Tag Archives: john curtice

All in a day’s Lib Dem conference: hustings, fringes, OMOV and sex work

It’s felt like a slow start to conference – I’m habituated to the Friday night rally and meaty policy debates starting at bleary o’clock on Saturday morning. But with the rally moved to Saturday night, conference itself wasn’t opened until this afternoon.

20141004_100527_resizedHowever, that meant there was time this morning for the first official hustings of the Party Presidential contest, with Sal Brinton, Daisy Cooper, Linda Jack and Liz Lynne all present. In fact, there was possibly too much time – 90 minutes in a too-efficiently air-conditioned room at times dragged a little. No fault of the candidates themselves – they were all fluent and thoughtful – but they also all agreed on pretty much everything of substance. All pledged to be the independent voice of the membership and to speak truth unto leadership power.

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The Independent View: Making coalition government work – lessons for the future

In 2011 the Constitution Unit spent one year examining how the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition works. We interviewed almost 150 people about the Coalition: individuals from both parties—both in and outside Parliament—as well as civil servants, journalists, and interest groups. We have just published the result of our study in a book: The Politics of Coalition: How the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Works

We are particularly grateful to all those Lib Dems who were so generous in giving their time to be interviewed, and for Mark Pack’s very kind review of our book. And in the same spirit, we offer some thoughts on lessons for the future. Professor John Curtice argues that the conditions that led to a hung parliament in 2010 remain; and even if the boundary reforms goes through, the possibility of a hung parliament is still quite high. Even if, as some suggest, the Liberal Democrats will lose a large number of seats in 2015, they may still be in a position to determine the shape of a new government. So what lessons are there to be learned from the last two years of the Coalition, and how might the Lib Dems approach a hung parliament in 2015?

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Opinion: Must the Alternative Vote benefit the Liberal Democrats?

John Curtice is a God among psephologists. He is not a man to be criticised lightly. But he left me muttering into my cornflakes when I heard him suggest on the Today Programme that we could be sure AV delivers a benefit to the Lib Dems in terms of seats won.

Now, the national media – even Radio 4’s august news flagship – is not happy dealing in nuance but there are at least three reasons why it is dangerous to make assumptions about future elections fought under AV on the basis of past elections fought on FPTP.

First is whether the …

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Predicting the future: we didn’t turn Japanese

Shortly after the Conservative Party won its fourth general election in a row in 1992, a symposium met to consider the question of whether Britain – formerly a country with regularly rotating government between the two main parties – was turning into a political version of Japan, where the same party had been in power for nearly forty years.

Even between the event occurring and the publication of a book based on it, Turning Japanese? Britain with a Permanent Party of Government (eds. Helen Margretts and Gareth Smyth), political events in both countries had taken a dramatic turn. In Japan the LDP lost power, starting a period of much greater political fluidity with even subsequent LDP Prime Ministers struggling to restore their party’s previous dominance. Meanwhile in Britain the collapse of the Conservative Party’s economic policies following Britain’s enforced exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) quickly made the government appear very vulnerable, even if debates in Labour continued on whether, as John Smith preferred, one more heave was all that was needed or whether, as Tony Blair insisted on after John Smith’s death, a more radical reshaping of the party was required to win the next election.

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The 2010 general election in historical perspective

John Curtice, well-known psephologist and one of the relatively few political academics to take the trouble to study and understand the Liberal Democrats, has published his analysis of the 2010 election from a Lib Dem point of view.

Writing in the latest issue of the Journal of Liberal History, he looks at why the Liberal Democrat ‘surge’ eventually failed to deliver and why the party’s natural disappointment at the result may be masking what was in reality an impressive result – the second best, in terms of seats, since 1929, and the second best, in terms of votes, since 1923.

However, the …

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Daily View 2×2: 6 April 2010 – they’re off!

Good morning and welcome to Daily View on this, the first day of the General Election.

As if we hadn’t all been at war footing for weeks anyway.

In history on April 6th, in 1869 celluloid was first patented, paving the way for commercial photography and cinematography. Every Youtube video you watch during the campaign will be thanks to the technology and techniques first pioneered on celluloid over 100 years ago.

On this day in 1895, Oscar Wilde was arrested for attempting to book into Chris Grayling’s B&B; in 1896, the first modern Olympic Games is held. It’s the day in 1917 when the United States declared war on Germany and the day in 1930 when Ghandi began the Salt Satyagraha which ultimately led to independence for India.

Today Rory Bremner turns 49 and Mylene Klaas turns 32 – my age.

2 Big Stories

Gordon Brown triggers general election

Most helpfully, the fact that Gordon Brown was planning to head off to see her Maj today to dissolve Parliament and trigger a general election was leaked to all the papers far enough in advance that they could run stories today, and not have to play catchup tomorrow.

Here’s the Guardian, who have also been leaked enough snippets of manifesto to get their clothespeg ready:

A draft of the manifesto seen by the Guardian pledges that an unprecedented fourth-term Labour government would be “bolder about the role of state intervention in markets” and deliver sweeping constitutional change. Failing police forces could be taken over by their neighbours under one radical proposal.

You’d have thought they wouldn’t want to mention the fact that there are any failing police forces after 13 years of glorious Labour rule. Or that any further constitutional change was necessary.

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Opinion: Who can trust Cameron?

In June 2006 Professor John Curtice, commenting on opinion polls and shifts in the UK political environment said: “It looks as though we may have entered a new political era”. Andrew Grice, The Independent on Sunday’s Political Editor, observed that the Independent’s ‘poll of polls’ showed “David Cameron’s rejuvenated Conservative Party a seven-point lead over Labour.”

The focus of their political analysis was the impact of a recently elected Conservative Party leader on UK party politics. Here was a leader who had set out to detoxify the Tory brand, and he and his party appeared to be making significant headway.

David Cameron had, according to Andrew Grice, called on …

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