Tag Archives: labour

What’s the scariest outcome of the General Election?

While the national polls aren’t looking great for the Liberal Democrats, to say the least, in key seats there’s more of an air of, if not confidence, at least hope. Campaign teams are busily getting on with what needs to be done for them to win their seats, buoyed by increasing membership and a never-ending list of jobs to do. Ben Lazarus, who write the Telegraph’s Morning Briefing tried to fathom the other day what he called the “Lib Dems’ curious optimism”:

For a party that, since 2010 has now lost three quarters of their support, the Liberal Democrats seem remarkably calm. There are reasons for this. They know that a hung parliament could give them real power again after May . And, according to YouGov’s Peter Kellner,  despite the abysmal polling, there are two factors that may help them save more of their seats than those headline figures suggest. First, the party usually gains support nationally during election campaigns. The party benefits from TV exposure – although they no longer have the advantage of being a protest party unaffected by the rigours of government, it is likely their exposure by the main broadcasters will still be an aid. Second, Liberal Democrat MPs often have a strong personal following. Where Lib Dems are seeking re-election, their chances are often better than the national polls suggest; the party is deliberately playing to this strength, fighting lots of local campaigns instead of a national one.

With all the talk about Ukip and the Greens, the Lib Dems are sometimes forgotten.  But don’t rule them out.  They may prove more resilient than many expect, and thus play a pivotal role in the messy events that follow the election.

And it’s about what goes on following the election that I want to think about. I wrote last week that we need to keep our options open and not throw any babies out before the bath has even been run. While I understand the logic that letting the SNP be in charge of the UK would be a bit like letting Farage take charge in Europe, we don’t know what orders the people are going to give us, what hand we are going to be dealt. And, frankly, we will have to find the best future for liberal democrat ideas within that. It might be in government, it might not be.

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So what’s Miranda Grell, formerly convicted of homophobic smears on her Liberal Democrat opponent, up to these days?

Way back in 2006, Miranda Grell was elected as a Labour Councillor in Waltham Forest, East London. The following year, she was convicted of making false statements about another candidate, the Liberal Democrat Barry Smith. From the BBC:

Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court heard in police interviews Grell admitted she had discussed Mr Smith’s sexuality with one local resident.

She said she told the man Mr Smith claimed to be married despite having a 19-year-old Thai boyfriend.

Grell put the mistake down to political immaturity and inexperience at campaigning.

But another resident, Caroline Dargan, told the court Grell had a similar conversation with her.

Outside court Ms Dargan told BBC London: “(Grell) just started to talk about the Lib Dem candidate. She made some suggestions about him being gay, and I sort of knew that.

“But then I felt the conversation deteriorated into her saying that he was actually interested in young oriental boys.”

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Back to the days of toxic factionalism in the Labour Party – will they ever learn?

I’ve always felt that the Labour Party would be much more effective if they could put their energies into fighting the problems the country faces rather than fighting each other. We all remember the schism between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair from Day 1 of their administration which overshadowed everything they did. Do you remember the time when they decided to show everyone what good friends they were in the run up to, I think, the 2005 election, sitting  together uncomfortably on the GMTV sofa.

Today the Sunday Times (£) shows us that toxic factionalism is still alive and well in the Party. Brown and Blair couldn’t even get on when things were going well for them. The two Eds, Miliband and Balls are apparently at daggers drawn and Balls may face demotion after recent blunders:

A shadow cabinet member said if Miliband becomes prime minister he should move the shadow chancellor and accused Balls of behaving with “contempt” towards colleagues and “undermining the leader’s agenda”.

Frontbenchers attacked Balls last night for committing Labour’s two worst gaffes of the election campaign so far.

They said his reputation as a “safe pair of hands” had been shattered when he failed to name a single Labour business backer and told voters they should get a receipt for work done cash in hand, both of which attracted ridicule.

Senior figures also expressed frustration and incredulity that Balls has dug his heels in over funding a cut in English tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year — three years after Miliband first backed the policy and with the announcement due at the end of this week.

Insiders say a meeting between Miliband and Balls last Wednesday, which many hoped would settle the policy, had “ended badly”.

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Austin Mitchell gives a masterclass in taking your constituents for granted…

That sound you can hear is the wailing of Labour campaign organisers in Grimsby as they work out how to deal with outgoing Labour MP Austin Mitchell’s latest bout of Foot in Mouth disease.

From the i:

From the shuttered-up homes by the once bustling fish market to derelict harbour-side factories, politicians of all stripes admit privately that the east coast town alternates between being forgotten and taken for granted in Westminster.

It’s a narrative that Ukip is pushing hard and one that the Lincolnshire town’s veteran MP, Mitchell, unwittingly reinforced by telling the Independent on Sunday that Labour would win the seat “even” if they selected a “raving alcoholic sex paedophile”.

We knew that Labour have a real sense of entitlement to power that is most unattractive. Breaking their fiefdoms in Scotland by introducing STV for local government is one of the best things the Liberal Democrats have ever done in government. Labour are finding that years, decades of neglect and taking voters for granted is coming back to bite them on the bum. The thing is, I don’t see much sign of their attitude really changing that much.

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Opinion: What might happen after May 7th

This article appeared earlier as a comment on our “Electoral fruit machine” post and is reproduced here with permission from the author.

(After May 7th) I believe the Lib Dems will have more than 20 seats and less than 40, with many polls and commentators going for somewhere around the 30 mark, at the moment. From all the qualitative data I’ve seen so far that seems a fair estimate in political science. Anything less than 20 would be a shock, as Lord Ashcroft’s polling indicates that this is not going to happen.

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What will the electoral fruit machine* come up with on May 7th?

This post is reserved for new and infrequent commenters. “Infrequent” is defined as having posted less than five comments in the last month.

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Nick Harvey: ‘If you think we are going to spend another five years being shafted (this time) by Labour, you’ve got another think coming’

The Liberal Democrat coalition negotiation team leave Cowley Street HQ for the fourth day of discussions with the Conservatives May 10th 2010.

Earlier this week we highlighted Nick Harvey MP’s report “Beyond the Rose Garden”. In it, he recommends a range of changes in arrangements for any future coalition governments.

In the wake of his report’s publication, Nick has now given an extensive interview with Huffington Post

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LibLink: Vince Cable – Why is Labour planning changes to tuition fees that benefit higher earning graduates before lower earners?

Writing on the Guardian’s Comment is Free, Vince Cable takes Labour to task on their developing plan to reduce the tuition fees cap to £6,000. He culminates with this question:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 191 Comments

Opinion: Four-step guide to how not to be the nasty party (Labour edition)

Labour has put out a video in which it gives the Conservatives some handy tips as to how to not be the ‘nasty party’. The tongue-in-cheek clip doesn’t completely fail to amuse and is pretty accurate in what it says. Few here would doubt the Tories are still the nasty party. The Liberal Democrat leadership  is quite right when it says ‘compassionate Conservatism’ has been  exposed for the fraud it is. However, there is something unsettling when Labour is the one using the ‘nasty party’ stick to beat their Tory opponents with when Labour itself has clearly shown itself to have a propensity towards nastiness. To illustrate the very brazen hypocrisy, I’ve prepared a handy four-step guide that Labour may want to take heed off.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments

Cameron and the Tories show us what Government by Daily Mail would look like

It seems very strange to have watched three leaders’ speeches before our own Conference has started. We normally go first in the Conference season but thanks to Mr Alex Salmond and his choice of referendum date, we are bringing this conference season to an end. For once, Nick Clegg gets the chance to have the last word.

Farage, with his dodgy wireless microphone, was as full of himself as ever, even more so when he had a defecting Tory MP to brandish. This was in sharp contrast to Ed Miliband’s clumsy performance. And then we had Cameron. Standing in front of a dark backdrop, looking at his most charming, delivering a speech that had passion and promise. It didn’t just have a melody. It had the whole darned symphony. But he and his ministers have this week painted a picture of a Britain that I really don’t fancy living in, a country where government by Daily Mail values is the norm.

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That Ed Miliband speech in full… (2)

The following arrived in a brown envelope at Lib Dem Voice Towers, this morning. It is probably an early draft.

Ed speechThankyou so much.

Friends, this country will never turn our back on the world and on the principles of internationalism. Those values are reflected not just in this country but in this party, and in the great team of Manchester United.

Posted in Humour | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Opinion: What Andy Burnham didn’t tell you about NHS privatisation

nhs sign lrgAndy Burnham’s recent set-piece speech on the NHS, the latest instalment of Labour’s “summer offensive”, opened with a neat bit of scene-setting. By briefly championing a group of Darlington mothers who are presently marching 300 miles in protest at the use of private providers in the NHS, he conjured a mood of protest while subtly co-opting their campaign. Thereafter he sought only to reduce the 2015 general election to a “binary choice” between “a part-privatised, two-tier health market under David Cameron” and “a public, integrated national health and care service under Labour.”

In terms of how he defined that choice, though, Burnham could hardly have done worse than to frame his argument with an example from Cambridgeshire, singling out for particular criticism its attempt to integrate care services for older people.

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Opinion: Miliband, Piketty and the Liberal response

milibandThree weeks ago, Miliband crossed the Rubicon and entered the heartland of Tory ideology. His support for European-style longer and more secure tenancies — and by extension capping rent increases — runs roughshod over a hitherto post-Thatcherite consensus.

Grant Shapps led the Tory riposte with a quick and ludicrous barb: Labour were proposing “Venezuelan-style rent controls”. Most people won’t know the details of Venezuela’s housing policy, but will be sure it’s unlikely to be any worse than our own.

Times have changed. We can see this clearly in that most …

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Opinion: Labour’s cheap attacks on Clegg’s integrity reflect badly on them

Labour broadcast Shrinking manThe word appalling doesn’t even begin to cover Labour’s most recent campaign video. It’s a spiteful attack ad on the character of Nick Clegg, and in case you haven’t seen it, you can find it here. Feel free to grab something to vomit into beforehand.

I’m a 16 year old student, and I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2013 for three reasons. I believe passionately that democracy in Britain is failing, and the Liberal Democrats are the only party that seek that cause with integrity. I couldn’t deal …

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Opinion: The “Bedroom Tax”: a great socialist policy?

Bedroom tax demo , all the photos taken with a iphone 5One thing escapes most political commentators when critiquing the merits of the Bedroom Tax. It is, of course, a great socialist policy.

Of course most commentators accept New Labour introduced the Bedroom Tax through the Local Housing Allowance policy from 2003 to 2008. The mistake commentators make is that they believe LHA to be an ideologically compassionate conservative policy, instead of democratic socialist one.

The argument has two parts. The first is relatively straight forward. For a socialist common ownership (of which …

photo by: paul bevan
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Opinion: Yes, Labour really has given up on winning votes from the Conservatives

Labour Party logoI’m not fully signed up to the mockery for Labour’s recent TV and online films mocking Nick Clegg. Why? Because for all the naff content themselves, the broad message of them has been massively reported in the media, reaching a much wider audience than the films themselves.

I doubt that was a deliberate strategy as you can’t count on calibrating something to be just bad enough to get lots of coverage but not so bad as to sink under it. It’s a handy silver lining, however, especially as it diverted …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 34 Comments

Opinion: The irony of Labour’s “shrinking man” Party Election Broadcast

Labour broadcast Shrinking manLabour’s Party Election Broadcast has attracted plenty of attention since its launch on Wednesday, with its comedy portrayal of Nick “Claggy” as the un-credible shrinking man.

Much has already been made of the PEB’s negativity, and its silence on the question of Labour’s actual policy relating the EU (or indeed anything else) which, since the party receives public funding to develop such policy, might be considered unfortunate.

All might have been forgiven if viewers had dissolved into laughter upon watching the film, but aside from “can we hunt him?” …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Opinion: We are still living with the consequences of nationalised railways today. Turning back the clock will make matters worse.

Northern trainIn a letter to the Observer a group of Labour PPCs, including my opponent Joshua Fenton-Glynn, have proposed that the Labour should nationalise rail services.

This idea displays an ignorance of the true cause of the problems with UK railways that beggars belief. Almost every issue with rail transport can be traced not to privatisation per se, but to nationalisation, or the insufficiently liberal privatisation foisted upon us by the Major government.

In the 1980s investment in rail was at an all time low, due entirely to the nationalised nature of …

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Labour’s “Easter Clegg” – that’s grown up politics for you

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 08.14.13Labour’s Easter weekend headline grab isn’t about their policies. It doesn’t tell you why you should vote for them, why their vision is any good.

Oh no. It’s a highly personal attack on Nick Clegg in the shape of a chocolate Clegg. All very mature.

From the Mirror:

But the packaging warns the Clegg Eggs are “guaranteed to leave a bad taste in your mouth – and like the Deputy PM himself – are “completely hollow”.

The slogan for the campaign on Twitter suggests the eggs, shaped in the image

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Coalition with Labour on, if they don’t “break the bank”

Tonight’s radio programme Nick Clegg: The Liberal who came to power has hit the news-stands for this apparent top line demand of any future coalition with Labour:

There is just no doubt in my mind that if there were a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, we the Liberal Democrats would absolutely insist that government would not break the bank.

More details can be found in the Mirror, Guardian and BBC, and other sources of news are available.

Let’s contrast the following comments by Nick on the Labour Party

I think they’ve changed. I think there’s nothing like the prospect

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Opinion: Leaderless parties don’t make for good partners in hung Parliaments

Ed-Balls-and-Ed-Miliband-006The recent Twitter-flirtation between Nick Clegg and Ed Balls was in itself not hugely significant, even if it was a welcome burst of public banter taking the place of off-the-record briefings.

Politicians, after all, manage to be polite to each other far more often than Prime Minister’s Questions might suggest, and the ability to behave (occasionally) like a well-mannered, polite adult is part of what makes them politicians who get insulted in the comments on blogs rather than commenters who insult politicians  in the comments on blogs.

However it is symptomatic also …

Posted in Op-eds | 16 Comments

Opinion: as Labour and the Conservatives play “Find the Lady” on immigration, what are we to do?

I must admit that the whole immigration debate bemuses me. As Labour and the Conservatives compete for the prize of being ‘not quite as tough on migrants as UKIP want to be’, some of my fellow Liberal Democrats respond by only talking of the benefits of migration, making the mistake of assuming that there is a rational debate to be had there.

The problem is that there isn’t – not now, at least. Instead, I suggest a different approach – holding the other three parties to account over their proposals. You see, I have concluded that most of the proposals will …

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The battle for pensioners’ votes begins with Cameron on Liberal Democrat turf

The latest Ashcroft polling shows that the Conservatives have a long way to go to be within a shout of victory, with 37% of those who voted Tory saying at the moment that they would not do so if there were an election tomorrow. It’s hardly surprising, then, that David Cameron kicks off the next stage in the 2015 election campaign, in an interview with today’s Sunday Times (£), by pledging to stick to one of the Coalition’s most successful policies through another Parliament.

The Tories have previous for trying to claim the credit for a Liberal Democrat policy. Last …

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Hull Labour councillor pledges: “500 Twitter followers and I’ll punch a Lib Dem”

The Hull Daily Mail reports:

A TWITTER row has broken out after a Hull City councillor tweeted he would “punch a Lib Dem in the face” if he reached 500 followers. Labour councillor Chris Sumpton claims the tweet was only meant as a joke but his Liberal Democrat colleagues are furious and are considering taking the matter further.

The issue was raised at yesterday’s full council meeting when an angry Councillor Eliza Mann asked council leader Stephen Brady to condemn the tweet.

But the leader said he couldn’t comment because he wasn’t in possession of the full facts and wasn’t familiar with

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Opinion: Sexist Labour needs All Women Shortlists, the Liberal Democrats can change without them

The Independent reported on Sunday that Nick Clegg 2ould consider imposing all women shortlists for the 2020 general election if the party did not select enough women in winnable seats.

I defected from Labour earlier this year and I want to share my experiences of a party that needs to use all women shortlists to select female candidates for parliament and councils.

Earlier this year, Mark Fergusonrightly pointed out on Labourlist  that no women had been selected in open shortlists since before the general election. It pointed out that when local labour parties had the choice between a man and …

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Kirsty Williams interview: “Scary” Paddy, women in the Cabinet and the reality of a Labour government

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has given a lively and often funny interview to Total Politics magazine in which she talks about everything from her success in persuading the minority  Labour government in Wales to implement the Pupil Premium.

What happened to the last person who said no to Paddy?

Anyone who knows Kirsty will know how down to earth she is and that comes across very much in the interview. She’s asked about whether she would move to Westminster and said that Paddy Ashdown has already asked that question:

Paddy says I should think about going to London,” Williams reveals. “He’s

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Ed Davey MP writes… Labour’s energy policy is a con

Energy-bills-006“There is no such thing as a free lunch” was one of the first things I learnt in economics. But it seems that Ed Miliband thinks there is. He seems to believe that you can have freeze energy prices for 20 months with no adverse impacts. It may have seemed a politically smart thing to do leading into the traditional period of energy price increases. But it is likely to have really harmful consequences. In short, it’s a con.

Many commentators have already pointed out that energy companies will be free to …

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Opinion: Labour’s energy freeze is terrible economics but excellent politics

Ed Miliband announced in his keynote speech to Labour Party conference that, if elected, he would force energy companies to freeze energy bills for 20 months.

Now obviously, from an economic liberal  perspective, this makes no sense.

Freezing energy costs is precisely the wrong way to go about dealing with the cost of living problem in this country. By freezing income while costs rise in the global upturn & the population expands to require greater supply, Miliband is depriving the energy companies of the capital they need to invest in the expansion of the system.

This will inevitably drive the energy supply industry …

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That Ed Miliband speech in full…

milibandThe following arrived in a brown envelope at Lib Dem Voice Towers, this morning. It is probably an early draft.

I want to start by thanking somebody from the bottom of my heart.

Ella Philips, who fell off her bike and called me an action hero who mysteriously appeared out of nowhere. She called me suave and not geeky at all.

I was pretty pleased with this until I realised she was concussed. So I got her to vote in her local constituency candidate selection.

I have emotion that is felt at kitchen tables …

Posted in Humour | Also tagged | 71 Comments

LibLink…Paddy Ashdown: After the Syria vote, Britain must not sleepwalk into isolationism

Paddy Ashdown has been writing about the implications of the Syria vote for the Guardian’s Comment is Free site. First, he pretty much repeats what he said on Friday:

There are strange paradoxes here. It is possible to be both proud of a parliament that said no to the executive on a matter like military action. But sad; even – dare I say it – a little ashamed at the decision it took.

Of course there are reasons for this. The leftover poisons of the Iraq war; the toxic effect of public distrust in our politics. Mishandling by the government. President Obama’s

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