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Friday, December 26, 2008

Labour in revolt

It is indicative of how much turmoil the Labour Party has been over the last year and how the authority of the Prime Minister has been undermined by the resulting uncertainty that there have been so many Parliamentary revolts against the Government.

Today's Times reports that Gordon Brown suffered more backbench rebellions in his first full year as Prime Minister than Tony Blair in his first four-year Parliament. The total of 103 revolts during the 2007-08 parliamentary session was the most inflicted on any governing party for more than 30 years. It was higher than any other session during the Blair era, higher even than the 93 revolts suffered by John Major in 1992-93 when the Maastricht Bill tore the Conservative Party apart, and even bigger than the 97 revolts in 1977-78 when the late James Callaghan was struggling, and failing, to keep the Parliamentary Labour Party together.

The paper reveals that despite these rebellions the Government won every whipped vote, even though it sometimes appeared to face defeat. It had to negotiate its way out of trouble on several occasions, most notably on the abolition of the 10p tax rate, when a £2.7 billion package was needed to appease the rebels. Support from the Democratic Unionists helped the Government to a nine-vote victory on the 42-day plan, but it also managed to talk dozens of its own MPs out of rebelling.
Care to comment on this Peter?

The breakthrough never comes does it? What motivates you lot i have no idea! What a joke!


Party has stalled in polls - Clegg
Dec 26 2008

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said that he needed more time to establish himself with voters.

Mr Clegg - who took over as leader a year ago - acknowledged that the party was stalled in the opinion polls. However he insisted that they would do better when it came to the real vote in a general election.

"This is my first year in the leadership, I have enjoyed it immensely. I also know that I am in the early stages of my leadership," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.

"If you look back in history it takes a while for all Liberal Democrat leaders to get out and about in the country so that more people can see them. But come the time of the next general election I'm absolutely confident that people will know more about me."

He said that he would like to see the party picking up in the opinion polls where it is currently stuck at around 18 to 19%.

"I would like that to be higher," he said.

He pointed out however that the party had done significantly better in the local elections last May, when it pushed Labour into third place, and he said that he expected the same to happen when it came to the general election.

"Polls come and go. The only time when opinion was tested in the ballot box we actually had a much better result than anyone predicted and I fully expect that will happen come the next general election," he said.

Mr Clegg refused to be drawn on what the party would do if, after the election, it held the balance of power in a hung parliament.

"I think it is unfair on the British people and British voters to say that politicians are going to start speculating about cutting deals with each other before they have spoken," he said. "It is the height of arrogance it seems to me."
The joke appears to be that you think this is significant in some way and that you cannot bring yourself to even comment using your own name. I think that Nick Clegg deals with all the issues raised in the article more than adequately. There is not more that I can add except to say that what motivates us is conviction and principle.
What motivates us is conviction and principle? But surely they are convictions and principles that are not shared with the vast majority or people in the UK?

Isn't there a little clue there as to why the Lib Dems are becoming even less popular year-on-year?

You are allowed to admit you have got it wrong you know. Break away from the Focus mentality and tell us how it is Peter.
And that is the difference between us and you New Labour/Tory types, we are not so prepared to abandon our principles for transient popularity.

In fact if you read the polls properly and compare like with like the Liberal Democrats are not getting less popular, we are fairly steady and appear to have a consistent core vote.

Presumably when you say 'Focus mentality' you refer to a principled campaigning stance. Better that than a Focus-group mentality.
"we are not so prepared to abandon our principles for transient popularity."

That will be why the lib dems are so unpopular then.

No compromise with the electorate!
But there is no evidence to show that the Liberal Democrats are unpopular. In relative terms we are more popular than we have been for a long time and all the opinion polls show that if people think we can win then up to 50% of then would vote for us.
"There is not more that I can add except to say that what motivates us is conviction and principle."

Amen to that!

Clegg is doing a sterling job. I really can't think of anyone better? There is certainly no other Liberal MP that I think could fill Clegg's boots at the minute anyway?
Indeed, Lib Dem's have more people in parliament than ever...and that is "losing" popularity all the time is it? Someone needs a math's class.
The rebellions are partly I think because of dissatisfaction with the current government. However, they keep being thwarted because unlike Major and Callaghan, Brown still has a big majority that can take the rebels on. Had the result of 1992 reflected the popular vote (which would have given Major a majority of around 70-80) it would have given him a comfort zone to work with and things might have been very different.

The comments seem to be wildly off topic, but on that subject- the polls seem to show the Liberal Democrats are holding a fairly steady 18% as a "core vote" which rises or falls in line with Labour's popularity. That suggests those voters who are going to quit them for the Tories have already done so, and they are now considered an alternative home by disaffected Labour voters who are wavering in their loyalty.

To my mind, that would indicate that there are several very vulnerable LD seats in southern England and possibly Wales and Scotland too - but that there are big opportunities for them in Northern England where the sense of abandonment and betrayal by Labour is strong. It may then come down to who can sell their message the best, and the LDs always have more results with that when restrictions on reporting kick in in an election campaign.

Sorry for such a long comment, but the picture seems a bit complex from where I'm sitting. I certainly don't think things are as black for you as "Anonymous" is trying to paint them. Even 19% would be a bigger share of the vote than in 1992, 1997 or 2001, which to my mind indicates steady (albeit I imagine for you maddeningly slow) progress.
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