Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Lib Dem king-makers? Nope.

The fuss and flutter of speculation and feverish rubbish from commentators in the run-up to the election really getting started has led some people to speculate that the Lib Dems will be in a position of strength after the election and ready to decide who becomes Prime Minister. I've come to the conclusion that it's all havers, and the reason I've come to that conclusion is simple - the Lib Dems are going to lose a lot of seats at this election, they won't pick up any in Scotland, and they'll do rather badly elsewhere too (maybe picking up one in Newcastle).

They're consistently fourth in Scotland in opinion polls, third across England, miles behind the Conservatives in the South of England, they're showing up fourth in Wales and are falling further and further behind and I think they face losing seats. They don't have a leader with the charisma of Charlie Kennedy or Paddy Ashdown or even David Owen any more, having apparently been left with the runt of the litter in Nick Clegg.

Looking at opinion polls, adding in 2005 results (boundary changes coming in England), adding my excellent judgement and terrible prejudice to that, totting up what's what, I don't think they can take a single seat that they don't currently hold, I think they'll get squeezed everywhere, and I think that this is what will happen to the seats they currently hold (some nominally after boundary changes):

Inverness Nairn Badenoch & Strathspey - lose
West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine - lose heavily
East Dunbartonshire - lose
Gordon - lose (taken by a blogger)
Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk - lose
Argyll & Bute - lose
Dunfermline & West Fife - might hold, might lose. Willie works hard and that might be enough to save him (it'd be lost otherwise)

Edinburgh West - weakened, a possible loss and will only be saved, if it is, because of the battles going on in nearby seats (they have a terrible candidate here) - and it goes in 2011 if they do save it this time.
NE Fife - hold
Orkney & Shetland - hold
Ross, Skye & Lochaber - hold
Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross - hold

Furth of Scotland:
Mid Dorset & North Poole - lose to Con
Taunton Deane - lose to Con
Solihull - lose to Con
Southport - lose to Con
Cornwall North - shrinking majority, lose to Con
Westmorland & Lonsdale - lose to Con
Bath - lose to Con
Romsey & Southampton North - lose to Con
Camborne & Redruth - lose to Con (Labour nominally second but have faded here)
Portsmouth South - about a 3,300 majority about to be lost to Con.
Somerton & Frome - lose to Con
Oxford West & Abingdon - boundary chanegs remove the university, Evan Harris is looking for a new job - lose to Con.
Carshalton & Wallington - a battle, but probably lose to Con
Teignbridge - the home of Buckfast is abolished, but Boris Johnston's dad got to 6,000 votes away last time, the new seat will be lost to Con.
Eastleigh - lose to Con
Torbay - lose to Con
Brecon & Radnorshire - lose to Con
Cheadle - lose to Con
Richmond Park - Jenny Tongue's old seat, never safe, lose to Con
Cheltenham - rapidly shrinking majority - lose to Con.
North Devon - Harvey's majority was lower in 2005 than in 1997 - lose to Con
Hornsey & Wood Green - lose to Lab
Birmingham Yardley - lose to Lab
Chesterfield - lose to Lab
Cambridge - won't be able tohold onto the 4,000 majority; lose to Lab
Manchester Withington - lose to Lab
Leeds North West - lose to Lab
Rochdale - the cowboys are going to ride on out, lose to Lab
Brent Central - lose to Lab
Ceredigion - lose to Plaid

Thornbury and Yate - hold
Bristol West - hold
Cardiff Central - hold
Berwick Upon Tweed - hold
South East Cornwall - hold
Sutton & Cheam - hold
Twickenham - hold
Sheffield Hallam - hold
Kingston & Surbiton - hold
St Ives - hold
Lewes - hold
Harrogate & Knaresborough - bit of a boundary change but probably hold
Bermondsey & Old Southwark - a straight choice, hold.
Hereford - disappears Lib Dem should take new seat of Hereford and South Herefordshire
North Norfolk - hold
Yeovil - hold
Meon Valley (successor seat to Mark Oaten's Winchester - Lib Dem hold
Montgomeryshire - hold
Colchester - hold
Hazel Grove - hold
Truro & St Austell - splits in two, I've no idea how that'll pan out.
So, that's between 4 and 6 seats in Scotland and maybe 22 elsewhere. It's going to be a sore election for the Lib Dems, very sore. Far from being king-makers, questions about their viability will be asked. With no policy platform, having tossed it aside for this election, and no real purpose in politics, why would that party stay together?
Of course, I might be wrong. Mind how you go.


Anonymous said...

I have said many times, that Cameron is a clone of Tony Blair or at least a wannabe clone.

The DNA off cuts they didn't cut and snip into Cameron were jumbled up and stitched together to make Nik Clegg.

cynicalHighlander said...

And after their despicical display when Angus Robertston was questioning the PM over GCC they will suffer even more.

Vivas said...

All fine and dandy Calum. But in this part of Edinburgh North and Leith (Hillside...) I'm seeing nothing from the SNP but plenty from the LibDems. They're pushing "local local local" and the SNP- who should be pushing for 2nd here - appear to be doing diddly squat.

Wheres your campaign blog ? Or are we really going to let the LibDems get away with "only they can beat Labour" here ????

Calum Cashley said...

Pushing for 2nd? We're winning. We're in second place in Hillside just now, Labour just ahead, Cons in third, Greens and Lib Dems scratching for fourth, but we're ahead elsewhere in the constituency.

The Greens seem to be taking a decent vote across the patch and the Conservatives are improving, but we're in the lead and the trick is staying there until polling day - hard work is the key.

Doug Daniel said...

Are they really going to lose East Dunbartonshire? I'm no Lib Dem fan, but I've always been impressed with Jo Swinson when she's been on Question Time, Daily Politics, election results coverage etc, and I'd have thought she'd be a hard one to shift (unless her numerous TV appearances have led to her not giving her full attention to constituency issues.) Isn't this the Lib Dems' strength, that the standing of their individual MPs at local level tends to defy the party's national standing?

Sandy said...

Not one single SNP leaflet delivered to me here in Galashiels yet.

This is David Steels' old constituency and the lib dems have quite a following still in the Borders.

As seen by the election of both Jeremy Purvis and Michael Moore...

Shame, as I am sure the SNP would do a fine job, but much more work on the doorsteps needs to be done if that is ever to happen.

Sandy said...

Oh look , another Lib-Dem leaflet through the door as I was typing my last. Mailed all the way from Nick Clegg in London.