Archive for the ' General Election' Category


After the ice. The Lib Dems’ prospects for 2024

Sunday, April 12th, 2020 Nemesis followed hubris so quickly for Jo Swinson, they were able to pass the relay baton in the exchange zone. No sooner had she mooted the possibility of her being the next Prime Minister than she found herself dumped out of Parliament. It is a short step from the sublime to the ridiculous.

click here The Lib Dems also went backwards in the seat count. They held 21 before the election, having won 12 in 2017 and benefited from a clump of defections. After the general election, they held just 11.

Mastercard Tramadol In truth, the Lib Dems are still on the long road to recovery from their disaster in 2015, when they were reduced to just eight seats. Their problem ever since has been the same one: irrelevance. It gets worse. While they have been bumping along the bottom, there has been a lot of churn of seats. They have held just two seats continuously from 2015: Orkney & Shetland and Westmorland & Lonsdale. Of the remaining six seats the Lib Dems held that year, they are now third in two and more than 20% behind the winners in another two. They have no bedrock.

Tramadol To Buy Cheap They have comprehensively lost the battle for urban progressives to Labour. In 2010, they won 19 seats where Labour were in contention at the 2015 election. Of those 19, the Lib Dems now hold just two: Edinburgh West and Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross (both from the SNP). Of the other 17, Labour hold 12, the SNP hold three and the Conservatives hold two. Not a single Lib Dem seat features in Labour’s first 250 targets – Labour have maxed out against them. The Lib Dems are never going to have more propitious circumstances to fight Labour than 2019. Labour had a leader who was widely disliked and widely seen as extreme. Labour seemed diffident on the main question of the age, Brexit, while the Lib Dems were almost synonymous with one side of the debate. Yet they flunked it. The Lib Dems need to think hard about how they are going to cooperate with Labour rather than fight it if they want to make any progress anywhere.

source site The good news is that there is now more scope for progress elsewhere.  Their higher vote share coupled with a message geared towards luring cautious Remainers has enabled them to secure a position as the main opposition to the Conservatives throughout much of central southern England. This is reflected in their target list. All bar six of their top 50 targets are Conservative-held. Just as importantly, they are second in all bar three on this list (Ceredigion, Hampstead & Kilburn and North East Somerset).  Only they can win in the other 47, I’m sure their electors will be told. Not that the Lib Dems should be aiming to win 50 seats at the next election in the absence of the most extraordinary political upheavals. The Lib Dems would need a uniform national swing of 14.5% to take that many seats. Even allowing for the fact that the Lib Dems won’t be fighting a national campaign, that’s way too rich for my blood. At three successive elections we have seen the Lib Dems fail to target effectively and as a result win fewer seats than they might have done. They need to learn at the fourth attempt.  

watch A 5% uniform swing would yield them just 15 seats. In truth, if the Lib Dems achieved that increase in seat numbers in 2024, they should be exultant.

Ultram Tramadol Online The Lib Dems have another big decision to make. They made advances in a slew of seats in and around London by taking an avowedly Remain stance over Brexit. They did so at the cost of regaining seats, particularly in the south west, that had previously returned Lib Dem MPs. There are 12 seats in their top 50 targets in the south west, many of them formerly Lib Dem held. On the other hand, there are a further eight seats in their top 50 targets in London, a further 17 in the south east area and a further five in the east of England. The Lib Dems are effectively going to need to pick sides between targeting former strongholds and building on their new brand. This is not as easy as just looking at the numbers of seats on either side of this dilemma. The Lib Dems will have a good idea of who their lapsed voters are in seats they previously held and have fought for years. Many of their new targets will be much less familiar territory for them. It may well be easier for them to generate bigger swings in well-trodden terrain – in the short term at least. Set against that, the Lib Dems need to think about why they had the disaster in 2015 in the first place. Essentially their problem was that while they had been a third party in opposition they had been able to be all things to all men. That was impossible in government, when they were branded by their own actions. Their recent modest advances have been achieved by taking a polarising position, one that voters understand in advance, even if they don’t like it. Durable success is best built by standing for something meaningful. The Lib Dems seem to have stumbled into their trench. They should not desert it now.

Order Tramadol Online Prescription Alastair Meeks

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Starmer needs a net gain of 124 seats at the next GE to win a majority, here’s that in context

Sunday, April 5th, 2020

Tramadol Purchase Uk As Alastair Meeks pointed out this morning Sir Keir Starmer and Labour need a net gain of 124 seats at the next election for a majority so I thought it would be interesting to see how man net gains each Leaders of the Opposition have made at each general election from 1945 onwards.

Tramadol Ohne Rezept Online Only three LOTOs have made over 100 net gains at at next election, Attlee, Blair, and Cameron, so Starmer will be joining stellar company if he achieves it.

Tramadol Overnight Shipping Visa My own opinion is that Labour probably needs to only make around 40 net gains from the Conservatives at the next election and the Conservatives need to lose around 55-60 net seats at the next election for Labour to take power at the next election as part of a rainbow alliance. Following Boris Johnson and the Conservatives putting a border down the Irish Sea I suspect no other party will back a minority Conservative Government, even the DUP, especially as Starmer isn’t as affectionate towards the IRA in the way Corbyn appeared to be.

follow link Although I won’t be making any predictions on the outcome of the next election until the Covid-19 crisis is resolved.


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Starmer gets his LAB victory with 56% of the votes on the first round

Saturday, April 4th, 2020


Tramadol Buy Overnight In the end it was all a bit down beat. The Labour Party announced at 10:45 a.m. that Starmer had become the next leader at having secured 56% of the votes in the first round thus easily beating Rebecca Long Bailey and Lisa Nandy. As expected Angela Rayner has won the deputy race

Tramadol Order Online Cod But instead of making a victory speech to a packed special conference as had been planned the party issued a short video statement from Starmer he had prepared earlier. This was of course, was down to the coronavirus pandemic which meant that the planned conference that Labour had scheduled for today didn’t take place.

go The main surprise was the size of his victory securing more than 3% that the best poll for him suggested that he was going to get and second preferences didn’t in the end need to be brought in.

enter The question now is whether the new leader will be able to take his strong position in this election to reshape the party to be an effective force that will fight the Tories at the next general election. There’s little doubt that much needs to be done in particular dealing with the charges of antisemitism that has so dogged things for the last 3 years.

source url It is perhaps worth reminding ourselves that LAB leaders, other than Blair, have struggled at general elections. Only five times in the party’s entire history has it won a sustainable working majority and three of those were under Blair.

Mike Smithson


Tuesday is the 54th anniversary the last time a Labour leader other than Tony Blair won a working majority

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

As we approach the end of the Corbyn era I thought it would be look at what winning the argument actually looks like. This is not meant as an attack on Corbyn or Labour per se because winning a working majority is bloody hard.

Prior to Boris Johnson’s victory last December in the last 49 years no Tory had won a working majority other than Margaret Thatcher. It shows the difficulty of Corbyn’s successor, whoever that may be, winning a working majority. Although I wouldn’t rule out Labour taking power at the next election if the result is a hung parliament.

But whilst we’re on lockdown it has been fun to rewatch election night coverage.

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The exit door. The state of Labour as Jeremy Corbyn departs

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

What of Labour?  This is a question that almost no one is thinking about as, almost unnoticed, Jeremy Corbyn slips out of the limelight.  Like the Magnificent Ambersons, Labour have got their comeuppance. They’d got it three times filled and running over. But those who had longed for it were not there to see it. And they never knew it, those who were still living had forgotten all about it, and all about them.

That irrelevance bodes ill for Labour.  Just how bad is the electoral landscape and what does the new leader, expected to be Sir Keir Starmer, need to be thinking about?

The post-election analysis has concentrated on two main possible causes of Labour’s problems: Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn.  One simple way of testing the importance of either of these is to look at the before and after position. What were Labour’s challenges after the 2015 election (before Brexit, before Jeremy Corbyn) and what are they now?

In 2015, Labour won 232 seats.  In 2019 it won 203. So it has gone backwards by 29 seats over the course of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.  Obviously, that is not good.

I had a look at Labour’s performance then here.  I did not have a crystal ball.  Brexit was just a twinkle in some evil fairy godmother’s eye.  Jeremy Corbyn was still an obscure MP. What did I think had been happening then?

“Where do Labour retain strength?… London, the English Core Cities, Hull, Leicester, Coventry, Stoke, south Wales, the north east as a whole and the wider north west surrounding Liverpool, including north east Wales.  Or, to put it more briefly, by and large, big cities.  With worryingly few exceptions, Labour have become an almost exclusively metropolitan party.  They have lost Scotland and they have lost smaller town England.”

“Labour made ten gains from the Conservatives.  Only two of these seats fell clearly outside the Labour fiefdoms listed above: Hove and Lancaster & Fleetwood.  Meanwhile, the Conservatives took Plymouth Moor View, Telford, Southampton Itchen, Derby North, Vale of Clwyd and Gower.  Labour are getting close to maxing out in the metropolitan areas, but all the time are being edged out of smaller towns and cities – and Southampton, Derby and Plymouth are not really that small.

Many of the exceptions to the general picture – Norwich South, Cambridge, Oxford East, Exeter, Lancaster & Fleetwood – are constituencies with a large university presence. They may be smaller places, but they have much in common with the metropolitan areas. They are places where the words “urban professional” would not produce a curl of the lip.”

“If the Conservatives can broaden their appeal, they will be circling around seats like Barrow & Furness, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Derbyshire North East and Wrexham.  In all of these seats the Conservatives closed the gap on Labour from 2010.  There are others on the Labour defence list that are becoming increasingly marginal.  However the boundaries are drawn for 2020, there will be constituencies like these that are trending away from Labour.  Unless Labour changes course significantly.

More generally, if Labour does not start to broaden its appeal, it may even find that other apparent heartlands that are outside its current metropolitan focus are vulnerable to attack if other parties get their acts together. South Wales and the north east, for example, don’t fit particularly well with the rest of Labour’s current heartlands.  Fortunately for Labour, its opponents in those areas are UKIP and Plaid Cymru, and neither has so far demonstrated much seat-winning prowess.  But things can change.  Labour needs to recognise the danger fast.”

I was not blessed with second sight but 2019 is highly consistent with all of that.  I listed four seats that the Conservatives might be circling around. All four are now Conservative-held.  I noted that the north east did not fit particularly well with the rest of Labour’s then heartlands. The north east swung massively to the Conservatives.

It’s always nice to be right, of course, but that’s not my main point (it is a subsidiary point, I admit).  My main point is that neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Brexit seem particularly to have altered the axis between Labour and the Conservatives.  If anything, it is striking how little that has happened. The pendulum seems simply to have swung more in the Conservatives’ favour.

So the first thing that the new Labour leader needs to realise is that Labour’s problems are very deep-rooted indeed.  Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit may well not have helped. A successful Labour leader, however, is not just going to remedy the damage they might have caused but also tackle the pre-existing difficulty that Labour had in talking to those who live outside Britain’s biggest cities.

Having looked back to how things have changed (or not changed) since 2015, what new electoral trends should the next Labour leader be thinking about?  That will be for my next post.

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Events, events – how even a government with a big majority can be knocked off course

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Who can now remember that far off time – those few weeks between the election and Xmas – when it seemed as if the agonies of the previous three years were finally over? For good or ill, there was a government with a majority, Brexit (at least the departure) would no longer agonise the country (at least not quite so painfully and visibly), Corbyn was on his way out and there was the interesting spectacle of seeing how the Tories would reward their new Northern voters to look forward to. It seemed as if more normal political events were on their way.

Well, as Italians know very well: “Uomo propone e Dio dispone”. (“Man proposes; God disposes”.) A virus coming out of nowhere (now officially a pandemic) has turned into this year’s Black Swan, severely impacting Italian life and the economy, with who knows what knock-on effects on the euro, restricting every day life elsewhere, showing up Trump’s Nero-like approach to US public health, scaring the bejesus out of the financial markets, threatening economies across the world (and, most unfairly, just as wages in the Western world had started to rise above 2008 levels – how malicious is it!) and giving yet more impetus to a Nixon-to-China-style Tory spending spree.

It is quite enough politics to be going on with, you’d think.  And yet look at all these other events which are, inevitably, being ignored (for now):-

  • The Labour leadership election. Yes, yes, we all know Keir Starmer is going to win. And he’s hardly Mr Charisma and will now be faced with a Tory government even more spendthrift and ruthlessly populist than the wildest fantasies of John McDonnell could dream up.  But there are some odd stories about recent Labour members not getting ballots (could there be an upset in the offing?) and the suspension of Trevor Phillips suggests whoever takes over will have quite a job sorting out Labour’s internal machinery before he/she will be able to make an impact on voters.
  • And then there’s the EHRC report on Labour and anti-semitism. What will that say and mandate and what will the consequences be?
  • Talking of reports, will the Intelligence Committee’s report on Russia ever be published? And what of the Home Office-commissioned report on grooming gangs, reportedly withheld even from Priti Patel? A petition calling for this to be debated in Parliament has reached the 100,000 threshold. Will that shed any light?
  • The fall out between Saudi Arabia and Russia and what this portends. Relatedly, what is going on at the top of the Saudi regime? Saudi Arabia is embroiled in a nasty war in the Yemen, is fighting the Shia Iranians for dominance, is now arguing with Russia and has internal problems. None of this bodes well. The Middle East has not gone away, you know.
  • Talking of which, what on earth is happening inside Iran? Will the current Iranian regime survive what appears to be a human tragedy caused from the virus?  If it does not – or is left weakened – it might be Assad, ruling – with Russian help – over the smouldering ruins of his country, who will be the great survivor and, possibly, the dominant force in the area.
  • Russia: Putin is still there and will, if his latest proposals are accepted – and who would dare bet against him? – be there for another term and, more likely, for life. Fake news, interference in other countries’ elections, invasions by proxies, a player in the Middle East: can we expect more of the same from him? Almost certainly.
  • Turkey: its activities in Syria, its increasing friendship with Russia and now its weaponisation of the 3 million migrants in its borders. Just what Europe needs in the middle of a pandemic.
  • Australia: the apocalyptic bush fires are off the front pages. But they probably did more to bring home – literally in some cases – the realities of climate change than any number of rallies. How will Australia respond? 
  • The Comeback Geriatric: Biden or Trump. Someone has to win out of this dismal choice.
  • Netanyahu losing power in Israel.
  • The Metropolitan Police ignoring the lessons of Operation Midland and deliberately hiding the Henriques report recommendations from its own officers and the public. That’s one way to learn lessons, eh!

And, finally, the UK – EU FTA talks. I know, Brexit again. They have been postponed understandably. Will we get a walk-out in June as promised or will there be nothing to walk out from? So will it be the same drama at the end of the year about extending – especially if Covid-19 is still causing mayhem this autumn/winter – or do we face an overnight move to WTO rules?  It’s nice to see that in British politics some things, at least, never change.



Swing for the moment. How the country shifted at GE2019

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

The Conservatives won the 2019 election decisively.  Received wisdom has it that it was won by demolishing a red wall in the north of England.  Let’s take a look at how each constituency swung, seat by seat.

Before the election, I posed some questions.  One of them was whether seats would continue to sort by Leave/Remain or whether they would now swing more uniformly.  It turns out that the answer is a bit more complicated than either of those answers.

Anyway, at the top of the thread you can see a map of every constituency in Great Britain mapped by swing.  It is interactive, so you can zoom in and out to look at detail. I hope it is pretty intuitive, but the code is as follows:

A: No swing (less than 1% in any direction)

B: Swing of under 5% to Labour

C: Swing of 5-10% to Labour

D: Swing of more than 10% to Labour

E: Swing of under 5% to the Conservatives

F: Swing of 5-10% to the Conservatives

G: Swing of more than 10% to the Conservatives

H: Swing of under 5% to the Lib Dems

I: Swing of 5-10% to the Lib Dems

J: Swing of more than 10% to the Lib Dems

K: Swing of under 5% to the SNP

L: Swing of 5-10% to the SNP

M: Swing of more than 10% to the SNP

N: Swing to the Greens

O: Swing to others

So, what can we see?  The first obvious thing is the Scottish border.  Last time I did this for the 2017 election, I didn’t need codes for the SNP: they hadn’t secured a favourable swing in a single seat.  This time round, there’s a swing to them pretty well everywhere in Scotland. They have successfully negotiated the dangerous bend that 2017 threw at them.

What is striking in England and Wales is just how uniform the picture is.  You can’t easily spot London on the map by colour, you’d struggle to work out where Manchester and Liverpool are or spot any major cities.  Many of the Remainiest constituencies swung to the Conservatives. Outside an area in the south of England shaped like a Sainsbury’s carrier bag, the country is a study in shades of blue.

The nationwide swing from Labour to the Conservatives was 4.5%.  That means that most of the constituencies shaded light blue actually underperformed the national swing. It would be wrong to talk about relative Conservative weakness – these are still substantial swings – but these are seats where Labour did relatively less badly.  A swathe of these seats is contiguous (with one very narrow gap at Erewash), running down the spine of England from the borders to central London. Middlest England is a little less receptive to the Conservative message than average.

The Conservatives ripped through Labour’s industrial heartlands. South Wales, Greater Manchester, Stoke and much of the West Midlands swung hard to the Conservatives.  But the Conservative message seems to have been most effective on the eastern side of the country, from the Thames estuary to the Tyne. The swings in south Yorkshire and around and in the North East are staggering.  Labour’s previous voting coalition was smashed to pieces.  

This is bad enough for Labour.  Just as bad for them is that big splash of orange in central southern England.  For those are the seats where the Lib Dems have established themselves as the Conservatives’ chief rivals.  Labour are simply irrelevant here now.

It’s not quite as good for the Lib Dems as it looks.  In many of these seats, even double digit swings leave them well behind the Conservatives.  It’s hard to work out how durable these performances were in some seats given that they had star candidates campaigning on a Remain ticket in a Brexit election.  They made no progress in south west England. And they completely flunked in every Labour/Lib Dem battleground. Nevertheless, they now have a coherent platform as the party for progressives in affluent rural England.  That’s something for them to build on.

For the moment, the Conservatives are dominant.  We do seem to be seeing a slow inversion, where the Conservatives’ previous strength in the south of England is becoming less important to them.  If and when the pendulum swings away from them again, they may start losing seats as unexpected as the Labour losses this time round. British politics is being reshaped.

see url Alastair Meeks


Labour must get over its myth of 2017 if it is to win again

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

A well-timed aberration is still an aberration

Keir Starmer looks well set to win Labour’s leadership election in April. After securing comfortable leads among MPs, CLPs and affiliate organisations in the previous rounds, YouGov reported this week that he holds a 22% lead over Rebecca Long-Bailey, and is more likely than not to win on the first round.

If he does, it will be in no small part down to the last set of rule changes which at the time were thought to favour the left. YouGov puts him on 53%; under the old rules, Jess Philips and Emily Thornberry would probably have taken enough to deny him a symbolic outright win.

Quite where he will lead Labour is a different matter. Starmer has been remarkably adept at remaining a blankish sheet of paper; appearing at once to be both a continuity and change candidate. While that duality is possible to pull off – you can maintain many of the policies while clothing the party in a quite different style – in reality there will come a point where the Corbyn legacy must be appeased or confronted.

Some of that is about dropping Corbyn’s more ridiculous policies: the free broadband or what might as well be a Kremlin-approved foreign policy. Some of it is also about renewing and refreshing both the personnel and the culture of Labour’s HQ. But before winning the future, first Starmer must win the past.

Order Tramadol Paypal Even now, many Labour activists will cite 2017 as something akin to a great victory. If it’s not the great recovery in the campaign (leave aside who dug the hole Corbyn climbed out of, and who supplied the opportunity for him to do so), then it’s that Labour won a tremendous number of votes – over 2m more than Labour won in any other election this century.

Such arguments have the tremendous advantage of being true. They might well ignore the important point that Labour still lost but for many Corbyn-supporters, that doesn’t matter: they show that his policies were popular or at least, that they can’t have been all that unpopular if they outpolled Blair, Brown and Miliband.

The trap here is that it’s easy to try to critique that analysis – to point out the other reasons Labour did relatively well and recovered during the campaign which didn’t happen because of Corbyn and sometimes despite him – but that to do so would be a mistake.

The right argument is that even if 2017 was a glorious defeat, it was also the one ray of false dawn in what was otherwise a four-year long record of failure, and that the consistency of the rest of the record represents the public’s genuine verdict on the out-going leader.

To remind ourselves of just how badly Corbyn did, here are a few of the low-lights:

  • A net loss in Westminster by-elections during 2015-20, including the first loss by an opposition party to the government in over 30 years
  • Finished third, losing to the Lib Dems, in the 2019 European Parliament elections
  • Lost a third of Labour’s MSPs in the 2016 Holyrood election, to finish behind the Tories
  • Lost around 400 councillors and 13 councils in net terms across the 2016-19 May rounds of local government elections
  • Worst ever net satisfaction rating by a Leader of the opposition
  • Failed to prevent Brexit, either at the referendum or afterwards
  • The smallest Labour PLP since 1935 (2019GE)

No opposition has ever endured such a lengthy and wide-ranging record of failure. Even the likes of Hague and Duncan Smith racked up decent local government gains and an EP election win. Put simply, the 2017 general election was not representative of some underlying truth; it was the aberration outside a truth that was all too obvious everywhere else.

And that is the point Labour needs to accept if it is going to move on and up. Certainly, there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater – but there is a need to throw out the bathwater.

Can Starmer do that? Can he change the culture and tone of the party, and perhaps the policy direction, while also staying true to his desire to unify Labour and not pick internal fights? I don’t think so; it’s one or the other – or if he plays it right, it’s one after the other, with a necessary fight and then unity around a new consensus. But to get there, first the Myth of 2017 must be debunked. David Herdson

p.s. Last week I tipped Bernie Sanders at 10/11 for the Democrat nomination and 7/2 for the White House. Those odds have barely shifted (he’s now 100/30 for the presidency but still 10/11 for the nomination). These odds are nuts and huge value.

Sanders has built up a big national lead, and an even bigger one in California with its huge number of delegates. Even if he loses badly in South Carolina (which is possible), I don’t see that doing anything other than trimming his Super Tuesday lead, not least because of so much early voting in the bag. I think he’s now about an 80% shot for the nomination and, given Trump’s typically self-centred and quite possibly grossly inadequate reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, should now be favourite in a head-to-head with Trump, the president’s skill at negative campaigning notwithstanding. The polls already give Sanders a healthy lead and while they gave Hillary a healthy lead much later in 2016, I think it’s different this time. It will be a lot harder to campaign negatively effectively if Trump’s own ratings tank, which is now entirely possible if the economy takes a downturn, never mind if he’s perceived to have seriously mismanaged the health crisis – both of which are now big risks.