Author Archives: Andy Briggs

Why Lib Dem members were right to reject a “progressive alliance”

At Spring Conference in Southport last weekend, Liberal Democrat members from across the party came together to back an amendment submitted by Liberal Reform members to the party’s strategy motion, removing a reference to a “progressive alliance of ideas”.

Liberal Reform organised this amendment not because we are against working across party lines, but because we saw this as a clear first step on the slippery slope towards a formal electoral pact. There is a general understanding that this is what has come to be meant by the term “progressive alliance”: in a publication by pressure group Compass entitled “What Is The Progressive Alliance?” there is talk of “electoral deals and tactical voting”, whilst a post for the Social Liberal Forum (whose Chair spoke against the amendment) blog on “The Progressive Alliance” discusses non-Conservative parties standing down in order to avoid “long periods of Conservative domination.”

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments

The consequences of ruling out post-election deals

Back when the election was called, ruling out post-election deals with any other party seemed wise. The Tories were set to win a convincing majority, so we could promise tactical voters there would be no unforeseen consequences of a Lib Dem vote, safe in the knowledge that a hung parliament would not arise. What happened next is well documented; the Conservatives lost their majority and now have to rely on a confidence and supply deal with the DUP in order to remain in government.

This week we have seen the full extent of the DUP’s newfound power, as they hold Theresa May to ransom over her handling of Brexit negotiations. But could that, and perhaps should that, be us? At the very least, the parliamentary arithmetic adds up. Instead of being considered by many as an irrelevance, right now the Liberal Democrats could be the ones causing the government a headache; demanding membership of the single market and customs union, even potentially a referendum on the final deal, in return for our support. The extent to our influence would not be limited to Brexit, but would also include issues such as NHS funding, housing supply and public sector pay. Whilst it could be argued that the Conservatives would never agree to our demands, in truth we can never know, as we refused to even negotiate. Instead we left the Tories with the option of a deal with the DUP, a party so unpalatable that even backbench Tory MPs were horrified at the thought. When they’re not rallying against abortion or same-sex marriage the DUP are pressing for a version of Brexit so extreme that it puts the peace and prosperity of Northern Ireland at risk. It seems hard to argue that a Conservative/Lib Dem deal could have served the country’s interests much worse.

Posted in News | Tagged | 79 Comments

TfL’s Uber decision is no victory for liberalism

The decision taken by Transport for London to revoke Uber’s licence undermines a key theme of Vince Cable’s speech from just a few days ago, a belief in competitive markets. Whilst the company has only operated in the capital for a relatively short time, the benefits it has bought to London’s transport market for both Londoners and tourists alike have been numerous. Uber not only provides a cheaper, more accessible transport solution to its customers, but it has also forced its competitors to innovate, an example being black cabs now accepting card payments, freeing their users from having to carry large amounts of cash. If the Liberal Democrats are to be a proud champion of enterprise, the party should feel no shame in its support for companies such as Uber, which provide choice to consumers in what is otherwise a monopolistic market.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 55 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User Avatarexpats 17th Mar - 10:21am
    William Fowler 17th Mar '18 - 9:25am....I do think Labour are keen to completely obliterate other left-leaning parties..... C'm off it, Bill.. I have read...
  • User Avatartheakes 17th Mar - 10:14am
    I must admit I am struggling a bit with this, in my professional opinion the message is reasonably sound, it is not necessarily misognyist. It...
  • User AvatarJennie 17th Mar - 10:11am
    Labour group are doubling down on defending this on Twitter too.
  • User AvatarTom Harney 17th Mar - 10:05am
    For us in the U.K. the question must be about what do we want to see achieved. There seems little doubt that North Korea believes...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 17th Mar - 10:05am
    William, Is it really so odd that the LibDems are so out in the cold? Surely coalition was only better for the *short term* health...
  • User AvatarJayne mansfield 17th Mar - 9:26am
    @ nvelope2003, I directed my comment to you because I agreed with your comment. I was simply musing on how easily some shed avered values...