Sinking even lower

In response to the LibDems losing 48% of their council seats in Wales, 53% of their seats in Scotland and 40% of their seats in England—not to mention losing their deposit in the London mayoral election—Lembit Öpik has now told us that Nick Clegg can't be in government and leader of the party at the same time. He said,

"You can't do those two full-time jobs at once and get away with it."

BBC, 6 May 2012

That will be news to David Cameron, who would have to choose between being Prime Minister of the UK and remaining leader of the Tories; and to Alex Salmond, who would have to choose between being First Minister of Scotland and remaining leader of the SNP.

Just when we were left wondering if it's possible for the LibDems to sink any further, we get proof that they can.

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22 comments:

Gwilym said...

I think we'll see the total disappearance of the LibDems over the next year or two. Its disappearance might make the choice for voters clearer.

Anonymous said...

Off topic and after the fact, but I wonder could you provide the link for the YouGov poll of last week.
Thanks

Siônnyn said...

While the total disappearance of the LibDems is an attractive prospect, I have to say that the total disappearance of Cheeky Lembit Opik is even more desirable!

MH said...

I think that's a very real possibility, Gwilyn. I touch on it in the more serious post I'll put up in the next day or so.

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Anon, the Welsh Governance Centre commissioned poll is here. For future reference, all YouGov's political polls are on this page, but the full datasets are usually not published until a day or two after the news versions.

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I must admit that it was hard to resist putting up a silly picture of him, Siônnyn. But in the end, I thought his words were silly enough on their own.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to a Welsh Liberal Party take their place. I reckon they'd hold a lot of ground in Powys and Ceredigion and sweep a fair bit of the up the centrist vote in the South.

Anonymous said...

A centrist vote that Plaid should be targetting...

Anonymous said...

The YouGov poll is at YouGov > Public Opinion > Politics.

Lyndon said...

The fall in the LibDem vote cost us dearly in Cardiff, in wards like Canton and Riverside, where Labour hoovered up most of their defecting voters. We need the LibDems to take votes off Labour in areas where we aren't strong.

It's also a bit twp to predict the imminent demise of a party that's been around in some form or other since the 17th century.

Anonymous said...

Anon 14.43 has hit it on the head. I admit, if Plaid did not exist, I would vote LibDem. And I think Plaid should now begin to eat into the gap that will exist once they are gone. Although we should bear in mind that a lot of WelshLibDem's are dependent on what I call the "toff vote" of Powys and Ceredigion.

BTW MH -why is it that YouGov places Wales with the Midlands in YouGov polls? It really annoys me! And I would imagine if we had to join with the English, aren't we more similar to North West/East??.
Can you envisage YouGov changing this in the future?

Anonymous said...

The Lib Dems were doing very well in south Wales before they got into power. Here are a couple of results from the 2010 UK general election:

Pontypridd - 11,435 (31.18%)
Merthyr - 9,951 (31.02%)

So what do Plaid Cymru do following the collapse of the Lib Dems? They elect a leader who has more in common with the SWP, Welsh Communist Party etc than the centrist voter!

Welsh not British said...

If they had any sense then they pull the plug on their half of the axis of evil and announce they will never get in bed with the Tories ever again.

That way they can at least be credited with bringing this government down.

Or they can sink into oblivion.

Anonymous said...

Lyndon, 'in some form or other', exactly. The present form is going down the pan in record time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the YouGov poll. However, where are the data on leader preference etc?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Just to correct Anon 20:30. The LibDems were not doing well in Pontypridd. The LibDems did alot better in the Pontypridd seat in the 1980s under the guise of the SDP. In Pontypridd and I suspect Merthyr they were just a temporary repository for Labour votes at times when Labour are on the 'down' in UK swings, and to return to Labour when the 'swing' goes back. This is not the basis of building a consistent Plaid vote. Whether it's Labour left or SDP/LibDem/Labour light, they are both parties with a UK agenda. Plaid will only win in the valleys but putting forward a distinct USP. This also explains why Plaid made net gains in Rhondda but net losses in Taff Ely part of RCT in the council elections. Plaid are not a substitute for the LibDems. The choice before the voters in the valleys is Welsh or British. Plaid do well where it has a 'cadre' organisation locally and can encapsulate that with good candidates and effective campaign. There is no sustainable support by poaching votes in a culturally socialist community at the whim of temporary shifts in the British spectrum. Your point about the LibDems in the valleys proves this. It is also indicated by a 'leftist indy maverick' winning in Tonyrefail unseating a senior Labour figure. Plaid need to learn from failure in Cynon and Taff Ely in contrast with success in Rhondda. Under attack, we do badly when the party organisation is 'administrative' and do well when the party organisation on the ground is 'en cadre'.

Anonymous said...

The Rhondda has always had a strong sense of nationality though and that has been true throughout Welsh history.

During the Glyndwr Uprising, Rhys Gethin and Cadwgan (a dab hand with a battle axe) lead the brave warriors of the Rhondda into the Battle of Stalling Down. They managed to defeat Henry IV’s English army and forced them to retreat to Cardiff, where the valleys men slaughtered thousands of English colonists in their stronghold, Cardiff (some things never change, huh?). The people of Blaenau Morgannwg would often rise up in support of Gwynedd and the dividing line between the valley and vale is just as strong today.

Anonymous said...

"It is also indicated by a 'leftist indy maverick' winning in Tonyrefail unseating a senior Labour figure"

Russell '5 jobs' Roberts was on 100k a year. I would've been more concerned if he didn't lose his seat. Council leaders were decapitated across Wales.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why MH and others are taking comfort in the misfortunes of the Lib Dems or their potential demise. I would suggest that mental energy would be more profitably engaged in coming up with ways to halt Plaid's alarming slide down the slippery electoral slope.

Anonymous said...

Anon 02:01 is exactly on the ball and right to bring up the SDP showings in the valleys in the past. Talking about "centrist voters" is absurd in the first place. There is nothing in Plaid's programme that is that different from the pre-coalition Lib Dems. There are certainly not any numbers of voters out there who define themselves as "centrist". Another Anon puts it exactly right when he/she says they would vote Libs if Plaid didnt exist. We in Plaid are basically a mixture of Welsh liberals and Welsh socialists- two ideologies that get along well together. Sweeping up the old SDP/Lib Dem vote is crucial but you have to recognise that vote isn't an ideological "centrist" vote as you assume. The other person who says that Leanne Wood is like the SWP or CP (moronic by the way because the SWP and CP are not similar and are bitterly opposed) displays the kind of ineptness that sometimes infects these discussions.

The collapse of the Lib Dems in Wales poses some serious opportunities. Their only real disagreement with us is indepedence. If we can develop what independence would mean for a Wales and England that shared a currency, monarchy and trade zone we could be looking at a historic alignment of Welsh liberalism and Welsh socialism based around home rule. Lloyd George's original unfulfilled dream. What a tantalising prospect.

Anonymous said...

Actually the votes suggest the Lib Dem valleys vote isn't or wasn't 'centrist' or even liberal, it was a left-of-new-labour or at least upset-with-labour protest vote. Believing it to be a more nuanced statement about liberal ideology or centrism is to be crediting the electorate with an unrealistic degree of sophistication. People were pissed off with Labour and wanted an alternative, and in those two valleys constituencies (though not others) the Lib Dems had some half-decent campaigners, nearly all of whom have now been wiped out. Not a centrist vote, sorry.

Anonymous said...

speaking of Merthyr, what happened to Plaid there? Won control of the council there in the 70s and now...nothing?

Anonymous said...

MH no place for Plaid voters to gloat I'm afraid.

Demise of LD would be bad for Wales and Plaid, reverting us to an old 1950s duopoly with no political space for other possibilities.

Plaid won't gain from a LD demise either. As the two devolution votes show, despite their party being strongly in favour of more power for Wales their voters voted against.

Their vote has been described as a 'dust bin vote' in that it's votes come from those who just don't want to go anywhere else during that particular election. It isn't a vote for Liberal Democracy.

LibDem votes will not transfer to Plaid.

M.

Anonymous said...

M. is right about the Lib Dem vote. It isn't a "vote" at all so it won't go anywhere except all over the place. The only cohesive part of the Lib Dem vote will go to Labour, because it was a Labour protest vote and for now there aren't any reasons to protest against Labour. This has in fact already happened last week in the Valleys and the cities.

There's nothing wrong with MH pointing out the Lib Dems' strategic errors though. It is not up to Plaid whether the Lib Dems demise or not. It's not as if MH has control over that or that his comments are hastening or delaying their demise. Adam Price once wrote about the 'death of liberal Wales' along these lines.

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