Author Archives: Fergus Blair

You can’t blame Gary Johnson for President Trump



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

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Mar - 2:11pm
    @ Jennie sorry, Jennie lass.
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 21st Mar - 2:11pm
    It seems anything goes as long as we leave the eu, thus fulfilling the will of the people. The government have got themselves in a...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Mar - 2:05pm
    Oh, dear. here we go again. John Marriott is completely right. The post from Mr Morrison is flawed from the start by including a statutory...
  • User AvatarLiberal 21st Mar - 1:43pm
    @Lorenzo The idea would be to streamline the system so we'd no longer be electing 2 sets of MPs - 1 for the Assembly and...
  • User AvatarSean Hyland 21st Mar - 1:41pm
    Bill le Breton I resigned my party membership when Charles Kennedy was forced to resign. I didn't agree with the direction the party was heading...
  • User AvatarWilliam Fowler 21st Mar - 1:13pm
    We already have two sets of MPs from Scotland and Wales, the idea that what the country needs is yet another layer of overpaid politicians...