Tag Archives: labour

Cllr Andrew Lomas writes…Why I’ve left Labour and joined the Liberal Democrats

Andrew LomasFollowing the referendum, Britain has to find a new place for itself in the world. Extricating the UK from the European Union on terms that don’t crash the economy is going to be an astonishingly difficult task that neither the Conservatives nor the Labour Party seem to be willing or able to face up to.

On the right, the Conservatives appear to be indulging in post-Brexit nostalgia, an imaginary time when the British Lion merely had to roar to make other nations meekly fall into line. However, Brexiteers can bellow “BUT THEY NEED US MORE THAN WE NEED THEM” as often as they like: the statement does not become any more rooted in reality for the repetition (as both France and Germany are beginning to make clear). On top of this is the noxious language unleashed at last week’s Tory conference about foreigners and the implied threat to fight a culture war against those who want a Britain that is open, tolerant, and engaged with the world. Still, at least we have an effective opposition, right?

Well no. Labour have decided that what really matters, at a time of increasing illiberalism and anti-foreigner rhetoric, are endless debates about the constitution of its internal governing bodies, a(nother) fight about nuclear weapons, and mandatory reselection of MPs. More damningly, amidst the silence on Brexit, it is hard to escape the feeling that the party leadership are ultimately happy to embrace the opportunity to rehash a Bennite version of autarky that Brexit offers. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

A progressive alliance of the left is dead


Warning: this article contains an overuse of the word ‘progressive’, a buzzword that doesn’t buzz.

On 24th September the Independent published a list of The Top 10 most popular zombie bad policies. The list included the usual suspects, rail nationalisation, the death penalty, and so on, but to my consternation Jon Rentoul also included this one.

4. Proportional representation. It’s a matter of opinion, but I think it gives disproportionate power to small parties, and it is not obvious to me that Ireland, Germany or Italy are more democratic, better governed or more engaged with politics than we are.

After all the optimism surrounding the building of a progressive alliance of the left to fight for proportional representation, Rentoul’s put-down suggests that an unwelcome cold wind of reality may be blowing.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far away, the key party in any such progressive alliance was celebrating Jeremy Corbyn tightening his grip on Labour. And with shadow Culture Secretary Kelvin Hopkins calling for the return of Clause IV, it seems unlikely that Labour could now pass any meaningful test of progressiveness even if Mr Corbyn was prepared to play ball with other parties. The progressive alliance idea of cooperation between Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party looks increasingly dead in the water.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 24 Comments

Order out of chaos


Her Majesty’s Opposition is in turmoil. Our country is in crisis. Corbyn won’t budge.

I am saddened by Labour’s demise. For all its flaws, for almost twenty years it has been a strong, progressive force in British politics. Corbyn has been re-elected with a sizeable 62% of the vote. Now Corbyn has a sizeable number of admiring activists – but they are talking to themselves.  The public has already made up its mind about Corbyn – he is seen as incompetent, extreme and unelectable. It is all but impossible for Labour to gain seats in 2020 with him at the helm. The Labour party is already teetering on the edge of electoral oblivion.

And a lot of Lib Dems know what it’s like to lose elections. It hurts. We need to have sympathy with the thousands of Labour activists who want a united, centre-left Labour party. It would be opportunistic and insensitive to react to Labour’s turmoil with barely-disguised glee. How did you feel when parts of the left did just that after the 2015 General Election?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Corbyn: a warning from (recent) history


Imagine our surprise on Saturday when news of Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election of the Labour party came through hot off the wires. As it happened, my partner, who is about as a-political as you can get (and that’s saying something, considering we have been together through multiple elections, not least of all the General Election last year, somewhat inconveniently we were moving flat the day after – a story in itself) had made a special study of this election and mentioned the news.

In this age of anti-politics, the figure Corbyn cuts has great appeal for people like my partner, who are not necessarily overtly political, but are reasonably well-informed with no fixed views or attitude. In a sweeping generalisation, it is much akin to what we see in America right now with Trump, albeit in extremis politically to what the Hon. Member for Islington North has to offer. This is the stark zeitgeist we are operating in.

I was reminded yesterday, thanks to social media, of a status I had written some six years ago to the day, an observation I made about Ed Miliband’s election as Labour Party leader. “We (as Liberal Democrats) have the result we want”, I wrote. How wrong I was. At the time, I felt an inherently weak leader in the mind of the general public would only serve us well. The folly of this idea had its apex in the early hours of May 8th last year, when the very idea of Miliband and Scottish nationalists cobbling together a coalition drove the so-called ‘soft Conservatives’ – crucial to securing victories in all our Tory-facing seats – to the ballot box not caring really how brilliant their Lib Dem incumbent was, because the national situation required they duly vote blue. Which they did. A lot.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 22 Comments

Richard Kemp and Liverpool Lib Dems set up street stall outside Labour Conference

Knowing that there may be a lot of unhappy Labour members once the leadership result is announced, Richard Kemp and the Liverpool Liberal Democrats are setting up a stall outside Labour’s conference to offer them a home if they are feeling that their party has moved too far from them.

They will be outside the Liverpool Museum at the Pier Head between 11 am and 1pm.

They will be looking for people like Mark Robinson:

Good luck to them. You have to admire their nerve.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 58 Comments

Labour blocks Trident debate to avoid embarrassment for Corbyn

As if there wasn’t going to be enough fun and games at Labour’s Conference next week, it now appears that they will not get the chance to debate the thorny issue of Trident, which will no doubt upset a lot of people.

Motions on both sides of the argument, including one submitted by a Scottish Labour constituency called on conference to note that cancelling Trident would “result in thousands of redundancies” at “world-class engineering centres” in Barrow, Derby, Faslane and Rosyth.”

A motion from the area which most benefits from the jobs created by the submarine base at Faslane in favour of renewal was rejected.

From the Mirror:

The move follows fears that Mr Corbyn, a former vice chair of CND and a long-standing opponent of Trident , would have lost if the issue was pushed to a vote.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

The Iraq War must no longer poison our relations with Labour

What would we remember of the Labour government, if Al-Qaeda’s terrorist attack fifteen years ago had never happened? If Labour had listened to the advice of Robin Cook and John Denham, and not engaged in the catastrophe of the Iraq war?

Many of us will remember Robin Cook’s electrifying resignation speech. If only he were alive today. However, he was not the only Labour minister to step down from government office because of the Iraq war. In his prescient resignation speech, on the 18th March, 2003, John Denham said:

If we act in the wrong way, we will create more of the problems that we aim to tackle. For every cause of insecurity with which we try to deal, we shall create a new one.

This summer, I was an observer at the Fabian and Progress summer conferences. I didn’t hear anyone try to defend the Iraq war, and a number agreed it had been a terrible mistake. In fact, if you substituted the word Labour for Liberal Democrat, almost everything that was said could have been said at a Liberal Democrat conference, and probably will be in this coming week.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User Avatarpaul barker 25th Oct - 12:46pm
    Can people stop hyperventilating about the candidate, that was settled months ago & shes great. Anyone have a good idea of when it will be...
  • User AvatarGordon 25th Oct - 12:36pm
    Vince must not be the candidate. What does it say if a strong woman candidate is selected as PPC, and then shoved aside at the...
  • User Avatarmalc 25th Oct - 12:26pm
    In Richmond Park constituency the EURef split was REMAIN 72% LEAVE 28%. It is an absolute dream by-election for the Lib Dems, if you don't...
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 25th Oct - 12:22pm
    Mary - fair enough. I'll have to do some research on our candidate then, if a by-election rears its head.
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 25th Oct - 12:20pm
    I think part of the block to our support amongst the public is this perceived lack of patriotism. We need to reclaim it from the...
  • User AvatarTony Dawson 25th Oct - 12:16pm
    Zac has announced that he will be standing down just as soon as he has talked with his constituency executive committee.