So how worried should we be about the Ashcroft poll on Bristol West?

Lord Ashcroft has released a further six constituency polls today. There is serious Liberal Democrat interest in only one of them – in Stephen Williams’ constituency in Bristol West. The results make depressing reading, showing Stephen in 3rd place behind the Greens. The figures, after they’ve been through Ashcroft’s magic manipulator, his not very transparent methodology.

Ashcroft Bristol West poll bar chart

 

As always he doesn’t use the candidate’s name, which makes no sense during an election. Let’s face it, the voters will be filling in ballot papers with the candidates’ names on them. Not only that, he doesn’t even name the constituency.

Party sources are quite bemused that Ashcroft hasn’t even tailored the poll to suit the seat. For example, with UKIP not a key player, he still asks if people have received literature from them. Yet the Greens are supposedly on 25% and he didn’t bother to ask if people had heard from them.

There’s also a feeling in the party that the truth on the ground isn’t as gloomy as the raw data would suggest for 3 reasons:

The Lib Dems are winning with the group of people who are most likely to vote and our voters across the board are more likely than any others to vote.

The Conservative vote is being heavily squeezed and is very easily persuadable with more than half saying that they wouldn’t rule out voting Liberal Democrat.

It’s hardly surprising that there’s a high Green vote but, like the Lib Dem surge in 2010, that may well dissipate. The smaller parties have had more exposure than ever before which is bound to affect their poll rating. But with approaching 4 in 10 Green voters being willing to see Liberal Democrats in Government, they may well prove squeezable. The Greens may also suffer from the lack of a good Get out the vote operation. GOTV is a Liberal Democrat strength.

It’s clear that the Liberal Democrats are out-campaigning everyone in the seat, so all is not lost.

When all is said and done, Lord Ashcroft is a political opponent. He would be delighted if we were completely spooked by his polls. We can’t let ourselves be thrown by something that was only ever a snapshot at that point in time. Had polls at this stage in 2010 been accurate, Nick Clegg would have had as good a chance as any of being Prime Minister and we all know how that worked out.

We just need to go canny and keep up with the campaign plans. What this absolutely confirms, though, is that our key seats are being very hard fought. Between now and polling day, we need as many people as possible going into them from other areas. So, if you have already planned to go to a key seat, thanks. Please take more people with you and make arrangements to go again and again if you can. If you can’t travel, it’s easy to make calls from home. Getting started couldn’t be easier.

So the answer to my question about how worried we should be: no more than we are already. We know we’re in tough fights all over the country and we are going to do everything we can to hold our seats. I wouldn’t bet against us doing much better than any commentators think.

 

 

 



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

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47 Comments

  • Bill le Breton 25th Apr '15 - 4:05pm

    One thing is for sure, the people with the best idea of what is going on are those leading the local team and those in the high command who must be able to see canvassing input in real time.

    What makes me worried is the Leader’s decision to makes those comments in the FT, including, “I would never recommend to the Liberal Democrats that we help establish a government which is basically on a life support system, where Alex Salmond could pull the plug any time he wants. No, no, no.”

    This has litle to do with post May 7th deals and everything to do with shoring up our vote. It tells me that the Tory scare tactics are biting and firming up soft Tories and flaking off LDs. It means that the LD/Con marginals are different to what they were prior to 14th April. It makes me worried about the accuracy of info before that date.

    No matter how ‘strange’ Ashcroft’s methods may seem, that Labour vote his polsters identify in Bristol W looks ominous (even if it were to turn out over stated), so again, I worry that we are also being pressed mighty hard in our LD/Labour marginals.

    It is the polarization of the vote that I always feared and thought might happen in the last 7 days, and which our main message of moderating the ‘big two’ was always likely to be ineffective against.

    Fear is beginning to make its mark – as it always does.

    There is a chance, therefore, that we are presently in a position of having 6 relatively safe seats and one of these has a new person standing. 7 Tory facing marginals and 5 Labour facing marginals which look a lot sicker given that Labour vote in Bristol W.

    I just hope that those with the figures are directing mobile resources to the right frontiers. And I hope I am spectacularly wrong.

  • I’m not sure what the surprise is here — it’s been known for quite a while that the Liberal Democrat vote has collapsed or is collapsing, for reasons which are by now too well known to deserve reiteration here. If we were going into this election with an intelligible strategy, this information might be useful; but I don’t get the impression that anyone’s in a position to react to polling information with anything other than handwaving and prayer. So why pay attention to the polls at all? Why not just go on tea leaves and feelings?

  • Tsar Nicholas 25th Apr '15 - 4:41pm

    As somebody who knew Stephen in his younger days as an activist in the Cynon valley, I feel sorry for him, but am not entirely surprised.

    Jenny Willott is in trouble in Cardiff, but to a lesser extent. She at least tried to distance herself from the tuition fees debacle, but Stephen positively embraced the u-turn, and I fear that he is about to be not-forgiven in a very public way.

    I made an extremely rare trip to Bristol last evening for an environmental event and I saw plenty of Liam Fox posters (boo! Hiss!), and quite a few Labour ones, but alas- no orange, and I went right through and into the student heartland.

  • Peter Hayes 25th Apr '15 - 5:32pm

    If you really think the looming disaster is all part of the plan and things are going according to plan, fine, in the meantime I will go on criticising the people who have led us to such a mess.

    But work for your local candidate in a Lib/Con marginal as the alternative is even worse. Is your hatred of the current leadership so strong you are happy to sit back and accept a Conservative majority? Let the people suffer for another 5 years so a pure LibDem minority opposition can stay in pure opposition. We have an effective LibDem MP and we need to keep him whatever the leadership did.

  • Tony Dawson 25th Apr '15 - 5:47pm

    I used to agree that the name was very important – until I saw my postal ballot paper.

    The name has been massively reduced and the party emblem massively increased.

    Who allowed this madness?

  • Well, the good news is UKIP have no traction in Bristol!
    Not a good poll, but it was always going to be hard in Labour facing seats. I really do think that Clegg needs to be careful with some of his rhetoric because it comes very close to accidentally campaigning for the Conservatives in Tory facing seats. IMO he has got to get a better balance between his record in office and doing the oppositions job for them, because in a lot of important LD seats the Conservatives are the opposition. You just cannot campaign on the assumption of a coalition and least of all that the present one will be viable after May 7.

  • Very worried, a constituency poll puts you guys 18 points behind.

    Realistically, the Greens should be looking to win the seat by squeezing the Lib Dem votes with ‘two horse race’ leaflets.

    The Greens should put out leaflets saying that now a poll puts them 2nd behind Labour it’s a two horse race. They should knock doors in Bristol West and explain to the voters living their that they simply must vote either Green or Labour, because nobody else can win there. The Greens should tell those voters who like the Liberal Democrats that no matter how they actually want to vote they simply cannot have a Lib Dem as their MP because the latest poll says the Lib Dems cannot win there and that they must therefore vote either Green or Labour.

    So the Lib Dem supporters should be made aware that no matter how they feel and how they want to vote that they simply cannot have a Lib Dem as their MP, that is no longer an option for them. They MUST vote either Green or Labour, that is their ONLY choice, their feelings and who they actually support don’t matter.

    Surely that makes sense?

  • On a more serious note, yougov election centre’s nowcast model also has the Lib Dems losing Bristol West. Although it does also have them holding 27 seats, which is more that I expect them to. I have a bet with Ladbrokes that the Lib Dems will get 25 seats or less, I was given even money on that.

  • Why is it “hardly surprising that there’s a high Green vote”?

    I find it frightening that the Greens are polling 25%. Can the good people of Bristol West read? Were they issued with a different manifesto ?

  • Sad fact is that Bristol is fast becoming a socialist city.

    Labour will throttle foreign investors, junk TTIP, ruthlessly punish the outsourcing companies, hand the railways over to the RMT and tax the successful.

    Their views on immigration are abhorrent as well, but then the hard left is highly xenophobic.

  • The Greens are even worse than Labour. Extreme left, coupled with a crude authoritarian streak, and science deniers who will condemn GMOs and nuclear power. The stance they hold on foreign ownership is highly racist.

    Unfortunately the British public are being ingrained with nasty anti corporate and anti internationalist views. The rise of the hard left in the Greens, SNP and Labour, coupled with the anti immigration and EU sentiment of UKIP will destroy our country and leave it unable to compete globally.

  • Quick thought – the time it takes to post here you could have made a call to help a marginal seat.

    We can argue come May 8th. Deal?

  • paul barker 25th Apr '15 - 7:35pm

    I cant speak about this particular poll but I would love to know how many of that Green 25% voted in 2010. Nearly half of the UKIP total in National polls is made up of people who didnt vote in 2010 & all past evidence suggests most of them wont vote this time either, when do you hear the media or “experts” mention that ?
    If the polls are right the numbers voting for “others” will more than double over a single Parliament – thats a big reason why I believe the polls are wrong.

  • I was intrigued by the anti-austerity pledges made by the three ladies at last week’s BBC debate. I got the impression that austerity was some sort of unpleasant complaint that must be banished immediately. They were actually calling for more public spending, more borrowing and more debt.

    These more honest pledges are less attractive, even to the slower witted voters. I wonder why they didn’t just say that they wanted to increase the debt mountain then all would have been perfectly clear. Perhaps I have missed a bit. I’m sure that soaking the rich would come into this somewhere. This is where Mr Hollande of France has demonstrated that if you bleed the rich, they get up and leave. It matters not whether they are as large as HSBC or as small as a rich film star. They just go.

    Oh Dear, back to increasing that debt mountain….

  • We – and Mr Ashcroft – should, in light of the uncertain record of constituency polling, bear in mind the possibility that on May 8th it will emerge that he has wasted a vast trough of cash on some pointless polling.

  • Tony Dawson 25th Apr '15 - 8:13pm

    @crewegwyn

    “We – and Mr Ashcroft – should, in light of the uncertain record of constituency polling, bear in mind the possibility that on May 8th it will emerge that he has wasted a vast trough of cash on some pointless polling.”

    I think he has enjoyed himself – the principal purpose of this exercise for someone as rich as Mr Ashcroft is. And his activity is far less ‘pointless’ than most of the politicians’ electioneering which I have seen to date. 🙁

  • @Peter

    “I find it frightening that the Greens are polling 25%. Can the good people of Bristol West read? Were they issued with a different manifesto ?”

    Yes. They’re the people that voted Lib Dem last time in Bristol West. The Green vote has risen because the Lib Dem vote has collapsed. This is why the Lib Dems are in so much trouble now, they don’t even understand who their voters are (or rather were). It also explains why the Lib Dem vote has collapsed so badly in Scotland.

    The Lib Dems where like a bunch of local parties who were different in each area they stood in. In national government they have had to make national decisions and have been found out. Their social democratic voters in Scotland have deserted them, and the party has collapsed there as a result. In student places like Bristol West they no doubt had a different message, to appeal to students and, now, just the sort of people who vote Green.

    After this election the party will have to be rebuilt and rebuilding it will take a generation. Before you attempt to rebuild anything however you will have to first decide what sort of party you want to build.

  • What I do find very interesting is that of those that voted Lib Dem in 2010, 21% would definitely not vote Labour – 70% would definitely not vote Conservative.

  • The poll does look a bit odd. The Tories cannot be polling as low as 14% in a constituency with such high property prices and preponderance of professional and managerial residents.

    If you cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the difference hits you straight away. You jump from a typically small “C” Conservative suburban fringe area to a kind of wealthy Bohemian milieu with plenty of students and a highly visible gay community. Or it may just be the vertigo!

    We thought the Tories had reached their low point in the cities under John Major. Not so, it seems. They may well have further to go. We see the same effect in the USA, where wealthy suburbs in the North-East and Mid-West vote heavily for the Democrats, while poor whites out in the sticks vote overwhelmingly for the Republicans. That latter demographic is much less important in this country.

  • @Mr Wallace
    Thank you for the explanation. Wow!
    The Lib Dem party presented at this election is extreme middle. You cannot get more middle. They pledge to be more middle than an alliance of Tory and Labour.

    Yet, I do recognise constituencies where the Lib Dems are Tory-Lite, and proud to be placed there, but it seems that some Lib Dem voters are as left as possible, too.

    Thank you for answering some huge questions that have bugged me for years. The Lib Dems were all things to all people until being in coalition shone a light on exactly what the party stands for. I argued this many times on this site without ever stimulating debate.

    Different voters see huge shifts in different directions. That is why the collapse in vote is almost universal. I do agree with your analysis, well done, but I doubt if you will find much gratitude here.

  • Nick Collins 25th Apr '15 - 9:10pm

    England, in Grenada are now within 27 runs of winning the Test Match. W. Indies are going through the motions but now know that they are going to lose: a bit like lots of LibDem candidates?

  • Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr '15 - 9:15pm

    Bill le Breton 25th Apr ’15 – 4:05pm
    ” … And I hope I am spectacularly wrong.”

    Worryingly Bill you are, more often than not, spectacularly correct!

  • Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr '15 - 9:23pm

    Bolano 25th Apr ’15 – 8:36pm
    “What I do find very interesting is that of those that voted Lib Dem in 2010, 21% would definitely not vote Labour – 70% would definitely not vote Conservative.”

    And I suppose Bolano, you expect us to draw the conclusion from this that we are a centre left party with predominantly centre left supporters?

  • Bill le Breton 25th Apr '15 - 9:48pm

    Sesenco is a wise old campaigner. He writes “We thought the Tories had reached their low point in the cities under John Major. Not so, it seems. They may well have further to go.”

    And, of course, this is exactly what is happening in Sheffield Hallam. Such a seat does not go back to the Tories when we stumble. It goes to whoever in the non-Tory ‘field’ puts up the best campaign. And distances themselves furthest from the Tories.

    If you are not keeping a careful eye on Oliver Coppard on Twitter, you should be. He is creating a buzz. He is fighting a by-election.

    Here is a political truth: there is no such thing as the centre in politics. It is the land of the unicorns. It is like a line in geometry. It has no thinkness. There is no centre to it.

    Finally ATF – if we continue to allow these extremely foolish people to direct the campaign, we shall fall even further. I think you know their names. They earn mega bucks, either from Party funds, Government payroll or from private communications companies, but they haven’t a clue about political campaigning – never did, never will. But they spin a good yarn.

    Whoever encouraged or scripted Clegg to do use that line in the FT (which he has now had to backtrack on spectacularly) needs to clear out. If you can’t tell the leader he is wrong, you are a waste of space as a political adviser. If you supported him in that line, you are incompetent.

  • @Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr ’15 – 9:23pm

    “And I suppose Bolano, you expect us to draw the conclusion from this that we are a centre left party with predominantly centre left supporters?”

    No, because it’s impossible to tell how many of either group fall into those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 and now would definitely not vote Lib Dem (32%). But I think it would be fair to say that in Bristol West, in 2010, the Lib Dems were a party “with predominantly centre left supporters” judging by those figures. I think after next Thursday we’ll have the figures for the supporters of what the party currently is politically, somewhat further to the right.

    I suspect then that the number of supporters will have been vastly diminished, and that they will be predominantly centre right supporters. I think some will argue that that this is a very bad thing; others will argue that if this means the party is more true to it’s beliefs, it may not be as bad as some make out.

  • For those who are looking for some light on the Ashcroft poll,you should read his article in “i”…he states that in marginals with Lab and Tory the Lib Dems are doing well..more especially in tory/ld marginals….

  • Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr '15 - 10:27pm

    Bolano 25th Apr ’15 – 9:53pm
    @Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr ’15 – 9:23pm

    Bolano – sorry my humour was a bit too oblique on this occasion … I actually agree with you 🙂

  • Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr '15 - 10:36pm

    Stimpson 25th Apr ’15 – 7:09pm
    “The Greens are even worse than Labour … science deniers who will condemn GMOs and nuclear power.”

    Hurrah! Stimpson to the rescue showing me not the only one having a humour malfunction this evening.

  • “The Conservative vote is being heavily squeezed and is very easily persuadable with more than half saying that they wouldn’t rule out voting Liberal Democrat.”

    I think there is a danger that the scare-mongering over a Lab-SNP alliance will result in voters turning to the Tories in droves.

  • @Stephen Hesketh 25th Apr ’15 – 10:27pm

    Just as much due to my tiredness, Stephen – apologies, too!

  • “Realistically, the Greens should be looking to win the seat by squeezing the Lib Dem votes with ‘two horse race’ leaflets.

    The Greens should put out leaflets saying that now a poll puts them 2nd behind Labour it’s a two horse race. They should knock doors in Bristol West and explain to the voters living their that they simply must vote either Green or Labour, because nobody else can win there. The Greens should tell those voters who like the Liberal Democrats that no matter how they actually want to vote they simply cannot have a Lib Dem as their MP because the latest”

    As chance would have it, I was in Bristol West today and heard a Green campaigner in the street making exactly that argument to a passer by. Never thought I’d hear the phrase “Ashcroft poll” in the ‘real world’!

  • On a positive note Bristol West was always likely to be demographically bad for us lots of progressive lefties who backed us as anti Blair but not Tory.

    However that’s the only positive let me be frank recent polls have shown us losing all our Scottish seats bar Orkney (and we haven’t had a poll there) including seats with majorities of 9k, 13 k and 15k.

    We are in serious trouble in top end seats friends in places where I thought we were 50/50 have told me they are written off , friends in seats where I thought we were winning tell me we are not and I don’t know of a held Lib Dem seat where there isn’t a full on campaign.

    Realistically outside of Westmoreland and Lonsdale where are we actually going to be hold? – I suspect May 8th will be a lot more grizzly than we expect. My guess is we will hold onto 7 to 12 seats. But what does anyone expect when we’ve lost 2/3rds of our vote.

    We are peddling this Bluekip nonsense when we could actually bee talking about real issues and this look right , look left it’s safe to cross nonsense has to stop.

  • Sorry, but blaming the methodology is clutching at at straws, and accusing Ashcroft of bias is really desperate. He’s published plenty of polls that spook Tories. For the commenters question the low Tory number, that doesn’t surprise me at all. A large swathe of the constituency is known by many locally as the “muesli triangle”, and is very hippyish, while much of the areas with the very expensive houses (Clifton, Redland, etc) have very high student population. The fact that thousands of LD voters have abandoned them is also no surprise. A very large number of the voters were likely to have been of the anti-Blair type, who abandoned the LDs in mid May 2010.
    To those surprised that people would vote for the wacky Green policies: I doubt many of them know any of the policies beyond “no austerity”. A lot of people here like the kind of policies that can be sprayed on a wall in Stokes Croft.

  • Just go to or phone canvas in any of our target seats. If in North London …. Come to Hornsey & Wood Green for Lynne Featherstone, a great team, a warm welcome, morning/afternoon/evening, seven days a week 🙂

  • Caron wrote: “Lord Ashcroft has released a further six constituency polls today. There is serious Liberal Democrat interest in only one of them.”

    I’m not so sure, Caron. Wasn’t Colne Valley a held seat not so long ago, albeit on different boundaries? Ashcroft shows us on 8% there, three percentage points behind UKIP. He also shows Labour failing to win Colne Valley from the Tories. Similarly, High Peak. That suggests that Labour is failing to win some of the key seats it needs. I am also interested to see UKIP projected to lose Rochester & Strood, but win Thurrock – both, incidentally, seats that Labour ought to be winning if it’s to form a government.

    In truth, we don’t know. What I would say is that if Steve Webb has been releasing people to help In Bristol West, he should pull them straight back.

    Question: Why is Steve Williams looking into the abyss, while Julian Huppert looks set to increase his vote share? Answers on a postcard, please.

  • Bill le Breton 26th Apr '15 - 10:22am

    Brilliant assessment Sesenco.

    This really is a battle for our existence.

  • @Bill le Breton

    – Miliband has just said excatly what Nick Clegg has done – no deals whatsoever with the SNP.
    – That message is absolutely key in LD/Con and LD/SNP seats.
    – If twitter was a judge of anything then AV would have won and Yes would have won a landslide in Scotland.
    – I’ve helped manage a Coppard style campaign for the party. The surface noise was the easy part. Didn’t translate to votes. A barely visible Labour campaign, in a seat in which 50% hated Labour, secured an easy victory.
    – I’ve got deliveries to do.

  • Bill le Breton 26th Apr '15 - 11:57am

    ATF – key? I’d say necessary but no wise sufficient – rely on words about process and you actually further damage our standing in LD/SNP and LD/Con seats. Plus by appearing Tory friendly it loosens our grip on Labour tactical votes in those constituencies.

    You have to have a full bl**ded campaign against Tory threat to YOUR security – security of the Union and security of YOUR livelihood – to hope to counter this.

    As to surface – it makes very little difference other than to own morale in the seat you describe, but it makes a major difference in a seat which Ashcroft suggests was neck and neck and which his recent poll of Bristol W suggests may be part of a wider trend in similar seats.

    Balloons, Posters Noise, Buzz, Spirit, um ???? brings in campaign energy, dosh, activists, the undecideds . Must be worth >5 %

    Coppard is just the kind of candidate you’d not want. Nemisis is often clothed as he is.

  • @John Lister

    Me: “Realistically, the Greens should be looking to win the seat by squeezing the Lib Dem votes with ‘two horse race’ leaflets…”

    John: “As chance would have it, I was in Bristol West today and heard a Green campaigner in the street making exactly that argument to a passer by. Never thought I’d hear the phrase “Ashcroft poll” in the ‘real world’!”

    Thanks John. But I was actually being sarcastic in the hope that people might think about where the Lib Dems went wrong. If the Greens are stooping to this “it’s a two horse race” crap then I’m disappointed in them.

    Bristol West is not a two horse race. Sure, it his highly unlikely that the Lib Dems can win there again, but that does not mean it is true to say that the Lib Dems cannot win it. Only the voters get to decide that. If the Lib Dems give the voters of Bristol West a good reason to actually vote for them then perhaps they might just win.

    Here’s the point I was trying to make. Look at those who win and win big and compare this to the Lib Dem “it’s a two horse race” strategy…

    The SNP look like they’ll clean up in Scotland and win almost all the seats there. Why? Well because they are the only serious party that stands for something that 45% of the population believe in. A large minority of Scots believe in independence, independence would be a massive change from the status quo and for the 45% of people who believe in it and want it the SNP are the only mainstream party who will do everything they can to grant them that . Incidentally
    45% was about the percentage of the vote that the SNP got in the Holyrood elections and about the figure that the polls put them on in the General Election in Scotland too. I think the SNP might do a little better than 45% of the vote in Scotland though because their supporters seem the most enthusiastic, here in Kirkcaldy the only posters I see are SNP ones.

    Obama was the same, he offered real change, health care for all was one of the big changes he offered. Obama’s plans ran into serious opposition but he still got most of what he wanted and re-elected. A truely successful politician.

    Thatcher offered a real change to the status quo that a large minority supported too.

    Even Blair after 18 years of Tory government was offering something.

    Now consider the “two horse race” approach. You’re not really offering anything other than not being the other guy. Is that all the Lib Dems really have to offer the voters? Are that honestly saying if you hate us less than person less please vote for us. That strategy is pretty pathetic and might just have worked for a party that had not been in government and hence not had that chance to do stuff to be hated for but now it won’t work. It was never really a good strategy though, nothing inspiring about saying “we’re not party x”.

    Most people are not liberal. But there are enough liberally minded people for a liberal party to do very, very well electorally.

    A good example of a liberal policy is cannabis legalisation. About 40% of the population believe that cannabis should be legalised and regulated in a similar way to alcohol. But rather than stand for that you choose to take a middle of the road weak position that will please nobody in the hope that the policy doesn’t really offend anyone either because you’ve one seats on being in inoffensive other guy in the two horse race between candidate x and candidate y. Cannabis legalisation is only one example of this.

    After the election the party will be in ruins and need rebuilt, consider carefully what you’re actually going to build before tempting to rebuild anything. If the Lib Dems ever do become a proper liberal party that stands for something I may rejoin and help in that building process.

  • I agree with Mr Wallace. If I was voting in Brighton Pavilion I would vote Liberal Democrat because although I am in sympathy with Caroline Lucas and the Greens on many issues, and would much prefer to see her re-elected than the Labour candidate, I am nonetheless a Liberal and the Green Party is not a Liberal party.

  • @tonyhill.

    Exactly, if you’re a liberal you should be voting for a liberal party that represents your beliefs. It is the job of the Liberal Democrats as a supposed liberal party to represent those beliefs. The Lib Dems should be giving liberal minded voters something to vote for – if the best they can do is produce leaflets telling voters that most of the other candidates can’t win and that they’re not candidate x then they have well and truly lost. Vote for us because we’re not x is a about as inspiring a reason to vote for someone as a stain on the bathroom mat.

    Anyway, that message won’t work after a term in government anyway. Because after being in power you will have done as much to upset certain voters as the other lot, students being case in point. This just comes with making the choices that being in power forces you to make.

    I will vote for the Liberal Democrats the day they all say that they want to see cannabis in the shops for recreational use under similar licensing conditions to cigarettes and alcohol.

  • “On a positive note Bristol West was always likely to be demographically bad for us lots of progressive lefties who backed us as anti Blair but not Tory.”

    Welcome to the South West.

    In other news, I see David Cameron’s in the Yeovil constituency today – in Norton, of all places.

  • matt (Bristol) 27th Apr '15 - 9:26am

    Yup, that feels like the city I live in – meanwhile, down here in Bristol South, marital negotiations have not so far resulted in an agreement for me to put up a Mark Wright poster in the window on the grounds that she doesn’t want to antagonise the neighbours.

    For all the distrust, LibDems are still in there, neck and neck in many areas of the city – but losing ground to the alternatives. And I don’t know about ‘socialist’, Mr Stimpson, but a considerable part of Bristol prides itself on its alternative-ness and the Greens are the alternative-est of the alternatives in the popular mind at this election (bearing in mind UKIP are a political nonentity most of the time here). As the enormous graffiti in the Avon Gorge used to say – ‘rebel city from all authority’.

    Also bear in mind that in Bristol West in particular, it may be a factor that not all the constituents will be the same people who were here in 2010 – there’s been somewhat of a middle class exodus to this city from London in the last 5 years, and the student population constantly refreshes itself (assuming they’re voting).

    I’m not saying Steven Williams can’t win, and the party can’t continue protect its probable second place in Bristol South – a lot of people are working very hard – but we have had a genuine no-holds-barred 4-party politics here for most of the parliament, and the game is significantly changed. The great thing about this when compared to the rest of the country is that this reduces UKIP to a bit-part, even in Bristol South, where they have their only councillor.

  • Simon Foster 2nd May '15 - 10:53am

    This is one of the three Green target seats, the other two being Brighton Pavillion and Norwich South. They then have a list of 10 secondary targets where they hope to come second, including Solihull.

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  • User AvatarFraser Coppin 21st Sep - 11:02pm
    I was at conference too and had a good time overall, but one of the less appealing aspects of it was that I heard the...
  • User AvatarGlenn 21st Sep - 10:08pm
    Frankie It is. The one party is the Communist Party of China.
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 21st Sep - 10:02pm
    @Michael 1 You are obviously someone who has done a lot of research on Liberalism. So can you tell me why most Liberal Parties or...