LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (5): how do you rate the performances of the current shadow cabinet?

by Stephen Tall on August 8, 2008

All this week, Lib Dem Voice has been publishing the results of our first ever survey of party members. Some 133 of you accessed the survey via our private members’ forum. We don’t pretend it’s a representative sample, but that doesn’t mean it’s without value either. We hope you, LDV’s readers, find it interesting. Perhaps the wider party will, too. This is the first in what we intend to be a monthly survey – if you have ideas for future survey questions, please email me at stephen@libdemvoice.org.

The final question asked members to rate out of 10 the current performance of the Lib Dem shadow cabinet members. Here’s how you scored them, in descending order:

1. Vince Cable, Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor = 8.8
2. Chris Huhne, Shadow Home Secretary, and Shadow Secretary for Justice = 6.6
3. Norman Baker, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport = 6.4
4. Nick Clegg, Leader = 6.3
5. Lynne Featherstone, Spokesperson for Youth and Equality = 6.2
6. Steve Webb, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Energy, Food and Rural Affairs = 6.1
7. David Laws, Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families = 5.8
8. Julia Goldsworthy, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government = 5.7
9. Edward Davey, Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Chair of Campaigns and Communications = 5.7
10. Norman Lamb, Shadow Health Secretary = 5.7
11. Simon Hughes, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, and Party President = 5.5
12. Lord Tom McNally, Lib Dem Leader in the House of Lords = 5.4
13. Susan Kramer, Families Spokesperson, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster = 5.4
Jeremy Browne, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury = 5.4
14. Jenny Willott, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions = 5.2
15. Danny Alexander, Chair of the Manifesto Group = 5.0
16. Don Foster, Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, and Olympics = 5.0
17. Sarah Teather, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform = 4.9
18. Nick Harvey, Shadow Defence Secretary = 4.7
19. Michael Moore, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, and Shadow Secretary for Scotland and Northern Ireland = 4.7
20. Roger Williams, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales = 4.6
21. Stephen Williams, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills = 4.6
22. Lembit Opik, Shadow Minister for Housing = 3.5

LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (1): the Lib Dems and by-elections
LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (2): what you think of Make it Happen’s tax-cutting agenda
LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (3): what do you think of Nick Clegg’s leadership?
LDV members’ survey, August 2008 (4): are the Lib Dems on the right or wrong track?

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No comments

Lembit is really having a tough time at the moment – rejected by LDV readers and rejected by his cheeky fiance.


by Letters From A Tory on August 8, 2008 at 9:03 am. Reply #

These are average ratings and no doubt a few hostile people would have put in a zero which would have a big effect on the final score.

I think Lembit is doing an excellent job, in a very important policy area, and his thoughtful interventions don’t get anything like the coverage they deserve as Stephen Tall pointed out in an LDV posting last month.

Lembit is one of the party’s very best communicators and has certainly inspired a large number of people who would otherwise be indifferent to politics to get involved.

by Paul Harrod on August 8, 2008 at 10:48 am. Reply #

None of them is “Shadow” anything. They’re just spokesmen. Only the official opposition has shadow secretaries of state.

by Bob on August 8, 2008 at 11:15 am. Reply #

Bob – someone should advise the Scottish Conservatives of this!


Seriously though, you are quite wrong. The term shadow implies shadowing a Secretary of State, but it doesn’t have any legal significance, as in “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”.

by Chris Harrison on August 8, 2008 at 11:20 am. Reply #

Teather deserves far better!

by Anonymous on August 8, 2008 at 11:25 am. Reply #

Re: shadow or not?

The Parliament website seems pretty clear on the matter:


by Mike on August 8, 2008 at 11:44 am. Reply #

I know I’ve blotted my copybook with a lot of people this week by suggesting that a large number of grassroots are less than enthused by Clegg’s performance but an average of 6.3/10 isn’t exactly a full-throated endorsement is it?

by James Graham on August 8, 2008 at 12:40 pm. Reply #

Out of interest, what is the median score for each? (serious question)

by James Graham on August 8, 2008 at 12:41 pm. Reply #

What do you mean by ‘full throated’ James? Enthusiastic vocally?!!!

Seriously, when was this survey carried out?

by Jo on August 8, 2008 at 12:53 pm. Reply #

Why haven’t you got a link to Ed Davey’s website? It’s here: http://www.edwarddavey.co.uk/

by Mary Reid on August 8, 2008 at 4:05 pm. Reply #

@Mary, the site auto adds the links to each name, however it was looking for an Ed Davey, not Edward.
Have tweaked some code and it seems to be working now.

by Ryan Cullen on August 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm. Reply #

Thanks, Ryan!

by Mary Reid on August 8, 2008 at 5:22 pm. Reply #

At the time lots of people commented that they gave people 5 because they didn’t know. That kind of inflates ratings. Being a miserable old git i gave 0 to people i didn’t know abot on the grounds that if i didn’t know about them they were doing a very good job. clearer options next time.

by David Morton on August 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm. Reply #

Ultimately, these things are only useful if you repeat the exercise, as ConHome do with their tracking poll. I actually don’t think you need to give clearer options – you just have to accept that some respondents are miserable old gits.

by James Graham on August 8, 2008 at 6:35 pm. Reply #

What ever your feelings about particular MPs, the key thing here is the ordering of rankings rather than the absolute or even average score.

Lembit might be the party’s best communicator but only when it comes to making headlines in the tabloids.

It’s also hardly surprising that front benchers like Teather and Harvey score so low given their very poor media profile.

by Rob on August 8, 2008 at 7:15 pm. Reply #

Thanks James. perhaps you and I could found a SAO for misanthropes?

by Anon on August 8, 2008 at 8:01 pm. Reply #

In answer to James’ query about median scores for the survey, I haven’t the time to work those out… however it is easy to calculate the mode averages (ie, most frequently occurring score) from the survey – as follows:

Vince Cable 10
Nick Clegg 8
Norman Baker 7
Chris Huhne 7
David Laws 7
Steve Webb 7
Lynne Featherstone 6
Danny Alexander 5
Jeremy Browne 5
Edward Davey 5
Don Foster 5
Julia Goldsworthy 5
Nick Harvey 5
Simon Hughes 5
Susan Kramer 5
Norman Lamb 5
Tom McNally 5
Michael Moore 5
Sarah Teather 5
Roger Williams 5
Stephen Williams 5
Jenny Willott 5
Lembit Opik 1

I’m not sure this proves over much (other than that the modal average makes for boring statistics) – but it does show a lot of people rate Nick Clegg pretty highly. But there’s a minority who scored him very lowly, and brought down his mean average.

Still not much good news for Lembit, though, I’m afraid.

by Stephen Tall on August 9, 2008 at 2:01 am. Reply #


Not really suprised at Michael Moore’s low showing considering how far off the political landscape the Lib Dems have fallen up here. A score for Nicol Steven would have been very interesting…

by Allan Moore on August 9, 2008 at 11:43 pm. Reply #

Surprised at Willott and Goldsworthy, I reckon they are really bright.

by Jay Entee on August 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm. Reply #

It’s not the “Shadow Cabinet”

by Romsey Harry on August 10, 2008 at 10:03 pm. Reply #

I agree with the first three. They are stars, and a massive credit to the party.

I am, however, utterly horrified that members would put Julia Goldsworthy anywhere. Goldsworthy shouldn’t be in the Shadow Cabinet. Indeed, she shouldn’t be in the party.

We claim to be a party dedicated to the advancement of human freedom. Yet here is a Shadow Cabinet member who advocates martial law for under-16s – a full frontal assault on that most fundamental of human rights, freedom of movement.

Why did Nick Clegg not do to Goldsworthy what Ted Heath did to Enoch Powell in 1968?

Lord Lester said it is unacceptbale for a Liberal Democrat politician to pander to racist sentiment. And he was right. But it seems to be OK (for Nick Clegg at least) for Julia Goldsworthy to pander to malignant attitudes towards young people.

by Sesenco on August 10, 2008 at 11:45 pm. Reply #

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