Author Archives: Richard Morris

Please stop saying people don’t vote against their economic interests. They do it quite deliberately, all the time.

I’m hearing the same argument uttered over and over again  – ironically by both sides  – in the Brexit debate.

Remain supporters keep saying ‘no-one in Britain voted to be worse off in the referendum campaign’, on the presumption that folk don’t vote against what they believe is in their economic interest.

Leavers, for the same reason, believe that they’ll get a great deal in their Brexit negotiations because ‘it’s in the remaining EU member countries’ economic interests to do so’

Both sides are of course wrong. People make quite deliberate decisions against their economic interest every day. The reason why political folk don’t realise this is because they are brought up in a culture of Fiscal and Monetary economics. The real world works rather more like Behavioural Economics.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 36 Comments

Opinion: it’s no good counting on those rose-tinted spectacles

We’re a generally an optimistic lot aren’t we, looking on the brighter side when the world and his wife thinks we should be walking around with our heads in our hands. I even wrote a piece about how genuinely cheerful we are for the New Statesman the other day…

But whisper it gently… and just between us… you don’t think we’re fooling ourselves do you?

I say this because we seem to be taking it as read that the mid term polls are generally where we are now. “It’s always this bad’ seems to be the general gist…

Problem is – it’s …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 150 Comments

Opinion: It’s tricky isn’t it, this coalition business?

Try and be too Liberal and our coalition partners do all they can to put a spanner in the works. They surely feel much the same about us. Try and find a happy compromise and you end up with everyone hating you.

And the danger is you sink into a sea of obfuscation and intransigence and get absolutely nowhere. Or worse, you go native – or at least let the world think that you have. Then you end up hating yourself.

Is this ringing any bells?

Which is why we probably need more people inside the party who have experience of making coalition …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 16 Comments

Opinion: I don’t think Jeremy Hunt should resign

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a post I really wanted to write. But I don’t think Jeremy Hunt should resign over the Murdoch affair. Lord, I hate myself.

Anyway, ‘why so?’, you’re all bellowing at the screen. Let me explain

As of now, Jeremy Hunt has not been shown to have done anything wrong, and he maintains he has been whiter than white. The blame has been laid firmly at the door of his SpAd, Adam Smith, who has dutifully fallen his sword. Innocent until proven guilty and all that, so no reason for Hunt to go as yet.

Hence the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 31 Comments

Why Mohamed Al Bouazizi should be the Liberal Voice of 2011

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

So speaks the first few lines of our constitution. They should be enshrined in everything we do – for if we’re not fighting for this, then, as Liberals, what are we fighting for at all?

So when I think about who should be the Liberal Voice of the Year, I think about who has done most to make those values real. …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: #HandsOffTwitter

So, good news everyone – according to reports in the Guardian and others, the Home Office have decided that introducing legislation to allow the police to turn off access to Social Networks would be, ahem, inappropriate, and will instead work in cooperation with the networks going forward. To quote the Home Office after talks today

“The discussions looked at how law enforcement and the networks can build on the existing relationships and co-operation to prevent the networks being used for criminal behaviour”.


Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Stephenson resignation – the bar just got lowered

The resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson as commissioner of The Met is significant in a way beyond the obvious.

As someone tweeted earlier, from their resignation statements, one might surmise that everyone who has resigned so far has done absolutely nothing wrong. However, the difference in the Paul Stephenson case is that everybody seems to be falling over themselves to agree.
In the hour after his resignation I saw or heard statements from Boris Johnson, Kit Malthouse and Jenny Jones all lauding the honourable decision Sir Paul had made and in many ways lamenting his loss.
So, let’s take it on face value that …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 22 Comments

So, Rebekah Brooks has finally resigned

This is obviously a good thing, and the right thing. Her position was untenable, and as I’ve blogged before – whether she knew what was going on in the newsroom when she was editor of the News of the World is irrelevant. She was in charge, and needed to take responsibility.

However, I can’t help but worry that this is a still all part of a bigger tactical game being played by News Corp. Wait til Friday to resign – fewer journalists working over the weekend, less time to make more of the story. Time it for the morning the …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , and | 18 Comments

Campaign to get a Tunisian Street Vendor named as Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year 2011’

I’d like to enlist your help.

Time Magazine gives the title ‘Person of the Year’ to the individual who ‘for better or for worse…has done the most to influence the events of the year’. They are clear that the title should not in itself be a prize, but an acknowledgement of influence on world events. Recent winners include Mark Zuckerberg, Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama.

I think – and I know it’s only February – but in 2011 that title should be given to a Tunisian street vendor called Muhammad Al Bouazizi. It would be a fitting tribute to one man who …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Coalition needs a new approach to collective responsibility

In my recent piece on LDV, a fairly gentle poke at the rebranding of the opposition, two themes emerged from those with opposing views. They can be summed up as ‘Why don’t you lot ever disagree with the Tories’ and ‘get your own house in order first’.

Well you know, I think they have a point.

Even as a strong supporter of the coalition, I’d long disagreed with the ‘not a cigarette paper between us‘ approach to government. We get tarred with policy we don’t agree with, get no credit for Lib Dem inspired legislation, and fail to build up …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Opinion: there are better adjectives for the Labour Party than ‘progressive’

I keep banging on about the fact that there’s a fairly obvious programme in place by the Labour Party to steal our natural positions, both philosophically and in policy (see my article on LDV or my recent blog post). Their latest moves to ‘own’ the term progressive are another case in point.

However, as a branding expert (and a Lib Dem) I do find the news that Ed Miliband is considering rebranding the party he leads as ‘The Progressive Labour Party’ pretty funny – and wrongheaded.

There are essentially three reasons why an organisation rebrands:

  1. Costs savings through economies of scale

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 59 Comments

Opinion: Why we should be trying to win the London Mayor contest

Earlier this month, LDV published a piece of mine suggesting Vince Cable would make an excellent candidate for London Mayor, which I wrote because I happen to think that he can win.

Some people agreed with my supposition, others for various reasons disagreed. It was the third set of responses that surprised me. That it was the very fact that Vince could win that made him a poor choice – because the allegedly approved strategy in London was to find a candidate ‘who understands that their role is not to try and win the mayoral election but to help our

Posted in London and Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments

Opinion: We’ve stopped setting the agenda

In Mark Pack’s generally excellent piece the other day entitled Role reversal for the Liberal Democrats he suggested that, love it or hate it, we have a long term positioning strategy in place at the moment but we’re missing out on tactical battles. On the long term strategy bit, I beg to differ.

I worry we’re being taken to the brand cleaners at the moment.

In the commercial world, brand owners try to turn their ordinary everyday brands into brand icons. They do so for three reasons:

  1. Icon brands tend to have a huge range of appeal stretching far beyond their traditional

Posted in Op-eds | 16 Comments

Opinion: A Mayoral candidate in waiting?‏

With the launch of the shortlist of candidates for the London Assembly top up list, every good (London) Lib Dem’s thoughts should be turning to the Mayoral election – and who can we get to stand.

While there are probably excellent reasons why we’ve postponed the process for up to a year (leaving any approved candidates feeling – well, bruised at best), our two main rivals have their candidates in place and are already slugging it out. So I’m feeling a little left in the cold. And with the party polling 4% (!!!) in the latest Mayoral polling we probably need to name a candidate sooner rather than later.

The criteria seem clear:

  1. Someone who can actually win (wouldn’t that be nice?)
  2. A name that’s as well known as his/her rivals
  3. Someone who already represents Londoners and understands their issues
  4. A candidate who gets the City of London – but isn’t in their pockets.
  5. Perhaps someone who isn’t 100% happy in their current post – maybe someone who finds himself having to present policies he doesn’t 100% believe in and work with colleagues he doesn’t 100% trust? And is probably getting a little fed up with all the mudslinging going on at the moment, with much of it aimed at them.

It’s Vince isn’t it?

Posted in London and Op-eds | Tagged and | 29 Comments

Opinion: Ed wants to steal our clothes

Oh dear. Ed Miliband makes one speech in which he mentions Beveridge and doesn’t overtly attack us, and everyone thinks he’s making overtures to us and looking to form a Progressive Coalition after the next General Election.

Martin Kettle even wrote a short piece on this in The Guardian.

Wake up everyone. The complete opposite is true. When Ed Miliband said he wanted ‘to eliminate the Liberal Democrats from British Politics’, he meant it. And he’s going about it in an ingenious – and invidious – way.
Partly of course he’s playing the old card of the other two parties – …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 40 Comments

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