Tag Archives: april pond

Norwich North: what to make of all that, then? #nnbe

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: if you fight a by-election in which both your total number of votes, and your percentage of votes cast, declines since the previous general election then the result is disappointing. There, I’ve said it, disappointing.

Now let’s look a bit harder, and try and work out what’s going on, addressing directly the three questions:
1) should we have done better,
2) is our campaigning stuck in a rut, and
3) is the leadership to blame?

1) Should we have done better?

The verdict that we should have done better – at least come second – was encapsulated by the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson in his blog-post, How to unspin Norwich:

Lib Dems: “This is a truly shocking result for Labour.”
Translation: “Oh no. Why don’t we win by-elections any more?”

Except, of course, it’s not that simple. There seems to be a fantasy among some Lib Dem supporters, shared by journalists like Nick, that the Lib Dems have talismanic by-elections skills – that the party need only show up in any constituency in the UK, and the electorate will be hypnotically seduced into voting Lib Dem. This isn’t true now, and nor has it ever been true, a fact statistically proved by Lib Dem blogger ‘Costigan Quist’ HERE.

There was, perhaps, one exception: the last Parliament, when we won two of the six by-elections contested – Brent East and Leicester South – and also recorded hefty swings in two others, Birmingham Hodge Hill and Hartlepool. (The South Wales result in Ogmore, when the Lib Dem vote fell 4%, is usually happily ignored: it spoils the story).

But to judge this Parliament by last Parliament’s standards is silly, in any case, for it witnessed a perfect storm that is very unlikely to be repeated: a wildly unpopular policy – Iraq – on which the Lib Dems had a distinct, well-known, poular position; and a main opposition party, the Tories when led by Iain Duncan Smith, which was an utter campaigning shambles. The Lib Dems’ Iraq USP has now receded, while the Tories are, once again, a professional outfit. To expect the Lib Dems to conjure up by-election magic dust in vastly changed circumstances is utterly fanciful.

And the idea that, even if the Lib Dems won’t actually win, our vote must always, automatically increase is also profoundly un-historical. To me, the current Parliament most closely resembles the 1992-97 Parliament: a tired, imploding governing party, seemingly at the mercy of events, and a main opposition party on the up. So let’s compare the by-election results of now with then:

Posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 77 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 23 July 2009

Good morning. You join us here on LDV as we wish happy birthday to Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michael Foot, and as the nation of Egypt and the Rastafarians commemorate the birth of Haile Selassie.

It’s also polling day in Norwich North. Will April Pond become the 64th Lib Dem MP? Will we make our second by-election gain in the 2005 Parliament? Find out first on twitter – as the blogosphere’s reporter on the spot Nich Starling will report, live from the Norfolk Showground.

Two big news stories

Kingsnorth tactics criticised
The Guardian reports the report into police behaviour at

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 6 Comments

Final push for votes in Norwich North

Poor Labour. Not only do they face losing the Norwich North by-election, but their candidate Chris Ostrowski has gone down with suspected swine flu. (Genuine sympathies to him for a speedy recovery).

Today’s Eastern Daily Press assesses the currrent state of play HERE, including this snippet:

Private Lib Dem canvassing suggests that the party is lying second to the Tories, on 24pc. But other party canvassers report that the Greens are performing strongly in traditional Labour areas.

(Actually I’m not sure there’s necessarily a discrepancy between those two reports).

Vince is, as ever, ready with a quote:

We know support is crumbling

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

April Pond’s moat: Iain Dale’s cheapest shot yet?

April Pond has a moat! shouts the headline on Tory Iain Dale’s blog, as he tries (a little too desperately) to rattle Lib Dem cages with campaigning in the Norwich North by-election enters its final fortnight.

Iain’s write-up is light-hearted enough, no doubt the better to distance himself from it with amused irony when the sheer hypocrisy of his posting is pointed out. Here’s what Iain says:

Not that I am being ‘remoatly’ ‘moatist’. Every house should have one. But seeing as though a Tory MP got the mickey taken out of him for having one, I’m not sure LibDem

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Opinion: Fear was the key in Iraq (and Norwich)

The Washington Post reports that Saddam Hussein’s interrogations by the FBI have been released, under US Freedom of Information laws, to the ‘National Security Archive’, an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University. The NSA’s website has
“Twenty Interviews and Five Conversations with “High Value Detainee # 1”, should anyone still be interested.

Fortunately, the Post has done the hard work for us. There is of course the usual, now unsurprising, confirmation that Saddam had no link to, nor even any sympathy with, Al Qaeda:

Piro raised bin Laden in his last conversation

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 14 Comments

Iain Dale’s EXCLUSIVE Norwich North story: less than meets the eye

Tory blogger Iain Dale got very over-excited last night with his EXCLUSIVE article, Clegg Approached Martin Bell & EDP Editor to Stand in Norwich North. Sorry to say it, Iain, but I’m a little underwhelmed. Here’s why…

First of all, Iain has hardly covered himself in glory in his coverage to date of the Lib Dem by-election campaign in Norwich North. He made a bit of a prat of himself last week, when accusing the party’s candidate April Pond of “whoring” herself around Norfolk, as she was already selected for the new parliamentary seat of Broadland. (And yes, that’s …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , and | 24 Comments

April Pond selected for Norwich North

Congratulations to April Pond on her selection today as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Norwich North by-election.

Local campaigner and successful businesswoman April Pond said,

“I’m delighted to be selected for Norwich North and have the opportunity to follow the work of Ian Gibson.

“Talking to Norwich people, it is clear that they are angry and disillusioned with the way things are at the moment. People are concerned about jobs losses and practical worries and see this Government as failing miserably when they should be working hard to put things right. MPs’ expenses and an inability to put in place practical

Posted in News, Parliamentary by-elections and Selection news | Also tagged | 21 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Martin Gray
    @Martin...."So we await the results of the experiment, and hopefully the reduction in council tax that will follow its successful completion, with great interes...
  • Martin
    So why have local government at all? So that those who are responsible for spending local taxpayers’ money on local services are democratically acc...
  • Peter Watson
    @Martin Gray "Would this be available to all at the council – the refuse operators , gardeners , labourers , porters , care home workers etc …Or is it anoth...
  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares
    @ Martin, So, you're happy to see all discretionary spending go, in other words, you want your local council to do only that which central government mandate...
  • Martin
    Speaking as both a taxpayer and as a person, I’d far rather my local Council was spending my money on improving working conditions for its employees than ...