Author Archives: Fergus Blair

You can’t blame Gary Johnson for President Trump

 

gary-johnson

There has, naturally, been much discussion over the last few days of how and why events the morning of 9 November came to unfold the way they did. One persistent theme that has emerged has been that the fault lies with third party candidates (in particular, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein) and the people that voted for them. I have personally heard a surprising amount of people from our own party make this case – people you might think would be tired of hearing third party politics so casually dismissed!

Let’s leave aside, for now, the fact that the limited data we have suggests third party candidates actually hurt both Trump and Clinton to a similar degree. It’s simply patronising and offensive to tell people that they have a moral obligation to vote for a candidate they don’t believe in. People know the choices available to them, and they know the way the system works. Someone voting for Johnson is very explicitly saying that they DON’T want a Clinton or a Trump presidency. They want a Johnson presidency. The system presented them with a choice and they answered it honestly. If you say that they should have backed Clinton to prevent Trump winning, you’re saying they should have allowed their sincere opinions to be subverted by a louder and more powerful interest group.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Our tactical victories betray a lack of strategy – the need for an economic vision

Thanks to Labour’s abstention on the welfare bill, a party that was just two months ago caricatured as ‘Tory enablers’ can now credibly claim to be the only national voice of left-wing opposition to the current regime. While I’m sure we’d all much rather be seen as the latter than the former, the fact that this repositioning is possible at all speaks to the central flaw at the heart of our political platform.

When I consider voting for the Tories or for Labour, I know that in doing so I’d be declaring my belief in a certain economic narrative. If I vote Conservative, I’ll be paying lower taxes, and if I want to start a business it’ll be easier. If I vote for Labour, it’ll be easier to get employment in the public sector, and there’ll be more support for me should I lose my job. I know all of this without even glancing at their manifestos, because each party’s identity is inextricably bound to its economic vision.

Thinking about the Lib Dems, I could maybe list some specific lines of their manifesto, and I could probably think of a few things they achieved in Coalition, but I don’t know what those pieces add up to. People don’t vote for itemised policies, they vote because they identify as the sort of person who will be better off under party A than party B. And until we offer a unified narrative of our own, there will never be a constituency of people who think to themselves, ‘Yes, me and my family will probably be better off under a Lib Dem government’.

Posted in Op-eds | 76 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLiberal Neil 21st Oct - 12:06pm
    Barry - the numbers were way above what the organisers or anyone else expected.
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 21st Oct - 12:06pm
    apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 21st Oct - 11:58am
    Well said Richard, Caron and Neil, most activists agree with you. I hope the leader and those who are likely to vote for this read...
  • User AvatarNeil Fawcett 21st Oct - 11:39am
    Dear Richard, As a member of the Federal Board I agree with all your points, in fact I have made several of them myself at...
  • User AvatarJennie 21st Oct - 11:37am
    Thanks Richard, and Caron
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 21st Oct - 11:36am
    @ nvelope 2003, May I point you towards a report by the Joseph Rowntree Trust. 'Brexit explained: Poverty, low skills and lack of opportunity' It...