Who are the most-quoted opposition MPs?

by Stephen Tall on October 11, 2007

Iain Dale has produced his monthly list of Tory shadow cabinet ‘media tarts’, based on their total number of mentions in the UK newspapers, according to the Lexis-Nexis database.

Rather kindly, he has also compiled the figures for four Lib Dems: Ming Campbell, Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne and Vince Cable.

Merge the two lists, and here’s what we find for September:

1. David Cameron 2527
2. Ming Campbell 701
3. George Osborne 355
4. Nick Clegg 255
5. William Hague 225
6. Chris Huhne 201
7. David Davis 162
8. Vince Cable 152

Yes, that’s right – half of the top eight most-mentioned opposition MPs are on the Lib Dem front bench. Well done fellas.

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Looks impressive til you work out that the combined total for the Lib Dems is almost exactly half the total for Cameron alone…

by Ed on October 11, 2007 at 1:23 pm. Reply #

The only problem with this list, in my view, is the differential between Cameroon and Ming – says more about the media attitude than anything else.

by Cornwall Lib Dem on October 11, 2007 at 1:47 pm. Reply #

I think the stats are instructive and really quite heartening – yes, well done, boys!

But what screams out to me is the lack of women on the list – either Lib Dem or Tory. I don’t think we can blame that on the meida. I wonder what the Labour list looks like…..

by Jo Christie-Smith on October 11, 2007 at 3:08 pm. Reply #

Bit meaningless – In certain months didn’t Mark Oaten come out top of the for, shall we say, politically unhelpful reasons 🙂

by Hywel Morgan on October 11, 2007 at 3:20 pm. Reply #

Hywel: That could be true, but it isn’t really here, I don’t think. It applies about equally to David Cameron and Ming, I suspect, and none of the rest have been the subject of much sillybollocks lately.

by Andy Hinton on October 11, 2007 at 3:27 pm. Reply #

If most of the stories about the Lib Dems in september contained the words Ming Campbell leadership young turks chris huhne and nick clegg it would make you ponder the value of this sort of list… 🙂

by Ed on October 11, 2007 at 3:51 pm. Reply #

I still struggle, I genuinely struggle to get my head around why exactly it is people even bother to be LibDems.

Why? Name me 5 major philosophical differences between DimLebs & Bottled-Broon Labour. Okay name me THREE major philisophical differences?

……Oh alright then!! Just name me ONE major philisophical difference that so desperately seperates Mings’ Zingers from Brown’s’ Bottlers???????

Perhaps thats why without true guiding beliefs, principles or vision DimLeb ‘action’ manifests itself in weasel-ly, snide campaigning behaviour which we all know is the hallmark of the Lib Dems at a local level.

If you believe in Top-down, Government by diktat, beauracracy, mammoth waste and lack of choice (and vLib Dem Councils CERTAINLY DO!!!!) then join Labour, however if you are truly ‘Liberal’ and believe in freedom (rather than just political office for non-entities, another hallmark of DimLebs!) greater public services choice and that taxpayers can retain more of THEIR hard-earned income without damaging the public purse (Labour after all blowing £28 BILLION on the Iraq War and having the bare-faced cheek to question Tory Tax tinkering changes to the tune of a mere £2.5 Billion!).

I am sure that not all Liberal Dem’ activists are the meek, mild-mannered, vacous non-entities of legend – granted all the Lib Dems I have met in Newcastle are like that! – and there must be genuine believers in individual freedom over an over-mighty state!

I say to all of these people, come join us in the Consevative party you wonderful, wonderful but sadly misguided folk, you will get the warmest of welcomes.

I am sure being believers in Liberty and Freedom you will actually publish this!!!

by Geordie-Tory on October 11, 2007 at 5:08 pm. Reply #

I suspect these figures are slightly misleading. How many of those media mentions of Campbell, Clegg and Huhne were actually negative stories about the future Liberal Democrat leadership? Quite a few, I suspect.

Also of course September included the entirety of the Liberal Democrat conference and aftermath, whereas the Conservative conference ran into October…

by Iain Lindley on October 11, 2007 at 5:12 pm. Reply #

Geordie-Tory, I actually think the difficult issue would be to find philosophical differences between Labour and the Tories – they’re both in favour of the free market and weak local Government (albeit traditionally for different reasons; Labour seeking to impose standards from above, the Tories seeking to cut the amount of money spent).
The Labour party still describes itself as promoting democratic socialism – it’s arguable whether this is actually true in practice. But technically this would mean that the means of production should be controlled by the people through the (democratically elected) state. Traditional socialist concerns are: public ownership of key industries, Government intervention in the economy, redistribution of wealth, increased rights for workers and trade unions, and the welfare state. We can see why this lends itself to a rather authoritarian outlook – in the sense that the state, as the democratic representative of the people, needs to ensure that the “public good” that it determines is attained.

In contrast, I feel that Liberal Democrats believe that the promotion of the rights of the individual is the ultimate good: that this is the best way to promote creativity, happiness and the best decisions.
I think it’s clear that they accept that this is a balancing act, and there are contradictions, but that there needs to be some state intervention to ensure a level playing field, to ensure that the vulnerable are protected.
Some Lib Dems would even describe this as socialism (and themselves as socialists). There is an acceptance that decision-making is better when it’s taken at the most appropriate level (be it local, national, or supranational), and that devolution and localism would mean that approaches taken by different areas might lead to better and poorer services across the country. This is not uncontrovertial. I personally believe it would lead to experimentation and vitality, good ideas would flourish as they were copied across the country whereas poor ones would be abandoned. I can’t really reconcile that with the short-term harm that would be caused in poor performing areas.

I’m not really sure what the Tories stand for. Historically, they prided themselves on being the party of pragmatism not principles. The Tories I know tend to authoritarianism and centralisation, as they largely feel that political and technical elites make better decisions than the public. Some tend to ‘managerialism’, thinking the role of the state is to administer, but not to progress or improve the lot of people. I think there’s a distrust of local Government (unless they control it) as it can’t be trusted not to spend too much money and its functions would be more efficiently carried out by private or voluntary organisations. Many feel that they should have no responsibility for much more than their own family, unless they choose to, and therefore resent the amount of taxation needed to support the welfare state.

by Grammar Police on October 11, 2007 at 5:52 pm. Reply #

I think Geordie Tory is a thick prick. Go on then LDV, remove my post, I’m in a bad mood, I don’t care.

by welshproudliberal on October 11, 2007 at 10:23 pm. Reply #

OK. Three major philosphical differences between Lib Dems & Labour

(1) Civil liberties
(2) The green agenda
(3) Internationalism

On the first the Lib Dems were campaigning against ID cards while the Tories couldn’t make up their minds.

On the second the Tory record is worse than Labour’s. For Cameron, the green agenda was just a marketting excercise, now forgotten.

On the third, the Tories voted for the invasion of Iraq.

I could name a few more:- Constitutional reform, fairness in taxation and local government. On all of these too the Tories would be closer to Labour.

Come to think of it, what is the difference between Labour and the Tories?

by Richard Church on October 12, 2007 at 8:43 am. Reply #

Your problem is that the whole of your conference was in this calculation, whereas the Conservatives had only the first day – Sunday – the events of which were not reported until the first day of the next month!!

Hardly like for like.

by Kevin Davis on October 12, 2007 at 8:49 am. Reply #

The reason I cannot seriously entertain voting LibDem is twofold. First, you have a history of appointing terrible leaders who in succession make your party look laughable. My memory doesn’t go back before Jeremy Thorpe, but he is chiefly famous for standing trial for conspiracy to murder his homosexual prostitute ex-boyfriend. The preposterous David Steel is famous for telling us in 1981 that he had the next general election in the bag, and then for playing Robin to David Owen’s Batman – to this day, I think of him as being glove-puppet sized. Then we had the condescending patrician philanderer Pantsdown, who is famous only for having rogered someone. Charles Kennedy is famous for being a lying alcoholic. And now you’ve given us Men’s Ease Campbell, who resembles nothing so much as a senile old geography teacher whom the Remove like to rag, and is famous for being a stupid, pompous old goat.

A party with such appalling leaders presumably consists of even more appalling rank and file, and so yours does. It gets worse when one looks at your current leadership alternatives. Oaten had to drop out of the leadership contest after paying his homosexual prostitute to excrete upon his face. Simon Hughes ‘fessed up – 23 years on – to being a lifter having campaigned against Peter Tatchell as “the straight choice for Bermondsey”. Very funny, chaps; I can hardly wait for his homosexual prostitute to come out of the woodwork. One will, chaps, one will. Sarah Teather is a vacuous muppet, taken seriously only because by the standards of your party she is an intellectual heavyweight, and because at least with her there is little chance that a homosexual prostitute will enter the picture. Clegg? Huhne? Who they? Do they have any opinions? Have they ever had a real job? I guess we can ask their homosexual prostitutes, when they emerge.

You best bet is probably Vince Cable, who has had a real job, isn’t Scottish, and does not appear to be a sexual deviant. I disagree with most of what he comes out with, but at least there is some sort of intellectual process going on there such that his opinions are presumably open to being influenced by facts or arguments.

But you won’t go for him – on previous form, you’ll stay in your comfort zone and vote for a patronising Scottish closet homosexual, which in terms of Lib Dem leaders represents all your birthdays and Christmases come at once. At some point, the hapless schmuck will have to disown your stupid proposal to charge a local income tax though. We pay two already and it is simply a tax on the inflated cost of living in the south. If you taxed what people were left with after taking the average local house price less the average local mortgage, then you might be on to something. Justly, but unfortunately for your electoral prospects however, this would make those buggers in the north pay their fair share for a change, so you won’t like that.

You have really not caught up at all with how the landscape has changed in recent weeks. British society now consists broadly of four layers. At the top you have Labour’s super-rich immigrant class, who pay no tax. At the bottom you have Labour’s immigrant and welfare class, who also pay no tax, do no work, and collect enormous benefits. In the middle you have the public sector elite, who have non-jobs for life, do less work every year and collect enormous final salary pensions. And finally you have the fourth group, the privately-employed middle class, who get nothing, but pay for everything the other three groups consume, and as a result cannot afford pensions of their own.

The first group funds Labour. The middle two groups are almost the entire Potemkin economy of northern England, Scotland, and Ulster. You don’t have any plans to sort out any of these tapeworm. So what of the fourth?

You as a party – along with Labour – give the impression of viscerally hating the last group, at whom you sneer as “the rich”, “the middle class”, and so forth. A more accurate term for them might be “the productive minority”. Any reduction of the tax this group pays is instantly condemned by you as a “middle class subsidy”, as though it is somehow a perk for this class to get anything back in exchange for everything they put in.

Until you get with the programme and recognise that 10 more years of socialism is not the cure to the last 10 years of socialism, and that the productive minority has finally lost patience with funding everyone else’s perks, you are screwed as a party.

Meanwhile, you only ever prop up Labour in power, never the Tories; as Thatcher said, a vote for you is a vote for Labour. If Men’s Ease’s “leadership” doesn’t destroy you, then the sickening spectacle of your party propping up Labour after you come second and third in the next election will do the job.

by Men's Ease Campbell Fan on October 12, 2007 at 5:11 pm. Reply #

I started to read comment 4. I got into, I think, paragraph 3, and realised it was nothing but ill-informed homophobic ranting, and gave up as tl;dr.

As for Paddy only famous for shagging someone? Um, right. I think the people of Bosnia would say differently, as indeed would most of the party.

And IIRC that headline, and the way he handled it incredibly well, went down fairly well with the electorate, didn’t our poll rating go up and we got a (then) record number of seats in the immediate aftermath?

by MatGB on October 12, 2007 at 6:06 pm. Reply #

Sorry, meant comment 13, brain fart.

by MatGB on October 12, 2007 at 6:07 pm. Reply #

Although I shouldn’t really reply to such homophobic twaddle, I thought I’d point out that Simon Hughes did not campaign as “*the* straight choice”. The literature that you’re referring to stated “It’s a straight choice between Simon Hughes and [the Labour party candidate]” which is kinda similar to “It’s a two-horse race” etc that we use now and it was common at the time. Perhaps(?) it was knowing; but it certainly wasn’t the explicit homophobia you’re suggesting

by Grammar Police on October 12, 2007 at 6:24 pm. Reply #

Ooh, MatGB, excuse me for noticing the tenedency of the Liberal front bench to enjoy the company of homosexual prostitutes. Imagine someone having the bad taste to bring that up! What a cow I am! LOL.

You have to laugh at the pot / kettle / black hypocrisy of Liberals calling other people “homophobic”. Your party is homophobic when it suits you, racist when it suits you, Islamofascist when it suits you – you name it, some Liberal somewhere has campaigned on it.

As for Paddy Pantsdown, well I hate to burst your bubble but 1 or 2 thousand Party members knowing what the condescending old philanderer thinks he did in Bosnia is not going to win you any votes. He is remembered only for dropping his pants, in exactly the same way that Jeremy Thorpe is remembered only for being tried for criminal conspiracy.

Until you quit the navel-gazing and recognise that your pygmy leaders are sending an all-too-accurate message to the punters about what you’re all really like, you’re doomed. You can either shave your beards off, get rid of your grey slip-on shoes and reform yourselves root-and-branch into a classical liberal party, or you can merge your last 5 or 6 MPs with the Labour Party after you and they blow the next election.

by Men's Ease Campbell Fan on October 12, 2007 at 8:06 pm. Reply #

@ Grammar Police: Ah, well, that article makes all the difference, doesn’t it? So that’s all right then.

In which case, why did Hughes apologise to Tatchell for his own campaign?

Here you go:-

During the by-election, won by Mr Hughes with one of the biggest recorded swings against Labour, the then Liberal party presented him as “the straight choice” while Mr Tatchell was smeared by political rivals.

Mr Hughes told the BBC’s Newsnight programme: “I hope that there will never be that sort of campaign again. I have never been comfortable about the whole of that campaign, as Peter knows, and I said that to him in the past . . . Where there were things that were inappropriate or wrong, I apologise for that.”

“The Liberals fought a very dirty campaign during the Bermondsey by-election,” Peter Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk. “Some of their male canvassers went around the constituency wearing lapel stickers emblazoned with the words ‘I’ve been kissed by Peter Tatchell’, in a blatant bid to win the homophobic vote.”


Oh dear! Checkmate I think.

by Men's Ease Campbell Fan on October 12, 2007 at 8:13 pm. Reply #

Ranting ‘Fan’ – see, this is why you’ll never be comfortable with us. We’re happy in our personal lives, and don’t care who people are sleeping with, so long as they’re consenting adults. Until you realise that respect for peoples privacy and their private lives is a fairly fundamental part of being a liberal, you’ll never understand us.

by Greg Lowis on October 12, 2007 at 8:17 pm. Reply #

Well, it all depends what you mean by “happy”, doesn’t it Greg? You see, you happy liberals don’t seem too good at making those around you happy. I don’t imagine Norman Scott was very “happy” with Jeremy, what with him shooting his dog and all. I’m sure Mrs Pantsdown took Paddy’s excellent work in Bosnia into consideration when she found out he’d been boffing some floozy, because they’re happy liberals together. And as for Mrs Oaten, well, what a bigot she must be! What was wrong with Mark liking rent boys to cack on his face, as long as he cleaned it off afterwards? They’re consenting adults, right? So what’s the narrow-minded bitch’s problem?

And as for Simon Hughes, well, he must be happy in his personal life too – after all, he destroyed Peter Tatchell’s, all for personal political advantage!

These are all happy Liberals, huh? And you can’t figure out why you sorry no-hopers are running 11% in the polls?

by Men's Ease Campbell Fan on October 12, 2007 at 10:42 pm. Reply #

The words quality, not quantity ring to mind. However, it’s not as if the press are the most friendly entity towards the Liberal Democrats. I just hope the Huhneites and Cleggites within the party don’t use it as an opportunity to stab Ming in the back further.

by LIberAll on October 12, 2007 at 11:00 pm. Reply #

Quoting an article that merely repeates the (deliberate?) mistruth that Simon Hughes’ leafelts told people to vote for him as “the straight choice” doesn’t make it true. I’ve seen copies of the leaflets, and they instead stated “it’s a straight choice between . . .” etc, a phrase used on Liberal leaflets of the time, like “it’s a two-horse race between . . .” is used now. Simon was probably right to apologise for the by-election campaign, but the deliberate and explicit homophobia which you want to imply by “the straight choice” nonsense merely isn’t true. I’m sure there was some homophobic behaviour during the election campaign; doesn’t mean it was organised by the Liberal Party “in a blatant bid” to take the vote of people who wouldn’t vote for a gay.
“checkmate, I think”. Indeed. I think you need to calm down a bit.

by Grammar Police on October 12, 2007 at 11:19 pm. Reply #

I am so not in the mood to argue with some pathetic cowardly troll who doesn’t even have the very basic decency of putting his name to his filth. Everything you referenced falls into the category of private life – Mrs Oaten’s reaction is as irrelevent as Mr Oaten’s actions in the first place, and we should have the same knowledge of both of them – none at all. As long as a person’s public views are consistent with their private lives, every grubby nose should stay the hell out of them. So for example, Tory drug taking is an issue, because those hypocrites have two nasty habits – damning it before indulging in it.

Speaking of which, you’ll find your hate rather more at home here.

by Greg Lowis on October 12, 2007 at 11:23 pm. Reply #

“Boffing some floozy”?

Good heavens, who is this person? Can anything be done about them?

by Alix on October 12, 2007 at 11:49 pm. Reply #

As the Fan seems to know nothing of the facts around the Bermondsey by-election and is repeating half-truths and misinformation, I’ll just point out that the “I’ve been kissed” badges were made and worn by members of the Liberal Gay Action group as a protest about Tatchell hiding his sexuality, and that it was the “Real Labour” (or whatever it was called) that ran the homophobic campaign—all a matter of public record. In addition, it happened when many of us weren’t invloved at all, I was 9 FFS, times have changes, we’ve all moved on.

That our party has been the most progressive on gay rights for the last 4 GEs at least is something I’m damn proud of, don’t know about the rest of you. But it appear Fan will clutch at any straw.

Shame they’re normally straw men.

I concur with Alix (again). Go away little troll, your bridge misses you.

by MatGB on October 13, 2007 at 12:29 am. Reply #

Alix and Mat, I think the sad thing here is that we were all posting on Lib Dem voice on a Friday night . . . ! ;o)

by Grammar PCSO on October 13, 2007 at 11:03 am. Reply #

Jo, re 3. I can’t remember which Conservative pointed out a few months ago that there were more people called David in the Tory Shadow Cabinet than there were women.
It’s desperate really. I count a ‘Blair Babe’ among my friends and believe me, the sense of betrayal many of them feel is manifest. The Tories are hopeless and rarely select women, unless they are ‘a nice little filly’.
What about the Lib Dems? I weigh my words with care, but the facts are simple.
A few years ago the WLD seemed to be everywhere, the gender balance task force was a major player in the party at every level. But over the last few years many of the leading women behind it have all either been elected or are now standing for target seats and it has more or less disappeared from view. Therein lies the problem. Far too often ‘principles’ are being used to promote personal advantage. I have been urging for some time to anyone who will listen (few and far between in a party where dogma has become even more rigid than in the Vatican) that if we really want more women involved we have to start at the bottom. In my area at Town and District Council level, we generally have a good balance, at County level, less good, certainly among the ‘leading lights’, and we have not one woman PPC in the county. In other words the Gender Balance Task Force should be concentrating on reaching down to Lib Dem councillors at Parish, Town and District Council levels and working with them and training them to move up to the next level, until gradually we have a pool of experienced and trained women PPC’s. We really must understand that real change is evolutionary and we need consistent hard work to improve this situation.

by Martin Land on October 13, 2007 at 12:02 pm. Reply #

@Grammar: Note that my post was made after midnight—ie after we came home from the pub.

@Martin: Partially I suspect staffing issues-met the new staff co-ordinator for CFGB at Brighton a few times, was very impressed, and there’s movement on a few other issues as well.

I do however remain strngly of the opinion that the answer to gender balance issues is STV, but then that is my answer to most things at the moment.

by MatGB on October 13, 2007 at 12:15 pm. Reply #

Wow – this is better than anything we get on Labour Home.

Men’s Ease Campbell Fan you have hit the nail on the head about our bearded friends.

Two LibDems councillors have been removed in Craven (separate incidents) for having interesting content on their computers.

Their holier than thou attitudes really sicken me. At least with the Tories you know where you stand. (and not have to worry about picking up that fiver you just dropped)

by John Craig on October 13, 2007 at 4:27 pm. Reply #

Hmmmm. I think I used to know you John, and your attitude disappoints me, as you always used to be quite reasonable.

I’ve met people of principle from all parties, and I’ve met cringeworthy careerists in all too. Indeed, why would a careerist join us? Far better for your career to become a Tory or Labourite.

The truth is, membership of a certain party doesn’t say anything about your personal qualities; at the very least it’s lazy thinking to say otherwise – and actually says a lot about the person who comes out with it.

(Although, yes you’re right Labour Home is dull and unimaginative, much like our tired Labour Government!)

by Grammar "Special" on October 13, 2007 at 5:22 pm. Reply #

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