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Don’t rule out a Lib Dem recovery

A new poll from the South West shows this week that there’s no room for complacency about an impending rout of the Lib Dems. Labour members rightly despise the Lib Dems for backing a Tory government. Many of their own voters felt the same way, leading to a collapse in Lib Dem support in the polls and in the May elections. Labour continues to be the main beneficiary of this collapse (except, crucially, in Scotland), but this sign of possible Lib Dem recovery raises questions about focussing the Labour attack solely on the Tories and SNP.

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Back in June, Labour had pulled 12 points ahead of the Lib Dems in their south-west heartland. Having been squeezed to death in all but a handful of seats, it looked like Labour could hope to replace the Lib Dems as the main challenger to the Tories even there. As well as helping Labour to win back seats it lost in 2005 and 2010, in the longer run, this would enable the party to re-establish a base in local government across the region, and make more seats winnable in a good year.

It’s still not good news for the Lib Dems — they’d still lose half of the 14 seats they won in the south west based on this level of support — but Labour would, it seems, only win two of those. But it does show that a significant recovery from their previous low point is possible even while they remain in the government. Assuming they continue to pursue their recent approach of deliberately distancing themselves from the government opportunistically (like on Murdoch) and on certain key issues, perhaps they can continue to recover.

Good reason to keep up a subsidiary line of attack on the Lib Dems, and not t cosy up to them in the name of a so-called “progressive alliance”.


  1. Democratically Socialist says:

    you are joking aren’t you? come on.

  2. ANDY NEWMAN says:

    I am not sure whether the fate of the Liberals in the West country, where Labour are the traditional third (or in Euro elections fourth) party, gives a reliable indication for elsewhere.

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