Don't let students vote

For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, it seems that the LibDems have the right to set the date of the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. They have opted for 13 January and, as the Independent notes here, the reason for such an early date is obvious: it is before the start of next term, and means that over 1200 students studying at the Huddersfield University campus in Oldham will still be on holiday when by-election takes place.

For a party that owed some of its good results almost entirely to students who relied on their pledge not to increase tuition fees, not even the LibDems would be stupid enough to let those whom they let down so badly have a say in determining the outcome of this by-election.


Unfortunately, Plaid aren't standing, so the voters of Oldham East and Saddleworth aren't exactly spoilt for choice. The interesting thing for us will be to see whether the Tories—who got 26.4% of the vote last time—will run a deliberately lacklustre campaign to tacitly encourage their supporters to vote LibDem. Between them, the two parties got 57.0% of the vote, so even a small switch by Tory voters would easily be enough to get the LibDems in.

If this is what happens, it will give us a very clear idea of how the LibDems and Tories might act in our own Assembly elections a few months later.

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Cai Larsen said...

It would be difficult to do on an Assembly level. Clegg & Cameron might get on like a house on fire, but activists on the ground don't.

glynbeddau said...

I seem yo remember the Lib-Dems were critical of Plaid calling the Ceredigion in the 2000 By-Election during the Student Recess.
For those who have been looking at the Data I posted on my National Left blog on the expenditure in Wales during the Last Election. Here are those of the Main Parties in Oldham and Saddlworth.
Con 11773 Votes £15,904.41 Spent.
Lib 14083 Votes £36,246.62 Spent
Lab 14186 Votes £13,722.81 Spent.

Of course nothing excuses the Labour dirty tricks but Lib-Dems out spent both parties combined.

Anonymous said...

The Lib Dems were able to move the writ since the court had declared the original election void. Technicaly, the party argued, that meant that no-one "held" the seat - and that the tradition of the party holding a seat choosing a date didn't apply.

Any MP can move a by-election writ. I believe I'm right in saying that Dafydd Ellis Thomas moved the writ for Fermanagh & South Tyrone following the death of Bobby Sands.

I'm not sure if Labour could have forced a vote on the writ. If they could they evidently decided it was tacticly unwise. Anyway, 1200 is actually a pretty small student population. I'm guessing that the number of students home for Christmas could be just as great albeit harder to mobolise.

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keven john said...

The student vote can take various forms depending on the context and jurisdiction. It may involve designating specific polling stations on campuses where students can vote, and also If you take my online exam for me service or it could involve absentee voting for students who are unable to physically be present on election day. In some cases, student governments or organizations may organize their own internal elections to select representatives or leaders within the student body.

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