Category Archives: Liberal Democrat

#NoTo55 Crassly Stupid Though this Attack on Democracy Is

The 55% rule on dissolution is the stitch up of the century but it strikes me that it is evident that the people who put this together and are now in government are, how should I put this, a bit stupid?  The relevant text in Con Lib deal goes as follows:

The parties agree to the establishment of five-year fixed-term parliaments. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government will put a binding motion before the House of Commons in the first days following this agreement stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, legislation will be brought forward to make provision for fixed term parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.

In a well argued piece by Louise Balldock it is clear that they the Tories are trying to make it impossible to oust them from Parliament even if the coalition falls apart, they alone could put up more than 45% of the votes, rejecting dissolution.

But this is the stupid bit.  They can’t rig votes on bills, so if the coalition does fall apart and there was a majority in favour of dissolution all they would have to do is vote through an amendment to this crass Act restoring the principle, up until now delivered through convention after the passing of a motion of no confidence, of a simple majority for dissolution.  Makes you despair.

Election 10 is Staying Put – Ready for the Second 2010 Election

Logic dictates that this blog should shuffle off or transform itself into something that covers the wider issues of politics and social media, but we live in interesting times.  I think that the chances are extremely high that 2010 will see a second UK general election.

If the LibDems do a deal with the Conservatives the backlash that they will face for ‘dancing with the devil’ with no promise on voter reform will inevitably destabilise the coalition, that’s if it gets off the ground.  A Conservative minority government wouldn’t last long and a Labour/LibDem/SNP/Plaid Cymru/DUP/Green coalition would be inherently weak.   

It’s hardly a cast iron solution but another plebiscite is looking increasingly likely.

Why Social Media May Decide the Outcome of the Election After All

Today the leadership, MPs and Federal Executive of the Liberal Democrat party are meeting to decide in which direction the party will leap, if indeed they opt for either.  Today’s discussions will decide who will be Prime Minister and which party or parties will form the government.   These are closed meeting but the social web is play a really significant part in the debate.

Yesterday Mark Pack, joint editor of Liberal Democrat Voice used the blog platform to open out the debate “On Saturday afternoon the party’s Federal Executive is meeting to discuss how the party should handle the Parliamentary situation… in order to ensure that people have a chance to send in a view that will be read before the meeting, we’ve agreed with the Party President Ros Scott a special email address which can be used to email in your views.”

There has been ardent discussion on twitter with the hashtag #DontDoItNick trending and a Facebook group has been created which the administrators claim is being monitored by the party hierarchy.  Currently it has 14,000 members and is growing at a rate of over 1000 an hour.  A Flashmob organised mainly via social networks has appeared outside of the Liberal Democrat HQ.  At the same time Sara Scarlett – Director of Development at Liberal Vision has been gauging support for a Con/Lib agreement. This could in the end turn out to be the social media election that many predicted.

Why a Coalition Would be Smart for Either Labour or The Conservatives

The combined Conservative and Labour share of the vote fell to less that two-thirds of the total ballots cast for the first time since 1918, the election that followed the great war.  That’s important because the two main parties have dominated politics for generations but their stranglehold is slipping and has been gradually eroded in successive elections since the middle of the last century.   In this election is was around 65.3%.  What that means is that even under the first past the post system hung parliaments are increasingly likely.

In order to form a majority administration Labour or Tory parties in the future will have to include the LibDems.  Wouldn’t it make sense to get in first and build the foundations of future coalitions.

Popular Hashtags in the 2010 UK General Election Campaign #GE2010

 

This general election has been the first in which Hastags have played a part, they are used in social networks and most commonly in twitter, as user-generated meta data.  Put simply they are a way of identifying and therefore following tweets that cover the election or an aspect of it .  Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular ones

#GE2010  –  This is the default tag for posts that relate to the 2010 general election.  There are others but this has emerged as the most popular because it is economical in its use of characters.

#GE10  –  A shorter form, but less used than the above.  Useful if you have run out of characters but likely to be seen by fewer people.

#Vote  –  Has been used both as a short generic hashtag for the election but was also popular in encouraging voters to register before the deadline.

#UKElection  –  More instantly recognisable than #GE2010 but not quite as popular because it eats up more characters.

#LeadersDebate –  One of the most interesting because it was part of a phenomenon that TV programme makers call “two-screen”, using a laptop or smart phone to comment on live television.  It mean that social networks rather than conventional media were the first to pass judgement on the performance of the part leaders during the TV debates.

#iagreewithnick –  Echoing Gordon Brown’s famous utterance during the first TV debate and used primarily to show support for the LibDem leader during the bounce his party received after the first debate.

#NickCleggsFault  – Widely employed to mock the print media’s ‘assassination’ attempts on Clegg.  It was a meme that lasted a few days as Clegg was accused of all manner of spoofed wrongdoings.

#paxo   – Similar to the #LeadersDebate but employed for the Paxman leader interviews.

#LibDemFlashMob  – The hashtag used to organise the Liberal Democrat gatherings in Trafalgar Square and other UK cities on Bank Holiday Monday.

#InVinceCable  – Used by a group of digital marketeers and PR people, and their fellow travellers, to promote Vince Cable as Chancellor in the event of a hung or balanced parliament.  (FD  Election10 endorses the objectives of the #InVinceCable campaign).

#Labourdoorstep – Used by Labour candidates and activists to emphasise the fact that they were taking the campaign directly to the voters.

I’m going to venture another one that might become popular in the next few days. #Hung10 anyone?

Labour and Conservative Decline Traces Back Over Half a Century

This morning I posted about the decline in the overall share of the two “major” parties and how this pointed to a certain hung parliament.

The post attracted a lot of traffic and several comments not least from one Ben Goldacre, journalist, doctor and author of the Bad Science blog.  I used ICM/Guardian data and plotted a graph showing the decline in votes over the last 20 years for the two major parties. He accused me of bullshitting and repeatedly called me a twat because I had omitted data from 1984-1990 that was available from the Guardian.  In fact the reason for starting from 1990 was because 20 years seemed like a good length of time to support the argument and there was a blip in the early eighties caused by the split of the SDP from Labour and their alliance with the Liberals.  I ought to point out that I wasn’t entirely blameless in the exchange in that I suggested he’d had a drink or two. Sorry Ben.

I am now posting using election data from the last 50 years and the latest poll data for 2010.  I think the picture is pretty clear and undistorted and supports the earlier hypothesis.  The combined support for the two main parties has been falling for 50 years.  If that continues and there is no proof that it will then two-party politics is on the way out.  The defining moment might just be on Thursday.

‘Hung’ Parliament Guaranteed by Labour and Conservative Decline

The TV debates aren’t responsible for the Hung Parliament that will follow Thursday’s election as surely as night follows day.  A quarter of a century of decline in the combined Labour and Conservative share of the vote means that the two party stranglehold over UK politics is on its way out and Clegg’s TV performance was just a tipping point.

One of the wonderful things about the web is the accessibility of data.  The Guardian has published all of the Guardian/ICM polling data since 1984. At Election 10 we took the combined Labour and Conservative share for every poll and created the graph above.  In 1990 the two parties were claiming almost 90% of the vote between them this has shrunk to a little over 60% and it has been a steady consistent decline.   A continuation of this would mean a government taking power that was opposed by around 65% of the population.  Even our bizarre electoral system can’t sustain this.

To predict the future we must delve into the past.  In this case the past is telling us that the party is very nearly over for the reds and blues and the voters will be calling time this Thursday.

How the 2010 Election Gap has Narrowed in Red, Blue and Gold


There’s a brilliant web site, independently run by YouGov political analyst Anthony Wells, called the UK Polling Report.  Along with lots of other election data is brings together all the opinion polls every day.  It also has data going back to the last election.  There is perhaps no better representation of what has happened in the last couple of weeks than this graph taken from the site.  Between 2005 and 2008 the Labour and Conservative shares were much of a muchness, whilst the last two years saw unbroken Tory dominance, albeit with a steady narrowing of the gap since last summer. Then wham bam thank you mam the three parties collided after the first TV debate and that look very much like where we’ll be in just over a week’s time.

Was YouGov’s Flawed Leaders’ Debate Poll Deliberate or Merely Inept?

Since we posted on the Leaders’ Debate Poll conducted by YouGov on Thursday there has been an extraordinary revelation.  YouGov says their internet poll on the TV debate was conducted between 9.27pm and 9.31pm, so the majority of responses were taken during the debate not after it.

This is critical because it means the poll was taken during the summing up speeches.  The speeches took place at the following times:

Brown          9:26:30  – 9:28:05

Cameron     9:28:08  – 9:29:17

Clegg            9:29:18  – 9:30:47‬

That means that over half of the polling would have been done before Clegg summed up in the debate.   It also meant that up to half the responses were taken whilst Cameron was summing up and had sole command of the floor and the cameras.  That’s a serious flaw in the process and is either incompetence or intentional distortion.  You decide which you think it was.