Tag Archives: labour

Liberal Democrats need to have radical solutions to collapse of industrial communities

It is with more than a little sadness and apprehension that I watch the drawn-out self destruction of the Labour Party, as its leader, a man who I once respected and liked, seems hell bent on bringing Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition to its knees. The details of this destruction have been covered extensively in other places, and I won’t repeat them here, but one thread does deeply concern me as a liberal: the seeming blindness the Labour Party has to industry and the traditional worker.

Britain’s industrial past, I believe, played a key part in the result of the EU referendum, where those who feel disenfranchised by the crippling of their communities, and the industrial centre that were once at their heart, did what they felt they needed to in order to enact a change. Labour’s solution to this has, broadly, been to carry on as they were and to promise a restoration of this industrial past.

We live in an era of hard truths.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

LibLink: Shirley Williams: Bring all sides together to negotiate our future with Europe

While Tory and Labour parties rip themselves apart, the Liberal Democrats have spent a great deal of time offering ideas and solutions. The latest is Shirley Williams in today’s Observer:

She succinctly sums up the mess we are in:

With every passing day, the problems confronting the new prime minister multiply. The balance of payments worsens, the pound sinks against the dollar, the London property market, no longer attractive to ambitious young bankers and financial experts, declines and Brexit begins to look more and more like snake oil.

How do we face those challenges? Well, it needs strong government and opposition:

To get through the business of negotiating an alternative to membership of the European Union, and to do so without our country falling apart, will require patience, tolerance of different and often strongly held views and good, grown-up government. None of these were evident in the bitter, brutal referendum debate. We need not just good government but a serious, responsible opposition as well.

She draws parallels with the mess of the Labour Party in the 80s.

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What next for moderate Labour?

Corbyn has won. It’s clear that he will come out victorious in any leadership contest and the Chilcot report has put the final nail in the coffin of a serious challenge.

And more importantly the left of the Labour Party has won. Their project – to seize control of the levers of power within Labour and change the rules to turn it into a true hard-left socialist party – will take another couple of years, but it will almost certainly happen.

So Labour as a party of government is gone and Labour as a party of protest is here to stay. Despite my many and frequent disagreements with my political opponents in the red corner, I have to say that is a tragedy for our country.

The question moderate Labour members – including the vast majority of their MPs, all their MEPs and a large proportion of their councillors – are asking is, of course, “what next?”

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 41 Comments

Divide and rule

 

These are turbulent times in politics – dangerous and at the same time offering great opportunities to seize the initiative. The Lib-Dems have always been pro-European and we must lead the argument for a very close relationship with the EU post brexit. How to do this? Make a coalition pact with another Westminster party pre the next election.

The Labour party is in disarray with the majority of its members pro-Europe and anti Corbyn. Like all MPs, what they want, above all, is to retain their seats at the next election. This will be a wipe-out if Jeremy Corbyn is leader. So offer them the opportunity to canvass under a Liberal-Labour coalition, e.g. Labour (Lib-lab coalition). Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats would canvass under a Liberal-Democrat (Lib-lab coalition) banner. Both sides would determine where their support was strongest and refrain from putting up candidates against each other.

Posted in Op-eds | 33 Comments

The left should follow John McDonnell and stop being anti-austerity

When we use the word ‘austerity’, what do people hear?

Do they hear a reasoned argument for why Tory cuts are ideological and unnecessary? That cutting slower will prevent the economy stalling, will allow a faster recovery, and will reduce the deficit faster.

I fear not.

More likely, they hear someone who wants to get us into a never-ending spiral of debt.

Have you heard the quote: “If you’re putting the rent on the credit card month after month, things need to change”.

Posted in News | 83 Comments

A time to speak out?

It was in fact the mid-seventies but looking back it seems more like Victorian times. Rows and rows of little kids in red and grey uniform and we chirruped in unison from a hymn we were far too little to understand about how to “master self and temper, how to make our conduct fair, when to speak and when be silent, when to do and when forbear”.

When as Liberals should we be silent and when should we speak out?

Three examples for your consideration:

On the school run I walk alongside a mum, like me, whose family go back many, many years in this town. She has assumed we are on the same wavelength. We make small talk about how the town has grown and changed. Out she comes with: “There weren’t any black people here when we were young were there Ruth?” I hesitated, I admit I hesitated, the school run is not a political occasion but her tone and inference were clear and I replied as gently as I could by asking her if she had a problem with that (ie that the town was now multi-racial). She scuttled back into her shell and waffled about how “it” just showed how the town has changed. She has hardly spoken to me since.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

Another day, another time Labour doesn’t bother turning up to defeat Government in Lords

You would think, wouldn’t you, that if there was a chance to defeat the Government, especially if it was to do with helping out low paid workers, Labour Lords would show up, wouldn’t you?

Certainly that would be a triumph of hope over experience in this Parliament, given that they never bothered to kill of the tax credit rise when they had the chance. Nor, of course, did they turn up to secure votes at 16.

Again tonight, they failed to show up to vote for a Liberal Democrat motion to get rid of the cuts to Universal Credit from April 2017. These are exactly the same cuts that were going to happen to tax credits.

Speaking after the defeat of the Lib Dem motion (by 91 votes to 202, which is a pretty spectacular turnout for our peers, Lords Chief Whip Dick Newby said:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 39 Comments
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