Tag Archives: ukip

Opinion: On voting reform, the Lib Dems must seek an ally in UKIP

Voting reform has been a key Lib Dem issue for many years now. It’s not necessarily primary concern of the average voter, but the way in which we choose who governs us is one of the most important aspects of democracy and cannot be dismissed.

The latest election has provided us with a stark display of why a more proportional system is vital for Britain’s future. Those determined to protect that status quo will point to the referendum in 2011 and claim that the British public has already rejected reform, but this is nonsense. AV may be fairer than FPTP, but it was ultimately a fudge, and no more proportional than the current system. We’ve never been allowed a vote on whether we want PR.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 43 Comments

Nick Clegg, coalitions and the SNP: too much egg in the pudding?

Nick Clegg has been talking about how the Liberal Democrats will not be part of a coalition which has to rely on the support of the SNP or UKIP.

He outlined his position in an email to members this afternoon:

You’ll see in the news today some comments I made about us not entering into a post-election coalition that relies on life support from the SNP or UKIP.

Over the next 12 days the media are going to become more and more obsessed with who is prepared to do a deal with who. This only goes to underline what we all know – nobody is going to win this election – which makes the number of seats we win even more important.

As we have always said, the party with the most votes and the most seats in this election has the first right to seek to form a Government. The British people would rightly question the legitimacy of a coalition that didn’t allow the party with the largest number of seats and votes the opportunity to attempt to form a Government first.

I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats have proved we can form a strong and stable coalition government, able to bring prosperity to Britain.

Just like we would not put UKIP in charge of Europe, we are not going to put the SNP in charge of Britain – a country they want to rip apart.

We’re a democratic party. In the end, the decision to form a coalition rests not with the leader but with the party.

So let’s not get too distracted – I’m going to spend the next 12 days supporting our candidates and making sure we win as many seats as possible. I know you will as well.

If you’re not already helping a target seat, why not sign up to make some phone calls from home this week and help get out our vote? Every call you make will help one of our fantastic candidates.

Thank you for everything you’ve already done, and everything you’re going to do in the next 12 days.

Nick

The fact that he’s done such an email to members shows that he realises that this will be a controversial stance. Aren’t we, after all, the party that believes in coalition and if we’re doing politics differently, should we not reject the binary “one big party/one little party approach. Should we not be championing a more inclusive, pluralist approach, after all?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 69 Comments

UKIP’s support is based on irrational fear of the unknown, leading to unBritish and unChristian behaviour

Channel 4 News Factcheck is a place I often go to when I need a bit of sanity. On immigration, they have an excellent post.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 111 Comments

William Wallace writes…Challenging Ukip’s assumptions

With Eurosceptic Tories and Ukip candidates alongside us in this campaign, we need to challenge their assumptions in every all-party panel and debate. Here are a few I’ve found useful so far:

1. To those who say we want a referendum now, or as soon as possible, without waiting for negotiations on EU reform or for the next change in the Treaties: why don’t they say straight out that they want to leave the EU, and not hide behind the call for a referendum?

2. Where do they think Britain will go to when we leave the EU? The Norwegians and the Swiss have warned us about the disadvantages of not having a say in the rules of the Single Market.  Would we find closer friends to work with in Saudi Arabia, or Russia, or China?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Tim Farron’s UKIP opponent resigns, citing claims of “open racism” and “sanctimonious bullying” within the party

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

UKIP’s official health spokesperson: “I have no experience in health whatsoever”

Louise Bours MEP, UKIP’s health spokesperson, made a startling admission to the Independent in an interview published today. She said:

One thing that irritates me more than anything, and you see so much of it the higher up the political hierarchy you go, that’s it’s full of a load off… people who aren’t particularly honest, let’s put it that way,” says Louise Bours, Ukip MEP for the North-west and the party’s official health spokesperson.

I like people to be straight with me, I don’t like all this…shenanigans in the background, I’d rather people be honest and up-front and I always try to answer things very honestly.

So, honestly, I have no experience in health whatsoever, she says.>

On one of the key battlegrounds of the election, UKIP’s designated spokesperson is basically saying she’s sorry, she doesn’t have a clue.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 23 Comments

Opinion: Britain’s Greenest Party, the Green Party and Environmentalism

Green Lib DemsThe Green Party, which I was a member of briefly in the late 80s, has hard left socialist roots and is widely considered both anti-capitalist and paradoxically authoritarian and localist. It has a wide range of policies, all of which take note of environmental concerns (which do not begin and end with climate change, any more than ours do) but only reference those concerns where necessary. Lately it has been adopting a less hard line approach and on many matters, such as human rights, is decidedly liberal.

However in many cases their authoritarian command economy habit overrides any nascent liberal instinct, and their antipathy to technological and/or market solutions means that they throw away over half the toolbox before they even start. Dogma comes before evidence, and articles of faith remain unchallenged and therefore unproven.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 108 Comments

Time to lambast the economic stupidity of Tory posturing on immigration

 

The main headline in today’s Sunday Times (£) is something of a milestone. (Helpfully, the Murdoch empire make most of the story available on Sky News without a paywall).

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

Opinion: Is the centre ground disappearing from British politics?

Ballot boxIs it just me, or has something recently changed in British politics? In fact, this apparent move towards what some might see as extremism may also be a characteristic of the political scene in Europe and further afield, too. It is almost akin to the frenzy that seems to hit societies at the end of each century, but manifesting itself a decade and a half late.

What the opinion polls appear to show is that the centre ground, represented primarily by the Liberal Democrats, has lost ground in favour of a …

photo by: FutUndBeidl
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 96 Comments

Desperately seeking Nigel

Nigel Farage seems to be everywhere these days (except for turning up to propose his own motion). But, curiously, there is one fairly crucial place he isn’t.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Opinion: US analysis of how to beat “far right” UKIP – be consistent

Washington DC based think tank, The Marshall Fund, which promotes understanding between North America and Europe, has produced a new research paper: “The Unstoppable Far Right?” that looks at UKIP in Britain and similar parties in Germany (Afd) and the Netherlands (PVV).

The paper compares “euro-sceptical right-populist” parties in these countries and concludes that what mainstream political parties say and do has a big impact on whether people vote for these parties. The “rise” of these parties is by no means inevitable: the PVV went significantly backwards at the 2014 European elections.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Nigel, was there something you forgot to do?

Nigel farage photo by norbert1As the net migration figures come out today, Nigel Farage has never been far from a tv camera. He’s been on the BBC News Channel. on the Daily Politics, spreading his ill-informed nonsense that we have an open door to half a billion people as if the entirety of Europe was going to pack up and come here to live.

It must have slipped his mind that he was supposed to be in Strasbourg this morning, voting down the European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker. He must have also forgotten to take part in the debate on the motion on Monday. The funny thing is, he’s been in Strasbourg this week, lining up to meet the Pope.  UKIP MEPs don’t often trouble the Parliament with their presence, but you would think that Farage would have bothered to turn up to support his own motion! He and others including France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen had wasted Parliament’s time with the motion which was roundly defeated this morning.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt spoke against it in the debate and he didn’t mince his words:

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The Independent View: The political culture in Britain seems to have been infected by a form of madness

With each electoral gain made by Ukip, politicians and the media respond with ever more apocalyptic descriptions of the insidious effect of mass immigration on this small overcrowded island.

A vivid picture is painted daily of a nation overrun by swarms of migrants who are taking our jobs, lowering our wages, scrounging our benefits, crowding our schools, clogging up our hospital wards, destroying our culture and boiling our children before eating them for breakfast.

Well, maybe not the last bit, but some of the scaremongering rhetoric comes close to such levels of hysteria. It would be laughably surreal were it not so inflammatory and potentially damaging, particularly when it is stirred up by people in positions of power and influence who really should know better.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Opinion: UKIP fails to win in London because it fails to understand its communities

nigel farageIn this week’s New Statesman, when confronted with the fact that most in London do not share his “uneasy” feelings towards immigrants speaking in their mother tongue, Nigel Farage launches another attack on the capital’s so-called “commentariat” who are “caught in the whirlpool of London thinking”. It’s his typical accusatory anti-liberal, anti-elitist, anti-London rhetoric, and so you’d think it would register just as a minor tremor on the UKIP-irritation seismometer. But it wasn’t. This was a good 7, at least, on the personal Richter Scale.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments

Half of current Green supporters voted Lib Dem in 2010

“As Ukip is to the Tories, so can the Green party be to the Lib Dems.” That’s a sentence I wrote 7 years ago, November 2007. So I was interested to see this post by YouGov’s Peter Kellner – ‘Ukip, the Greens and the new politics of protest’ – which looks at his firm’s polling data to find out more about the current spike in support for the Greens.

In it, he aggregates three weeks’ polling data to create a sample size large enough to find out who these new Green voters are. One finding probably won’t surprise many of us: half current Green supporters voted Lib Dem in May 2010:

yougov - green vote

Here’s how Peter Kellner analyses it:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 77 Comments

Sal Brinton writes… Ukip’s hypocrisy on tackling serious child abuse issue is breath-taking

UKIP logoToday in the House of Lords, Baroness Joan Walmsley and the Lib Dems secured an agreement from the Government on the Serious Crime Bill, for a major consultation on introducing rules on mandatory reporting of child abuse.

At our recent Federal Conference in Glasgow, Liberal Democrats passed new Party policy in support of requiring those who work with children and vulnerable adults to be required by law to report to the authorities if they have any suspicion that abuse is taking place. However, despite debates on this and other amendments concerning child abuse being debates, Ukip members of the House of Lords failed again to participate in this work.

Ukip’s hypocrisy is breath-taking. They issue a photograph of a girl with the headline ‘There are 1400 reasons why you should not trust Labour again’ in Rotherham, but their record on tackling serious child abuse issue is disgraceful.

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Opinion: In for a cent, in for a Euro?

Euro by Alf MelinThis is probably a stupid idea.

I thought I’d get that in before you do, because it probably is, and even it’s not you’re probably still going to think that it is. Nevertheless I’m going to say it anyway because frankly right now British politics is somewhere up a creek and Nigel Farage is running off with the paddle.

How about we hold an in-out referendum on European Union membership on the first Thursday in February?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 50 Comments

Liblink: Catherine Bearder MEP on UKIP’s collapse in the European Parliament

As we reported yesterday, the loss of a Latvian MEP, Iveta Grigule from UKIP’s “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy” group mean that is no longer eligible for group status, losing substantial budgets and (unwanted, unused) influence.

Catherine Bearder writes in the New Statesman

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 14 Comments

A setback for UKIP in the European Parliament, courtesy of one Latvian MEP…

After the European Parliament elections in May, there was a scramble amongst the political groupings in Brussels to gather enough MEPs (twenty-five) from enough countries (seven) to achieve recognition as a political group, with two groups in particular, the European Conservatives and Reformist Group – ECR (which includes the Conservative Party) and the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group – EFDD (which includes UKIP) competing to attract individual MEPS to reach the required number of countries. At one point, it looked as though the EFDD would fall just short, but the recruitment of the Latvian Farmers Union MEP, Iveta Grigule, was enough to satisfy the eligibility clause.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

The Independent View: Baking the UKIP Cookbook

UKIP-cookbookWe live in baffling times. Who, for example, can explain why Boris Johnson is still a thing? And why has no one told Ed Miliband that continually addressing a large number of strangers in a room as “friends” is just the sort of weirdness that someone whose weirdometer needle is already hovering over the danger zone should really avoid doing.

And then there’s Michael Gove.​ Just baffling.

But nothing is quite as baffling as the appeal of UKIP. That a bunch of fear-peddling, isolationist, blame-everyone merchants seem attractive to a large minority of the British public is not just confusing: it’s embarrassing.

So we’re doing what any sane, politically-aware progressives would do: we’re writing a spoof cookbook about it. Obviously.

Posted in The Independent View | 6 Comments

Opinion: Our seaside towns and the challenge of UKIP

Clacton beach huts photo by Nick PageIt now looks set that Duncan Carswell will win the forthcoming by-election in Clacton and become the first UKIP MP. Whilst enjoying the Tory discomfort, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we need to do to counter UKIP and their simplistic appeal.

In a poll last weekend, immigration was identified as the top concern by 57% of people who intend to vote for UKIP in Clacton. As with many of UKIP’s other target seats the number of immigrants living in Clacton is actually very low – just 4%. What there is in Clacton though is a struggling local economy, high unemployment, low pay, former B & Bs being used by the Council for temporary accommodation and poor educational achievement.

Posted in Op-eds | 28 Comments

The Independent View: What are the most ‘Ukip-friendly’ Liberal Democrat seats?

revolt on the right ukipIn our recent book, Revolt on the Right, we compiled a list of the most demographically receptive seats in the country for Ukip. This allowed us to rank all seats in the country according to how favourable their populations are for Ukip, using the most recent census data.

The ideal seats for Ukip share key characteristics: they have lots of ‘left behind’ voters who we also know from our research are the most receptive to Ukip and its policies. These ideal seats also have very low numbers of voters who have, instead, tended to remain resistant to Ukip, including university graduates, ethnic minorities and people in professional and economically secure occupations. This is a useful first exercise in filtering through all seats to find those where -if Ukip stood a strong candidate and knocked on plenty of doors – they would probably find the most voters receptive to their message.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 42 Comments

Former Clacton UKIP candidate ousted by Douglas Carswell resigns and backs local Liberal Democrat Councillor

This time last week, Roger Lord was looking forward to facing Conservative MP Douglas Carswell in the General Election next May. He might not have expected to trouble his majority too much but he was secure in his position.

That didn’t turn out so well for him when he heard that he was being ousted as candidate in the same way that we all did.

He’s not very happy about it and has quit his Council seat. He has given his rather unexpected backing for the ensuing by-election to Liberal Democrat District Councillor Gary Scott whom he described as a “genuine person”. Gary is not putting himself forward for the by-election.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Opinion: Kippers’ squeals show we are a more liberal country

UKIP logoPoor judgment: that’s the reason UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson has given for referring to a Thai-born supporter as “ting tong from somewhere”. I was “completely tired out”: that’s how Farage explained his statement during the European election campaign that he’d be concerned if Romanians moved in next door. Excuses, excuses.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever consider whether or not to use a racial epithet. I don’t think to myself, on balance I judge it right to refer to that person as …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 31 Comments

Lib Dem donations in 2014, 2nd Quarter: £1.23m raised (but that’s less than Ukip)

Today saw the publication by the Electoral Commission, the independent party funding watchdog, of the donations received by the UK’s political parties in the second quarter of 2014 (1 April to 30 June). Here are the figures:

lib dems donations - Q2 2014

And here’s how the BBC reported it:

UKIP have reported more in political donations than the Lib Dems in a quarter for the first time, according to the Electoral Commission. UKIP reported donations of £1.4m from April to June this year – £170,000 more than reported by the Lib

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion: UKIP are a blessing in disguise for pro-Europeans

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder works harder than nine UKIP MEPs put together. She speaks more sense than their entire delegation, of course, but in terms of turning up to vote, it’s official: the number of European Parliament divisions she’s taken part in since the election is more than the combined total of nine of their lot.

Since the new Parliament started at the beginning of July, MEPs have faced 39 roll-call votes in the plenary. This is where all MEPs come together to speak and vote, usually in Strasbourg. Catherine, our sole representative in the European Parliament, has voted on …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 43 Comments

Ukip may well win a seat in May 2015. But the least likely person to get elected is Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage, Leader, UK Independence Party (UKIP)This week saw the latest in Lord Ashcroft’s polls of the marginal battleground seats that will decide the result of the next general election. This crop focused on 14 marginal Conservative-held seats where Labour are in second place.

The overall news was half-encouraging for Labour. As it stands, Ed Miliband’s party is poised to win 11 of these 14 seats next May. The average swing from Tory to Labour of 4.5% would be enough to win 53 Tory seats, which, as as Ashcroft notes, “combined with the 17 seats my recent polling suggested they could gain from the Lib Dems, would be enough for a small overall majority”.

Of course, this poll is a snapshot, not a prediction (as Ashcroft repeatedly stresses). A similar exercise conducted by Ashcroft for PoliticsHome in 2009 pointed to a Tory majority of 70 seats and we all know how that turned out a few months later. Usually the governing party picks up support as the election nears, while the opposition party loses support. We’ll see how that historical pattern bears out in Coalition conditions and as voting becomes yet more fragmented between five national parties, as well as the nationalists in Scotland and Wales.

But the most newsworthy finding from Ashcroft’s poll was that Ukip would win two Conservative-held seats, Thanet South and Thurrock.

Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: What do we get from the EU for £33 million a day?

eu_flagUKIP claim that we pay £55 million per day to be a member of the EU. My UKIP neighbours ask what we get back for that money. What should I tell them?

First off, it seems we get about £22 million a day back in cash, in the form of grants and subsidies. But even UKIP neighbours can do simple arithmetic. That leaves a net cost of about £33 million per day, or about 50p per day on average for every man, woman, and child in the UK. What do …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 117 Comments

Brian Paddick writes…We must challenge UKIP on the facts

Turning point in politics?So where are we?  The UK and the rest of Europe have lurched to the right.  People and countries are becoming more insular and less internationalist, less tolerant of difference and are looking for “others” to blame.  Almost inevitably during times of austerity, people do not like those inflicting the pain, however necessary.  Of course, some will argue that the cuts in public spending are not necessary, are not fair, are not reasonable, do not need to be so severe or all of the above.  The fact is, for years the UK has been spending more than it earns in taxation

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 57 Comments

Opinion: We won in 2010 with compassion, is it the key to victory in  2015?

imageAccording to the media Liberal Democrats are behaving like rats in a sack with each member trying to eat (and in some cases spit out the other). Of course the media are less accommodating when it comes to highlighting the review that Nick commissioned with James Gurling, Cllr Abi Bell, Cllr Ruth Dombey and George Lyon.

While a review is welcome it is not the whole answer. What will help us in 2015 is engaging with some of those traditional Liberal Democrat liabilities, namely our compassion.

Take Lord Oakeshott. While I can’t comment …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments
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    I am afraid that the criticism of grammar schools on the basis of wealth and privileged applies in spades to comprehensive schools, and always has....
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