BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Michael Crick
« Previous | Main | Next »

Fewer Lib Dems

Michael Crick | 20:30 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011

A good sign of a political party's health, organisation and morale is the number of candidates they manage to field in the annual local elections, relative to each other, and also relatives to previous similar elections.

An analysis by the Conservatives shows that the Tories are contesting 93 per cent of the council seats up for grabs on 5 May, compared with 88 per cent at the last comparable elections in 2007. That's an increase of five per cent.

Labour, according to the Tory number-crunchers, are up even more, from 60 per cent in 2007 to 72 per cent, a rise of 12 per cent.

The Lib Dems, in contrast, are contesting only 59 per cent of possible seats, a drop of four per cent on their 2007 figure of 63 per cent.

I haven't had a chance to check these figures with Labour and the Lib Dems, but I'd be surprised if their results are significantly different.


  • Comment number 1.


    In Westminster they all function within a small band of behaviours that would not be acceptable currency in everyday life.

    Abject obedience to Leader, Party, Whip and dogma - even to the point of espousing, and backing, a policy THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN. Such an individual is called a ‘consummate politician’ - sometimes rising to be 'a great parliamentarian'.

    Would you take an ex-MP as a business partner?

    Politics (any label) is the art of self-deception wrapped in the craft of deceiving others for their own good. Nick Clegg is a supreme example.


  • Comment number 2.

    Well, barriesingleton, this isn't about Westminster, and the decisions that politicians make do matter.

    @Michael Crick: is it relevant that there are no local elections in London, so that the seats being contested are more Conservative-friendly - a reason for the high proportion of seats where they have candidates?

  • Comment number 3.

    I thought Labour were on the verge of bankruptcy last year, according to Prezza?

  • Comment number 4.


    I was at a tangent - error admitted. No apology, apologies are cheap. This instead:

    I knew a councillor who threw off his party label to be independent, because he saw, at every vote, regardless of the issue 'debated', that the LOCAL councillors divided on NATIONAL party lines.

    I was just watching the Daily Politics. Candidates wear party rosettes - just like a General Election. They are followed by pathetic acolytes holding the ultimate symbol of party politics THE HELIUM BALLOON - just like a General Election. What better emblem of NEGATIVE GRAVITAS than party balloons? What more to be said than:


    Ask your candidates: "Am I voting for the rosette or the rosette stand?"

  • Comment number 5.

    Do you think that Clegg is a little paranoid?

  • Comment number 6.


    A good point TBG. Quid pro quo rules! (Loadsa - quid.)

    All those party donations need to receive their 'just' return, if more are to follow. And now that only big money will do, big adjustments to legislation and government contracts are de rigueur - democracy under the Rule of Law.

    The Tory coffers filled at a prodigious rate - Dave has a lot of favours to return.

    As for Billion Dollar 'Bama - his 'to do' list could explain a lot of things . . .

  • Comment number 7.


    He should be Stevie, he is out to get himself! There is, in Clegg, the needy boy who tried to assuage his need with power and status. (Blair syndrome.)

    Poor chap, the gods looked down from Olympus and fancied a bit of sport with him.

    The needy boy was seduced by 'one sweet now' being unable to wait for the possibility of 'more sweets later'.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 8.

    barriesingleton @7

    I think that you're assessment of Clegg is spot on.

    However, didn't he have to accept the sweet now? For a party whose central theme is PR, (and therefore coalitions) it would have been rather self-defeating to have turned Cameron down. It would, in effect, have been tantamount to saying, yes to coalitions but only with Labour. Which is, in my opinion, what would happen if we ever did move to PR

  • Comment number 9.


    I felt Clegg could have kept faith with his supporters by vowing support to the Tories on matters related to 'surviving' the monetary mess, but remaining a separate party. At a decent interval, he could have precipitated another election and done well on integrity.

    I have a SNEAKING suspicion that Dave duped him and the 'position' of Deputy PM was just too tempting.

    From memory - Labour plus L/Ds plus all the sweepings could not amass a majority?

  • Comment number 10.

    barriesingleton @9

    "From memory - Labour plus L/Ds plus all the sweepings could not amass a majority?"

    Yes, they could have formed the ‘rainbow’, just about.

    But, favouring that, over and above forming a coalition with the biggest single party, would have put the Lb-Dems and PR into sharp focus wouldn't it?

    It would have been advertising the (obvious) fact that PR would just result in (given historical voting habits), permanent Lib-Lab pacts. As such, I don’t think that Clegg really had a choice.

    But, I think you’re right, Cameron did seduce him with deputy PM

  • Comment number 11.


    Appreciated John Bull. You leave me less certain.

    I have just watched Simon Hughes 'being honourable' on TV. I then emailed him, in those terms, asking for assistance regarding the Conservative 'liar flyer'. His automatic reply says the rules do not allow him to engage with me (even though my local ninny has, unilaterally, closed the discussion). You can guess my response.

    Honour is as honour does. We did not let Eichmann off for obeying orders.



Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.