Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Nick Clegg went from Hero to Zero in five years.

 The extraordinary demise of the liberal Democrats in Wales , is a sober lesson  in how careful smaller parties must be in joining a coalition.

It@s hard to remember that it is just over 10 years that the first British leaders' debate  when LibDem leader surpassed expectations.

 Clegg asserted himself as the star of the show, anointed as such by a whopping 51% of those surveyed by an instant Sun/YouGov poll.

Clegg's support rose sharply after the debate, with some polls even putting him ahead of his opponents.

I agree with Nick Nick Clegg poster text art

However the phase did not last long and the Liberal Democrats lost 5 seats .

 Clegg's Liberal Democrats found themselves with 57 seats in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party, which failed to receive a majority, formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, and Clegg was appointed by David Cameron to serve as his Deputy Prime Minister. In this capacity, he became the first leader of the Liberal Democrats to answer for the Prime Minister's Questions, and used his influence in the position to pass the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.[9] Controversy arose during this time surrounding the Liberal Democrats' decision to abandon their pledge to oppose increases in tuition fees, which had previously been a key issue that won the party support from students.[10]

During the party's time in coalition, the Liberal Democrats saw a significant drop in support, and the 2015 general election losing 49 seats and  left the party with just 8 seats, and an incredible  15215 drop in their overall vote.which resulted in Clegg's ousting as Deputy Prime Minister and his resignation as party leader. In 2016,

In the 2010 election in Wales the Liberal Democrats saw some big swings in Labour seats , which would have been major targets in 2015 if the writing was not already on the wall of thier demise.

General election 2010: Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney[14][15][16]
LabourDai Havard14,00743.7-16.8
Liberal DemocratsAmy Kitcher9,95131.0+17.0
ConservativeMaria Hill2,4127.5-1.4
IndependentClive Tovey1,8455.8N/A
Plaid CymruGlyndwr Jones1,6215.1-4.8
BNPRichard Barnes1,1733.7N/A
UKIPAdam Brown8722.7+0.4
Socialist LabourAlan Cowdell1950.6-0.3
Rejected ballots80
Registered electors54,715
Labour holdSwing-16.9

Of the 80 rejected ballots:

  • 22 were either unmarked or it was uncertain who the vote was for.[16]
  • 57 voted for more than one candidate.[16]
  • 1 had writing or mark by which the voter could be identified.[16]
General election 2015: Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney[17][18][19]
LabourGerald Jones[20]17,61953.9+10.2
UKIPDavid Rowlands[21]6,10618.7+16.0
ConservativeBill Rees3,29210.1+2.6
Plaid CymruRhayna Mann3,0999.5+4.4
Liberal DemocratsBob Griffin[22]1,3514.1-26.9
GreenElspeth Parris[23]6031.8N/A
IndependentEddy Blanche4591.4N/A
CommunistRobert Griffiths1860.6N/A
Rejected ballots95
Registered electors61,716
Labour holdSwing-2.8

2010 general election: Pontypridd[40][41]
LabourOwen Smith14,22038.8−15.4
Liberal DemocratsMike Powell11,43531.2+11.2
ConservativeLee Gonzalez5,93216.2+4.6
Plaid CymruIoan Bellin2,6737.3−3.7
UKIPDavid Bevan1,2293.4+0.8
Socialist LabourSimon Parsons4561.2N/A
ChristianDonald Watson3651.0N/A
GreenJohn Matthews3611.0N/A
Registered electors58,205
Labour holdSwing−13.3
2015 general election: Pontypridd[42][43][44]
LabourOwen Smith15,55441.1+2.3
ConservativeAnn-Marie Mason6,56917.3+1.1
UKIPAndrew Tomkinson5,08513.4+10.0
Liberal DemocratsMike Powell4,90412.9−18.3
Plaid CymruOsian Lewis4,34811.5+4.2
GreenKaty Clay9922.6+1.6
Socialist LabourDamien Biggs3320.9−0.3
TUSCEsther Pearson980.3N/A
Rejected ballots96
Registered electors58,940
Labour holdSwing−0.1

General election 2010: Swansea West[21][22][23]
Labour Co-opGeraint Davies12,33534.7-7.1
Liberal DemocratsPeter May11,83133.2+4.3
ConservativeRené Kinzett[24]7,40720.8+4.8
Plaid CymruHarri Roberts1,4374.0-2.5
BNPAlan Bateman9102.6N/A
UKIPTimothy Jenkins7162.0+0.2
GreenKeith Ross4041.1-1.1
IndependentIan McCloy3741.1N/A
TUSCRob Williams1790.5N/A
Registered electors61,334
Labour Co-op holdSwing-5.7
General election 2015: Swansea West[25][26][27]
Labour Co-opGeraint Davies 114,96742.6+7.9
ConservativeEmma Lane7,93122.6+1.8
UKIPMartyn Ford4,74413.5+11.5
Liberal DemocratsChris Holley3,1789.0-24.2
Plaid CymruHarri Roberts2,2666.4+2.4
GreenAshley Wakeling1,7845.1+4.0
TUSCRonnie Job1590.5±0.0
IndependentMaxwell Rosser780.2N/A
Socialist (GB)Brian Johnson [28]490.1N/A
Rejected ballots116
Registered electors58,776
Labour Co-op holdSwing+3.1

ections in the 2010s[edit]

General election 2010: Newport East[11]
LabourJessica Morden12,74437.0-8.2
Liberal DemocratsEd Townsend11,09432.2+8.5
ConservativeDawn Parry7,91823.0-0.4
BNPKeith Jones1,1683.4N/A
Plaid CymruFiona Cross7242.1-1.7
UKIPDavid Rowlands6772.0-1.0
Socialist LabourElizabeth Screen1230.4-0.4
Registered electors54,437
Labour holdSwing-8.3

General election 2015: Newport East[12][13][14]
LabourJessica Morden14,29040.7+3.7
ConservativeNatasha Asghar9,58527.3+4.3
UKIPDavid Stock6,46618.4+16.4
Liberal DemocratsPaul Halliday2,2516.4-25.8
Plaid CymruTony Salkeld[15]1,2313.5+1.4
GreenDavid Mclean[16]8872.5N/A
Socialist LabourShangara Singh Bhatoe3981.1+0.8
Registered electors56,015
Labour holdSwing-0.3

Who knows what the result in 2015 , would have been in these constituencies if the Tories or Labour had  won a majority ten years earlier?

There are academics who can explain why it is junior coalition partners who seem to be punished at the next General Election. It could be that they often rely on a protest vote and when in goverment lose it.

Prehaps the lesson for any party in the UK thinking of joining a coalition is to insist on dumping  the firsdt Past the Post system for a form of proportional representation

The United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum, also known as the UK-wide referendum on the Parliamentary voting system was held on Thursday 5 May 2011 (the same date as local elections in many areas) in the United Kingdom (UK) to choose the method of electing MPs at subsequent general elections. It occurred as a provision of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition agreement drawn up in 2010 (after a general election that had resulted in the first hung parliament since February 1974) and also indirectly in the aftermath of the 2009 expenses scandal. It operated under the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 and was the first national national referen

Referendum failed No13,013,12367.90
Valid votes19,165,73099.41
Invalid or blank votes113,2920.59
Total votes19,279,022100.00
Registered voters and turnout45,684,50142.20
Source: Electoral Commission
The Lib Dem however were suckered into accepting AV as the choice instead of STV and failed to realise how the major parties could muster opposition in the media.

However  the question remains that unless you can guarantees weeping changes to the  UK constitution. PR, Eleted Second Chamber and devolved powers it may be unwise to join either Labour or the Tories in power.

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