Tag Archives: general election 2015

Opinion: General election 2015 – The rise of UKIP and the Tory decapitation strategy

Looking across the change in vote share at the General Election (analysing data from here) reveals that the Liberal Democrat vote was down 15.3 percentage points (pps) on average, but down slightly more in constituencies where the Lib Dems won in 2010 (15.7 pps). Excluding Scotland from these latter figures shows the Libs Dems were down by 16.8 percentage points.

The biggest winner was UKIP, both in England and Wales (up 10.9 pps) and in former Lib Dem constituencies (up 7.6 pps). The Liberal Democrats need to understand why so many previous voters switched to UKIP.

The Conservatives were up 1.1 pps overall, but actually down 0.5 pps in Lib Dem seats. However, in England and Wales this turns into a gain, albeit just 0.7 pps and again lower than their overall improvement. The Conservatives gained most ground against the Lib Dems in the South West, up 3.8 pps overall, and up 4.3 pps in seats the Lib Dems had previously won.

Posted in Op-eds | 28 Comments

Opinion: The twin intellectual conceits that damned the Liberal Democrats’ election hopes in 2015

 

History has the delightful habit of rendering as fools those who propagate the consensus view of a contemporary event, not because the consensus is ever totally wrong, but because it is comfortable and provides comfortable answers to snuggle up to, rather than looking deeper into the harsh eyes of reality and the bigger truths that are revealed.

And so it is with the Liberal Democrat post election postmortem. The consensus view huddles around the notion that it was only tuition fees and anger about the coalition that lost it, but we knew about those from a long way out and still felt we would get more than twenty seats. Two slivers of reality that the Lib Dems could not bring themselves to acknowledge drove our total of seats down further.

The first of these conceits, and the one that is both the least contentious and the most uncomfortable, is that we were too blasé in believing that our traditional campaign tactic of talking up the local and ignoring the national would work. It has of course been effective in the past, but it was hugely conceited to assume that rival parties would not be working on ways to crack that particular code. Of course the coalition made it easier for it to happen, but we signalled what we were to do, with rhetoric in the national media about our ’57 by-elections strategy’, signposting the direction of our campaign to all.

Posted in Op-eds | 37 Comments

Guardian revelations about Clegg, Cable and the Lib Dem election catastrophe

Well, as the ballot papers get sent out in the leadership election, the Guardian publishes a series of revelations tonight about the last year of the coalition and the aftermath of the European elections.

Apparently Nick Clegg was ready to resign in the wake of the European elections and was talked out of it by, among others, Paddy Ashdown and Tim Farron. Certainly at the time, the feedback that Federal Executive members gave at our post Euro disaster meeting was that there was no appetite in the wider party for a leadership election, but they did want things to change.

Vince Cable, it transpires, did know about the Oakeshott polls.

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Two points about the Guardian’s analysis of Labour’s campaign

Patrick Wintour has written a long analysis of Labour’s General Election campaign. It outlines strategic misjudgements, disagreements and errors by Ed Miliband and makes a very interesting read. Before anyone says it for me, a similar account for the Liberal Democrats would also be enlightening. Most of us could write it ourselves and I suspect that there would be remarkable unanimity about the ineffectiveness of our national messaging, our positioning as a “none of the above” party and the very odd “stability, unity and decency” message of the last few days.

Two things particularly strike me about Wintour’s article. The first is that women are pretty much invisible. Lucy Powell, Labour’s campaign chair, is mentioned only because of a letter she wrote to the BBC complaining about coverage during the election. Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader, only seems to come in to the picture when she’s waiting for some shred of good news in studios on election night. All the key players seem to have been men. This is exactly the same as it was during the Brown era when Harriet Harman was treated pretty much as an irrelevance. I’m not saying that they would have won the election had they listened to the women, because there is no indication that the women were getting it either. Of course, the ease with which Yvette Cooper seems to be distancing herself from everything Labour said during the election campaign is interesting. Did she put her views forward during it and have them rejected by the cabal at the centre of the campaign?

Similarly in our campaign, men seem to have dominated the decision making. Olly Grender was certainly there doing great practical ground war stuff, but it did seem sometimes as if Clegg, Alexander and Laws were just making stuff up on the bus as the campaign went along and the rest of the operation was playing catch-up.

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Opinion: On being beaten

After hours of counting on the morning on Friday 7th May 2010 it was announced for the world to see that Glenda Jackson was re-elected elected as the Member of Parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn.  Hidden beneath this was my own result where I lost by 842.  A close result, except that I was in third place – in 2010 the best placed third placed loser in Britain I’m told.

In most of the accounts of the 2010 General Election H&K as it was dubbed, is listed as the seat the LD’s hoped to win – Nick Clegg had launch his campaign there.  I was cited as a close friend (one paper even said I was his best man – I wasn’t!).

Indeed I remember at the count when the Conservative candidate went back to his team – he said “She’s won”. One of his campaign asked hastily – “and Fordham?” – “he’s third came the reply” – “Yes” they cheered.

But for me as I walked home and for the days afterwards it was more than losing.  I’m a Liberal Democrat – I’m used to losing counts.  But losing as a candidate it is highly personal.

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Opinion: Dear Nick…

Dear Nick

Can I start by saying that possibly unlike the rest of the party right now, I actually feel a surge of optimism.

I have been a LibDem voter since the last election and an active supporter for all of 18 months.

I started off sceptically. My husband had found a party that mirrored his values and so had divorced Labour and set his sights on the LibDems.

I was a little overwhelmed.  I hadn’t been indoctrinated at my mother’s knee so felt something of an outsider who didn’t know the history, in jokes, culture, or people.

However when I attended conference and actually experienced policy making first hand things started to change.  Here was genuine debate, all angles considered and joy of joys voted on by party members!  I had a voice!

So I supported my husband when he took the decision to stand against George Osborne, despite him already having a demanding full time job, 3 hour commute and not a hope in hell of winning!    

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Opinion: My post election promise

We’re really struggling right now, and I know that. Even the sorry few who managed to keep their seats are looking at a pretty rough time over the next 5 years. 2015 has been a bad year for us, as liberals, so what can we do to fix that?

One of the best things about the Lib Dems is that we know we can bounce back in the face of adversity. Yes, it’s not been as tough as this in a long time, but we’re made of sterner stuff. We’re not going to roll over and let this be it.

I spent far too many hours out on doorsteps recently, in the gorgeous sunshine and the pouring rain, chapping on doors and persuading lovely people to vote for us. And I learned a lot. I learned that there are some die-hard supporters out there – some who will not change their vote, the vote that their fathers and even grandfathers made all their lives. And sometimes that works in our favour (yay – a life-long Lib Dem) and sometimes it doesn’t (“I’ll vote Labour like my father before me”, a favourite line from my grandmother of all people). These people are never going to change, although my gran has reliably informed me that she would vote for me if I ever stood as a candidate, even as a  liberal!

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Opinion: It’s not about left or right

About an hour after Nick Clegg resigned I received a long letter by email on behalf of SLF essentially blaming the ‘Orangebookers’ for the poor Lib Dem results.

I would like to suggest that all sections of the party consider the possibility that it was not an issue of left or right. Maybe neither the left or right of the party were to blame, but that, with benefit of hindsight, there were other factors. My top 5. Other views ?

1. Obviously being in Coalition was difficult especially with our more anti-Tory supporters and Labour-facing seats…Tory ‘bedroom tax’ and ‘work-ready’ interviews for the disabled are among the most tricky on the doorstep. LD left & right had failed to counter the obvious opprobrium arising from these & other Tory policies – both in policy adjustment/veto AND in campaigning.

2. The ‘in between the two’ strategy was too negative …”vote for us because we will stop others doing stuff”, rather than what WE wanted to do post-May 2015. This was a hard sell to make pithy. ‘Stopping extremes’ was weak, since most did not see Tory or Labour as extreme.

3. We countered ‘stop Labour/SNP’ with ‘stop Tory/UKIP’ in Tory-facing seats. No-one believed however that UKIP could be coalition partners with one or two seats, on the doorstep. This strategy was a dud and left us vulnerable, and without a more credible response.

Posted in Op-eds | 43 Comments

Opinion: The next 5 years will bring a much greater appreciation of what we did in coalition

For the last seven years, I have had the privilege of working for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats.

So I’m sure you can understand that the last 48 hours have been pretty tough. Whatever you think of the party, our politics or the decisions we took, there are currently thousands of individuals who have given blood, sweat and tears in the name of our cause who have been bluntly and brutally rejected at the ballot box.

It is a tragedy for the party and for the political cause we believe in: the belief that Britain is at its best when it is open-minded, open-hearted, tolerant and generous.

My job until Friday morning was to be Nick’s speechwriter. It’s the best job I have ever had and will probably ever have. I cannot begin to express my admiration for a man who did the right thing, took a vicious public lashing for it every day and took it all with good grace, good humour and the conviction to keep going because we had a vital job to do.

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Nick Clegg resigns as leader

Nick Clegg has said that he needs to take responsibility for the “crushing” election result for the Liberal Democrats and he resigned with great dignity.

He said that the election had been crushing, much more so than he expected and he had to take responsibility for that. He then went on to quote Edinburgh Western candidate Alex Cole Hamilton’s tweet after the 2011 Scottish election. Alex said that if the price of his defeat was that no child would spend a night in an immigration detention centre again, then he accepted it with all his heart. Nick gave a passionate defence of the good things we’d done in government and said that he thought history would judge us more kindly than last night.

He then talked passionately about the need for British liberalism. He acknowledged it wasn’t faring well against identity politics and the politics of fear but it was really needed.

Fear and grievance have won. Liberalism has lost. But it is more precious than ever and we must keep fighting for it.

It is easy to imagine there is no road back. There is.

This is a very dark hour for our party but we cannot and will not allow decent liberal values to be extinguished overnight.

We’ll update this post with reaction to Nick’s resignation. I’ll write at greater length about his leadership when I’ve had some sleep, but I have huge admiration for the man. He has borne the difficulties of the last five years with dignity, good grace, humour and resilience. He has been ridiculed by vested interests from left and right. You could argue that any Liberal Democrat leader in such a position would have faced exactly the same. He’s made mistakes, from the Rose Garden to secret courts to the bedroom tax to the one that everyone associates with him. Here’s his statement in full.

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9 am update: Where are we now?

There  are just two seats with Liberal Democrat interest left to declare and I think we’d be kidding ourselves if we thougth we were going to get anywhere with either of them. Tessa Munt’s Wells and Andrew George’s St Ives look like they will fall to the Tories.

Update: actually 3 – I forgot Berwick. There may be a possibility there, which would be great but I’m not overly hopeful, it has to be said.

So, our parliamentary party is:

Nick Clegg

Tim Farron

Norman Lamb

Greg Mulholland

Tom Brake

John Pugh

Mark Williams

Alistair Carmichael

The psychological effects of the loss of our heartlands will affect us for some time to come.

We will, of ocurse, need to evaaluate what went wrong, how we change and refresh our campaigning style and make ourselves relevant in a very difficult and challenging political environment.

The worst thing that could have happened has happened – a Tory overall majority. People who think the last five years have been a Tory government will soon see what they are like, particularly with their right wing unleashed to cause havoc. There will be a great need for liberalism as they seek to strip our human rights laws back to nothing and isolate us internationally.

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Jo Swinson’s SNP rival has row with Lib Dem on Twitter – then complains to their employer

So, you have a row with someone on Twitter. Most of us would just shrug it off and get on with our lives. Not John Nicolson, the SNP candidate up against Jo Swinson.

After a Twitter exchange with Federal Policy Committee member Belinda Brooks-Gordon, he blocked her and then took the unusual step of writing to her employer.

The Daily Record has the story:

East Dunbartonshire hopeful John Nicolson sent a bizarre email to the master of Birbeck College in London after the fiery Twitter exchange with Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon.

The lecturer in forensic psychology is standing for the Lib Dems in the Cities of London and Westminster seat and had voiced her support for Nicolson’s opponent Jo Swinson.

Brooks-Gordon had referred to former BBC journalist Nicolson’s property portfolio in London and suggested he could return to the city and questioned his credentials as a local candidate.

Nicolson joined the Twitter exchange to rubbish the claim.

But he did not let the matter rest there and decided to send off an email to Brooks-Gordon’s boss at the college, which is part of the University of London.

Belinda made a very good point, asking what he would do if a constituent disagreed with him or criticised him. Would he be complaining to their boss, too?

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The best UK government of my lifetime

I kicked off the campaign with this post and I thought I’d re-run it the night before we head to the polls. I wrote a book chapter about the coalition in the shadow of a rollercoaster. That’s how the last five years have felt. There have been moments when I’ve winced and moments when I have been immensely proud of our ministers. All in all, though, Britain is in a much better place than it would have been without us. All that horrible stuff you see in the Tory manifesto about banning non-specified non violent extremism, all the stuff about taking all benefits from young people, all the illiberal, immigrant-bashing, poor-demonising, rich-enriching nonsense wouldn’t in their manifesto. They would already be law. I hope that the government elected tomorrow is a force for economic fairness and stability, transformational political change and has an open and internationalist approach. If there are Liberal Democrats in it, it will tick all of these boxes. Anyway, here are my thoughts from five weeks ago. 

This post will be open to new and infrequent commenters. 

I’m not going to lie, when we went into coalition with the Tories, I did not feel comfortable with it. Working with the party who had destroyed the country I grew up during the 80s  in was never going to be easy. It’s not about comfort or ease, though. It’s about doing good and enacting liberal values. We’ve made mistakes – howlers, even. Who hasn’t? Can you say that you’ve got through the last five years error free? We have much to show for it. For every child who hasn’t had to spend months in Yarl’s Wood, for every disadvantaged child who has new opportunities at school, for those who benefit from reforms to mental health, for those who have workplace pensions, for pensioners benefitting from the triple lock, for those people across the world who benefit from our aid. for those who are now free to marry the people they love, it’s been worth it. Despite all the constraints on us having only 8% of the MPs and a fifth of the government, we have made a very strong, liberal mark.

Despite everything, this coalition has been the best UK government of my lifetime. That’s quite a long time, however much I like to pretend that I’m a young person. Certainly the likes of Blair, Thatcher and Callaghan didn’t set the bar very high, but we’ve achieved a lot. It’s been a roller coaster and I’m far from satisfied with everything it’s done, but I am incredibly proud of Lib Dem ministers, among them:

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The final Liberal Democrat party election broadcast – all 3 versions: It’s decision time between self-interest and grievance or Lib Dem fairness, tolerance and decency

Here’s the party’s final party election broadcast, It’s decision time now for all the people we’ve met in the series. The film argues that Liberal Democrats have brought compassion and fairness, built on consensus and co-operation, to Britain.

Your vote will be the difference between a government of self-interest and grievance or a coalition of tolerance and decency.

Here’s the Scottish version and listen to who is voicing it. There’s more emphasis on what we stopped the Tories doing.

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Manatee needs your help!

Look at this beautiful manatee! Isn’t he adorable?

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LibLink: Stephen Tall: Two signs which show the Tories think they will fail (again)

Stephen Tall has been writing for the Times’ Red Box blog. He reckons that it’s been clear all along that the Tories have known perfectly well they won’t get a majority, for two reasons:

The first piece of evidence is the Conservative manifesto itself, an unfunded wish-list which vows to turn the budget deficit into a surplus, while simultaneously promising tax-cuts for everyone, more money for the NHS, freezing rail fares — all to be paid for by unspecified welfare cuts and, fingers crossed, economic growth. How else to explain this unsquareable circle other than as a bartering tactic for future coalition negotiations?

And the endorsement of the Tory press for us? It’s not a coincidence:

The second piece of evidence is the endorsement of the Lib Dems by usually Conservative-leaning newspapers in their traditional “If we had a vote” leader columns. Given the battering meted out to the party by the press these past five years, most of us had written off these write-ups. Instead, The TimesThe Sunday Times, the FT, the Economist, and, yes, even The Sun, have all called on their readers to consider voting tactically for the Lib Dems where the party’s fighting Labour.

It’d be naïve to think they’ve been won over by our policy “red lines” or Clegg’s distinctly upbeat campaign – they’re making nice because they think it’s the most likely route to the continuation of some form of Conservative-led government.

Posted in LibLink | 28 Comments

Opinion: What have the Liberal Democrats done for us and can we afford to put our trust in them again?

Like so many past Liberal Democrat voters, I have found this election campaign frustrating and demoralising. At the last election our party managed to get into a seat of power but didn’t they just throw it all away when they broke their pledge on tuition fees? What is the point in voting if our wishes are cast aside at the first hurdle?

But the right to vote has been hard fought and is a fundamental responsibility for all citizens. I have been seriously contemplating writing ‘none of the above’ on my voting slip. But no, voting is such an important responsibility. A choice needs to be made.

Watching the televised broadcasts and following the campaign on the radio and television has not been helpful. Politics is so muddied with spin. I needed to cut the crap and ditch the spin. We all know how the Liberal Democrats have failed us but I decided to research the Liberal Democrat Manifesto from 2010 to see what they have actually succeeded in achieving…

Increase the income tax threshold to £10,000. This is huge! It is a much better way of boosting the economy and supporting lower income families than having a higher minimum wage or putting up benefits.

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Former OxWAb Green candidate backs Lib Dem Layla Moran

Good news for the Lib Dem’s Layla Moran in Oxford West and Abingdon. The Green candidate from 2010 has endorsed her. The Cherwell has the story. 

Chris Goodall, who ran as the Green candidate for the area in the 2010 General Election, has written to residents urging them to vote for Layla Moran of the Liberal Democrats, rather than the Greens’ Larry Sanders.

In the letter, he explained, “If the UK had proportional representation, I’d have no hesitation giving Green candidate Larry Sanders my vote this time. But we don’t.”

He went on to call the seat “ultra-marginal”, saying that no one except that Conservatives and the Lib Dems “stands the remotest chance of winning”.

He continued, “Those of us who want to see a fairer, more tolerant and more equal society have to vote for Layla even if it is against our party loyalties.”

Despite the tactical nature of his endorsement, however, he also had high praise for Moran herself, calling her “a thoughtful and energetic individual”, and opining, “Parliament needs far more people like her with a background in science. And her experience of living in different countries would help reduce the extraordinary insularity we often see in the House of Commons.”

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Nick Clegg wants to turn Britain into a cycling nation – and earns praise from Chris Boardman

I found out about this not because it came in in a Google alert but because a family member, who has nothing to do with politics, shared it on Facebook. That family member lives in a  key Liberal Democrat seat so I hope he’s going to do the right thing and vote for Danny on Thursday. It’s the only thing to do in Inverness if you really don’t want an SNP MP as I know he doesn’t.

This family member is a really hardcore cyclist. Ten days ago he took part in the Mallorca 312. That’s where people cycle all the way round the island of Mallorca. The first thing they encounter is a flipping great mountain range that goes down almost the entire west coast. He did the whole thing in under 14 hors, too, which was incredible, especially when you think he’s even more middle aged (by 2 months and 13 days) than I am.

Anyway, suffice to say he was impressed with Nick’s plans as revealed in Cycling Weekly and praised by none other than Chris Boardman:

The network asked parties to allocate five per cent of Britain’s transport budget to cycling and set a target for cycling to account for 10 per cent of all trips.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to nail their colours to the mast and pledge to implement everything the network is asking for,” said Boardman, British Cycling’s policy advisor after Clegg confirmed he is ‘very keen’ to implement the recommendations.

It’s encouraging to hear that Nick Clegg is passionate about Britain becoming a cycling nation to rival our European neighbours.

The difference is that he is actually bold enough to put some numbers and targets against this aim with measures that could have a colossal impact on how people get around.

If the Liberal Democrats form part of a new coalition we will certainly be pressing them to ensure that these ambitions form a central part of the government’s transport strategy.”

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As if Scottish Labour weren’t in enough trouble….

This is what popped into my inbox at 13:34 this afternoon:

Labour 72 hours email

 

72 hours? That’s Friday! A bit late for those few Labour voters who remain to get to the polls. 

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Watch: Paddy’s Team Talk for the final few days: Where we need to win, we’re winning and what’s more the Tories know it…

As activists all over the country pull up their hoods to protect them from the torrential rain, Paddy pops up to say thanks, to remind us to keep going till 1o pm on Thursday and reminds us why we are doing it – for stability, decency and unity in our country.

He also reminds us that the Tories know that we are winning where we need to be and points out that at this stage in the last election they said they only had to win 14 seats, this time they are saying it’s 23 but we know it’s more.

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Norman Baker’s genius response to David Cameron: David, I need you to stop sending dishonest and patronising letters

Norman Baker by Liberal DemocratsThe Tories don’t seem to have got the hang of excluding the opposition from their target mailings. This may be a good thing as we wouldn’t have had the joy of reading our Norman Baker’s fantastic and hilarious response to a missive he received from David Cameron, in whose government he served until last November.

Here’s the Prime Minister’s letter:

David Cameron Letter

And here, in full, is Norman’s pithy response. Enjoy.

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Video: The Liberal Democrat Women’s Manifesto

When I saw this yesterday, my blood was boiling for a bit. You have to stick with it, because it does actually get better.

There are a couple of things I’d have done differently. There was no need for body parts to come into the conversation at all. We need to think about all sorts of inclusion, here.

Secondly, I’d have liked a recognition that women face particular barriers and Liberal Democrats want to tackle those – but the way to do that is for us all to do that together. Gender discrimination is bad for everybody.

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Opinion: Why I would be wary of another coalition with the Conservatives

As the speculation continues on the make-up of the next government, I have been thinking a lot about the prospect of another Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

We went into coalition in 2010 for three main reasons 1) because the country needed a strong, stable government to sort out the economy which was in crisis 2) to stop the Tories from doing nasty, right-wing things, and 3) to get our own great policies, such as pupil premium implemented.

So where are we in 2015? We do not have the same level of economic difficulty as we did in 2010. The deficit is halved, our GDP growth is the highest amongst developed countries and we have record employment. Whilst it’s true that we cannot take the economic recovery for granted, we are not in crisis.

As to being able to stop the Tories’ right wing agenda in 2015, I doubt that we will be able to do that as effectively. It is likely that any Conservative/Lib Dem/DUP coalition will have the smallest of majorities. This will give those ‘swivel-eyed’ right wing conservatives a lot of power. In this parliament, the Coalition had a decent majority and the more extreme Tories could be safely ignored – that won’t be the case this time. And just to get a flavour of some of the policies on offer in the Tory 2015 manifesto – 500 more free schools, removing JSA for 18-21 year olds, requiring 40% turnout for strike action, ending any subsidy for onshore wind,  lowering the benefit cap, capping skilled migration, scrapping the Human Rights Act and introducing the snoopers charter – nice!

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Manifesto snippets in BSL Part 7: Crime, freedom and equality and political reform

The Liberal Democrats have produced a series of 20 videos giving snippets of our manifesto in BSL. We are the first major party to do so. The full list is here.

We’ll also put them up on here in batches over the next wee while. If you want to see all our posts, just click on the bsl tag at the bottom of this post.

In this post, you will find crime, freedom and equality and political reform.

Crime

Freedom and equality

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Lib Dem Manifesto snippets in BSL Part 6: Europe, International and Defence

The Liberal Democrats have produced a series of 20 videos giving snippets of our manifesto in BSL. We are the first major party to do so. The full list is here.

We’ll also put them up on here in batches over the next wee while. If you want to see all our posts, just click on the bsl tag at the bottom of this post.

In this post, you will find Europe, and International and Defence.

Europe

International and Defence

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Election night LIVE on Liberal Democrat Voice

We’ll be covering election night live here on Liberal Democrat Voice on Thursday night through to Friday morning.

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There is no need for Clegg to make an EU Referendum a red line. This does not signify agreement to it

I have seen some consternation amongst Lib Dems today, both in real life and online, about Nick Clegg’s remarks about an EU referendum not being  a red line for us. Many party members feel very strongly that we should not agree to something which could be very unsettling and destabilising. Having come through three years of the Scottish referendum, I am more in that camp than in the other group of activists who think we should agree to it or we’ll be seen as anti-democratic.

Before we rush to judgment, let’s have a look at what Nick actually said. From the Guardian:

I am happy to insist on my red lines – they are the ones the Liberal Democratshave put on the front page of our manifesto which are much more important than some of the other red lines other parties have chosen.”

He said he disagreed with the Tory position on the EU and said he was still committed to the act of parliament passed by the coalition which would trigger a referendum if further UK sovereignty was ceded to Brussels. But he declined to rule out rejecting Cameron’s demand for a referendum.

“It’s not my responsibility to try and stare into a crystal ball. The way this works is I set out my priorities, David Cameron sets out his, Ed Miliband sets out his. People then choose. How those red lines are or are not compatible with each other is in part dependent on the mandate that the British people give each of those parties.”

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Lynne Featherstone on Labour’s “lies and desperate smears”

A couple of weeks ago, we featured the Labour candidate in Leeds North West who had a bit of a problem with the, you know, facts. Greg Mulholland rightly called him out for it.

Now Lynne Featherstone’s Labour opponent has told a pretty outrageous untruth about her. They will now have to print and distribute a retraction.  From Lynne’s blog:

The letter to residents contained the false statement: “Lynne Featherstone…was even a minister in the Home Office when the disgraceful “Go Home” vans were sent out.”

At the time the vans went out (July 2013), Lynne Featherstone was in the Department for International Development, kick-starting the campaign to end FGM and fighting to protect the aid budget. Lynne Featherstone was a minister at DFID from September 2012 – November 2014.

Labour have been advised to immediately cease delivering the letters, and issue a retraction to all residents who’ve received the letter.

Lynne said:

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In which I seriously contemplate voting Labour

You might find this hard to believe. I was a little bit shocked by it myself. You have to understand the situation I am in. I live in a seat which is, to all intents and purposes, a battle between the SNP and Labour. With a poll this week suggesting that the SNP could win every single seat in Scotland, the unthinkable had to be thought. Should I, could I vote Labour tactically  to try to stop that happening? A large group of SNP MPs primarily motivated by narrow nationalist interests is not something that I think would be healthy for our democracy.

I have voted either SDP or Liberal Democrat in every election since I turned 18 bar two. The first was in the 90s when there was no Lib Dem candidate in my council ward. There wasn’t even an independent. My choice was Tory or Labour. There was no way I could ever in a million years vote Tory, so I had to click my heels three times, cross my fingers behind my back and put my cross next to the Labour candidate. The second was the 1997 election when I didn’t vote at all. When I had headed over to Chesterfield on the Friday before polling day, I rather suspected I might get home before 10pm on polling day. It wasn’t to be. I don’t think Mrs Pankhurst would have minded too much, though, because I was working my backside of in one of the most fantastic campaigns I have ever worked on.

The thought of Scotland sending a contingent of 100% of nationalist MPs elected on barely half the vote was something that deeply disturbed me. they would then claim that they spoke for Scotland, dismissing those who didn’t support them. Don’t get me wrong, there are some issues where I have a lot of common ground with them. However, their nationalism and quest for independence aside, they have a strong authoritarian, illiberal streak which goes against all my instincts. If Labour were the only ones likely to be able to beat them, shouldn’t I hold my nose and just vote Labour?

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  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 6th Jul - 10:53pm
    "The inheritance tax threshold rise is just a stupid promise made by the conservatives" Inheritance tax is a tax you do not have to pay,...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 6th Jul - 10:20pm
    Thanks for highlighting this, Paul. It's going to be interesting because even if any Tory felt exercised enough by this abuse of process by the...
  • User AvatarAndrew 6th Jul - 10:09pm
    @ Mr Wallace 9 lib Dems, 1 UKIP and 1 Green actually! But don't let a report by the Electoral Reform Society based on a...
  • User AvatarJamie Stewart 6th Jul - 10:01pm
    Thanks for the comments. My main impetus for writing this was George Osborne's clever politics, and I was shoving it out there partly for people...
  • User AvatarSammy O'Neill 6th Jul - 9:55pm
    @JohnTilley Pointing out how his suggestions are flawed and not actually feasible is not "doing the work of The Conservatives and the property spivs ",...
  • User AvatarMrWallace 6th Jul - 9:54pm
    Be grateful you lost the AV vote. AV would mean 1 UKIP MP, zero greens and <3 lib dems. Why they campaigned for such an...
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