Huge turnout for Lib Dems in Zac Goldsmith and Dominic Raab’s seats: LDN #131

Liberal Democrat Newswire #131 came out last week, including how the Liberal Democrat manifesto was put together. You can now read it in full below, but if you’d like the convenience of getting it direct by email in future just sign up for it here.

This edition of Liberal Democrat Newswire is full of stories about the general election, including the huge turnout for campaigning against Zac Goldsmith and Dominic Raab. So let’s get a quick update on the party’s internal elections out of the way first.

The close of polls has been put back to Friday 15th November. If you’ve not yet received your ballots, elections@libdems.org.uk can help (and keep an eye on your spam folder – replies from this address have been landing in spam for some members). More details here and my manifesto is here.

Now on to the general election, for which I’ve been updating my various campaign guides and resources:

Happy reading,


In this edition:

What will the impact be of pro-Remain election deals?

What will the impact of the Unite to Remain electoral arrangements be? No-one knows for sure, but here are the key factors to consider…

1. The simple, direct effects on seat numbers of votes moving because a party doesn’t have a candidate look modest on many calculations, especially because not all votes may move to the ‘right’ place. However…

2. Overall support for the Unite to Remain parties is sharply up on 2017. So there are more potential votes to move around than there would have been in 2017. But more importantly…

3. The very existence of Unite to Remain helps make the election be about Brexit, rather than a repeat of 2017 which started off about Brexit but didn’t stay that way. Setting the agenda this way would be a big gain, especially for the Liberal Democrats. Plus…

4. By participating in cross-party arrangements, all the participating parties get to benefit from the public perception of politicians being non-tribal in their approach to politics (which the public says it likes).

5. For the Liberal Democrats specifically, it also helps blunt the Labour ‘you’re evil’ stuff as it shows the Greens and Plaid not treating the Lib Dems as being beyond the pale.

6. Seat arrangements also allow parties to move around their own financial and voluntary resources more effectively. There are also new resources to be had from those outside all the parties who are willing to back a Unite for Remain arrangement but not an individual party. (That’s been a big part of the Unite To Remain push – bringing in donations fro those willing to back a cross-party Remain push but not willing to donate just to one specific party.)

7. Finally, being the candidate backed by a Remain agreement in a seat gives a proof point for local campaigns who need to persuade voters they have a chance of winning and are worthy recipients of tactical votes.

The impact of all the points in this list after the first one is hard to measure, but their existence is a good reason not to pay attention only to the first one.

Lib Dem campaign training session in Esher

Key election snippets

🔶 What’s in the Liberal Democrat Plan for a Brighter Future?

🔶 “Stop Brexit. Build a brighter future.” – the Lib Dem general election slogan.

🔶 Huge turnout at events for novice grassroots campaigners in Zac Goldsmith and Dominic Raab‘s constituencies.

🔶 Liberal Democrats rule out coalitions with either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn.

🔶 How the Lib Dem policy of revoking Article 50 polls with voters. (In short: it polls very well with Remainers.)

Jo Swinson speaking at an anti-Brexit protest

Jo Swinson’s campaign message in a nutshell.

A lowly poll result can be good news. Here’s why.

The basic rule of thumb for any poll is to be happier the higher your party is. But never to be so happy as to forget it is only one, fallible, data point.

But sometimes there’s good news in less lofty poll results, as shown by the constituency polls published for the Workington and Gedling constituencies. With Lib Dem poll shares of 5% and 6%, those two polls might not appear to give the Liberal Democrats much to cheer.

The good news hiding in those polls though is exactly those single digits. Because they give a pointer towards the overall growth in Lib Dem support – more than doubled across the country since the last general election – is also growth that is taking place very unevenly across the country. Under a first-past-the-post electoral system, uneven growth is good because that means more chances of support being sufficiently concentrated to turn into winning seats.

That’s what the other constituency polls published so far suggest too – with big increases in the Lib Dem vote, taking the party into a winnable position, including in the trio of eye-catching seats of Esher and Walton (Dominic Raab), North East Somerset (Jacob Rees-Mogg) and Wokingham (John Redwood), along with CambridgePortsmouth SouthSouth Cambridgeshire and South East Cambridgeshire.

See a full list of all the constituency poll results so far here.

Jeremy Hargreaves speaking at Lib Dem conference

How the Lib Dem manifesto was finalised

On Friday, the Liberal Democrat general election manifesto was finalised. In a special piece, Federal Policy Committee Vice Chair Jeremy Hargreaves explains what happened.

On Friday night, I chaired the Federal Policy Committee’s meeting to make the final decisions about our party’s manifesto for this general election. It was a marathon seven-hour session for the FPC, where we went through the whole document again, line by line. We had a total of 604 individual suggested amendments in front of us and discussed many specific proposals, from precise tax changes, to foreign affairs issues and details of how individual public services work and much, much more.

We looked very carefully at what our proposals will cost, and have a precise programme showing exactly how we will pay for them. Other parties are often very vague about how they will pay for their bright ideas – by contrast, we will show our costings clearly. There’s been a great example of that this week, when the IFS, the respected independent guardians of financial responsibility, said our Remain Bonus was reasonable – as close to a green light as they give, and in contrast to what they said about some other parties’ plans!

And of course, our manifesto is drawn from the existing body of Liberal Democrat policy passed by party conference. Something the many lobbyists who’ve been contacting me over recent weeks never seem to understand is that if you are looking for it to reverse agreed policy in a major area I’m afraid you will be disappointed!

Because our policy is made by our members at conference, the challenge of writing the manifesto – which has seen a massive amount of work underway for several months, especially by party staff – is to draw together our ideas into a consistent programme, and highlight priorities which help people understand what Liberal Democrats believe, and which will attract voters to us.

The result is a programme for changing Britain that as a party we can be proud of. It is clear, highly distinctive – even apart from Brexit – and practical and implementable policy. Most importantly of all, it is distinctively Liberal Democrat, and is a programme of policies which will make Britain a more liberal place.

There will now be a few days’ work to incorporate all the decisions, iron out any wrinkles, get it proofed, designed and printed – and it will then be formally launched! We hope you like the more liberal society and world it describes.

You don’t have to wait a month for the next Liberal Democrat Newswire email for further news and resources. You can check out the other email lists I run at www.libdemnewswire.com and you can also find online my guides to canvassing and leafleting, my guide to what the Lib Dems believe and my collection of online campaigning tools and resources.

A microphone. Image by Daniel Friesenecker from Pixabay

How are the Lib Dems going to do?

Once again, the night before a Never Mind The Bar Charts recording saw a new MP join the party, which acted as a handy trigger for Stephen Tall and myself to discuss the party’s prospects in the general election. You can hear our attempts to divine the future here and our follow-up on the opening stages of the election campaign here.

With Jo Swinson so much in the frame with the general election, you might also like to listen to the exclusive interview with her which we did earlier in the year.

📱 Find the show on Twitter, give feedback and send in questions for future shows at @barchartpodcast.

🎧 You can also find Never Mind The Bar Charts on the web or in your favourite podcast app.

Liberal Democrat Newswire is provided for free. Thank you so much to all the kind readers who donate to help cover its costs. It’s quick and easy to sign up for a small regular donation with your debit card using GoCardless:
Thank you! (Other donation options, including by PayPal or cheque, are here.)

Responsible bar charting

In case you missed them the first time around, here are highlights from my blog since last time:

⭐ List of Remain Alliance seats published.

📊 Responsible bar charting.

Sun journalist says pro-Brexit protester being paid to turn up.

Kaweh Beheshtizadeh wins Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award

Liberal Democrat selection news

There has been a huge number of selections since last time, but particular congratulations to Kaweh Beheshtizadeh, newly announced as the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for Bracknell.

A former refugee, Kaweh is, I believe, the first former refugee selected as a PPC by the party and has won the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award:

I was inspired to study law by the legal aid solicitor who helped me with my asylum case. My solicitor was really good, but I could see that many other asylum seekers were suffering badly without any proper representation…

I was born in a small village in Iranian Kurdistan during the Iran-Iraq war. Some of my earliest childhood memories were of tragic moments such as the bombardment of our area by the Iraqi air forces, seeing the injured people in our village and the people who had fled from the chemical bombardment in Halabja by the Iraqi regime…

In the last 13 years, I have learned that you should never allow your failures to stop you striving for what often seems to be unachievable. If you focus on your goal, if you dream big and if you work hard, you will achieve your goal.

Kaweh’s story is told in the book, The Ungrateful Refugee.

A special shout-out too for Alex Wagner who looks set to be the youngest candidate in the country.

In other news, Heidi Allen is standing down while Sam Gyimah is standing in Kensington.

You can keep up with the latest list of public selections on my website (and do let me know about any which are missing). If you have been recently selected yourself, this list of tips will, I hope, be useful.

What the voters are saying, part 1

UK General Election Opinion Polls as of 11 November 2019

To get updates about voting intention opinion polls, sign up for Polling UnPacked.

To see all the historical trends for voting intention polls back to 1943 see PollBase.

What the voters are saying, part 2

Only a couple weeks of by-elections since last time, but one of those saw the contests spread out over three days:

🗳️ Lib Dems win first council by-election of the week.
🗳️ Liberal Democrat vote up in this week’s second council by-election.
🗳️ Another day, another increase in the Lib Dem vote in a by-election.
🗳️ Lib Dems lose seat to independents in Cornwall.

To get the full council by-election results every week, sign up for my blog posts digest and to be prepared for a council by-election in your patch, see my 7-step guide to getting ready in advance.

Very wet Lib Dems canvassing in the rain

Other Liberal Democrats in the news

Layla Moran condemns Tories for leaving EU citizens in limbo.

Jo Swinson’s exclusion from the leadership debate is appalling. British politics is regressing.

Luciana Berger reveals toll of fighting antisemitism while Labour MPs refused to stand by her.

Thank you for reading

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Best wishes,


What did you think of this edition?

I really value the views of readers as it helps me decide what to include in future editions.

One response to “Huge turnout for Lib Dems in Zac Goldsmith and Dominic Raab’s seats: LDN #131”

  1. I really don’t like the use of light blue on white. Not so readable on a shiny screen and rather than highlight the text it neutralises it.

    Likewise (if you become Party Chair!) the use by the party of yellow on white and vice versa. Again the yellow disappears into the background.

    Not very easy reading for people with vision problems or just older eyes.

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