Robert Hampton

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7th May 2010

The Afternoon After

Lib Dem signs

As I write this, we are looking at a hung parliament and everything is still very much up in the air as the various parties attempt to form a coalition.

The big disappointment from last night was of course the Liberal Democrats, who only increased their vote share by 1% compared to 2005. They failed to make any significant gains, and their comedy candidate, Lembit Opik, lost his seat. There will be a lot of analysis of what happened. I think that the third debate and the final week of campaigning didn’t go too well for the Lib Dems and caused them to lose the momentum. I also think that a lot of floating voters decided to back one of the big two at the last minute, possibly due to tabloid scaremongering about the consequences a hung Parliament.

David Cameron cannot possibly claim that this is a roaring success for him, after failing to win a majority against a deeply unpopular Labour government. His campaign has not been particularly brilliant and his “big society” idea seemed to scare everyone who managed to understand it.

If you went to bed and missed the excitement, don’t worry: I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll be having another election before too long.

6th May 2010

All over, bar the voting
Posted by at 6.08pm | Politics | No responses

As I write this there’s over three and a half hours left until the polling stations close. If you haven’t voted yet, GO AND DO IT!

Sign above a polling station: "Do not sit on the fence"

I am off to see Canary at the Liverpool Playhouse tonight, but will hopefully be back home in time to see the results pour in. I will be twittering away throughout the night (or at least until I fall asleep).

My own prediction? I’d love to see Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats win, of course, but it looks like the Conservatives will get the most seats. However, will it be enough to get an overall majority, or are we looking at a hung Parliament with all the apocalyptic doom that brings (according to the Daily Mail, anyway)?

There is real excitement here. Will there be a Portillo moment? Will Brown try to cling on and form a coalition? Will any of the small fringe parties have success? Anyone who says politics is boring is WRONG.

(picture above shamelessly pinched from the Guardian election live blog.

5th May 2010

I agree with Nick
Posted by at 1.04pm | Politics | No responses

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, you’ll be aware that there’s an election tomorrow. If you’ve been following the election closely, you may be reaching the stage where you want to live under a rock for a month.

I sent my postal vote on Friday morning, the ballot paper enthusiastically marked for the Liberal Democrats. In the remainder of this post, I am going to set out the reasons why they have earned my vote and also why Labour should not win another term.

Read the rest of this post »

2nd May 2010

Those crazy Liberals!
Posted by at 12.40pm | Politics | 1 response

The Liberal Democrats’ recent surge in the polls has resulted in an awful lot of scaremongering about their policies. If you believe the Daily Mail (and I strongly recommend you don’t, about any topic), voting Lib Dem will result in Britain becoming part of an EU superstate, with all the sandal-wearing, gay-sex-having, immigrant-loving mayhem that would involve.

It makes very little difference to me, thanks to my living in one of the safest Labour seats in the country. But for those of you in marginal seats who are still worried about the consequences of voting Lib Dem, here are three of the biggest myths smashed. I strongly recommend you read the manifesto, if you haven’t done so already.

The Lib Dems will scrap the nuclear deterrent, leaving us less safe

They’ve not actually said they would get rid of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, merely hold a review into the replacement of Trident to see if a cheaper alternative is available. They’ve also stated that nuclear disarmament would be multilateral (i.e. as part of an agreement with other countries). Trident was designed during the Cold War — do we really still need to be pointing so many weapons at Russia?

They are going to have an amnesty for illegal immigrants

They are here, living and working in the shadows, often under the control of illegal gangs. An amnesty (which would be a one-off event, offered only to the English-speaking and law-abiding) offers illegal workers the chance to come out into the open without fear. They can then contribute to British society, work and pay taxes into the system — in other words, the exact opposite of the “spongers” that you read about in the Daily Express.

They will sell us out to Europe!

I hate to break this to you, but the British Empire no longer exists. Most of our trade these days is with the European Union member countries, which is why Britain needs to be an active participant in the EU and have a strong voice, not least so it can campaign for some much-needed reform. As for joining the Euro, the manifesto clearly states: when the time is right and only if the British people vote for it in a referendum.

Let’s not forget some of the other things they do want to do: scrap ID cards, scale back Labour’s surveillance state, repeal the Digital Economy Bill, encourage reopening of closed rail lines.

On many issues, the Liberal Democrats seem to be proposing to do what is right, rather than what is popular. That may well turn out to be politically inconvenient come polling day, but at least they will score a moral victory (note: under British electoral law, moral victories do not count for anything).

17th April 2010

Climbing the Greasy Poll
Posted by at 10.30am | In the News, Politics | No responses

The first election debate took place on Thursday. If you missed it, it’s available to watch in full on YouTube. I recommend you do, as it was amazing television.

The LibDems were always keen for the leaders’ debates to take place and give them much-needed exposure. But they seem to have exceeded all expectations: not only did the instant reaction polls, held straight after the end of the debate, name Nick Clegg the clear winner, but a subsequent YouGov poll showed a massive boost in support for the “third” party:

The poll puts the Conservatives in the lead on 33% (down four), the Liberal Democrats on 30% (up eight) and Labour on 28 (down three).

It’s only one poll of course, and there’s still a long way to go until the only poll that actually matters, namely the one on 6th May. Even so, that’s an incredible result. Even more incredible is what Parliament will look like if those poll numbers are translated into Commons seats, according to Sky’s expert:

The Conservatives would have 244 seats (up 34), Lib Dems would have 103 (up 41), Labour would have 271 (down 78) and the remaining 32 seats would be taken by other parties.

Labour would still be the largest party with 271 seats despite being third in the popular vote, because of the distribution of votes in 2005 and the application of uniform swing.

So the party in last place in the popular vote still comes first in the election? That’s not democracy, that’s Bush v. Gore.

Still, it’s shaping up to be a very interesting campaign. I hope you’re registered to vote!