Opinion: Time to put party first

Long before the Barnsley Chop was felt by the unfortunate Dominic Carman, an increasing number of Liberal Democrats have been murmuring about the longer-term effects of the coalition on our electoral chances in 2015.

That murmur is now a whisper among those who focus four years ahead and feel queasy about our longer-term survival. Putting the Party First does not mean opposing the coalition. Quite the contrary.

We should trust those in government to get on with it, while keeping to the agreement and other pledges. The 2013 Review will be the proper time to voice concerns and make corrections. In the meantime, we must start thinking ahead.

Putting the Party First is a matter of reaching priorities based on realistic judgments. Going to the electorate pleading the part Lib Dems played in the coalition government is a No-no. So too is defending the coalition above all else.

Party First means concentrating party resources on devising and producing radical and redistributive policies designed to demonstrate distinctive differences.

After five years of austerity and falling living standards, voters will be hungry for policies that offer hope, fairness and prosperity. Which is why we must challenge the Federal Executive’s strategic business plan. It consists of two main themes:

• Promoting credibility in Government to ensure the Coalition is judged a success.
• Developing an effective master narrative to support that line.

For if we continue to depend on the coalition to win votes, we are doomed. The purpose of this government is to do unpopular things to reduce the deficit. And we are also way off course on the FE’s narrative.

It neglects to say that Liberal Democrats have gone into government to ensure the nation has stable, united government to deal with the deficit, and avoid a series of inconclusive general elections.

We have done this, the narrative should continue, as our patriotic duty, and regard it more as noble sacrifice than gaining any party or personal advantage. A little more hesitation and spin when rushing into alliance last May could have resulted in a different public perception.

Most of us support the coalition, but wish to draw a distinction between government decisions and party principles. The government may succeed in its aims. But who can forecast whether the deficit will have fallen sufficiently by then – and how are we to measure it?

Even if it does, there will be few votes in saying ‘Please sir, me-too sir, we were part of it’. Voters are ungrateful creatures. They rarely want to know what you have done. They want to know what you are going to do.

We should take our cue from Labour in 1945. It did not have to claim success for being the junior partner in the great coalition government. Instead, it offered a health service and welfare state in the most radical programme since the 1906 Liberals administration.

That lesson alone shows why we must change the party’s priority now, while continuing to support the leader and our ministers. Liberal Democrats can have a brilliant future after 2015. Provided we really do Put the Party First.

Jonathan Hunt is a freelance journalist and a party member in London.

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40 Comments

  • David Allen 10th Mar '11 - 5:22pm

    Yes, but if we produce a host of “radical and redistributive policies designed to demonstrate distinctive differences”, while Cameron / Clegg just ignore them all and carry on in their own sweet way, then the voters will not be terribly impressed, will they?

    We need to renegotiate the coalition deal.

  • In my opinion the need to ensure a seperate identity, to create policies that are pragmatic, liberal, sensible and sellable, and not just to ensure the good of Lib Dems in government is recognised and credit given is not the only priority.

    There is also a real need to ensure that over the coming years the general public is educated about how coalitions work, about how governments in our country are actually formed. To respond sensibly, but vocally and credibly to the accusations that coalitions mean back room deals and broken promises, to ensure people understand the negotiation procedure, and that each party is negotiating for the values and principles that their party, and the people who voted for them want to see and stand for, and also to counter the view that coalitions are a last resort and that single party governments are better… in my view they are much worse, as they have less incentive and need to justify each policy they bring in.

    We alo need to change the way people view manifestos… we all know they are not promises, that they are commitments, which can only be kept to if public support and circumstances allow. We need to show that policy is at best driven by manifestos, but is not set out in and dictated by them.

    There is also a need to try and move away from the current habit of adversarial politics, of attacking Labour. By constantly trying to validate what the coalition is doing it only seeks to make them look desperate to justify their actions. Every time I hear Nick Clegg, or any minister say “The mes Labour left us in” I feel that the ‘new politics’ everyone really does want to see is slipping further and further away. We know Labour left the deficit in a critical state. Less overt references to the fact will suffice. Just say the state of our finances instead… we know who was in charge before, we aren’t stupid, we can put 1 and 1 together.

  • ‘After five years of austerity and falling living standards, voters will be hungry for policies that offer hope, fairness and prosperity’.

    That is what we thought we were voting for in 2010. ‘Ungrateful creatures’ that we are! Are we a different breed from you? By 2015, the unemployed sick and disabled will be in poverty, the employed will be struggling, NHS will be privatised. Etcetera etcetera but the rich will be richer. I do not think we will become hungry for anything from the Liberal Democrats. Does it not worry you that there is an 8 feet fence round your conference and the policing will cost at least 2 million? However I do wonder if the police will be now more sympathetic to those ‘ungrateful’ protesters.

  • We need to make it clear to the voters that we entered into the Coalition agreement with gritted teeth at a time of dire financial danger for the country. That danger has not yet passed and the benefits from all the blood, sweat and toil of cuts will not be felt for some time.

    Meanwhile, we need to avoid delivering any further hostages to fortune along the lines of the student tuition fees fiasco. The changes proposed to the NHS are the main danger to the party’s reputation at the moment and we need to pull off a miracle at the Sheffield Conference if we are not to be driven into a complete car crash by Clegg et al on that one.

    In the long run, if we can enact at least some key pieces of the Coalition agreement (e.g. the £10,000 personal allowance), it will give us ammunition going into the next general election, showing that voters CAN trust us to deliver on at least some of our commitments. Frankly, given the number of failures and massive betrayals that the Labour party visited on its supporters, the worst situation we will be in in terms of credibility will be level pegging with the other parties.

    I believe “body language” will be just as important as content in presentation for 2015. Creating a distance from the Tories will be immensely important, and that is why I believe we will have to get rid of Nick Clegg as leader before the next GE. Tim Farron, as a northerner would provide a nice antidote and contrast to the Clegg-Cameron love-in as well as the metropolitan background of Miliband.

  • The Lib Dems also need to demonstrate where they have similarities to other parties – Labour, Green, Tory, etc… otherwise they risk looking like they are just trying to be different, and it alo leaves people wondering, if they are so different, how can they support coalition politics.

    We need to also need to be more clear on how policy in coalitions is influenced by the size and support of each partner party, and why it should be this way (i.e. we need to explain how and what democracy is.. I think a lot of people have forgotten). And also ask the questio “if so many people agree with Lib Dem views on education etc, if they are so angry that they are going back on those views, why didn’t they vote Lib Dem, and are they going to support a party that holds the opposite views just because the Lib Dems didn’t have the influence to push the right ones as much as they needed?”

  • ‘We should trust those in government to get on with it, while keeping to the agreement and other pledges.’

    We can’t trust them because they’ve already broken the agreement and ‘other pledges’.

  • The answer is not just ‘spinning better’. The coalition is only defensible on a long term view, since the immediate ramifications are so grim. Our argument needs to be then about the long term direction we should be going in.

    We need a ‘2020’ vision, not a 2015 one (gimmick intended)

  • “We need to make it clear to the voters that we entered into the Coalition agreement with gritted teeth at a time of dire financial danger for the country.”

    That explains why it happened, not why the party is apparently happy to see it continue.

  • David Allen 10th Mar '11 - 6:27pm

    Spot on, Fiona. To anyone who thinks that people who make deals should stick to them, let’s just point out that Cameron hasn’t. Wholesale top-down reorganisation of health and education was not in the agreement.

    The nation thinks we are spineless wimps because they can see that we have got a bad deal, and they can see that we are doing nothing effective about it. Despite the fact that we have a strong negotiating position. If we pulled the plug, the polls leave little doubt that Labour would regain power easily, and that Cameron and his twelve-month coalition would become a minor footnote in history. Cameron really, really does not want that. We have him over a barrel. Not to take advantage of that fact is to betray ourselves and our angry voters from last May.

  • “radical and redistributive policies designed to demonstrate distinctive differences”,

    Why on earth would Clegg, Laws, Alexander support those? It would be the opposite to what they are doing now. I think the electorate might just spot the discrepancy.

  • We should take our cue from Labour in 1945. It did not have to claim success for being the junior partner in the great coalition government. Instead, it offered a health service and welfare state in the most radical programme since the 1906 Liberals administration.

    In 1945 there was a peace dividend. In 2015 there will not be. Anything the party offers will have to be cheap. And not harmful to the economy.

  • “We need to also need to be more clear on how policy in coalitions is influenced by the size and support of each partner party, and why it should be this way”

    In a genuine coalition, the excesses of both parties would be curtailed. That isn’t happening. We have the most right-wing Tory government in living memory, hell-bent on carrying through its ideological policies on health, welfare and education, and helped in doing so by Clegg and his fellow Orange Bookers.

    Forget putting the party first. Last May you claimed to be putting the country first by joining this awful coalition. Now is the time to put the country first and to end the coalition before the NHS is lost to some of Cameron’s financial backers – private health care firms – for ever.

  • Emsworthian 10th Mar '11 - 9:13pm

    Who knows what state the party will be in by 2015. No doubt it would help if the paydown was succesfull but I have this suspicion that the Tories will claim all the credit. If not we are history opening the the way to a new genuine social democatic party with a shed load of experience of how not to run a coalition. The biggest mistake was Clegg taking the ludicrous role of DPM. He should have accepted a proper job. And then to have swallowed what is now widely regarded as BoE spin over the urgency and scale of the payback. Joining in with the Tories that everything was Brown’s fault was dishonest and unworthy of a party that wants do its poltics differently. The abiding impressiojn is of a naive leadership seduced by a few trappings in return for complete loyalty.

  • Depressed Ex 10th Mar '11 - 9:29pm

    To anyone who thinks that people who make deals should stick to them, let’s just point out that Cameron hasn’t. Wholesale top-down reorganisation of health and education was not in the agreement.

    No, but the agreement has been changed with Lib Dem approval. It’s only natural for the Tories to want to make these changes. What’s remarkable is that the response of Clegg and Co is “OK, all right then”!

  • Today there is a bye election in Southwark in a Labour area. Party strategists need to be on the ground listening to voters in these cases as they provide a lot of detail about the issues faced. We need to find strategies that work for us in local government. One possibility is to separate our parliamentary strategy where we work with the Conservatives from the local strategy where we we work against them. A potential issue is that this would require two sets of policies, however this might be reasonable because the local parties won their elections. If Lib Dem local authorities are hostile to free schools (a coalition policy) and refuse to rent them premises then this will allow us to differentiate ourselves but accord with the voters of this country who regrettably gave the Conservatives the most votes in the General Election. I agree with Jonathan that we need to look after our party. We need to have distinctive policies that put our party first.

    On a national basis one area that we could stress is land tax/Mansion tax tied in with raising the level of tax allowances. This is not a ‘redistributive’ tax. We should not be redistributing – we should be returning to people the rights that they had prior to the enclosure acts. These are rights to common land that were not legitimately taken away from people. I believe that this is still our policy. It is certainly not a Coalition policy and will allow us to put the party first.

    We don’t need to redistribute, just give people what has been taken from them.

    Ed Joyce

  • Old Codger Chris 10th Mar '11 - 11:04pm

    It’s ridiculous to suggest that Lib Dems can fight the 2015 election on a similar basis to Labour’s campaign in 1945.

    The 1940/45 coalition was a genuine all-party government organising the country against the greatest threat in its history. Many voters who admired Churchill’s wartime leadership were less sanguine about a peacetime Conservative government – their memories stretched back to the 1930s coalition which pursued vicious right-wing policies, a government which included Liberals. The first party to give itself a makeover after WW2 was actually the Conservatives, leading to 13 years in power and a very near miss after that.

    Although the Liberal party was on the slide from the early 1920s, it was the 1930s coalitions and resultant re-opening of splits within the party which finally did for them – leaving them with a taxi-full of MPs most of whom were dependant on electoral pacts with Conservatives. Not an encouraging precedent!

  • Stephen Donnelly 10th Mar '11 - 11:13pm

    “Party First means concentrating party resources on devising and producing radical and redistributive policies designed to demonstrate distinctive differences.”

    This sounds a little like the last 12 years of Labour government, they put their party first, and look at the damage it has done to the Country.

  • I cannot believe the arrogance that seems to be growing day by day… ah well

    You have it totally wrong and it is one of the real reasons you are failing, time to put the party first is the wrong answer… I can give a little clue

    Try putting the people first… you know those ungrateful creatures…
    But no matter, Liberal Democrats of course know what is best.

    See you at the polling stations in May because those ungrateful creatures are certainly going to show you how wrong you are…

  • I see in the Guardian today that the coalition is considering joint candidates for the next election. Merger in the offing?

  • “See you at the polling stations in May because those ungrateful creatures are certainly going to show you how wrong you are…”

    This will be the c30% or so who bother to vote in local elections?

    I believe many of the elections in May are in mainly Conservative-held Shire Districts. Any cull of Lib Dem councillors will almost certainly lead to increased Conservative representation in these areas.

  • Hmmm, I think what you need to do is put country first, party second

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Mar '11 - 1:24pm

    The message written by “Anne” on 10th March 2011 at 5:43 pm is quite typical of the sorts of attacks we are getting, yet it is based on the idea that we are 100% responsible for the government’s policies. “Anne” ignores the fact that the Conservative Party won over five times as many seats in Parliament as we did, and they not us are the dominating force in the current government. They achieved this dominance for two reasons 1) the people of this country vote for the Conservatives in more numbers than for any other party 2) we have an electoral system which distorts representation, twisting that of the party with the most votes up and that of third parties down.

    With 1) it is a matter of democracy, we might not like what the government is doing, but democracy means accepting what people voted for. With 2) we need to recall that this system (or its close equivalent AV, which has much the same effect) is strongly supported by the Labour Party as well as the Conservative party BECAUSE they believe this distortion is a good thing. For this reason I would say no-one who supports Labour, unless they are strongly campaigning within the Labour Party to get that party to support proportional representation, has any moral right to criticise Nick Clegg for being weak in negotiations with the Conservatives. By supporting Labour they are supporting the idea that government SHOULD be solely by whichever party gets this most votes, and therefore their only complaint should be that Nick Clegg is achieving any sort of moderation of the policies of the Conservative Party.

    The real failure of Clegg and those surrounding him is their inability/unwillingness to get this message across. Instead they have done all they can to make sure we get all the blame for things we don’t support and are not responsible for. My own take on this is that Clegg is just shallow and weak, but some of those surrounding him are essentially Tory infiltrators, who wish to destroy our party in all but name.

  • “In a genuine coalition, the excesses of both parties would be curtailed. That isn’t happening. We have the most right-wing Tory government in living memory, hell-bent on carrying through its ideological policies on health, welfare and education, and helped in doing so by Clegg and his fellow Orange Bookers.”

    That’s an opinion I personally disagree with. I can see many areas where Tory policy is being significantly curtailed compared to what it would have been. Even in the most contentious one, tuition fees, tory policy is a completely free market, even the Browne report suggested removing fee caps altogether. That we still have a cap is a significant alteration from those positions, and that the higher cap has requirements to improve access probably wouldn’t have happened either. I admit it’s not a great solution (although the repayment costs to students actually seems better than the NUS proposals for a graduate tax 9% of income over £21,000 for 30 years as opposed to 3% of all income for 25 years). I’m not happy with it, but it could have been a lot worse.

    I do agree that this is a very badly named article. People are right to point out that the move to pull the party back from the trouble it’s in is not to ‘put party first.’ Lib Dems did used to believe in a ‘new politics’ and I really feel they have lost that.

    The main things they should do. Stop attacking Labour, or any other party. Actually return to the more rational and sensible pre-election approach of just stating how things are, and how you’d work to make them better, without hyperbole, without needlessly pointing fingers, without having to blame someone for you needing to make them better. Things can always be made better, and mistakes will always be made, and compromises taken.

    The balance between showing that they have done something worthwhile in government, and showing that they are individual will, I feel, rest with the ability to show where the Lib Dems have influenced policy to be better for the country that it would have been, explain the direction they were trying to steer those policies and why that was the right direction, and how they would build on the influence they have had to turn those policies in the direction they feel they need to go. Say what you will do to make it better.

    And where significant compromise has been made, or little to no influence has been gained, say so, and say what you would do differently. Say it now. Say you accept the policy as part of the coalition, but disagree that it is the best solution, say what you would prefer to do, and say, as with political reform, that you disagree, and that it is up to the people to decide, which they will do come election time.

    and lastly… stop trying to come up with policy that does anything other than be just good policy. Spend your efforts on coming up with real, workable policies that can be acted on, that will clearly benefit society and that are driven by the core principles of democracy, liberalness and equality. Everything else is just an unnecessary distraction from what truly counts. The party is not important, the country is. You are only a party because you believe that what you want to do is right, so say so, and do it, and let people judge if they wish.

  • Old Codger Chris 11th Mar '11 - 2:15pm

    @ Tabman
    “Any cull of Lib Dem councillors will almost certainly lead to increased Conservative representation in these (shire) areas.” This is exactly what will happen in the many areas where Labour have long been in third place and Lib Dems have persuaded Labour supporters to vote tactically. Sad but true.

    Regarding the “country or party” debate Lib Dems who genuinely believed in the May 2010 manifesto would have placed both country AND party first if they had wrung a few more concessions from the Tories on economic policy. Perhaps we should have dropped our insistence on a referendum on voting reform – it wouldn’t have played well with the party but the economic situation is far more important just now and voters would have appreciated that. It’s not as if we’re getting a referendum on PR – even a prominent supporter of AV thinks it’s a miserable little compromise (copyright, N Clegg).

  • @ Tabman

    “I believe many of the elections in May are in mainly Conservative-held Shire Districts. Any cull of Lib Dem councillors will almost certainly lead to increased Conservative representation in these areas.”

    And the difference is?

    In the area I reside, it is a Tory council, but there are quite a few Liberal Democrat councillors if they were to lose to labour I don’t think it would make a difference to who actually runs the council unless the Conservatives lost a few as well… who knows it might stay the same, I always make the effort to vote, I believe that if you do not vote you have no right to complain.

    Then again I believe that voting should be compulsory but to do that we need the abstain tick box added to the voting ticket, or link voting to entitlement to some key services, like certain benefits it ant rocket science

  • OCC – OTOH there may be people who previously voted Conservative because they were anti-Labour and saw the Lib Dems as basically the same thing who now feel its safe to vote for them.

  • ‘The message written by “Anne” on 10th March 2011 at 5:43 pm is quite typical of the sorts of attacks we are getting, yet it is based on the idea that we are 100% responsible for the government’s policies’

    Matthew, you are either in government, or you are not – which one is it?

  • P Bird.

    You think the Lib Dems have a mandate, with 23% of the election vote, and 9% of the MP’s in parliament, to implement all policy exactly as they would wish? Perhaps you think Labour do with 29% of the public vote and 40% of the MP’s, or perhaps the Conservatives with 35% of the vote and 47% of MP’s?

    The thing is none of them have a majority of parliament, certainly none can claim enough backing from the public to enforce their will in entirety on the country. Unfortunately, due to our ridiculous parliamentary system, the Lib Dems are by far the smaller force, and have to accept that role, they always would have done, even a coalition with Labour wouldn’t have seen them have massive influence. Even though nearly a quarter of the voting public want to see their views enacted.

    I can understand people thinking they’ve put aside principles… but what’s less principled, standing back and shouting your views knowing no-one has to listen, or getting involved, knowing how unpopular it will be, to ensure that even the little influence you have can be used to steer things closer to a view you find acceptable… and that’s saying nothing of the fact that another election would have almost surely have led to a Tory majority, and that MP’s have a duty to try and form a government. If people didn’t want Tories involved, they shouldn’t have bloody voted for them… but they did, and we, as a country, have to deal with that.

  • Alex I’ve never said that the Lib Dems have a mandate? Take the time to look around before telling me what I ‘apparently think’ – what I’ve said is that Cameron has the right to be PM as he got the most votes – I dont know why but it sounds fair enough to me – the same as I would say after Cameron, Brown had the right to be PM – fair old thing, using democratic methods – well at least in my opinion it is.

    I find unprincipled

    a. Conning the electorate – that you campaigned on something you’d already agreed to drop is unforgivable, absolutely unforgivable, you cannot do that to people and try to get away with it.

    b. Campaigning for a system for your own benefit – hence why the number of Liberal Democrats trying to get me to vote for AV to provide a perpetual Liberal influence in government seems to be

    c. Insulting the public, for having, the sheer nerve, the sheer cheek, the sheer audacity or more honestly, the sheer sense not to vote for you – so far this week on LD front – we’ve seen the public branded as ‘racist’ ‘homophobic’ coupled with support from LDV who’s articles describe voters as ‘cretins’ and ‘ungrateful creatures’

    d. People calling on the party to put themselves first and as will be inevitable – country second.

    The Lib Dems made a choice to be in government – despite as they say, ‘losing the election’, and it gets tiring the number of times something makes you unpopular and you quickly dismiss it as ‘we lost the election’ – I’ve not heard one Conservative member grumble at their party losing popularity because of the decisions that have been made – but the ‘successes’ of the government, and you burst forward trying to get centre stage for the credit, – but you stand well back – and try and push everything away to blame someone else.

  • The time has come for the Lib Dems to take responsibility for their actions

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Mar '11 - 9:28pm

    P Bird

    ‘The message written by “Anne” on 10th March 2011 at 5:43 pm is quite typical of the sorts of attacks we are getting, yet it is based on the idea that we are 100% responsible for the government’s policies’

    Matthew, you are either in government, or you are not – which one is it?

    Well, no, I am not in government. And if I were, it would not mean I was in 100% agreement with everything that government does. Isn’t that obvious? Isn’t that what politics about? Unless one is a dictator, one cannot get everything one’s own way, one just has to get what influence one can. The people voted, the people put theTories as by far the dominant party, so we have a predominantly Tory government. Why blame the LibDems for that? Blame Labour more, because they, unlike the LibDems, suport the electoral system which twisted Tory representation up on the grounds they think elected dictatorship is best. We didn’t quite get that this time, but since you have made clear you are a suporter of that idea, why do you moan about Clegg? Surely by the position you have made clear you have on electoral systems you should believe all power should go to Cameron’s Conservatives on the ground they won the most votes.

    What I am saying is that if there were more LibDems, the government would be more LibDem and less Tory. But you have made clear you SUPPORT the electoral system which gave us many more Tories than LibDems, and you support it BECAUSE it generally distorts representation, generally giving complete control to the biggest party. So YOU Mr Bird are the one propping up Cameron by those views, not me. Your only moan, if you were logical about your views, would be that Mr Clegg tries to get ANY Tory policies modified.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Mar '11 - 9:33pm

    P Bird

    The Lib Dems made a choice to be in government

    If there was an alternative, Labour could offer it now – the number of MPs in Parliament now for each party is the same as in May. So let us see this choice you claim there was – let Labour offer it. Why don’t they? Because they can’t. Unfortunately, thanks to the electoral system you think is so great, the distortion in favour of the laregst party left no choice, there was no other viable coalition.

  • Sorry Matthew but your response gives me the impression of a party with a thirst for power at whatever cost, and despite the consequences

    Plus as I said, I voted Labour in the election, so I certainly didnt help you prop up the Tories.

    To your opinions

    Nope, but the Lib Dems made a choice to go into government, they made the choice to go with the Conservatives when options were available – going with Labour, I can see working because of ideological links – I understand why they didnt because of the results on the Thursday night – and that to support a defeated government woulkd have been bad –

    The choice was to remain in opposition, and work with the Tories on Confidence and Supply, you support the Tories where you agree, and you oppose with them where you disagree, now with that arithmetic, you can stop a lot of what you claim is compromise – plus enhance your situation in the polls. It was the logical option in May, and its the option I’d have taken in Cleggs clogs.

    I’m not defending FPTP but I’m not going to endorse a system which your party openly is only supporting to help their position, a system never before called for by the Lib Dems, and one that once achieved will not be satisfactory enough for them.

    The Lib Dems cant run away and hide behind everything that makes them unpopular. Dont support the government then leave it -message to your ‘representatives’ there.

  • Old Codger Chris 12th Mar '11 - 1:02am

    @P Bird
    “The choice was to go into opposition and work with the Tories on Confidence and Supply”. Two problems with that.

    Firstly, it would have played badly with those dreaded markets which hate political uncertainty, thus doing nothing for the economic crisis and damaging both party and country. Secondly, the Lib Dems have been telling people for years how good a hung parliament (they used to call it a balanced parliament) and coalition government would be. Be careful what you wish for – it might just come to pass.

  • What I can see is taking you out of the equation – taking the 57 seats out leaves a Conservative majority of 21 from the 593 – so a confidence agreement would have meant that unless the Tories lost a string of seats to the other opposition parties would only loosen their majority – losing seats to you guys means that the seats are going to be used in their favour – what this would have meant is a stable minority – allowing you to support necessary measures, and oppose unnecessary measures.

  • “Blame Labour more, because they, unlike the LibDems, suport the electoral system which twisted Tory representation up on the grounds they think elected dictatorship is best.”

    Blame Labour totally. They had a referendum on changing the voting system in their manifesto in 1997, 2001 and 2005 and did nothing about it in 13 years.

    Everything coming to pass that Labour and left-leaning supporters profess to hate so much is a direct result of this.

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