News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Washed up in Brighton

I've been amazed at how little coverage the Lib Dem conference got this year. Normally, they manage to make quite a splash and punch above their weight for a week, leading to a mini-surge in their opinion poll rating. There are normally some miraculous gains in the local council by-elections along side that publicity. Yesterday, I was keen to see the results of this week's by-elections to test my belief that the Lib Dem conference had been their worst that I could remember. I thought it might just be by own bias, so I wanted to see the results in black and white. It turns out that I was right, the Lib Dems did slip back in the by-elections. Admitedly, the Conservatives didn't fare well generally either, with Labour still gaining from Blair's departure.

Today, YouGov's opinion poll has given further hard evidence. The Lib Dems' conference really has been a wash out in terms of publicity. The only things I can remember from the news were Nick Glegg saying that hard working families should pay more taxes, Lord Rodgers saying Ming's got to go and Ming putting in a performance worthy of IDS in his defence. Not exactly what the Lib Dems would have hoped for.

Of course, circumstances were against the Lib Dems to an extent. The Northern Rock fiasco dominated the news, pushing a conference held by a dwindling group of also-ran politicians led by a leader who's well past his sell by date down the news agenda. However, surely no-one had a more obvious platform from which to tackle the government's inept response to the crisis and hold them accountable for their past mistakes. A better organised conference could have gained positive publicity from the issue. Instead, the party is left looking out of touch and irrelevant. I can't believe that with a gathering of so many Lib Dems not one of them managed to hitch themselves onto the bandwagon - Kennedy and Ashdown would never have missed such an "opportunity!"

By election results:

Birmingham Brandwood: Lib Dems down 4.78% (fourth behind the BNP), helping Labour to gain the seat from the Conservatives

Nuneaton & Bedworth Abbey: Lib Dems lose to Labour, down 21.6%, behind the BNP

Southend-on-Sea Shoeburyness: Lib Dems down 9.99% to just 3.37% (66 votes), behind the BNP. Independent gained the seat from Conservative

Pembrokeshire Pembroke St Michael: Conservative gain from Lib Dem, down 28.87%

The Lib Dems either didn't contest the other seats, or had not previously contested them. Overall, it was a good night for Labour and a bad night for Conservatives, who lost three seats, offset slightly by the gain from the Lib Dems.

1 comment:

Iain Lindley said...

Hey Dan,

Hope you don't mind me veering off-topic a bit. My blog is now at following some hosting trouble - if you could update your blogroll I would be very grateful. I have added your link to my own blogroll which I am having to slowly rebuild!