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'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Friday, 16 September 2011

The seat of a well known South Yorkshire MP is being abolished. He's not called Clegg

Amongst all the heat and remarkaby little light accompanying the publication of the draft proposals from the Bounday Commission, a common theme has been that our glorious leader is in dreadful trouble, as Dorries-like, his seat is being abolished.

In fact, it isn't. It's been renamed but remains largely intact.

Even when the press is adopting a slightly more measured approach, it's reporting is rather misleading. Take this from The Daily Telegraph for example...

Obviously, Nick Clegg's in trouble: Clegg's seat, Sheffield Hallam, has been abolished and replaced with a new seat, Sheffield West and Penistone, which will now include a fairly large chunk of the Penistone and Stocksbridge seat, a fairly safe Labour seat. If voting behaviour was the same in 2015 as in 2010, that could benefit the Lib Dems by shifting the balance in Nick Clegg's seat slightly against the Lib Dems but benefitting the party in neighbouring seats. But given that the voters who opted for Clegg in 2010 seem unlikely to choose to do so in 2015, that will be little comfort for the Lib Dem leader: an unfortunate exit just became a little bit more likely.

Lordy, I thought. How's that going to pan out? How close did Labour run Nick in 2010? Will the new wards make the difference?

Well: here's a screengrab from the 2010 election results for Sheffield Hallam.

Yep. Not really that marginal. And more to the point, not that marginal vs. Labour.

Now I'm not saying Nick and the good Lib Dems of Sheffield Hallam should sit back and relax. But this doesn't sound like disasterous news to me.

So, if it's not Nick, who is the high profile South Yorkshire MP currently having sleepless nights?

It's David Blunkett. As this excellent analysis describes.

( I think I'm meant to be as pleased about Blunkett as Dorries - but sorry, as with Ken Clarke, I can't summon up quite the same sense of schadenfreude...)


  1. Good post.

    What the Daily Telegraph also hasn't realised is that the two new wards coming being added to Sheffield Hallam are Penistone West which has traditionally been the most Conservative bit of Barnsley and has Tory councillors, and Stocksbridge ward which has also had Lib Dem councillors for about the last 20 years (although we did lost it this year).

    They've also forgotten (which many people who don't know Sheffield do) is that Sheffield Hallam is one of the most affluent constituencies in the whole country and was once pretty solidly Tory. So yes, we have squeezed the Labour vote, but many of the people who have started voting for us in such huge numbers must have once been Conservative or might have been in another seat.

    Anders (ex Hallam organiser)

  2. Hey thanks - rather too much 'top line analysis ' going on in general I suspect ( though I'm JUST as bad as anyone else on that score) :-)

  3. I can confirm we have no plans to sit back and relax.