Friday, February 10, 2006

Well I never...!


Question: does our win in the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election with a 16% swing:

  • Indicate the recent scandals haven't damaged the party as much as the Westminster bubble thinks?
  • Indicate David Cameron hasn't made much headway despite what the media are claiming? (how much progress do those 'Tories in lead' polls show the Tories really making? Is it as much as they should?)
  • Result from local arguments, e.g. the proposed rises in Forth road bridge tolls?
  • Indicate local conditions, i.e. this is a seat where the Tories could never make any progress so discontent with Labour will translate either into a Lib Dem vote as a 'lesser of several evils' OR a SNP vote?
  • Indicate that the SNP aren't credible in this seat or the SNP are in decline in Scotland (I know nothing much about Scottish politics)?

11 Comments:

  • At 8:45 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This means that what you need is some more scandals and crisis.

     
  • At 12:33 pm , Anonymous Peter Bancroft said...

    I would propose that it suggests that the Scottish Lib Dems actions as part of the Holyrood govt has made them popular.

     
  • At 12:55 pm , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    Maybe... Sorry for not 'yaying'. I don't 'yay' without analysis/evidence. Comes of scientific training...

     
  • At 1:27 pm , Blogger Chris Palmer said...

    The Lib Dems won the by-election because they used the idea of "we're the only party that can beat Labour." The voters of Dunfermline and West Fife had become fed up with the Labour party and used their vote as a protest vote. Admittedly, moving between Labour and Lib Dems is not difficult. They are both socialist, wealth redistrubutionalist partys (as the Scottish Lib Dem/Labour coalition and Question Time last night amply prove,) and therefore the same type of voter can move between the two with little worry.

    Scotland has become a land of victim-culture, where the party that offers to give the voter the most money wins. In the past, Labour and Gordon Brown had stolen from English to give to the Scottish, and the Lib Dems are not proposing anything different. The voting was in essence, tactical, to get rid of Labour in that seat and provide more of the same but with a different face.

    The Lib Dems can say whatever they want and tend to, because they know they will never be in power to implement what they say - and when they are given even a little sniff of power in local councils or district councils, they are soon voted out when voters suddenly realise how bad they really are at governing.

    What is however, most worrying, is when you hear people saying that the Lib Dems are trustworthy and positive. Both are untrue. Mark Oaten, Charles Kennedy and Simon Hughes (among others) have proven that members of the party are lying and deceitful, and the Liberal Democrats have the most negative campaign literature of all the partys (even Labour, and that’s saying something.) They campaign on fear and prejudice and the sooner the public realise this, the better.

     
  • At 1:59 pm , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    The Lib Dems won the by-election because they used the idea of "we're the only party that can beat Labour." The voters of Dunfermline and West Fife had become fed up with the Labour party and used their vote as a protest vote.

    Yeah, but the Lib Dems do that a lot, esp. if they're in second place or the Tory vote is progressively falling (as in Bristol West). They don't always win as a result...

    There are more ways of protesting in Scotland than voting Lib Dem. They could have voted SNP or Tory.

    They are both socialist, wealth redistrubutionalist partys

    I challenge you to find an example of where on this blog (written by two Lib Dems) we have advocated either socialism or wealth redistribution in the 'tax the rich until their pips squeak' mould.

    There are ideological differences between Lib Dems and Tories but Lib Dems being socialists isn't it.

    The Lib Dems can say whatever they want and tend to

    Such as?

    The Lib Dems attempt to form their policies out of a coherent ideology (they don't always succeed but it's usually chewed over in party conference debates... even if the Libs do end up in favour of banning smacking or something).

    They also have more economics PhDs in their Treasury team than either of the other 2 parties (or we have more economics PhDs somewhere anyhow...). The Lib Dems ideas are often nicked by the other two parties.

    Hence, that's a pretty unsubstantiated, entirely partisan charge to make.

    and when they are given even a little sniff of power in local councils or district councils, they are soon voted out when voters suddenly realise how bad they really are at governing.

    E.g.? Oh come on... Don't the Libs have the second most council seats in the country... The Lib Dems are renowned for building up support in councils and using it to launch MPs into Westminster. The Lib Dems may have a reputation for many things, but poor local campaigning/constituency work isn't one of them.

    What is however, most worrying, is when you hear people saying that the Lib Dems are trustworthy and positive.

    The Lib Dems are no less or more trustworthy and positive than the other parties IMO. There are good and bad people in all political parties.

    I think the Lib Dems like to believe they're on a moral high ground but I don't believe any political group is. Which is why I'm so in favour of the dissipation of power and accountability.

     
  • At 3:39 pm , Blogger Chris Palmer said...

    Yeah, but the Lib Dems do that a lot, esp. if they're in second place or the Tory vote is progressively falling (as in Bristol West). They don't always win as a result...”

    True, they don’t always win, but such a deceptive tactic doesn’t do them any harm. Effectively by doing so, the Lib Dems are asking voters to betray their convictions and it is an entirely negative tactic, since you are voting against something rather than for something.

    There are more ways of protesting in Scotland than voting Lib Dem. They could have voted SNP or Tory.”

    But it would have required far more people to vote SNP or Conservative to topple Labour. The easiest choice was Lib Dem, as most people know that they only people who vote LD are the Lib Dem members, protest voters and people who know nothing about politics.

    I challenge you to find an example of where on this blog (written by two Lib Dems) we have advocated either socialism or wealth redistribution in the 'tax the rich until their pips squeak' mould.”

    Why just this blog? Two members/supporters are hardly representative of the Lib Dem party as a whole. Did you watch Question Time last night? Chris Huhne and Simon Hughes were both in favour of wealth redistribution, and to an extent, so was Ming the Merciless. The Lib Dems are socialist (the merge with the SNP did have its effects.) They want to redistribute wealth from the richest to the poorest. They just give other names though, like “fairer taxation,” etc.

    There are ideological differences between Lib Dems and Tories but Lib Dems being socialists isn't it.”

    Oh yes it is.

    The Lib Dems can say whatever they want and tend to. Such as?

    In England, the Lib Dems are against University Student Top-up fees, yet in Scotland Lib Dems have proposed legislation that will allow their introduction. The Lib Dems (well Chris Huhne) propose a complete pull out of Iraq, immediately (even Ming the Merciless can see that that isn’t a realistic proposal.) When they knock on doors in constituencies, they will say one thing to one person and the opposite thing to another. Where do you think the “all things to all men” description comes from?

    The Lib Dems attempt to form their policies out of a coherent ideology (they don't always succeed but it's usually chewed over in party conference debates... even if the Libs do end up in favour of banning smacking or something.)

    Ah yes, it’s the thought that counts, eh. How ridiculous, they claim to be “liberal” and then ban smacking. Brilliant.

    E.g.? Oh come on... Don't the Libs have the second most council seats in the country... The Lib Dems are renowned for building up support in councils and using it to launch MPs into Westminster. The Lib Dems may have a reputation for many things, but poor local campaigning/constituency work isn't one of them.”

    No, the Lib Dems don’t have the second most council seats in Britain. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2005/locals/html/region_99999.stm You raise a good point about Lib Dems using the local council to get a local MP in. It does happen, and it can often be a contributing factor as to why the Lib Dems lose control of district on county wards – because, for one the electorate perceive the Lib Dems to be using them, rather than helping the locals. Other reasons include very high council tax rises, poor public service delivery and ridiculous traffic and social schemes.

     
  • At 8:18 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    Effectively by doing so, the Lib Dems are asking voters to betray their convictions and it is an entirely negative tactic, since you are voting against something rather than for something.

    Unfortunately, that's the nature of the FPTP system. It's always been the 'rule' of national politics that people vote out governments rather than voting in the opposition (although recently this has broken down because people stay home rather than voting for the opposition).

    If you only have two effective choices then you are always going to be voting in the negative. I don't like this system either. Are you in favour of STV elections?

    But it would have required far more people to vote SNP or Conservative to topple Labour.

    All the parties were way behind Labour and the SNP and Lib Dems were almost neck-and-neck.

    Rachel Squire, Labour 20,111
    David Herbert, Lib Dem 8,549
    Douglas Chapman, SNP 8,026
    Roger Smillie, Con 4,376

    The easiest choice was Lib Dem, as most people know that the only people who vote LD are the Lib Dem members, protest voters and people who know nothing about politics.

    Not really. I think you insult the ~ 8,200,000 people who voted Lib Dem at the last election (63% turnout, 59 million people in UK, 22% of the turnout Lib Dem). I believe the Lib Dems have, let's round to 100,000 members (high estimate) so that leaves another 7,100,000 people who are either protesting or know nothing about politics IYO...

    You'll find a lot of students tend to vote Lib Dem (e.g. Cambridge, Bristol West which were won through the student vote and Oxford West and Abingdon which is the university constituency) because of their policies on the environment and tuition fees, for example.

    Anyway, if Lib Dem policies weren't a vote winner (taken apart from how many people don't vote for the Lib Dems since they think they can't win), why is Cameron so keen to convince everyone that he's a Liberal and making Lib Dem-sounding noises on the environment, etc.

    Did you watch Question Time last night? Chris Huhne and Simon Hughes were both in favour of wealth redistribution, and to an extent, so was Ming the Merciless.

    Chris - you're having a 'Ming moment' here unless you'd like to disown Oliver Letwin. He's being more redistributionalist here than the Lib MPs were on QT.

    like “fairer taxation,” etc.

    Fair taxation can mean 'non-regressive' taxation which can be different from 'redistributive'. At the moment, the poor pay a higher percentage of their wages in tax. Fair taxation can mean 'equal percentage' not 'higher percentage for the rich'.

    Lib Dems being socialists isn't it.”
    Oh yes it is.

    Oh no it isn't... I've got a 'cat' on this blog so all I need now is Widow Twanky! :D

    Conservatism AFAIK is a belief that traditional institutions/structures, etc. are there for a reason and should be left in place unless there is a good reason to remove them.

    This is why Margaret Thatcher was IMO a socially conservative, anarcho-capitalist (weird combination) NOT a conservative.

    In England, the Lib Dems are against University Student Top-up fees, yet in Scotland Lib Dems have proposed legislation that will allow their introduction.

    I'll have to ask someone else about that and get back to you. Anyone want to jump in here? I'm not up on Scottish politics except that the Libs are in coalition with Labour which I suspect means some compromises.

    a realistic proposal.) When they knock on doors in constituencies, they will say one thing to one person and the opposite thing to another. Where do you think the “all things to all men” description comes from?

    That old chestnut. My understanding is that the confusion arises because:

    a) The Lib Dems oppose some things in general but believe they may be the best choice for a particular area. Since the Libs believe in devolved power then saying "we don't like incinerators but if you have no other reasonable choice in your area then we'll allow you, a local council to make your own call on this" seems common sense. This doesn't make sense to parties that don't truly 'get' decentralisation.

    b)The Lib Dems tailor their election material to particular areas. They're not *lying* because this would require pretending the Libs had different policies in different areas. This is common sense - it would be very stupid if election material in Oxford focused on pensions and in Eastbourne focused on tuition fees.

    Ah yes, it’s the thought that counts, eh. How ridiculous, they claim to be “liberal” and then ban smacking. Brilliant.

    I agree. It's a stupid policy. I can think up 3 or 4 policies the Lib Dems have that are completely illiberal and brain-dead IMO. But this is IMO - some people believe they can make entirely 'liberal' arguments for them. I just happen to disagree. The fact I can only think up 3 or 4 suggests that it's not just 'thought' - the Lib Dems are generally 'liberal'.

    No, the Lib Dems don’t have the second most council seats in Britain. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2005/locals/html/region_99999.stm

    I thought that was just 2005 - sorry. Since there are more than 600 MPs, I'm amazed there are only 3000 councillors. Again, something I'd need to check.

    You raise a good point about Lib Dems using the local council to get a local MP in. It does happen, and it can often be a contributing factor as to why the Lib Dems lose control of district on county wards – because, for one the electorate perceive the Lib Dems to be using them, rather than helping the locals.

    So ambition and delivery are mutually exclusive then?

    Other reasons include very high council tax rises, poor public service delivery and ridiculous traffic and social schemes.

    Ridiculous social schemes like?

     
  • At 8:20 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    I've been told:

    The Scottish Parliment passed an order which gives the Executive power to raise fees to English levels on a range of courses (medicine and medicine related) where there is evidence that places would be filled by people who would not be likly to stay and work for the NHS in Scotland.

    Which is subtly (but importantly different) from what you are claiming.

     
  • At 11:13 am , Blogger Chris Palmer said...

    Unfortunately, that's the nature of the FPTP system. It's always been the 'rule' of national politics that people vote out governments rather than voting in the opposition (although recently this has broken down because people stay home rather than voting for the opposition).”

    Only the cynical say that… like the Labour party for example.

    Are you in favour of STV elections?

    No, I am in favour of FPTP. It provides strong Governments who can carry out their election manifesto pledges. Proportional representation (for example) creates messy coalitions that bicker and fight, that don’t help anyone, and you get compromise that nobody really wants. Curiously, I don’t want STV because I know exactly what it entails and it wouldn’t benefit the Conservative party.

    Not really. I think you insult the ~ 8,200,000 people who voted Lib Dem at the last election (63% turnout, 59 million people in UK, 22% of the turnout Lib Dem). I believe the Lib Dems have, let's round to 100,000 members (high estimate) so that leaves another 7,100,000 people who are either protesting or know nothing about politics IYO...”

    Sorry, but I really do think you need to go back and do some reading on your facts and figures, because you seem to be plucking them out the air at the moment. The Lib Dems didn’t get anywhere close to 8.2m votes. The Conservative party only received 8.7m. The Lib Dems received 5.9m. The Lib Dems have about 73,000 members.

    Yes, the electorate are morons. It’s incredible that some of them just don’t realise what is good for them and vote for it. Ask you average Lib Dem voter if they realise what they’re voting for, they often won’t have a clue that the party is for example, pro-European.

    You'll find a lot of students tend to vote Lib Dem (e.g. Cambridge, Bristol West which were won through the student vote and Oxford West and Abingdon which is the university constituency) because of their policies on the environment and tuition fees, for example.”

    Ah yes, the tuition fees. The Lib Dems will never be in power to implement such a policy, so why vote for them? It’s a protest vote! As for the environment – that’s a typical example of dim student voters. They haven’t lived in the real world, they haven’t earned their way in life, they haven’t been taxed. They care about issues such as the environment, which a lot of them seem to think they know a great deal about, but actually don’t. Students are the typical example of voters who don’t really know anything about politics. When they get into the real world (as has been proven in the past,) they have to take stock of their situation, and they will come to realise that voting “liberal” isn’t such a brilliant idea after all.

    Anyway, if Lib Dem policies weren't a vote winner (taken apart from how many people don't vote for the Lib Dems since they think they can't win), why is Cameron so keen to convince everyone that he's a Liberal and making Lib Dem-sounding noises on the environment, etc.”

    If I were David Cameron, I might be able to tell you – but I’m not. I would guess that he is doing it because, he can’t move to the right any more, because doing so would gain no more votes (we already have the right votes.) The Labour party are unpopular and, although he will try to gain the vote of Labour voters, it’s easier to try and take Lib Dem voters. Lib Dems and Conservative voters are not really that different in many respects – which is why most of the Lib Dem seats are vs Conservatives rather than Labour. Lib Dem voters and Conservatives have the same sorts of financial background, the same sort of homes, cars, where they live etc. He is making noises to attract the voters. If he were really a “liberal,” he would have joined the Lib Dem party.

    Also, I would guess that in part it is due to Lib Dem image, ie. the Lib Dems seem to have successfully convinced many voters that they are nice (but dim) people. Voters now associate niceness with “liberal” – which in part is due to the fact that the Lib Dems haven’t been around long enough for the electorate to find out what they’re really like. In contrast, the enemies of the Conservative party have always portrayed us as “pure evil” and David Cameron is therefore (I expect) trying to steal some of that “liberal image niceness” to become more attractive to your floating voter.

    Chris - you're having a 'Ming moment' here unless you'd like to disown Oliver Letwin. He's being more redistributionalist here than the Lib MPs were on QT.”

    But you don’t deny that Chris Huhne and the other two candidates are in favour of redistribution of wealth – as the program clearly proves. As for Mr Letwin, every party has its idiots and I think the Conservative party have Oliver Letwin. That’s just my opinion. He does say some odd things sometimes – but I don’t think some of his utterings are actually representative of Conservative party policy. I don’t think Letwin was (even in his moments of madness) being even more of a redistributionalist than the Lib Dem candidates. He certainly has not mentioned a 50% tax on high income earners.

    That old chestnut. My understanding is that the confusion arises because:

    a) The Lib Dems oppose some things in general but believe they may be the best choice for a particular area. Since the Libs believe in devolved power then saying "we don't like incinerators but if you have no other reasonable choice in your area then we'll allow you, a local council to make your own call on this" seems common sense. This doesn't make sense to parties that don't truly 'get' decentralisation.

    b)The Lib Dems tailor their election material to particular areas. They're not *lying* because this would require pretending the Libs had different policies in different areas. This is common sense - it would be very stupid if election material in Oxford focused on pensions and in Eastbourne focused on tuition fees
    .”

    That was not actually what I was referring to. I was referring in fact to the Lib Dems in the same constituency, in the same street even, that will say for example, we agree with incineration to one household, but then to the known eco-friendly people next door, “oh no, incineration is awful, we would never support it, vote for us.”

    Ridiculous social schemes like?

    In many ways, the Lib Dems are much like Labour. They don’t want people to prosper or rise up the social ladder (in certain areas) for fear of losing their vote. The Labour party are the worse offenders for this sort of thing. They trap people in a cycle of bad schooling, jobs etc, meaning that those people continue to vote Labour, rather than becoming socially mobile, moving up the social ladder and possibly voting Conservative.

    One particularly ridiculous Lib Dem social scheme that comes to mind is over the issue of illegal gypsy camps. Conservatives have been trying to get the gypsies off the land, because the site is illegal, and yet the Lib Dems are saying that they should be allowed to stay, despite it being illegal. Apposing for the sake of it.

    Which is subtly (but importantly different) from what you are claiming.”

    At the end of the day, they’re still top-up fees. Typical Lib Dems by saying they’re against something, and then the next minute they’re introducing it because it suits them, or they suddenly discover that what they’re saying is easy to say, but in reality difficult or impossible to follow through.

    Let me ask you something. You seem to be an intelligent enough person, though you make the odd factual mistake (I don’t profess to know everything myself, and I don’t profess to be correct all the time,) but why do you not support the Conservative party? What do the Conservative party say that means that you would not support them or vote for them?

     
  • At 4:05 pm , Blogger Paul Leake said...

    2005 - aren't those figures just for County Council elections? Which traditionally the Lib Dems don't do brilliantly in when held on the same day as a General Election?

    gwydir.demon.co.uk gives England, Scotland & Wales totals for all councillors of

    Con 8182
    Labour 6512
    LibDem 4752
    SNP 187
    PC 183
    Others 2211

    With it all being much closer if you take into account the relative sizes of wards / ratio of electors to councillors.

    The Lib Dems are second (ahead of the Tories) in English metropolitan districts) and second (ahead of Labour) in English non-met districts / shire districts (ie 'district councillors').

     
  • At 4:07 pm , Blogger Paul Leake said...

    Chris - redistribution isn't necessarily socialist. I think most Lib Dems would advocate that at least some redistribution is needed, not as a goal in itself, but because without it the poorest will be 'enslaved by poverty' and thus unable to enjoy liberty themselves.

     

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