Tag Archives: european elections

Is the SNP’s latest European Election Broadcast even legal?

imageLast week, the SNP’s first broadcast for the European Elections was broadcast. It bore a remarkable similarity to the broadcasts that they have been putting out since the end of last year which were all aimed at persuading people to vote Yes in the independence referendum. It interspersed colourful footage of children talking about how wonderful and independent Scotland with black and white starkness portraying a vision of hellish Westminster rule.

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Andrew Rawnsley: “The real reasons why Nick threw down the gauntlet to Nigel”

Andrew Rawnsley has made some interesting comments in today’s Observer on Nick Clegg’s debate challenge to Nigel Farage.

He makes the obligatory point that the party’s poor position in the polls and concern over the consequences of a bad result for Clegg’s leadership  but makes the point that it only takes a relatively small shift to protect the position of Liberal Democrat MEPs.

Senior Lib Dems privately confide that their goal is quite modest: to lift their vote share by three to four points above their current poll ratings. When you are bumping along at low levels of support, just a

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Meet Malcolm Bruce: Part 2: International Development and those Euro elections

malcolm-bruce-2After his surprise election as Deputy Leader last week, I caught up with Malcolm Bruce, someone who is well known to us in Scotland but not so much to the rest of the party. The first part of the interview, where talks about Liberal Democrat achievements in government, what he can bring to the Deputy Leader role and on Scottish independence, was published last week.

Malcolm has been Chair of the Commons Select Committee on International Development since 2005. After years of economic portfolios, including Trade and Industry, the Treasury itself …

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@ALDEParty Congress: writing a manifesto for Europe

So, a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest, but possibly with better tunes, liberals from as far afield as Armenia and Catalonia, Finland and Cyprus are gathered to debate the draft manifesto.

The draft is founded on four key themes;

  • creating jobs and opportunities – free trade agreements, stimulating SMEs and e-commerce
  • setting new priorities – redirecting spending towards increasing jobs and improving lives, cutting administrative budgets and the Common Agricultural Policy, and ensuring healthy public finances
  • stronger in the world and safer at home – a common asylum and refugee policy, strengthening EU agencies and cooperation to fight organised crime, pooling and sharing

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

The European Election – Fighting an Integrated Campaign

European Union flagIn a speech earlier this month Nick Clegg detailed just how crucial the European Union is for prospects of a stronger economy and a fairer society here in Britain (you can read the full text of his speech here).

The Liberal Democrats’ success in the European Election is thus hugely important in making sure the EU lives up to its potential in contributing to that combination of increased economic strength and greater social fairness that we are uniquely in a position to deliver. The election is also significant from a political perspective, with the party’s eventual performance being used as a yardstick for our relative success or decline by pundits and opponents alike.

Posted in Europe / International | 1 Comment

The European Election – Campaigning on the Issues

We are now just 30 weeks away from the next round of local elections. Crucially, these have been arranged to coincide with the EU-wide election for the European Parliament. Obviously who gets what seats in Brussels and Strasbourg seems far more removed from our ordinary lives than the running of the local Council, but it is still hugely important.

As a candidate in the European Election, I am very keen that we do not end up wasting time talking about Brussels obscurities. Instead, those of us selected to stand for the European Parliament are trying to talk …

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “Only the Liberal Democrats are, unambiguously, the party of ‘In’.”

This week the Lib Dems got #WhyIamIn trending on Twitter to launch the party’s campaign to show the positive benefits of British membership of the European Union. Nick Clegg takes up the cause in his weekly letter, making the point you’ll hear a lot between now and next May’s Euro elections: “Only the Liberal Democrats are, unambiguously, the party of ‘In’.” As I pointed out this week, it’s not just a cause the vast majority of the party passionately believes in — it’s also smart electoral politics. Here’s Nick’s letter in full…

libdem letter from nick clegg

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Opinion: My taxpayer funded Euro jaunt was well worth it

I seldom hear much enthusiasm about European politics. It seems particularly difficult to get people excited about the EU and during the Euro list selection campaign, I found that even politically active people were largely uninterested in European issues. It is hardly surprising, then, that the UK turnout in 2009 was less than 35%.

One attempt to tackle this problem comes from the EU in the form of subsidies offered to MEPs who bring visitors from their constituencies to see the European Parliament. I was lucky enough

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Euro 2014 – a cause to fight for, not to hide from

So, we’ve selected our candidates for Europe in England and Scotland, and a pretty good bunch they are too – people who are committed to the concept of a Europe of twenty-seven (soon to be twenty-eight) nations pooling some sovereignty for a greater good. So far, so good. But what are they going to do for the next eighteen months?

Past experience says, “not much to do with Europe”. Yes, they’ll be campaigning to a lesser or greater extent, but what will they be

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged | 50 Comments

Have you (and your members) had their Euro ballot papers yet?

Perhaps it’s the increasing freedom for people to use social media during Liberal Democrat selection contests. Perhaps it’s the increasing proportion of party activists who take part in online discussions. Or perhaps it’s hiccups with the Royal Mail, party data or others involved. Whatever the cause, as with the party’s recent federal committee elections there seems to be more chatter about people not receiving ballot papers for the current Euro selections than in previous contests. 

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Selection of European Parliamentary candidates for 2014

The English and Scottish Liberal Democrats are now inviting applications for selection for the Liberal Democrat Party lists for the English Regions and for Scotland for the next European Parliamentary elections (which take place in 2014). The formal advert has been published in Liberal Democrat News. The closing date for applications is 6 p.m. on Friday 27 July.

Potential applicants should contact the Returning Officer for the region(s) in which they are interested for an application pack. Applicants can apply for as many Regions as they wish, but must obtain a separate application pack and submit a separate application to …

Posted in Europe / International, News, Party policy and internal matters and Selection news | 2 Comments

European candidate selections: is that the time already?

News has reached your reporter that, in a radical break with tradition, the English Candidates Committee is likely to meet later this month to address key questions relating to the selection of European Parliamentary candidates for elections due in May 2014, where Liberal Democrats will be defending seats held in each of the nine English Regions (two in South East England) and in Scotland.

Radical, because the Committee usually only meets four times a year, with the first meeting at the Spring Federal Conference, and the newly elected Chairs …

Posted in News and Selection news | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Labour ups election spending by a third as Conservatives make big cuts

Yup, you read that headline right. For those are the surprising figures from the 2009 European Election expense returns which have just been published.

In 2009 the Conservatives spent £2,482,536 on election expenses for the European elections, just ahead of Labour on £2,302,244 with the Liberal Democrats on £1,180,883.

However, while the Labour figure was up 35% on the 2004 European elections, the Conservatives had cut their spending by 21%. The Liberal Democrat spending was 1% lower.

UKIP spent £1,270,855, a cut of 46%.

In the elections the Conservatives, UKIP and Liberal Democrats each gained a seat while Labour lost five. (Seat change …

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Electoral fact of the day: turnout and age

“Nearly three-quarters (74%) of people aged 65 or over said that they had voted in the European Parliamentary elections, compared with only 13% of those aged 18 to 24.”

(From the Electoral Commission’s report in to the June 2009 elections, p.26.)

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Electoral fact of the day: turnout and postal voting

In June’s European elections, turnout amongst postal voters was 64% in Great Britain. Turnout amongst non-postal voters was 30% – a full 34 percentage points lower. There’s a lesson in there about campaigning…

The figures for the different regions were:

South East 68% (+34%)
South West 68% (+33%)
East Midlands 67% (+34%)
Eastern 67% (+33%)
West Midlands 66% (+35%)
Scotland 63% (+39%)
Yorkshire & The Humber 63% (+37%)
North West 63% (+37%)
Wales 62% (+36%)
London 61% (+31%)
North East 59% (+38%)

The Isles of Scilly were the only area where turnout amongst postal voters was lower than that amongst non-postal voters (by two percentage points).

Source: Calculated from Electoral Commission data

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Weekend voting: will this be the next trend in trying to raise turnout at elections?

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

Over the last few years a wide range of attempts have been made to raise turnout at elections in the UK. The broad conclusion is very simple: all-postal ballots raise turnout significantly (albeit at the cost of various drawbacks) and nothing else that has been tried does so. E-voting, early voting, voting by text, and many others: all been tried, all flopped.

However, there are signs that moving to voting at the weekend may be coming back on the electoral administration agenda.

It is easy to see why weekend voting may appeal. Fewer people work at the weekend which could mean people are more likely to have time to go and vote, plus in turn candidates are more likely to be able to get volunteers out campaigning on polling day reminding people to vote.

The main drawbacks are also fairly straight-forward.

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

Did you see the reports about the public getting keener to vote in European elections?

No, I didn’t either. But the odd thing is, there’s plenty of evidence that the public were keener to vote in European electins than previously. The evidence is certainly patchy and incomplete, but the uniformity of the turnout gloom and doom stories seems to me to say rather more about the media’s fixed image (‘turnout? must be down’) than about the actual evidence.

The key is to compare like-for-like data. For example, in several parts of England the last European election were run using an all-postal ballot, in which all possible voters were sent a ballot paper that they could then …

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And the winners are…

Back on 2nd June, LDV launched our election prediction competition, inviting readers to put their reputations on the line and tell us what they thought would happen in the 4th June English local and European elections. Here are the questions with the actual results in bold:

1. Predict the Liberal Democrat share of the vote in the European elections. 14%
2. Predict the turnout in the European elections. 34.5%
3. Predict the Liberal Democrat lead over Labour in the local elections (if you think the results will be LD 25%, Lab 22%, your answer is +3%. If you think it will be the other way around, your answer is -3%). +5%
4. Predict how many local authorities the Liberal Democrats will have majority control of on 5th June. 1 (Bristol)
5. Predict the net loss/gain of Lib Dem councillors. -2 (BBC figures)

I’ve now had chance to mark the competition, summing the differences between readers’ answers and the results, resulting in the following league table:

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My favourite piece of post-election spinning

Can you spot the person and party in this local newspaper report who:

(a) Slipped back to fourth place for the first time
(b) Saw their vote fall
(c) But say they are “pleased” with the result? and hope to “ride the momentum” into next year’s local elections

(Here’s a clue: his name is Richard Merrin; his political party is the Conservatives.)

And for a final bit of fun, here’s what Richard Merrin said during the election campaign itself: “Do the Lib Dems really think the Euro election in Hornsey is a fight between them and Lab – the electorate don’t …

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Official: the best (and worst) Lib Dem Euro results

As m’LDV clleague Alex has just mentioned, the Guardian has kindly uploaded a spreadsheet listing all the council results from the European elections – allowing us to sort the results whichever way we wish. So listed below are the best – and worst – Lib Dem European election results.

There are 41 areas which we’re defining as the best-performing – ie, the Lib Dem vote exceeded 20%. As you might expect, a number of familiar names crop up, pleasingly a mixture of held and target seats. (NB: council results do not necessarily match Westminster constituencies, so careful in extrapolating too precisely!)

Sadly, there are more results that we’re defining as worst-performing, 118 in total where the Lib Dem result failed to reach 10%. For comparison, the Tories were <10% in 10 areas, but there were an astonishing 157 areas where Labour was <10%. Ukip was <10% in 62 areas, and the Greens <10% in 307 areas.

Anyway, enough of such data-mining – here are the lists in full:

Posted in News | 17 Comments

Guardian publishes full list of Euro election results

Kudos to the Guardian which has obtained council-level euro results and munged them together into one giant spreadsheet with click-sort columns, over on its datablog.

The hook the Guardian are using is that it allows you see just how well the BNP did in your area, but anyone with a political hat will want to play with the data and slice it in numerous different ways.

Congratulations, then, to South Lakeland, for the highest Lib Dem Euro score anywhere in the country; commiserations to Barking and Dagenham where we polled under 5%… and ooh – is that a weak correlation …

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How the Euro results prove PR works

The good folk at Make Votes Count have been rapidly number-crunching, and come up with the following analysis of the UK’s European election results…


At least 3 out of every 4 votes counted and elected an MEP. Because of the proportional system used for the European elections, a large majority of voters will be represented by an MEP whom they voted for. In most regions, that is the case for at least 75% of voters. In the South East, it is almost 9 in every 10 voters. However, there were some losers; in particular Green voters missed out narrowly in several regions from electing a Green MEP.


Across Great Britain, 8 different parties have won seats in the European Parliament. This shows that voters respond positively when offered choice at the ballot box. With differences emerging between results at local and European level, it is also clear that voters can make sophisticated choices about who they best want representing them and how they can most effectively make their vote count.


As things stand exactly one-third of MEPs elected in Great Britain are women. This figure will likely go down very slightly, to around 32%, when the Scottish result is announced. Even so, this would still be a marked improvement on the one-in-four elected in 2004.


Overall (including the Scottish result still to come in), turnout is probably going to be just under 35% – so around 4% less than last time. The biggest drops in turnout were in Wales and in those regions which had all-postal ballots in 2004. Turnout actually went up slightly in 3 regions (South East, South West and Eastern), with Thursday’s county council elections in those areas probably boosting things a bit.


Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

Euro elections ’09: the LDV verdict

Hmm, so what to make of all that, then? Here’s the headline results (comparison with 2004 results in brackets):

Conservatives: 27.7 % (+1.0%), 25 MEPs (+1)
UK Independence Party: 16.5% (+0.3%), 13 MEPs (+1)
Labour: 15.7% (-6.9%), 13 MEPs (-5)
Liberal Democrats: 13.7% (-1.2%), 11 MEPs (+1)
Greens: 8.6% (+2.4%), 2 MEPs (0)
British National Party 6.2% (+1.3%), 2 MEPs (+2)
SNP: 2.1% (+0.7%), 2 MEPs (n/c)
Plaid Cymru: 0.8% (-0.1%), 1 MEP (n/c)
Others: 8.2%

In a sense, the Euro results show the reverse for the Lib Dems of what happened in the English local elections held on the same day: while in the locals, the …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | 35 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 8 June 2009

2 Big Stories

This morning’s two big stories are being combined by most of the newspapers: the European election results and what they mean for Gordon Brown’s leadership of the Labour party.
From the Guardian:
European elections: Brown faces leadership battle amid Labour meltdown and BNP success

Gordon Brown today faces a make-or-break challenge to his leadership after Labour looked set to slump to just 16% of the national vote in the European elections and the far-right British National party won two new seats.

In a devastating result for the prime minister, Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP, was elected to the

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European elections: rolling results news

National vote share projections (BBC): Con 27% (n/c), UKIP 17% (+1), Lab 16% (-7), Lib Dem 14% (-1). Although not all regions yet in, looks extremely likely that the party will get the same number of MEPs elected as it had going in to the election.

South East: Sharon Bowles re-elected and joined by Catherine Bearder. (Emma Nicholson retired at this election.)

East Midlands: Bill Newton-Dunn also set to be re-elected.

London: Sarah Ludford re-elected.

Wales: Conservatives do indeed top the poll. Lib Dems miss out on our first ever Welsh MEP by just 2%.

Scotland: awaiting figures from Western Isles, but Lib Dems set …

Posted in Europe / International, Events and News | 84 Comments

Euro election results ’09: Sunday night open thread

A mere 72 hours after polls closed on 4th June, the parties and candidates contesting the 72 UK seats available for the European Parliament will know their fate later this evening. Let’s remind ourselves what happened five years ago, in 2004, when these seats were last up for grabs:

Conservatives: 27% (27 MEPs)
Labour: 23% (19)
Ukip: 16% (12)
Lib Dems: 15% (12)
Greens: 6% (2)
BNP: 5% (0)
SNP: 1% (2)
Plaid: 1% (1)
N. Ireland: 3 MEPs (1 each for DUP, Sinn Fein, Ulster Unionists)

What will happen this time? Will the Tories do better under David Cameron than they did under Michael Howard? Will Labour retain second …

Posted in Europe / International and News | 3 Comments

LDV election prediction competition: what you’ve said so far

On Tuesday we published our Lib Dem Voice competition to predict the results of the local and European elections taking place today, 4th June, and win a copy of LDV’s own annual, The Tangerine Book, and a limited edition LDV mug. The thread is here, and, to date, we’ve received 14 entries from LDV readers (who may or may not be Lib Dem members).

Here’s the average of what you’ve so far predicted:

1. Predict the Liberal Democrat share of the vote in the European elections. YOU SAID: 16.5%
2. Predict the turnout in the European elections. YOU SAID:

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Video: Nick Clegg on the European Elections

Nick Clegg gets a lot of questions via Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Friend Connect, as well as through his website, NickClegg.com.

He’s just made a new YouTube video with answers to some of the questions he’s received through his social networks:

What does Nick think of compulsory voting? The Lisbon Treaty? Watch and find out:

Posted in Europe / International, Online politics and YouTube | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

A final look back at the Euro polls

Today is (in case you hadn’t realised) polling day – for much of England that means local elections, for everyone it means European elections – which means it’s our last chance to look at the polls for the Euros, and try and make some sense of them. There have been 11 polls in the last month asking voters to say which party they’ll choose on 4th June:

Here they are in chronological order:

>> Con 37%, Lab 22%, Lib Dem 19%, Ukip 7%, Green 4%, BNP 4%, Nats 5% (YouGov certain to vote, 10th May)
>> Con 34%, Lab 25%, Lib Dem 20%,

Posted in Polls | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Reasons to vote Liberal Democrat

The Voice has covered the succession of positive reasons to vote for the Liberal Democrats given in recent days by The Observer, Polly Toynbee, The Guardian and The Independent, so it seems only fitting to top that list today with a reminder of the party’s own choice of words (from europe.libdems.org.uk):

The European Parliament election is a big choice for Britain.

Labour’s arrogance has messed up Britain’s relationship with other European countries

The Conservatives and UKIP think that on its own Britain can face the economic storm, climate change, international crime, people-trafficking and terrorism

Liberal Democrats know effective cooperation creates prosperity – more

Posted in News | 22 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 16th Dec - 1:45am
    Sorry, I mean of course 'a Liberal ' in his youth, he wasn't psychic too!
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 16th Dec - 1:41am
    Well, Peter, the absurdity was just not taken account of, it seems. Yet a shrewd friend of mine, a Lib Dem in his youth and...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Dec - 11:55pm
    But David I seem to remember you were a fan of Bevan's quote about rats. That was a man who through bitter experience knew what...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 15th Dec - 10:52pm
    @ Martin Typo, not intended
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 15th Dec - 8:35pm
    I wish he was !!
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 15th Dec - 8:26pm
    The cinema site in Tunbridge Wells has been cleared and covered with broken bricks. A new cinema cannot legally be built precisely where the previous...