terrible. I like to stay up until at least one good thing happens during the count. The fact that I’m accepting a fifth place finish with a single seat won as that ‘good thing’ to avoid being sat up all night waiting is a pretty poor showing. We need a new direction, and the ideas that have been dominating our time in coalition have had their day. Its time for those who have been asking the rest of the party to follow their lead to accept this, and in turn work for exercising influence in a new programme. As they asked their opposite numbers to do when they were in the ascendancy.

    Leadership questions. Put bluntly, put up or shut up. If the party can get its 75 local leaders signatures together it must do so within the next few days. If Mr Clegg is to resign he must do so within the next few days. And even then the transition should be to a caretaker, not to a fullblown contest. If it doesn’t happen within the next few days, Ashdown’s advice is key. We will need to be out there delivering the message, not in here sharpening the knives. The media will continue to speculate. But the media hasn’t stopped speculating about Lib Dem leadership since Ming, Kennedy, Paddy…

    And finally, the Party leadership needs to make sure there is a message worth delivering. The Federal Policy Committee and the Manifesto Working Group hopefully have this in hand, but members I understand are able to join that conversation. No time like the present.

  • Yes kudos to Martin

  • Paul In Twickenham 26th May '14 - 1:40am

    @JohnTilley – my thought exactly. Danny Alexander could offer no explanation of what the party will do to resolve the current disastrous situation, other than to continue exactly as it is. I have seen people on this forum ask “what is the viable alternative strategy if we ditch Clegg”. Well let me ask : what is the viable strategy if we don’t? Because I have seen nothing that goes significantly beyond “cross our fingers and wish”.

  • “And finally, the Party leadership needs to make sure there is a message worth delivering”

    But after so many broken promises, no-one will believe anything said.

  • rob Jacques 26th May '14 - 1:46am

    I’m gutted that in Yorkshire we have lost Edward McMillan-Scott. Incredibly dignified at the count. Genuinely a fantastic MEP. Yorkshire is poorer tonight for his loss.

  • The Orange Bookers have got what they wanted. Clegg is their last bastion of power and power base in the party. For many of us on the left of centre who these OBs have got no interest in it’s far better to get involved in campaigns like Caroline Pigeon does in London as part of a process of wresting the party back from them and hopefully they will disappear up their own economic mantra arrises.

  • “But after so many broken promises, no-one will believe anything said”

    I am prepared to give the LibDem another chance in the future. But the party needs to recognise the issues, like NHS reform and the importance of keeping promises. I do not see anything like that from Clegg.

    Someone suggested party expulsion for MPs that break pledges. That sounds like an interesting option to pursue

  • @Phyllis

    ‘no-one will believe anything said’

    I speak to a lot of people who told me not very long ago that never again would they vote for Labour after the wars or the broken promises or the betrayal of their core vote. Or that never again would they vote Green after they found the Tory snuck in across the line thanks to our daft electoral system. Never for the Tories ever on principle. And so on.

    Tonight, many of those people are out on social media telling everyone how they’ve voted for Labour or the Greens, even Tories to keep UKIP down, or whatever group they said they’d never vote for.

    Never is a long time. And the next General Election will be one full of wildcards and unexpected opportunities. We need to be prepared to get hit by the Government train again in 2015, and having learned from our mistakes, having hopefully developed a sense that promising the moon on a stick and then failing to deliver it still counts as breaking a promise, we may be in a position to deliver on our message.

    Even if we go into opposition, it isn’t game over. One success for Clegg was the question of residency rights for Gurkha regiment servicemen – even though we weren’t in government, we found that we could deliver on our key message of fairness and equality for our ex-servicemen. It might have rested on embarassing enough of the two main parties’ MPs through the right lobby, but if we’d not been there, or worse, not bothered to speak up, it wouldn’t have happened. We can build up again, from those sorts of battles if we have to.

    (history note, I read that the Gurkha residency issue stands as the only Early Day Motion defeat for a sitting government since 1978… perhaps it could do with some company.)

  • T-J. I think you are being overly optimistic. Yes people may have returned to Labour or Tory but their vote and membership had never collapsed in such a spectacular way. Even after the last GE when Labour sugffered it’s worst defeat in many years, after four years they are in a healthy position, having had a change of Leader. The Lib Dems have been on a downward curve for the last six years and it has only gt worse year on year. So I think you vastly under-estimate the trouble you are in. Tonight, the Lib Dems were coming fifth/last region after region after region. And you only have 10 months. I think you need some kind of Truth and Reconciliation with the electorate to be honest.

    But if you think all you need is a new message and lots if hard wrk, then I wish you good luck.

  • Voter – yes I would too, but not if the current Leader is still in place. I’d have to be convinced that whoever the leader was they truly had Liberal values and principles.

  • @Phyllis

    ‘New message’ makes it sound like you think that I think we need to word what we’re doing in a different way. I know that I don’t. We need to do a new thing. A new programme for the next parliament, not a continuation of our current ideas and position.

    For Truth, we need to drop the more optimistic claims about how much manifesto survived the coalition agreement, and accept blame for letting some of the Tory nasty through. Hopefully that’ll also involve getting some credit for blocking some nasty, as well as for getting a handful of our ideas through too. But if not, never mind.

    Reconciliation? That’s not going to be possible until we’ve gone through the cleansing fire of a general election, I think. But we can certainly lay the groundwork now. And while we’re on reconciliation, we need to be bury the hatchet between our two internal groupings and agree to work together on the new programme. That we need.

    And lots of hard work? We’ll definitely need that. And good luck never hurts.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 2:32am

    rob Jacques

    I’m gutted that in Yorkshire we have lost Edward McMillan-Scott. Incredibly dignified at the count. Genuinely a fantastic MEP. Yorkshire is poorer tonight for his loss.

    And so for all the others. Perhaps it would have helped if we’d centred our campaigning on pointing out what a good job they did rather than on the person of Nick Clegg.

  • Only glimmer tonight was Martin Tod finally making a ‘grandee’ listen, and Danny had very little to say.
    You can’t win elections if you cut yourself off from your members.
    28,000 votes in the whole of Wales!!

  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '14 - 2:47am

    Martin Tod’s interview wound me up. Resign or discuss these things in private.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 2:51am

    Eddie Sammon – what a disgraceful thing to say. Clegg is a dead man walking. You lot are responsible for this.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 3:09am

    Well there we have it. 1 MEP and in 5th place behind the Greens. Go Clegg now.

  • Sarah lost! We now have just the one MEP. I think we have never had so few MEPs since 1994.

  • Down to a single MEP. Eleven losses. In fifth place, in both seats and overall vote, behind the Greens.
    This is not a disaster for the Party. This is a catastrophe. If Nick Clegg fails to own the responsibility for it as he ought, I can conclude nothing other than that he is morally unfit to be Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

  • jedibeeftrix 26th May '14 - 3:18am

    bbc projecting 19 labour and 18 tory, does this include NI results?

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 3:21am

    Michael – in 1994 we did better, we won two seats. This is a disaster. I am furious with the orange bookers who have led us to this. This is our warning, we need to act now and get rid of Clegg. Simply walking into electoral oblivion is madness.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '14 - 3:31am

    The rebels need a final warning to keep things private or get the whip removed. Most will listen.

  • The campaign such as it was simply promoted Clegg. It was Clegg on the several times repeated PPB. It was Clegg on the two TV programmes and the radio programme which in fact boosted Farage. it was Clegg, Clegg, Clegg. There is no hiding place for him on this one.

    We will not be taken seriously by the media now. They have the perfect excuse to go back to trivialising and patronising anyone from the party.

    This is Clegg’s fault, this is what Clegg has done repeatedly at every annual election for the seven years that he has been leader, what he did with the AV referendum, what he has done at every single parliamentary byelection except Eastleigh (which was won despite him not because of him). He must go and he must go now.

    According to the BBC the only places where Lib Dems headed the poll was South Lakeland and Gibraltar.

    Which maybe is a clue for who should replace Clegg.

  • Well. I managed to watch the whole thing through.
    Pretty depressing., . The Party of In stuff has failed, but it looks like another hung parliment .

  • Steve Comer 26th May '14 - 4:32am

    It pains me to read what John Tilley has posted, but I have to say I agree with every word – apart from the last sentence!

  • Nick Clegg needs to go, he took the fight to Nigel Farage and UKIP and proved that they could beat an experienced party leader in debate. Of course he’s not wholly responsible for their victory, but he did give them the credibility and momentum which they’ve successfully built on.

    I cannot think of a more tactically inept politician in modern times.

  • @julian midnight…..”The LibDems have been killed by their own active participation in pushing forward policies which most of their 2010 supporters and members did not support.”

    Of all the posts on here this summed up my feelings exactly… …you had a glorious opportunity back then with people like me and now have reaped what you sowed since then. So perhaps what needs to happen is not just to symbolically sacrifice the leader but a good long reflection about yourselves. I personally find no satisfaction in waking to see such disastrous results as these for this party, but it can rise again once it reflects on why it has reached such a low point in the electorate’ s eyes.

  • Richard Harris 26th May '14 - 7:31am

    As a household that voted LD for the first time at the GE because of the tuition fee pledge, I can report that we cheered at each UK result when no yellow was present. A wonderful (and rare example) of a party reaping what it sowed.

  • Charles Rothwell 26th May '14 - 7:39am

    It was the “IN” campaign which led me to rejoin the Party and I agreed (passionately) with every word Nick said in his York spring conference speech, the PPBs, the debates with Farage and subsequently (e.g. on the Andrew Marr Show the Sunday before the elections). The plain fact is, however, that Nick totally misread the public mood and the depth of despair, hopelessness and total alienation felt by millions (especially the elderly and white working class voters) from Westminster politics/London/the kind of centre-left, internationalist, liberal stance which I personally have always taken and, above all, immigrants (in the same way such alienation has found expression across much of Europe in recent days). (And let’s be clear, all that Farage has managed to do (albeit very successfully, it has to be admitted) is to harness this despair and alienation (among social groups with whom he does not have the faintest in common) and give it a name, “Europe”, against which people can vent their hatred). Removing him (Clegg) as a knee-jerk reaction would, however, pull apart what is left of the Party entirely in my view and take it back to the 1920s/1930s when you had “Lloyd George Liberals” versus “Squiffites” etc. I think Clegg should stay on as Leader/Deputy PM but make it absolutely clear he will be stepping down as Leader immediately after the 2015 GE. The Party would then need to consider its policies and approach to the Election (drawing upon the WIDEST possible consultation with the entire membership) and then carry out the process for electing a new Leader immediately after the GE has taken place. The very best the Party can hope for in 2015 is entering some kind of Coalition with Labour (as the results of the past few days also make it abundantly clear that Milliband is by no means whatsoever on track to secure a majority) and then ‘re-finding’ itself as the kind of centre-LEFT party it should remain. The main pain I feel this morning, however, is for the thousands of dedicated elected Liberal Democrats at local and European levels and their helpers who must really be wondering just how bitter an activity politics can be. All I can say is, “Thank you!” from the bottom of my heart.

  • People do seem to want the in / out referendum it is worth remembering that the LibDems were the only major Party offering this last time around……

  • Tony Dawaon 26th May '14 - 7:42am

    The Conference ‘Glee Club’, for years has sung ‘losing deposits’ as a satirical throw-back to the Thorpe years.

    Nick Clegg has made it the new reality. 🙁

  • Charles Rothwell 26th May '14 - 7:45am

    Richard Harris: Many thanks for your candour. It was this issue (tuition fees) which alienated me from the Party to begin with as well. I felt, however, that the rise of UKIP represented an even greater threat to the future of this country and, rejecting (entirely) the mess left behind in so many areas by New Labour and sickened by Cameron’s pandering to Farage with his referendum pledges (a tactic which has totally and abjectly failed), I felt the Lib Dems were the only party to which I could (again) award my support. Obviously you (and very many others) have not felt the same but, instead, have transferred your support (in most cases either to Labour or the Greens) and that sank the party in the past few days. We desperately need to learn (and not just SAY this!) from these appalling results in the first step towards learning (as Peter Abelard stated) is questioning in order to be able to understand.

  • Helen Dudden 26th May '14 - 7:49am

    I was sad to see the going of Sir Graham Watson. I have had contact with him in the past.

    If you could not read the signs then, what more can I say.

    Just consulted on Brussels 11a, not something your Party had interest in, the subject of International Law.

    I left the Party because, no need to add further.

  • Charles Rothwell 26th May '14 - 8:02am

    I would like to add to what has been said about the loss of Edward Macmillan Scott as MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber. When I compare the enormous hard work and dedication he has brought to the job (under both the Lib Dems and, prior to that, the Conservatives) with the truly disgraceful behaviour of Kipper MEPs elected in previous rounds, I really do begin to wonder about the electoral system introduced under New Labour which does not allow people to vote for individuals. Thank you very much to Edward for all he has done and very best wishes for the future!

  • Richard Harris 26th May '14 - 8:12am

    @Charles Rothwell – thanks for your honest reply. Tuition fees and support for things like Royal Mail privatisation did move us back to Labour. In truth, at the last GE I perceived the LDs as left of Labour on social policy. There is nowhere else for my vote to go until the LDs gain my trust and that is a long, long way off – change of leadership would help. You could start by preventing the privatisation of the East Coast Main Line – a purely ideological privatisation – this would send a strong message that you would put practical solutions ahead of ideology.

  • I’m adding my best wishes for Andrew Duff to. Hard working, intelligent, thoughtful – and perhaps provocative in some ways. His knowledge and skill will be replaced by some adolescent UKIP members intent on trashing the place.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 8:44am

    Eduardo – its a terrible record of failure. He’s failed as a party leader and failed in government. At least Blair was a success in terms of the former. Clegg should resign, he has no right to take the party down with him.

  • Eduardo, your table doesn’t include the Scottish result. Since 1999 the Scotish Liberal Democrats have had a presence in Europe, they’ve now lost that. This is a country that once upon a time the Liberal Democrats could govern in as part of a coalition.

  • Surely now even our beloved Caron must know Clegg has to go, last night is only a forerunner of what the general election will be.

  • As I said on another thread. My household did not receive a single leaflet from “any” of the parties on Europe.
    I was disgusted by this, especially since Europe is such a big issue.
    I wanted to hear from all the parties, I wanted to know what they stood for, where they the party of in/out. Did they want to reform parts of the EU.
    But most of all I wanted to know what are the benefits of remaining in the EU for people like me.

    As I say, I got nothing.

    I did watch the debates between Clegg and Farage and what stuck in my mind the most was cleggs response to a question. How did he see the EU in 10 years time and his response was, pretty much the same.

    To my mind that was appalling. It said to me that Clegg had this carry on regardless attitude and he was not listening to the concerns of the people.

    So on that basis, I voted for UKIP. it is the first time I have ever voted UKIP in my life, it is a vote I never thought I would have to make, but make it I did.
    And the reason for doing so. Not that I agree entirely with everything UKIP is about, but because on some issues I can identify with. And that by giving my vote to UKIP, hopefully if many others like me did the same, it would force the hands other parties and make to them start to listen to ordinary people like me.

    This is democracy at work.

    If you ignore the electorate, don’t give them a voice and act in a way that seems more like a dictatorship (we know whats best for you) Then people like me find themselves having to take extreme measures in order to be heard

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '14 - 9:01am

    It is not too late to have a material effect on the GE result. GE results change drastically with the smallest of vote shifts, if those shifts are in the right places.

    We have got where we are because of targeting – first in those pioneering wards in places like Church Ward, Liverpool, 1970s, later in constituencies like Yeovil (1980s). Then in sub-regions. (1990s)

    It is essential that we maximize our numbers in the 2015/20 Parliament so that we maximize our chances of being in a position of power in that Parliament . A sweeping view over Europe and particularly the Euro Zone, last night, with the rise of parties such as FN in France, Golden Dawn in Greece and UKIP here – should leave no one in doubt about the need for Liberal Democrat influence in Government.

    But it is obvious that Nick Clegg is a barrier to us maximizing ability to convince 300,000 switch voter numbers in the key seats we must hold. He is a barrier in two ways. He is toxic to the potential switch voters in the key seats. He is not politically experienced enough to manage such a targeted campaign.

    At the moment, we are totally dependent on UKIP remaining at least 50% as strong as they were in this election and that they continue to compete with the Tories for ‘that’ vote. If that vote subsides further than its present 14% GE VI or if it comes to some accommodation with the Ts, we shall be toast and the country all the more vulnerable to dark forces.

  • Clegg has little or no credibility, my fear is that the longer he hangs on respect will go as well, and that is even worse.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 9:06am

    I see Lynne Featherstone wants Clegg to stay. I guess she has calculated she is going to lose her seat whatever happens so may as well cosy up to the leader to secure that peerage. I know many people don’t like to think on those lines but at this stage there is a great deal of self interest at work with people not bothered about the interests of the party.

  • My reflections this morning are simple: it says much about the current political climate that many British people are celebrating the ‘destruction’ of the Lib Dems rather than fearing the raise of fascism across Europe.

    We as a party need to address this issue.

  • What is a real shame about the comments on this thread is that, if the likes of david and Radical Liberal get their way, those of us who have found common cause with the more left leaning members over the past twenty years, fighting conservative, labour, green and ukip alike, will conclude, like me, that their input is no longer required.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 9:09am

    Tabman – welcome to our world

  • Well, I hope you enjoy it RL, because even if it’s the other half, it’s still only half and it’s still oblivion.

  • peter chapmanbsyb 26th May '14 - 9:16am

    the real problem is that the orange bookers have created a party there is no need for.If you are basically a non racist multinational free market capitalist you can now in all good conscience be a Tory. there is still a need for a non socialist/ corporate radical party to represent those who need protection and support.Isn’t it ironic that so many of us joined the Liberals andSDP to form a new alternative to the Tories….How the hell did we let our party be hijacked by this mob who’s definition of our future is basically as liberal Tories

  • Charles Rothwell 26th May '14 - 9:18am

    Have just seen Farage on Breakfast TV announcing, with his usual candour, that he is going (again) to learn directly from the Liberal Democrats by focusing resources ruthlessly on those constituencies where the Kippers will have a good chance of securing MPs in forthcoming by-elections and then in the 2015 GE (maximalist aim: displace LDs and hold balance of power (obviously with aim of uniting with a post-Cameron Tory Party). The three main parties (in which I still include us (Farage is already claiming his lot are really “the third party” already)) have got to take this into account and assess each constituency on its own merits equally as ruthlessly in the coming year. (I was disgusted that my own ward in the local elections actually returned a Kipper* (together with one other council ward, meaning the Kippers are now represented on the council for the first time). The reason for this was that Labour and the Conservatives split the vote and allowed the Kipper in. I stayed loyal to the LD candidate, but the overall LD vote was 6.9%. (We used to have three Alliance councillors, two from my ward and an adjoining one (where no LD candidate at all stood). I shall need to consider voting tactically very carefully in 2015. (*PS: The poor deluded Kipper councillor is a fireman who says he was standing “as a protest against the cuts in funding”. Poor soul does not even know what his own Leader has in store for public spending if he gets the slightest chance (e.g. in a coalition with post-Cameron Tories): (I certainly agree that, in hindsight (I am really good at that!), the “IN” campaign focused far too much on Europe and failed (just as did Labour’s) to highlight just what the Kippers* have in store for Mr and Mrs Joe Ordinary if they get the slightest sniff of national power (*or, rather, I should say the über-Thatcherite, City-based, money-dealing Kippers like Farage and his real chums like Simon Heffer Once the pavement-paving Kipper sloggers from the C2/D/E categories (whom Farage undoubtedly really regards in the same way as Stalin did his ‘useful idiots’) get a whiff of all this (rather than blaming Polish plumbers and Rumanian hotel cleaners for all their ills), UKIP will begin to split like a ripe peach (with Nuttall leading the Kippers’ ‘Peasants’ Revolt’?) (and Farage will face his REAL test and his taking on the ex-Oxbridge Westminster “political posh boys” will be a piece of cake in comparison).

  • Charles Rothwell 26th May '14 - 9:19am

    peter chapmansbsyb: Well said!

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 9:22am

    Tabman – you misunderstand my point. You moan about possibly feeling your input will no longer be required. How do you think those of a more social liberal bent have felt these last 4 years?

  • Peterchapman. That is, quite simply, prolate spheroids. There are many like me who will never vote conservative (at least one person in this thread knows how hard I have fought against them). So, not only will I have no party, I won’t even (unlike the leftists who’ve got green and labour) have any party to support.

  • Very very sad about Graham Watson – good man – got at least 2 of the 3 votes here.
    Clegg must go …………. for the sake of the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems have not got any message for the public…….. other than the Tories would be really bad without them……….most people don’t care/believe that =- they see what they see …its not tangable. Tax cuts …….. not shouted loud enough…….or often enough…… remember the old Focus training??? Tell them, tell them again….and again and again etc Many ‘Green Libs’ are now turning else where ref Nuclear power & nuclear weapons…… and the complete mess up of the Green Deal………………………..
    locval parties have been run in my experience in the last 5-10 years by those who think …..wear a Lib Dem badge … a few leaflets between election equals success. The don’t remember or were part of the long march … community CAMPAIGNING……. Where I live the other parties do more community campaigning than the Lib Dems. The local Lib Dem team state that they get a Focus & they are too busy on the Council……………………. this isn’t a Party I really recognise any more. Huhue, Laws, & Rennard…………have damaged the Lib Dem image of being different……. people say he Lib Dems are the same as the others………………. I thought the Lib Dems had higher standards too. I guess I’m really out of step with the current Lib Dems. I was an active member for 30 years – Principle Councillor – Chair of :Local Parties & Regional Exec – Conference attender & financial supported the local & national parties…….until 2011when I didn’t renew my membership. – NO ONE from my local Branch asked me why or tried to talk me round…. just asked if I could deliver leaflets!! That summed up my efforts and use…….. a thorn to get out and campaign (and yes that means work!) was removed …. but still good enough to deliver leaflets.
    Where oh where is a Liberal Party, that says what it means, and means what it says???
    Rant over… I feel better for that!!

  • Radical Liberal. I know perfectly well because it’s the direction the party took in the previous twenty years. But unlike you, I didn’t take my ball away (diddums) but made common cause and argued my pov from inside. And I most certainly didn’t call for expulsion for unbelievers like the worst kind of fissile Trot.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 9:31am

    Tabman – so for twenty years you felt you had ‘no input’ yet you continued to argue your point of view? Which is it? Unless you really thought you had no input yet continued to argue for twenty years which is odd to say the least. Whose calling for expulsion?

  • Christine Headley 26th May '14 - 9:33am

    @Charles Rothwell – unfair to blame the European election system on New Labour. It was introduced as a standard system across the European Union – and brought us nearly all the MEPs we have had. (I don’t like party-imposed list systems either, but I’m slightly glad the ballot papers aren’t up to ten times the size….. )
    @David Pollard – isn’t the Argyll and Bute council area subject to the Held Seat Exception?

  • Curious that the BBC is still plugging ukip – is a political earthquake REALLY measures at 29% of 34%?
    That suggests to me that even in the ‘free hit’ election their base doesn’t much exceed 1 in 10 of the voters.
    (I haven’t the strength to work out 7% of 34%!)

  • RL – there were senior party members who’s views concord with mine. As there are now with yours, so I don’t understand how you feel you have no input.

    You and your friend david, and peterchapman, are saying there is no home for those who are non-statist.

  • Charles Rothwell 26th May '14 - 9:40am

    Re. Radical Liberal. I cannot comment on Lynne Featherstone (beyond saying that she has never struck me as a particularly crucial asset to have in the Party’s front ranks and has certainly never come across to me as one of the sharpest knives in the drawer), Kevin Maguire also said on Breakfast TV that in his view Clegg would stay as too many people are keen on getting in the last milage from the ministerial Jag as they can before seeing what goodies might be coming their way post-2015 which will still give them a Westminster parking disc. In other words, I think there is a very great danger of the LDs becoming (a la Hollande in France) a laughing stock for the coming year if we are not very careful. just ditching Clegg and going into a huddle to find a new Saviour is certainly not to hack it with the electorate, however. We need some really RADICAL announcements to counter this; e.g. Clegg will go post-2015 GE, there will be a total and fundamental review of policy for post-2015 development, the paid media advisers and PR consultants whom the Party employs (no matter where from, but who have been objectively shown to be totally useless) are being dismissed and new ones hired/recruited, whose primary brief will be to convey the accomplishments the PARTY (not just its leader/s) has made since 2010 in rescuing the country from the effects of the worst financial crisis in 100 years (thank you, New Labour + City greed combined) and at least laying the foundations for a better Britain to emerge (tax reform, pension reform, apprenticeships, pupil premium etc etc)

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 26th May '14 - 9:44am

    I think Ed Miliband is brilliant, but if Ed was the electoral liability for our party that Clegg is for yours I would be demanding that he resign.

    Whether the Tories fail or not to enter into a pact with UKIP in order to combat the Farage effect, they will be forced to take themselves into areas of the right on immigration, welfare and Europe that will be completely alien and unacceptable to Liberal Democrats. That’s why Clegg must go and allow your new leader to withdraw you from the Coalition.

    I have been predicting this plane crash for your party on here ever since 2010. It is a catastrophe for those in every party who believe in the European project.. Even so, only about a third of the country’s potential electorate cast votes, and only about a third of those who did so voted for UKIP. You still have nearly a year to go to re-establish your party. But it’s never going to happen while you’ve got Clegg as your leader and remain in a Coalition which gives you all pain and no reward.

  • Mack, to a certain extent it’s irrelevant whether Ed is any good or not because of your client vote. You have to measure him to someone like Blair, ie how much he adds on top of 30%. By which measure he’s abject.

  • Charles Rothwell 26th May '14 - 9:57am

    @Christine Headley: Thanks for the correction. (Fact remains, however, that any system of European elections which can allow the likes of UKIP, the FN and Golden Dawn to get a foot (and much more) into the door while throwing away the experience and services of an Edward Macmillan-Scott (among many others) has got to be flawed in my view. ‘Democracy’ can mean many things, but the end result has surely got to be competent, skilled government of the people for the people, not just a valve for letting off steam and making gestures?)

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '14 - 10:11am

    @ John Barrett. Ok, touche, But would you have predicted UKIP actually winning a seat in Scotland? It’s horrible.

    @Phyllis in locals Lib Dems were well ahead in Sheffield Hallam.

  • T-J It is difficult to reconcile your messages of “orange Bookers – no that’s finger pointing”, with your later message that we need a new message for Government. At present we are faced with a situation where Nick Clegg is likely to be scapegoated for being in the leadership role. I doubt the Stalinist approach of a total purge, as it would be illiberal, but I think for all those main importers of neo-thatcherite doctrine in the Orange Book, and most of us know who they are, along with current cheerleaders of this, need to recognise that their doings have led us to a sorry state indeed, and take an immediate back seat. You only have to look at the performance of the Greens, who many former radical Lib Dems will have supported this time to know that the current road is not a way recognised or welcomed by many of our traditional supporters.

    Ironically, Paddy, who led the Party out of the wilderness following 1989, when the Greens last beat us, has now been very influential in the defence of Clegg, and hence OB thinking…

  • The detailed results for the South West are at: Grim reading. Does anyone know where similar results are for other regions?

  • Tim13 – its all very well to argue that we’ve got the Conservative party for economic Liberalism; but we’ve got Labour for Statism and the Green Party for Environmentalism. So your argument also works against you.

    I presume you’ve read the Orange Book, so you’ll be aware that it was an attempt to create a blend of all strands of Liberalism which is what, after all, a Liberal Party should stand for. Without any one of those strands it doesn’t work.

  • The longer Clegg clings on, the worse it gets.

  • Toby Fenwick 26th May '14 - 10:29am

    I was pretty unimpressed with Lynn Featherstone’s article- where’s the argumentation that this much blood letting eould have some sort of electoral payoff? Politics is a brutal business at times, and if the leader is a net negative (and all the polling as well as doorsteps suggests he is) then he is getting in the way of the message and needs to do the decent thing.

    Put another way, exactly how bad would it have to get before Nick should consider resigning? Are we really saying that Catherine Berader’s very welcome result is what stands between Nick and resignation? Even Major resigned to force his party to choose him again – perhaps a vote of confidence is needed here.

  • “@Phyllis in locals Lib Dems were well ahead in Sheffield Hallam.”

    So what? Locals are always better than Westminster elections for the LIb Dems, and European elections are always worse. How do know which will be closer?

  • Wake up. Europe: you lost a load of MEPs and your vote share was shockingly bad. The real thing that should scare you is the number of councillors you’ve lost since getting into bed with the Tories.

    Nick Clegg is only part of the problem LibDems have. Yes, he has abjectly failed with his primary responsibility of parliamentary reform – school kids have more nous of the politics of the playground than Clegg does of the machinations of Cabinet.

    The real problem for the LibDems are each and every one of your MPs who have voted hand-in-hand with their Tory brothers and sisters and unleashed the most ill-liberal set of political policies I and the rest of the children of Thatcher have ever witnessed on our shores. The sickening admiration and joy with which Tall, Alexander and Laws have gone to work with their colleagues IDS, Osborne and Gove has been reprehensible, but predictable – it all began one sunny day in a rose garden.

    As LibDem voters look to yourselves; list all the govt policies for this Parliament and ask yourselves which you would’ve voted for. Oh, and don’t even think about abstaining – yes or no – that’s your choice. Now compare your voting record with LibDem MPs – your party’s no longer yours.

    Farron and Ashdown know that there is nigh-on zero chance that a change in leadership would rejuvenate LibDem electoral fortunes. The long game is in play now – they understand that the LibDem brand has been torched by their generation and that it will take years to regain trust; and they understand that this will only begin when the public have had their blood-lust satiated on election day with the heads of those they hold responsible: stand-up Clegg, Alexander, Laws, Browne, Davey, Hughes ,etc. If only Shirley Williams wasn’t out of reach.

    Clegg’s last sacrifice for the LibDem’s will be to go down with the ship and take the blame – a plump European job and a peerage being the reward.

  • Lots of commentators seem to predict that many UKIP votes will return to the main three in the general election. I am personally in a different position. I have continued to vote Lib Dem in local and Euro elections but will not vote so in a GE until the Westminster Party shows some signs of returning to principles I share. Actually I should have the Party in the Commons because the likes of Tony Greaves seems to represent my views far more closely than his colleagues in the Commons.

    For me Clegg probably needs to go, despite leading the pro EU case admirably. More than that, there needs to be a reconnect with supporters and a real change in direction.

  • We are in government – very minor party on numbers – we got a battering. Simple. Just have a look back and see how much the media have battered Clegg – ie sun , mail and express. The economy is improving rapidly – because the Lib Dems stepped up. getting rid of Clegg will not make any difference at all – we will still be in coalition and as the minor party will still get hammered. I just hope the party can unite and not disintegrate fighting among ourselves. I also hope that the party will commit to a ref on Europe – we have to have one – and campaign fully to stay in – if we win UKIP will be finished – if we lose – the people will get exactly what they deserve

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '14 - 10:53am

    @Charles Rothwell. First off, Christine Headley’s correction was incorrect. It was indeed the last Labour Government that decided to adopt PR for the European parliament (the rules say we can’t go back to the FPTP system we had, but we weren’t forced to abandon it in the first place). It was most definitely their decision what sort of system we had, and we could still change it so long as it remains broadly proportional. Most member states use some form of open list, one or two use STV (and of course, even the UK uses STV for the three Northern Ireland seats).
    Secondly, it’s just plain anti-democratic to argue against a voting system on the grounds that it enables the party with the largest share of the vote to get representation in parliament! Democracy does not mean “competent, skilled government” at all — there is no system of representation or selection that can possibly guarantee that; and certainly not one that can guarantee that the “right” parties will win, from a liberal perspective. It means “government of the people for the people by the people” (what a curious part of the triptych for you to omit, as it’s the very one which distinguishes democracy from e.g. enlightened despotism), and it includes the possibility that the people will from time to time make very bad decisions.

  • David,

    We are in government – very minor party on numbers – we got a battering.

    No, the Tories took a battering in the locals, you got massacred in the locals and practically eliminated in Europe. This isn’t some managed decline of the kind you expect in government, a situation to be reversed in time, this is what happens when parties start to die.

    The voters hate you such that they won’t vote for you, either as a party of local government or of protest.

  • I did ask, yesterday, those who had supported the Party’s current strategy to make a list of the reasons anyone would vote Lib/Dem at the GE.

    As far as I can see the Party is now down to its core vote – the floating and protest vote having departed. The core vote is now probably in single figures. Our membership of the EU is not significant to the majority – but immigration is very important to many. I have trouble seeing any reason why any one, beyond the core vote, would choose to vote for the Party.

    If fortunes are going to be revived, I would suggest a new and popular feature has to be introduced. Climate change has this potential with the IPCC reports a month or two back and the confirmation of its findings by the US equivalent. I would suggest this issue is beefed up – although the Greens are likely to benefit mostly from the growing concerns.

    Personally, I believe the issue that cuts through all that has happened over the last few days is the democratic deficit and the adoption of Zac Goldsmith’s True Recall could be the basis of recovery – although I would like to see this taken further to a system of limited Direct Democracy.

  • Paddy Ashdown,
    Stop talking about cake, wake up and smell the coffee.

    When was the last time a Liberal Party in a UK wide election got as little as 7% ???
    When was the last time we came so far down the list of parties that we are not just below the Greens and the SNP but could only draw even with PC ???

    The voters have told you that they cannot abide Clegg and what he stands for.
    Listen to the voters, in particular to those voters that used to be our voters, those who loyally turned out to vote for Liberal Democrats at all levels for the last thirty years, but on Thursday just could not take it any more.

    Please do not destroy the party by misguided “discipline” and loyalty to the cause of our problems.

  • Just listening to Edd Milliband on the News. He seems to dismiss that these Euro Election results are more about domestic policies, unemployment, cost of living etc.
    He is also failing to listen to the concerns of the electorate which some people have on Europe. To totally ignore the people comes across as a dictatorship (We know best)
    Edd needs to start listening to the people, reflect on the results, he has to start making his case for why he and his party believes in Europe and what changes he would like to see.

    The same is true for Nick Clegg and those around him. It is simply not good enough to say you are pro-European and give no indication on what changes you would like to see. To say that you see the EU being no different in 10 years time is ludicrous and political suicide because quite frankly that is not what the British people want to hear. Again that comes across as dictatorship and (We know what’s best)

    I do not believe that most people in the UK want to leave the EU. I believe the EU is very confusing for a lot of people. What people want is Facts and Figures, not spurious figures that keeps being trumpeted out by the main parties.

    The public are getting deeply frustrated because none of the parties are making the case or indeed listening, that’s why many people are getting so cheesed off and wanting a referendum because they feel that are not being heard.

    We need a proper debate and we need proper independent analysis to gives us that stats on costs,advantages and disadvantages of the EU and more importantly we need independent analysis on what the UK government needs to do in terms of housing, schools,hospitals,infrastructure in order for Britain to be able to cope with the higher demand on these issues. Because at the moment all we hear about is how there is no money and we are facing huge cuts, housing shortages etc and that is very scary to a lot of people who then wonder what effect open immigration from the EU would add further stress on these area’s

    We are supposed to live in a democracy, but democracy needs truths and transparency, not this dictatorship attitude that emits from Milliband, Cameron, Farage and Clegg

  • @Jedi, I know you are pretty anti-euro, but do not mix your views with that of the voting public. Most people do not care about Europe, but those who do are statistically more likely to support our membership than not.

    The problem with the ‘in’ campaign was mainly down to delivery. One of the keys issues I have found is that many young ‘educated’ voters say:

    “I actually agree with everything Clegg said and support our membership (reforms required), but I also think Clegg has harmed those who support our membership of Europe more than helped it due to the way he expressed it.”

    Now, I cannot speak about other selections of society, but if the main group that should already agree with the core values behind the ‘in’ campaign found Clegg’s delivery as compelling as a wet blanket, then the writing is probably on the wall for everyone else.

    The message was not the wrong one, it was (and even someone often supports Clegg has to concede this one) all about the delivery.

  • Clegg has to go, what is left of the Orange wing of the parliamentary party after the election needs to step back and rethink. I wouldn’t want Labour forming a coalition with the LibDem’s as they are currently electoral poison.

    Clegg was given a job, he’s failed, demote him.
    He should have the decency to not need asking, another wrong decision.

  • So, what do you think, Tabman? That economic (neo) liberalism is either good for people or for the electoral base of he Lib Dems? If the last three or four years hadn’t made it clear, it is crystal clear now.

  • Nik Porteous 26th May '14 - 11:21am

    Mixed emotions this morning. Sad that so many seem to have swallowed Ukips balony and spinning themselves as ‘outsiders’ (with Farage, O’flynn et al at the top this is truly laughable). Despite the ‘political earthquake’ stuff in the news, 2/3 of people didn’t consider the Euro election worth voting for, it seems in Britain the prevailing attitudes towards the EU are firstly apathy and secondly hostility – with euro enthusiasm consigned to a distant third. This shouldn’t be a surprise given previous voting patterns, so why our party appeared to show what seemed like blind faith in EU membership at times I really cannot fathom. You can talk of the nobility of backing an unpopular cause but I think it just made us appear even more out of touch.

    I feel now that with such a surge in Ukip support in some areas like Yorkshire and the Humber, anyone of a progressive tilt will view a vote for the LibDems in 2015 as risking a wasted vote and worse still giving a helping hand to Farage’s lot in beating Labour, that is certainly how I feel now anyway.

    This last year has seriously made me wonder what this party is about. I have a fundamental problem with the Orange book approach viewing seemingly all public service delivery through neoliberal tinted glasses – markets and consumers, competition and choice. I never thought I would see the day when the British Criminal justice system, through privatisation of probation services would be infiltrated by for profit companies, and I never ever thought it would be the Liberal Democrats that would aid and abet this. I have always been a fan of europe but not to the extent that I think they should have carte blanche to ruin lives of the poorest especially by austerity and cuts to save the money of banks and the faces of a flawed elite. I personally don’t see my membership of this party continuing unless this drift towards euro supporting torydom is arrested.

  • Actually John I don’t think this is core vote yet, I agree with Steve Way – come the election many more people will desert. Danny Alexander last night was an excellent example of everything voters have come to hate about Lib Dems, on the brink of annihilation he could barely bring himself to admit there was anything wrong at all!

    The current members are choosing 6 years without any representation. If they don’t act this week, the civil war will be long and bloody. Martin Tod was the Lib Dem hero of the evening for me! A glimmer of hope that there are still some Lib Dems that understand what’s going on.

  • LDV is there a word I need to change in order for my comment to be released?

  • Tim 13 – economic liberalism and neoliberalism are not the same thing. The problems in our economy are caused by monolithic producers, both private and state. It makes no liberal sense to fight against private corporatism and embrace state corporatism.

  • @Nik

    The party isn’t really about Orange Bookers – nearly everyone on this page is a dyed-in-the-wool Lib Dem! That’s how they got to be here, and we’re pretty diverse. If the main party can’t heal itself and adapt to reality, we’ll just start a proper Social Liberal Party. Keep your membership card for a few more months yet because there might be a leadership election!

    I agree that the cuts to legal aid have ensured that we’re no longer a just society. Nobody from the Lib Dems seems to admit there’s a problem, because they’re not one of the hundreds of thousands of kids that won’t see their parents this week, who weren’t rich enough to get a representative for the family court.

    It’s fast becoming the Ostrich Party!

  • I do not always agree with Toby Fenwick but he hits the nail on the head with his earlier comment —
    Toby Fenwick 26th May ’14 – 10:29am
    …. .. Politics is a brutal business at times, and if the leader is a net negative (and all the polling as well as doorsteps suggests he is) then he is getting in the way of the message and needs to do the decent thing.

    Put another way, exactly how bad would it have to get before Nick should consider resigning?

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 11:48am

    Cameron has spoken, Miliband has spoken yet Clegg remains in hiding. Weak, weak, weak.

  • Mark Sherratt 26th May '14 - 11:50am

    I was a Lib Dem activist, former councillor and vice-chair of a local Lib Dem party at around the time of the 2010 General Election and the decision to go into coalition with the Tories.

    I was very positive and optimistic about the future of the party. A party which I believed had strong principles (unlike populist Labour) would hold back the worst excesses of the Tories and allow David Cameron to somewhat ignore the fringe Tories who would otherwise try to drag the government further to the right. I also thought that on Europe the coalition would take a stance of being positive but critical when it came to the EU and would put forward a strong case to make the institution more democratic and accountable.

    But things started to go badly wrong. First we had Tutition Fees, I actually think the current solution was right but that LD MP’s were very very wrong to break personal pledges to vote against increases at least within the parliament immediately after the pledge. Second we had the AV vote (a poor choice of alternative to start with, perhaps we should have simply had a referendum on whether to change from FPTP first then a wide consulation if the vote was in favour), Third, and somewhat because Clegg started throwing his toys out of the pram, we started seeing a lot of tit-for-tat style statements and votes, which also resulted in the madness of Lib Dem MP’s voting against their own manifesto when it came to things like reducing the number of MPs just because they wanted to annoy the Tories.

    Finally Clegg decided to make the election this year solely about European and him. Challenging Farage to a televised debate was pure insanity and positioning the Lib Dems as the party of IN, the party of EU apologists, the party that believes voting against the EU is unpatriotic was the last straw.

    22 years of voting Lib Dem in every single election available to me at all levels of government finally came to an end. Labour didn’t even acknowledge that a european election was happening (with their cost of living / tories are posh campaign), cannot vote Tory as that would be rewarding a party that helped bring the Lib Dems to their doom, so it was a choice between UKIP (for their anti-EU stance) or Green (for their reform the EU stance).

    Judging by the results last night, I wasn’t the only person who came to that judgement in the end.

  • @ Chris B

    ‘Actually John I don’t think this is core vote yet’

    Yes – quite how low this can go is a matter for speculation. However, there are plenty of things that the Party can stop doing to avoid this falling too far – but I cannot see this improving without new and popular features that distinguishes the Party from the others. If not my suggestions – what?

  • We are flying in a plane that is in a tail spin and about to crash.

    It has become obvious that the pilot is incapable of flying the plane.

    It is a rational action to replace the pilot before we crash. That’s our best chance of survival.

    Paddy Ashdown and others seem to be saying that the plane has not crashed yet and it would be a sign of panic to replace the pilot.

    Some are saying that we should wait a year before replacing the pilot and after we have crashed we can put the plane back together again. I think there is a logical flaw on this argument.

    Some are saying we should be nice to the pilot, even though it is obvious that he cannot fly the plane, he is a nice chap and he took a courageous decision to try and fly the plane so the least we can do is all die with him. It would be disloyal to change he plot now.

  • “The problem is not, as some of the so-called “Radical Liberals” have been unhelpfully declaring this evening, that the voters are rejecting “the Orange Bookers”. Even if we had been able to join with Labour in 2010 and the Social Liberal agenda had gained a decisive advantage, I believe we would very likely be in a pretty similar position. I will not say that this is simply because some deus ex machina dictates that smaller coalition parties always get damaged, because I don’t believe that to be true anyway. Rather, we have contaminated our brand, to use the unlovely language of marketing, because we have failed to articulate why we do what we do. The compromises of coalition, whether with right or left, are messy, but we have not explained our core values to the voters. Without that clarity, we have come to look opportunist” James Oates nails it. and dishonest- only in it for the power, not for the principle.

  • Nick P “This last year has seriously made me wonder what this party is about. ”

    Exactly the same as everyone I know. Is the Party in favour of free tuition, in favour if Secret Courts, bedroom tax, cuts in legal aid, austerity, welfare changes to penalise the poor, disabled and the mentally ill? The Party seems very confused and, dare I say, it is therefore pointless’ to vote LD anymore.

    Things can only get worse.

  • “Please do not destroy the party by misguided “discipline” and loyalty to the cause of our problems”

    The way each LD in front of the cameras and in emails strenuously supported the IN campaign and the way Ming, Ashdown, Laws, Caron Lindsay et al are talking this morning reminds me of New Labour and how everyone had to be “on message”. I never thought the principled Lib Dems would lower themselves to that level.

  • @ John Tilley

    One of the most appealing things about the Party is that its members are generally intelligent and decent people – however, it gets itself into trouble and finds difficulty in finding a way out because too few have that ruthless streak which is needed at a time like this.

  • Charles Rothwell 26th May '14 - 12:10pm

    @Mark: “First, we had tuition fees and then….” Actually, I do not think there is much need to go beyond that at all as any confidence/belief in the Party was instantly thrown away for good by that single step and (to really make a complete job of it) precisely among the section of the electorate whom we could not possibly afford to lose (young, educated, aspirational, hard-working, creative people intending to go to/art or recently graduated from university/higher education). In my view, it was simply a line which should never have been crossed, given all the pledges, election videos with pieces of paper (presumably the ‘worthless promises’ of the other parties?) flying around etc. I believe this was simply ‘Clegg’s Iraq’ and many of the Party’s former electors were never prepared to trust him or the Party again. Polly Toynbee reckoned in a recent ‘Guardian’ article that the ‘No’ vote to AVR was largely due to two factors; the Tories turning on the money tap big-time when there appeared to be the slightest change of the ‘yes’ vote succeeding and disenchanted voters relishing the opportunity to ‘repay’ the Party for what they saw as the ‘betrayal’ of them. Such voters have now gone over to Labour (and form de facto virtually the sole hope Milliband has got of creeping into power as the past few days have clearly shown that any Blair-like People’s Revolt in his favour is certainly not going to happen) or the Greens (which helped to drive us into fifth place yesterday) or have just given up/walked away (unlike those who had just seen the Party as the ‘protest’/’to blazes with the other two’ party and had never really cared less about what its policies were and many of whom, I suspect, have gone over to the Kippers – the ultimate policy-lite rabble whose entire policy currently* consists of: “all your problems are due to immigration”, “Isn’t Cheeky Chappie Nige a character?” and”‘bring back grammar schools” so as to keep the plebs in their place (and whose benefits, wage rates and pensions we intend to slaughter) (*as far as can be judged; Nige has shrugged off the 2010 Kipper Manifesto as ‘drivel which he never read’). That is the state British politics has arrived at.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th May '14 - 12:18pm

    @ johnmc,
    I have to agree with you. 29% of 35% of the population does not seem to merit the sort of media treatment given to Ukip. This is especially the case when the election attracted those with strong views who were more likely to vote.

    What surprises me and seems to me to be the big success story is the way that Labour have pulled themselves back from the devastating defeat of 2010. This despite the fact that the two other major parties have taken every opportunity to blame them for the financial crisis and all our ensuing problems.

    On the matter of Clegg, I doubt that it will make one iota of difference whether he is removed or not. It is too late. No- one in the party seems to be willing to accept that it was not entering into coalition that people like myself objected to, it was the fact that the leadership appeared too comfortable with tory policy, too willing to put the boot into Labour when they should have been supporting them in some of their arguments against the tories.

    If and when a referendum on Europe is held, the electorate like myself will need help in seeing through the spin and propaganda that will be used to shape our opinions and voting behaviour.

  • Mark Sherratt 26th May '14 - 12:19pm

    “We have- had- extremely good and well respected MEPs, but in the end this election was not about Europe. Even as UKIP made major advances, the latest polls, for the first time in years, if not decades, show support for staying in the EU outstripping those who would leave.”


    As long as people keep believing this, UKIP will continue to strengthen it’s support outside of EU elections.

    According to the link above, 42% would vote to stay in the EU and 37% would vote to leave. Yes, that means pro-EU leads by 5% but with 21% undecided that’s fairly shaky. Plus UKIP got 27.49% of the vote, or rather 27.49% of the 34.19% that opted to vote, both figures are well within the pool of 37% which the poll suggests would vote to leave the EU.

    Keep saying the vote wasn’t about Europe (by which I’m assuming you mean the EU) all you want, the facts don’t agree.

  • Defenders of Clegg keep acclaiming him as “resilient,” apparently using the word “resilience” to mean “supine acceptance of every possible injury and insult.” That is not, however, what the word means.

  • I think the way out of this is to be honest. Accept that the leader is dead in the water and stop trying to appease the daily mail by ostentatious displays of loyalty to the Tory Party. Those guys want the Lib Dems and Progressive politics dead. So the obvious thing is to hit back. Call out the incompetence and excessive funding for pet projects amongst the the Tory Leadership. Stop trying to look tough by hitting your own voters and point out that UKIP is just Ross Perot, very amusing a nice jolt to the establishment but basically a one pony party. Stop being so nice and compliant. UKIP are not the proof of Rights popularity they are a symptom of a Tory Party in decline being pushed by wingnuts because the Tories do not have enough base support to form a majority government

  • John Roffey 26th May ’14 – 12:08pm

    Yes I agree but when pushed hard enough formlong some of us can get ruthless.

    If Paddy and co think that the way to avoid a bloodbath and internal fighting is to cling on to Clegg, they are wrong.

    If they think they just have to weather the storm for a couple of days, they are wrong.

    People will not just get angry they will get even as well. There is more than one way to skin a Clegg.

  • Well, I am afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree, Tabman. Yes, vested interests and “lobbying” carrying more power than it should is a problem, but then so is the “break it up and create a ‘perfect’ market” approach an issue. We do not need US style capitalism here. We need a mixed economy with the democratically / publicly controlled elements able to wield the whip hand when necessary, against all speculation and vested interests. That is the fundamental reason why people are disillusioned – because their elected reps do not have the power without kowtowing to multinational corporate leaders. Yes, I accept, that anyone, given too much power can go native with abuses of that power. I have seen plenty of that in life.

    But that shouldn’t stop us as Lib Dems fighting for a democratic system.

  • Tim, I can’t disagree with most of that. Which is the shame of the situation. We have had a public good private bad presumption for a long time and we e taken baby steps away from it. I’m not talking about the coalition here, as that’s different rules.

  • @jedibeeftrix – “You are a PR supporter, right?”

    Actually, I came very close to voting LibDem in 2010, but there was just something about Clegg and his “New Politics” that reminded me too much of Tony Blair and his “Third Way”.

    Reading through the comments, it’s very frustrating to find so many who think getting rid of Clegg will solve LibDem electorate woes.

    Occam’s Razor: a line of reasoning that says the simplest answer is often correct. Yes, Nick Clegg is associated with every bad policy this govt has implemented, but those policies wouldn’t have gotten through if it was just Nick voting by himself. The problem is that too many LibDem MPs happily voted alongside their Tory counterparts for ill-liberal policies. You’re not getting punished because you’re the junior partner or minority party in govt – you’re getting hammered by the electorate for telling us that you’re liberals and for the people, but your MPs are patently not.

    We expected this behaviour of the Tories – it’s who they are, it’s what they do – and it’s why they still couldn’t win an election after a global financial meltdown. Even if it meant climbing into bed with the Tories, the LibDems had an opportunity to show the electorate what a coalition could achieve, but instead of understanding that they held the power and forcing through more liberalism, they were seduced by their bedfellows and seemingly drugged into submission.

    If you truly believe that Nick Clegg is your only problem, then you don’t understand how hated Danny Alexander is , how Laws & Hughes are reviled, the joke Davey has become and how mystifyingly often Cable allows himself to be made a patsy and still sits fiddling in his ministerial office to name but a few.

    Just in case I’ve not been clear enough: Clegg ain’t your only problem, it’s the majority of your parliamentary party and it’s departure from grass-root policies and beliefs. The party of In is likely to become the party of Out in 2015, because you’re can’t even be a protest party when you’re a party that people don’t trust.

  • There is also the problem of democratic accountability in a world where the vast majority don’t exercise it, so the accountability is skewed

  • John Roffey 26th May '14 - 1:35pm

    @ John Tilley

    ‘People will not just get angry they will get even as well. There is more than one way to skin a Clegg.’:)

    I hope you guys can find a way of saving the Party. I think NC has to go and way found to return to the ‘human’ party created by Charles Kennedy. However, like it or not, UKIP has made politics a far more competitive business – I think major new policies are needed to distinguish it from the rest.

  • Before launching into this, let me first point out that I have no political party allegiance but you can come to your own conclusions who got my support in 2010. I would like to offer one or two thoughts in reaction to the navel gazing among LibDem representatives about how they stand proud in the face of a national wave of nationalism and isolationism.
    Last night’s decimation was categorically not a result of an anti EU tidal wave but rather has to be viewed as the first opportunity (with the exception of the AV fiasco) for the electorate to give a verdict on the LibDems nationally since the tuition fees betrayal, the introduction of the bedroom tax, backing for secret courts and the implementation of other odious policies, too numerous to list, in support of radical reactionary Tory idealogues in government.
    If LibDems would only step back for one moment, you must realise these are anathema to your core support and certainly show a flagrant disregard for the hopes and aspirations of the wider electorate who LENT the LibDems their support in 2010. The assertions by the LibDem leadership that people would forget what they euphamistically refer to as “compromises” are now being shown for what they are; more political flannel on the long winding road of self-justification by those who are prepared to sacrifice principles in the pursuit of power. It never ceases to amaze me that politicians fail to realise the principles they are so ready to sacrifice belong not to them but to their supporters and electors.
    Support for UKIP is a blunt instrument wielded by those who feel they have little other opportunity, or indeed choice, in their desire to bludgeon those they feel frustrated – no, let’s have it said – betrayed by. Those of us who suffered a bit more angst in the runup to last Thursday rejoiced in the Greens’ pushing to fourth place as much for a LibDem humiliation as for a Green progression. Messrs Clegg, Alexander et al will have to come to terms with the fact that those taken in at the 2010 General Election can still feel the raw stinging of the slap in their faces and won’t soon forget or forgive.

  • Cards on the table, I’m a Labour party member not a LibDem.

    I’m posting to express my astonishment that some of you are still debating the reasons why Clegg should stay on. For the sake of your party – and of progressive politics in this country – he has to go,and go now.

    People hate you, not just Clegg. They hate the Tories, but hate you more for making them possible. They hate your MPs loyally voting through every Tory bill. And they ARE Tory bills regardless of spin you put on them. Claims like “curving the excesses of the Tories” is basically saying to the dead man “we persuaded your assassin to only shoot you three time, not the four he intended”. Many of you will fundamentally disagree with what I just wrote, but go ask your former voters.

    Its not Clegg, it’s not Europe, its not the Orange Book, its that your voters think you openly lied to them. Replacing Clegg with Beaker or Cable would do nothing as they are both in government too, I think your only choice is Farron, an immediate divorce from the Tories and a line drawn in the sand followed by the kind of intense ground campaign you used to be good at before all your Councillors and activists disappeared.

    Or, keep Clegg. Lose another third or more of councillors running next year, lose half your MPs, then have to try and build a case under a new leader why although you now disassociate yourself for all you did in government staying in right to the end was the right approach.

    Its the end of you – quite literally – if you don’t act. Now. For 4 years you have been an appallingly illiberal right wing government. Don’t hand the country over to a future where its all shades of right wing. Unless that was the Clegg master plan all along?

  • Julian Critchley 26th May '14 - 1:47pm

    @John Roffey

    “As far as I can see the Party is now down to its core vote – the floating and protest vote having departed.”

    This is precisely the problem, and the reason that the party is going to die, and not recover. Those left inside the rump LDs continue to label the greater number of us who left as “floating and protest” voters. Many of us were NOT protest voters. We were extremely committed LibDem members and supporters who supported the established Party platform of non-authoritarian centre-left policies. We didn’t leave in “protest” at being in Government, as the Cleggites continually claim. We left because we supported a centre-left party with a centre-left agenda, and our Parliamentary Party delivered a very right-wing government with an agenda so right-wing that even Thatcher might have struggled to stomach it.

    It serves the Thatcherites very well to have their friends in the media portray everyone who believes that there is an alternative to the Thatcherite consensus in our political elite as a “protest” voter; some sort of immature sixth-former who rejects reality. But to believe that, you have to adopt a position that the only possible reality is more Thatcherism, and an ever-accelerating drive to a more selfish, more unequal, more hate-filled, more insecure society.

    There ARE other alternatives, and most of us pre-2010 supported them. We were not protest voters. We were principled centre-left voters with a coherent and rational set of policies for building a better society. It genuinely disgusts me that the Cleggites and their supporters continue to deride all those who disagree with their appalling Thatcherite views as “protest” voters. We were not. And until the remaining members realise that, then there is no way back for this party. Thatcher’s dead parrot joke is finally about to come true.

  • A Voter in UK 26th May '14 - 1:49pm

    I can’t help but try to say this.

    This has been on the cards for over the last 4 years, the Tories have used Clegg hook line and sinker. He failed to hold them to account and the electorate have seen this. This is the inevitable punishment, if he stands any chance of regaining any respect with the electorate he needs to to start to put them first before the Tories and their planned ideology.

    If he survives the week that is.

    I still believe that the electorate have used UKIP to send a strong message that the EU needs reform, mostly on immigration and to put the breaks on more integration. The electorate have seen our services slashed and cut, privatized and told outright lies about this so called growing economy. Which is sluggish but it is slowly recovering hardly an achievement after 4 years of pain and suffering and even more debt than the previous government achieved in 13 years. The fact is that this recovery is not for most people, only the SE and the richest. Labour have stepped into foray and countered it with taking on energy prices, housing shortages, and food-prices. Never mind the foul bedroom tax and denial of food banks springing up all over the country. The DWP wasting millions when really it would have been better just to leave it alone, whilst sanctioning people who are late by 10 minutes, or forced into work programs even if they volunteer for charity. The disabled have been hit, the elderly are getting hit and so are the young. The questionable contracts with G4s and Serco among others, the education system in disarray and the NHS being privatised by the back door.

    It is all there in plain in view and Clegg did not do nothing about it.

  • “It is all there in plain in view and Clegg did not do nothing about it”

    Yes he did! He whipped all of his MPs to vote more loyally for these Tory bills than Tory MPs did. This government – your government – you – have declared open war on the poor, sick, disabled, out of work, part time employees. Yes this is a Tory agenda. But you voted for it. You are responsible for it. You did it. Perhaps the Tories would have gone even further on their own – that’s consolation to the disabled committing suicide over the policies you voted through is it? Or the people reliant on Wonga and foodbanks as your ministers try and claim there is economic recovery?

    There is no distinction – none at all – between a Tory MP voting for these atrocities and LibDem MPs voting for them. You are being obliterated because the electorate see LibDems on TV and see Tories, but even worse than Tories because at least the Tories were honest about their intentions. And this from the party of honourable men like Campbell and Kennedy whose principles were clear and trustworthy.

  • John Broggio 26th May '14 - 2:06pm

    What Ian Bailey said except for Tim Farron (his voting through the NHS “reforms” will fatally mark his card to many lefties).

  • A Voter in UK 26th May '14 - 2:07pm

    I did not vote for either Tory or Lib-dem.

  • Paddy Ashdown awful on BbC just now – same old platitudes while the Party is destroyed and Lib Dem becomes a joke party at the bottom of the leader board.

  • @Ian Bailey

    >Don’t hand the country over to a future where its all shades of right wing.

    You must of missed the Blair/Brown years, where they privatised schools and the NHS through PFIs. Other than that, I agree with you, but the coalition is very much a continuation of the Blair/Thatcher ideology and that was brought to left-of-centre politics by Blair/Brown/Labour. Like the war, selling off the gold, the end of boom and bust, etc.

  • A Voter in UK 26th May '14 - 2:27pm

    “You must of missed the Blair/Brown years, where they privatised schools and the NHS through PFIs”

    PFI’s started under Major, Osborne signed off the largest PFI contracts to date.

    Brown made mistakes and Labour paid the price for it, just like you are paying the price right now.

  • John Roffey 26th May '14 - 2:30pm

    NC has just been on Sky News saying no change!

  • @Julian Critchley

    “Those left inside the rump LDs continue to label the greater number of us who left as “floating and protest” voters. Many of us were NOT protest voters. We were extremely committed LibDem members and supporters who supported the established Party platform of non-authoritarian centre-left policies. ”

    Hear hear! Plus, if we’ve left we’ve not gone that far…we’re still here, waiting to see what remains of our party once the joyriders have driven it into the ground. We are the party, we delivered the leaflets and we got people out voting. Without us there’s no future for the Lib Dems, it’s just a party of libertarians hijackers with no public vote share and no ground troops. You’ll be left with Jeremy Brownes “authentic liberalism” as a future.

    On the other hand, there’s an opening for a slightly left of centre party with liberal ideas and democratic values!

  • @A Voter in UK

    The largest expansion in the use of PFI’s was under Labour, by a huge margin. From Wikipedia :

    “PFI expanded considerably in 1996 and then expanded much further under Labour,[9] resulting in criticism”…”By October 2007 the total capital value of PFI contracts signed throughout the UK was £68bn,[17] committing the British taxpayer to future spending of £215bn[17] over the life of the contracts.”…”PFI remained the UK government’s preferred method for public sector procurement under both Labour and the present coalition.”

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 2:42pm

    Ian Bailey

    People hate you, not just Clegg. They hate the Tories, but hate you more for making them possible. They hate your MPs loyally voting through every Tory bill.

    So why didn’t Labour put forward the Bills it would like to see and invite Liberal Democrat MPs to vote for them?

    If there was an alternative coalition available with different sort of policies, why did not the Labour Party offer it?

    If the Liberal Democrats are patsies for giving in to the Tories why did not Labour say “Here, we can offer something which is more like what you want?”.

    Actually, what IS the Labour Party offering in terms of policy? I can’t recall anything much coming from Labour accept “nah nah nah nah nah, nasty dirty Liberal Democrats, rolled over and backed the Tories, nah nah nah nah, vote Labour”. I think I’d like to hear something more constructive than that.

  • A Voter in UK 26th May '14 - 2:42pm
  • John Roffey 26th May '14 - 2:46pm

    Has martyrdom ever been a political asset – apart from when fighting against a political elite?

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 2:47pm

    A voter in the UK

    I still believe that the electorate have used UKIP to send a strong message that the EU needs reform, mostly on immigration and to put the breaks on more integration.

    Yes, and then what?

    The electorate have seen our services slashed and cut, privatized and told outright lies about this so called growing economy

    OK, so how would YOU like things paid for? What taxes would YOU increase to stop services having to be slashed? Do you believe the British state is all so wonderful that it could runs things marvelously efficiently, and that there is no merit at all in the notion that competition between different provider helps provide an incentive to give better and cheaper services? And why do you think voting UKIP signals a belief in all this? Since when was UKIP a party that stood for state socialism?

  • A Voter in UK 26th May '14 - 2:50pm

    Enjoy the wipe out, i see you’re not listening.

    BTW i didn’t vote UKIP/

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 3:06pm

    Mark Sherrat

    Finally Clegg decided to make the election this year solely about European and him. Challenging Farage to a televised debate was pure insanity and positioning the Lib Dems as the party of IN, the party of EU apologists, the party that believes voting against the EU is unpatriotic was the last straw.


    You, along with many others, seem to think the only possible position that could be had in the EU is UKIP’s. So as soon as someone starts saying that on the whole they think it is better to be member of the EU than not, they are hit with this accusation that they are “EU apologists”, “cravenly accepting everything that comes from Brussels” and so on.

    I’ve not seen much in the way of rational argument against the EU put through. Just this assumption that it is so automatically bad that there is nothing at all to talk about, and so that anyone who doesn’t hold to the position that we should pull out must be all these rude terms that are being used – not even an acknowledgement that there just might be a middle position. All you seem to want to do is close of debate by this firing of UKIP-style lazy language at anyone who doesn’t say “the EU is an evil empire, and all our problems will be solved by getting out of it”.

    Of course people like easy arguments and instant solutions as it stops them having to think about real solutions which might be a bit more difficult to accept. I’ve seen nothing from Farage on the lines of a real coherent alternative. He’s a big money man paid by big money to divert people’s attention from the way big money is buying up this country and taking it over. Any word from Farage on companies from other countries buying up our vital services? Or buying up our industries and closing them down or moving them abroad? No. “UK independence”? Pah, Farage has NOTHING to say on the REAL threats to UK independence. He’s there to divert people’s attention from them, so they can carry on taking away UK independence. What a good job he’s doing at that.

    The only threats to UK independence coming from the EU that REALLY bother the likes of Farage and Tory right-wing opponents of the EU is when it does things like stopping bankers taking pay in the millions (which has to be paid for somehow), or stopping companies forcing us to work dangerously long hours, and the like.

  • Meanwhile Clegg is talking about not “abdicating”.

    Have I missed something, has he been crowned king when I wasn’t looking?

    Or has the feverish attitude in the bunker really started him raving incoherently?

  • BBC News Channel — There is now Sean Kemp, a young man (looks about 16 years old) who apparently is a “former advisor” to Nick Clegg telling us that Clegg is not “in denial”.

    He says some MPs are doing the party “quite a lot of damage”.

    He does not see the irony of that statement in the light of last night’s result. We came sixth in a national election and lost all but one MEP. And he is talking about doing damage to the party.

    Sean Kemp actually finished by saying “in a few days” everything will be OK.

    He really did say that.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 3:23pm


    I do not believe that most people in the UK want to leave the EU. I believe the EU is very confusing for a lot of people. What people want is Facts and Figures, not spurious figures that keeps being trumpeted out by the main parties.

    What exactly are these “spurious figures”? Can you give some of them, say why you think they are “spurious” and explain in what manner they were “trumpeted”? So far as I recall, the EU elections were fought with Labour using the line “Nah nah nah nah nah, Lib Dems put in the Tories, Nick Clegg is a fool, nah nah nah nah nah, vote Labour”, the LibDes fought it with “nah nah nah nah nah UKIP is racist, and Nick Clegg is wonderful, vote LibDe Dem”, and I can’t recall hearing anything about the Tory line, but I doubt it concentrated on trumpeting figures to illustarte how wonderful the EU is.

    The public are getting deeply frustrated because none of the parties are making the case or indeed listening, that’s why many people are getting so cheesed off and wanting a referendum because they feel that are not being heard

    Listening to what? Most people seem to believe that the EU is some over-bearing might, yet can’t actually think of anything it does. Seems to me if it really were the horrendous tyranny some make out it is, we would know in what way it tyrannises us. But if you ask people just what it is about the EU you don’t like, what sort of answers will you get? Surely if it were all that, all our political discussion would be about these things, but it is not, is it? When it comes to policy details, it’s all about tuition fees, bedroom tax, privatisation of the NHS, and other things that have nothing to do with the EU.

    Might it not be the case that the political right loves to go on an on about having a referendum on the EU in order to turn people’s attention away from having a referendum on the NHS reforms, on privatising Royal Mail, and on plenty of other things that might perhaps have more impact in their lives? Might it not be that the people of this country have been roundly fooled by all this, and by this constantly mentality poured out by most of our newspapers (owned by big money, and mostly propaganda machines for big money) that assume anyone who does not denounce the EU as an unacceptable evil is written off as some sort of slave of Brussels who thinks everything about it is to the best and doesn’t want to change any of it?

  • John Roffey 26th May '14 - 3:44pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach

    Seems that the EU might be viewed as a goldmine for the political class!

    10,000 European Union officials better paid than David Cameron
    More than one in five European Union officials earn above £142,000, the salary paid to the British Prime Minister

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th May '14 - 4:01pm

    @ Ian Bailey,
    I agree with everything that you say, but as far as electors hating the Lib Dems as a whole is concerned , I think that this is quite unfair. Yes, people are saying they hate the Lib Dems, yes, they blame the party as a whole, but if any of them read the posts on here they would recognise that the whole party cannot be blamed for the work of their leader and MPs.

    It is a pity those who have argued robustly against the leader and his clique are not given the credit that they are due. It is the thought of their efforts that caused me, reluctantly, to vote Lib Dem last Thursday. When Kingston was lost I thought sadly of one of those who could not have done more to prevent what was happening, short of throwing himself under the Queen’s horse.

    I find the Conservatives and their right wing splinter group, Ukip, repellant. I hope that people of goodwill on the left of centre will support each other instead of aping the ‘yah – boo’ example set by the Tories and Lib Dem leadership.

  • @Matt
    We have the facts about the EU.
    For example, European finance chiefs endorsed a 78 billion Euro bailout for Portugal.

  • @Matthew Huntbach

    “What exactly are these “spurious figures”?”

    The claims that 3 million jobs would be lost if we leave the EU. That’s an argument I have heard Nick Clegg use but have never seen any real independent evidence that supports this claim.
    The British government has never commissioned a cost-benefit analysis of our continued membership
    Nigel Frarrage is always spouting figures about the cost of the EU and population growth to the uk over the next 10 years due to uncontrolled boarders, but I have never seen independent analysis to back up his claims.

    All of the parties spout figures but there never seems to be an independent analysis to back up their claims.

    I am not just talking about the EU campaign over the last month or so. I am talking about things ALL the parties have been saying for the last few years.
    In my opinion the British public are getting fed up because they just do not know the truth. They can only base an opinion on how Britain is performing domestically and all we are hearing from the government, Tories and Liberal Democrats, is that there is no money, the need for austerity, cuts to services, cuts to welfare.
    People see the problems with the NHS and how it is bursting at the seams because of lack of funding.
    Lack of school places.
    Shortage of housing.
    So naturally people are concerned what effect more immigration and the cost of staying in the EU would be put on these resources.

    I am not and I repeat Matthew NOT making an argument for leaving the EU and I think you may have misinterpreted my post.
    What I was saying was that there needs to be an independent analysis which sets out the facts and then all of the parties need to make their case on why they are the party of in or out, or what reforms they want to see.

    People are not voting for Farage because they want to leave the EU. They are also not voting for Farage because they want to see the Liberal Democrats wiped out. That is just nonsense.
    The reason I think anyway that people are voting for Farage is because they are trying to force the governments and major parties hands into having a proper discussion with full facts and transparency on the EU. Many people feel like they are being dictated to by the Tories/Labour/Liberal Democrats with a we know best attitude without making a real case for their arguments.
    People want some democracy and they do not think they are getting it.

    That’s my opinion anyway. I could be totally wrong, but that’s the sense I get

  • Mathew Huntbach,
    The tories just repeated that they were going to hold a referendom which is the only thing they can say to stop their own toxic internal rifts..
    For all the claims that UKIP are the people’s army only 30% of electorate even bothered to vote at all. A nation galvanised into an eathquake of apathy.

  • Another legitimate concern is..

    We hear parties saying that we need to build 300’000 new homes a year.
    And yet the reality is in 2013 I believe the actual figure for completitions was 109’530 taken from here

    We also have objections from all parties with regards to building on green belts.
    Land owners sitting on land desperately need for development.

    Where are these houses going to be built?

    It is these kind of difficulties on domestic policies which remain unsolved which make people concerned on the added EU effect.

    If the governments where more transparent and said we currently need more “xyz” Hospitals, Schools, housing to support the existing population and we will need “xyz” extra to support continued membership of the EU and open boarder policies. However the long term benefits of remaining in the EU will increase GDP by “x” over the next however many years.

    That’s the kind of sensible, transparent debate we need to have and then let the British people have their say. After all we are supposed to be a democracy

  • @jaynemansfield:
    “I agree with everything that you say, but as far as electors hating the Lib Dems as a whole is concerned , I think that this is quite unfair. Yes, people are saying they hate the Lib Dems, yes, they blame the party as a whole, but if any of them read the posts on here they would recognise that the whole party cannot be blamed for the work of their leader and MPs”

    Indeed, its tremendously unfair but its true. From the outside what we see is parliamentary party implementing Attila the Hun policies, and now and then the grass roots who don’t buy into Orange Book popping up to complain usually led by that Doctor ex MP whose name escapes me.

    Like my party have been you have two parties. We were bought and coopted by the establishment and went off in a crazy direction under Blair privatising things and handing vast chunks of public money to the city via PFI – as others have pointed put this was and still is a Tory policy. You have been bought and coopted by the same people, with your entryist leader Nick Clegg and his Orange Book. Clegg, Cameron and Blair are wholly interchangeable leaders who have created interchangeable parties with the same policies.

    UKIP, lead by millionaire ex city stockbroker Farage, are supposed to be the anti- politics party but Farage is as establishment as any of them. In my party we managed (barely) to overthrow New Labour and they have attacked Ed nonstop for not following their script. But at least its democracy. I urge you to overthrow your own establishment shackles and go back to the honesty integrity and success you had under Kennedy. That is your party, not this identikit establishment sham.

  • Before you ditch Clegg and charge off to the left maybe you should pause for a moment and consider who your remaining 7% of the electorate are. Well for a start they’re not properly left of centre – they’ve long gone across to boost Labour’s vote. In fact an analysis of Labour’s vote would suggest virtually their entire increase since 2009 is made up of Lib Lab switchers. So what’s left I suggest is an amalgam of pro EU soft Tories and swing voters who despise that party’s hostilty to Europe, traditional liberals and various other non conformist and independently minded individuals who can be summed up as having a dislike of big business and big government.

    Hard as it might be hunkering down and saving as much as possible in 2015 is the least bad option. When it really comes to it at a general election our efforts in coalition will not go unrecognised unlike those of our underappreciated MEPs now so sadly lost. To risk alienating the supporters we still have is folly.

  • Mark Sherratt 26th May '14 - 5:09pm

    @Matthew Huntbach: “You, along with many others, seem to think the only possible position that could be had in the EU is UKIP’s. So as soon as someone starts saying that on the whole they think it is better to be member of the EU than not, they are hit with this accusation that they are “EU apologists”, “cravenly accepting everything that comes from Brussels” and so on.”

    Classic example of someone not listening again. Hand on heart I am actually a pro-European, pro-World Government type person who actually would like us to move towards the ‘Star Trek’ style united humanity future.

    I agree with those who say Lib Dems lost credibility the moment they voted in favour of tutition fee rises. But I’m trying to put forward the case that even those of us who _wanted_ a LibCon coalition, who were prepared for sacrifices and compromise, even WE despair at the way the Lib Dems and in particular Clegg appear to have lost their objectivity when it comes to the EU.

    Basically as UKIP grew in support the Lib Dems became ever more entrenched in the view that they need to educate people to like the EU, to the point of making the European elections a mini-referendum on whether to stay in or get out. Well the public have listened and appear to have punished the party of IN.

    The Greens hit the right message with their PEB, and they increased their seats.

  • Bill Chapman 26th May '14 - 5:28pm

    It seems to me that the LibDems would be best to apply to become a section of the Labour Party, in the way that the Co-operativer Party is.

  • jedibeeftrix 26th May '14 - 5:32pm
  • Jayne Mansfield 26th May '14 - 5:37pm

    @ Ian Bailey,
    I have never been a member of the Lib Dems, just a loyal voter. I shall probably vote Labour in 2015 because I feel very sympathetic to Ed Miliband. ( If Farage had been seen inelegantly eating a bacon sandwich , the media would have been vaunting his ‘man of the people’ credentials). I could not have voted for your party under your last leader, the war-mongering heir to Thatcher.

    I still feel bad about those Lib Dems who have put up a valiant fight against their disastrous leadership and for all those hard working Lib Dems who lost their seats last night and on Thursday.

    Those of us who have voted Liberal or Lib Dem for decades before the arrival of Clegg and Co, thought we knew what we were voting for, and have been dumbfounded by the direction he has taken the party. I just don’t see any early future resurrection given the amount of damage done. My main focus will now be to support a party that puts Farage back in his box.

  • I know we are all battered and bruised, but can people stop talking about the Greens as if they are tactical masters, they gained one seat and a tiny increase in their vote at a time when the nation was looking for a real alternative to the ‘big three’.

    Even they know they should have done better. Do not get me wrong, I understand the media purposefully blanks them out, but still they were actually hoping to make some real headway this election and simply didn’t.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 6:44pm


    “What exactly are these “spurious figures”?”

    The claims that 3 million jobs would be lost if we leave the EU. That’s an argument I have heard Nick Clegg use but have never seen any real independent evidence that supports this claim.

    There is reason to be concerned that leaving the EU would have a serious effect on jobs. Obviously, it’s hard to predict to what extent. It seems to me we hear far more spurious claims about the supposed effects of the EU form the anti side than from the pro side. You go on about the pro side issuing these spurious figures, yet it seems to me part of the problem is that the anti side is doing most of the talking and those who don’t want to leave the EU keep quiet about it because they feel it is unpopular, so the anti side wins the argument by default. Yet as soon as someone does come up and say something positive about the EU, we get all these claims, which we’re seeing coming up again and again here, that this means they are “cravenly accepting” every aspect of the EU and don’t think there is a single thing that can be changed about it. That’s the point I’m making, the anti side just don;’t seem to be willing to accept there may be a variety of middle positions. I don’t see anyone in this country, certainly not Nick Clegg, who is pushing the line that the EU is all wonderful and there’s nothing at all that should be changed about anything it does or any way it’s organised. I don’t think we can have a serious debate on it until the anti side stops making this ridiculous accusation at anyone who dares challenge it.

    I myself am not mad keen on the EU, it has its good points and its bad points, on balance I’m in favour of membership, but I’m really put off by the extremist nature and unreasonable accusations that seem to dominate the anti side.

    The rest of your message is about immigration. Actually I do think the political elite in this country are far too sanguine about immigration, far too ready to write off anyone who expresses concern as “racist” and really don’t understand why many in this country who aren’t in comfortable elite positions express opposition to immigration. However, the EU is no all about immigration and nothing else. If people are concerned about immigration, they should say that, rather than hide it under a more general anti-EU rant.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 6:53pm

    Mark Sherratt

    But I’m trying to put forward the case that even those of us who _wanted_ a LibCon coalition, who were prepared for sacrifices and compromise, even WE despair at the way the Lib Dems and in particular Clegg appear to have lost their objectivity when it comes to the EU.

    In what way? Clegg put the case for being in the EU. I don’t think he did a particularly good job at it, but neither do I recall him using words which implied he thought it was all so wonderful that there was nothing at all about it that could be criticised.

    So sorry, but you seem to be taking the line that anyone who says anything positive about the EU has lost their sense of objectivity. You tell me that I’m not listening, but what are you giving me to listen to? All I’m hearing is claims from people like you that the Liberal Democrats are not just keen on membership of the EU but think it is so fine as it is that there is no need for any sort of reform or change to it. Yet neither you nor anyone else has been able to quote to me words that can be interpreted as meaning that. Until you do, I stick by what I said – it seems to me the anti side have closed their ears and won’t listen, because they’ve taken the position that there is no mid point between complete opposition to the EU and fanatical belief there is nothing at all wrong with it – despite the fact that I’m aware of NO-ONE in a leading political role in this country who takes the latter line.

  • @Matthew

    But immigration is a huge part of the EU debate. I don’t think people are hiding under an anti-EU rant. I certainly am not. There are legitimate concerns though on the effect of services and resources that the UK is already seriously lacking.

    There are a lot of things about Europe that I like, there are a heck of a lot things also that I don’t like or have major concerns over.
    You learn new things everyday. for instance, I was totally unaware that EU Citizens can come to the UK and they can also access our student loan system for university. I am not sure how I feel about that to be honest with you and I would like more answers and assurances. What provisions are there to ensure that an EU Citizen does not come to the UK, receive a student loan, finish their studies then return to their home country and never pay back the loan? That would be extremely unfair to UK students who will spend no end of years paying back a student loan.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 7:09pm

    Mark Sherrat

    Basically as UKIP grew in support the Lib Dems became ever more entrenched in the view that they need to educate people to like the EU, to the point of making the European elections a mini-referendum on whether to stay in or get out.

    Well surely if we are having election to the EU Parliament, whether you are basically in favour of the EU or basically against it is somewhat relevant issue. Why do you put it that party that says it is basically in favour of the EU and wants you work with it should not be saying these thing in an election of members to represent us in EU decision making? What else do you think the election should have been about?

    Unfortunately, of course, Clegg made it about himself. We have since heard about all the hard working and decent MEPs we have lost. Maybe it would have been a good idea to have had them feature prominently in the party’s national campaign rather than have it dominated by the person of Nick Clegg.

    Well the public have listened and appear to have punished the party of IN.

    To my mind, we have had a hysteria about it whipped up by UKIP, and people have gone along with it without really having much knowledge of what the EU does. As I keep saying, if it really were this dominating force, taking control and making the UK Parliament powerless and irrelevant as the anti-EU people allege, surely all our political discussion would be on the policies the EU is forcing on us, and we wouldn’t be talking much about the UK Parliament as we would recognise it doesn’t do much. But when it comes to real political issues, the sort of things that actually affect people’s lives, all the talk is about what’s coming out of the Coalition in Westminster, isn’t it?

    It is , of course, very commonplace when people have a general disaffection for rather nasty political sorts to come along and whip them up into a hysteria about something that is actually very much a side issue. We see this SO OFTEN across history and across the world. I see exactly the same thing happening here. To me, the anti-EU hysteria is very much about creating a political distraction to distract people form getting angry about the real unelected powers who dominate our lives, the bankers and global big business.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 7:19pm


    But immigration is a huge part of the EU debate.

    Yes, and I’ve accepted that, more so than most Liberal Democrats.

    That still doesn’t answer my more general question about all these claims that the EU is some tyrannical super-power which is taking power away for our wonderful Westminster and giving it to Brussels. If people’s concerns about the EU are purely on the immigration issue, let’s be straight and talk about that, rather than about issues to do with other aspects of the EU.

    I do believe that as English has become the universal second language there is a particular issue about immigrants from the rest of the EU wanting to come to the UK rather than other EU countries, so the open doors to all EU citizens policy causes particular problems for us that don’t affect other EU countries to the same extent. It seems to me that I should be able to say that without having to adopt the full UKIP anti-EU line, just as I can be in the whole in favour of membership of the EU without being that mythical fanatic who believes there is nothing at all about it that could possibly need changing.

    Once we can accept there are these midpoint, we might be able to have a serious debate. Unfortunately, all I hear in the anti side is ridiculous rants which won’t accept any mid-point, and to me that closes down serious argument.

  • jedibeeftrix 26th May '14 - 7:42pm

    “That still doesn’t answer my more general question about all these claims that the EU is some tyrannical super-power which is taking power away for our wonderful Westminster and giving it to Brussels.”

    This, Matthew, is because it is not an event that has happened but a journey that is being traveled.

    Moreover, it is a journey that is rapidly accelerating as the economic union, necessary for the survival of monetary union, is rapidly put in place. Economic union will only be deemed legitimate if it is driven by political union.

    It is not even as though we have a guaranteed get out clause as a euro-out, much of this is being done at the EU 27 level, and even where it is not it falls under QMV which effectively means caucused decision making when ‘consensus’ is managed by the ECB. We have to fight, every step of the way, to ensure that Britain remains outside these tentacles, and even when we do some berk named Blair comes along and signs right up to all the stuff we opted out of!

    This is the logical consequence of ever-closer-union, and I want no part of it.

    You talk a lot above about the willful intransigence of the outers, i am not one of them, I am merely realistic about the battle we face to get a EUrope I can live with.

  • Little Jackie Paper 26th May '14 - 8:14pm

    jedibeeftrix – Just to be clear, not getting at you.

    ‘Economic union will only be deemed legitimate if it is driven by political union.’

    What do you think about Mode 4, the various trade courts and other non-EU economic supranationalism?

  • jedibeeftrix 26th May '14 - 8:25pm

    not too concerned by it.

    i don’t have much of a problem with migration.

  • Little Jackie Paper 26th May '14 - 8:25pm

    Matthew Huntbach (with respect).

    ‘However, the EU is no all about immigration and nothing else. If people are concerned about immigration, they should say that, rather than hide it under a more general anti-EU rant.’

    But the immigration aspect IS the part of the EU that is the most visible to the public at large in their day-to-day lives. It is what is immediately associated with the union. I agree with you that there is more to the EU than immigration but the stark truth is that the European ideal is rather remote to a lot of people. I make no value judgment on that – I simply say that if the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to the EU is immigration then it is not difficult to see how that idea formed.

    It may very well be the case that the concern about immigration is about immigration per se, rather than EU-facilitated immigration in particular, sure. But then this is an EU election on EU-related issues.

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but when it comes to any EU referendum the question of EU immigration and (lack of) control will be the defining issue in all probability for good or for ill. Whether we trust Westminster to run a well controlled immigration policy in the interests of people rather than corporates is rather another question.

  • Little Jackie Paper 26th May '14 - 8:27pm

    jedibeeftrix – I can’t say I agree, but fair enough.

  • jedibeeftrix 26th May '14 - 8:42pm

    i can see the problem from the point of view of the unions.
    but i am well educated, talented and experienced, and moderately arrogant to boot. i don’t feel threatened.

    i can see the problem from the democratic point of view.
    but that is a symptom of being in the EU, managed trade deals is a competence brussels holds for all i don’t like it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th May '14 - 2:43am


    Moreover, it is a journey that is rapidly accelerating as the economic union, necessary for the survival of monetary union, is rapidly put in place. Economic union will only be deemed legitimate if it is driven by political union.

    Well, you say this, but you have still not given anything in terms of actual policy that is affecting people and that they don’t like. As I keep saying, ask people what they don’t like about what is happening in politics today, and they will talk about things like tuition fees, the NHS, cuts in council services and so on, none of which has anything to do with the EU.

    So I still am nowhere convinced that the EU is this big enemy that people have thought through and are opposed to on that basis, rather I see it as a big distraction that people have been got to focus their attention on to let off steam about, a process which is very common in history.

    It seems to me that power is shifting from the nation state to big global corporations who can play one country off against another, and in the face of this international co-operation is a necessity. Then I find that in elite circles in this country, complaints about the EU are about things like attempts to restrict bankers’ bonuses and the like. But do ordinary people in this country think like that? If you were to ask the average UKIP voter what it is he thinks that the EU is doing to oppress us, would he say “It is restricting the bonuses our poor bankers get”? I don’t think so, though I very much can see why the said bankers might want to whip up an anti-EU hysteria, but use vague terms to get people worked up about it and claim that means they are all opposed to it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th May '14 - 2:47am

    Little Jackie Paper

    But the immigration aspect IS the part of the EU that is the most visible to the public at large in their day-to-day lives

    Yes, but then you get people like jedibeeftrix who are getting all worked up about the EU, but say they aren’t concerned about immigration.

    So this really does make my point – people’s concerns about immigration are being used to get them to say they are opposed to the EU, and the argument “the people are opposed to the EU” is being used to further quite different policy issues than the immigration ones that caused people to think the EU was some big wrong thing.

  • @Matthew, stop talking sense, you are making it hard for people to be prejudiced against something.

  • John Barrett 27th May '14 - 12:27pm

    Caron – I did email you earlier in the month saying the party in Scotland might even be pushed into sixth place for the first time in its history later this month, behind both the Greens and UKIP, as well as the SNP, Labour and Tories. It should have been no great surprise to more people in the party when this actually happened.

    We have been pushed into fourth place in almost every region of Scotland where we have an MP. The party line saying all is well in held seats is simply nonsense. In the one area where we out-polled other parties (Orkney and Shetland) we actually got fewer votes in those Scottish Parliamentary seats than I used to get in my old council ward.

    Positive spin is fine, but a realistic understanding and debate about the depth of our problem is more important. Please take that thought to the FE, as when I was on the FE – when we had the disastrous Scottish results in 2011 – the scale of the problem did not appear to sink in there, at Westminster in the Parliamentary party or at Party HQ.

    If nothing changes and we just carry on doing the same things, the results in every one of the last four years will be repeated next May and we could lose far more MPs than anyone wants to predict. There is no simple solution, but ‘business as usual’ is not an option.

  • jedibeeftrix 27th May '14 - 9:45pm

    in less than a months time ecr is going to be a bigger party than alde.

  • @ Matthew H

    “If you were to ask the average UKIP voter what it is he thinks that the EU is doing to oppress us, would he say “It is restricting the bonuses our poor bankers get”? I don’t think so”

    Well I am a UKIP voter and I am definitely very very average.

    I DO disagree vehemently with European meddling in our financial sector, still our most successful, although sadly weaker than it was.

    It is absolutely none of the EU’s business how much British companies, or international institutions domiciled in the UK pay in bonuses to financial executives. That should be left to the market and we do not want them relocating to Singapore, or New York, or Tokyo.

    As for the Tobin tax, it is nothing but a flagrant attack on the City by jealous continental Europeans, which is why the British Govt, rightly is attempting to fight it. Although with what success I doubt…

  • “As for the Tobin tax, it is nothing but a flagrant attack on the City”

    Seems perfectly reasonable to me. I suppose income tax is a flagrant attack on workers?

  • David Evershed 31st May '14 - 4:04pm


    There already is one Tobin tax on financial transactions in the Uk. This is a 0.5% stamp duty on the value of equities purchased. As a result equity trading is lower than it would otherwise be and equity trading business is moved elsewhere in the world or Contracts for Difference are used which suffer no stamp duty.

    Of course, paper transactions are easy to move offshore. More difficult to move offshore is the exchange of ownership of houses and so the givernment has been able to raise the level of stamp duty to the high levels we now see.

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