Irfan Ahmed (who no longer deserves links for stupidity) is today asking 'Who Picked the Lib Dem Target Seats?'. Why? Because leading Tory blogger Iain Dale is questioning the decision.
Now I don't have my scrawlings on me from 6-8 May 2005 from when I started to see which seats we were strong in after the last General Election. Nor have I been too up on the change to boundaries in England, with Scotland pretty settled for Westminster this time, I've been more concerned with council and now Scottish Parliamentary boundary changes. However, I'm sure I’m not the only Lib Dem anorak who drew up an order of attack of winnable seats.
It must be remembered, although I doubt Irfan looked at it like that, that in 2005 the Tories made little inroad into Labour after making none at all in 2001. They had pretty much at that time flat-lined. Of course Labour have since gone into freefall which somehow in our two party focused media makes no idea’s Tories the team to push rather than the brimming with ideas Lib Dems.
Also the reason that most of the targets were Tories is that we lost a few of our seats narrowly to the Conservatives in 2005. They were places of strength that we could fight to win back. A lot of our gains were also in Labour seats. So by winning in Labour seats and losing to Tories a policy of equidistance to both parties obviously leads to the conclusion that I, other and the campaign team did of which were the most winnable seats next time out.
Or course electoral calculus is a constantly shifty art as opinion polls can rise and fall like the spring tide. But to set out to win a seat is a task of years Of course there are also the few surprises each time based on local conditions, remember Manchester Whittingham, did any Lib Dem see that coming? The fact is the list is split 16-14 Conservative to Labour is based purely on swing required to win, of course there are others on the list of target that Mr Dale hasn't even listed.
Irfan before you put all your faith in Conservatives talk of targeting seats look at a few object lessons. Personally I present Edinburgh South. In 2005 two of their held wards (under the old single councillor boundaries) moved into the Scottish seat. They were still only third in number of held wards in the seat but they said they were going to win. They missed by about 4,000 votes the Lib Dems missed by 405. They still consider it a target seat but across the Scottish seat they trail the Lib Dems by 6,000 votes now as opposed to 5,000 in 2003 dropping to 4th in the process, and that was a bad night for us. Of course the Tories want to talk up their chances against us as much as possible, we are in election year after all. Not everything that the party of 'honesty' has been saying recently should be taken at face value it is loaded to the core.
So object lesson before you start to question based on opposition propaganda best to look at the facts from the time decisions were made. Look at how poorly the people spreading the propaganda also get things wrong.