Monday, November 26, 2007

What are the Lib Dems going to do about this?

Torbay used to be referred to as 'Torybay' - for as long as anyone could remember it had been a Conservative stronghold. But by the late 1980's, with the poll tax bringing splits locally, and falling Tory popularity nationally the newly-formed Liberal Democrats began to make inroads. By 1990 they had wrestled control of the council from the Tories and by 1997 they won the ultimate prize, the parliamentary seat.

But since their win in the 2003 local elections the direction of travel has been all one way. The Lib Dems lost a long list of by elections in 2004 and 2005, at the General Election their MP scraped in with 5,000 fewer votes, they lost the mayoral referendum, lost the mayoral vote and then comprehensively lost control of the council in May this year.

But having got so used to winning they aren't coping at all well with losing; in fact they don't seem to know what to do at all.

Simply opposing every plan that the Tory mayor comes up with is destined to go nowhere, it was that strategy that more than any other convinced the voters that they had had enough of 'the councillors who like to say no" last May.

And relying on personality politics, either by promoting the personality of their own candidate(s) or denigrating the character of their opponents is also the wrong strategy to employ at a time when the public are asking What? and How? rather than Who? or Why?

People always ask me if I am confident of winning the seat next time. I am, and this is why.

I detect no signs of any changes to the local Lib Dems; their strategy, their policies and above all their people remain the same; stuck in an anti-Thatcher, anti-poll tax 'time warp'.

Putting up the same people arguing the same case that the public have already said 'no' to is a formula for the same result.


Stephen B said...

Interesting analysis Marcus. I'm not sure I wholeheartedley agree. I think the Lib Dems are going through their their own soul searching to re-establish exactly what they are about. The Labour party went through the process, ditched the CND'ers and hey presto New Labour! Your party is in the final throws of reinventing itself - cue Tree hugging new logo and Hug a hoodie Cameron.

After the end of Paddy "Pantsdown" Ashdown, the demise of Charles "Mines a double" Kennedy and recently Ming "Senior Athlete" Campbell they have two versions within the accepted Blair mould. Typical Lib-Dems really - the Less Leftie Clegg and the more Leftie Huhne.

Either way it means that all those middle lane drives of the motorway are going to have to make a decision. Simply put we aren't on a motorway in UK politics, we're on a dual carriageway and the Lib-Dems have broken down again on the Hard Shoulder.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong Marcus about the local lib dems - you say nothing and nobody has changed but they have.

All those talented people who get the lib dems where they were have given up and gone home.

Derek Prior said...

I am an occasional reader of your blog who has thus far managed to resist the temptation to post.

As a retired teacher I can tell you that after the Thatcher years of running down our education service there is nothing you could ever do that would convince me to vote for you or your party. But I worry that you are right about the state of your opponents in Torbay and I am appalled by the thought that you may yet regain power through the ineptitude and stupidity of the left.

I find myself ruled out from voting Labour because of their war, their attacks on our civil liberties and especially their odious victimisation of Muslims. In Torbay I have traditionally supported the Liberal Democrats as being the best route to supporting the things I believe.

However I have become seriously disillusioned by the relentless focus of their very personalised negative campaigning against the Mayor; a man who I think is at least attempting to do some very important things for Torbay, more than can be said for previous administrations of both colours.

Adrian Sanders has worked hard to promote the values I share, but he is not receiving wise council from his colleagues on the party locally and has allowed himself to become sidelined in a petty personal vendetta against his former political rival, now the Mayor.

As usual your one-sided crowing does little to promote any reason to support you, but on this one issue at least I fear you do have a point.

Barrie Wood said...

I'm still waiting for Marcus to answer straight-forward questions about Tory European policy. His woeful response via the HE letters page was to attack the Lib Dems.

He is fast becoming a 'one trick' pony. We know he doesn't like the Lib Dems, but that in itself is absolutely no reason to vote FOR him. Marcus fails to provide ANY reasons to vote positively FOR him and his party.

Another day and another 'tilt' at the Lib Dems Marcus. This too, after saying you were going to refrain from negative campaigning.

As you say Derek, Adrian Sanders MP does promote many of the things you believe in, so why would you want to vote elsewhere ? Further, both LD leadership contenders Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne would espouse the causes you support far better than any Tory would. Wait and see !

What has Marcus ever said or done for you to believe his right-wing party would be a better option ? Keep the faith Derek !

Anonymous said...

Barrie, why SHOULD Marcus refrain from negative campaigning just for you? It seems to me you (and many of your Libdem colleagues) spend your entire time being spiteful and unpleasant towards others. I cannot believe that self-righteous drivel you've just posted!

Marcus Wood said...

"Another day and another 'tilt' at the Lib Dems Marcus" - this is a bit rich coming from you Barry, I can't think of a letter you have ever written to the Herald that hasn't been having a go at myself; Mr Cameron, or both of us.

Not that I mind, you are fully entitled to disagree with me - as am I with you.

If you want to know my view on anything you only ever have to read my blog, I pull no punches and say it like it is.

You know my views on the EU, we have debated on here many times before.

Barrie Wood said...

The difference is Marcus you are standing for election to Westminster I am not. Therefore, it is important you make clear the Tory policy towards the EU and in the most popular local media outlet - the Herald Express, rather than on this blog, so the voters can make real judgments.

As for negative letters, I clearly remember in a recent letter on the EU arguing strongly in favour of the Lib Dem position of a EU referendum and, to be fair, also commenting that the Labour position of parliamentarians deciding was a coherent, but potentially a politically unwise one. All I asked for TWICE was to seek clarification of the Tory position on a number of matters relating to Tory policy.

As for the polls If you take the last eleven polls and in each case compare support for a party with its support in the previous poll from the same polling company (but treating MORI’s face-to-face and phone polls as two separate series as that’s not really comparing like with like), this is what you find:

The Liberal Democrats have been up in eight, unchanged in one, down in one (and one unknown).The Conservatives have been up in four, down in six and unchanged in two
Labour have been down in nine and unchanged in two.

In other words, the lead the Tories have been opening up over Labour is far more to do with the Liberal Democrats rising in support than to do with the Conservatives’ own popularity.

Lots to play for still ;-)