Charles Clarke fears tactical voting for the Lib Dems in Norwich South

Charles Clarke has today in the Eastern Daily Press turned his fire on the Lib Dems as he wakes up to the fact that his Norwich South seat is, under new boundaries, more vulnerable to the Lib Dems than ever.

Mr Clarke says "I am hoping the electors in Norwich South will look at all the candidates and not vote in some kind of tactical way."

Of course not. that would be the last thing he would want. The tactical vote is more likely to shift as there were some people who voted for the then second placed Tory in order to beat Labour, but with the Tories now starting in third, their vote will fall further.

Another factor for Charles Clarke is that he knows that the Greens have done very well at garnering support from Lib Dems and Labour voters in local elections, but that all the evidence from across the country points to the fact that where the Greens do well in local elections, their vote switches to the Lib Dems in general elections. Whilst some people might enjoy having a Green councillor, the last thing they would want is a Green government !

In Oxford East, a real powerhouse nationally for the Greens, the Greens polled more than 25% in the local elections held on the same day as the general election yet in the general election they polled less than 10%, with the Lib Dems picking up most of the vote from them , and narrowly failing to beat another former Labour Minister in that seat.

It is clear that Simon Wright, the Lib Dem candidate in Norwich South has helped transfer the local Lib Dems there. For the first time ever the Lib Dems held a seat that the Greens had targeted whilst the local party's campaigning has sharpened up and is trying to each the standards set by North Norfolk Lib Dems.

And what of the Tories in Norwich South ? No candidate selected yet, their candidate from last time tried to get chosen for another seat and starting in third place in a seat they won in 1983. The Tories themselves admit that their campaigning persuaded enough people not to vote Lib Dem last time and helped keep Charles Clarke the seat. You can do that from second place, but from third ? Less likely I think.


Anonymous said...

You call holding Thorpe Hamlet - an ultra-safe LibDem seat since the 1908s - by a single vote sharp campaigning? I live in Norwich South and don't bet against people making the final jump to a Green parliamentary vote. I'd never do it myself but my neighbours will.

LiBDem high water mark was 05. Downhill all the way now.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Yes, for the first time ever the lib Dems hald a seat the greens had targeted.

s for people switching to vote Green at the GE, why is it that ALL the evidence points to this not happenign ?

Even in Norwich South at the last GE, 7% votedf Green yet in the locals on the same day 20% voted Green.

I would bet my house the Greens will not win Norwich South, they failed to win a majority of the votes in Norwich South in the local elections, so they will hardly do it at the GE.

Anonymous said...

I think yous protestations betray your concern over this. The Greens have had 2 more years to prepare themselves, they are stronger than in 05. To say, well we held Thorpe Hamlet is like the Torie saying, well we held Huntingdon in 1997. Not very convincing I'm afriad. The Green vote will be up, without doubt, and the view in the City is that they take proportionally more LibDem votes. I could be wrong, but that is the way people see it.

Anonymous said...

Greens are doing rather well in Brighton Pavilion. Though admitedly not as well in General Elections than in the local ones, still better than the Lib Dems. And Greens are improving their position in each GE.

Simon Wright? Do you have a link to his site of profile?

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Complete rubbish, Nich. If the Libbies couldn't take this seat in '05, you're screwed now. As two-party politics re-emerges, Lib Dems will split between Labour and Cons.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I base my opinions on fact and experience.

In Oxford, where the Greens have had 10 years to prepare their vote, the Green vote deserts them "en masse" at every General Election. In Brighton where the Greens have a majority of councillors in one seat, they ran a targeted campaign last time and failed abysmally to unset the MP.

The fact is that political knowledge, history and the stats do not add up for the Greens, and ask them in private, they know this.

Of course, there is the brovado, but they have to have this ton convince anyone.

If the Green vote was that robust, how come they still do not poll a majority of votes across Norwich South even in local elections ? If their vcote is so robust, how come more 15% of their voters in the local elecitons didn't support them on the very same day in the General Election ?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Justin, the Lib Dem jumped from thirf to second last time in Norwich South. you are turnign in to Iain Dale in your "the Lib Dems are all over" stories.

Remember how you confideently predicted and knew that a Lib Dem MP was going to defect last Autumn ? Didn't happen did it !

Anonymous said...

Clarke obviously fears the Lib Dems, not the Greens. If he is worried by tactical voting then it is clear that he fears a lumping together of opposition votes around the second placed candidate, which is what tactical voting is.

The Greens on 7% ? Hardly likely to make people believe they can win.

I know of areas of the country that have had Lib Dem controlled councils for years and ahve never made the breakthrough at a general election, indeed, in some of these areas they stay in thrid place at the general election whilst dominateing local elections on the same day, so the Greens should be less cock sure of themselves.

Unthank Road said...

Sorry Nick but I think you have your Lib Dem blinkers on on this one.

To hold on to Thorpe Hamlet was not a triumph - to have lost it would have been a disaster.

And it is not true that the greens had never lost a seat they had targetted before - Henderson 2000 if memeory serves, Nelson 2002, the 3rd seat in Wensum 2004, Wensum 2005.

As for the non-transference of the green vote I can be educated on this one but I would be suprised if in Oxford, Brighton etc that the greens have been as well organised and have had as excellent a spokesperson as is the case in Norwich.

And the 2005 vote as an example does not work as at the time the Greens did not have the credibility of more councillors more votes and more visibility than the Lib Dems across Norwich South.

The signs in Norwich South are not good at all for the Lib Dems, and can't really understand why Charles Clarke is talking them up.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Perhaps you need to be educated about Oxford and Camridge then.

Their national co chairman person Kieth someone was candidate for the Greens there last time, and failed to break through whilst Oxford is the model of how the Greens try to build up in cities. they ahve had more councillors in Oxford than virtually anywhere else for many many years now and are very well organised.

It is fine for people new to politics to buty their heads in the sand, but I argue from a position of knowledge on this issue.

It is interesting though that the Greens appear to be worried by what I am saying because it appears they have been e-mailing people to write things on this blog about what I have written.

Anonymous said...

Note that more votes and in local elections and more seats in local elections does not transfer in to election success at a general election.

If so, how come the Lib Dems run Pendle Council but come third inthe general election ? How come the Lib Dems ran South Norfolk for 12 yeas and never came close to winning that seat ?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Perhsp the example of north norfolk should stand out for the Greens.

In 1995 Labour made sweeping gains on North Norfolk DC, taking 19 seats to the Lib Dems 12 and the Tories 10. So according to the Greens, what should the result be in the general election ?

look it up. You will see that Alabour came third and the Lib Dems remained clear challengers. Building your hope on local election success is not a proven route to success. There is a massive credibility gap between local elections and general elections.

Anonymous said...

"Whilst some people might enjoy having a Green councillor, the last thing they would want is a Green government!"

Obviously the same could be said about Lib Dems. Lib Dem are running many big councils such as Liverpool, Hull and Newcastle, but have failed to win any MPs from these cities.

Antony said...

I couldn't agree with that more Nich, but from facts and experience that I have I'd say that the Greens will do much, much better and largely at the expense of the LibDems. Labour are ramping up the Green threat exactly for that reason, because the vast majority of voters going Green at the moment are former LibDems.

I also agree with the point regarding Thorpe Hamlet - it was a major cock up to let them even get that close, and nobody in Norwich politics believes that seat can be held next time around.

Anyway I'm sure you can't be convinced because you have to ramp the LibDem chances, so we'll have to wait for the voters verdict.

I'm off the campaign ...

Norfolk Blogger said...

I would recommend anyone interested to look at Oxford East as an example.

A strong Green councillor base, arguably the clear alternative to Labour at a local level in local votes, a local Lib Dem party with defections and so called "problems", yet the Lib Dems in second place squeezed the Green vote and came within a whisker of winning.

At the General election, people vote in very different ways. And the wards that had the highest Lib Dem vote in Oxford wast according to the box counts ? The Greeen wards.