Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nick Clegg queries Conservative election spending

Following Nick Clegg's interview on The Sunday Politics this morning, it was his comments on future coalitions and electoral reform that the Guardian chose to headline.

However, these comments were interesting too:
He also claimed the caps on election spending had been broken in the election: "One of the things that needs to happen in the kind of technical postmortem about this general election is how on earth the Conservatives spent such vast American-style sums of money across the country from a centrally directed campaign, which ran a coach and horses through the financial limits on how local candidates can campaign. 
"So they were able to do that. We clearly were not able to match that remotely. I mean, it was a real David and Goliath battle for resources."
Quite who will carry out this postmortem remains to be seen.

I was not convinced by another of Nick's claims:
Clegg blamed the Lib Dem general election collapse on a late swing prompted by a fear that had its genesis in Scotland. 
He said: "My own view is something shifted very, very late in the day in England, in English constituency after English constituency."
First, because a cool look at the idea that Lib Dem MPs would hold on found the evidence wanting - even if I failed to draw the full, awful conclusions in this post from February.

Second, because the Lib Dem vote did not transfer en masse to the Conservatives. As Seth Thévoz and Lewis Baston have demonstrated, it splintered in several directions and the Conservatives gained many seats without increasing their vote at all.
Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
Perhaps the Liberal Democrats need a "technical postmortem" too?


Nick said...

I think the Tories have been very clever at following the letter, if not the spirit, of the law. (Though they were doing it in the 2005 election with nationally funded billboards that talked about 'your local Lib Dem') The scale of the spending was staggering - I can't be on any Tory lists as a potential voter, but got several centrally posted letters, some of which mentioned 'the choice in Colchester' but never mentioned the candidate's name. If that was being done across the constituency, then their spending must have been well into six figures.

Mark Pack said...

The election expense (lack of) rules has become a major problem - for the reasons I've explained at