POLL EXCLUSIVE: What Lib Dem members think will happen in 2015 – and what we want to happen in the event of a hung parliament

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

72% of Lib Dem members predict another hung parliament in 2015

What do you believe is the likeliest outcome of the next general election?

    5% – An overall majority for the Conservatives

    6% – A Conservative minority government

    3% – A Conservative-led coalition with parties other than Labour or the Lib Dems

    11% – A Conservative-Lib Dem coalition

    29% – A Labour-Lib Dem coalition

    3% – A Labour-led coalition with parties other than the Conservatives or the Lib Dems

    20% – A minority Labour government

    9% – An overall majority for Labour

    0% – A “grand coalition” between Labour and Conservatives

    13% – Don’t know

I deliberately offered multiple, mirroring choices to capture the full span of opinion on this. But let’s now group the data together to help us understand what it’s saying:

  • Almost three-quarters of Lib Dem members (72%) think a hung parliament is the most likely outcome of the 2015 general election. Just 14% think either Labour (9%) or the Tories (5%) will win outright.
  • 40% of Lib Dems expect the party will be back in government in a coalition – three-quarters (29%) of this group expect it to be with Labour and just one-quarter (11%) a second coalition with the Tories.
  • Getting on for two-third (61%) think Ed Miliband’s Labour party will be in government, either on their own account or with backing from other parties. Just one-quarter (25%) expect the Tories to be in government again after 2015.

So that’s what our sample of Lib Dem members think will happen. Now let’s find out what we want to happen if there’s another hung parliament…

By 55% to 18%, Lib Dem members prefer post-2015 alliance with Labour to continuing pact with Tories

Assuming the Lib Dems do not form a majority/minority government after the next election, which would be your most preferred outcome:

    3% – A Labour majority government with the Lib Dems in opposition

    7% – A minority Labour government with the Lib Dems in opposition

    15% – A Labour-Lib Dem ‘confidence and supply’ agreement (ie, no coalition deal so free to vote on an issue-by-issue basis, but agreeing not to bring down the government or vote against its Budget)

    40% – A Labour-Lib Dem coalition (if stable majority will result and programme for government can be agreed)

    13% – A second Conservative-Lib Dem coalition (if stable majority will result and programme for government can be agreed)

    5% – A Conservative-Lib Dem ‘confidence and supply’ agreement (ie, no coalition deal so free to vote on an issue-by-issue basis, but agreeing not to bring down the government or vote against its Budget)

    1% – A minority Conservative government with the Lib Dems in opposition

    2% – A Conservative majority with the Lib Dems in opposition

    4% – Other

    8% – Don’t know

Again, let’s group some of these individual choices together:

  • More than half (55%) Lib Dem members want to see some form of arrangement with Labour: either a formal coalition (40%) or a ‘supply and confidence’ arrangement (15%).
  • By comparison, fewer than 1-in-5 (18%) want to see a continuing arrangement with the Conservatives, either a second coalition (13%) or a ‘supply and confidence’ arrangement (5%).
  • In total, therefore, almost three-quarters of Lib Dem members (73%) want to see the Lib Dems continuing to play an active role in government: 53% within coalition, 20% through a ‘supply and confidence’ arrangement. Just 13% of Lib Dem members want to see the party return to opposition.

My personal take on the results

I last asked this question a year ago: By 48% to 19%, Lib Dem members prefer post-2015 alliance with Labour to continuing pact with Tories. The findings are pretty similar, but there has been a noticeable shift in favour of a full coalition with Labour.

I think this is both tactical and principled.

Tactically, it makes sense for the Lib Dems to want to choose Labour next time: it would show the party isn’t simply an adjunct to the Tories but can work with both other major parties if that’s how the public votes.

On a principled basis, Labour’s position on a range of big economic issues — tax-cuts for the low-paid, the ‘mansion tax’, ending universal benefits for wealthier pensioners — has moved towards the Lib Dems’ in recent months, as I noted here.

Personally, I’m very doubtful the Lib Dems will form a coalition with either party. I do not think the party will approve a second full coalition with the Conservatives: the party’s ‘triple lock’ — which means any deal must be approved by large majorities by each of the parliamentary party, the elected Federal Executive and a special conference — will, almost certainly, prevent it.

And while the results in our poll suggest the party would be willing to sign up to a coalition with Labour next time around, it seems very doubtful Labour will be prepared to offer the party the kind of deal that will make it acceptable. Too much bile has been spilled, too many bridges burned.

Moreover, the Lib Dems may well not be in as strong a bargaining position next time. In 2010, despite losing MPs we gained an extra million votes, partly on the back of Nick Clegg’s strong showing in the televised leaders’ debates. 2015, by contrast, will be a survival election for the party. Of course, none of us knows what the next two years will bring, but it seems unlikely the party will have the kind of momentum we did then which would allow us to make demands in the way our negotiating team did in May 2010.

My best guess at this stage, therefore, would be that we are heading for a minority Labour government, with Prime Minister Ed Miliband dependent at every parliamentary vote on Unite-sponsored, Bennite-left Labour MPs. The good news is he’d also be dependent on Lib Dem MPs. And the more of them there are, the greater influence the party will have.

Full disclosure: You should probably ignore my predictions about future Coalitions. In March 2010, I put forward 5 reasons Nick Clegg should rule out a coalition now, with my top reason being “A coalition is a non-starter, so let’s just rule it out now”. Other posts have aged better.

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Just over 600 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 19th and 23rd July.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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    This entry was posted in LDV Members poll and News.


    • A coalition with Labour – perhaps – but the thought of making Ed PM – gives me nightmares! lol

    • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 25th Jul '13 - 8:51am

      Oh good. That means that Nick Clegg can stop going on about us being a party of protest. Only 13% would prefer to be in opposition. I suspect, though, that you would have had 100% in favour of a Liberal Democrat majority government:-).

      I’m not sure a coalition with Labour would be all plain sailing. If the Scottish coalition negotiations are anything to go by, they would hand us their manifesto and expect us to sign up to it. We would have to be very robust in the negotiations.

      Certainly the Scottish coalition with Labour came at the culmination of a Scottish Constitutional convention process when we had had a long period of working with them and negotiating with them on the model for a Scottish Parliament. If we were to reach a coalition deal with Labour, there would not be that sort of history. Everyone would need to have their attitude right. The specific arithmetic would be the crunch – how much would they really need us. It’s all an argument for winning as many seats as we can, so it comes back to getting out on doorsteps now.

    • Simon McGrath 25th Jul '13 - 8:56am

      ” I do not think the party will approve a second full coalition with the Conservatives: the party’s ‘triple lock’ — which means any deal must be approved by large majorities by each of the parliamentary party, the elected Federal Executive and a special conference — will, almost certainly, prevent it. ”

      Why on earth should the FE – elected by a tiny % of party memebrs be able to block a coalition? Would they really block it even being put to Conference?

    • Tracy

      and the Cameron/Osborne duo of two spoilt public schoolboys has been so good. Miliband may not be perfect but he seems to be more mature and dignified than the current PM – see PMQ for numerous examples.


      Surely any Coalition should not be plain sailing and is a negotiation? This can take time to do properly, the British media and behind the scenes pressure forced a quick Coalition Agreement and we have seen some of the issues that caused.

    • Seems appropriate now to assess whether Clegg and the current team are even capable of working with Labour in the event of a hung parliament. Relations are very bad, largely due to the idealogical positions of the Lib Dem leadership and advisors vis-a-vis the rest of the party.

    • David Wilkinson 25th Jul '13 - 9:32am

      Well that’s a scienticfic result of the next election, if I was to wet my finger and stick it in the air, I might find the breeze is from the south at this moment, but it was fun filling the survey in.
      The next two years will be fun with Dave and the blues trying very populist trick going and Nick wondering what to do.
      Will our man Clegg be there or will he go after the Euro disaster?
      Will 57 MP’s survive and a handful of others win 2015 ?

    • Just to clarify my earlier comment, relations are very bad, largely due to the idealogical positions of the Lib Dem leadership and advisors vis-a-vis the rest of the (Lib Dem) party and Labour. Clegg’s agenda to pull the party across to his position the centre right is at the crux of this.

      The question Lib Dems need to ask themselves, is if Clegg can’t lead the party in to coalition with Labour next time – who can?

    • From everything I have read from liberal democrats, the problem with negotiations was that they thought that they were in a subordinate position to the conservatives and therefore would negotiate, and ultimately submit to, any policy from their coalition partners. However, they think themselves superior in most ways but especially in terms of negotiating power to labour, and treat any determination to maintain manifesto commitments by labour as intransigence and impudence, they then throw their hands in the air, blame labour and follow their conservative betters with gusto. I wouldn’t expect it to be any different at the next election unless there is a chance that there will be ministerial posts on offer.

      Given what I read on these pages and hear from your front bench spokesmen I find it hard to believe that it would be possible to enter into a coalition with labour, you hate them. It seems to me that your leadership has nailed its colours to the conservative mast and would prefer coalition with them either in government or opposition.

    • One thing that really scuppered negotiations last time was our insistence that Gordon Brown stand down. That wasn’t within the gift of their negotiating team, and it’s hard to see why one party should have a veto over another’s leader. My guess is that any negotiation with Labour next time will have a similar red line on Nick Clegg standing down, which may well make a deal impossible. But it’ll depend on how desperate all sides are to do a deal.

    • It’s hard to see Labour agreeing to be in a coalition with Clegg remaining as leader. Their voters would be outraged enough by the idea of a coalition with a party that has opposed so much of what they believe in even without Clegg. Clegg, Laws and Alexander have done so much over the last three years to demonstrate how much they agree with the Tories that the prospect of a workable coalition with Labour seems almost as unlikely as the outcome of the election making it possibble.

    • @tpfkar
      Good point. The Lib Dem negotiating position with Labour was essentially intransigent and unworkable given that Labour couldn’t remove Brown. There was no serious attempt by the Lib Dems to negotiate with Labour – it was a sham. Besides, the arithmetic made it almost completely unworkable. That’s the line that should have been relayed to the electorate. Instead, by blaming Labour it made it look like there was a choice. It was nothing more than a piece of very crude tribal politicking by individuals sympathetic with the Tories and thoroughly opposed to Labour. Labour would have to be very desperate indeed to countenance the idea of a coalition with the Lib Dems following the next election.

    • When I answered the question in the survey I think I put Conservative minority with Lib Dems in opposition as my prediction. Anyone who thinks that Cameron or his successor could sell a consecutive coalition with us to the Conservative Parliamentary Party and activists is living in cloud cuckoo land. It simply will not happen. So to those who think a second Conservative-Lib Dem coalition is likely needs to really listen to what the Conservative Party is actually saying about this idea.

    • Tpfkar, I think that position had a knock on effect in turning people against the AV reforms and PR generally. Once it was shown that the Liberal Democrat view of democracy was that a small cabal of the elite could have enough power to overrule the inner democracy of another party and choose the prime minister regardless of the expressed wishes of the voters, it became less likely that we would vote for a system that would entrench that power. It made the 70’s mythology of trade unions in smoke filled rooms with labour ministers look trivial.

    • I think both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party are awful, both politically and in their approach to politics. If I didn’t, I might not be in the Liberal Democrats.

      My experience of Labour, especially in Leeds, is that they are arrogant, vicious and unprincipled. Friends of mine have similar experiences of the Conservatives.

      So no, I don’t especially hate the Labour Party. I just don’t trust them to deliver on any agreement, because my experience is that they don’t. [viz. LibLab pact] However, the current Tory Party have reneged on much as well.

      If we end up in coalition negotiations then we have to put that aside and go in with a clear idea of what we want and what we are prepared to accept and not accept. We must also take the time necessary to do the job properly and not kowtow to press demands for instant answers.

    • Simon Hebditch 25th Jul '13 - 11:28am

      It is exactly because we should be better prepared for negotiations for another coalition that I have long advocated that discussions should be beginning now with Labour to see if a potential joint programme could be put together. Of course, the professional politicians will want to generate some artificial excitement in the five days after a GE but the basis of programme should be developed now. A mixed group of Lib Dem and Labour activists will be considering a draft set of joint priorities in the autumn.

    • nuclear cockroach 25th Jul '13 - 11:36am

      If there were to be a coalition involving the Lib Dems after 2015, then their negotiators should be given all the time they need to do a good job for their party, without feeling under pressure from screaming harpies from Sky News berating them for not caving in immediately to all of their prospective partner’s demands.

    • Eddie Sammon 25th Jul '13 - 11:44am

      I’m a bit disappointed that the party isn’t moving closer to approximate equidistance. Equidistance wasn’t the right policy with New Labour, but I think it is now.

    • Dave Page

      So in essence you are saying it is a coalition with the Tories or opposition. Even if Labour was the biggest Party you wouldn’t support Coalition with them.

      I think you summary of labour’s position in 2010 is looking at things with blue-tinted glasses

      In my view another coalition with the Tories (10 years in total) would not destroy the Lib Dems but send you back to irrelevance

    • The next 2 years will, I beleive see the biggest shifts in British Politics since the 1920s. The steady fall in Labours poll lead is just the first sign of their coming crisis. I would urge every reader of LDV to keep an eye on Labour blogs, they are in for a bad couple of years.
      These surveys are very useful but they can only be provisional.

    • paul barker

      so what will political landscape be like then?

      What part of the 20s are you talking about?

      1922 massive Tory majority, Labour 2nd
      1923 hung Parliament – Tories lose massive number of votes, Labour 2nd just from liberals, Labour PM
      1924 massive Tory majority mainly at the expense of the Liberals who collapse
      1929 Hung Parliament – Tory lose a lot again and followed by Labour PM

      Some very different scenario but the two biggest parties always Tories and Labour

      Are you suggesting that the LD will overtake Labour to become the opposition to the Tories?

    • David Allen 25th Jul '13 - 1:09pm

      Miliband has the Prescott / Reid axis to deal with, a rump of MPs who are dead set against any coalition with the Lib Dems, and would credibly threaten to vote it down in Parliament irrespective of the consequences. If Clegg were still there in 2015, Miliband might or might not bring that rump under control by insisting on Clegg’s removal. If he needed Lib Dem support to gain a parliamentary mandate, he would certainly need Clegg to be got rid of.

      This would see Miliband forced to display some fancy footwork. An aggressive move by Miliband against Clegg might have the same effect as our own aggressive move against Brown – i.e. it would just scupper the deal. On the other hand, if Miliband were simply to wait for us to choose a new leader of our own volition, then the Prescott / Reid gang would probably continue to kick up a fuss and demand that Labour go it alone. All in all, therefore, a minority Labour government, dependent on hand-to-mouth or on confidence-and-supply, would seem to be a more likely outcome than an effective Lab – LibDem coalition. That’s just a pragmatic conclusion – I wish it weren’t so.

      Those of us who don’t like this conclusion therefore have to think what should be done about it.

      It’s good that Simon Hebditch wants to talk to Labour. However, it isn’t that good, for the simple reason that Liberal Left cannot make commitments for the rest of the Lib Dem Party!

      We have a leader who says that he would not “rule out” a coalition with Labour. Well, generosity knows no bounds. Of course, if Clegg had said that he actually would rule it out, he would have put himself in trouble. So, a grudging in-theory-it-might-happen statement is all we are going to get. In practice, any deal with Labour would be over Clegg’s dead body. In truth, we all know that.

      Cameron and Clegg have the momentum with them to steamroller through a second deal. It’s all very well having a lot of Lib Dem activists solemnly saying to an opinion pollster that they won’t get fooled again, that this time will be different, that this time they will put their foot down. Cameron and Clegg think their steamroller will roll all over all that, just like it did last time. They could be right.

      How can we stop them?

      I make two suggestions. One, demand that we establish an official negotiating team to offer talks to Labour now, to be led by senior figures on both sides, to explore the prospects for a joint programme should the conditions arise for it, and to make public an agreed statement on the outcome. To set up such a negotiating team would, after all, merely reduce the imbalance in our relationships with Tories and Labour.

      The other suggestion is less novel. It is that if we don’t want another Tory coalition after 2015, then we can’t continue to be led by the man whose primary objective is to secure that outcome.

    • Mark Argent 25th Jul '13 - 2:01pm

      I am not as pessamistic as Stephen about the prospects for another coalition. In common with many here, my instinctive preference would be for one with Labour, but the present arrangement has demonstrated we can work with the party with whom we have less natural affinity.

      Yes, bile has been spilled, but I suspect that is just the rough-and-tumble of politics. In 2010 we went from strong language to the press conference in the Rose Garden remarkably quickly.

      Yes, the triple lock means that we can’t enter a coalition on the whim of the leader or of the parliamentary party alone. On the other hand, all this does is mean we can’t enter a coalition unless this is clearly a good idea. If it is a good idea, it will happen. The effect of the triple lock is to strengthen the hand of those who would be involved in negotiating a new coalition.

      A minority government (or a tiny majority) for either party leaves them at the mercy of their extremists. That makes governing hard, and portrays the whole government and governing party badly, which undermines their chances in the next election. I suspect the leadershop of both big parties would favour a coalition with us as it instead muzzles their extremists.

      The danger for us is that we take the blame for the shortcomings of the coalition, and, by muzzling the extremists in the larger coalition partner, we make them seem more paletable than they are. This could mean we have so few MPs after the next election that we can’t form a coaltion, but if we have not been wiped out then then this will mean that the public have recognised this. That may sound naive, but I am one of those who joined the party after the 2010 election because I thought the LibDems were putting the national interest ahead of party interest in forming a coalition, and that seemed (and seems) worth supporting.

    • ‘A. week is a long time in politics ‘. The next election will be in nearly 2 years. Therefore, who knows what will happen then in a rapidly changing world. If people remember the bile between Labour and the Lib Dems then Clegg and his ilk will have to go BEFORE 2015.

    • Dave Page

      That seems an incredibly selective view of Adonis’s comments and I also do not trust a word that comes out of Laws’s mouth (or pen)

    • Frank Furter 25th Jul '13 - 5:34pm

      What has not been considered is the operation of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act on the formation and, later, operation of coalitions. In fact, the Act could also have an effect on the workings of a minority government or a majority government with a small majority. To see why this is so one needs to consider the means the act provides for Parliament to be dissolved before the fixed term is complete. There are two methods: first, a vote of no confidence in the government which is not followed, within 14 days, by a vote of confidence in the government (does not have to be the same government); second, two thirds of all members of the Commons have to vote for early dissolution. It has become harder to remove a government once created, but, after an election, the previous incumbent government can cling to office like a limpet. Previous coalitions, and minority governments, were in danger of no confidence motions – but they were also subject the the whim of the PM exercising the prerogative to dissolve parliament to his party advantage. Even in this Parliament there has been evidence that the Act has had an influence.

    • Dave Page

      ……and it was you who summarised something in a way to reinforce your view of the world

    • David Allen 25th Jul '13 - 5:59pm

      NukedOnTheAve, are you a spambot?

    • Philip Rolle 25th Jul '13 - 6:02pm

      I would have thought the best option for both the Lib Dems and the Conservatives will be to stand together promising another Coalition to “finish the job”. The alternative is that after the Election, the Lib Dems become insignificant again. The truth is that Labour will be far more reluctant than the Conservatives to consider a Coalition, even if they do need one – and let’s face it, the electoral arithmetic says they won’t.

    • Ed Miliband will never be PM if he fails to secure an overall majority because he will be replaced, so the question for LibDems is: which Labour figure could lead a Lab-LibDem coalition?

    • “Too much bile has been spilled, too many bridges burned.”

      And you could add:

      “Too many left wing voters, members and activists alienated and gone”.

      IIRC, it was Clegg who gravely intoned that the LibDems were no place for wishy washy lefty voters, and he was appealing to a new constituency. Judging by LibDem polling figures, he never actually found it.

      All the above about what sort of coalition you’ll be going into ignores the gorilla in the room. It’s this:


      The chances of the Tories having enough MPs to offer you a deal is minimal, and the likelihood that Labour would need to is, again, very slim. If the LibDems get lucky and UKIP attract enough Tories to vote for them, that might minimise the number of LibDem seats lost to the Tories (ie, in the South/SE/SW), but it really won’t help much elsewhere in the country which is more inclined to vote Labour on the whole. In my own constituency, the LibDems picked up a respectable 17% of the vote in 2010. On all current polling and projections, they’re unlikely to hit 5% in 2015.

      That’s certainly been borne out in local elections since 2010, when the party has lost 6 out of the 8 councillors it had, with every likelihood that the last 2 will follow them next year. And I can verify the fact that on the doorstep, finding LibDem voting intention is vanishingly rare. The local Labour party branch has had ex LibDems join, including one very well known ex member who stood for years in his home ward for the LibDems. I see that this week, he has a letter in our local rag slating the Tories and defending the Labour party.

      If none of the above gives you pause for thought, then that’s fine, but I’d urge you all, if you truly want the LibDems to survive as a serious political force to be utterly sanguine about prospects both for the 2014 elections (local/Euro) and the 2015 general.

    • richardheathcote 25th Jul '13 - 7:04pm

      @ orangepan
      “Ed Miliband will never be PM if he fails to secure an overall majority because he will be replaced, so the question for LibDems is: which Labour figure could lead a Lab-LibDem coalition?”

      by the same token if Clegg fails to get a majority would that mean him also being replaced? The question the Lib-Dem leaders need to consider is who would Labour be able to work with??

      I cant see any way Clegg, Alexander or Laws could be part of a Lab-Lib coalition. Alexander cant fart without blaming it on the previous Labour government.

    • If Miliband manages to avoid doing an electoral Brown we could look at cooperation with Labour, but just as much as the Tories, they are not us. My nightmare is that Miliband carries on being hopeless and so allows the Tories to govern with the Ulster Unionists!

    • Where I do agree with the leadership is that we have to play the hand that is dealt with us at the ballot box. Many of us may wish to go with Labour over the Tories (I am that rare LibDem who is equally opposed to both of them and does actually believe in the radical centre) but if faced with a Tory minority government (or Labour) then out job would be to swallow the bitter pill and go into coalition again.

    • Helen Tedcastle 25th Jul '13 - 9:28pm

      This is a heartening poll. Yes, Labour have their share of dinosaurs: Reid, Straw et al and Miliband will have to squash them. However, I think the price of coalition may signal the end of the Orange-bookers hold on the Lib Dems. I hope so quite frankly.

      If Miliband will do business with the Lib Dems without Clegg and he controls the dinosaurs, then a coalition could work.

      Another five years of Gove, Hunt, Osborne is the worst option as far as I am concerned, even in a formal coalition.

    • The way things are going, I do not see the Liberal Democrats being in a position to be the so called “king Makers” at the next election.
      You only have to look at the declining membership to see just how bad things are deteriorating for Libdems

      The submitted accounts show Liberal Democrat membership is down by 6,400 to 42,501, while Labour membership has dropped by 5,763 to 187,537.

      A 13% drop in membership for Liberal Democrats is also around the same figure shown in the opinion polls

      Compared to Labors drop in membership of around 3%

      If the Liberal Democrats continue on this path of ignoring the so called “lefties” and alienating a big chunk of their core supporters, then the only result with be devastation for the party

    • So membership since Nick became leader is down by 35%: a loss of 23,000 members.

      The man is sadly a complete disaster, and under him there is no hope of us having enough MPs to form a coalition with anyone.

    • Peter Watson 26th Jul '13 - 12:02am

      @paul barker “The steady fall in Labours poll lead is just the first sign of their coming crisis.”
      The decline in Labour’s lead (in Yougov polling) reflects a rise in Tory voting intention. Labour support is pretty flat, but Lib Dem voting intention has also remained flat or might even have dropped slightly further: looks like the crisis could be in our own party if we are still being punished for our role in the Coalition.

    • “The decline in Labour’s lead (in Yougov polling) reflects a rise in Tory voting intention.”

      Correct. If you read the psephological runes, you’ll quickly discern that that rise has coincided with the fall in UKIP polling. Whether that will remain true will be seen in 2014, and even the economic prospects for the UK are nothing like as rosy as some people were trying to paint yesterday.

      There are too many governmental hostages to fortune to ignore – NHS changes, benefit changes, falling real wages and a continuing fall in business investment, for example – will not play out kindly for the government, or either party in it.

    • Matthew Huntbach 26th Jul '13 - 11:05pm

      The third party movement turned the corner with the massive increase in Liberal vote in February 1974, which did result in a no-majority Parliament. But how many elections did we have after that before another no majority Parliament? By my count, nine. In many of those elections, the third party went in far more optimistically then we are likely to be in the next. So why do people suppose that the distortions of the electoral system won’t work as they have done in most of the previous general elections?

    • David Evershed 29th Jul '13 - 12:14pm

      At the next General Election the Lib Dems will need to emphasise that where they are in second position in a constituency, the third party supporters (Labour or Conservative) should vote Lib Dem to help get a hung parliament.

    • “At the next General Election the Lib Dems will need to emphasise that where they are in second position in a constituency, the third party supporters (Labour or Conservative) should vote Lib Dem to help get a hung parliament.”

      If by the time of the next election the opinion polls are still showing Lib Dem support having halved since 2010, you are going to have severe difficulty in convincing people that “second place in 2010” translates to “second place now”.

    • The outcome of the next election is as uncertain as the economy and volatility of indices in general.
      What the LibDems need to do is to ask the question of what we exist for: that is on the membership card!
      We are facing a very volatile economy with debt still mounting. What is our solution?
      We can agree we should not have got there, but will the public actually be able to face up to the solution.
      Quite frankly, the economy went wrong when the £ left the Gold standard, and governments printed their way into hyper inflation and therefore debt. It doesn’t really matter Labour or Conservative: both have debased the £ and their part in destroying capital: people’s savings and capitalism itself replacing it with debt and selling the future.

      Our policies have got to include investment for returns.
      Yes, investment profits bring income to pay off this debt and perhaps pay for public spending.
      Any comments?

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