Friday, 16 May 2014

Questions but no answers from Liberal Democrats, their rather bad prospects in the Euros

Today I want to talk about the Liberal Democrats and their chances in the European elections as I have done with the other parties that are standing. I did email questions to the Liberal Democrats on sunday the 27th April and now it's the 16th May, as I've not received anything from them, I don't think I will so I'll just talk about their prospects. For those of you that regularly read my blog, I have written a series of posts in response to questions I emailed to South West European election candidates. The original blog here outlining the questions, responses from Molly Scott Cato from the Green Party. Answers from Tony McIntyre from UKIP and lastly Julie Girling MEP from the Conservatives. I've yet to blog on Labour's response, there's a few points they want to clarify. Maybe it's unfair and I should give the Lib Dems more time, if they do finally contact me perhaps I will, but it's less than a week and the excitement as building as close to fever pitch as it ever will.

Not many placards round for the LDs this time, this might prove more popular 

The Lib Dems did quite well in 2009, both in Cornwall and across the 'South West' they managed to out poll Labour and the Greens and came in third overall with a vote share of 17.2% and kept their sitting MEP Graham Watson in power. They did slightly better here than they did across the UK in 2009 where they came in fourth with 13.8% and lost 1 MEP. The world of politics has definitely changed for the Lib Dems since then. After a reasonable election in 2010 and losing 5 MPs from 62 in 2005 to 57 in 2010. Things aren't looking up in the coalition era if the opinion polls and indeed elections since are anything to go by Nick Clegg's party is in for a hard time next thursday. Even the president of the Lib Dems Tim Farron has admitted that the party faces a wipe out in this election. His intention in saying this I think was to warn the party and kick some life into it. The reality is morale in the party is at an all time low, they struggle to find candidates and volunteers to canvass and door knock. Which is why every party has sent out more leaflets this time then them. The once mighty Lib Dems were virtually wiped out in West Cornwall last year with only 2 Cornwall Councillors in the St Ives constituency and 1 Cornwall Councillor in the Camborne, Redruth and Hayle constituency. In this climate Tim Farron's words rather than galvanising the yellow troops reminded them of their near certain fate and increased the feeling of futility.

Do the Lib Dems have a chance of keeping a MEP in the South West? perhaps. I really wouldn't put any money on it though. Various opinion polls put them behind UKIP, the Tories, Labour and the Green Party. This one reported in the Western Morning News for the south west puts them on 6%. There's a table of all the European voting intention polls (for all the parties) on UK Polling Report, which are UK wide. The results for 2014 for the Lib Dems doesn't look too good for them reaching a high of 11% back in March and a low of 6% in April, more recently a lot of 7s 8s and 9s. I don't hold too much faith in opinion polls they are good indicators but there's always a margin of error. But in this case the margin of error between their best UK wide polling 11% (ignoring South West polling of 6%) is a long way from the 17.2% they received in 2009. With the rise of the Green Party looking to take some of their votes and the Labour rebuilding from the low ebb of 2009 and also taking their votes, the Lib Dems are being squeezed from a number of directions, which is why it is a shame Mebyon Kernow are not standing as we'd be adding to this. But in truth the real downfall of the Liberal Democrats is not the other parties but one of their own making, decades of "it's us or the Tories" now means nothing....

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