The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

The Crystal Balls of the Lib Dems

Posted by The Futility Monster on August 7, 2009 @ 10:08

How The (South) West Was Lost

How The (South) West Was Lost

This morning, the good people over at Lib Dem Voice are asking their readers to give their crystal balls a good rub and project just what might happen to them at the next general election.

It’s been a while since I thought about the answer to this question, much has been my preoccupation with a certain Tory win, one which will deliver them a healthy majority.

But I recognise that in such a Tory win, there are going to be a number of Lib Dem seats falling by the wayside. The Independent wrote a very good summary of the situation a couple of days ago; the South West in particular is very likely to bear the brunt of such a full-frontal assault. A damn shame in my view due to the number of good MPs we have down there. Though I have confidence that we will win them back with time, it may prove to be a smart thing in the long run to have our core areas challenged. Keep them on their toes and all that.

Meanwhile, I don’t see us losing any seats to Labour. At all. Labour may think they’re going to be welcomed back with open arms in seats like Manchester Withington, but I don’t. These seats will be added to the other seats from our “Universities” collection that just get better and better with each passing election.

I see us losing approximately 15 seats to the Tories, plus or minus two. I think, though I’m not fully confident about this prediction, that this is the most ground we will lose to them.

On the flip side, I don’t see us taking any seats off them. We are not going to win Solihull or Somerton & Frome. Nor Guildford or any other of these targets. In fact, I’d go so far as to say we’re wasting our money trying to win them. In the same way as we wasted our money on the “decapitation strategy” last time, this one is yet another.

Instead, we must focus all our attention on Labour. Nick Clegg already knows this. He’s no electoral fool, and obviously his close team have also spotted Labour’s vulnerability.

But, in order that the election night is not painted as “a bad night” for the Liberal Democrats, it is essential that we pick up as many seats from Labour as we lose to the Tories.

Which is, unfortunately, a big ask. I can’t see us picking up more than 10 Labour seats.

There will also be some shock losses. There will also be some surprise gains. They should balance each other out.

The net result: I predict the Lib Dems will have about 55 seats at the next election, plus or minus two.

As for vote share? I think we hit our high water mark in the last election with the Iraq factor. Unfortunately, this vote was dissipated all over the country, resulting in no real benefit in terms of seats. Vote share will consequently fall… perhaps to around 19/20% of the GB vote.

This is a gloomy prediction. It could even get worse. But unless the polls start genuinely showing us as a contender for second place in the election, I still feel Labour will prove to be an immovable object that we will find great difficulty exacting the huge swings required for us to topple these more difficult target seats.


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