Three incorrect solutions to EU election problems

Except in Northern Ireland, the d’Hondt electoral system will be used to elect UK Members of the European Parliament. 

The d’Hondt system is a party list system, it allocates seats to parties proportional to their share of the vote.  But the small number of seats in each region means that the seats can only be allocated at an approximation to proportionality. That approximation gets better as the number of seats in a region increases, but even in a ten seat region it is a pretty rough approximation. What tends to happen is that the higher proportions of votes are over rewarded with seats while the parties coming further down the poll lose representation entirely.

It is not perfect, it does have its issues. 

Not being used to the d’Hondt system, but very used to First Past the Post, we have a tendency to misapply First Past the Post strategies for d’Hondt problems.  The calls have gone out to “vote Labour to stop Farage”, vote for the most pro-EU candidate, and to combine the pro-EU vote behind one pro-EU party.

The first two are pure First Past the Post strategies utterly misapplied in the d’Hondt world. The third “solution” tinkers at the edges and avoids the key problem to be solved.

Vote Labour to stop Farage.

This is being actively pushed by the Labour Party, and it’s a lie. 

The d’Hondt system may be only roughly proportional, but it is proportional. It allocates seats based on the proportion of the vote a party has, not based on the votes for other parties. If Farage’s Party gets a quarter of the votes then it will get, very roughly, a quarter of the seats. And it will get roughly a quarter of the seats whatever the Labour Party polls. 

The d’Hondt solution is to reduce Farage’s proportion of the vote. To do that you vote, just vote, lending that vote to Labour will gain you nothing.

Vote for the most pro-EU candidate.

Michael Heseltine, on Newsnight, fell prey to this. He talked, in the singular, about whether the Conservative Party candidate he will see on his ballot paper on 23rd would be a Remainer. 

You vote for a party Michael, not an individual. You cannot vote for a pro-EU Conservative candidate, you can only vote for the pro-Brexit Conservative Party. Similarly, Labour voters cannot vote for a pro-EU Labour candidate, they can only vote for the pro-Brexit Labour party.

The d’Hondt solution is straightforward: vote for a pro-EU party.

Combine the pro-EU vote behind one pro-EU party.

But which pro-EU party?  Should we, Liberal Democrats, switch to the Greens? Should they switch to us? Should we both bite the bullet and vote Change UK?

This has led to Green activists falling out with Liberal Democrat activists and pro-EU politicians attacking pro-EU parties in the media. We undermine each other and miss the cause of the issue, which is that even together the pro-EU parties are polling nowhere near the level of support for Europe in the country.

That support is edging towards two thirds of the population. A total like that can be split many, many, ways before it comes close to falling under the no-seat level. A total substantially less than that can still be split many ways before it comes close to falling under the no-seat level. 

We haven’t got anywhere near that level because pro-EU people still vote Labour and Conservative. That is the cause of our problems, not Liberal Democrats voting Liberal Democrat or Greens voting Green but pro-EU voters voting pro-Brexit. 

And this is where our energies should be focussed.

* Tony Lloyd is a member in Lewisham Liberal Democrats, an accountant and so pro European that he insisted on the European national anthem at his wedding.

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  • Good advice. Thanks.

  • nigel hunter 11th May '19 - 10:37am

    The arguement is do not vote Labour or Tory if you are a remainer ONLY Lib Dems will will get you a remain MEP.

  • 1…Labour are not a Brexit party; they are, if anything, becoming a ‘Remain’ party. Corbyn’s statement that a second referendum could be ‘healing process’ is moving them even further in that direction

    2)..With UKip being replaced by Farage’s new gimmick the ‘Leave’ side are pretty united.

    3)…’Remain’ are more divided than ever before and, with Liberal Democrats, Change UK and the Greens having all but ruled out working together, that divide will damage any vote.

    4)…I note you ignore Scotland. If “Vote LibDem for Remain” is the slogan for England and a demand for Labour ‘Remainers’ (as well as CUK and the Greens) to vote LibDem, should not Scottish LDs throw their vote behind a SNP for a united front?

    Or does it only work in one direction?

  • Do Lewisham accountants (and Mr Nigel Hunter) ever get north of Potters Bar, let alone Berwick-upon-Tweed ?

    I’m spoiled for choice – any of SNP, Labour, Green or Lib Dem ….. and, my local Labour M.P. is a strong remainer and advocate of a second referendum. As to the long term, if Brexit comes, Scottish Lib Dems are going to have to unravel the dilemma of remaining part of Brexit Britain or becoming part of Scotland in Europe.

  • David Evershed 11th May '19 - 11:56am

    Whichever party gets the most votes and most MEPs in the European parliament elections will be projected by the media as “the winner”.

    Consequently the need for Remain parties to consolidate around a particular party.

    The Brexit party may not have experienced activists on the ground to get out the vote on the day of the election but current polls show they could still be “the winners”.

  • Without a preferential voting system, the best tactical voting can do is vote for the remain candidate most likely to win and that requires some supernatural powers most of us do not possess and moreover I’d need some credible evidence to alter my vote.

  • Laurence Cox 11th May '19 - 12:33pm

    @Expats, Labour are not a Brexit party…pull the other one.

    Haven’t you seen what Richard Bourgon, Shadow Cabinet Minister and ally of Jeremy Corbyn said on TV:

    @Tony Lloyd

    Actually, tactical voting in D’Hondt is not as straightforward as you suggest. The crucial number is the percentage of the vote needed to get one seat in the region. Let’s take London (8 seats) as an example {thanks to StatGeek on UKPR for the figures}

    Lab 33%
    Bxt 24%
    Grn 14%
    ChUK 9%
    Lib 9%
    Con 7%
    Oth 2%
    UKIP 1%

    Seat 1 – Lab 33/1
    Seat 2 – Bxt 24/1
    Seat 3 – Lab 33/2
    Seat 4 – Grn 14/1
    Seat 5 – Bxt 24/2
    Seat 6 – Lab 33/3
    Seat 7 – ChUK 9/1
    Seat 8 – Lib 9/1

    Here, it is 9% that gets you one seat, drop to 8% and you are tying with Brexit Party (24/3) for the final seat. So it might be advantageous for a few Green voters to vote for ChUK and LibDems to stop BXP grabbing the last seat if their share of the vote turns out to be slightly higher.

    We will know better as there are more polls published, but simply saying as Gina Miller has done vote LibDem in England is overly simplistic. It will gain in some constituencies where none of the Remain parties can win a seat on their own, but in other constituencies will have no effect on the number of Remain MEPs. In Scotland, where her recommendation is to vote SNP, a better approach might be to split votes between the SNP and the Greens {Thanks to Trevor Warne on UKPR}

    1: SNP (33%)
    2: LAB (21%)
    3: SNP (16.5% = 33/2)
    4: BXP (13%)
    5: CON (12%)
    6: SNP (11% = 33/3)

    and below that
    LAB (10.5% = 21/2)
    SNP (8.25% = 33/4)
    Green (7%)
    ChuK (6%)
    LDEM (5%)

    14% is needed for a MEP from Grn/ChUK/LD, while raising the SNP vote to 37% would push out the Scottish Conservative currently in 5th place, giving 3xSNP, 1 Lab, 1 BXP, 1 Grn/ChUK/LD.

  • @ Martin Not in the least bit confused, Martin…… perfectly capable (as you say, I’m an old hand) of deciding who to vote for without your advice.

    Just amused at the anglo-centricity and earnest blinkered outlook of so many nominally internationalist southern English Liberal Democrats who run the party these days. They seem to get vertigo – and intellectually challenged – about anything north of St. Albans.

  • @ Martin ” Change UK (are they not standing?) ” Yes, with a bit of research you’d have known they were standing…. though I accept, as you say, you’re bewildered.

    You’d be interested to learn that a Mr Joseph Russo was selected as lead candidate for the new party in the Scottish constituency. Mr Russo topped the party’s Scottish list, followed by David Macdonald, Kate Forman, Peter Griffiths, Heather Astbury and Catherine Edgeworth. However he has now announced on Twitter that he will not stand for election.

    He said he was “not fully prepared” for the “personal scrutiny” he faced after “offensive” online posts came to light. Shortly after the list was announced, concerns were raised about old social media posts made by Mr Russo – offensive comments about black women and Catholics which have now been deleted. (BBC News, Scotland).

  • Bill le Breton 11th May '19 - 1:15pm

    The best advice is to vote Liberal Democrat.

    The stats are beginning to show with clarity that any seat that ChUK win will be at the cost of a Lib Dem winning, so don’t risk that. There is no region where a vote for ChUK will safely help get both a ChUK and a Lib Dem elected. The margins are too narrow.

    Where it matters, towards the bottom of the list, it is them or us.

  • Paul Barker 11th May '19 - 1:20pm

    This is a silly, divisive piece & LDV should not have published it during an Election campaign.
    Remain do not have 2/3rds of the population behind them or anything like, its more like 57%-60%. Combined, the 3 Pro-Remain Parties in England have 25%-30%, with the Libdems clearly in the lead. A lot of Remain Voters are planning to vote for Brexit Parties & we are not likely to stop them in 12 days.
    Right now everyone expects Brexit to come top & if they don’t they will be seen to have failed. If the Polls are broadly right then Labour have a point but the Polls vastly overestimated UKIP 5 Years ago & they may be doing the same this time with Brexit.
    Our Leaderships strategy of uniting as many Remain Voters behind us as possible is the right one & it seems to be working so far. In the 2 Polls since the Locals the Libdems are up 3% with Greens down 1% & Change down 2%.
    If we can get enough momentum behind the Libdems as THE Remain Vote then we might take some Labour Voters as well.

  • Martin 11th May ’19 – 12:21pm………………..Expats and David Raw do not seem to understand what is plain in the text: with regard to Scotland, SNP are clearly anti-Brexit, good luck to them, the Lib Dem is to achieve representation and to do this we have to maximise the anti-Brexit vote by persuading remain supporters to vote for remain parties………….

    I’m sorry for my ignorance on matters politic. However, I’m rather confused by your above. Are you advising Scottish ‘Remainers’ to vote 1) LibDem…2).. SNP or 3)… either of the above?

  • Andrew Kerr 11th May '19 - 3:01pm

    Labour is a pro Brexit party. This is the relevant section of their manifesto:

    Labour has put forward an alternative plan to seek a close and cooperative relationship with the European Union, including a new comprehensive customs union with a UK say, close single market alignment, guaranteed rights and standards, and the protection of the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

    We believe such a deal could bring our country back together and deliver on the result of the referendum. However, the Government has refused to listen and compromise. They have spent more of the last three years arguing among themselves than negotiating a good deal for the people of Britain.

    So, first preference is leave EU, leave Single Market with some meaningless waffle about “alignment” and a “say”.

    The want a General Election, a win in which they’d use to pursue their own Brexit.

    Only if these fail do the back “the option of” a “public vote”. Why use the word “option”? Why not use the established term “people’s vote”? Why not specify that Remain would be in the ballot? Do they think we were born yesterday?

  • Andrew Kerr 11th May '19 - 3:03pm

    Second and third paras above quote Labour manifesto. Apparently quoteblock tags don’t work. Let me try again with quote tags…

    Labour has put forward an alternative plan to seek a close and cooperative relationship with the European Union, including a new comprehensive customs union with a UK say, close single market alignment, guaranteed rights and standards, and the protection of the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

    We believe such a deal could bring our country back together and deliver on the result of the referendum. However, the Government has refused to listen and compromise. They have spent more of the last three years arguing among themselves than negotiating a good deal for the people of Britain.

  • Tony Greaves 11th May '19 - 4:34pm

    Excellent analysis of the position in England. It’s becoming clear that the Chukkers are dead in the water and the Greens care about the Green Party far more than they care about Europe. They ae entitled to do so but we are then entitled to say – the best Remain vote in this election in England is (by some margin) for the Liberal Democrats.

  • Richard Underhill 11th May '19 - 4:40pm

    This is not only about the system negotiated with Tony Blair and exploited by Nigel Paul Farage. It is partly about registration.
    David Owen did not stand in the 1992 general election. For his own vote he had a choice of four places. He chose to vote in Limehouse (London) against a left wing Labour woman he disliked and, effectively, for us.
    Michael Heseltine is a rich man and might therefore have a choice if he has more than one dwelling in different regions. The person in each region for each party is most likely to be elected is number one on that party’s list. I therefore guess that it is unlikely that Michael Heseltine will be unlikely to be casting his euro-vote in the south-east region because the number one on the Conservative list is a prominent Leaver, Daniel Hannon, MEP.
    Michael Heseltine also said that Theresa May withdrew the Conservative whip from him (in the Lords) but later re-instated it. He could tell her a thing or two about planting trees, but maybe she would divert him to Michael Gove. He once ensured that Boris Johnson is not Tory leader and might do it again. The Times had an excellent cartoon, available online.
    Jacob Rees-Mogg MP does not want to vote against his sister and will therefore vote in a different region from her. The same issue arises for Boris (Leave) Johnson and Jo (Remain) Johnson (and their parents) because Rachel Johnson is number one on a regional list of another party.
    My vote is in the post. I hope we get at least two MEPs in the southeast region. The Labour leaflet arrived today, unaddressed and presumably intended to be shared. It reads as though the authors were obsessed with a UK general election, which might not come until five years after 2017.
    A party I have never heard of is standing in three regions and in the Peterborough bye-election.

  • Richard Underhill 11th May '19 - 4:42pm

    Sorry typo. please delete one of the “unlikely” words.

  • Richard Underhill 11th May '19 - 4:44pm
  • Tony Greaves 11th May ’19 – 4:34pm…………… the best Remain vote in this election in England is (by some margin) for the Liberal Democrats…………..

    And in Scotland?

    Strange how, although it’s the UK that is represented in the EU parliament, from many comments on LDV, it’s only England that matters.

  • Well as a Scot I will be voting LibDem, not least because our list is led by Sheila Ritchie who is a superb candidate and would make a brilliant MEP. I couldn’t bring myself to vote Green or SNP, and I don’t think the ChUKs are going to make an impact up here (or anywhere else, it increasingly seems). So hang me. I’m a LibDem and I’m voting LibDem.

  • @ Anonymous Martin “David Raw: my incomprehension was that you would think your MP’s remain disposition was in any way relevant”.

    And my incomprehension is that you would think that my MP’s remain disposition is irrelevant. You don’t know him, you haven’t discussed it with him, you don’t know what he and his colleagues are up to, ………….. in fact…. you just don’t know anything about him which isn’t an assertion. End of.

  • Just seen latest Opinium Research poll taken 8th May. Lib Dems running 3rd, just ahead of the Conservatives (12 – 11), and only 9 behind Labour (21), who seem to be in meltdown.
    Could we make second place, Greens at 8 could be squeezed. Brexit by the way on 34!

  • Tonight for the Euros, Lib Dems move ahead of Conservatives within striking distance of Labour

    For Westminster, Tories slump to their lowest vote since October 1995 only 1 point ahead of the Brexit party

  • You have to remember that a lot of this isn’t driven by logic, it us driven by selfworth. So after nailing your ego to Brexit, Brexiteers will accept any rubbish to support Brexit, the same is I’m afraid for Expats after nailing his rep to Corbyn no amount of facts will change his view, tis his rep at stake you see. Only hard experience will change them, that and pointing out their stupidity ( but some think that is being too unkind, alas they are actually aiding stupidity and that never goes well).

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '19 - 7:18pm

    By turning the EU elections into a form of second referendum, Brexit V the Liberal Democrats, the one true party of remain, I fear the worst.

    It is a high risk, some would say, reckless strategy. One that, after the count, may result in a boost for further emboldened Brexiteers.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '19 - 8:02pm

    @ frankie,
    Sorry, frankie, but spare us the cod psychology.

    I think you need to consider whether your approach is likely to persuade or alienate. Much as I agree with you that our future will be better served by remaining within the EU,
    and I admire your revulsion of those who scapegoat ‘foreigners’ , I would argue that Brexit has actually been a lightening conductor for those who have lost trust in mainstream politicians who are perceived to have used their positions to feather their own nest and failed to listen to their concerns.

    The question, I have, so, I am fairly certain that they have, is, have mainstream politicians learned any lessons?

  • @David Blake

    I received mine too from Labour today, yours must have contained even less on Europe than what mine did.
    Mine read more like a General Election rather than the EU.
    Absolutely nothing about what the party would do in regards to sticking up for UK interests should we end up remaining in the EU.

    fortunately I had already received by postal ballot and put my X in the box for the Brexit Party, had I have seen the brexit behind closed doors program before filling out my ballot, I might may well have made that X somewhat larger and bolder in ink.

  • Voters should cast their vote for in whatever way is most effective for them individually .
    I couldn’t personally vote for the SNP as they’d take it in part for independence which I don’t support. I could vote for the Greens or CHUK but would prefer a Liberal as that is my politics. And equally for some Greens or Chukians (?) their most effective vote will be voting for their politics who is also a Remainer – & good luck if anyone works out what CHUK stands for.

    But for many CHUK & Green remainers (& indeed Conservative & Labour remainers) that will mean advancing the cause of Remain most effectively. And that means:

    1. How Labour & Tory MPs react

    For that a Lib Dem vote is by far the most effective. Labour & Tory MPs know that the Green & CHUK vote will fade away come a general election – less so the Lib Dems. They’ll have to think whether to vote for a referendum or not. Remember these are be reported if not by Westminster constituency then by local authority so MPs will have a good idea of their local vote. As was once said “once you have them by the b**** their hearts & minds follow”. For MPs that means the ballots. And they will come under substantial pressure in that regard from the Brexit party – Remainers need to counteract that.

    2. The media narrative

    And this will set the tone for Labour & Tory MPs. The media like a simple story. The party coming first will be said to have “won” the election although some 70% will not have voted for them.

    The second criteria will be number of MEPs won & gained. If we (or indeed any pro-Remain) are seen to make substantial gains then that we will be seen as a clear sign that a no-nonsense unambiguous “stop Brexit” message is electorally.

    As it is we are on the cusp of winning some 12 seats (including Scotland) as we did in 2009 on 14%. So every vote – tactical or non-tactical, hard won by local activists or not will make a difference. Probably one extra vote for the Lib Dems per ward may mean an extra Lib Dem MEP!

    Only third will the media tot up the votes won across the five Remain parties.

    So for many Remainers- Green, CHUK, Labour, Conservative the most effective vote they can cast will be lending it to us this time.

  • Denis Mollison 11th May '19 - 9:13pm

    @matt – try watching the `brexit behind closed doors’ program again with a more open mind. It showed sensible uk-friendly europeans treating arrogant deluded british negotiators with more courtesy than they deserved, and using their sense of humour to avoid getting too depressed at our self-destructive behaviour.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '19 - 9:23pm

    @ Matt,
    What did Nigel Farage and his UKIP party do to stick up for UK interests when we were within the EU?

  • Mick Taylor 11th May '19 - 9:52pm

    My question to David Raw is what did your MP do when given the chance to vote for a fresh referendum? My guess is he either didn’t vote or toed the party line. It’s not what he thinks that matters, it’s what he does when the chips are down.

  • Mick Taylor 11th May '19 - 9:59pm

    I have now had leaflets (addressed) from only the Lib Dems and an unaddressed national one from the Greens. My wife got a Lib Dem one and a Brexit party one. All but the Lib Dem leaflet – very good in my opinion – arrived after the postal votes that we cast and sent off for the Lib Dems. My colleague in Hebden Bridge had a leaflet from the Lib Dems and his wife got a letter from Vince Cable with a further leaflet.
    It seems that neither Labour, nor the Tories, nor the Greens were interested in influencing the postal voters. ChangeUK has no logo on the ballot paper so anyone who wishes to vote for them may struggle to find them.
    I think that our party has all to play for.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '19 - 10:41pm

    @ Mick Taylor,

    ‘It’s not what he thinks that matters, it is what he down when the chips are down.’


    Which sort of explains why when so many who voted ‘ Remain’ in the EU election are reluctant to support the liberal Democrat Party.

    Perhaps you can offer an explanation for the disparity between the 2016 48.1% Remain vote and the polling figures for the Liberal Democrat Party.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '19 - 10:50pm

    @ Mick Taylor,
    My apologies for quoting you incorrectly. Here is the correction.

    ‘It’s not what he thinks that matters, it’s what he does when the chips are down’

  • @Denis Mollison

    ” It showed sensible uk-friendly europeans treating arrogant deluded british negotiators with more courtesy than they deserved,”

    You must have been watching a different show to me Denis. The language I heard and the attitudes being expressed where hardly what I would call friendly.
    How on earth would you know if the UK negotiators where acting in an arrogant manor, we never saw any of them in the program, we only have hearsay from what they have said, but we heard it straight from the horses mouths what they had to say about us.
    This program reinforced my impressions of the EU and its overpaid bureaucrats, sitting around a boardroom getting plastered on wine and fuelling a playground mentality of “im harder than you” and who can be the most obscene, whilst negotiating policy..
    What other employer and Boardroom would allow this kind of alcohol fuelled approach to coming up with strategy? It was pretty shameful in my eyes and shows the kind of mentality that we are dealing with,
    No thank you

  • frankie 11th May ’19 – 6:55pm…………. Brexiteers will accept any rubbish to support Brexit, the same is I’m afraid for Expats after nailing his rep to Corbyn no amount of facts will change his view, tis his rep at stake you see. Only hard experience will change them, that and pointing out their stupidity ( but some think that is being too unkind, alas they are actually aiding stupidity and that never goes well)………….

    I am,actually, a fervent ‘Remainer’. However, unlike you, I accept that 52% of those who voted voted ‘Leave’; and they can’t all be idiots.

    I don’t consider myself to have a ‘rep’ and I’m not stupid enough to believe that any of those who voted ‘Leave’ in 2016 will be ‘turned’ by being called stupid?

  • Peter Watson 12th May '19 - 12:29am

    @expats “I’m not stupid enough to believe that any of those who voted ‘Leave’ in 2016 will be ‘turned’ by being called stupid?”
    Which is why I’ve often wondered if frankie is an undercover Brexiteer, determined to ensure that none change their minds!

  • Peter Watson
    Nah he’s not. Actually the remainers who are accidentally doing Brexit a favour are the ones with anflated sense of cultural success. Most leave voters are suburban, rural and somewhat conservative. When they look at places look London they don’t see something to aspire to. They see overpricing, bad schools, high crime rates, poverty, run down estates and disorder. GDP is less important than living standards. You’re not going persuade many people by pretending this stuff is minor problem in an otherwise awesome vision. Don’t get me wrong. I love city life, couldn’t imagine not living near galleries. trains multiple restaurants, and interesting shops. But if you actually wanted to make metropolitan values more generally appealing you’d police it better and stop telling people who do not share the rose tinted version that they are “left behind” like some sort of beatific religious cult.

  • Peter Martin 12th May '19 - 9:27am

    @ Peter Watson,

    “Which is why I’ve often wondered if frankie is an undercover Brexiteer……”

    I haven’t actually done it, but it has crossed my mind from time to time, in my darker moments, to create sock puppets! They’d actually be very like Frankie but as Frankie does exist, (presumably for real and not a Russian bot?) why would I bother? The pro Remain facebook pages are full of Remainers who make fun of supposedly uneducated Leavers but can’t spell themselves!

    Arnold Kiel is another one. The stuff he comes out with would be priceless for the Leave side if only we could get him a wider audience! 🙂

  • Suzanne Fletcher 12th May '19 - 9:29am

    Never has the need for STV been so strongly highlighted to many people. Friends of mine want to vote 1,2,3 for Remain parties. Strong Remain Labour people want to at least make labour 4 or even 2. So after all of this kerfuffle ( difficult to see beyond it), we need to concentrate on campaigning to change the voting system for everything to STV.

  • Innocent Bystander 12th May '19 - 10:38am

    I disapprove of some of these comments. I disagree with “frankie” (and many others), however challenge is one thing but mockery another.
    No one should be ridiculed for their spelling and grammar. frankie routinely mocks and ridicules Leave voters but that, of course, is no excuse for doing the same.

  • Richard Underhill 12th May '19 - 11:49am

    “I hope we get at least two MEPs in the southeast region.”
    Catherine Bearder is number one on the Liberal Democrat list in the southeast.
    She has been ELECTED to that position by Lib Dem party members.
    Antony Hook, a Kent County Councillor, is second on the list. He is a hard working campaigner, a well informer pro-European and was on the BBC Southeast Politics Show today, 12/5/2019. His candidature is a very good reason for increasing the Liberal Democrat vote in the southeast.
    Andrew Marr interviewed Nigel Farage and showed evidence of Farage’s inconsistency.
    Farage is number one on the Brexit Party list in the southeast.
    Did they elect him? OR DID HE APPOINT HIMSELF? We think we should be told.
    I have always found when canvassing that encouraging electors to vote is seen as democratic and participative. It also helps to move on their thinking as to how to cast their vote.
    Antony Hook said on tv that lots of people are ‘phoning him, all the time, and asking him where to campaign. There are elections EVERYWHERE.

  • Thanks for all the comments

    I’m sorry that Paul Barker thinks the piece is divisive, but I cannot see why that would be. All three misconceptions are being used, right now, to stop people voting Liberal Democrat. South West voters are being told they need to vote for Molly Scott Cato. Labour are running the “Vote Labour to stop Farage” line from Andrew Adonis articles in the press to their doorstep “script”. Lib Dem activists are being sent 2014 results in an attempt to get them to stand aside for the Greens.

    It is important that we can counteract these messages.

    I think it’s also important that we don’t try and use them ourselves. To do so would be dishonest. As Laurence Cox points out tactical voting under d’Hondt is so complex that I think the best tactic is not to bother: Never Mind the Bollocks, here’s the Liberal Democrats! (and Michael 1’s reasons for lending a vote are way better than any of the three above).

    As for the Anglo-centricity complained of by expats and David Raw, I should point out that the third and fourth words in the piece were “Northern” and “Ireland”, that the second and third misconceptions are much less of an issue in Scotland, and that where the issues exist they do not differentiate geographically. I also cannot resist pointing out that, although I didn’t specifically write “Scotland” neither of you mentioned “Wales”, or “Gibraltar” 😊

  • Peter Hirst 12th May '19 - 5:26pm

    It’s those Labour votes we should be after, especially those who support remain or are not certain. A vote for Labour (and the Conservatives) means a vote for Brexit as it deprives remain parties of valuable support. A vote for anything but the remain parties is a vote for Brexit as it helps the Brexit Party.

  • @ Mick Taylor “My question to David Raw is what did your MP do when given the chance to vote for a fresh referendum? My guess is he either didn’t vote or toed the party line. ”

    A wrong diagnosis again, my dear Doctor. You really shouldn’t allow your preconceived prejudices to make assumptions about the facts.

    He voted for a second referendum – as did his colleague from a neighbouring constituency.

    …… And here are my two questions to the Seer of Calderdale :

    What did the Member for Eastbourne do when given the chance to vote for a second referendum ?

    Do you think said Member should be expelled from the Liberal Democrat Party (assuming he’s still a member) and replaced by a pro remain prospective candidate for refusing to toe the party line ?

  • All this tactical analysis is too late. There should have been an agreement, between the Lib Dems and Change UK at a minimum (preferably Greens as well), to divide up the Regions, and run one single Remain party list in each. But the parties were all too tribalist to do it. We will all lose because of that tribalism.

    Will we learn from that mistake? Doubt it. We didn’t learn from the Coalition mistake. We didn’t much learn from Farron’s mistake. We didn’t learn from Rennard’s “mistakes”. We don’t learn.

  • Mick Taylor 13th May '19 - 7:43am

    The member for Eastbourne will not have voted for a second referendum.
    I don’t think he should be expelled from the party as we are a broad church who tolerate dissension as part of our DNA.
    I do think he was unwise to offer a hostage to fortune by giving the pledge he did at the 2017 election. I might have hoped he has learned the risks of pledges from the 2010 debacle.

  • OnceALibDem 13th May '19 - 8:41am

    Stephen shouldn’t be thrown out of the party for doing what he said he would at the election – which presumably was given the OK when he was approved to stand.

    People may want to look at why he was allowed to stand given he wouldn’t support the party’s key, top line policy.

    You could say though he has leant the lessons from 2010 by actually sticking to his pledge

  • Alex Macfie 13th May '19 - 9:12am

    OnceALibDem: There is no automatic electoral benefit to sticking to a pledge, as Zac Goldsmith found out.

  • I agree it’s not a slam dunk. Zac was re-elected a few months later which doesn’t make this a strong piece of evidence.

  • Alex Macfie 14th May '19 - 7:35am

    “Zac was re-elected a few months later” by 45 votes, and on a small swing since the by-election (a small Lib Dem majority at the by-election became a tiny Tory majority at the subsequent general election). Normally there is a much larger return swing to the original party. Zac Goldsmith squandered a majority of 23,015 (in the 2015 general election) thanks to his by-election stunt; now he’s damaged goods, and he is unlikely to survive the next general election.

  • Alex Macfie 14th May '19 - 7:52am

    David Allen: Lib Dems tried to do a deal with Change UK and Greens, and were rebuffed. In particular Change UK seems to have a strategy of replacing us, so is hardly going to want to do an electoral pact with us. In any case, Change UK seems to be a busted flush, with recent opinion polls putting it close to the margin of error. Its future is that of the Owenite SDP.
    The idea of “run one single Remain party list in each [region]” assumes that voters for one “Remain” party will automatically vote for another. I don’t think this is necessarily so. And it ignores the fact that there are specific ideological differences between the parties. Well, between Lib Dems and Greens anyway; CHUK don’t know what they stand for. They sit in different groups in the European Parliament, and voters should have a choice about what sort of EU they want to be part of, not just whether they want to be in it (which is not a matter for MEPs anyway). Finally, previous experience of electoral pacts suggests that it is not really easy to do. People talk of pacts as if they can be conjured up out of thin air and magically result in a large aggregate vote. But public fighting between the SDP and Liberals over seats cost the Alliance votes.

  • Yeovil Yokel 14th May '19 - 6:08pm

    Nigel Bliss – your polling card should make it clear which region you are registered to vote in, unless you’ve somehow been registered at two addresses in adjacent regions and have received two polling cards – I suggest voting in the region where you live for most or all of the time, otherwise if in doubt contact the Electoral Registration Officer at your local Council.

  • Nonconformistradical 14th May '19 - 6:39pm

    @Yeovil Yokel
    It is possible to be on the register at two addresses – see

    Note the bit at the end:
    “If you are registered to vote in two different electoral areas, you can vote in local elections for the two different local councils.

    However, it is an offence to vote twice in the same type of election, such as in a UK general election. Doing this could result in a fine of up to £5,000.”

    So whatever Nigel decides to do he must not vote in both regions.

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