Never Mind The Bar Charts

Mark Pack

Mark Pack and guests talk about the Liberal Democrats, British politics and a few stray digressions. Only a few.

All Episodes

The Lib Dem Podcast joined up again with Never Mind The Bar Charts for a special show looking at the latest issues facing the Liberal Democrats. John Potter and Tom Morrison joined me to review the leadership contest as well as to discuss the debate about when the Lib Dems should be campaigning to rejoin to EU.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesThe Lib Dem Podcast.Music by Hugo Lee.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Sep 16

64 min

China's changing foreign policy, tackling populism, the role for the Liberal Democrats: my guest David Howarth and I ranged widely over the political landscape in the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesThe core vote strategy pamphlet David Howarth and I wrote in 2015.My take on the role for liberalism in a post-coronavirus world.The positive pay-offs from Angela Merkel's decision to welcome many more immigrants to Germany.How Paddy Ashdown's strategy worked in the 1990s.The risks of hung Parliaments.New research into the Liberal Democrats and tuition fees: podcast episode with Chris Butler.Listening to party members: how you can tell me your views.Licence to be Bad: How Economics Corrupted Us by Jonathan Aldred: Amazon / Waterstones.Island Stories: Britain and Its History in the Age of Brexit by David Reynolds: Amazon / Waterstones.The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple: Amazon / Waterstones.The Will of the People: A Modern Myth by Albert Weale: Amazon / Waterstones.Music by Hugo Lee.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Sep 9

49 min

There was a weird role reversal at the heart of the Liberal Democrat decisions over tuition fees in 2010, as Chris Butler's academic research reveals. So I invited him on Never Mind The Bar Charts to discuss what he has found, the lessons for the Liberal Democrats and the implications more generally about what makes for successful political parties.Show notesChris Butler's research: When are governing parties more likely to respond to public opinion? The strange case of the Liberal Democrats and tuition fees.David Laws's book on the coalition negotiations.The front page of the 2010 general election manifesto.Ryan Coetzee's controversial take on the 2015 general election, and my take on his take along with my second take on his take.How to get right thinking about who might vote for you: a core vote strategy.Nick Clegg's tuition fees apology - including the musical remix.Chris Butler on Twitter.Music by Hugo Lee.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Sep 2

45 min

After the popularity of the previous discussion with Duncan Brack about lessons for the Liberal Democrats from Jo Grimond’s time as party leader, Duncan returns to discuss another former leader. This time, it’s David Steel.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesBritish Liberal Leaders edited by Duncan Brack, Robert Ingham and Tony Little: Amazon / Waterstones.David Steel: Rising Hope to Elder Statesman by David Torrance: Amazon / Waterstones.The Pact: The Inside Story of the Lib–Lab Government, 1977-1978 by Alistair Michie and Simon Hoggart: Amazon / Waterstones.A House Divided: The Lib-Lab Pact and the Future of British Politics by David Steel: Amazon.Against Goliath by David Steel: Amazon.Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679-2011, compiled by Robert Ingham and Duncan Brack.Our previous podcast episode looking at Jo Grimond.The Liberal Democrat History Group.Follow Duncan Brack on Twitter.Music by Hugo Lee.The photo with this episode is of David Steel opening the Washington Liberal Club in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Aug 19

63 min

Time for an international turn on Never Mind The Bar Charts, with Professor Judith Brett, author of From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia got compulsory voting.It's a great book about how democracy developed in Australia. Not only how voting ended up mandatory but also why so many people eat sausages when voting, the flirtation with round ballot papers and the way British politicians accidentally gave the Australians more democracy than they realised.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesWhich places use compulsory voting (including those who have it but don't enforce it).Talk of using weekend voting in the UK.Optimising names at the start of the London telephone book.From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia got compulsory voting by Judith Brett: Waterstones / Amazon (though watch out that Amazon's paperback prices seem very messed up and Waterstones will almost certainly be a much better deal).I'll take any excuse to shoehorn in another link to the epic Bill Shorten interview, from before he became leader of the Labor Party and lost a general election.Music by Hugo Lee.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Aug 12

39 min

Following the publication of the research report Where next for the Liberal Democrats?, I invited one of its co-authors, Professor Tim Bale, back on the show to talk about what the report found and the lessons for future Lib Dem strategy.Show notesWhere next for the Liberal Democrats? - the report we discuss on the show.Creating a core vote for the Liberal Democrats: my original pamphlet with David Howarth.The previous interview with Cllr Anton Georgiou, by-election winner in Brent.Follow Tim Bale on Twitter.Music by Hugo Lee.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Aug 5

43 min

I was delighted to be joined for the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts by one of the most important political scientists in Britain, Professor Jane Green.Amongst her many achievements, she’s co-director of the British Election Study, which is to British elections what Wisden is to cricket or Oxford is to dictionaries: that is, an absolutely essential source for anyone wanting to understand what has happened in our elections and why.Among the many topics we covered were whether British politics is going to become less volatile and how important competence (as opposed to ideology) is in determining who wins elections.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesThe British Election Study website is full of news and data.Electoral Shocks: The Volatile Voter in a Turbulent World: Amazon / Waterstones.The Politics of Competence: Parties, Public Opinion and Voters: Amazon / Waterstones.The report on Lib Dem prospects from The UK in a Changing Europe.Follow Jane Green on Twitter.Music by Hugo Lee.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Jul 31

56 min

What makes someone a Liberal Democrat? What should the party's anthem be? Can you order cheese toasties via the internet? And can I avoid embarrassing myself in a quiz about chocolate?Find out the answers to all these and more in my recent appearance on the excellent Politics of Sound podcast with Iain Carnegie.Show notesThe Beautiful South music video with the elephant.Subscribe to the Politics of Sound podcast.Follow Iain Carnegie on Twitter.Never Mind The Bar Charts music by Hugo Lee.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Jul 23

57 min

What impact is digital campaigning having on politics, and is it for the better or the worse? That's what I discuss in the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts with Kate Dommett, Senior Lecturer in the Public Understanding of Politics at the University of Sheffield. We started off with her research into how new ways of digital campaigning do - or don't - take root at the political grassroots of parties.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesKatharine Dommett, Luke Temple and Patrick Seyd, "Dynamics of Intra-Party Organisation in the Digital Age: A Grassroots Analysis of Digital Adoption", Parliamentary Affairs.The relative failure of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign: a critique of my talk, the original talk and what the electoral data shows.Report from the House of Lords Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies.Bad News has a section on filter bubbles.Was the impact of Cambridge Analytica over-hyped?Social Media and Politics podcast.Exponential View podcast.Government versus Robots podcast.Retooling Politics: How Digital Media Are Shaping Democracy by Andreas Jungherr, Gonzalo Rivero and Daniel Gayo-Avello: Waterstones / Amazon.Kate Dommett on Twitter.Music by Hugo Lee.New to listening to podcasts? Here are some tips on how to listen to podcasts.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Jul 16

44 min

I've tried something a little different for this episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts: taking a look at the career of a previous party leader to see the lessons for the current Liberal Democrats.I picked Jo Grimond, who saved the Liberal Party from disastrous election results and had a plan for a realignment on the left of British politics. You might be able to spot some parallels there...No surprise that for my guest, I'm joined by the closest thing the party has to an official historian, Duncan Brack.Hope you enjoy the show and do let us know what you think of it; would you like more shows looking at the lessons from other party leaders?Show notesMark Egan’s book Coming into Focus: The Transformation of the Liberal Party 1945-64.The Orpington by-election.Jo Grimond campaigning for Britain to join the European Economic Community (EEC).Why I am a Liberal Democrat, edited by Duncan Brack: Waterstones / Amazon.Great Liberal Speeches, edited by Duncan Brack and Robert Ingham: Waterstones / Amazon.Liberal Lion: Jo Grimond, A Political Life by Peter Barberis: Waterstones / Amazon.Jo Grimond: Towards the Sound of Gunfire by Michael McManus: Amazon.Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679-2011, compiled by Robert Ingham and Duncan Brack.The Liberal Democrat History Group's pieces on Jo Grimond.Duncan Brack on Twitter.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Jul 10

52 min

Laura Shields and Dirk Singer, communications consultants, members of Democrats Abroad and authors of an excellent piece “Swimming with the sharks: What progressives can learn from Republicans Against Trump” join me for the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts.You may recall an earlier show had Rob Blackie on talking about what the party can learn from how Trump himself communicates. This time with Laura and Dirk, the show looks at what can be learnt from those campaigning against Trump.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesSwimming with the sharks: What progressives can learn from Republicans Against Trump.Rob Blackie episode on learning from Trump.The Lincoln Project and some of its adverts.The Meidas Touch group and some of its adverts.Republican Voters Against Trump and some of its adverts.The Taliban bounties story.My book about trusting - or not trusting - the news.Donald Trump boasting about slowing down coronavirus tests.Boris Johnson boasting about shaking the hands of coronavirus patients.Donald Trump drinks and throws away a glass of water.The Remainer Now story.Lindsey Graham loves Joe Biden advert.Laura's political ad pick.Dirk's political ad pick.Follow Laura and Dirk on Twitter.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Share the show's website, www.NeverMindTheBarCharts.com.

Jul 1

42 min

Welcome to a special re-run of a previous, but once again very relevant, edition of Never Mind The Bar Charts. It is from June 2019, which feels a long time ago now but the calendar says that was only 12 months ago. It was the time of the party’s last leadership election, and I did an interview with Tim Farron about his experience as leader of the Liberal Democrats. We focused on his advice for the next party leader as well as tips on what members should ask in hustings meetings.Both Tim’s advice and tips are still very relevant, so here is that episode again. And do also take a listen to the episode I did recently with Tim Bale, where we also cooked up great hustings questions.Hope you enjoy the repeat.Show notesJonathan Calder's David Steel versus John Pardoe categorisation for Liberal Democrat leadership contests.Paperclip design.Vince Cable's Stalin to Mr Bean moment at Prime Minister's Questions.The Lib Dems did indeed, as Tim Farron mentioned, once hit 4% in the polls after the 2015 election.Tim Farron's response to the European referendum result.You can watch the first Davey-Swinson hustings from the 2019 contest here. Here is Stephen Bush in the New Statesman on those hustings.Information about the 2020 leadership contest, including hustings where you can ask the questions mentioned in the show, is on the party website.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.

Jun 28

48 min

Apologies if you got a truncated version of this episode first time around. The podcast host has been playing up a bit but you should now be able to hear the interview all the way through to the end.How must the Liberal Democrats change in order to win more often? Listen to me discuss this with Lisa Smart, chair of the party's Federal Communications and Elections Committee (FCEC).Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesLisa Smart's election to chair the party's main elections committee.The show with Tim Bale talking about what opposition parties must do.The independent review into the 2019 general election.Support electoral reform? Join the Electoral Reform Society.The Star Trek reference.The pros and cons of Steve Webb's approach to being a minister.How to make targeting work.Lisa Smart on Twitter.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.Subscribe, rate or review via your favourite podcasting platform - links here.

Jun 19

40 min

Welcome to another special edition of Never Mind The Bar Charts, this time my appearance on Democratically: 2020 with Karin Robinson. We talk about my book, Bad News, the US Presidential race and how election coverage is so often wrong.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesDemocratically: 2020 on Apple Podcasts. (It's also on all the other standard podcast platforms.Karin Robinson on Twitter.Sign up for a free chapter from Bad News.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.

Jun 7

63 min

What makes for a successful opposition party? How much of that success is down to the leader? How much does policymaking matter in opposition? Wnat question should be asked the Lib Dem leadership election hustings? These are just some of the topics I chewed over with opposition expert Professor Tim Bale in this episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesTim Bale's previous appearance, talking about how you can persuade someone to join a political party.Tim Bale's excellent, re-arrangeable book on Ed Miliband.Recovering Power: The Conservatives in Opposition Since 1867: the book from which the list five things opposition parties must do came: Amazon / Waterstones.The Liberal Democrat election review.Tim Harford on how to avoid making mistakes.Turning Japanese: the excellent book that didn't foretell the future.That Norman Lamont photo (with a young David Cameron in the background).The Politics of Competence by Will Jennings and Jane Green: Amazon / Waterstones.Will Jennings on Twitter.Jane Green on Twitter.Tim Bale on Twitter.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.

May 29

55 min

I teamed up with the Lib Dem Pod crew for another special joint episode, with John and Richard grilling me about what's going on in the party.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesThe Liberal Democrat election review.Follow Lib Dem Pod on Twitter.Get Lib Dem Pod on YouTube.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook. 

May 27

56 min

I often talk about opinion poll data with guests on Never Mind The Bar Charts, so this time to talk about what we can read into the polls – and what we shouldn’t – I was joined by a pollster, YouGov’s Chris Curtis. We started off with discussing what a pollster actually does all day...Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesOne of those quirky YouGov polling questions.British Polling Council.The great Yes, Prime Minister sketch on leading poll questions.Research that shows the accuracy of political opinion polls.New UK pollster Redfield & Wilton Strategies.YouGov's issues tracker showing the sustained interest in the environment.Chris Curtis on Twitter.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.

May 20

37 min

Donald Trump may not be the most obvious of role models for the Liberal Democrats. But there's a lot about effective communication the party can learn from him. After all, he won a national election, defying political establishments and seeing off unfriendly media along the way.So in this episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I talk about him with Rob Blackie. I used to work with Rob at Lib Dem HQ many years ago when he was the maestro of costing manifesto policies. He has since carved out a very successful career in marketing and communications.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesThe wonder of brevity.The Hemingway App.Yoast Search Engine Optimisation tools and advice.The Lincoln Project's targeted advert which trolled Donald Trump.Ducks and potholes.Rob Blackie as a womble.Donald Trump in Home Alone 2.Yes!: 60 secrets from the science of persuasion.Rob Blackie's Twitter thread on Donald Trump.Photo by History in HD on Unsplash.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.

May 13

41 min

Rather than a normal episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, this time I’m running an episode of the excellent Not Enough Champagne podcast, including an improbable comparison between me and Terry Pratchett.You might recall me mentioning Not Enough Champagne as one of my favourite podcasts. I like it so much despite – or rather because – it’s done by two Labour Party activists, Cory and Steve, and therefore gives a rather different take on the world from mine.Different enough to be thought-provoking and a guard against insular thinking without being so different as to cause me to hit stop in disgust.And the reason for picking this particular episode that they’ve kindly let me re-run here?Well, in it they talk about my book, Bad News. See what some non-Lib Dems make of it and enjoy listening, including hearing – if you listen right to the end, their cracking theme tune by Dave Depper.Hope you enjoy their show and do subscribe to their podcast too.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesTerry Pratchett's footnotes were glorious.The Not Enough Champagne podcast.The Not Enough Champagne team on Twitter: @paperbackrioter and @acousticradical.Bad News: what the headlines don't tell us.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.

May 9

32 min

It's crucial that apps designed to help us battle coronavirus also protect our privacy as otherwise their take-up and so public health will suffer.That's the key point made by the Open Rights Group's Jim Killock in the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts as we discussed the potential risks to our civil liberties from the different attempts to track who people have been in contact with. Such contact tracing is essential to tackling coronavirus, but how can it be done best? Listen to find out...Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesHow Australia is legislating for a contact tracing app in ways that protect people's rights.The German approach to protecting civil liberties while tracking people to tackle coronavirus.Problems with the British approach.Join the Open Rights Group.Jim Killock on Twitter.Photo credit: Rieo from Pixabay.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.

May 6

36 min

In this episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I talk with the Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson, Munira Wilson, about what it's like being an MP, how over-centralisation may be hindering the struggle against coronavirus and how best to communicate with the public.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesInterview with Dr Ben Johnson from Nature.How Germany is approaching protecting civil liberties while tackling coronavirus.Help for (would-be) Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidates: the Campaign for Gender Balance, the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality and the Parliamentary Candidates Association.The Lib Dem campaign for frontline care works.Munira Wilson on Twitter.Enjoy the show? Spread the wordFollow the show on Twitter.Like the show on Facebook.

Apr 27

34 min

In the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I talked with Ben Johnson, a former Liberal Democrat councillor in Southwark with a PhD on the influenza virus from Public Health England and the University of Reading, and now working for Nature, one of the world’s most famous and respected scientific journals.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesSunder Katwala interview on coronavirus.Bicester Village train station signs.Phil Cowley on why Hong Kong reacted so quickly to coronavirus.IFS data on key worker salaries.My book Bad News, including a section on how different types of death get very different levels of media coverage.How cats took over the world.Find Ben on Twitter at @DrBenJohnson.Photo credit for episode image: Brian McGowan on Unsplash.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Apr 23

45 min

In the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I talk with Duncan Brack, the closest thing the party has to an official historian, about the lessons for the Liberal Democrats from the last time that a Conservative government was defeated.A key part of that was cross-party cooperation so we dive into what then party leader Paddy Ashdown's plans were, what worked, what didn't work and what lessons apply to this Parliament.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesLessons from the Ashdown-Blair ‘Project’ - Duncan Brack's book chapter on the topic.The Cook-Maclennan talks.Ways for parties to cooperate without making seat deals.Never Mind The Bar Charts on Paddy Ashdown's legacy.Never Mind The Bar Charts on what it's like working with Dominic Cummings.Coalition Diaries by David Laws - Amazon / WaterstonesWho Killed Kitchener? The Life and Death of Britain's most famous War Minister by David Laws - Amazon / WaterstonesDuncan Brack on Twitter.The Liberal Democrat History Group.Photo credits.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Apr 16

47 min

In the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I talk with Sunder Katwala from the British Future think tank. Along with discussing civil rights in the age of coronavirus and the impact on BAME communities, he raised the important issue of the human bias towards pessimism and its impact on our reactions to the coronavirus crisis.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesSunder on how the Liberal Democrats can improve their diversity.The University of Leicester study into who has caught Covid-19.Research into our pessimism bias.Sunder on Twitter.British Future.Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow: Amazon / Waterstones.John Maynard Keynes by Robert Skidelsky: Amazon / Waterstones.Image by Jasmin Sessler from Pixabay.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Apr 8

30 min

In the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I talked with the chief executive of Demos, Polly Mackenzie, about the impact of coronavirus on public policy. We got a bonus bit of background music courtesy of one of her children and a piano.As with the other shows since coronavirus, this one was recorded over video call so apologies for the occasional blip in sound quality.Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast with others who you think may enjoy it.Show notesThe Demos website, including the old content being re-released as discussed in the show.The previous show with Phil Cowley and that Martin Kettle piece.Nervous States: how feeling took over the world by William Davies - Amazon / Waterstones.Georgette Heyer's books - Amazon / Waterstones.Polly's previous appearance on Never Mind The Bar Charts.Follow Polly on Twitter.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Apr 2

27 min

In a special tie-up with the Lib Dem Podcast, I'm interviewed by Cllr John Potter about the decision to postpone the Liberal Democrat leadership election and whether or not the party's autumn federal conference should be cancelled.Show notesLeadership election postponedThe Lib Dem Podcast: Twitter / Instagram / iTunes

Mar 29

48 min

In the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I speak with Professor Phil Cowley, one of Britain’s leading political scientists, co-author for several general elections of authoritative Nuffield study and someone who casts the net so widely in his research that I occasionally appear in his footnotes.Phil’s been on my list of possible guests for a while, but I particularly wanted to talk to him now as he’s currently living in Hong Kong, somewhere that’s been much in the news here in the UK for comparisons over how coronavirus is being tackled in each place.We also talk about what this all means for British politics, and Phil's picks for books to read at the moment.Show notesMartin Kettle's piece on the possible (non-)impact of coronavirus on politics.Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney - Amazon / Waterstones.Agent Jack by Rob Hutton - Amazon / Waterstones.Electoral Shocks: The Volatile Voter in a Turbulent World - Amazon / Waterstones.Phil Cowley's excellent books - Amazon / Waterstones.Phil Cowley on Twitter.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Mar 27

33 min

Before the coronavirus crisis hit, I recorded a podcast with my published, Biteback Books, about my new book, Bad News.Listen to find out how you can make sense of the news all around us, the problem with news coverage on gun control, the (lack of a problem) with news echo chambers and filter bubbles, why I look back on my daily commute in years past with amazement and how I came to write Bad News.Show notesBiteback Chats Books podcast.Buy Bad News from Waterstones, Amazon, Biteback or Hive.Music: Funkorama by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License.

Mar 20

24 min

In the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I welcomed back to the show academic Paula Surridge. We talked about what the British Election Study is and what its polling data from the 2019 general election shows, including its implications for the future for the Liberal Democrats.Show notesPaula Surridge on Twitter.Is politics still about left versus right? - the previous show with Paula Surridge.The British Election Study (BES).Sign up for more polling news with Polling UnPacked.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Mar 19

30 min

In the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, I talk with Councillor Anton Georgiou from Brent, who won a spectacular by-election victory in January and is now getting to enjoy being a councillor.What's it like? How did he win? And how can others emulate him?Listen to find out...Show notesAnton Georgiou's by-election victory.His tweets about being a councillor.The importance of pointing at potholes.Daniel Brown, former Lib Dem councillor for Alperton and his autocorrection tip.Siobhan Benita's campaign to be Mayor of London.Stephen Robinson on what it's like to be a council leader.ALDC.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Mar 9

28 min

In this episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, the Liberal Democrat leader of Chelmsford Council, Stephen Robinson is interviewed about what Lib Dem council leader does, and how he got to be one in the first place.Show notes:The Chelmsford team were great at welcoming and making good use of volunteers who came to help.Read the then Conservative leader of Chelmsford Council explaining before polling day that, "we have mostly avoided canvassing up to now".A big vote increase but a long way off winning: the Chelmsford result at the 2019 general election.Black Box Thinking: the lessons of marginal gains.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Feb 10

30 min

Professor Tim Bale, one of the leading experts in political party membership, talks about who joins parties, why they join and how those who join the Liberal Democrats differ from those who join other parties. Plus he gives his top tips on how to persuade people to join a party.Show notes:Footsoldiers: political party membership in the 21st century.Why supporters don't always join parties.The research on how to get members involved.Five Year Mission: Tim Bale's study of Ed Miliband.Tim Bale used the phrase, "That's a great question". Here's a whole other podcast episode just about that phase, from Freakonomics.The previous Never Mind The Bar Charts show with Paula Surridge.The preamble to the Liberal Democrat constitution.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Jan 23

29 min

Welcome to the first episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts's second season, featuring for the first special guest former Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone.Show notes: Lynne Featherstone's book on legalising same-sex marriage.The Guardian story which chose to highlight a coffee shop in the headline rather than a library.Lynne Featherstone and a pothole.An example of the sort of local campaigning that was so central to Lynne Featherstone's electoral successes.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Jan 4

34 min

In the final episode of season one, Mark and Stephen pick over the general election result, another less important election result and the plans for Season 2 of Never Mind The Bar Charts.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Dec 2019

43 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, taking a look at the key role for targeting in general elections, how the Lib Dem Brexit policy is going down with voters, some seats to watch out for on election night and a very large number of digressions.Show notesReactions to Jo Swinson's interview with Andrew Neil.The BBC's fact check of that interview.Fiona Bruce's Question Time mistake.The Boris Johnson interview question about him lying, missing any of the obvious follow-ups.The latest YouGov polling on revoking Article 50, along with evidence from earlier in the year: #1, #2 and #3.How to make a difference in the last week of the election.How Lib Dem members can find a target seat to help in.Fact check: thanks to @SoupDragon0 for pointing out a mistake in the episode about the letters than British Prime Ministers write setting out what to do with the country's nuclear weapons.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Dec 2019

54 min

In Episode #24, Stephen and Mark take a look at how the Liberal Democrat general election campaign is going so far.They used a blog post from Mark about the YouGov MRP results to structure their discussion, so here as the show notes is an updated version of that post: https://www.markpack.org.uk/160501/yougov-mrp-polling/.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Nov 2019

48 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, which takes a look at the general election and in particular the policy-heavy message the Liberal Democrats are pushing.Show notesThe David Davis 'look, no notes' photo.One, two, three, four Lib Dem candidate problems.Not Enough Campagne podcast on the impact of candidate deals.A summary of the Liberal Democrat policies.The problem with the Liberal Democrat message in 2005.Liberal Democrat party committee election results.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Nov 2019

35 min

With the general election underway, Stephen Tall and Mark Pack discuss how things are going so far for the Liberal Democrats, what the constituency polls are saying, the role of bar charts and the latest on the party's internal elections.Show notesWhat the national opinion polls are saying.All the constituency polls made public so far.The full list of Unite to Remain seat arrangements.What went wrong with the Liberal Democrat constituency polling in 2015?Responsible bar charting.More information on voting in the Liberal Democrat internal elections.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Nov 2019

37 min

Once again, an MP has kindly timed their decision to join the Liberal Democrats for just before the recording of an episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts.So Stephen and I discussed the party's latest Parliamentary recruit along with the outlook for the general election.Show notesAntoinette Sandbach joins the Liberal Democrats.How many Liberal Democrat MPs are there now?The new Liberal Democrat election slogan.Got problems voting in the Liberal Democrat internal elections? Email elections@libdems.org.uk.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Nov 2019

46 min

In the first live audience recording of Never Mind The Bar Charts, host Stephen Tall talks to two people who have worked with Dominic Cumnings: Polly Mackenzie and Sean Kemp.

Oct 2019

56 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, in which Stephen Tall and I discuss the growing number of recruits to the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party, the unusual set of seats the party is targeting for the general election, why Will Hutton is wrong about Jeremy Corbyn and why everyone should go read Gaby Hinsliff.Plus an extended digression about cake, apples and grandmothers.Show notesMark is running to be Liberal Democrat Party President.The must-listen interview with Paula Surridge about British politics and the place for the Liberal Democrats.Local Lib Dem PPC Ian Sollom graciously welcomes Heidi Allen to the Lib Dems.Rob Castell, formerly Lib Dem PPC for Beaconsfield, previously did a brilliant campaign video.Cake, having and eating thereof.Grandmothers and machine guns.Gaby Hinsliff's excellent piece on the end of the liberal Tory.

Oct 2019

41 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, a variation of the usual format in which I interview Paula Surridge about her research into the British electorate. She's been one of the pioneers in understanding how there is more than left versus right to modern British politics. Listen to hear what she has to say about what this means for the Liberal Democrats...Show notesA good introduction to some of Paula Surridge's work.Paula Surridge on Twitter.Paula Surridge on Medium.

Sep 2019

23 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, which takes a look at the news that the Liberal Democrats may run in the general election on a simple 'revoke Article 50' platform. Stephen Tall attempts to fisk my Remainer optimism. He possibly fails. Or does he?Show notesKeep count of how many Liberal Democrat MPs there are.Monica Harding is the Lib Dem PPC for Dominic Raab's constituency.Demand Better sets out the wider Lib Dem policy plans beyond Brexit.Boris Johnson on Damian McBride.

Sep 2019

40 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, in which I go full-on cheerleading for Remain. Stephen Tall responds with half a bucket of cold water.Show notes:Beatrice Wishart wins in Shetland.Reasons to doubt the Boris Johnson / Dominic Cummings strategy.The public doesn't like prorogation.Tom Chivers on Dominic Cummings and a game of chicken.Charles Moore's biography of Margaret Thatcher.The Led By Donkeys anti-Breixt campaigners.Come and watch us record a special episode: "Is Dominic Cummings a genius?".

Aug 2019

32 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, in which Stephen Tall and I discuss the two latest recruits to the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party, as well as lessons from Winston Churchill on when to hold a politician's past against them.Show notesGet tickets for our first live show recording.Jane Dodds wins in Brecon and Radnorshire.Sarah Wollaston joins the Liberal Democrats.The mixed party politics of Winston Churchill.Deltapoll, or what Joe Twyman did next.The newsletter that I don't mention much.

Aug 2019

37 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, in which Stephen Tall and I pick over the results of the Liberal Democrat leadership election. Why did it turn out that way and what next for the party?Show notesResults of the Liberal Democrat leadership election.The Lib Dem Newswire survey on the 2019 contest.The Lib Dem Newswire survey on the 2017 contest, showing what a strong position Jo Swinson started the 2019 one in.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Jul 2019

41 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, in which Stephen Tall and I reflect on the Lib Dem leadership contest so far and quite spectacularly fail to end the show promptly after we say we should.Show notesJo Swinson interview for Never Mind The Bar Charts.Ed Davey interview for Never Mind The Bar Charts.Launch of cross-party electoral reform campaign, including The Brexit Party.Leadership survey from Liberal Democrat Newswire.Leadership survey from Harry Samuels.The similarity of Ed Davey and Jo Swinson.Hustings: it's been a long time gripe of mine.Tim Farron's pledges on diversity in 2015.The Morrissey Report, not yet all implemented.Examples of the evidence on the benefits of diversity.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Jul 2019

56 min

Following the special Never Mind The Bar Charts interview with Jo Swinson, now out is the matching interview with her rival for leadership of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey:Mark Pack interviews would-be Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey about why he's decided now is the time to run for leader. They also discuss the Coalition Government, environmental policy and how to defeat Boris Johnson.Stephen Tall and I are recording our reflections on both interviews early next week. Do let us know either on this post or the social media channels below what you made of the interviews before we record that show; listener feedback is always gratefully received.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Jun 2019

40 min

Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts which, as trailed at the weekend, is the first of two interviews with the candidates to be the leader of the Liberal Democrats.Following the toss of a coin, Jo Swinson's interview comes first:Mark Pack interviews would-be Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson about why she wants the job. The topics they discuss include what she thinks of the SNP, what she'd do in a hung Parliament and how the party can be more successful.The Ed Davey interview will come out in a couple of days and then Stephen and I are recording our reflections on the interviews early next week.Do let us know either on this post or the social media channels below what you made of the interviews before we record that show; listener feedback is always gratefully received.Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on social mediaLike the show? Do follow on Twitter or Facebook. It's a great way to hear more about the podcast - and to let your friends and colleagues know about it too.

Jun 2019

38 min

Exclusive interviews with Edward Davey and Jo Swinson coming up. Subscribe the podcast to make sure you don't miss them.Show notesThe mystery coin was a special 2001 Canadian 10 cents (held upside down and with light glinting off it... at least that's my defence).Make sure you don't miss those exclusive interviews by subscribing in your favourite podcast app or sign up for email alerts.

Jun 2019

3 min

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