Expert panel

Our expert election panel of Miranda Green, Charles Lewington and Matthew Taylor convened for the last time on Friday afternoon to unpack the campaign and provide insight into the hung parliament. Special commendation to Miranda Green, whose election prediction throughout the course of the campaign have been closest to the result.

 Read more

Our expert election panel will meet for the final time on Friday afternoon for a video election debriefing. See the full list in the UK election podcast archive.

The podcasts will be recorded twice a week for the duration of the campaign – see the full list in the UK election podcast archive.

The FT’s expert election panel will occasionally be giving their thoughts on the big themes of the campaign. Today, they each write a memo to their leader giving advice for Thursday night’s debate and the remainder of the run-up to the polls.

Charles Lewington, former press secretary to John Major:
David, you have three tasks in the final days – rebutting Labour’s attack on your economic policies, continuing with the tedious but important process of warning about the dangers of hanging the parliament and taking the gloss off the freshly minted Liberal Democrat brand without attacking Clegg personally. Read more

The FT’s expert election panel will occasionally be giving their thoughts on the big news stories of the campaign. Below is Matthew Taylor’s take on how Labour can – and must- rejuvenate the policy agenda.

Matthew Taylor, former director of policy to Tony Blair:
If Labour trails in a bad third next week, a divided, demoralised and impoverished Party could easily go into a long term decline, becoming a Party whose highest realistic aspiration is to a be a minority partner in a future coalition.

Finally, today it looks like policy is on the agenda. Labour has to keep it there until the debate on Thursday and then hope that Gordon Brown can win on home territory (there are, after all, still many voters who do not warm to Brown but will on probing agree he is the best on experience and on protecting the interests of ordinary families). With a little wind in its sails Labour might yet breach the 30 per cent barrier within sight of being the largest party. This would change the dynamic of the last week. Read more

The podcasts, which are hosted by Robert Shrimsley, will be recorded every Monday and Friday for the duration of the campaign – see the full list in the UK election podcast archive.

The FT’s expert election panel will occasionally be giving their thoughts on running themes of the campaign. Today, we asked each to describe their fantasy cabinet in a Government of National Unity.

Miranda Green, former press secretary to Paddy Ashdown:
My fantasy is a Government of National Unity to reform the finances and the political system. We can include talent from all parties – Brown out, and Cameron and George Osborne out, I’m afraid, as punishment for wasting their big electoral opportunity. A bit of Labour continuity and a lot of Lib Dem and Tory appointments, including:

Nick Clegg for prime minister and Alan Johnson for deputy prime minister working closely to keep it together (possibly rotating?). Alistair Darling stays as Chancellor, in the interests of stability, with Vince Cable is Business Secretary on a brief to tackle the banks. David Miliband at Home Office with Chris Huhne as Justice Secretary to protect civil liberties. Lord Adonis and Michael Gove forced to be joint at education and push through sensible reforms. Read more

The podcasts, which are hosted by Robert Shrimsley, will be recorded every Monday and Friday for the duration of the campaign – see the full list in the UK election podcast archive.

As part of the FT’s expert election panel, our three contributors will occasionally be giving their thoughts on the big election news story of the day.
Today, we asked how do the Tories and Labour need to change their tactics and strategy mid-campaign. How do the parties cope with pressure for changes of tactics and how do you balance the need for a different tack with a need not to panic?

Miranda Green, former press secretary to Paddy Ashdown:
So far the Conservative attempt to eschew the nastiness that brands them as “the same old Tories” (their most vulnerable spot, say the focus groups) has left them with not much to say except to warn of the dangers of the current electoral system delivering perverse outcomes – the system that they alone now defend as suited to modern political needs. Read more

The podcasts, which are hosted by Robert Shrimsley, will be recorded every Monday and Friday for the duration of the campaign – see the full list in the UK election podcast archive.

 Read more

As part of the FT’s expert election panel, our three contributors will occasionally be giving their thoughts on the big election news story of the day. Today, we asked who is winning the war of ideas after three days of manifesto launches.

Miranda Green, former press secretary to Paddy Ashdown:
Strong contrasts from the three manifestos and their launches, which is invigorating after a bit of an “inside baseball” start last week. A slightly downbeat active state Labour plan (which anyone who actually uses a lot of public services will ‘get’ but others may not), a strong narrative about active citizenship from the Tories, and now a pitch from the Lib Dems to be honest about the state of the economy and to make some people pay more to even out social disadvantages. Read more