Saturday 10 October 2009

Lib Dems had the worst UK political conference

As you may have read in the posts below, the Tory conference was quite a success. They managed to get their message across and avoid any damaging splits. The Media were reduced to trying to take pictures of them drinking champagne to get a negative story.

On the other hand the other two conferences were less successful. Labour could not really shift the atmosphere of it being a wake for a party waiting to lose power. Gordon Brown gave another ineffective and cobbled together speech; there do not even appear to be any pretenders to the throne anymore apart from the fantastically loony Harriet Harman.

For me though, the Lib Dem conference was by far the worst. Even their best performer, Vince Cable, managed to get his big announcement messed up. Nick Clegg is a poor leader with a shrill voice and patronising tone. His conference speeches are woeful. Far worse for the Lib Dems though is a lack of strategy.

The fact is that most of the seats they hold are in the South East and are Conservative marginals waiting to happen. As such the MP's of the party clearly want to look like Tory-lite. Yet the opportunity for the party is in taking seats from Labour and the body of the activists are left-wing voters. You can see from the votes they take on any policies at Lib Dem conferences.

As such, the MP's and the activists have differing priorities and this means Clegg cannot take the party with him. Moreover in the next election, being against the party likely to win and perhaps win in a landslide is a suicidal policy. The opportunity is to make gains from the weakened labour party and aim to force the party into 3rd place. What a prize to aim for!

But the Lib Dems won't do this as it is against the interest of their current MP's. Oh dear what a mess. Confused policies, no strategy and a party split asunder.

if I did not despise their campaigning tactics so much I would laugh!


Nich Starling said...

This seems to be at odds with what happened in the polls after tLib Dem conference. A 4-5% bounce seemed to indicate that the conference was by no means a failure.

I would actually say none of the conferences was barnstorming, certainly the Tory one as not like the Labour one in 1996.

Anonymous said...


The bounce disappeared.

It's settling into a straight Lab/Con fight now.

Bill Quango MP said...

Political Betti g seem to go along with Norfolk Blogger's view too.

But I think CU is right on the strategy. The Liberals must have it both ways. Lefter than NuLab but too lefty to upset the soft Tory votes..
The coming election is going to ask the question that is best avoided. What do you believe in. Where do you stand. Its along long time since the lib Dems had to fight against a credible Tory opposition. And Labour has no intention of giving away its long held regions. It will, in the end, resort to sending messages aimed purely at the areas it thinks it can hang on to and win from Lib Dems.

So this 'We are whatever you think we are' is just not going to wash.
Either go left or right. Look at the problem of Saint Vince trying to convince his Twickenham and Richmond constituency that a £1,000,000 property tax is a good idea. For those that don't know Richmond Park AVERAGE prices are £828,484 for a detached house. That's today's prices, not the boom. A 5 million pound pad is not even very unusual.

You can talk about aspiration in wealthy areas and get plenty of eco votes from the guilty rich. But when you say you will take their money away you'd better be sure they agree with you..

As every strategist will tell them. Don't divide your army. Concentrate maximum force on the weakest enemy point while ensuring that you have guarded your flanks.

Nich Starling said...

The point is though that if the conference had been bad, there would have been no bounce at all. s it is. after al three conferences, we seem to be back where we started (according to today's polls). So nobody won, nobody lost.

James Higham said...

Were you at the Tory Conference, CUS?

Houdini said...

Made this comment on my blog talking about QT, "Sarah Teather was dire and useless, as befits a LibDum. Quick observation about the LibDums; why do they not strive for second in Parliament? As they are, they are doomed to perpetual third and even lower if they are not careful. This is a golden opportunity for them to take a mid to long term view and destroy Labour at the polls...but no. Strange."

CityUnslicker said...

Norfolok - the issue is a long-term one. The party has no real strategy, without which it cannot make any gains. There is a fork in the road at which it is stuck. Short term polls maybe ok for the lib dems - but they can't move on with their current head in the sand approach.

I appreciate you coming here to comment.

CityUnslicker said...

JH - No, long since I have left the party officially.

Houdini said...

They have failed to be either effective or to hold Labour to account over the past 13 years CU, so are going downhill now.

The Tories were called a dire opposition until just recently, but the LibDums were worse but didn't get the negative press, but they have been found out now. Dumping Chris Huhne was their biggest mistake, and they could gain if the reversed that decision, but won't.