Author Archives: Michael Cooke

Central Bank Independence

 

Support for multilevel governance seems a prerequisite for any Lib Dem. Devolution from the centre to the periphery, from Westminster to Holyrood and the Welsh Assembly is one example. There has also been devolution upwards to the supranational institutions such as the EU Statesman are no longer the preserve of government; governance is now very much a fixed concept.

However, there has been devolution or delegation to other institutions besides devolved bodies and the EU. The Bank of England’s independence is an interesting point in case. If LDV readers do support Central Bank Independence as a theoretical concept in the abstract, then its internal consistency should also have an external consistency when applied to the specific case of the Bank of England.

At this point, I would really like to start a debate on the following:

What should the size and scope of the Bank of England’s remit be?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Better the Centre-Right than the Hard-Left

 

Liberal Democrats, Conservative backbenchers and moderate Labour MPs are honourable Parliamentarians trying to resolve the Syrian situation. They understand that they cannot solve the situation overnight and with easy solutions. Contrast this fair-minded and well-intentioned approach with the black and white binary through which the hard-left narrates all foreign affairs.

American, Britain and Israel are the problem; all other states and non-state actors are either lesser evils or even victims, so their narrative goes. The anti-colonial hard left blame the west for every problem in present day Syria.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 54 Comments

Vote “Leave” get “Yes” free

Generally, the status quo has the upper hand in referenda. However, in the wake of the global financial crisis and subsequent recession, the anti-incumbency trend might not just be contained to first-order elections, with voters punishing governing parties of all stripes for letting economic misery occur on their watches. It could be that this trend extends to the far more fixed and aggregate level. For example, in the Scottish Referendum, Better Together warned against Labour voters acting on this anti-incumbency impulse to end Tory rule permanently, as opposed to just temporarily at Westminster General Elections.

However, for a voter it is perfectly rational: if given the chance to either a) end something unpleasant for at least five years, with the possibility of it returning or b) end it permanently, any Rational-Choice model would dictate the latter. Many in the Scottish media laughed at a recent intervention by the UKIP Leader that he could persuade Scots to vote Leave. There have also been comparisons between the ‘Yes’ movement in Scotland in 2014 and UKIP and the wider Brexit campaign.

The English voter who was told to not vote for UKIP in May if they really wanted a referendum, and instead, vote Conservative, now has that chance to vote in that referendum.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Hawks and doves: equidistant foreign policy?

Five years ago, the Liberal Democrats held the centre ground in the coalition formation negotiations between left and right. Equidistance is a loaded word, one that cynics will laugh at as vacuous. However, five years later, neither of the two main parties seem sufficiently interested in foreign affairs.

This party could be equidistant between doves and hawks in foreign policy. To illustrate the dove-hawk twin hybrid, below are three examples. I am not necessarily endorsing the following as solutions and they are not exhaustive in terms of detail. They are merely prompts for a debate.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 11 Comments

Do not abandon us

 

Of the three Unionist parties, it has fallen to the Liberal Democrats to save encircled Scots fending off the militant hard leftists of the SNP frontline infantry. The Conservative and Unionist Party is useless in Scotland, and the once-paternal Labour Party has gone from noble guardian angel to patronising champagne socialist to near-death this May. Unionists have a ramshackle current incarnation: one MP per Unionist Party. SNP high command could not have believed their luck in May by not getting the grand slam all Scottish seats landslide; with three MPs, one from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats, the “bad things come in sets of three” mantra writes itself. The plan now must be to prove that the Union cannot work. “Look, the only three Unionists cannot even work together, they’re so tribal,” the SNP will no doubt say in the coming months. Political POWs actually make for better propaganda than a full landslide massacre.

The Liberal Democrats are now destined for a faceoff with the SNP. The Tories had ruined themselves in Scotland years ago. Labour morphed into the “Red Tory” Party. Now, the Liberal Democrats are the only brand left.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 14 Comments

I agree with Nick, I have left too

I have just joined the Liberal Democrats. It has been a long time coming, but I finally did it. The final straw was the brilliant Nick Cohen’s piece in The Spectator titled “Why I’ve finally given up on the left”. I agree with Nick, I too have left; I have found my proper political home.

I used to vote Labour and I voted “Yes” in the AV Referendum in May 2011, I am a pro-European and I always identified as slightly centre-left. Then came 2015: the Conservative majority, the SNP landslide in my native Scotland, and the election of the hard left within the Labour Party.

I have always been a liberal, I realised recently. I have always been willing to listen to the most beyond-the-pale viewpoint out of a sense of tolerance. Freedom of speech is something fundamental and core to liberalism, something with which I have a strong affinity.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 103 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 18th Feb - 2:14am
    Katharine, it is a fair point about young renters. The UK has been unusual in this respect insofar as younger people have in the past...
  • User Avatarn hunter 17th Feb - 11:18pm
    Marc Poll. Yes I don't know how to communicate sometimes. I have been a clerk (pen pusher!),care worker,voluntary youth worker and a postie and joined...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 17th Feb - 10:53pm
    Addendum - the last paragraph above includes the statement, that 'by November 2017 there were one million claimants for housing benefit', which should have included...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 17th Feb - 10:38pm
    @ Nigel Jones. Great to hear you place such emphasis on inequality, Nigel. I hope you can link up with Katharine Pindar and Michael Berwick...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 17th Feb - 10:32pm
    On providing more housing, it does seem that reforming the 1961 Land Compensation Act is key for us, according to Vince Cable last year and...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 17th Feb - 10:26pm
    Chris The article from Mark Pack (linked above) linked to all the details on how to be nominated: https://www.libdems.org.uk/posts-for-election-2020 You basically had to fill out...