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 Avatartheakes 16th Dec - 10:01am
    Better baselines in Salford and Barnsley but of course no UKIP, Green or others so we pick up the whole third force protest vote. Newcastle...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 16th Dec - 9:34am
    Tony Greaves 15th Dec '17 - 8:15pm Remember the issue about dangerous dogs being brought from Latvia, into Northern Ireland and onwards to Liverpool? It...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 16th Dec - 9:19am
    "the Empress has no clothes" Not even trademark shoes? Wait for the cartoonists to catch up, bearing in mind that Arlene Foster, DUP has agreed.
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 16th Dec - 9:13am
    Meanwhile we have Ree-Smogg making in clear that a transitional deal with full Single Market membership is unacceptable to him. Yet that is the only...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 16th Dec - 9:09am
    LJP, Actually Norway is in the Single Market but not in the Customs Union. As I understand it there are customs checks and some restrictions...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 16th Dec - 9:03am
    Those seem important points about proposed land taxation, Michael, with a really challenging idea about the effect on owners of rented property. Just one small...