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Summary - Grin with cat attached
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Summary May. 6th, 2005 12:31 pm
So, Howard's jumped... no loss there then. Expect lots of "deliberate visibility" from potential new leaders, hopefully giving Blair a hard time.

The overall result was, to be honest, about as good as could be hoped for from the third party in our horse-race system; we now have 62 MPs (more than any time since the 1920s) and 23% of the popular vote. I'm obliged to say that if representation were actually proportional, that'd provide 146 MPs - but of course, if representation really were proportional, we'd get rid of the ludicrous "third party" stigma and most likely get a larger share of the vote anyway. Who knows, it could even surpass the Tories...

In any case, we now have an ever-more determined parlimentary party, in a situation where they can have a real effect.

What was somewhat unexpected to many was where these new seats came from - there seemed to be a general expectation that we'd be taking seats from the Tories under the so-called "decapitation strategy". Well, I don't know how much that was actually expected to happen; I think it was more an artefact of strong LD ideological opposition to Tory policies (there being a strong feeling in the party that the Tories are unfit to govern, and even morally abhorent). Tory voters are not, I suspect, likely converts to the higher top-end tax, honest accounting policies of the LDs, having been notoriously inventive with their financial promises in the past. Still, it was very gratifying to see gains from Labour, helping to take their majority down to more manageble levels.

The term "The Real Alternative" was also rather misinterpreted (or possibly Paxman, for one, was just being deliberately obtuse again) - there was never a great likelihood of overtaking Tory vote share; the point was instead that LDs had the energy, integrity and policies to be more effective and useful than their Tory counterparts.

LD votes were not purely protest votes, either, although we can expect plenty of claims in the near future - and at the next campaign - that they were, and that people should again "vote properly". The party campaigned on a consistent ideology of Freedom, Fairness and Trust, on honest and costed policies, and it's paid off, both in terms of seats and in terms of leaving us a clear ongoing path. There may be lessons to be learned from the seats we lost and narrowly missed out on in terms of resourcing issues, but LDs famously lack in large sponsors, and I think they've done well in general with what we've been able to provide.
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