Cover art for podcast Never Mind The Bar Charts

Never Mind The Bar Charts

95 EpisodesProduced by Mark PackWebsite

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

95 Episodes | 2018 - 2022

Conservative Party leadership election: who is going to win, and what does it mean for the Lib Dems?

August 5th, 2022


What are Conservative Party members like? Who are they going to pick for party leader? And what does it mean for the Liberal Democrats?

Find out in the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, where I teamed up …

Hope and headaches for the Liberal Democrats?

July 3rd, 2022


How much more of a spring in our step should Liberal Democrats have after the Tiverton and Honiton win, and what are the lessons for the party?

Terrific Tiverton & Honiton Heaven

June 26th, 2022


I joined the Lib Dem Pod team shortly after the amazing win for Richard Foord in Tiverton & Honiton to discuss how it happened and what it means. …

Red Wall, Red Herring? The economic insecurity driving British politics

June 20th, 2022


I was really lucky to have Professor Jane Green as my guest for the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts as she's co-author of an important …

How did Labour, Tories and Lib Dems really do in the local elections?

May 9th, 2022


Pollster Keiran Pedley joined me on Never Mind The Bar Charts to discuss what we can learn from the 2022 local elections and how Labour, the …

What should Lib Dems make of the 2022 local elections?

May 7th, 2022


I joined John Potter from the Lib Dem Pod podcast, along with Welsh leader Jane Dodds and Scottish campaign maestro Kevin Lang to talk about the 2022 …

Famous polling errors, what to do when polls go wrong and more...

April 20th, 2022


This month's edition of Never Mind The Bar Charts features my recent appearance on another podcast - the UK in a Changing Europe's Brexit and Beyond

How are Labour and the Lib Dems doing? (2022 update with Tim Bale)

March 31st, 2022


It was a warm welcome back to Professor Tim Bale in the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts as we returned to the five tests for an opposition party that Tim discussed before. Now we're in 2022, how are Labour …

Using online advertising to tell Russians the truth about Ukraine

March 16th, 2022


Internet advertising does not have the best of reputations. But when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ability to slip adverts telling …

Birthday cake versus demographics: which will determine the future of British politics?

January 30th, 2022



It was great to welcome back Professor Rob Ford for the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts and to discuss with him both the long-term …

What does 2022 hold for the Lib Dems? With Ed Davey and Mike Dixon

January 11th, 2022


The most excellent Lib Dem Pod team have just done a show on what 2022 holds for the Liberal Democrats with myself, Lib Dem chief executive Mike …

Does North Shropshire signal the end for Boris Johnson?

December 17th, 2021


To discuss Helen Morgan's stunning victory in the North Shropshire by-election, I welcomed Professor Tim Bale back to Never Mind The Bar Charts. We discussed what happened, its causes and the likely consequences. …

The three reasons Boris Johnson won in 2019, and why he might not next time

December 9th, 2021


It was lovely to welcome Paula Surridge back to Never Mind The Bar Charts. She is one of Britain’s experts on how people’s values influence their …

Unleash the bar charts! Tactical voting and the next general election

November 14th, 2021


Tactical voting took centre stage in the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts as I discussed the thought-provoking pamphlet Breaching the Blue …

Money and British politics - the good, the bad and the ugly

October 20th, 2021


It's back to more serious matters in this episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts after last time's board game review - the role of money in British …

1960: The Making of the President - board game review

September 22nd, 2021


Something a little different from the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts: a board game review with Jim Williams. A political board game, of …

Prime Minister Priti and other things that never happened

September 1st, 2021



There’s a new book of political alternative histories out called Prime Minister Priti: And other things that never happened. One of its editors is …

Special Lib Dem 2021 conference preview - live show with the Lib Dem Pod

August 28th, 2021


What happens at Lib Dem party conference? What's it like attending one? What are likely to be the big debates at this September's federal conference? What are the hidden gems to look out for?

With the 2021 Liberal …

Does it really matter what the political polls currently say?

August 13th, 2021


It was great to have Survation's Damian Lyons Lowe on Never Mind The Bar Charts, fresh off the back of his firm's success in polling the Hartlepool …

Lessons from football for political campaigning

July 14th, 2021


With the a new edition of 101 Ways To Win An Election out, I chatted with co-author Ed Maxfield for the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts. Roaming across Black Lives Matter, William Wilberforce, Matt Hancock, …

What Chesham and Amersham tells us about the future for the Liberal Democrats

June 21st, 2021



Lib Dems love by-elections. Lib Dems love winning by-elections. And Lib Dems love getting excited after by-elections.


So to help us all calibrate our levels of excitement after Sarah Green’s victory in Chesham and …

Why electoral reform matters and how to get more of it

May 20th, 2021



The latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts is another special live show with the Lib Dem Pod team. This time we looked at proportional …

How are political leaflets changing (and do they work)?

April 29th, 2021


We all know about the love Liberal Democrats have of delivering leaflets. So our dream professor of politics would be one who specialises in studying …

How good a political leader was Lord John Russell?

March 25th, 2021


After the special joint edition with the Lib Dem Pod looking at cross-party cooperation, it’s back to the normal format this time – and welcome back …

How should the Liberal Democrats approach cross-party cooperation?

February 28th, 2021


Never Mind The Bar Charts and the most excellent Lib Dem Pod teamed up for another joint show, taking a look this time at lessons in coalitions and cross-party cooperation.

We have an excellent panel to discuss it all:

Brexitland: The long-term factors shaping our politics, and what they mean for the future

February 19th, 2021


One of the most popular episodes last year was with Rob Ford, discussing Brexitland, the book he’s co-written that takes a look and the long-term …

Is over-centralisation hindering the struggle against coronavirus? With Munira Wilson

January 31st, 2021


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 …

How to make Parliament work better, with Professor Meg Russell

January 28th, 2021


Welcome to the first episode in 2021 of Never Mind The Bar Charts. As regular listeners may have guessed given the timing, for this year I’m going to …

How are Labour and the Liberal Democrats doing?

December 22nd, 2020


I was joined again by Professor Tim Bale for the last episode in 2020 of Never Mind The Bar Charts. We took a look back at Tim's five lessons for opposition parties and discussed how both Labour and the Liberal …

The march of electoral reform in Wales

December 9th, 2020


With the very welcome recent progress on electoral reform in Wales, I invited Jess Blair from the Electoral Reform Society Cymru to join me on Never Mind The Bar Charts.

Feedback very welcome, and do share this podcast …

Inside the mind of Boris Johnson, with Caroline Pidgeon

December 1st, 2020


Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly and someone who saw Boris Johnson up close during his eight years as Mayor, joined …

The dilemma for progressives: lessons from the US 2020 elections

November 12th, 2020


I was joined again on Never Mind The Bar Charts by Rob Blackie to talk about the early lessons from the 2020 US Presidential elections for the Liberal Democrats. With Rob as a guest, no surprise that we talked a lot …

A fresh way of talking about liberal values, with Tom King

November 7th, 2020


Tom King, author of excellent pamphlet The Generous Society, was my guest for the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts. We talked about his new pamphlet, the importance of generosity to liberals and what Liberal …

Myth busting media coverage of election campaigns and social media

October 21st, 2020


I recently guested on Michael Bossetta's Social Media and Politics show, talking about... social media and politics. In particular, how the media …

The origins and course of pro-Europeanism in the Lib Dems

October 14th, 2020


Why did the Liberal Party become so pro-European and how did that carry over into the Liberal Democrats? That was the topic when I welcomed back Duncan Brack to Never Mind The Bar Charts. We roamed over everything from …

Culture wars, Brexit and electoral reform, with Rob Ford

October 2nd, 2020


What caused Brexit? Was it inevitable? Why do the right love fighting culture wars even though each culture war gets fought on more liberal …

Who is going to win the US Presidency?

September 23rd, 2020


I headed across the Atlantic in the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts to talk about the US elections. For that I was joined by US politics …

Lib Dem European policy, how the leadership election went and more

September 16th, 2020


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 …

The future for liberalism, with David Howarth

September 9th, 2020


China's changing foreign policy, tackling populism, the role for the Liberal Democrats: my guest David Howarth and I ranged widely over the political …

That tuition fees promise: what new research shows about the lessons to learn

September 2nd, 2020


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 …

Giving the Liberals direction, purpose and ambition: lessons from David Steel's leadership

August 19th, 2020


After the popularity of the previous discussion with Duncan Brack about lessons for the Liberal Democrats from Jo Grimond’s time as party leader, …

Compulsory voting: how it happened in Australia, and could it happen in the UK?

August 12th, 2020


Time for an international turn on Never Mind The Bar Charts, with Professor Judith Brett, author of From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How …

Where next for the Liberal Democrats? What the data says, with Tim Bale

August 5th, 2020


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 …

Will British politics become less volatile, and how important is ideology? Interview with Professor Jane Green

July 31st, 2020


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, …

If the Liberal Democrats were to have an anthem, the song I'd pick is...

July 23rd, 2020


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 …

What really happens at the grassroots when political parties push new ways of campaigning?

July 16th, 2020


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 …

Saving the party from disaster: lessons from Jo Grimond for the Liberal Democrats

July 10th, 2020


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, …

What we can learn from Republicans campaigning against President Donald Trump

July 1st, 2020


Laura Shields and Dirk Singer, communications consultants, members of Democrats Abroad and authors of an excellent piece “Swimming with the sharks: …

The virtues of Marmite: Tim Farron's advice on being a Liberal Democrat party leader

June 28th, 2020


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 …

Making the Liberal Democrats win more elections - with Cllr Lisa Smart

June 19th, 2020


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 …

Good News, Bad News

June 7th, 2020


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 …

The five things an opposition party must do: interview with Tim Bale

May 29th, 2020


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 …

Party leadership, online conferences and the election review

May 27th, 2020


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 …

Why good pollsters are filled with doubt: interview with YouGov's Chris Curtis

May 20th, 2020


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 …

What must the Liberal Democrats learn from Donald Trump?

May 13th, 2020


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 …

The one in which I get compared to Terry Pratchett

May 9th, 2020


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 …

Protecting our privacy is key to fighting coronavirus: interview with Jim Killock

May 6th, 2020


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 …

What do the experts say about coronavirus? With Dr Ben Johnson

April 23rd, 2020


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 …

The Project: how the Conservatives were beaten last time

April 16th, 2020


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 …

Our bias toward pessimism - Sunder Katwala on reactions to coronavirus

April 8th, 2020


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 …

What does coronavirus mean for public policy? Interview with Polly Mackenzie

April 2nd, 2020


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 …

Special joint episode with Lib Dem Podcast: Leadership election postponed / should we cancel Brighton conference?

March 29th, 2020


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 …

Coronavirus: the Hong Kong experience and what next for British politics? With Phil Cowley

March 27th, 2020


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 …

How you can figure out which news stories to trust: the story behind Bad News

March 20th, 2020


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 …

What does the polling data say about the future for the Lib Dems? Interview with Paula Surridge

March 19th, 2020


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 …

What's it like being a councillor and how do you get to be one? With Anton Georgiou

March 9th, 2020


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 …

What does a Liberal Democrat council leader do? With Cllr Stephen Robinson

February 10th, 2020


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 …

How do you make someone join a political party? Tim Bale has the evidence

January 23rd, 2020


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 …

What does the future hold for British politics? With Lynne Featherstone

January 4th, 2020


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 …

Season 1 Finale: an interim elections post-mortem

December 16th, 2019


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 …

How to change the result of the election with the help of targeting

December 6th, 2019


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 …

How is the Liberal Democrat general election campaign going?

November 29th, 2019


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 …

Prince Andrew, I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and the Liberal Democrats

November 18th, 2019


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 …

Battlegrounds, bar charts but not Brexit

November 11th, 2019


With the general election underway, Stephen Tall and Mark Pack discuss how things are going so far for the Liberal Democrats, what the constituency …

How are the Liberal Democrats going to do in the general election?

November 1st, 2019


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 …

LIVE SHOW: Is Dominic Cummings a genius?

October 13th, 2019


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 …

Rebels with a cause

October 8th, 2019


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 …

Is politics still about left versus right?

September 22nd, 2019


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 …

Lib Dems do the Revokey-Cokey

September 10th, 2019


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

The Brexit Episode: Remain is winning! (Or is it?)

August 30th, 2019


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 …

And then there were two... (more MPs on the Lib Dem Parliamentary benches)

August 15th, 2019


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 …

Why did Jo Swinson win and what happens now?

July 30th, 2019


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 …

What have we learnt so far about Jo Swinson and Ed Davey?

July 3rd, 2019


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 …

Exclusive: Edward Davey interview

June 27th, 2019


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 …

Exclusive: Jo Swinson interview

June 25th, 2019


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 …

Announcement: three special episodes coming up

June 21st, 2019


Exclusive interviews with Edward Davey and Jo Swinson coming up. Subscribe the podcast to make sure you don't miss them.

Show notes
  • The mystery coin …

Will the Liberal Democrat boom go bust?

May 28th, 2019


In episode #9, Stephen Tall and Mark Pick pick over the European election results and what comes next for the Lib Dems. Can the party sustain its May …

Just how happy should the Lib Dems be?

May 14th, 2019


Welcome to the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts, in which Stephen Tall and I pick over the 2019 local election results to see how happy …

Friend or foe? Change UK and the Lib Dems

April 29th, 2019


Stephen Tall and Mark Pack discuss the leaked Change UK memo about the Lib Dems, where Change UK is headed, a bold claim about Tony Blair from …

Are the Lib Dems about to lose an MP?

April 5th, 2019


Welcome to the latest edition of Never Mind The Bar Charts, in which Stephen finally gets me to talk about Brexit. But only after discussing the …

Vince Cable: how did he do and who will succeed him?

March 19th, 2019


Listen and enjoy as birthday boy Stephen and I discuss Vince Cable's record as party leader now he's announced his departure date (nearly), who might succeed him, what happened at Liberal Democrat conference in York, …

The Independent Group: earthshattering or earthbound?

March 4th, 2019


Listen and enjoy as Stephen and I discuss the future of The Independent Group, its possible impact on British politics, parallels with the SDP and …

Pilot episode #3: universal basic income, radicalism and new parties

February 13th, 2019


Stephen and Mark discuss three things they don't like.

A few follow-up links for what we discussed:

Pilot episode #2: Paddy, coalition and little Englanders

January 18th, 2019


Mark Pack and Stephen Tall discuss Paddy Ashdown, Lib Dem strategy and our obsession with US politics. Brexit nearly doesn't get mentioned.

Pilot episode #1: the best political commentators, the Lib Dems and what if Brexit wasn't happening?

December 23rd, 2018


Stephen Tall and Mark Pack talk about their favourite political podcasts and commentators, what the government should be doing if it wasn't consumed …

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