Me, me, me, me, me

Is this this most egomaniacal blog post ever?

I'm often mocked by colleagues in the NS office for the rather egomaniacal and self-centred headlines I deploy on blog posts, eg:

Melanie Phillips, Michael Portillo and me

Obama, Bush, Frodo, Jon Stewart and me

Andy Burnham's dad is upset with me

Me, me, me, eh? Then again, why hide the fact that we columnists/bloggers have oversized egos, often in need of massaging? Why else do we do what we do? To get noticed, to have people read us, discuss our views and opinions, blah, blah, blah.

So, under the wafer-thin and rather transparent pretext of thanking you all for voting for me, let me egomaniacally draw your attention to three online polls/surveys released in the past week.

** This blog was ranked as the tenth-best media blog in the Total Politics Annual Blog Poll.

** And it was ranked as the 22nd-best left-wing blog (in the same poll of more than 2,200 people).

** Meanwhile, Left Foot Forward (which topped the list of left-wing blogs!) has compiled a list of the 50 "most influential left-wingers", based on suggestions from readers, in which I bizarrely appear alongside the likes of Peter Mandelson, Tony Blair and Noam Chomsky. (If you're crazy enough to believe that I merit a spot in the top five (!) than you can vote for me here.)

Self-promotion over. Back to work . . .

Oh, and thanks again! :-)

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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Ignored by the media, the Liberal Democrats are experiencing a revival

The crushed Liberals are doing particularly well in areas that voted Conservative in 2015 - and Remain in 2016. 

The Liberal Democrats had another good night last night, making big gains in by-elections. They won Adeyfield West, a seat they have never held in Dacorum, with a massive swing. They were up by close to the 20 points in the Derby seat of Allestree, beating Labour into second place. And they won a seat in the Cotswolds, which borders the vacant seat of Witney.

It’s worth noting that they also went backwards in a safe Labour ward in Blackpool and a safe Conservative seat in Northamptonshire.  But the overall pattern is clear, and it’s not merely confined to last night: the Liberal Democrats are enjoying a mini-revival, particularly in the south-east.

Of course, it doesn’t appear to be making itself felt in the Liberal Democrats’ poll share. “After Corbyn's election,” my colleague George tweeted recently, “Some predicted Lib Dems would rise like Lazarus. But poll ratings still stuck at 8 per cent.” Prior to the local elections, I was pessimistic that the so-called Liberal Democrat fightback could make itself felt at a national contest, when the party would have to fight on multiple fronts.

But the local elections – the first time since 1968 when every part of the mainland United Kingdom has had a vote on outside of a general election – proved that completely wrong. They  picked up 30 seats across England, though they had something of a nightmare in Stockport, and were reduced to just one seat in the Welsh Assembly. Their woes continued in Scotland, however, where they slipped to fifth place. They were even back to the third place had those votes been replicated on a national scale.

Polling has always been somewhat unkind to the Liberal Democrats outside of election campaigns, as the party has a low profile, particularly now it has just eight MPs. What appears to be happening at local by-elections and my expectation may be repeated at a general election is that when voters are presented with the option of a Liberal Democrat at the ballot box they find the idea surprisingly appealing.

Added to that, the Liberal Democrats’ happiest hunting grounds are clearly affluent, Conservative-leaning areas that voted for Remain in the referendum. All of which makes their hopes of a good second place in Witney – and a good night in the 2017 county councils – look rather less farfetched than you might expect. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.