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Thursday, April 22, 2010


According to the TV pundits what happened is that Clegg beat the other 2 on the TV debate & thus the LD's were propelled into the leading position. The truth reflects a deeper underlying change, which, at least in the short term, is bad news for the Lab/Cons.

Clegg did not score anything approaching a knockout in a debate from which a lot of people turned off in boredom. It was
4023 voters immediately after the debate ended to find out who had actually won. The result, unlike recent opinion polls, was decisive. The Liberal Democrats' Clegg won by 43 % compared to Cameron's 26 % and Brown's 20%.
Only 9.4 million people watched (up from the Nick Griffin appearance but not that much up) which is 16% of the population. Even assuming no kids watched a 20% excess of "Cleggomaniacs" would be no more than 4% of the voters. So a roughly 10% swing to the LDs shows something else. Part of it will be a swing to them that always happens at elections because only then do the media mention them. However most of it is disgust with politicians generally & a feeling that Lab?Con are so similar one need not worry about putting the "wrong" one in (both being wrong) combined with a feeling that only the LDs can be trusted to reform our corrupt voting system & thereby have at least the chance of cleaning out the Augean stables in Westminster. Labour have promised a referendum on a sort of PR but they made the same manifesto promise in 2 of the last 3 elections & had no hesitation about breaking them. The LDs have no greater record of honesty, having done the same on the promise of an EU referendum in their last manifesto & hinting they will again promise & then also cynically breaking. The thing which makes it likely that the LDs would keep their PR promise is self interest which is far stronger than their promises - PR is required for a smaller party to have serious representation.

There have been polls which said anything up to 49% of voters would vote LD "if they had a chance". We will see if that is true or merely an expression that the what is unavailable looks enticing. More importantly at the last EU election, the only way we have of judging what people would vote for in a democratic election, Conservative & Labour combined got only 43.4% of the vote - the rest going to parties that support PR.

I put this on John Redwood's recently
A Hung Parliament would certainly mean some form of PR – Labour’s alternative vote or the top up system in existence in Scotland & Wales or some other. Indeed the present polling which suggests Labour would get the least number of votes & most seats & LibDems most votes & least seats itself totally discredits the current system (& any party that continues to support it). I suspect most of the support for the LibDims comes from people who do not support windmillery & joining the Euro but do support getting a just & democratic electoral system – this must include a lot of UKIP & indeed BNP supporters – remember that at the Euro election more people voted for PR supporting parties than for Tories & Labour combined. If that election means anything then an election which produced proportional results would see the LibDems fall to 4th place & the Conservative & UKIP parties of the “right” gain an overwhelming majority.

The Conservatives should now acknowledge both the justice & inevitability of a proportional system & put their efforts towards the top up system (which would end the advantage Labour get from having less populous constituencies & is favoured by UKIP & most LibDems) & for another immediate election as soon as this reform is in place.

& similar on some other blogs.

If Clegg is going to promise a referendum on the EU in today's debate perhaps Cameron should trump that by offering one on PR, with a multi-option choice of what sort. Neither is trustworthy but both would have some bonus in keeping their word.

Craig Murray comes to the same conclusion about the debate from a different direction - looking at the trend & polls collated before the debate & published after.

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