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.

Alex Salmond at his party conference and on Channel 4 News this week spoke of peace and not warfare. He listed Iraq and Afghanistan as if they were policy decisions that had obvious alternatives at the time. His narration of events is a cynical defaming of British foreign policy with a good portion of hindsight and simplistic and toxic populism, distilling every policy choice down to an ‘either or’. For the SNP, of course, foreign affairs can only be either peace or warfare – and by the way, the latter is always the west’s fault in case you missed

The Lib Dems are not ‘Tory scum’ because they would rather work with Cameron than consult the Trots of the Stop the War Coalition. Likewise, moderate centre-left Labour MPs, who have spent their lives opposing the Tories, are not ‘Red Tories’ and ‘Tory Scum’ because they actually treat foreign policy with a little more respect than the hard-left ever could.

Before I became a member, people laughed at me for suggesting that the Lib Dems were actually decent folk. The Lib Dems always impressed me during the last five years, as well as their party members. They conducted themselves with a dignity and decorum and a consistent adherence to a wider national duty no matter the electoral pain consuming them. Meanwhile, the hard-left has relaxed views on the most illiberal forces in the world, the religious far-right of radical Islam and Putin’s Russia.

Poor Tony Blair receives verbal lashes for daring to open his mouth. The hard-left mimic so much of the far-right in their guttersnipe conduct towards a former Prime Minister. Ad hominem slurs and a reduction of the parameters of debate between supposed colonialists on the centre-left and centre-right and pacifists on the far-left has sleepwalked its way to permanence.

Nowadays, ‘Tory Scum’ is no longer necessarily an insult. It is now the vocabulary of those who believe that the West is to blame for everything wrong in the world today. The far-left have moved from consecutive runner-up in the ugly pageant, leaving the far-right in second place. In the world of binary language, the nuance is heresy and the other side is exactly that: ‘the other’.

For moderate Labour MPs, the only ‘true path’ in this dangerous new narrative is to support the most grizzly and illiberal views on the new leadership; if not, they will face de-selection and the typecast role of the ‘Red Tory’.

I can proudly say that I would happily pick Free Market Liberals and ‘Tory Scum’ as allies over the alternative any day of the week.

 

* Michael Cooke is the writer's pen name. He is an economic and EU policy analyst within local government with a Master's degree in EU Governance. The identity of the author is known to the LDV team.

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54 Comments

  • I have read some nonsense but this ‘takes the biscuit’…..

    As for,…. “Alex Salmond at his party conference and on Channel 4 News this week spoke of peace and not warfare. He listed Iraq and Afghanistan as if they were policy decisions that had obvious alternatives at the time.”….

    We, as a party, obviously thought so as we voted against the incursions….

  • Eddie Sammon 6th Nov '15 - 10:51am

    I think the title of this is really good. The article is decent too and addresses its main subject well enough.

    I would vote for the far left if I felt all the others had lost the plot. They can sometimes win and we shouldn’t focus on names too much. But mostly I do prefer the centre-right to the far left.

    There is actually a big cultural battle going on and last night I thought about partially withdrawing because it is so hard work and it isn’t nice to argue. At the moment the left is slightly winning the culture wars and unless moderates start speaking more forcefully, I would say with the passion of leftists, then we will keep losing the culture war (albeit I don’t think the left are winning the election wars).

    We should never adopt the intolerance of some on the far left, but it is time for moderates to start trying to win the cultural battle rather than aim to please slightly left leaning editors too much.

  • Wow. I am all for people proposing solutions to things that I don’t agree with, but this contains nothing except angry attacks on people for thinking that bombing Iraq was wrong (the party voted against) or attacking Tony Blair (who absolutely clearly misled the country to lead us into the war).

    How on earth is this article helping anyone? Why on earth do the editors of LDV think it’s suitable for publication?

  • Glenn Andrews 6th Nov '15 - 10:59am

    Better to have Liberal Democrats defending rather than undermining international law and not unilaterally deciding it can violate another nations territory like these honourable Labservatives.

  • Stephen Campbell 6th Nov '15 - 11:16am

    This article is just…wow.

    @Michael Cooke: “Alex Salmond at his party conference and on Channel 4 News this week spoke of peace and not warfare. ”

    What a horrible man, eh? I thought I’d seen it all from this party but having a go at someone for preferring peace to war is just…beyond belief.

    “Poor Tony Blair receives verbal lashes for daring to open his mouth.”

    What he did in Iraq could very likely be considered a war crime. A war of aggression. It’s very likely he, at the least, used questionable intelligence and at the most told massive untruths to take us into a war of choice. And you feel sorry for this man? I notice you express no sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed as a result of our nation’s actions in Iraq.

    This whole post is just one long (and rather sneering) ad hominem that if posted as a regular comment would probably have not been allowed by the censors. No wonder nobody pays attention any longer to this sad rump of a once great and proud party.

  • Joshua Dixon 6th Nov '15 - 11:21am

    No.

  • Mick Taylor 6th Nov '15 - 11:25am

    On the whole Trots are far too dogmatic and untrustworthy to work with, but that doesn’t mean they’re always wrong. It would be the height of folly to work with the Labour and Conservative parties to get further involved in Syria or indeed any Middle East conflict. The rise of ISIL is a direct result of Western involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. It will be difficult enough to get people round the table to talk peace without further convincing the lunatics of ISIL that we are fanatically and Muslim by getting involved in bombing Syria and worse still putting in troops. At the end of the day peace can only come ever about through peace talks, without preconditions, involving all the parties involved. There is no military solution in Syria (or indeed in Israel/Palestine).
    Like the leader, MPs and members of the Lib Dems I opposed the Iraq war. I marched against it with millions of others, many of them from the Stop the War Coalition. I didn’t notice many Conservatives doing so and Labour were split down the middle on it.
    Incidentally, Tony Blair deliberately misled Parliament and the country in order to get a positive vote for war in Iraq. He deserves to pay the price for that deception. I’d far prefer to be on the side of those calling for him to be prosecuted that those who want to exonerate him. If some of them are Trots, I can live with that.

  • Mick Taylor 6th Nov '15 - 11:29am

    I don’t agree with a word Michael Cooke says, but his right to say it and not be censored for his views is absolute. The views he expresses are his alone and do not represent the view of the party nor, I suspect, of Lib Dem Voice. What a much poorer world we would inhabit if those people who want to limit free speech had their way. There is no right not to be offended!

  • Richard Underhill 6th Nov '15 - 11:39am

    Did Alex Salmond say anything about the invasion by the Soviet Union of their former ally, Afghanistan?
    Syria (and Lebanon) were not British or American possessions. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed they were League of Nations mandates for France.

  • Conor McGovern 6th Nov '15 - 11:40am

    Maybe time to ditch the left-centre-right positioning and remember our values?

  • This is satire, isn’t it? It has to be.

  • Mark Blackburn 6th Nov '15 - 11:54am

    So veering left is hard and right is centre? I’m afraid this piece starts badly with the nomenclature and goes downhill from there. I rejoined the Lib Dems after Blair & Iraq.

  • Poor Tony Blair started illegal wars against far away countries that posed no threat to us. Some of us think bombing civilians is a bad thing. ‘Poor Tony Blair’ should be in prison.

  • ………………….I can proudly say that I would happily pick Free Market Liberals and ‘Tory Scum’ as allies over the alternative any day of the week………………….

    We did; and ended up with a parliamentary party that could fit in a ministerial limo…

  • I did; and it was!

  • There’s very little to criticise in this article and it contains sentiments with which I whole-heartedly agree. Also good to see that there are some contributors to this board who share those sentiments (and predictable responses from the Corbyn supporters).

    @Stephen Campbell “This whole post is just one long (and rather sneering) ad hominem”

    I’m not sure you understand the concept of ad hominem – this is usually taken to mean an attack on an individual rather than on the policies they believe. If you can point to such an example then please do.

    From what I can see there are only two individuals named. One is Tony Blair (who is defended rather than attacked), and the other is Alex Salmond. The attack on him is all about his support for a particular view of events. This is not an ad hominem; calling him a “smug g*t” would be an ad hominem.

  • Geoffrey Payne 6th Nov '15 - 1:01pm

    I think this is a very muddled article.
    I am not on the hard left, but I do believe we should be fair to all political factions wherever they are on the spectrum. To say that the hard left is “relaxed about Radical Islam” and at the same time supporting Russia doesn’t make sense. ISIS will want to kill them as much as anyone else who do not agree with them.
    I have been to the Stop the War demos, but I will admit I rarely go because they are dominated by the hard left and I really intensely dislike how they make their case in their speeches. Even so, and maybe for the wrong reasons, they were right to oppose the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. All 3 places today are hell holes and they have destabilised the surrounding countries as well.
    We keep making the same mistakes; we implement regime change, destroy the state in doing so and anarchy takes over. I am sorry to say that Libya was a failure under the watch of the Lib Dems, but where is the debate about why it went wrong and what we can learn about it? I think it is astonishing there is no such debate.
    I do not agree with the binary division between the hard left and everyone else. There are many sensible Liberals, and even dare I say some sensible Tories who are highly sceptical about western armed intervention in the region. I think the argument that there were “no alternatives” dodges the point of why it was considered necessary in the first place to support a policy that was bound to make things worse. Good political leadership is needed to reject these counter productive policies.
    And this is my main point. We do not seen to be able to come to terms with the decline of western power. I loathe the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi as much as anyone but whatever policy we decide to implement to deal with regimes like these we simply must look objectively at what we can realistically achieve. The regime in China is just as distasteful from a human rights point of view, but that does not mean we go to war and implement regime change because we know it is unrealistic. It is not just with the benefit of hindsight that many of us suspected the same is true with these other countries we have invaded. What we should have learnt a long time ago is that the question; will it work? needs to be asked first. And more often than not the answer will be no.

  • Stephen Campbell 6th Nov '15 - 1:07pm

    @Simon Shaw: “Also, to put things in context, do you consider what Saddam Hussein did at Halabja was a “war crime”? And a war crime of the most severe kind?”

    Yes, I do. I do not mourn his passing (though I am against the death penalty in all cases).

    “In what way do you think it might be considered a “war crime”?”

    We were not under attack by Iraq. We were not in danger of being attacked by Iraq. We did not secure a further UN resolution. Blair and Bush *chose* to attack this country which was not currently attacking us.

    “Finally, apart from the fact that it’s difficult to think of any war or military action which doesn’t involve “aggression”, why do you particularly consider it was a “war of aggression”?”

    I refer to the judgement at the Nuremburg trials and the words of Benjamin B. Ferencz who was a prosecuting judge for the United States at said trials:

    “A prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.

    … The United Nations charter has a provision which was agreed to by the United States, formulated by the United States, in fact, after World War II. It says that from now on, no nation can use armed force without the permission of the U.N. Security Council. They can use force in connection with self-defense, but a country can’t use force in anticipation of self-defense. Regarding Iraq, the last Security Council resolution essentially said, “Look, send the weapons inspectors out to Iraq, have them come back and tell us what they’ve found — then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do.” The U.S. was impatient, and decided to invade Iraq — which was all pre-arranged of course. So, the United States went to war, in violation of the charter.”

  • @Geoffrey Payne “To say that the hard left is “relaxed about Radical Islam” and at the same time supporting Russia doesn’t make sense. ISIS will want to kill them as much as anyone else who do not agree with them.”

    That’s because the hard left don’t make sense, not because it isn’t correct. They talk about Western aggression and legitimate Russian interests in Ukraine, and at the same time support radical Islam against what they see as the US/Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

    “The regime in China is just as distasteful from a human rights point of view”

    The regime in China is distasteful, but it’s several orders of magnitude removed from the ISIL Death Cult!

  • @Stephen Campbell “I refer to the judgement at the Nuremburg trials and the words of Benjamin B. Ferencz who was a prosecuting judge for the United States at said trials:

    “A prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.”

    Are you trying to argue that the US was pursuing an illegal war of aggression during World War 2???

  • I’ll wait until I see the results of Chilcot inquiry are finally made public before I’ll decide if “poor tony Blair” gets my sympathy. I seem to remember that the lib Dems consistently argued against military intervention and I think I read somewhere that Cameron has held back on another Syria vote because there isn’t enough cross party support, which means the number of Conservatives willing to rebel is too high to carry the vote. Hard Left has little to do with it. I’d argue that the mainstream right is more confused about political Islam than the “hard left” . Isis beading people bad, Assad bad, Saudi Arabia our friends. Us bombing stuff good. Russia bombing stuff bad etc.. The only consistency is muddled thinking, rose tinted belief in “moderate islamists” and selective memory.

  • Matt (Bristol) 6th Nov '15 - 2:10pm

    I have to say I struggle with an article that (jusitfiably) decries the labelling of people as ‘Tory Scum’ but then in one sentence sideswipes at ‘Trots’.

    It might be just the sentence structure, but to imply that Alec Salmond is a voice of the ‘hard left’, is a bit weird too.

    There are plenty of Tories I can see us working with on all kinds of issues, at varying places on their own party’s left-right / moderation-hardline spectrums – that does not mean I trust the direction their party overall is taking. The same applies to Labour.

    I think because of the dire implications of many of their current policies and the cynical strategy their leadership took during the Coalition, we should be very suspicious of more overt partnership with the Conser vative Party, but that does not mean we will never have common cause with their MPs – neither does it mean I want this party to ‘veer’ to the ‘hard-left’ or that I am a Corbyn supporter.

    But again, we can find common cause on individual issues with Corbyn and many of his MPs – again, across the Labour spectrum – and we should not be afraid of this.

    Otherwise we are playing the Conservative game of making Labour into a pariah party and building them up as the only game in town, which didn’t do us much good last time round.

    I think I might have understood this article better if I knew whom it was directed at as it seems to be directed at something, due to its polemical tone (which is nothing I object to in principle, there are plenty of polemnics on here ) – is it someone down the pub, a work colleague, a local councillor or fellow politician who has said something a bit OTT, an article they have read, or the voices in their head?

  • paul barker 6th Nov '15 - 2:11pm

    Another night in London, another Left Wing mob attacking The Police, smashing windows & starting fires. Many wore masks or carried placards saying “Revolution – The Only Solution”. Some were probably new members of The Labour Party.
    We should be very clear that there have been 2 very different Left traditions ever since the birth of The Left(s) in the late 18th Century. Our Left is focused on individuals, emphasises tolerance & compromise & tries to keep violence out of Politics at all costs.
    There is another Left tradition, focused on Identities (Class, Gender, Ethnicity etc) & The State. That traditions sees rage & violence as both inevitable & healthy.
    Labour, from its beginning has always kept a foot in both traditions but has now made a decisive shift towards Authoritarianism, Class & Anger. Can I reccomend Atul Hatwals piece on Labour Uncut on the “End of Labour”.

  • OK, I get the point that the Corbynite tendency is too eager to identify with the geopolitical opponents of the West, giving Putin’s Russia, the assorted Middle Eastern strongmen and anyone willing to pay lip service to the red flag too easy a ride. Although this has to be balanced with the observation that the centre-right is far too comfortable sitting down with the likes of Saudi Arabia and is for example making a big mistake offering to be Xi Jinping’s least critical friend.

    The article reads to me as a very angry piece, but frustration with the hard left and its vacuity shouldn’t lead us to bitterness, nor to self-identify with the centre-right. Cuddling up too close to Cameron’s Conservatives would be almost Stockholm Syndrome, especially when we can now neatly exist in our own nice clear patch of ground to the right of Corbyn, to the left of Cameron and considerably to the left of Farage, without having to change a single one of our core beliefs.

  • Matt (Bristol) 6th Nov '15 - 2:54pm

    Paul Barker:

    I think you are being waaay too simplistic in your critique of Labour by saying that there are only 2 leftwing traditions in this country, one that is individual focused and one that is focused on identity and the state and is antagonistic and violence preoccupied.

    There are certainly other traditions (I’m not saying they’re inherently liberal ones) of peaceful collective bargaining in the name of group identity, or of the project to create by increments a more benign, socially responsible state.

    You can’t lob the Fabians (or the TUC) in with what is basically (in my view) neo-anarchism in that way …

  • Stephen Campbell 6th Nov '15 - 4:07pm

    @TCO: “Are you trying to argue that the US was pursuing an illegal war of aggression during World War 2???”

    Erm, no. This man was an American judge who helped prosecute Nazis at one of the Nuremberg trials. Of course the US was not waging an illegal war of aggression during WWII. I was referring to his remarks regarding America’s actions (and by extension the UK’s acts) in going to war without a new UN resolution against a regime that, however horrible and tyrannical, was not attacking us. I defer to the judgement of people such as him who has more experience in judging criminal acts of war than those who still claim the Iraq war was the right thing to do, and damn international law.

    Sorry if that was not clear.

  • paul barker 6th Nov ’15 – 2:11pm…….Another night in London, another Left Wing mob attacking The Police, smashing windows & starting fires. Many wore masks or carried placards saying “Revolution – The Only Solution”. Some were probably new members of The Labour Party…….

    Some? probably? That’s just another way of saying you don’t know….There is no doubt that there were anarchists on the streets last night …But let’s not miss a trick to associate them with Corbyn and the Labour party…After all what’s wrong with the good old, “sling enough mud and some of it will stick” approach…

    As for your two sides of the ‘left’ one dedicated to tolerance and the other on violence…In what way would that not equally apply to the ‘right’?…

  • Dave Orbison 6th Nov '15 - 4:58pm

    Was this article submitted on the 1st April? I don’t think it warrants any serious analysis of than I am not surprised TCO (is this Tory Central Office) is so gushing about it. Just to be sure the LibDems did not vote with Blair re the Iraq war did they? It just seems that the author one the one hand love Blair and the ‘moderate’ Labour MP’s (presumably those that supported that war) and the LibDems who opposed it. Confused.

  • Despite my current level of support for Corbyn, I do find the prospect of losing Tony Blair into the supportive arms of Simon, Michael and TCO brings tears to my eyes. Treat him gently, guys, and may some of the magic that propelled him to three glorious wins rub off on your wing of the party.

  • Nick Collins 6th Nov '15 - 8:39pm

    For a critique of this article, see Macbeth Act 5 Scene V, lines 26 to 28.

  • paul barker 6th Nov '15 - 8:49pm

    The Evening Standard has an interesting story on last nights demo/riot. A young woman who was on the initial March was attacked by one of the mask-wearers when she tried to protect a riderless Police Horse. Those with sympathies to that part of The Left should read reports of last night. As to who they were, the organisers claimed , variously to be Anarchists or Libertarians but most of the people there seemed happy to carry SWP placards.

  • Paul Barker
    You should know that one of the things the SWP are really good at is mass producing placards! I am sure many of us carried their placards in the 2003 Iraq march, if not at other demos!

    I think Michael Cooke conflates two tendencies 1 Ignorant rudeness / exuberant exhibitionist politics, which can verge on disorder and in extreme circumstances violence (there is a spectrum here), and 2 A left right axis in politics.

    The left have no monopoly of the disorder / rudeness spectrum. I have heard many Lib Dems resorting to rude criticism (heaven forbid, even I have been criticised on LDV for it!) And the right, centre- or otherwise, are quite capable of it – think Countryside Alliance demos, recent anti-abortion demos etc.

    There is form here of course, that people who are ultimately criticising legitimate political views try to accuse their opponents of all manner of treachery, ignorant behaviour etc. If that opening is given to them by bad behaviour, they will gratefully take it.

    I am sorry, Michael Cooke, your liberal democracy is not mine. You mention colonialism – I have been worried about colonialism making a comeback for some while, and some very recent actions rather confirm that view. Your stereotyping of anti-colonialists and pacifists as being “left” and others being “moderate” is also off the mark. There are many on the centre right who favour peace activism and are ferociously anti-colonial. Presumably that doesn’t include you.

  • Eddie Sammon 6th Nov '15 - 11:52pm

    The SNP are not the far left, but Alex Salmond is very annoying when he derides other people’s foreign policy as “more bombs” when his policy of doing nothing is arguably worthy of more derision.

    The article has been criticised somewhat. I did think the title was better than what followed it.

    However there are many interesting debates to be had from it. I think Blair could do with a short prison sentence, but he is still one of the best foreign policy commentators around. I don’t often like hawkish plans, but he seems to be the only person who can come up with a very hawkish idea and make it sound reasonable. He gets to the crux of the matter, even admits that oil makes Middle East stability important. Proxy war with Russia? Yeah, need to gain leverage and support democrats, Blair will say.

  • Eddie
    I think the court’s verdict on Blair would be the Scottish one of”not proven”.
    British troops were deployed in southern Iraq (Shia) and were initially welcomed. They applied the doctrine of legalism developed in Northern Ireland. They stayed too long and became involved in the local politics and hence were to some extent driven out.
    Richard Underhill
    Vichy French-controlled Syria and Lebanon was invaded in 1941 by Allied forces. Lebanon becaqme independent in 1943. In 1958 beach goers in Lebanon were surprised when American troops came ashore.
    ***
    The civil war in Lebanon dragged on for 15 years.It came to an end when all sides realised there was no point in fighting on.

  • Maybe we need to be using an alternative political spectrum to the left/right one. If you start with the violent nihilists at one end moving through to the politically destructive – SWP/BNP/EDL etc -, then the demonstrators – Occupy/Stop the War etc. -, then the community activists – councillors/trades unionists/committee members etc. who are trying to build strong, cohesive and inclusive communities -, and then on into the people who are in politics to improve things for themselves and their friends irrespective of the consequences for the rest of society. There are no fixed boundaries between these groups – many of us will have spent time demonstrating, sometimes in the company of the nihilists -, and there are plenty of well-intentioned community activists in the Tories and even UKIP, though I would see them as “useful idiots” for the Osbornes of this world whose aim is to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the few.

  • Stephen Hesketh 7th Nov '15 - 7:57am

    The article must be one of the least Liberal I have read on LDV, possibly ever. No wonder the author feels the need to use a pen name and no wonder TCO writes “There’s very little to criticise in this article and it contains sentiments with which I whole-heartedly agree”.

    If this article were representative of anything resembling Liberal Democracy, it would indeed risk turning mainstream Liberal Democrats into Corbyn supporters.

  • I find Corbynites / Greens and UKIP the two sides of the same coin. Protectionists who think people should be immune from the effects of globalisation, by virtue of being British.

    With Corbyn / Greens it involves stopping TTIP and free trade, possible exit of the EU (though unlikely), nationalisation, protectionism and raising tariffs.

    With UKIP – it involves Brexit, stopping TTIP, stopping free movement, favouring British industry, and a broader anti-immigration stance.

    Likewise the BNP / EDL / SWP / Class War are two sides of the same coin.

    What is interesting is that how much supporters all these groups overlap with policy, even if they don’t realise it. All are protectionist, all pretty much support nationalisation and tariffs. There are many on the left who support EU exit and are against free movement too. The “far right” are often not right wing at all in terms of economics.

    People go on about the “split” left – but it is really the split protectionists. Corbyn, TUSC, Green, UKIP, BNP, Plaid, SNP, all competing for the same type of voter. The Lib Dems also had their fingers in the same pot, until Clegg had to make the adult step of throwing away protectionism in favour of liberal government. The downside is that many of these people believe the Lib Dems are a corporate establishment party now, so it is up to the party to shake this image off, whilst ensuring we have no truck with extremism from the hard left, or the kipper / nationalist brigade (who aren’t actually in many cases actual right wingers).

    The Lib Dems have much more in common with the Kendall / Blairites and Liberal Tories such as Osborne. We should be proud to work with these people and have a mature globalist liberal philosophy.

  • Stimpson 7th Nov ’15 – 8:03am………………The Lib Dems have much more in common with the Kendall / Blairites and Liberal Tories such as Osborne. We should be proud to work with these people and have a mature globalist liberal philosophy…………………..

    If the article, itself, wasn’t penned on April 1st…Surely this was?

  • Dan F “convinced the Lib Dems have lost the plot in their dealings with the SNP and as election results north of the border seem to show I suspect it’s a view shared by Scots voters,,,”

    Yes this is sadly very true.

  • I really don’t understand the respect held for Liz Kendall by some Lib Dems. She’s the MP for the most crime ridden area of the country and is basically one of those careerist politicians that lucky enough to have latched on to a safe seat and does very little for her constituents. In other words the polar opposite of the Lib Dem mode of fighting locally on behalf of residents.

  • Glenn Andrews 7th Nov '15 - 11:23am

    Surely after the Welfare Bill, Tax credit cuts, Snoopers Charter and Psychoactive Substances Bill we should be emphasising a robust and uncompromising opposition to both…. and pointing out they have far more in common with each other than we have to either of them.

  • I see the Lib Dems as a centre right economic party, with a commitment to social liberalism and internationalism.

    Osborne and Kendall are pro EU, pro human rights, pro market based solutions, pro gay and minority rights, pro freedom and pro free trade.

    All liberal values

    Corbyn may share some socially liberal values but he favours the power of the state (and by extension the nation state) when it comes to ownership and public services, he appears to be somewhat eurosceptic, and highly protectionist.

    He is not someone the party can really work with on many issues, as we are diametrically opposed. The same goes for UKIP and the Philip Hollobones and Peter Bones of the Tories. They may agree with us on privatisation and outsourcing, but nothing much else.

  • Well, I don’t agree with you on outsourcing and privatisation, and I am sure there are many others who have been Liberals and Lib Dems equally as long who don’t! Your view seems predicated on a relatively short period of Orange Bookery.

  • @Stimpson (not the Tim, late full back of Leicester and England?) “I see the Lib Dems as a centre right economic party, with a commitment to social liberalism and internationalism.”

    In an ideal world I would see the same thing and under a proportional system that’s where we would be. However given the reality of FPTP we need to make common cause with the less statist social democrats who now occupy a space close to us; one vacated by Corbyn’s Labour.

    “The Lib Dems have much more in common with the Kendall / Blairites and Liberal Tories such as Osborne. We should be proud to work with these people and have a mature globalist liberal philosophy.”

    I think you have the right idea, but with the exception of Liz Kendall you have chosen the wrong examples. Some of the ultra-Blairites were highly authoritarian whilst professing market-liberal economics, and too wedded to centralised solutions. I can think of better examples of liberal Tories, too (Ken Clarke to name one, and the new MP who stood up against the premature ending of WTC).

  • @Tim13 “I am sorry, Michael Cooke, your liberal democracy is not mine. You mention colonialism – I have been worried about colonialism making a comeback for some while, and some very recent actions rather confirm that view. Your stereotyping of anti-colonialists and pacifists as being “left” and others being “moderate” is also off the mark. There are many on the centre right who favour peace activism and are ferociously anti-colonial. Presumably that doesn’t include you.”

    This is a really interesting point and one that perhaps deserves it’s own thread.

    If I may be slightly provocative (heaven forfend!), and we start from looking at the world as it is, rather than as it might be, we have to face the reality that many if not most second- and third-world post-colonial states are colonial creations, and their long history has taught us that in many if not most cases, they only worked as colonial states.

    I mean this in these ways:

    – democracy, the rule of law, free trade, freedom of contract, thought, speech etc are/were alien concepts to local people
    – the states often contained many different cultural, linguistic, ethnic and/or religious minorities and colonialism often favoured one above the others as a bulwark against disorder

    Post-colonialism, this pattern was often maintained as the Saddats, Saddams and any number of African despots and dictators will attest. These states reverted to pre-colonial social patterns (favouring of tribal or family ties, corruption, subjucation etc) and very few have risen above them.

    I work with people from Africa who have come to the UK and often they tell me the reason they come here (apart from the obvious) is for personal advancement being based largely on merit, and the avoidance of other corrupt activities within business.

    I believe at one time an African country asked for the return of a colonial administration as an “honest broker” better to manage the governance of the state and end endemic corruption and mismanagement.

    If countries were to approach Western powers and say “come back and help us sort things out”, is that not an expression of their liberal right to choose how they are governed and by whom?

    Has the time come to rethink the post-colonial world?

  • TCO Having worked in Africa, and other developing countries, I have a lot of agreement with the situations you describe, while not really agreeing with your conclusion. Many countries were put together by colonialists and powers, and were not in sympathy or accord with the ethnic / linguistic / cultural patterns that existed in those places. I was lucky to live and work in countries – Swaziland, Yemen and Kiribati – where one group was the great majority, and one language could properly be a “national” language. In fact, Kiribati had been under British colonial rule, part of Gilbert and Ellice Islands, where two ethnic groups had been present. Rather sensibly the two groups decided they wanted separate paths at independence – much to civil service Britain’s opposition, I gather! Interestingly, conditions in Kiribati now, while badly affected by sea level rise due to climate change, are much better than Yemen, which has been much disrupted over the years by clan disputes and banditry and recently bombed into rubble in places by Saudi support for one side in a dispute over governing power, and Swaziland, now under the rule of a despotic king, and devastated by AIDS and TB. However, the people DO have the potential to govern themselves, and do not have to adhere to alien rules as under colonial rule. We should not delude ourselves that cruelty was absent from colonial rule, too.

  • TCO
    An election in Burma 8 November. Whatever happens there is NO going back to colonialism.

  • Alex Macfie 9th Nov '15 - 8:33am

    “TTIP and free trade”. Which do you support, TTIP or free trade?

  • “Which do you support, TTIP or free trade?”

    This is the UKIP view of free trade – that it inhibited not advanced by free trade agreements like the EU Single Market.

    It is very revealing that the scaremongering about TTIP is coming from opponents of free trade.

  • Mick Taylor 12th Nov '15 - 2:05pm

    Do you think that participants in LDV could make a self denying ordinance not to use lazy shorthand like ‘orange bookery’, or indeed not to mention this at all? As anyone who has read it knows contributors were from all wings of the party including SLF and it was not exclusively about so-called ‘right wing’ economic Liberalism. Far too many people use the term ‘organge book’ as shorthand for right wing Liberalism (and as a term of abuse) and this is really not at all helpful.Can we not talk about ideas rather than labels?

  • “It is very revealing that the scaremongering about TTIP is coming from opponents of free trade.” – WHAT! I think that is simply FUD Joe.

    I suggest you take a look at TPP, which was finally published recently. With respect to IT it contains several very obvious howlers. Also I would take note of what Obama said: “The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century. When it comes to Asia, one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, the rulebook is up for grabs. And if we don’t pass this agreement – if America doesn’t write those rules – then countries like China will. And that would only threaten American jobs and workers and undermine American leadership around the world.”. TIPP is merely the extension of this school of imperialist thought by the US; unless the EU gets it’s act together and asserts itself…

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