Author Archives: Peter Cocks

I am a LD member and activist, during and after the recent General Election, specifically in Guildford, and will soon be studying History and Political Science at McGill University, Montreal

No time to rejoin

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By campaigning to immediately re-join the European Union, one would be campaigning for the destruction of the Liberal Democrats as a major political party in the UK.

This is not to say membership of the EU should not be an ideal to progress towards in the long term. The EU continues to be an opportunity for the UK to participate in something larger than itself. I still hold ardent faith in the ‘European Project’.

Problems arise with an immediate return to the EU for many reasons, not least of all electorally. A majority of the UK are exhausted by Brexit, preferring to draw a line under it, and having just experienced a referendum and two general elections, one can see why. Adopting re-join as a policy would alienate millions of liberally-minded people, who would otherwise vote Lib Dem, purely because sentiment towards the EU overrides any other issue in British politics today.

Posted in Op-eds | 29 Comments

Our Government is a Stage Magician

Onstage, the magician does not perform an act of magic (spoilers I know) but of distractions. Whilst the rabbit is being yanked from a top hat, the spotlight focused firmly upon its fluffy ears, the magician performs his deceit elsewhere. The Johnson administration has been doing this since it first stepped into Number 10, albeit without the rabbit (though I am sure Mr Rees-Mogg can provide a top hat).

The first smokescreens appeared before and during the 2019 General Election campaign. The inflammatory entitlement of bills as ‘surrender acts’ and CCHQ twitter posing as an independent fact checker meant nothing to crucial swing voters, but attracted uproar from political commentators and activists, distracting from meaningful issues. It was at this same time that the Conservative manifesto was published, detailing economic policies unlikely to please northern Labour voters the Conservatives were gunning for. However, the furore surrounding the aforementioned ‘nothing’ issues overshadowed scrutiny of the manifesto. The rabbit reared its head and hooked the audience, the magic worked. Johnson won.

Next, it was time for a reshuffle, and with it another conjuror’s trick. Despite padding-out support within cabinet, he accidentally booted his Chancellor. With David’s departure, audiences of microphones turned to the Prime Minister. The spotlight then fine-tuned its focus on government, when accusations of bullying and unfair dismissal were levelled at the Home Secretary. Yet, when media scrutiny was firmly locked onto the new cabinet, Johnson bamboozled again. Despite having gotten engaged three months previous, Johnson first officially announced his engagement to Carrie Symonds, enveloping the attention himself. On the 1st March, a day after the most senior Home Office civil servant accused Priti Patel of bullying and just a week after the Chancellor’s resignation, the front pages of The Times, Mail, Express, Sun and Telegraph were covered in lovers’ portraits of the happy couple. The announcement’s timing drowned mentions of Patel’s behaviour, keeping Johnson buoyant in the polls.

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

Why Starmer’s arrival can benefit the Liberal Democrats

From speaking to many Lib Dem activists since the election of Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour Party, one would have assumed this was the end of the Liberal Democrats. Starmer is expected to shift Labour closer to the centre, thus closer to the Lib Dems, rendering us sitting ducks, our voters to automatically assimilate into their ranks. However, I would argue this is not the case.

Firstly, it is wrong to assume that the Labour party under Starmer will drastically swing closer to the centre of the British political spectrum. Starmer himself is named after ardent socialist Keir Hardie and has a long-standing involvement in socialist groups, namely the East Surrey Young Socialists and the youth wing of the labour party, inherently democratic-socialist organisations. Indeed, Starmer has not booted all aspects of Corbynism from his shadow cabinet. Rebecca Long-Bailey, Tony Lloyd and Nick Brown all maintained influential posts, albeit alongside figures who would not have stepped near a Corbyn cabinet, namely David Lammy, Ed Miliband and Jim McMahon.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged | 48 Comments

Why this is the toughest post-war challenge to liberalism

The coronavirus holds a firm grip around the neck of liberty in this new world we have found for ourselves in. No longer can we shop, gather, meet family or friends, embrace those we love. We are living within the tight confines of the perfect dystopian novel.

Although these measures are paramount to people’s survival and the continuation of our public services, they must only serve short-term survival, not the long-term rule. Indeed, many of these global measures look to be the tools of authoritarianism, for example in China ( and Israel as well), who are using the location of one’s phone to monitor compliance to quarantine. Even within the EU, Viktor Orban of Hungary has been granted the right to rule indefinitely by decree, excusing it as a response to coronavirus.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged | 16 Comments
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    @Glenn If we could reply on people not behaving like this https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/14/video-of-drunken-brits-maskless-in-magaluf-appals-spaniards you might (only might) be able to make a better case.