Anyone for a Political Pre-Nuptial Assessment?

Perhaps, at this time of opportunity to work, in some form, with a new Parliamentary grouping, it is appropriate for us to review our policies, in their several forms?

This would enable us to make more sure that our words, actions and ways of communicating are what we want and to be reasonably sure that the degree of match and consonance between the TIGs and ourselves is appropriate for some form of working more closely. We might even find that we do not have policies in areas where it might be desirable to have them!

Although the TIGs may not yet have had time to develop policies as a group, the performances and behaviours of the individuals tell us what their policies are.

It might help to bear in mind that there are at least two parts to a policy. There is the stated policy and what is done in practice. One is the theory, and one is the practice.

“In theory, practice and theory are the same, in practice, they are not.” [Attrib. Y. Berra]

Areas for such a policy review might include:
o Brexit
o The acceptance of funds from lobby groups and individuals
o The acceptable degrees of conflation and separation concerning such terms and concepts as Zionism, anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism. This might include expressions of support, lack of support and antagonism towards the currently opposing groups involved, in this part of the World.

o Foreign policy concerning countries with serious internal problems such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela
o Our use of air power in such contexts
o Expenses
o Austerity
o Connections between MPs and particular foreign states
o Racism
o Relationships between MPs and lobby groups and individuals
o Climate change/crisis
o Taxation
o Education
o Freedom of movement
o Surveillance
o Local Government finance
o By-elections
o Visibility of political funding
o Electoral reform, especially voting systems

What might you want to be considered?

The article below is but one source of information.
Q. “Why is it easier getting a garage than getting married?”
A. “It’s easier to back out of a garage!”

* Steve Trevathan is chairperson of Lyme Regis and Marshwood Vale Liberal Democrats.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • If senior Lib Dems can persuade those in TIG who have expressed concerns about the Lib Dems ‘Tainted Brand’s then this could really work and be a huge boost to remain… the party would probably need to assure TIG about some issues and ask for some empathy and open mindedness but if the Lib Dems could give some cast iron assurances TIG could let them in.

  • They might deign to let us in, Silvio?


    How desperate are we, that a bunch of chancers with no coherent platform, no infrastructure, and no unifying philosophy, and who are almost certainly all going to lose their seats at the next election have got us so panicked?

  • Thank you for this very interesting post. The link is also fascinating. Assuming that it is accurate, it answers for me a lot of questions. There is of course no reason why people cannot change, but it is essential to explore their backgrounds. In particular we know that people can change but they tend to keep the same behaviour.
    As far as the list of issues is concerned, we need to tease out what is important. It is unlikely that asking about agreement with policy statements is, it is much more informative to ask about past behaviour. Behavioural interviewing is based on this.
    The central theme for me is the way in which elected respresentatives see their role in representing,
    Our education system is not designed to encourage the growth of collaboration and working together. Instead we have league tables and pseudo statistics.
    My view is that we should explore how we can introduce democracy into our own party. The movement from the party in local government of trying to introduce an element of genuine participation was successful. This is what most people seem to want. Unfortunately there was no model developed – at least that I am aware of – of changing the way decisions are made.
    It is claimed that the model used in the West – particularly the Anglo-Saxon model has been successful.
    I suppose how successful one would believe it to be might depend on whether you were a rich person in financial services in London, or a refugee fleeing from torture and being tortured in another country.

  • We do, at least, have serious infrastructure in maybe 30 seats nationwide. Our unifying philosophy seems to be ‘anything goes as long as it doesn’t offend anyone else and if it does, well tough, you don’t have to join in’. Our platform of policy development could, kindly, be called incoherent and random.

    Panicked, no. Depressed, yes.

  • Spot on Jennie. Those of us who have been in the party a few years and remember the last exodus from Labour, know only too well the problems of working with them. They come from a tradition of ‘we are right and you must agree with us’.
    If we have things in common – and we do – then let’s work together on those things, most immediately stopping Brexit, but let’s not kid ourselves that TIG offers a short cut to the party’s recovery. That requires us to work hard and win seats both local and national. There are no short cuts to hard work.
    But join them and give up our Liberal tradition? That really is a bridge too far.

  • I agree completely with Jennie Rigg and Mick Taylor. Well said!

  • John Marriott 27th Feb '19 - 1:11pm

    To call the members of the Independent Group “chancers” says more about the accusers than the recipients of their ire. To do what they did requires a great deal of courage, indeed foolhardiness, some might say. Don’t knock ‘em just yet.

  • Roger Billins 27th Feb '19 - 1:18pm

    I certainly think it would be totally wrong to be swallowed by TIG, if only because there’s nothing to be swallowed by. However, I do get annoyed by our tribal purists. I would be amazed if all but one or two of the M.P’s could not sign up to the preamble to our constitution. It is also quite wrong to describe them as “characters” in a dismissive way. They have had the courage to leave the parties which they have supported all their lives. I think these “characters” have more credibility than many of our M.P’s who allowed their tummies to be tickled by the Conservatives in 2010 onwards and betrayed election pledges in so doing.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Feb '19 - 1:59pm

    @ Geoffrey Paine,

    We were told that Tom Farron was talking to mystery people and this led to an expectation. We were told that Vince was talking to mystery people and that set up an expectation.

    Setting up one’s own party seems an eminently sensible move if the alternative is joining the Liberal Democrats. How many times on here have we seen the comment about the space for a centrist, progressive party?

    I am not sure that TIG is that party, but as a pluralist, I wish them well for putting principle before personal ambition. With a FPTP system, they must know the danger of starting ( if that is what they intend to do), a small party.

    Who is it exactly who is being tribal?

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Feb '19 - 2:01pm

    Apologies for my typing error, I did of course wish to refer to Tim Farron.

  • roger billins 27th Feb '19 - 2:18pm

    @Geoffrey. I can well understand why they didn’t join us. Our brand is toxic because of the coalition years and because, despite the awful government and even worse opposition, we languish at or below 10% in the polls.

  • nvelope2003 27th Feb '19 - 3:22pm

    The coalition years may have destroyed the party but I think there is more to it than that. In some areas we have had good results in local government by elections but in others the results have been poor. Maybe we are achieving something which has eluded us in the past and that is support concentrated in certain areas but weak in others like the 2 larger parties which could result I more MPs but a lower percentage of the vote. Many of the seats where we got 15% were never going to get a Liberal Democrat MP for the foreseeable future.
    There has also been a change in outlook among the electorate but the party has not adapted to it and urgently needs to do so. Not many of our supporters were actually Liberals or Liberal Democrats.

  • Paul Barker 27th Feb '19 - 4:11pm

    Our Brand is indeed toxic with a small group of Loyal Labour Voters & a larger group of
    voters who are utterly opposed to our values. While the Coalition cut our support by three-quarters, it has little to do with the slow pace of our Recovery. If anything we are recovering faster this time than we did from the low point of The Merger. Our basic problem, now as in 1989 is our lack of a stable core vote.
    The TIGgers big advantage is that they are New & Shiny in a way that we can’t be. Of course they can’t admit that, it would sound shallow & would imply that Journalists were shallow too, they are of course but you don’t want to insult people you are trying to impress.
    The Tiggers are still in the very early stage of trying to recruit defectors from The big 2 Parties, it makes sense to define themselves as loosely as possible & to avoid any awkward questions about Deals with Us.
    I honestly cannot see any alternatives to some sort of Umbrella Group or Electoral Pact between Libdems & whatever the Tiggers become so the sooner we decide what we want the better. I would like to include The Greens as well, we have as much in common with them as we do with the TIG.

  • Tony Greaves 27th Feb '19 - 4:19pm

    Sorry, but this is a very sad posting, completely out of touch with the real political world.

  • MPs leaving the Labour and Conservative Parties is essentially a problem for the Labour and Conservative Parties. Let’s not get too excited about it. Not our problem! As Lib Dems we have plenty of other stuff to be getting on with. Mick is right to warn against short cuts and Jennie is right to be flabbergasted.

  • Peter Hirst 1st Mar '19 - 12:13pm

    In a fast changing world of politics, it might be necessary to alter our constitution to enable policy to be retrospectively approved by Conference to allow the Party to progress negotiations with other actors and maintain our credibility.

  • Alex Macfie 2nd Mar '19 - 8:54am

    The ‘Tainted Brand’ stuff is basically the standard Labervative line on us. Any deal with TIGgers will involve them casting aside that bit of baggage from their old parties and actually talking to us, and understanding what we are really about.

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