Are the Tories still born to rule?

It would seem so at the moment. We are in an unprecedented, astonishing political crisis, where an alliance of Opposition politicians is trying to stop our Prime Minister from ruining the country by permitting a No Deal Brexit, if no deal can be reached with the EU by October 19.

How can this be? How is it that a man who has already committed an illegal act involving the Queen without accepting that he was wrong, who is universally known for unscrupulous behaviour in pursuit of personal ambition, is permitted to continue in the highest position in the land? His word is so distrusted that Opposition politicians are obliged to try to find additional safeguards to ensure that he keeps to the law. Truth is a stranger to Boris Johnson, yet his Cabinet obeys the directions of himself and his disreputable chief adviser, and his party conference feted him as expected. Unelected by any democratic means, without a majority, having cast out a score of more moderate Tory MPs, he still looks forward to winning a General Election in the near future, since his party is well ahead of Labour in the polls, How can this be?

It has surely more to do than the apparent fact that the country wants Brexit settled now. The Labour Party also wants it settled, and also supports Brexit, albeit after a revised deal is reached. Why does the country, Brexit-riven, not put Labour first now? 

So the question arises: maybe there is still deference in England towards people who appear to assume a right to rule? 

Long after the end of our Empire, perhaps there is still a grudging acceptance that men educated at Eton and Oxbridge, who have old-boy networks linking them to top people in the legal profession, to directors of top companies, financiers and media moguls, who mix easily with successful entertainers and sportsmen and other influential public figures – that maybe they do genuinely have the right to run the country.  Top Tories are a privileged elite, but with their self-confidence and their connections, their directorships and financial heft, who can deny their assumed right to hold power?

Who could handle it better? These well-heeled men and women with their cultured voices are surely true heirs of their landed-gentry forbears who had the wit to set up enterprises after industrialisation and reap benefits from trade and industry. Those ancestors served in and profited from our Empire, served honourably in our wars, and built profitable businesses that provided employment in good times.

The injustices they in ruling England allowed, the inequalities from which they have gained, the indifference they showed to the general welfare, was mediated in the late nineteenth century by Disraeli, but led to their temporary replacement in the late twentieth by a reforming  Labour government under Tony Blair. It had its day, its share of power, and did much good. But in 2010 the old order came back, and maybe this time the Tory hegemony could last 15 years. For even the workers turn to them now, led by the false promises of Brexit, told to dream of restored national pride even as it is dissipated, told that sovereignty and independence and democracy can be ours, by a party which deploys populism for its own ends. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, they who have stuck with Boris Johnson. Economic ruin beckons for the country unless he is stopped.

But, just as the Liberals had in centuries gone by, the Liberal Democrats have a dog in this fight which may be worth backing.

 

* Katharine Pindar is a long-standing member of the Lib Dems and an activist in the West Cumbrian constituency of Copeland and Workington.

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31 Comments

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '19 - 3:57pm

    A large number of people voted Leave because they are unhappy about the way our country has developed, about the way the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer, life seems more stressful, and control seems to have moved away to shady billionaires who are behind business that runs everything now.

    The Tory Brexiteers have been happy for people to believe this is due to EU membership, but perhaps a big thing that convinced them to vote Leavewas the person who said it would “turn the clock back”. Turning the clock back to how things were before the growth in inequality that started in 1979 sounds a good thing to many.

    So, there we are, many poor and disadvantaged people are voting for Boris Johnson and his sort under the supposition that they are the leading opponents of Thatcherism …

    Er, really? Well, perhaps it encourages them to think that way as what used to be called “Thatcherism” now gets called “neoliberalism”, and as we’re a modern Liberal party, it can be assumed that that’s what we stand for.

    And what has our party done to combat that?

    Nothing.

    Instead of showing sympathy for people who have been enslaved by poverty and come to think that EU membership is what caused it, we’ve just insulted them, said we’re not interested in their support, all we want now is support from keen Remainers.

    By doing this we have helped build up support for Leave. People who voted Leave just as a general complaint about their unhappiness, thinking that would get them listened to, have been persuaded to become strong and permanent supporters of Leave by the way their concerns have been ignored by us, and the delay to anything happening has led to this strange thing building up that says the main thing that politics has to be about is Leave/Remain and we Remainers are undemocratic uncaring people when it comes to those who voted Leave as a protest.

    Would it really have been that difficult to have put more effort into explaining just what the EU does and how it does it, and why it’s not the cause of our country moving from one of the most equal to one of the most unequal countries in Europe? Could we not have explained that a good reason for supporting Remain is that the elite who want Leave actually want it for the precise opposite of what the poor who Leave thought it would give them?

  • “How is it that a man who has already committed an illegal act involving the Queen without accepting that he was wrong, who is universally known for unscrupulous behaviour in pursuit of personal ambition, is permitted to continue in the highest position in the land? ”

    Probably because this party and other opposition parties have been blocking an election and failing to give the people their say on the matter.
    No need to worry though, I do not think oppositions will be able to hold out much longer and we will soon get to see “hopefully” or have a better idea of what the public thinks.
    I am just looking forward to Liberal Democrats accepting that should johnson come back with a majority, he would have a mandate for No deal, just as the Liberal Democrats would have a mandate to revoke “without a referendum” should they win with a majority. Tis this party that started the whole, we will have a mandate “without” a referendum, so therefore they will have to accept the same set of rules for other parties and will not be able to call foul play

  • Nigel Jones 10th Oct '19 - 4:35pm

    Katherine, many years ago someone said that people love dictators as long as they do what they agree with. Brexiteers are blinded by their zeal for Brexit and cannot see the dangers or the injustices.
    What I think we must do is repeatedly send messages by all means at our disposal, explaining why we should remain; bland statements are not enough. Last week I had a letter in our local paper giving ten bullet point reasons to remain; the editor headed it ten reasons for a second vote, because I prefaced it with our campaign for a second referendum.
    Remainers are not saying enough to persuade people for remain; most people are not interested much in what happens in Parliament unfortunately and their reaction to any event is based on whether or not they are for leave or remain. Where is our party’s publicity on this ??

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Oct '19 - 5:07pm

    I do indeed want to give people their say, Matt – but by the direct means of another referendum, since we learn from the polls that there is now a considerably larger number of Remain than Leave supporters, and in any case to give the voters the final say is the most democratic outcome. A General Election cannot give the clear-cut result we want. Fortunately for us, Boris Johnson’s drive towards a No Deal Brexit is tearing his party apart, and though I believe as I have suggested above it will survive, its present prospects are bleak, so no wonder many moderate Conservatives are turning now towards the Liberal Democrats.

  • Paul Barker 10th Oct '19 - 5:28pm

    One great advantage that Tories have in most of The “Countryside” is that other Parties fail to stand against them. Theres a good example in the outer Suburbs of Basingstoke today, in Bramley & Sherfield Ward. In May The Greens, Libdems & Labour between them got 43% but today none of them are standing, its a choice of Tories or “Independents”.
    Tories certainly are “Born to Rule” if we let them.

  • robert sayer 10th Oct '19 - 7:31pm

    I do not remember anyone saying it was wrong to challenge our membership of the EU.it will always be a source of argument. But now the facts are known and can be debated, it is not unreasonable to come to a view that it will be a disaster for Britain and should be challenged even rejected. That is democracy+

  • Leekliberal 10th Oct '19 - 8:02pm

    Matt 3.58 pm
    Don’t count your chickens!….Your beloved Tories will have to win a majority in the Commons for a no-deal Brexit to happen and hopefully the Lib Dems will stop that by winning a load of Tory seats in ‘Remainer’ London and the South-East, but also in the South West.

  • @Katharine
    How can you claim a referendum would be the most democratic outcome when the LibDems have vowed not to hold one if they form a government!?
    Because they would only implement he result if it were remain.
    What is either logical or democratic about that?

  • As a remainer I actually do care about the left behind. I care so much that I don’t want Brexit which will make their lives worse. However I accept that isn’t a popular message, but then the truth often isn’t. I accept Brexit may well happen and if we enter the school for fools many will fall by the wayside. A very high cost and in many cases a deadly price to pay, brought on by blind hope and whatifism. There will be little I or others strugling with the new reality can do for them. We will all be strugling to get by and they will just become collateral damage, a sad statistic of Brexit as the weak and old are consumed by harsh reality. It is humbling to accept as Benjamin Franklin said

    “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other”

    I fear many of our Brexi’s and Lexi’s will fail to make it through too graduation, they have much to learn and the shock of learning will likely lead to their demise.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Oct '19 - 9:56pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach. I have just seen your comment, Matthew, and gather that you think we have failed miserably as a party, both in defending the needs of Leavers, and in explaining the benefits we have had from EU membership. If this is what you mean, I would perhaps contest the first idea, because I think we have consistently if probably not strongly enough passed policies for and campaigned for the rights of the poorest and most disadvantaged people. But I agree we have not been fervent enough in explaining what the EU does and how we have benefited from it, and how false it is to blame the EU for our decline and inequality.

    @ Nigel Jones. Thank you, Nigel, for suggesting what could be done to explain the EU: it would be good to read your ten points to remain, and splendid that you got them published in your local paper. Indeed we are not as a party doing enough in this, as you and Matthew both point out, and we should surely do much more to inform people. It’s easy enough to think that the threat of Nissan leaving Sunderland and the stark warnings of the IFS on the economic situation are sufficient, but it will be the local situation which is likely to count for more.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Oct '19 - 10:13pm

    @ Paul Barker. Your comment regarding people not standing again in an area where formerly they did, as you suggest in outer suburbs of Basingstoke, rings true – we have had the same problem in West Cumbria, in Keswick, though things are reviving there now. Hopefully among the many new members who have joined lately, there may be others willing to stand now, and it is good if there will be local seats to be fought in 2020, which I believe is the situation in Basingstoke though not in West Cumbria

    @Hard Rain. It is a fair point, but I believe we continue to support a People’s Vote if that is possible. I think the new policy arose for two reasons – because we believe that Brexit MUST be stopped, and we are perilously close to it’s being accepted and carried through; and because there appears to be so great a desire in the country to have the matter settled now before any more harm is done that a less democratic but conclusive solution may now be widely accepted if not welcomed..

  • Even now many at Nissan Sunderland don’t or won’t see the threat. What is obvious to some isn’t obvious to many, they have too actually see the doors close before they see a threat to their jobs and then they wail. Been there, seen that. It is so frustrating trying to warn people, reality is too frightening delusion too appealing but eventually reality wins through, the delusional go white and rigid with shock and cry ( and they literally do, all delusion shredded, all their certainties gone and not a clue what to do).

    Anyway a link to the thinking if the Nissan workforce, it makes sad reading

    https://www.quora.com/Why-would-Nissan-Sunderland-workers-vote-overwhelmingly-to-leave-the-EU-therefore-undermining-their-jobs-when-it-is-their-employer%E2%80%99s-biggest-export-market

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Oct '19 - 11:45pm

    “… waves of foreigners were consuming our public resources, stealing jobs…” – how ironic to read that would have been the thinking among some Sunderland folk who voted Leave, when the foreigners of Nissan were actually providing so many jobs! Thank you for the sad reference, Frankie. The threat of Brexit to that vastly important plant makes one want to reach for the Revoke policy. Incidentally, since it is a Sunderland private travel firm, Hays I think it is called, which is to rescue Thomas Cook, maybe that could foretell the future not only for Sunderland but also for the UK – better make your business about travel, either out of the UK or bringing people here as tourists, if you expect to have a job after any Brexit.

  • Andrew Daer 11th Oct '19 - 8:12am

    Prospect Theory tries to explain decision making. People are normally risk averse, but when all options look bad, they switch to welcoming risk. Right now the apparently inexplicable behaviour of Leavers is due to the choice they face; do I admit I was wrong (bad) or do I hope Brexit will miraculously prove to be good for the country (unlikely)? Because both seem bad – but admitting they were wrong is 100% bad, and hoping for the best contains a small possibility that it might not be, they opt for that.
    As Remainers, we need to alter the framing of this argument, so that the Leavers don’t perceive one of the options as having to admit they were wrong.
    The real ‘prospect’ we have to evaluate is: status quo regarding relations with the EU, or the huge risk of leaving, so the theory suggests we ought to be risk averse, and vote to stay. Getting it back onto that footing could mean telling Leavers they were right to register a protest vote against the EU – because it needed to be improved, and that message needed to be understood in Brussels. For example, EU Fishing Policy has been lamentable. We ought to be demanding better for fish stocks, and reminding the suicide squad that when a policy needs to be improved you don’t shoot yourself in the head, you set about trying to improve it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct '19 - 9:43am

    @Katharine Pindar
    It is you who wrote:

    For even the workers turn to them now, led by the false promises of Brexit, …

    and yes I do think we have failed miserably in contesting that. As I said, I think it is crazy that we are in a situation where people are going to vote Conservative because they think the Conservative party is the leading opponent of Thatcherism in this country.

    In realty, of course, those who economic policies have pushed us this way, that has caused so much distress to many, have found blaming the EU for it a very convenient thing to do. But, worse than this, before the EU referendum took place I remember reading in the sort of places where workers wouldn’t read, the Conservative Brexiteers discussing what they really wanted Brexit for, and it is to push our economy even further down the path that many people who voted Leave thought they were voting to oppose it.

    Now, would it really have been that difficult for us to point out the reality of this, and thus get a good proportion of Leave voters to change their position on this?

    Instead of doing this, we have done the opposite, and thus supported the right-wing economic Brexiteers in getting support from people who really want more left-wing economics.

    Oh, but maybe my problem is that I am using the words “left” and “right” in an old-fashioned way. I still think of it as “left” meaning support for active government policy to create a more equal society in terms of wealth, and “right” as those who oppose it under the claim that a less equal society in terms of wealth works better. From the way politics gets discussed in the media these days, it seems no-one thinks this an important issue any more. For example, reading the Guardian these days, one might suppose that the main left-right issue is that the left are anti-semitic and the right are anti-Islamic.

    Is it really the case that most ordinary people are not interested in the old idea of left-right politics? Or is that the elite are very happy to switch it away from this, and pushing politics, so the main issue is Leave-Remain, has done that for them? And we in the Liberal Democrats, or at least our leadership, have played a leading part in this.

  • Katharine Pindar 11th Oct '19 - 5:57pm

    I prefer to comment in my own thread, to suggest we are far from being on the back foot as a party! There is a remarkable headline in today’s Times, suggesting we are finished. I suggest that is another vivid demonstration of the alarm of our enemies at the threat we pose to their electoral chances.

    The Conservative party, though it will survive, is crumbling and diminished. Its own recent Chancellor, Philip Hammond, speaks against the policy of its present leader the Prime Minister – an astonishing, probably unprecedented, instance of fratricidal conflict. Boris Johnson imagine that ‘people versus parliament’ is a winning strategy, for a party that is supposed to be known for stability and security! Mrs May had already tried the ‘strong and stable line’ because indeed it was expected by the voters, with laughable results – but its absence will continue to offend the country.

    Work for a fairer voting system above all in the negotiations between parties to come, and when achieved it is the Liberal Democrats who can prove, as we show already, that ours is the true, strong and stable party.

  • Katharine,

    Looking at the opinion polls over the last year we find the Labour Party ahead of the Tories in May. The last one in which this happened was at the end of July. The reason the Tories are in the lead is nothing to do with the public believing that the Tories are born to rule, but is because the Brexit Party has lost support. Also the support level for the Tories is only around 35%. This means that 65% of the electorate would prefer someone else to be running the country.

    Paul Barker,

    Yesterday one of the independents won the Bramley & Sherfield by-election, with the Conservative candidate only receiving 32.1% of the vote. The Conservative candidate was the only party candidate. Before this by-election there were 30 Conservative councillors now there are only 29. This is 48.33% of the total number of councillors. I think this is a good thing for the Borough as councillors will have more power now the Conservatives don’t have a majority.

    Andrew Daer,

    I agree that the EU needs to be reformed and staying to make the EU work better might be a good position for our party to hold. The problem is that the party is not clear on how it wants to reform the EU so it works better for the poorest and so people don’t have to leave their home region to get on economically. Or how to ensure that each nation’s Parliament has a clear role in the law making process of the EU.

  • Alex Macfie 12th Oct '19 - 9:00am

    matt: Should Johnson win an overall majority at the next election (actually a lot less likely than his supporters seem to think) then of course he’ll have a mandate for a no-deal Brexit, because that’s how the system works. Lib Dems would oppose it, because that’s what opposition parties are suppossed to do. but wouldn’t be able to do much about it.
    And no, Lib Dems didn’t “start it” by calling for revoke without a referendum, because we all know that Johnson would pursue no-deal if he won an overall majority. What the Lib Dems say we would do is irrelevant.

  • Katharine Pindar 12th Oct '19 - 10:08am

    The trouble with the Tories, Michael, is that they are like yeast – they keep on rising! I am interested in Matthew’s idea that we are failing to expose them for what they are, a right-wing party that is happy to have inequality and the maintenance of power and wealth in a top tier of people. I wonder if part of the problem here is the general acceptance among political activists of its being good to be a centrist party? Perhaps we have to emphasise that we are a left-of-centre party, which we believe is good, but that right-of-centre is not acceptable to us. It may be essential to do so now that many Tories are veering towards and even joining us, but probably that is an argument we must press after the current crisis is resolved.

    How then to get heard? The many talking together, Steve Trevethan, ought to be more possible now that the entire country has been politically aroused to some degree, but as you suggest the corporate media is a problem. Still, it may be feasible to get the intelligent journalists interested in new thinking, and I would include in those some journalists from the Times and the Sun, as well as from the thoughtful weeklies.

    Andrew Daer, that is an interesting explanation of Prospect Theory, and I agree with your consequent suggestion that we should be saying to Leavers that, yes, they were right to register a protest vote against the EU, before explaining the dire consequences of leaving it. But Michael is correct, that we in our party need to do more thinking and deciding on how we would like the EU to be reformed.

    Thanks to everyone who has commented, despite the pauses – this seems to me a valuable discussion following on from my initial question, so I hope it may continue.

  • The Tories are only where they are in the polls in the mid thirty per cent margin because they haven’t yet failed to get their wet dream through. That happens next week. At that point many things could kick off, but at the moment it looks as though another referendum will be voted for and passed in the Commons when they sit next Saturday. Losing that referendum by virtue of the fact Brexit is not what we were promised and a new generation of voters this time around, will most probably hang the Tories.

    How can they come back to the middle ground they once occupied now that the rabid capitalism Thatcher introduced them to is all they now know? No idea have they what form of capitalist economy they might imagine to replace the one that has failed, the one that led us into this Brexit mess. The party has become so ideological on its alter of Brexit that it has booted out any principled MP,and the only ones left are those who have either forgotten they deep down disagree with Brexit, have no conscience, or of the ERG mob. Elections are won from the middle ground, which Labour discovered under Tony Blair.

    Millions of one nation conservatives are probably now wrestling with their consciences as to whom they will vote for in the next GE. They must look in horror seeing their own loyal MP perhaps, dismissed from the party for daring to vote in favour of the European project. When they hear fellow long in the tooth one nation Conservatives, Michael Heseltine and Ken Clarke openly admit to voting LibDem or considering doing so, they know something has seriously changed. The LibDems are welcoming new members in their droves, who might be former members of Conservative or Labour because they see us as being the future. The Tories are in for shock when they see some London seats lost to us or some marginal Remain seats held by Brexiteers at the next GE.

    Yes the Tory party will survive for now, but not the one it used to be. The one that will linger on will be a disgruntled ERG fan club that cannot reimagine itself because its very members are bereft of ideas, having culled any intelligent mind the party once had. The one that takes its place in a decade or so could be the so-called awkward squad when they get re-elected.

  • Katharine,
    The discussion hasn’t moved on, really. It is simplistic to demonise “The Tories” as a brand because they are just the current incarnation of that “wing” of political thinking.
    That wing keeps rearing its head and even winning most elections, not because they are “born to rule” but because the political left wrecks economies. It has been tried, and abandoned, numerous times. It is much loved and is returned to but it still wrecks economies because it can not find that “sweet spot” between redistribution of the wealth created by capitalism and the methods of creating that wealth in the first place.
    Thatcher is routinely accused of destroying British industry. No she didn’t. It was a man called Callaghan and the terminal damage was inflicted before 1979.
    I know. I was there, working on Red Tyneside watching shipyards, engine builders and all the small shops fade and vanish mostly the result of the most absurd trade unionism which seemed bent on creating some worker soviet controlled society than keeping their members employed.
    There is much to explore and debate, but it won’t be. Words like mine will be denounced and denied and minds will close and no progress made.
    Just one last point to demonstrate the law of unintended consequences. Nationalisation of the railways has destroyed our rail industry. Why? Because when it was lots of little companies they bought a few locos and rolling stock from here and there. When British Rail purchased it bought whole fleets. Or when it was in a spending freeze it bought nothing at all. From anyone. For a couple of years.
    No small (but steady) trickle of orders so companies went to the wall and now we only “manufacture” Hitachi trains in County Durham and only then if you stretch “manufacturing” to include opening a cardboard box labelled “Made in Japan”.
    Your initial question does open the door to new thinking about how to run a wealthy, but compassionate, society but through that door are difficult questions that have to be confronted and discussed.

  • Jayne Mansfield 13th Oct '19 - 11:07am

    @ Acid Rain,

    If the political right had actually attempted to find the political ‘sweet spot’ between redistribution of wealth and the methods of creating that wealth in the first place, , we might not be suffering the catastrophic damage and potential future damage to our economy , and its social consequences that we are now experiencing.

    The very notion that extremely rich people are all worthy wealth creators, (many of the super rich create no wealth), and the right wing notion of ‘trickle down’ economics, still argued by some of my really compassionate conservative voting friends, has been a demonstrable failure. As I would argue, their belief that state intervention prevents individuals from ‘standing on their own two feet’.

    In my opinion, Katharine is absolutely correct. The social stratum of the family one is born into, is still the major factor of how one will progress through life unless of course, the playing field is levelled in such a way that one acknowledges that some start from a much lower starting point. Unleashing the potential of those who have poorer life chances is the way to boost the economy.

    Conservatives and their fellow travellers really do think they have a God given right to rule. Unfortunately, entitled and incompetent individuals like David Cameron , Boris Johnson et al., are able to persuade ‘lesser mortals’ that they have their interests at heart and what is good for the rich is good for the poor..

  • Peter Martin 13th Oct '19 - 12:09pm

    @ Katharine,

    We seem to share a mistrust of Tories. Where we disagree is whether the Tories, as a group, are confined within the borders of Great Britain’s shoreline. They may not be called Tories elsewhere but that’s what they are if we accept your later points that “a right-wing party that is happy to have inequality and the maintenance of power and wealth in a top tier of people” and “right of centre is not acceptable to us”.

    Donald Tusk, Emanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Jean Claude Juncker, Guy Verhofstadt and even Arnold Kiel who comments on LDV, are all well to right of centre. They are all Tories in the broader sense. The only difference between them, and many of our local variety, hinges on the question of Nationality and National allegiance. For them, it is increasingly towards what GV is aiming for and as described in his book “The United States of Europe”. The local variety, in the main, still has an attachment to Queen and country. ie the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    You say ” we in our party need to do more thinking and deciding on how we would like the EU to be reformed.”. You are going to have to think pretty hard. The European Tories have been pretty smart. They have hard wired their Toryism into the very DNA of the EU. The Stability and Growth Pact, for example, outlaws Keynesian economics. Reforming the EU isn’t just a matter of changing the laws in the European Parliament. In any case, there is currently no mechanism by which MEPs can instigate legislation. A whole series of international Treaties from the Treaty of Rome, through to the Treaties of Maastricht and Lisbon will need to be overhauled.

    I seem to remember Arnold Kiel pouring cold water on any suggestions of EU reform from below. I agree with him. The EU is as it is and it will be as it will be in the future. Any ‘reforms’ will come, as they always have done, from the EU Tories at the top. It’s their project. It isn’t the peoples’ project.

  • The born to rule argument is built into the fabric of “representative” democracy. It all rest on the notion that MPs are honourable gentlemen/folk. You’re not supposed to question the judgement and morality of gentlemen. It’s not just Tories. Tony Blair was just as entitled. This is why I tend to favour the delegate model.

  • I’m not well up in these matters, possibly because I can remember the end of the last War, and especially who lost it. Well, most European countries, for a start, though some were always on the finally winning side, especially after they’d lost it. And I remember the playground arguments. The seven-year old experts — I was five — could not agree whether it was the war-avoiders Sweden or the war-winners Britain, that had the world’s second-highest Standard of Living, after the USA. Today, we come about 22nd in the world. And who comes top, in Europe? One of the war-losers. How did that happen?

    The point of this rambling? To suggest that while I agree that we should try to defeat the schemes of the PM and his disreputable forces we should already be considering the General Election in 2024 or thereabouts. If things go badly in the next few months, think how they will be in 2024, if the prophets are right. The UK will be in a right mess, after this quasi war, whoever wins. The party of the PM who cracked the dam and released the destructive torrent, and the PM who is trying now to complete the disaster, will surely between them have brought to ruin the party that chose them. What chance will that party have of winning any election in 2024?

    By all means, let’s frustrate them now if we can. But we must NOW be beginning to prepare for GE 2024. That will be eight years or so since our Munich — eight years of new voters with no rose-tinted past, eight years of nostalgic crumblies like me moved past voting. And the populace in between trying to rebuild and to heal our present ruptures and bruises. Now is the year to begin considering what radical policies for radical change the Lib Dems and other parties should be shaping and arguing, for implementation by a civilised coalition elected by PR, in the early twenty twenties.

  • jayne mansfield 13th Oct '19 - 4:36pm

    @ Hard Rain,
    My apologies. I wasn’t concentrating in my last post when I directed a comment to you as Acid Rain. I did not intend to be insulting.

  • Katharine Pindar 13th Oct '19 - 7:10pm

    Privilege is indeed passed down, as Jayne Mansfield indicates – thank you, Jayne – to the families and associates of the privileged, and the Tories represent their interests. They have become indifferent to the miserable life chances of the poor and disadvantaged, as UN Rapporteur Philip Alston saw so clearly last winter. But the tide is turning now because, it seems to me, the leaders of the privileged now in political power are unable to understand the ordinary people they expect to lead. The present government may well disperse fairly lavish handouts to the NHS, the schools and police, as has been promised already – throwing to the winds the Tories’ long-standing promise of fiscal prudence in doing so – but the people will not be fooled. People generally care about their standard of living and their jobs and the welfare of their children, surely, not about airy-fairy notions like ‘the people versus Parliament’, and can see that this government is not working for them. Dispensing with the services of the moderate Conservatives, contradicting the messages of the recent Chancellor of the Exchequer, warning businesses and farmers of severe economic hardship – what sort of rabble are they becoming? Privilege, better pull up the drawbridge and prepare for a siege. Nigel Hardy’s optimistic review and forecasting above may well come to pass.

    Hard Rain, I think it is possible that living through torrid times that greatly affect us at a point in our working lives can lead to a fixation of viewpoint which it is then very difficult to get beyond – would you be willing to consider that hypothesis, please?

  • Katharine Pindar 14th Oct '19 - 1:01am

    Let’s hear it for ‘nostalgic crusties’! Roger Lake, it’s good to read your thinking about how we should be developing radical plans for the GE of 2024, and I only object to your misnaming yourself like that! Radical thinkers are surely not counted as aged. Oh, and I dislike the fact that at 7. 10 pm I couldn’t read your post of 3.36 pm, presumably stuck in pre-moderation – it’s as well we are all living longer these days! I wish any poster who feels that pre-moderation seems unnecessary would write to the editors to say so: I understand there may be a fear of defamatory comments, but if any appeared I would immediately alert the editors and that post would be removed at once.

    Peter Martin: thanks, Peter, but I don’t share your view of various EU leaders being similar to our Tories:: Guy Verhofstadt at least would surely repudiate such an idea, and I am thinking of all the EU social reforms.

    Alex Macfie and Glenn, I agree with your comments – thank you, and thanks to everyone for posting despite the holdups.

  • Peter Martin 15th Oct '19 - 8:09pm

    @ Katharine,

    I did think twice about including Guy Verhofstadt. I haven’t done an extensive background check on his views, but I did turn up that his nickname is “Baby Thatcher”. That would indicate he’s a dry monetarist at heart with a strong inclination towards “free market capitalism”. Our own Tories tend more towards UK nationalism. He’s an EU nationalist. Is that a huge difference?

    Jacques Delors did a good job of selling the EEC/EU to the TUC and British Labour Party. But where are the socialists of his standing in the EU now? The present day EU just doesn’t seem to be fertile ground for left leaning politicians.

  • Katharine Pindar 16th Oct '19 - 10:37am

    Perhaps you are slightly out of date in your EU assessments, Peter. I believe that the ALDE alliance including our own 16 MEPs (may they long remain there!) now forms a stronger
    centrist bloc than was the case before the Euro elections in May.

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