How do you turn a nothing in to a crisis ? Get Iain Dale to write about it

I see Iain Dale has got a "turmoil" and "crisis" thing going on in his blog at the moment. Apparently we (Lib Dems) are in "turmoil" over candidate selection HERE and in "meltdown" HERE.

The fact that Iain's statistics are wrong (it never stopped him in North Norfolk, but that's another story and I've buried the hatchet with Iain since then) and his "meltdown" in candidate selections ignores the massive number of seats who have selected and have on-going selections shows that Iain's stories, indeed his "EXCLUSIVE" stories are actually not stories at all.

If it really was a "turmoil" and "meltdown", would there be at least some discussion, indeed, wouldn't it be the main topic of conversation in Lib Dem blogs aggregated ?

Come on Iain, run some real "EXCLUSIVE " stories on, well, REAL stories. These tittle tattle "non" stories don't do your blog any credit at all.


Steve said...

Similar to the posting I made about the BBC.

Your "love-in" with Ian Dale is now over is it Nick ?

Anonymous said...

Looks like he wants to get some work as a spin doctor for the Tories. He's trying too hard to prove his worth to Tory HQ. Shame he can't count.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Steve - I still read Iain's blog and I am pleased Iain and myself now get on. I just happen to think he still "has it in" for the Lib Dems in a way that he doesn't for other parties.

Theses stories are complete non stories, and to dress them up as exclusives looks silly.

Liberal Legend - Perhaps you are right. A friend of mine who has not applied to go on the Tory "A" list, but could, said that he has heard that some Tory A listers are being told they will be taken off the list if they do not start apllying for more seats or prove their worth in other ways.

Justin Hinchcliffe said...


I' am not wanting to score cheap political points but I'm puzzled that there are no ethnic minority Lib Dem MPs. Can you shed any light? And after the next election, this looks set to remain the case. Only one non-white person has been selected so far: Birmingham Hodge Hill - a seat that you're very unlikely to gain (considering that you couldn't even win it in the by-election aided by experts like Mark Pack). The ethnic minoroty Lib Dems that do stand at the next GE will be in unwinnable inner-city seats like Tottenham. Do they ever apply for LibDem-held seats? If not, why not? If if so, why can't they get selected?

Thanks, J.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Firstly, the Lib Dems have not been in a position to "parachute in" ethnic minority candidates in to safe seats like Labour and the Conservatives.

Remember, in 1992, the Lib Dem won just 20 seats, most with small majorities. In 1997, the number went up, but only about three of the 1997 crown of Lib Dems have stood down since then so there have not been many opportunities to select ethnic minorities in their place.

I oculd go down to council level and point out how many thnic minority councillors we have. For example, three in Norfolk alone, compared to non for the the Tories and none ofr Labout that I am aware of, so clearly there is no problem getting people in to the party form ethnic minorities.

There is also a difference in how effective local parties come to organise themselves. Most of our seats are in areas with low numbers of ethnic minorities (I stress most), and selecting PPC's in the first place tends to be from the local electorate of immediate vicinity of the seat.

One significant point is that we DID have an ethnic minority MP until May 2005, but Parmjit Sighn Gill lost Leicester South to Labour.

As for your comment about the Birmingham seat, we do sometimes win seats AFTER by-elecitons. Remember we never won the Chesterfield by-election, and boundary changes make Hodge Hill better next time.

Finally, we do have an EM MEP (Saj Karrim MEP - North West).

Islingtonian said...

Well you seem to have it in for anyone who posts on their blog that there maybe something wrong with LD matters.

Take Suzanne Lamido who commented on her blog about the commonly known problem of Hitchens poor relations with fellow LD female councillors. The man has gone on to head up the diversity effort for LDs FFS. Suzanne gets the elbow!

Norfolk Blogger said...


I do, do I ? I guess your title gives away why you dislike Hitchens so much. Funny how one Lib Dem blogger makes a comment and you believe her (Lamido), so then all the others are lying ?

Anonymous said...

Along the lines of very few incumbents stand down after a few terms and that many “local” candidates are often white in rural seats, you have identified the problems (as you see them). But what are you going to do about them?

The Conservatives' A-List, rightly or wrongly, is an attempt to make the parliamentary party more diverse. We already have two ethnic minority MPs - both in seats which are almost 100% white! After the next election, we should have 6-8 MPs. We also have 2 MEPs. If we can do it, why can’t you?

Will it not look bad for the Lib Dems to have no ethnic minority MPs in the next parliament?

As for Hitchens, I have no idea who's telling the truth and who's telling porkies. If the councillor's claims are indeed true, it would look be odd to appoint Hitchens to that role. What's his track record of involving women and ethnic minorities into Islington Lib Dems? If I were a woman and wanted to win an election, I wouldn't take his advice given he lost his own seat at in the recent elections...

Norfolk Blogger said...

Justin, You have two EM MP's. Both parachuted in. We (in the Lib Dem) have not been in a position to do this AND, most importantly, we do not force candidates on to people. I am happy that there are Lib Dem seats who will select EM candoidates and I am sure we will have some EM MP's after the next general election.

Anonymous said...

Neither were "parachuted in". Both applied, were shortlisted and and were chosen by the entire membership. Who and where (EM LD MPs)?

Norfolk Blogger said...

They have not been selected yet so cannot say.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think any will be selected?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Justin, I know some will be selected, just as was the case in 2005 (they just were not elected). Also, I know how the party works. I think sometimes Tories (with their top down approach) fail to understand the more bottom up approach of the Lib Dems.

Just in case we are boring people, let's take this discussion to e-mail.

Anonymous said...


I'm not Susanne and nor do I live in Islington although I do live in London. I am a liberal democrat. Indeed I'm a liberal and a democrat unlike so many in the party. But your posting is woefully naive. You obviously have a touching faith in the bribe fund that has been set up and the ability of a non-elected tsar (who lost his own seat, and the control of the council to boot, and was given a high profile campaigning role to compensate) to make the difference.

I'm impressed. But how many EM candidates are actually on the approved candidates list? i think you'll find very few. And it's certainly not representative of the population.

I could ask you lots of questions about how you explain current decisions being made over the candidate process, and a feeble attempt to hijack it into looking represenative, but I suspect you
a) don't know the answer (and I do)
b) will simply trot out the party line that norman gives you.

Given that I think you should drop it. However if you were a member of any regional party executive or involved in the english party I think you'd be less wary of jumping to defend the current system and dismiss the current furore. Notice too that most of the english exec and regional parties are not participating. Do you think that's because they have nothing to say? I can tell you that's not the case - Penny is much more representative than you. And as for Ming, well we'll have to live with him. But most of us are far from inspired.

CS Insider said...

CS insider has left a new comment on your post "How do you turn a nothing in to a crisis ? Get Iai...":

At 6/1/07 2:15 PM, Norfolk Blogger said... Your opinion of Susanne is purely based on gossip. You don't know her and in some quarters she is a star. She has been part of some very sucessful campaigns. We have over 40 BME names on PPC's list but unfortunately they do not get selected because most of the membership is white. They do get a no hope seat just for the sake of putting them in place. Justin Hinchcliffe said... Neither were "parachuted in". Both applied, were shortlisted and and were chosen by the entire membership. Who and where (EM LD MPs)? We don't parashute members. If a by-election is called it is historically up to Chris Rennard who is the PPC. There may be a small committee for the sake of trying to be seen to do the correct thing but ultimately it is down to Chris.


Mark Valladares said...

Nich and fellow readers,

Perhaps I can shed a little light on this matter (or not, considering what I have to say)... there is no data on the rates of application for BME approved candidates, although from personal experience - I've been a Returning Officer for the Lib Dems snce 1989 and have presided at all levels up to and including European - the numbers applying for non-urban seats is very low. In fact, I now tend to seek circulation of PPC adverts beyond Liberal Democrat News through e-lists for groups like EMLD (Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats) so as to bring opportunities to their attention, so far without much response.

Until recently, data on ethnicity was not kept by the Party's Candidates Office, and thus it is difficult to assess the real scale of the problem - the point that most of our seats have traditionally been in rural areas with low BME populations may be the key cause - but there is no doubt that if we seriously want to include the broadest possible spectrum of opinion and experience in our government, we need to be, and perceived to be, inclusive.

As a member of the English and London Candidate Committees, I'd like to think that I'm close to the actual information, and best of all, I post in my own name (call me quirky, but I'm always sceptical about anonymous posters...).