Coffee House

Tory activists are feeling more confident. What about the Lib Dems?

30 July 2013

A Conservative Home poll, which found that a majority of activists believe that the coalition is good for Britain, is the latest little boost for David Cameron, so says Paul Goodman. The Tories are having a good the summer; confidence is building. Yet there is, as numerous commentators and MPs are keen to stress, some way to go before the party can think of a majority. This means that the Lib Dems, who are likely to hold the balance of power in any future hung parliament, deserve some attention.

There is not much meaty polling about the attitudes of Lib Dem activists; but, what there is, is quite telling:

Do you approve or disapprove of the coalition's record


Preferred outcome after next election


Clegg and Co (or whoever it is in 2015) will be governed by the electoral maths: if David Cameron has the numbers; he will form a government. Yet they can’t ignore their base without risking a rumpus or a split, so a formal coalition is not a certainty in this hypothetical hung parliament. I suspect that activists (of all stripes) realise this.

Elements of the Lib Dem base are making mischief as conference approaches: witness this call to reinstate the 50p tax rate. Clegg and his allies want to stop this sort of tomfoolery with breathy talk about wealth taxes; but their pledges will harden as the election nears, and so will their demands. A referendum on PR was the bauble Clegg demanded of the Tories last time. He will have learned from that unhappy experience.

If David Cameron thought that gay marriage was a tough sell, try squaring a mansion tax or some such with the likes of Sir Edward Leigh. Cameron may shudder at the thought of depending on the 20 or so rebels who reside on the backbenches like bandits in the mountains; but he may find himself with no other option if the Lib Dem leadership chooses to look after Number One.

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    2015 will be driven by how UKIP voters decide. We have no way of knowing that now.

  • CharlietheChump

    David, I’m glad you’re back, but you’re doing a Hardman, no-one here gives a tinkers toss about the LD plague.

  • In2minds

    It’s the 10% we should worry about!

  • Lady Magdalene

    CONservative Party membership has halved under Cameron and most real Conservatives have already left, including many of their activists.
    Most of the remaining members/activists are probably LibCONs like Cameron, so of course a majority are going to support the Coalition.
    It’s the ones who voted with their feet that matter though.

    Cameron can’t go into another coalition with the LibDems if he doesn’t win. And he’s not likely to.

  • CraigStrachan

    The Tories won’t get to a majority without taking 20-plus seats from the Lib Dems.

  • Noa

    Mr Delingpole offers a healthy corrective to the fairy dust that fanciful, optimistic conservatives seem to be sprinkling over themselves at the moment

    • Wessex Man

      Typical Lib/dum polls they kid themselves that we UKip don’t exist so that they can live in theirdreams that they are the third party/way when in fact we overtook them in the by-elections, where in one they lost their deposit and finished behind the loonies, and in the council elections!

  • stanedeid

    Don’t forget: 40 Labour MPs and 11 Lib-dems from Scottish constituencies will be absent from Westminster calculations after Scotland regains its independence in 2014.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The bettors appear to disagree with you.

      • Colin Forbes

        However, we may prefer life without the jocks! Scotland is a drain on the rest of the UKL: we would be much better off without them; and they might just have to sink or swim. Och aye!

        • Noa

          Well you may be right, but, unlike the Scots, we won’t be invited to give our opinion on the matter, nor if Labour and/or the Lib Dems form a government in 2015 gets into power, on the EU either.

          It almost makes one wish for an English nationalist like Alec Salmond. Still, unlike the Lib Dems let’s not forget Nigel Farage and UKIP.

          • Colin Forbes

            I can’t imagine any right-thinking Scot wanting to forgo the opportunity of independence as it is being offered to them on a plate. All ‘economic’ arguments for and against independence are specious as they are beset by assumptions that almost never turn out to hold water. True, Scotland may suffer economically in the short term; but within 20 years they will be a small, viable nation on our fringes – and we will have as much interest in Scottish affairs as we have in the govt of Finland. Westminster will be much more representative of the population of the remaining UK. And we wont have the Scots whinging and complaining about the awful English at every turn. What’s not to like? I can’t see why they really need a referendum which is just a way of putting off the inevitable: they should just get on with it. Nov 30th – St Andrews Day – sounds like a good candidate for Independence Day!

          • Wessex Man

            Courage Noa, we have in Paul Nuttall, Deputy Leader of UKip a man of conviction, who has a Policy porosal to put forward for an English Parliament, the only real Party that is offereng us hope after hopefully the Scots have departed!

            • Noa

              He and I leafleted together in Rotherham last year. An excellent and committed man.

    • HookesLaw

      If Scotland were to vote yes then independence would not come in time for the 2015 election so as I see it then perversely if voting patterns remained the same Labour would get some MPs who would be members for a soon to be foreign country.
      But despite the propagandist the opinion does not seem to favour independence.

      • Wessex Man

        why do you always have to put a dampner on it Hooky, support our Scottish “friends” and then rebuild the wall!

        • Hexhamgeezer

          I hope you mean the Antonine one!

      • stanedeid

        I doubt the rest of the uk would accept MPs from a Scotland that had just voted for independence carrying on as “normal” in Westminster.

  • Robert_Eve

    Gay ‘marriage’ wasn’t a tough sell – it was idiot politicians with no mandate.

  • HookesLaw

    The problem as ever with the LDs is their activist base, the people who vote for them, usually, as a protest are quite different. The activists are clearly mostly left wing and left wing in a nut job sense. They are as much a pacifist bunch as the labour party.

    its doubtful that the benefit they got from the iraq war will now ever come back to them,

  • AnotherDaveB

    LD local government results since the 2010 election are: 2011: 15%, 2012: 16%, 2013: 14%.

    There will be fewer LD MPs in 2015.

    • anyfool

      Sinking poll numbers in Local Government elections, this is where they are at their strongest.
      Excellent news for the country especially if they get wiped out, take the safety rail down at Beachy Head it will save time.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, the LD’s don’t seem relevant now.

      The Cameroons and Millipedes will likely form a coalition government. It shouldn’t be too hard for either, as they agree on nearly everything.

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