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April 23rd, 2010

Weekly Blog Round up for 23 April


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Blog Admin

April 23rd, 2010

Weekly Blog Round up for 23 April


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Chris Gilson looks at this week in election blogs.

Over the weekend, David Herdson at echoed a lot of the feeling after the Lib Dems’ surprise poll spike and asked: “How high can the Lib Dems go?”; later he suggests that the Tories may shift their attack lines towards immigration. Anne Perkins at Guardian Politics says he is ‘riding high’,while Dizzy Thinks warns Cameron and Brown not to ignore Nick Clegg, and Paul Goodman at ConservativeHome tells voters that if they vote for Clegg, they will get Brown, and outlines how the Tories can back to the 40 per cent mark again. Alistair Campbell is positive about the rise in the Lib Dem’s star; it will make the Tories ‘nervous’ he says.

Sunder Katwala at Next Left looked at the chances the Tories will go into attack mode against the Lib Dems in the wake of their poll rise (and later, looked at the Daily Mails’ attacks on Nick Clegg for not being British enough. Guido talks Lib Dem tactical voting to unseat Labour candidates, and David Blackburn at Coffee House looks at what might impede a Lib-Lab coalition. Guido looks through his crystal ball to the 7th of May, and Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal asks “can Nick Clegg win the election?”.


Tim Montegomerie at ConservativeHome warned of the difficulties of a Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition, and similarly Sunny H at Liberal Conspiracy made the point that Labour may have to jettison Gordon Brown in order to make a Lib-Lab coalition workable. Sunder Katwala at Next Left looks at hung parliament scenarios, as does Peter Wrigley at Keynesian Liberal. George Easton at The Staggers took a look at how the ferocity of Labour and Lib Dem activists might be another coalition obstacle. Patrick Wintour at Guardian Politics says that Gordon Brown is not ruling out a Lib-Lab coalition in any case.

Alistair Campbell looked at how Labour is turning back its focus on to the economy.

Simon Clark at Taking Liberties investigates how Liberal Nick Clegg really is, while John Harris at Guardian Politics examines how the Clegg surge could spell the end for First Past the Post. Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal says that Clegg is in the right place at the right time:

“It does feel almost as though we are living through the political equivalent of that extraordinary period. If one had said five days ago that Britain would be covered in volcanic ash; that air transportation would have halted; that the Royal Navy and a flotilla of little boats would be heading Dunkirk-style to pick up Britons stranded abroad; and that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats would be in the lead in the opinion polls, you might have been sectioned.”

George Easton at The Staggers asks; “where’s Vince [Cable] gone?”, while Shamik Das at Left Foot Forward casts his eyes on the worsening betting odds of a Tory majority, while James Forsyth reckons the worst is behind the Tories, and Nicholas Watt at Guardian Politics looks at their changing party broadcasting tactics, to a more personal message.


Today Hopi Sen had a great summation of the current feeling amongst many election commentators: “The most wonderful aspect of this election is that nobody really knows what’s going on.”, while, Dizzy Thinks warns Labour and the Conservatives that the soon to be released GDP figures may well be another blow to their campaigns.

Mike Smithson at discussed the Lib Dem debate ‘myth’, while Peter Wrigley at Keynesian Liberal talked about campaigning ‘on the doorstep’ and Alistair Campbell commented on David Cameron’s ‘obsession with presentation’.

Neil McIntosh guest blogging at the Wall Street Journal wondered if it was the ‘Rage Against the Machine’ factor that was propelling Lib Dem support, and Iain Dale called a possible coalition a ‘two-headed donkey’. Tim Montegomerie at ConservativeHome looked at three ways to burst the Lib Dem ‘bubble’, but Guido reckoned that the Liberal Democrats have more in common with the Conservatives than most people think. Stuart White, blogging at Next Left, was critical of the attack lines and smear being landed on Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems – even those produced by Labour, meanwhile Lee Griffin at Liberal Conspiracy said that Labour has little to gain in attacking the Lib Dems; it would take their focus away from attacking possible Tory seat gains. Iain Dale is annoyed that there seems to be little attention on the fact that Labour is polling third in a ‘shambles of a campaign’.


For Iain Dale, Vince Cable was left ‘floundering’ by George Osborne in today’s Chancellor’s debate; James Forsyth at Coffee House agrees while Nick Robinson feels that he was at least put on the ‘back foot’.

Iain Dale complains that unemployment is always higher under Labour, while Will Straw at Left Foot Forward says that unemployment is actually lower than expected. David Blackburn at Coffee House says that in light of these figures, the Tories must make the election be about the economy and ‘nothing else’. Later, James Forsyth, also at Coffee House, looked at Ken Clarke’s comments regarding the IMF needing to bail out the economy in the event of a hung parliament, and asked if it would affect voters’ intentions. Nicola Smith at Left Foot Forward said that the Tories’ new hard line on unemployment benefits won’t actually help people get back into work.

Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGov, guest blogging at ConservativeHome, made the point that the Lib Dem surge may be amongst 18-30 year olds, the group that is traditionally, the least likely to turn out and vote. Later Paul Goodman, also writing at ConservativeHome sings the praises of Ken Clarke. George Easton at The Staggers says that the Tories are struggling in the Lib Dem marginals. Mike Smithson at wonders if we should be looking at the leader’s approval ratings rather than polls to get insights into how the election might go.

Peter Wrigley at Keynesian Liberal says that while Clegg has a ‘strong hand to play’ he is definitely no Churchill, as some of the media has been recently saying. Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal had some comments on Nick Clegg’s debate rehearsal notes – recently left by a Lib Dem staffer in the back of a Taxi. Mike Smithson at asks if the forthcoming revelations about private donations to Nick Clegg’s personal account in 2006 will affect the Lib Dem poll ‘surge’.

Stuart White at Next Left talked about how welcoming coalition governments could begin a new British way of ‘doing government’, and Gerald Warner blogs at The Telegraph on the ‘catastrophic’ possibility of Nick Clegg offering a referendum on EU membership


Thursday evening saw the second Leader’s debate; this time on International Affairs. Mike Smithson at started the day with four very negative tabloid covers for Nick Clegg; Jonathan Isaby at ConservativeHome follows these stories up, and Iain Dale calls these personal attacks ‘shameful’. Alastair Campbell doesn’t think that these attacks are helping Cameron’s cause a great deal – after all they don’t seem to have worked against Gordon Brown over the last few months. Benedict Brogan at The Telegraph defends the tabloid attacks, calling them ‘scrutiny’ rather than smear. Jonathan Freedland at Guardian Politics says that Clegg will survive these ‘Fleet Street broadsides’, but Guido reckoned the Lib Dems are peaking. Dave Osler at Liberal Conspiracy looked at the Daily Mail’s hypocrisy, over attacking Nick Clegg for his comments on World War 2.

Peter Wrigley at Keynesian Liberal talked about why referendums are unsuitable for the UK., and Stuart Wright at Next Left asked – “Can Labour stay in government if it comes third?” but also suggests that the question itself is wrong – Labour could share power with the Lib Dems in that situation, and Andy Beckett at Guardian Politics, taking a historical view, made a reassessment of the 1977-78 Lib-Lab deal, which against popular opinion, he feels was ‘good for Britain’. Meanwhile, Paul Waugh, over at the Evening Standard, looked at the stakes for the Lib Dems and how they might act depending how the seats are distributed after the election.

Polly Curtis at Guardian Politics on the recent massive surge in voter registrations, making the election’s outcome even more volatile. George Eaton at The Staggers looked at which Tories’ seats were under threat from the Lib Dem surge, while Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting looked at what a Lib Dem government might mean for Scotland.

Mike Smithson at, thinks that after having been Tory leader for 4 and a half years, the public may have tired of David Cameron.

There were many early impressions of the debate: Niles Garner at The Telegraph says that Brown landed the biggest blow, but Cameron came out on top and Clegg looked ‘weak’ on foreign policy; Iain Dale calls it for Cameron, but narrowly; Gary Gibbon at Snowblog thinks that “no-one really took a slice off Clegg”; Michael Tomasky at Guardian Politics thinks Clegg won again, but “not by a slam dunk”; Nick Robinson feels we are now definitely in a “three horse race”, with Clegg not equalling his first debate performance; Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal raps Cameron for not halting the Clegg bandwagon; James Forsyth at Coffee House says that Cameron’s debate performance has improved, but Clegg did not “wither under fire”.


Debate commentary dominated most of the news on Friday, but most observers felt that the result was much more even this time round, and certainly not another ‘total victory’ for Nick Clegg. Dizzy Thinks reckons that it was a Clegg/Cameron draw, while Peter Wrigley at Keynesian Liberal found David Cameron to be unconvincing (Simon Clark at Taking Liberties agrees); Paul Goodman at ConservativeHome tries to take the attention away from the debates, playing down their importance; Peter Hoskin at Coffee House feels that things will remain the same after this debate and that voters will not be flooding back to the Tories over the weekend. John Snow at Snowblog was disappointed by the debate, and Michael White at Guardian Politics examines how the debates may have changed British politics.

In the afternoon Sunder Katwala at Next Left looked at scaremongering leaflets across the parties.

Varun Chandra at Left Foot Forward discussed how a hung parliament has nothing for the markets to fear, but Simon Clark at Taking Liberties definitely does not want one.

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This work by British Politics and Policy at LSE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.