Tag Archives: norwich north

Lib Dem gain in Taverham North, Broadland DC

Nich Starling and Taverham North winning team
Congratulations to Councillor Nich Starling (aka Norfolk Blogger) who gained a seat yesterday from the Tories on Broadland District Council.

The result, courtesy of ALDC:

Posted in Council by-elections | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Norwich North by-election report undermines the case for Friday counting

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

Although this summer’s Parliamentary by-election in Norwich North kicked off much subsequent debate about the alleged benefits of Friday (rather than Thursday night) counts after it was counted on a Friday, a close reading of the Electoral Commission’s report into the Norwich North by-election reveals that in fact the Norwich experience undermines the case made for moving to Friday counts.

One of the arguments used for favouring Friday counts over Thursday nights is that the anti-postal vote fraud measures introduced in recent years mean that far more checking is required of postal votes than previously, …

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Daily View 2×2: 27 July 2009

2 Big Stories

MPs urge rail franchise reforms
A report by MPs has pronounced the rail franchise system a “muddle” and has called for its reform, including the nationalisation of East Coast trains.
From the BBC:

The Commons transport committee said operators were making profits in good times but forcing the government to step in when revenues fall.

And they charged “unacceptable” fare rises of up to 11% above inflation.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said four-fifths of passengers bought discounted tickets.

The MPs urged the government to run East Coast trains itself.

They said nationalisation could be a way of comparing

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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

Norwich North by-election result: open thread #nnbe

Here’s the result of the Norwich North by-election. In spectacularly uncoordinated fashion, all the LDV team are otherwise occupied this afternoon – so use this thread to pass your comment on the result…

The tension is clearly mounting over on Nich Starling’s twitter account, with the news expected “within five minutes” over half an hour ago.

Meanwhile over on the BBC, the Lib Dems have been squeezed out of the report entirely, with the reporter on the spot still thinking Labour could come second:

At the count in Norwich BBC correspondent Carole Walker said it looked as though Labour would come

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | 81 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

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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

Daily View 2×2: 20 July 2009

2 Big Stories

Andy Burnham on “conflicting advice” about swine flu
There’s even conflicting advice on whether “conflicting advice” is actually conflicting…
From the Guardian:

“There isn’t conflicting advice. The advice has been clear all along that women who are pregnant should take extra precautions as they would anyway – they should really follow the advice about hand hygiene, they should consider avoiding crowded places. This is the advice we have given out all the way.”

David Cameron’s ‘new look’ Tory MPs are the most extreme for a generation
From the Mirror:

David Cameron’s claim to have modernised his party is today exposed as a

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 19 July 2009

Welcome to the Sunday outing for The Voice’s near-daily Daily View series. As it’s a Sunday, today it comes with a special epic mustache bonanza. Not just any old mustaches you understand.

2 Big Stories

Iran: public criticism of senior figures is becoming the norm

Former President – and opponent of current President – Ali Akbar Rafsanjani has been speaking out. As the BBC reports:

By calling for an open debate about the election result, Mr Rafsanjani was almost openly challenging the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Four weeks ago, from the same pulpit, Mr Khamenei called for an end to discussion about an election result which he declared had been blessed by God.
Former President Rafsanjani played his trump card, by referring to his friendship with the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini.
He quoted Ayatollah Khomeini in ways that appeared to support the opposition’s right to demonstrate.
Mr Rafsanjani even called for protesters who have been arrested to be released from prison.

First World War veteran Henry Allingham dies

As the Guardian puts it:

Born in 1896 to an ironmonger’s wife in a corner of north-east London, the veteran, whose life spanned three centuries and six monarchs, was 67 when John F Kennedy was assassinated and 73 when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon…

He remembered spending a night in a shellhole in Flanders. “It stank,” he said. “So did I when I fell into it. Arms and legs, dead rats, dead everything. Rotten flesh. Human guts. I couldn’t get a bath for three or four months afterwards.”

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

  • Nich Starling continues to be the must-read blog for coverage of what’s happening on the ground in the Norwich North by-election. This time he’s got the tale of the Conservative campaign’s highly targeted approach to blogger outreach.
  • Readers of my blog will know of my views about the lack of media interest in Mark Cavendish’s sporting triumphs. (Equalling the British lifetime record for Tour de Franch stage wins, and still only being 24, wasn’t enough to get him into the top 95 stories on Sky News.) If he was getting the sort of coverage his successes deserve, yesterday’s controversial disqualification would be all over the mainstream media. Instead, head over to Stephen’s Linlithgow Journal for the Mark Cavendish disqualification story.

Sunday Bonus

Mustaches of the epic variety:

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 12 July 2009

Welcome to the Sunday outing for The Voice’s near-daily Daily View series. As it’s a Sunday, today it comes with a special bonus singing unhappy customer.

2 Big Stories

Afghanistan: troops numbers to go up or down?

The papers are agreed that, following the tragic and symbolic news of the number of British military deaths in Afghanistan now exceeding those in Iraq, Afghanistan is one of the major news stories of the day.

But there’s rather less agreement on what they think the Government is going to do.

Either “Thousands more troops could be sent to Afghanistan within months” (Observer) or “Ministers are secretly planning to cut the number of British troops in Afghanistan” (Independent). All clear I trust.

Phone hacking: Tory MPs set to rebel?

From the Sunday Times:

Rebel Conservative MPs plan to refer Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s chief spin doctor, to the party’s sleaze watchdog over his role in the illegal phone hacking row.

Some Tory backbenchers believe Cameron took an excessively tough stance on the expenses scandal. Now they hope to exploit the row over Coulson, the former News of the World editor who resigned when the paper was caught hacking into royal aides’ phones.

Yesterday, Lord Tebbit lent his voice to the Tory rebels. “Cameron has talked a lot about ‘detoxifying’ the Conservative brand,” he said. “Perhaps he should now think about a ‘detoxification’ of his own office.”

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

Sunday Bonus

One man gets his revenge on United Airlines for bad customer service through the medium of song:

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Why has the Norwich North Tory candidate redacted her links to Tory MP James Clappison?

The Tories’ Norwich North candidate Chloe Smith is in no doubt about her own views on MPs’ expenses, as evidenced here in an interview on her campaign website:

People are right to be angry about the way MPs have abused their expenses – I’m angry about it too. … I know that faith in politicians is at an all-time low. So many MPs – from all the parties – have abused our trust. … we need some fresh blood in Parliament, and people with drive and energy.

All good stuff. Who among us would disagree with any of it?

And yet …

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

Norwich North: could Labour finish fourth?

The Eastern Daily Press has produced an intriguing analysis of last month’s local elections results, attempting to estimate how voting then might map across to the Norwich North by-election to be held later this month:

Calculating party support ahead of the by-election is difficult due to division boundaries overlapping constituency ones.

An approximation would give a line-up based on the June 4 results of: Conservatives 10,656 (40.1pc); Labour 4,953 (18.6pc); Lib Dem 4,371 (16.5pc); Green 4,251 (16.0pc); Ukip – standing in only four seats – 2,106 (7.9pc); BNP 228 (0.9pc). …

Labour, Lib Dems and Greens will be seeking to establish themselves

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | 5 Comments

Norwich North poll date set for 23 July

The BBC has the story:

The date for the Norwich North by-election, triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Ian Gibson, is expected to be set for 23 July. … He had a majority of just over 5,000 at the last election.

The BBC understands that the writ for the election will be moved on Tuesday, with the poll set to be held two days after Parliament breaks up for its summer recess on 21 July.

Clearly Labour wants to get the expected loss of this seat out of the way at the height of summer, when MPs are away …

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Rupert Read and the false allegations

A bit of background for any Voice readers who either have seen some of the slightly elliptical comments posted in earlier threads by a couple of people about the past actions of Rupert Read, the Green party candiate for the Nowich North by-election.

Last year, Rupert Read accused a Liberal Democrat councillor, Judith Lubbock, of perjuring herself more than once. Given that perjury is a serious offence which can result in someone being jailed (see Jeffrey Archer), this is a pretty serious allegation. It was also wholly untrue.

Rupert Read subsequently had to apologise and withdraw the allegations he had made.

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 103 Comments

Live from Norwich – ICM poll shows close result and Clegg stands by Lib Dem campaign

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the first constituency poll of the Norwich North by-election campaign, and it shows a close contest in store. Before I give you the figures, though, it should come with two big health warnings. First, the poll’s sample size is very small – 500 overall, and fewer than 300 for the voting figures. Secondly, polls this early in a by-election campaign, and when a polling date isn’t yet known, have proven unreliable predictors in the past. With those caveats firmly in place, here it is (comparisons with 2005 general election result in brackets):

Tories 34%(+1), Labour 30%(-15),

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 33 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

Death by bar chart? Tories plotting to kill in Norwich North

ConservativeHome proudly announces the start of the Tory by-election campaign in Norwich North by posting Tories begin Norwich North campaign with attempt to kill off third parties.

And this is how they plan to do it:
Conservative bar chart for Norwich North
Look at the heights of the bars – they don’t even match the percentages. The Labour and Lib Dem results have been depressed and Green and UKIP have been artificially inflated.

From ConservativeHome:

Within minutes of Ian Gibson announcing his resignation as MP for Norwich North

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 49 Comments

Just when you thought the last 24 hours’ news couldn’t get more bizarre…

Labour’s MP for Norwich North Ian Gibson has quit the House of Commons with immediate effect, triggering a by-election. The Norwich Evening News has his full statement, in which he makes clear his anger at Labour’s handling of disciplinary action following the Daily Telegraph’s allegations over his expenses claims:

It has been my great honour to have served the people of Norwich North as their MP since 1997. … I wish to publicly thank the hundreds of people who sent me messages of support. The decision of the NEC leaves me today bowed but not broken. However, I believe that

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 39 Comments
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