Why nobody should be surprised by the Liberal Democrat showing in Witney

The main story of yesterday’s by-election for David Cameron’s former Parliamentary seat in Witney has been an apparent Liberal Democrat surge.  It was a good result, but it is one that should suprise nobody – because in recent months there has been a consistent pattern of strong Liberal Democrat results in areas where they are […]

Five Days in May: parties, coalitions and One Nation

I’ve just got round to reading Andrew Adonis’ account of the negotiations between Labour and Liberal Democrats following the inconclusive 2010 General Election result.  Written at the time, the account of the negotiations is far from dispassionate; it is a vivid read, although at times a curiously impersonal one.  The clear theme of Adonis’ account […]

UKIP, neoliberalism and the revolt of the moderately entitled

Much cyber-ink has been spilled following last week’s strong UKIP showing in the English County Council elections – it might seem superfluous to add to it.  I think the strength of UKIP’s “surge” is overrated – these were partial elections in which the major centres of population did not vote (along with Scotland and most […]

Labour and the Ashcroft poll: winning the war as well as the battle

There has been a certain amount of excitement over a poll of marginal constituencies by Tory donor Lord Ashcroft, suggesting that Labour is on course for a thumping win at the 2015 General Election.  While it is no doubt encouraging for Labour and indeed for anyone who wants to see the end of the Coalition, […]

10p tax: one-and-a-half cheers for Ed Miliband

I’ve been pretty scathing about the Labour Party on this blog, so a bit of credit where it’s due: Ed Miliband’s eye-catching announcements today committing Labour to a 10p lowest tax rate, funded by a so-called mansion tax, are a step in the right direction.  It’s some way from the New Jerusalem that some enthusiastic […]

Eastleigh: a fascinating contest

After the lies, the by-election.  The resignation of Chris Huhne as MP for Eastleigh, following his guilty plea to a charge of perverting the course of justice, opens the way to what could be a defining by-election contest. At the 2010 General Election Huhne held the seat with a majority of nearly 4,000 over the […]

Nothing strange about the death of English liberalism

Reading Nick Clegg’s New Year message was a sad and sobering affair (leaving aside any impatience at the growing habit of politicians great and small issuing such messages).  It read as really little more than excuse-mongering and post-hoc rationalisation in defence of policies that appear to rub against the natural grain of the Liberal tradition; […]