Tag Archives: 2015 general election

No, Ian Blackford, you really weren’t the victim: your campaign against Charles Kennedy was a disgrace

Few things have made me quite as angry as SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford’s revisionist interview in The Times (£)last weekend in which he claimed that the SNP’s vicious campaign against Charles Kennedy in 2015 was nothing to do with him and he was in fact the victim.

He said:

I did not enjoy the election campaign in 2015 but that was more to do with the characterisation of me from the Liberals. I’m not in any way blaming Charles, who was the MP. It was the campaign against me. It was pretty nasty.

Blackford objected to the Liberal Democrat literature which referred to him, accurately, as a banker from Edinburgh. While his supporters were going round being pretty blatant about Charles’ health problems and calling him a quisling. At the time former Labour minister Brian Wilson outlined some of the horrendous abuse Charles received on social media from Blackford’s allies:

Mr Smith sent at least 115 offensive tweets to Charles Kennedy between January and May as well as countless Facebook messages. He was not alone. A member of Charles’s constituency staff worked full-time on deleting abuse from his own social media sites. Any attempt to communicate on behalf of his own campaign met with another torrent of well-orchestrated poison.

When Charles asked for supporters to put posters in their windows, one Clare Robertson (if that is indeed his/her name) sneered: “Just put an empty whisky bottle in your window. It’s the same thing.”

The Mr Smith referred to was Blackford’s constituency chair who resigned over his comments on Twitter. 

Blackford also refers to a visit he made to Charles’ campaign office in Fort William:

What about the infamous episode, I ask, when you and some supporters were said to have burst into the Liberal Democrat campaign rooms and had a shouting match?

“That wasn’t the case,” says Mr Blackford. “I’d been in on several occasions. We even took some cake into them when we opened up our offices. I’d actually gone in to him because we’d had a public meeting the night before and I’d gone to see Charles to say, look, could you lay off this personal attack on us.

“With the benefit of hindsight, which is a wonderful thing, perhaps it would have been better not to do that, but that’s what happened and the Liberals have sought to characterise it in another way.”

On the day, in April 2015, we brought you the story of Blackford’s ill-tempered and aggressive visit to the campaign hq where he had a right go at young staff members. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Conservative Party releases election expenses after court action

The BBC reports:

The Conservative Party has produced documents about its spending during the general election after the Electoral Commission took court action.

The watchdog applied to the High Court to force the party to disclose the documents as part of an investigation into an alleged spending rules breach.

Within hours, the commission said it had received the documents from the party and was reviewing them.

…In a statement, the Electoral Commission said: “Using its powers under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) 2000, and in line with its enforcement policy, the Electoral Commission may issue a statutory notice requiring any

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Why the polls really got it wrong

The statisticians appointed by the British Polling Council have spoken.  The cause of the 2015 opinion poll disaster was – wait for it – statistical sampling error.  Pollsters chose the wrong mix of people.  Never mind that they had previously blamed bad statistics for their 1992 disaster, and thought they had then sorted out how to do the maths.

Meanwhile, professionals and pundits agreed that asking which party had the best leader was, consistently, a more reliable guide to who would win.  Thus, if they’d just relied on the finding that Cameron led Miliband in 2015, they’d have called it right.

Hang on, though!  If the problem was really a faulty, Labour-biased sample, then why should that sample be any less biased when asked “Who’s the best leader?”  If you have a biased sample, changing the question you ask them cannot possibly get rid of the bias!

Posted in Op-eds | 48 Comments

Tracking voters in 2010 and 2015

 

If anyone is still interested in mulling over the results of the General Election, this is some analysis that helps to answer two questions: which parties did 2010 voters choose in 2015? And the subtly different question: who had 2015 voters chosen in 2010? I am looking at the proportion of each party’s total vote in each case. (Thanks to David Howarth for pointing me towards the underlying data, following my previous column on this topic).

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments

Probe into “undue spiritual influence” in Birmingham election

 

An election petition has been launched into the May 2015 local elections in Birmingham. I want to be clear about a few things at the outset.

These proceedings are all about principles of public importance and the protection of democratic elections. It is about preventing future recurrence of kinship voting swaying bloc votes in favour of a political party. It is about the corrupt practice of providing fertile battleground for Pakistani political parties to flex their muscle during local British elections. It is about undue spiritual influence installing fear in the minds of the voter that if they don’t vote the party endorsed by the spiritual leader, punishment awaits them in the afterlife. It is about the illegal practice of segregation of men and women at political rally in contravention of the Equality Act 2010. These practices have no place in modern politics and for any political party to turn a blind eye to such practices amounts to selling values for votes.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 20 Comments

Did late postal votes cost Labour the seat of Derby North?

 

Amidst the slew of bad results for the Labour party on election night was the loss of Derby North by just 41 votes. Crunch the numbers and the incumbent, Chris Williamson, missed out on re-election by a margin of just 0.09 per cent of the vote – that’s just under one vote for every 1,000 cast. A bitter pill for him to swallow, I’m sure, but could it have been different?

I lodged a Freedom of Information Act request with Derby City Council asking how many postal votes they had received after 10pm on polling day. After that time, of course, votes can no longer be accepted and don’t count. We can’t know how many people turned back en route to the polling station once they realised it had gone 10 o’clock and they were too late to play their part, but we can find out how many unwittingly sent their vote back too late.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 19 Comments

Opinion: Here’s to our fallen comrades

Nearly two weeks have passed since the general election and while much has been analysed in reaction to that fateful day, as the party looks to turn a corner, it is also worth looking back and mentioning all of those good Liberal Democrats now out of office.

The election of 2015 will leave its mark in history for being the election of political scalps. Countless big names lost their jobs while the press looked on in disbelief as three leaders resigned all within a couple of hours of one another (and one even reinstated himself!). However we must also reflect on the loss of a large number of Liberal Democrats and their backroom teams whom the country will sourly miss. From Charles Kennedy in the North of Scotland to David Laws in the South West, Britain has lost many a servant to liberalism and the remaining eight MPs must shout louder than ever to have their voice heard.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Lib Dem/Tory waverers wanted continuity, but they voted Conservative to achieve it

It was always going to be true that the 30 or so seats where the fight was between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives would end up delivering one of the most important stories of election night 2015. Liberal Democrats hoped, of course, that this would be for the reason that they were the hallmark of the party’s resilience. But they were newsworthy in the end because they were symbols of the Lib Dem defeat, and the vehicles of delivery of a Conservative victory.

That the tens of thousands of voters in those seats who wavered between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives were the most important of this campaign had been known to both governing parties, of course, for months if not years. They were ruthlessly targeted from every angle: leaflets, phone-calls and visit after visit by senior politicians.

And in the end they made their decision, and they made it in David Cameron’s favour. The prime minister’s message, that only a Conservative vote could guarantee continuity and avoid the risk of a Miliband-Sturgeon government, ultimately prevailed.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 230 Comments

Majority happy to see Lib Dems play a role in government

If the key Lib Dem aims of the last five years were first to prove that coalition government can work in our majoritarian, outdated democratic system and secondly that Liberal Democrats can be trusted to govern in the national interest and deliver liberal achievements, the election campaign has brought positive news on both fronts.

It is easy to forget how coalition was talked of before the 2010 election. It was the common view of most of the media and political establishment that coalition government, if even possible, would be weak and unambitious at best.

It is therefore a remarkable turnaround for it to be considered quite widely that a coalition this time round (and particularly one involving the Liberal Democrats) would provide the most stable, moderate government.

Posted in News | 16 Comments

Election night on LDV

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Six red lines

Over the last week Nick Clegg has been drip-feeding his negotiating red lines. And here they are:

key_NHS-red-line (1)

key_education-red-line

key_Public-sector-workers-red-line (1)

key_tax-red-line (1)

key_economic red line

Posted in News | Also tagged | 22 Comments

Peter Kellner’s latest projection gives hope to the Lib Dems but points to the squeakiest of squeaky bum times

In the Sunday Times (£ – Phwah!), Peter Kellner predicts 32 seats for the Lib Dems, which is in line with Stephen Tall’s long-standing projection.

But the overall seat projection from Kellner puts us in rather different waters than other projections. The Guardian’s projection, for example, has pointed almost constantly to a Labour minority government with SNP support.

Posted in News | 94 Comments

Opinion: I’m voting Lib Dem, without holding my nose: not for liberalism, but for democracy

 

We are the only party prepared to campaign for genuine democratic reform and to put their money where their mouth is.

When I voted in 2010, I knew full well we might prop up the Tories: Brown had had it, and the Labour party has always been high handed and patrician-like to smaller parties.

When I hear supposed progressives railing against the Conservatives, I hear people who only want the arguments closed, who want a winner: the point of democracy is that nobody should win outright.

The only route to power should be to govern in a way people not of your party can get onside with. Democracy is a process of discussion and persuasion.

Posted in Op-eds | 9 Comments

A clutch of manifestos

Manifesto_Covers_2015We have all see the 2015 Lib Dem manifesto, but did you know that the party has also published a series of specialist manifestos?

These include (click links to download):

Environment manifesto

Manifesto for disabled people

Local government manifesto

Manifesto for the mind

Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Manifesto

You can also read the main manifesto in easy read, clear print, plain text or Braille versions, or listen to it on an audio recording.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Opinion: We shouldn’t position ourselves as the ‘Middle of the Road’ Party

 

I am hesitant to write another article for LDV so soon after my last one on polling, but with the General Election so close now, I am going to put my head above the parapet on the matter of the Party’s seeming decision to steer us right down the middle.

Having looked at the Lib Dem Manifesto in some detail when recently writing some articles for the LDCF, I was surprised to see how many progressive and innovative policies there really are in there. I am worried though, that if we keep saying we ‘Won’t spend as much as Labour or cut as much as the Tories’, we will simply become more and more ‘invisible’. The whole ‘Look Right, Look Left and Cross’ thing also seems to present the same image of the Liberal Democrats as standing for nothing in particular – and certainly nothing to get excited about.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 167 Comments

Opinion: Why I believe students should vote for the Liberal Democrats

I have had a hustings with students at Edinburgh University and a meeting with the Edinburgh University Students’ Association. They have produced a manifesto and I will detail my response.

  1. They have asked for a phasing out of tuition fees and better support for the diverse needs of post graduate students. 

Obviously I couldn’t commit to the former,  But I would like to point out that raising tuition fees was a Conservative policy, one that the Lib Dems could not block!

As more coalitions are formed, I’m sure the British Public will recognise the limitations of individual manifestos as well as appreciate the opportunities for wider representation and trimming of the extremes of left and right. As for the latter, I have been personally affected and I did not do a postgraduate degree as I couldn’t afford to. Not just the fees but also the time off work in my 30s.

When we talk about high skilled jobs and a new economy we really need to also discuss how we are going to train our workforce and the skills development by means of post graduate study. We need to commit to investing in what will provide excellent returns, not just financial but also the advantage of having a highly educated population which I’m sure nobody will disagree with!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 168 Comments

On May 8th, could David Cameron just lock the doors of Downing Street and stay put?

24 days ago, I wrote that We’re heading for a Labour minority government backed by the SNP.

Since then, there have been thousands more people polled, millions more pounds spent on campaigning and millions more words written/said about the election. So, I now have a ++BREAKING NEWS++ update!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 66 Comments

VoteMatch, TickBox and other VAA*s

Votematch

* Voter Advice Applications.

I have been drawing your attention to a number of websites which either tell you who the candidates are in your constituency or help you to decide who to vote for, such as Unlock Democracy’s VoteMatch.

MySociety has produced a list of the latter types under the snappy title:  A list of Voter Advice Applications – AKA ‘who should I vote for?’ tools – for the UK General Election. It lists a dozen or so sites, and others are mentioned in the comments.

Now although it is comforting …

Posted in News | 6 Comments

Democratic dashboard

Democratic dashboardI’ve been telling you about a number of independent election-related websites that either provide you with an answer to a simple question (Do I need my NI number to vote?) or mash-up data from many sources in one convenient package (Online democracy tools that inform the general election debate). Today’s example is one of the latter.

When you go to Democratic dashboard you enter a postcode and are then presented with a rich selection of information about the constituency, its history and demographics, the current candidates and the polling forecasts. This is probably the most comprehensive collection of data readily available for voters.

Posted in News | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Liberal Democrat manifesto – detailed costings published

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

Posted in General Election and News | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

And now for something completely different…

 

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

Posted in General Election | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Do I need my NI number to vote?

 

Now I imagine that anyone who reads a political blog like ours will have made sure that they are on the electoral register.

But all activists need to know how to advise a voter on registering. Simple, you just go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, enter your personal details including your National Insurance number and all will be sorted.

But what if you have lost your National Insurance number or you are away from home and can’t get hold of it  – does that mean you are disenfranchised? Believe it or not, there is a website whose sole purpose is to answer that question, and it’s neatly called  www.DoIneedmyNInumbertovote.co.uk. (I’ve inserted a few capital letters to make it easier to read but, as you all know, URLs are not case sensitive).

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Opinion: So what questions do I want to answer at hustings?

hustings

I’ve now had four hustings and wherever I go, we get the same questions – nitty gritty details about spending and taxes, TTIP, deficit, debt etc. the usual stuff. Now these are the questions that politicians WANT to be asked. Very much up their street! The kind of things they’ve been preparing for.

It is sad that the run up to election is dominated by questions like these. It plays straight into politicians’ hands. The public can do better by asking questions about values which are lesser likely to change as easily as policy. Take politicians out of their comfort zone and ask them questions about things like electoral reform and reform of the systems they work in, the things that affect them and their political jobs. That will tell you more about the candidates than anything else will!

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

What to do with your election leaflets

electionleafletElectionleaflets.org is one of those simple, focused websites that provides a service that no-one else has thought of.

Anyone can upload photos of election leaflets that they have come across, and you can then search them by constituency or by party. That’s it.

Like Lib Dem Voice, the site is run by volunteers, so we have to thank them for the time they put into analysing and annotating the leaflets. The project is a brainchild of Unlock Democracy.

They have a target of gathering 10,000 leaflets between 1st January this year and polling day. The national media use it as a valuable resource. So you all know what you have to do, don’t you … ?

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Manifesto launch on Wednesday

 

The Liberal Democrats 2015 general election manifesto will be launched this Wednesday, April 15th from 10am until 1pm at “A Venue in Zone 2, London”. This announcement got me googling “A Venue in Zone 2″ to find the address of the venue, only to belatedly realise that they mean ” A venue in Zone 2, London”.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 27 Comments

Tony Greaves writes … Haggling over more than the haggis?

 

Let’s assume, as I did in previous pieces here and here, that no party will win a majority on May 7th, and that all the post-election pressure will be for a minority government with an arrangement with one or more other parties that falls short of coalition. On current polls the Liberal Democrats will not get enough seats for it to be practicable for us to enter coalition, and the third largest party will be the SNP who have made it clear they will not enter any coalition but will seek a looser agreement with Labour.

None of this may happen but the probability seems high enough to discuss how it might work. I am also assuming that, for reasons I’ve also set out previously here, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act will make it very difficult for anyone to force an early second election. In spite of this (or perhaps with some level of ignorance) both Labour and Conservative MPs seem to favour minority government. All this could mean that a minority government may not only be the short term outcome, but could last for some time – perhaps a full five years.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 26 Comments

What is happening today, then?

 

At midnight last night Parliament was dissolved. Members of Parliament are expected to clear their desks and retreat to their constituencies, if they are re-standing, or to go and help new candidates.

But the country is not without Government. Ministers will continue to hold their posts right until a new Government is formed after the election, so we have the unusual sight, for Lib Dems, of some of our own remaining in power throughout the short election campaign.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

The Independent View: Countdown to the Election

Lib Dem Voice has received this article from Matrix Chambers, a law firm that specialises in election law. It offers the opportunity to sign up for weekly briefings during the election period.

It’s trite to say, but we are just weeks away from the most important General Election in a generation – especially for those interested in election law. The culture of fighting elections – and the public’s role within that – has changed in recent years owing to new technology. There is now also new (and untested) legislation restricting the actions of professional third party campaigners.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 2 Comments

We’re heading for a minority Labour government backed by the SNP

whitehall
The Guardian have a very useful web page called Election 2015: The Guardian poll projection. On it, each day, they update their state-of-the-parties graph with the latest polling data, which then flows into an infographic showing the parliamentary arithmetic and possible government options after May 7th.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , and | 130 Comments

Kate Parminter to join post-election negotiating team

Kate ParminterAbout  a year ago, Nick Clegg announced that the members of the post-election negotiating team would be Danny Alexander, Steve Webb, Sal Brinton, Lynne Featherstone and David Laws.

As Party President, Sal will be closely involved in any post-election moves so it is appropriate that she should be replaced on the negotiating team itself.

According to Michael Crick, Channel 4’s political correspondent:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 17 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael 1 14th Nov - 11:41am
    @TonyH We ARE the only UK-wide party with more than one MP to support a People’s Vote. There is ONLY one way that we are...
  • User AvatarMatt Wardman 14th Nov - 11:20am
    Back exactly on topic. @Richard C: >My other observation is that whilst MPs are slowly becoming more representative of the population as a whole, this...
  • User AvatarSue Sutherland 14th Nov - 11:03am
    Very encouraging to hear what you are doing.
  • User AvatarMichael Bukola 14th Nov - 10:49am
    Southwark Council were used as a pilot for UC in London produced their report 12 months ago which uncovered similar issues to the ones revealed...
  • User AvatarMatt Wardman 14th Nov - 10:39am
    Any member of the public can get a radar key off the internet for about £1. I have one for when there is an anti-cycling...
  • User AvatarAntony Watts 14th Nov - 10:39am
    Soubry (Cons), “The best deal that we have with the European Union is the deal that we currently have with European Union. I think there...