Sunday, December 2, 2012

Are The Liberal Democrats Dead in the Water?

Below is the results of the Liberal Democrats recent showing in 6 by-elections. If they are not worried then they do not yet still fully understand the situation they are in, or the degree of hostility that actually exists towards them amongst the electorate in general, but especially the people who once supported them.

Rotherham - By election - November 29th 2012 Despite the best efforts of the right wing press to try and conjure up a win for UKIP in Rotherham, Labour held it comfortably and their share of share of the vote marginally increased from 44% to 46.3% after defending against a politically motivated attack from UKIP who used three innocent children as political footballs. A small swing to Labour of 1.7%
The Liberal Democrats came in 8th behind UKIP; BNP; Respect; Conservatives, EDL and an Independent with a 2.1% share of the vote and lost their deposit.
The Tories came in 5th behind UKIP and the BNP!
In the 2010 general election the Conservatives were 2nd and Liberal Democrats were 3rd, this 2012 by-election they were 5th and 8th respectively.
The Liberal Democrats lost 5 places and 13.3% of their vote.
Liberal democrats lost their deposit.
Swing 1.7% to Labour

Middlesborough - By election - November 29th 2012 Labour won comfortably and increased its share of the vote to 60.5%. The Liberal Democrats came in third with a 9.9% share of the vote.
In the 2010 general election the Lib Dems were second with a 19.9% share of the vote and a swing of 6.4% to the Lib Dems from Labour.
This by-election saw that swing reversed from LD to Labour of around 14.1%.
The Tories slipped to 4th from 3rd and lost around 12.7% of their votes.
Between the 2010 general election and this 2012 November by-election the Liberal Democrats have lost 10% of their vote and slipped to 3rd place.
Swing of 14.1% from Lib Dems to Labour

Croydon North - By election - November 29th 2012 Labour won comfortably and again increased its share of the vote to 64.7%. The Liberal Democrats came in 4th behind the Tories  UKIP 2nd and BNP 3rd with a 3.5% share of the vote.
In the 2010 general election the Liberal Democrats were 3rd with a 14% share of the vote and have lost 11.5% of their vote since the general election.
Liberal Democrats Lost their deposit.
Swing 11.1% from Conservative to Labour.

Corby - By-election -November 15th 2012 Labour gained this seat from the Tories overturning a Tory majority of 1,951 into a Labour majority of 7,991.
Liberal Democrats came 4th
In the 2010 general election the Liberal Democrats were 3rd with 14.3% of the vote.
Lib Dems have lost a place are now 4th behind UKIP and lost 9.48% of the vote, their share of the vote is now just 4.96%.
Liberal Democrats lost their deposit.
Swing from Conservatives to Labour of 10%

Manchester Central - By-election -November 15th 2012  Labour comfortably held this seat and increased their share of the vote from 52.7% in the 2010 general election to 69.1% in this 2012 by-election.
The Liberal Democrats were 2nd with just 9.4% of the vote.
The Conservatives came 3rd
UKIP came 4th
The Conservatives lost their deposit.
Lib Dems lost 17.2% of their vote.
Swing from Lib Dems to Labour of approx 17%

Cardiff South & Penarth- By-election -November 15th 2012  Labour comfortably held this seat and increased their share of the vote from 38% to 47.3%
The Liberal Democrats were 3rd in the 2010 general election with 22.3% of the vote
In the 2012 by-election Lib Dems were 3rd and had 10.82% share of the vote.
2012 - Lib Dems lost 11.44% of their vote
Swing from Conservatives to Labour of approx 8.39%

The results above are taken from the 6 most recent by-elections and the Liberal Democrats have lost 4 out of 6 deposits. Which ever way the Liberal Democrats want to view these results they are pointing to huge losses at the general election. Liberal Democrat supporters and MPs are saying well these are mid term elections and people vote differently in general elections etc.
I do not remember Lib Dems putting up the same arguments when they were pulling off stunning by-election victories from both Labour and the Tories.
I also don't remember those seats returning to Labour or the Tories in a general election either.
The Liberal Democrats put up exactly the same argument when they were almost annihilated in last May's elections and said their defeat would not translate to parliamentary seats - and yet, quite plainly, they have!

Some voters may not vote the same way come a general election, however, to overturn these seats it will take a huge swing away from Labour and that doesn't look like it will happen any time soon. Just look at the swings to labor that will have to be overcome for that to even be a possibility.

Without doubt these results are a bitter blow to the Liberal Democrats and they are also showing that the Tories are not in a too healthy position too.

As all the parties must now be surely turning their sights towards the next general election in 2015 (if this government last that long). The Tories have hired Boris Johnson's right wing election adviser, Lynton Crosby, thus revealing that the Tories look to be once again lurching to the right, probably because they are scared witless by UKIPs climb in popularity and the opinion polls. Crosby is know for his attacks against immigrants and is also reported to have told Johnson to concentrate on traditional Tory voters instead of "fucking Muslims". This may have worked once with Johnson in the Mayoral campaign in London, but I doubt it would go down with the rest of the country that well.

What the Liberal democrats fail to grasp is that they are being punished for supporting the most radical right wing government in the history of this country and keeping them in power. People will not forget the Lib Dems voting with the government to destroy and privatise our NHS and state education system. They will not forget their broken promises over tuition fees and Educational Maintenance Allowance. The electorate and Liberal Democrat supporters feel utterly betrayed by Nick Clegg and this will never allow this to be forgotten.

Post 2010 election when talks were going on between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats I couldn't see that there could ever be a deal between the two parties, "diametrically opposed", I thought. I can't see it happening, it would be hugely damaging to the Liberal Democrats, but to my utter amazement Clegg, Cable, Alexander, Hughes etc took the party into coalition with the Tories, I knew it would all end in tears, but the Lib Dems didn't, they were bedazzled with the promise of power and being in government and in doing so starting writing the end for the Lib Dems then.  What I didn't know then, was that Clegg and other leading Liberal Democrats had already held talks with the Tories about forming a coalition government in the event of a hung parliament, so their minds were already made up, it was just dotting the i's and crossing the t's! The Lib Dems had actually gone into the 2010 general election under a false premise and they had deliberately misled their supporters. Which makes Clegg an even bigger liar when he said that he was also in talks with Gordon Brown in that interim period after the general election.Clegg was never serious he was using Brown and Labour as political leverage! That was the very first sign that Clegg was a liar and that his show on the leadership debates was just that - show, not real, all talk and no substance and a load of utter lies.

Before the 2010 general election Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable agreed with Labour that Cameron and Osborne's plans risked making things worse, he did a 180 degree about turn and suddenly agreed with the Tories when he went into government with them, instead of admitting he and Labour were right the first time, he still keeps backing the same old failing policies. It is this kind of attitude that is losing the Lib Dems support and voters are turning away from them in droves. The Liberal Democrats have done nothing for anyone, least of all their loyal supporters.

Clegg himself seems to be in cloud cuckoo land most days and denial the rest of the time. At their autumn conference Clegg announced with a fanfare that he had persuaded former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown to come out of retirement to head their election campaigns, if this is his work I think they had better put him back - quick!

 I've warned repeatedly that the Liberal Democrats were painting themselves into a corner and I gave reasons why I thought that walking away from this coalition is the only answer. If they had done so a year ago, by now they would probably be regaining some of their lost support, however, idiots like Clegg insisted they were staying for the "good of the country" - baloney, for the good of Nick Clegg! Clegg and the Liberal Democrat MPs other excuse was that the country voted for a coalition so they had to stay. Baloney! Nowhere, not on one single ballot paper in this country was there a box to mark which offered a coalition candidate and a coalition government as a choice.

Now there really is only one choice on the table, if the Liberal Democrats do not walk away from this government now, then their vote will implode at the next general election, not only are all the warning signs there, but they have been joined by flashing warning lights and sirens. If they walked away now at least the Lib Dems would probably retain some semblance of a party, if they wait any longer, they will not have enough MPs to even call themselves a party.

The electorate feel thoroughly betrayed by the Liberal Democrats over so many issues, not least university fees, the NHS, education, welfare etc, if they carry on ignoring what the electorate are now telling them loud and clear, then yes the Liberal Democrats really are "dead in the water"!

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