Liberal Democrat Defence List

These are the remaining Liberal Democrat seats ordered by the lowest percentage majorities. This does not necessarily mean that the seats at the top would be the most vulnerable Liberal Democrats seats in practice.

1. Southport Majority 1322 (3%)
2. Carshalton & Wallington Majority 1510 (3.2%)
3. Orkney & Shetland Majority 817 (3.6%)
4. Sheffield, Hallam Majority 2353 (4.2%)
5. Leeds North West Majority 2907 (6.7%)
6. Ceredigion Majority 3067 (8.2%)
7. North Norfolk Majority 4043 (8.2%)
8. Westmorland & Lonsdale Majority 8949 (18.3%)
Comments - 1,379 Responses on “Lib Dem Defence”
  1. Peter
    Re your description of Cooper doesn’t Starmer fit into the exact same mould?

  2. interesting re. Starmer. I think he’s very similar, and he’s more like Howard in that he is a QC and well-regarded lawyer.

    I think Cooper is better known and knows more about actual politics given her experience in politics itself. there’s also the added value of her gender, for it’s a little embarrassing for progressives that labour have never had a female leader at a time when we are being led by second female Conservative Prime Minister.

    But, on the whole, I agree. I don’t think Starmer is that different from Yvette, in terms of character and qualities.

  3. “but her accent (shock horror I know but very common in her part of the world)….shouldn’t come into it.”

    “Rayner would be the first party leader in decades to be genuinely working class”

    TBH, I think you’ve lost your marbles completely with that comment. By that yardstick you might as well make Ali G Labour leader, or the corpse of Jade Goody.

    PS plenty of working class people are perfectly articulate and can pronounce words properly whatever accent they have. Rayner says “pacific” instead of “specific” and a whole list of other faux pas. If you’re looking for someone to lead Labour further down the drain she’s the one.

  4. HH
    I’m not saying she should be leader I just don’t see her accent as a deterrent in the slightest. And outside of the Tory shires I doubt anyone would care, indeed in some parts of the world it would probably help, feeds into the “she’s one of us” narrative rather than a “metropolitan elite” which will help Lab with many of the voters they have lost down the years.

  5. we have had this rayner debate before. let’s move on.

    the future of labour is the most interesting purely electoral/political question of my experience in British politics.

    It basically asks the question what does the anti-tory vote look like. There’s been a broadly “progressive” anti-tory vote as long as there has been a tory vote, but never have the progressive anti-tories been so fractured (Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dems, the Greens, the SNP, leaving out Northern Ireland)… a coalition of chaos to coin a phrase.

    Under First past the post, it simply doesn’t pay to have multiple challenger parties against a powerful incumbent, the tories. do the labour moderates split and form another party or do they stay and try to recapture the labour party. both paths seem fraught with danger.

  6. Rivers10 – er no.

    Farron, Major, Nuttall are all working class.

    Again to correct you re Rayner – my criticism of her (and from memory HH’s too) previously on her wasn’t her background – it was her boast that ‘left school without any qualifications’ was somehow a good thing. As HH correctly pointed out most working class people wouldn’t proclaim this.

    Indeed I’ve only ever heard it in a few politicians in leaflets or interviews (“I’m from a single mother household / grew up in a council house / left school at 16”) as if they think that qualifies them in some way of itself. It does not.

    I agree we need more WWC politicians, but by definition these have tended to be the ones who have done well and been selected because of that. Not the couple who think it’s a good thing that she wasn’t academic and had 3 kids. Good for her – it makes her the same as 20% of the population but it’s not a qualification or reason to vote for her. Especially not when she comes across in such a dim way: no not her accent, what she says.

  7. “it was her boast that ‘left school without any qualifications’ was somehow a good thing. As HH correctly pointed out most working class people wouldn’t proclaim this.”

    Very true.

    The two most genuine working class PMs of recent times (Callaghan and Major) both stated after they left office that their lack of formal education had limited their performance in the job and their self-confidence, and that they wished they’d gone (or had the chance to go) to university.

  8. Hemmelig, I don’t get your notion of the LDs propping up Labour. Haven’t they pledged not to go into coalition with Corbyn-led Labour?

  9. HH

    You are right about Callaghan and Major. They both lacked self-confidence as a result of leaving school early. For Callaghan it must have been particularly trying as most of the prominent cabinet members in Wilson’s 60s and 70s cabinets were Oxford first class degree holders, academics and/or fairly distinguished writers. Most of sunny Jim s colleagues were far cleverer, better read and educated than he was, and they knew it. Ditto Major.

  10. Lancs
    “Farron, Major, Nuttall are all working class”
    Re Farron and Nuttall I meant of the two major parties. As for Major he wasn’t “properly” working class, his father owned a business and he lived in Cheam, you could at best describe him as lower middle class/upper working class. He certainly cant hold a candle to the poverty Rayner grew up in.

    “it was her boast that ‘left school without any qualifications’ was somehow a good thing”
    She doesn’t boast about it, she point it out, if she was so proud of her lack of qualifications upon leaving school why does she ALWAYS follow it up with how she went to adult education centres and attained her qualifications.

    “Especially not when she comes across in such a dim way: no not her accent, what she says”
    I’ve asked you for multiple examples of supposedly “dim” things she says and you’ve never gave me anything.

  11. There was a fusion of academia, intellectual Oxford senior common room banter and socialism at the top of the Labour Party in the 60s and 70s that seems astonishing looking back. I dimly remember some of these people from the 80s. A different world.

    Denis Healey (Balliol Oxford double first in Classics),
    Roy Jenkins ( Balliol, first in PPE, author of many history books),
    Harold Wilson (Fellow of University College, brilliant first in PPE at Jesus)

    Douglas Jay, Richard Crossman and Tony Crosland were all fellows of various colleges and first class graduates at Oxford. Michael Foot got a second as did Tony Benn, but they all wrote voluminously… Even Harold Wilson was a fairly prolific author even though he wasn’t great at it.Not nearly as good as Woy Jenkins.

    There was another very donnish fellow called Peter Shore, along with younger dottier people like Michael Meacher

    Amazing to think how things have changed in 40 odd years. I am in my mid 40s, not that old by modern standards, but I have dim memories of some of these people from secondary school politics lessons. Can’t quite believe how far removed all this is from the world of Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner, Tom Watson and even Yvette Cooper. Despite Cooper’s first in PPE, I’d sooner expect a gorilla to play the violin than for her to write a good book on Jonathan Swift as Michael Foot did… Just a very different country and culture.

  12. I agree with Peter rather boring debate, particularly around who can pronounce specific; as a dyslexic I’ve always had trouble with it along with computer and ravioli

  13. Anti-intellectualism is sweeping the globe generally. Just look at the buffoons like Trump who get elected. Even Clinton was no intellectual, truth be told.

    There’s some vestige of intellectualism in Rutte, I suppose, who is at least a teacher by trade and has a bit of an asceticism to him. And Merkel, of course, holds a doctorate in chemistry, if memory serves.

    But then you have people like Siplia and Lofven, neither exactly great minds.

    And of course Trudeau, who is not a great mind like his father.

  14. Slightly curious to see anti-intellectualism on the rise after 25 years of pushing everybody into university whether they need/want to go or not

  15. A simplification, Paul. The nature of the economy has changed. It’s information and technology-based now. We need more training for modern professions that don’t count on universities. No one is getting their manufacturing jobs back; that’s why we have mechanization.

  16. Mr Pitt,

    You are right . My father who is 81 remembers Eisenhower, De Gaulle, Truman, Wilson, Churchill and all those guys. He simply doesn’t understand the modern craze for young, inexperienced , stupid or patently untalented leaders. trump isn’t young but he is clearly not in any way qualified. The idea of Rayner or Long Bailey being a political leader in Britain would have been laughable even in my time.

    It’s something to do with entertainment, popular culture, media and general levels of affluence and boredom. The extent to which millions in the U.S. election saw the election as a TV show is not appreciated here. To them Trumps win was the finale of series 1, like the execution of ned stark at the end of series 1 of game of thrones. Trump in the White House is series two. Many voted for him because they didn’t want the Trump reality show to end. I’m sure he sees it this way himself, the apprentice after all lasted 12 years!

  17. Hate to make a somewhat partisan point but the rise of anti intellectualism (I agree it is happening) is primarily the fault of the global right or rather their allies in the media.

    Globally politics has become less a discussion about ideas/policy and more a popularity contest, who can come up with the snappiest slogan and the best sound byte and wittiest put down.

    Unfortunately its the very intelligent (who more often than not are quiet, reserved and perhaps a little bit weird) who lose out to brash buffoons who can shout the loudest. I could give recent examples like Milliband losing to Cameron but that might be construed as partisan but ex prime ministers like Atlee or Macmillan would get crucified in the politics of today despite being vastly better PM’s than any of the sorry candidates these days.

  18. One could equally argue that the era of snappy slogans began (certainly in the UK) with Blair rather than anyone on the right

  19. Paul
    Snappy slogans in particular perhaps but the shift away from policy towards personalities in this country started when the media did a hatchet job on Foot for looking like a tramp. Indeed across the globe it seemed to start when the right/media wanted to make it an election about personalities rather than policies. Carter vs Reagan in 1980 springs to mind.

  20. I think, having lived in the U.S. for a fair part of my life, I can say confidently you are not quite right. Instead, Trump is similar to Brexit: most experts would highly oppose the vote, but a largely white, majority male class of uneducated, underemployed people feel rage, and vote in populist, demagogic leaders and principles. I’m not saying that’s bad or good (certainly, people have a right to be upset by negative conditions). But it’s not that people look at it as television. I think that’s quite wrong — plus, if anything, season 1 was the Revolution, season 2 Washington’s presidency, and so on. This’d be season 55 or so (yes, I realize there are fewer presidents, but some of them have to be worth a couple seasons).

    How about political leaders like Bertil Ohlin? Not many Nobel laureates leading political parties these days.

  21. I was talking to a lad from Milton Keynes (not Maxim) and it seems snappy slogans aren’t new a particular popular one was ‘Let Harold and Bob Finish the Job’.

  22. Well, Eisenhower was mentioned, and in terms of slogans: “I like Ike, ’cause Ike is easy to like” has to be right up there.

    Or the morbidly obese U.S. president Taft, whose somewhat unfortunate slogan was “Get on a raft with Taft.”

  23. Of course slogans have always existed but they used to be something to bind your whole campaign together, these days the slogan is basically the policy.

    “Strong and stable government”
    “Make America great again”
    “Take back control”
    etc etc

    Not a catchy jingle to remind you of the campaign but instead what your being asked to vote for.

  24. We have always had slogans but the leaders never used them directly. Eisenhower would have died rather than sell himself directly in this way . The thing that exercises people like my father is the fact that these leaders seem not to have any qualifications whatsoever for the high responsibilities they hold. When thatcher became Tory leader in 1975, it seemed remarkable to many that she hadn’t held any major office of state (the big 4).

    This simply wouldn’t be much of consideration now. may just happened to have been Home Secretary which helped but others were touted with less experience, de Gaulle, Churchill etc had a career full of testing events and achievements. Contrast Blair in 97, Cameron in 2005 or 2010, Osborne, Miliband, Macron, even the 70 year old trump . These guys had zero experience in govenmrnent. Literally nothing in many cases, when they came to hold very important public offices.

  25. “Make America Great Again” is essentially meaningless.

    There’s also the wonderful Veep (U.S. television programme) gag where the career politician’s slogan is “Continuity with Change.” Too close to reality for comfort, though.

  26. Cameron had been Lamont’s political adviser when he was Chancellor of Exchequer. Macron had been an Employment Minister in Hollande’s administration. Miliband had been Energy and Climate Change Minister in Brown’s Government.

  27. Michael Foots economic policies were abysmal.

  28. Altogether Now (In No Mans Land).

    To be fair that was what Corbyn’s manifesto launched to – as did Kinnock’s – rather than his slogan.

  29. .matt, you are kidding. You think being a SpAd is a good background to being a Prime Minister?You must be under 30!

  30. This site is actually depressing!

  31. ‘But then you have people like Siplia and Lofven, neither exactly great minds.
    And of course Trudeau, who is not a great mind like his father.’

    Just because they are not ‘great minds’ doesn’t make them anti-intellectual though. Trump certainly is, because his entire platform was built on a distrust of intellectuals. But the others? Not so much.

  32. I am under 30. I wasn’t for one minute suggesting a special adviser meant you could be prime minister. I was correcting you when you said they had no experience of government.

  33. Ok Matt, you are right, Cameron was a SpAd for two years I think having worked at cchq. Macron was a minister for two years. My point was that their experience was tiny when you look at the experience of De Gaulle, Churchill, Harold Wilson, Chirac, Thatcher, Mitterand, the list could go on. Yes there were people like Kennedy who broke the mould, there were and are always exceptions, but the trend is clear

  34. Yes that’s probably very true.

  35. Would also like to point out that all these great leaders of the past never made being gay legal or improved womens rights or improved race relations. Some of them (Thatcher) even undid social change and did so much damage to the country we’re still feeling the effects now.
    Boris Johnson is so useless, ineffective and lazy that he didn’t really affect London at all. Thankfully. In eight years he did nothing.

  36. My point being that sometimes having a motivated leader can be worse than having a useless one

  37. Eisenhower , Wilson, even De Gaulle through his facing down the far right on Algeria, all improved race relations or enacted legislation to greater equality.

    i often complain about this site being full of the cyber equivalent of boy racers who think the world started in 2004.

    Quint, you must be about 20!

  38. “Would also like to point out that all these great leaders of the past never made being gay legal”

    One of the stupidest comments I’ve ever read on here.

    Of course they made being gay legal, or it would still by definition be illegal.

    Harold Wilson and Roy Jenkins were responsible for decriminalising homosexuality in England & Wales, Margaret Thatcher decriminalised it in Scotland & Northern Ireland, against the tooth & claw opposition of the unionist parties.

  39. Well said, HH. I know HH is about my age , a bit younger I think. Honestly I feel very old writing on this site. That tells me I should probably stop soon.

    The ignorance of anything that happened before 2010 is alarming.

  40. “The ignorance of anything that happened before 2010 is alarming.”

    And the unwillingness to appreciate the context of very different times.

    It is very easy to be vocally pro-gay today, now that it’s the done thing to be so. In 1967 it was risking career suicide for an ambitious Tory, yet Mrs T was brave enough to vote for decriminalisation.

  41. Section 28 was still fairly abhorrent though. I still don’t understand why that even happened or who was asking for it.

  42. “Margaret Thatcher decriminalised it in Scotland & Northern Ireland, against the tooth & claw opposition of the unionist parties.”

    Thatcher was forced to change the law on homosexuality in Northern Ireland by the decision of the European Court of Human rights in Dudgeon v United Kingdom (1981), rather than as a personal decision to stand up to the unionists.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudgeon_v_United_Kingdom

    It’s worth remembering that this was only 6 years after she had led the campaign for us to Stay in the EEC and she’d not yet gone into anti-EU made as she did in the late 1980s. Also, decriminalisation was unpopular at the time with Northern Irish politicians on all sides – not just the Unionists.

  43. That’s quite an uncharitable post. Thatcher was quite willing to defy the EU on issues she felt strongly about even in the early days, most notably on the UK rebate. She could have done so on this issue had she disagreed with the ruling; of course she also voted for legalisation in 1967 in the first place.

    Your last point is right though – only in recent years have the nationalists become liberal on this kind of thing.

  44. Of course the ECHR and EU are completely different bodies. The UK would have been fined massively through had it not implemented the order.

  45. It was certainly not historically accurate to credit Thatcher for the 1982 Act affecting Northern Ireland in the same way as the likes of Leo Abse and Roy Jenkins can be credited with the 1967 legislation. Lord Gowrie deserves some credit for bringing in the legislation, and correctly predicting that the ECHR would in due course require the Republic of Ireland to follow suit.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/1982-dup-furious-at-gay-law-reforms-1-4648579

  46. The UK can and does defy ECHR when it chooses to do so, see votes for prisoners.

  47. Recent polls should always be treated with caution, but I’m starting to wonder if a Libdem wipeout is indeed possible. It’s becoming more and more likely now.

  48. Farron will hold on in Westmoreland, I can’t see Orkney/Shetland ever falling, I don’t see Plaid winning Ceredigion.

    The other six seats perhaps in the right circumstances but probably not, a wipe-out certainly not.

  49. I could see Edinburgh West, a seat they don’t currently hold, becoming one of their safest seats

  50. Even if their English campaign totally flops I think they’ll win at least 3 seats, most likely at least 4, in Scotland where their candidates are effectively standing as catch-all Unionists rather than Lib Dems. So wipeout is extremely unlikely.

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