Change for change’s sake wouldn’t be worthwhile

Change UK reports that among 3,700 applicants to be their candidates in the Euro elections are 105 former Lib Dems, along with 895 former Labour activists and dozens of former Tories.

Why would former Lib Dems join Change? Did they leave our party in the rout of the Coalition and haven’t been won back since? Do they think they have a better chance of getting elected now with Change? Or do they simply feel that in the current British political crisis some real change is essential to unstick it?

The trouble with the last argument is that it isn’t the Lib Dems who have caused the crisis. Since they aren’t part of the problem, leaving the Lib Dems can’t be part of the answer. Our party has kept its view consistently since the Referendum: we believe the country should remain in the EU because no possible deal can outweigh the advantages of staying in. And while Change UK claims to want to break the mould of British politics – despite immediately becoming (just) another political party – there is certainly nothing mouldy about Lib Dem politics: we are continually refreshing and developing our policies to match the country’s perceived needs.

Whatever is rotten in the British political system (and plenty is), the Liberal Democrat party isn’t.

Supposing for a moment that most of these thousands of applicants wanting to jump on the bandwagon of Change may believe that any change must be good for the country, what is it that they propose to commit themselves to beyond just the principle of change? (Plus of course staying in the EU – no change there, then!).

How far the expanded Tiggers can agree on a platform, considering their diverse backgrounds, we shall see when: they launch on Tuesday. But according to Sunday’s Observer the party’s interim leader, Heidi Allen, has claimed that her new party is now at any rate the “natural home of the Remain Alliance.”

That’s a curious claim since there is no Remain Alliance.

Change have declined to have an united front with the other pro-EU parties, ourselves, Greens, SDP and Plaid Cymru, and have therefore harmed the chances of anti-Brexit parties winning many seats. Under the PR system used, voters can only vote for one party, not list their preferences. Without a real alliance in which pro-EU parties might agree to share candidacies, each seems likely to win fewer seats than they might otherwise hope for.

If Change does nonetheless win a handful of seats, with voters evidently trusting their good intentions, what would this tiny new caucus do next? With their diverse backgrounds, how can they decide which major party grouping to align with in the EU Parliament? They may seem doomed to impotence.

Our Lib Dems, if they manage to win any more than their one present seat despite the odds, do have an accepted group to join, and within ALDE can develop further policies.

Perhaps there will be new developments, but as things stand, Lib Dems can’t have high hopes for the Euro elections. Activists are likely to busy themselves with the May 2 local elections, and be thankful that Change can’t stand in those. At least we can remind voters locally of our solidity and usefulness as a party.

It is disappointing, in view of current Tory disarray, to think we could do better if Change would change its mind. But as David Lloyd George, the Liberal Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922, is reported to have said, when asked how he kept his cheerfulness when beset by numerous political obstacles, “ Well, I find that a change of nuisance is as good as a vacation.” Lib Dem activists, not likely to enjoy much vacation next month, can perhaps smile wryly and try to agree.

* Katharine Pindar is a long-standing member of the Lib Dems and an activist in the West Cumbrian constituency of Copeland and Workington.

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94 Comments

  • Ukraine just elected a comedian, literally, presumably to ‘stick it to the establishment’. He now faces a huge task, all in the public eye.
    Macron was voted in by a desire for ‘change’. Which evaporated once voters realised that any change to anything comes at some kind of cost.
    The appeal of Change is likewise that it appears to be offering something different. And isn’t bogged down by policies – or baggage.
    If they were facing elections at home, they’d have to Do Something once elected. But as our media have always given zero coverage to the European Parliament and MEPs, they needn’t worry about scrutiny there impacting on them domestically.

  • Nonconformistradical 22nd Apr '19 - 10:33am

    “And while Change UK claims to want to break the mould of British politics…..”
    without having given voters the slightest idea of how they would change it – apart from inviting candidates of other parties to stand aside and leave them to it?

    All mouth and no trousers?

  • I am really disappointed with the Change politicians, they leave their respective parties because they found them so stubborn and inward looking, form a new grouping and behave in the same way, instead of reaching out to like minded politicians to change our outdated political system. The thought of the Farage party gaining more undeserved publicity should be enough to bring them to their senses, you would think.

  • BBC Breakfast this morning report on Local Elections. I have complained. No mention of Lib Dems all UKIP and Greens!
    Sent them a copy Of Nick Palmers comments yesterday:-
    “Interesting 3 hours on the doorstep this afternoon (and no, people don’t mind being canvassed at Easter) in deepest Surrey. I think the Lib Dems are going to do well – I’m used to their voters showing up as don’t knows till the last minute, but there’s some definite enthusiasm out there”.

  • Laurence Cox 22nd Apr '19 - 11:22am

    Let’s be clear, ChangeUK are centrists but they aren’t liberals. Amongst the Labour MPs who joined it you have people who voted for compulsory ID cards (thankfully the Tories opposed this, making it easy for the coalition government to ditch it). Anyone who has left the LibDems to join ChangeUK was never a true liberal and we are better off without them.

  • Newness has a novelty, but it soon dims. Unless they can put together a functioning party they will need to survive on the media puffing them up. This seems to work for Farage, but I fear Change may find it difficult to emulate that.
    As to Lib Dems doing worse than Change, well the last opinion poll for the EU poll I have seen suggests not

    LAB: 33% (+8)
    CON: 18% (-6)
    BREX: 17% (+17)
    CHUK: 9% (+9)
    LDEM: 9% (+2)
    UKIP: 5% (-22)
    GRN: 5% (-2)

    via
    @ComRes
    , 16 Apr

    A good local election with a bit of a poll pop and you are looking at more than one MEP. Not looking good for UKIP or the Greens. We will have to see how much help Farage gets out of the media, because that is what substains him.

  • @Laurence Cox

    ” Amongst the Labour MPs who joined it you have people who voted for compulsory ID cards ”
    And in hindsight would ID cards truly have been a bad thing? This could have helped to prevent scandals like windrush.
    I know Liberal Democrats were dead against EU citizens having to register with local authorities etc, however, had we have had compulsory ID cards for everybody, then this would not have been an issue.

    Technology has moved on, we are using bio metrics for everything these days, from finger prints for mobile phones and online banking. There is a huge amount of personal data on us stored by credit reference agencies like equifax.

    I really do not see what all the fuss was about with ID cards and I do feel the time will come when we need to look at this again

  • matt 22nd Apr ’19 – 11:52am………………And in hindsight would ID cards truly have been a bad thing? This could have helped to prevent scandals like windrush……

    I agree. LibDems are still fighting yesterday’s wars when the rest of the UK has moved on.

    Most voters couldn’t care less about ID cards, except for their cost. LibDems have become, in the public mind, irrelevant; even the Guardian barely mentions this party ‘Change’ are the new kids on the block with a policy different from Farage’s new adventure.

    Attempts by LibDems in trying to downplay ‘Change’ was undermined by the admission that this party had made overtures to Change UK to join forces but had been rebuffed.
    When Change UK’s Chris Leslie said…” If the Lib Dems were the answer to Britain’s broken politics we’d know that by now”, he said it in the knowledge that the party is seem as ‘tiny and tired’.

  • marcstevens 22nd Apr '19 - 1:08pm

    I totally agree with Matt on the idea of ID cards. I really want one and why produce 5 or more documents for official purposes when just the one will do? There is nothing illiberal about them, just ask the Canadians.

    I agree with the tenet of the article and fail to understand why a new centre leaning party would attack the Lib Dems in such a hostile manner unless it is to destroy them which I think is their objective. However the Lib Dems must be more welcoming of ex members who are politically homeless as I woudn’t say this is necessarily a welcoming site for tbose of us in that camp and continue on a more social liberal path to gain traction with the electorate.

  • David Allen 22nd Apr '19 - 1:17pm

    It’s two bald men fighting over a comb here.

    First round went to Change UK. They do deserve credit for sacrificing their careers for the sake of their principles. Whereas you might say that the Lib Dem coalitionists sacrified their principles for the sake of their careers.

    On the other hand, the second round, as the OP comments, went the other way. Lib Dems at least made some tentative attempts to reach out to Change UK – and no expats, that isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of (at least some) willingness to get away from narrow tribalism. But Change couldn’t reciprocate. Shame. Pity. More fools they. Divided we fall.

    It’s all very reminiscent of the SDP and the Liberals a generation ago, except that they (at any rate, before Owen went and scuppered things) did it all a lot better. The SDP had a proper launch and told everybody what their key policies were in the Limehouse Declaration. Then the Liberals struck a seat-sharing deal with the SDP with just about enough goodwill to carry conviction. The Alliance in 1983 got a 26% vote, something never bettered since!

    You’d think people would realise that we needed to outperform the SDP/Liberal Alliance politicians of a generation ago, who were the nearly men (and women) of their day. Instead, we’re falling way behind their standards. We won’t be nearly men. We shall be nowhere.

  • John Marriott 22nd Apr '19 - 1:22pm

    The history of British politics possibly since the 1930s, and certainly since the early 1950s has been the inability of the non Tory majority to unite to form a parliamentary majority. Wilson managed a short lived majority in the mid to late 1960s and again in the mid 1970s, which held, thanks largely to Liberal Party support until 1979. Blair got his 1997 landslide largely because he adopted Tory lite policies.

    Whatever new combination emerges, whether, in the word of ‘expats’, it involves the “new kids on the block” or a resurgent Lib Dems or Green Party, FPTP will consign it to a mere footnote in history.

    The evidence of the recent machinations in Parliament would seem to reaffirm the fact that compromise is something that our political parties find hard to do. I really thought in 2010 that this trend might be over. Sadly, I was wrong, as 2015 proved and from whose consequences we are suffering even today.

    The upcoming European Parliamentary Elections, in which we shall be embarrassingly forced to participate, unless May and Corbyn can cobble something like a deal together before the deadline, will likely give further evidence how hard it may prove to build a majority for a more positive approach to the EU in the face of determined negativity. Chris Leslie May have a point about the Lib Dems; but neither does his new group have the exclusive right to the holy grail.

  • Paul Barker 22nd Apr '19 - 1:23pm

    So 3% of the applicants for Change MEP Lists are ex-Libdem ? That doesn’t strike me as a very high number or surprising.
    I too am very disappointed that Change & The Greens turned down the idea of an Electoral Pact but I can see why they did. With the possibility of a General Election in the Autumn this was the last chance for Change to establish their “Brand” in the Publics minds. For The Greens, The European Elections are the only ones where they sometimes beat Us, they are always hoping for a repeat of 1989. Both Change & The Greens were being asked to give up a lot.
    That Boat has sailed but I haven’t given up on the idea of an Alliance of The Progressive, Pro-EU, Centre-Left & this Summer is the time for us all to work on that, we still have time to put something together before The Autumn.

  • Tony Greaves 22nd Apr '19 - 1:31pm

    That Boat is probably about to sink. The Euros may be a wake-up call for the Chukkas.

  • Alex Macfie 22nd Apr '19 - 1:33pm

    expats: ” LibDems are still fighting yesterday’s wars when the rest of the UK has moved on.” So not like those people who go on and on about Lib Dems’ role in the Coalition and the dreaded Tuition Fees. Oh no, not at all.

    Lib Dems are only “irrelevant” because the national political media in the Westminster Bubble tend to ignore them. Where we campaign we are not irrelevant at all. When it comes to actual votes in actual elections, local campaigning is what matters far more than national profiles, especially for smaller parties. Change UK will soon see the true meaning of “irrelevance” in the local elections, which they are sitting out (largely because they were not organised in time) while the Lib Dems are likely to do well. And this will focus the minds of voters as to which of these two parties is the more credible for the European Parliamentary election (although we can still expect the Westminster-bound political pundits to talk up Change UK, even while the Lib Dems are leafleting the country).
    Chris Leslie’s comment about the Lib Dems can be turned around by saying “If the Lib Dems aren’t the answer to Britain’s broken politics , then why would Change UK be, a party with no roots, no principles, no philosophy and no values?” (part-quoting Shirley Williams). It will come back and bite him soon enough, and Change UK will regret its attitude to us.

  • Tony,
    The Euros will be a wake up call to many. UKIP look scuppered, the Brexit party won’t do as well as the old UKIP did last time, unless the media can keep them pumped up. The Chukkas will find the media have only room for one new darling and it won’t be them. Lib Dems may do better than expected, Labour will do well and the Tories will go into shock. Just my predictions, but if Labour do well don’t expect a general election anytime soon, Tory turkeys seldom vote for Christmas to come early.

  • nvelope2003 22nd Apr '19 - 2:23pm

    expats: Most voters could not care less about many things but that does not mean they are unimportant. It is very difficult to find out what if anything Change UK considers important except re election of their MPs. They do not seem to have attracted anything like the same interest as the SDP did in the 1980s because they do not represent anyone but themselves. A party which apparently has only 11 members – its MPs – seems out of touch with reality when it suggests that the 100,000 Liberal Democrat members should join it rather than form an alliance for the EU elections because they are conducted by PR when the form of PR used rewards larger groups and can result in smaller ones getting no MEPs despite having enough votes to elect at least one. I fear this attitude will cost the Remain forces seats which they might otherwise have gained but if they do not understand that then they cannot be taken seriously though I guess they hope to mark out territory for any future Westminster deal. Good luck to that. If any party is tired and out of date it must be “Change – UK” and it has only just started and yet one that has its beginning in the 17th Century is still able to come up with ideas.

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Apr '19 - 2:58pm

    I don’t see why Lib Dems should be ’embarrassed’ at all, John Marriott, if we are obliged to participate in the Euro elections – the party really embarrassed is likely to be the Tories. As to Chris Leslie’s rather disparaging comment, expats, it’s hard to see how Change UK is going to fix the UK’s ‘broken politics’ by going along the traditional electoral routes. Perhaps we shall be electrified by them tomorrow … maybe. Anyway they have been rising fast, Frankie, as your ComRes figures show, and a good launch may lift them further.

    I hope our party will have such a boost later in the week, and then another more substantially through a good showing in the local elections.

    Whichever way you look at it, British participation in the Euro elections this year is going to be a bit of an absurdity. Whether Change UK with its rather risible title can establish itself as a serious political party remains to be seen. But we should continue, I believe, to offer them a friendly face, and I agree with Paul Barker that we should be looking beyond May to establishing a progressive alliance of all the like-minded for the future.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Apr '19 - 3:27pm

    I welcomed the new TIG launch, then, Change UK. I am not tribal. I suggested we relaunch, rebrand years before, under Tim’s leadership.

    I liked some of the mps who led on this. I still do like some of them, although not as sure I am correct to with one or two.

    I think it is a travesty of all that is needed, ie change, to carry on now with their, the Liberal Democrats are a busted flush nonsense.

    We could all, between us join, as centre ground mainstream progressive future oriented activists.

    But , as a graduate of history who never shall give up that pursuit, you need history to understand the current situation and that later on .

    If TIG, Change UK cannot see that this party is not antisemitic like Labour are considered to be by many, but is anti Brexit, and is not new but is of exactly that we need, a tradition, with a history, it cannot fold up overnight, nor must it.

    The party of Mill, can go through the mill, and come out the other side .

    And it could make things with the grain of that process, instead, Change UK go against the grain, and shall change nothing.

  • Richard Elliott 22nd Apr '19 - 3:37pm

    Much negative comment on your prospects and against change uk, but we should recognise that Change UK are establishing their brand and welcome the fact that the Tories are in big trouble. I expect and hope that the smaller parties will in time co-operate on policy agendas (Europe, Green, Local Services) and form targeted pacts for any forthcoming general election. Sorry if this is a bit unfair, but from the outside the Lib Dems look a bit tired at national level, and need a new (female) leader as soon as possible to provide an image refresh. I am still hoping to stop Brexit and to get rid of this government this year – both Change UK and the Lib Dems will have a part to play in this as two distinctive forces in co-operation with each other and other like minded MPs.

  • expats,

    If you look at the results of the local by-elections taken place so far this year (from electionmaps), the Lib Dems have won 21% of the vote compared to 24% Tories, 26% Labour. The Lib Dems are competing well and far from irrelevant as you seem to be claiming.

  • @John Marriott

    Certainly the SDP split from Labour, along with a big lurch of Labour to the left (which prompted the split) at a time when the country was moving to the right (the Cold War, yuppies etc.) helped the Tories.

    But the overall picture since 1950 is a bit more nuanced than you outline. The share of power between 1945 and now between Labour and the Tories is roughly equal (if you stop just after one party has been power – it tends to favour that party). The Tories have barely been able to scrape together a parliamentary majority since 1997 and you could argue somewhat before that.

    Labour were unlucky to loose the 1951 election when it went to the country early and won the popular vote but got fewer seats. In the 50s the Tories tacked to the left – embracing the NHS and the welfare state of the 1945 government, and building council houses – the so-called Butskellism. Blair may well have made a similar tack to the right in 1997 but also introduced things like the minimum wage, and funded public services a bit better (eventually!) – even if I would have liked to see him have gone further at a time of a good economic background.

    Arguably the moderate left did unite in 1997 to defeat the Tories – we won seats off them that Labour even with their landslide wouldn’t have struggle to do – reducing the Tories numbers further and there was behind the scenes co-ordination on campaign themes etc.

    BTW Change UK have not been rising fast in the polls – the most recent Yougov pol gave them 3% against 18% when they were first launched. We will see how they pan out, it is still difficult to get a fix on them or their level support which may be their problem (or it may be a great strength!) – the Brexit Party is by contrast a very clear proposition.

  • David Allen 22nd Apr '19 - 4:17pm

    Paul Barker: “I too am very disappointed that Change & The Greens turned down the idea of an Electoral Pact but I can see why they did. With the possibility of a General Election in the Autumn this was the last chance for Change to establish their “Brand” in the Publics minds.”

    That’s true, but just look at how the SDP played it in 1981-83. They too had to establish their new brand. The way they did that included a lot of stay-in-the-news negotiations with the Liberals, concluding with a successful Alliance which could boast of principled collaboration and a candidate in (almost) every seat. Staying aloof, failing to launch, and claiming to be the only true Remainers has not been a good strategy for Change UK!

  • David Becket 22nd Apr '19 - 4:44pm

    I am not surprised that some Lib Dems have joined Change UK. Our uninspired leadership (not just our leader but the party hierarchy) , our failure to make our voice heard and a difficult to use web site where the key objective appears to obtain donations. (Compare us with Labour List and Conservative Home).
    Apparently teenager Greta Thunberg is due to meet Michael Gove, Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas, no mention of a Lib Dem. Is this the press ignoring us or cannot she see the invisible party, and we have been invisible for the whole Extinction Rebellion. Why is Layla not there?

    However of greater concern than the failure of our party is Change UK not prepared to look at a joint ticket for the Euro elections. For MPs they are a group of political virgins. It is obvious what is going to happen Farage will top the poll, and the votes for Remain will be all over the place. Was it that we were not prepared to give enough to the other two. Remember Farage understands PR, we do not and neither does Change UK.

  • David Sheppard 22nd Apr '19 - 6:33pm

    David Bellyache give it a rest you are too negative about the Lib Dem’s.Agree we need new leadership but it’s on its way. Please be more positive!

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Apr '19 - 6:45pm

    David Allen: “The Alliance in 1983 got a 26% vote” This was not entirely a Liberal-SDP achievement, Labour had ” the longest suicide note in history” and Michael Foot kept repeating his CND position, even when he was told he was losing them 2% of their vote on every occasion, because he could so as leader. They lost their deposits in bucket-loads of seats, leading to a reform of the deposit system, from 12.5% of the vote to 5%.
    The identity card policy has been overtaken by “facts on the ground”, including the need to ensure that a voter only votes once in each election, but, at the time, the toriws were against Id cards as well, if only on cost grounds. If the ID card issue had not been pressed, what could have been achieved instead? Something actual on electoral reform?

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Apr '19 - 6:57pm

    The Tories are the establishment party. Labour could be the change party, but they can be more small c conservative than the Tories. The Independent Group presumably think their new name is clever. It implies an ambition to come first in a general election, fought under the existing system and put through a lot of radical change. Labour did that in 1945, starting with the nationalisation of the Bank of England, but a lot of groundwork had been laid in the wartime coalition, by Beveridge John Milton Keynes, the 1944 Education Act, etc.

  • Peter Martin 22nd Apr '19 - 7:02pm

    @ Barry Lofty,

    “I am really disappointed with the Change politicians…..”

    So you should be. Most people in the Labour Party are glad to see the back of a bunch of self serving elitist careerists with more than enough arrogance to expect that voters will flock to support them once they have set up on their own. You are really better off without them. They won’t survive the next general election.

    And the name! Change UK or CHUK. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect in student politics!

  • John Marriott 22nd Apr '19 - 7:57pm

    @Michael 1
    You know, despite your great apparent knowledge of things political, it would be beneficial for you occasionally to take a step back, forget the detail, and look at the broader picture. I don’t know how old you are, indeed none of us really know much about you at all. As for me, I’m pretty much an open book. Born in 1943, my first real recollection of a General Election was in 1959, when the nation believed ‘Super Mac’ that we had “never had it so good”. For most of my life until then, the country had been dominated by two monolithic parties, so called broad churches. Thanks to the electoral system there wasn’t much room for anyone else.

    By the 1970s, with the collapse of the post war consensus, (yes, I know all about ’Butskellism’, thank you very much) the tectonic plates were starting to move and, by the 1990s, there was much talk about pluralism in politics, which, as usual, was denied a tangible expression in Parliament by FPTP.

    What we witnessed after 2010 was a collapse in this pluralism and a return to two party politics in England at least, if you use percentages as your criterion. You could argue that, once the public, certainly in England, had seen peacetime coalition politics in action, they didn’t seem to warm to it. The fact that it occurred in difficult economic times did not help.

    You could argue, as you have done, that the breakthrough occurred in 1997, when, as you put it, ‘the moderate left’ united to defeat a Tory government that was clearly past its sell by date – which was similar in reverse to what happened in 1979. However, I would argue that the breakthrough actually occurred in local government far earlier and I am proud to have been part, in my own small way, of that ‘revolution’ in my thirty years as a councillor at all levels at some time. I don’t know whether you share that sort of experience but I can tell you one thing; a knowledge of statistics etc. doesn’t always help when problems arise. At this level, you have to seek common ground with erstwhile opponents to get things done. If you insist on always sticking to your core beliefs, you won’t get far in places like Lincolnshire. Occasionally, you need to get your hands dirty.

  • David Allen 22nd Apr '19 - 8:00pm

    Richard Underhill – You have a point, of course. Foot’s unpopularity did help the Alliance hit its 26% high water mark in 1983. As against that, there have been plenty of other very unpopular leaders from both main parties since then (Kinnock first-time-out in 1987, Major in 1997, Brown in 2010, Miliband in 2015), and the Lib Dems still haven’t scored a 26% vote again. What’s more, better targeting from 1997-2010 meant a much better haul of seats for the Lib Dems, which must have encouraged voters to take them more seriously. And yet still they never got 26% again.

    The SDP formation was seriously good news for the Liberals, though they mightn’t all have thought so at the time. It came pretty darn close to “breaking the mould” of British politics. Jenkins and Steel didn’t do everything right (and Owen did plenty wrong). But they played things way better than Change UK and today’s Lib Dems are playing it!

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Apr '19 - 9:52pm

    These ventures into post WW2 history of UK governments and Liberal fortunes do not seem at least as yet to be pointing our party a way forward in developing progressive alliances in 2019- 20. There could be volcanic eruptions and break-ups in both the Tories and Labour: only look at the discontent of Tory Brexiteers and their anxiety to replace Mrs May with one of themselves, and at the discontent of the Labour Remainers with Mr Corbyn’s leadership and failure to back another referendum.

    In the big picture, Change UK and the Brexit party are small fry. I think we need our wisest heads to be planning skilful management of the opportunities that should arise for our party in the next few months. We need to plan for what we want from our future in Europe, and we need to demand of future allies the final replacement of FPTP in our national voting. Our policy priorities will follow as our next insistence.

  • @David Raw: “ … I am a tad underwhelmed by the competence and policies and leadership of the 2019 Lib Dem Party.”
    Suffice to say, you are not alone … but, on balance, the Lib Dems are still the least worse of the various alternatives (and I speak as a member of more than 30 years’ standing)!

  • David Becket 22nd Apr '19 - 10:10pm

    @ David Sheppard
    If you want a more positive contribution from me I suggest the local elections could make all the difference for us. If we can make an exceptional showing in these elections that would put us in a strong position for the Euros. Remember there is no Change UK at the locals, and we could well take voters over into the Euros. This is why I have made a donation to the ALDC Target Seat Fund.

  • Interesting thread – thankyou Katharine – but I must say there’s an element of ‘don’t question me, I have lots more experience than you. And who are you anyway?’ emerging from some quarters, which makes me vaguely uneasy. Yes there are different levels of experience in the party, and yes experience is a valuable resource, but I don’t like to see it waved in the face of newer or lesser known members.
    Can we not agree to default to an assumption that everybody here has a right to state their point of view, and that nobody should be made to feel they need to justify who they are or what local party they are in, unless they want to? I feel LDV would be a more enjoyable experience for us all.

  • @David Shepard
    When referring to “David Bellyache”, did you mean to insult Mr Raw or Mr Beckett? Your plea to “be more positive” is all very well, but fails to address the valid points they both raise.

  • @John Marriott

    I don’t think actually we are far apart on our analysis of post-war political history.

    You are right to acknowledge the groundwork of Liberal/Alliance councillors and campaigners from about the 60s/70s onwards and I have always done that in my posts. One of the very interesting things about politics is the currents of politics which can take a long time to the come to the surface and fruition (as you say tectonic plates shifting) but ultimately are very different from what they seem – look at Thatcher in 1987 or the Soviet Union in the late 80s.

    I can guess when something is posted I do think “is that actually the case?”, “do I actually think that?” May be the sign of a Lib Dem who likes to think for themselves! But I would suggest that is healthy and mostly makes for a more interesting and vibrant site. We can have a grown-up discussion in which case hopefully my understanding (at least and may be others) increases or we can trade barbs in which case I will stay in ignorance. I prefer the former – most of the time at least!

    As it is I have got my hands dirty and revealed as much if not more biographical details than most. When I was first elected to my unitary council it was made up 15, 14, 13 between the three parties so I am as aware as most of the need to work with other parties and doing that we moved into overall control. I also worked for an MP. I think the one thing I have learnt during that time is at any time I think have “sussed” how politics works, it surprises me and that includes gaining two council seats from the Tories – including one during the coalition years and yes two defeats also! It’s taught me that intuition and assumptions are poor guides unless you subject that to reality and facts and challenge your confirmation bias. And it is why I am keen to inspect reality and for Lib Dems here to do so as well.

    Things are never as bad and never as good for us or our opponents as one can think they are – and in politics you need massive pessimism and massive optimism. So, folks, stop reading this and go out and make a better world – it’s yours for the taking – in the locals or doing something to improve your neighbourhood or country. Luckily we stand on the shoulders of giants – those that have gone before us as Liberals, citizens and change-makers.

  • Graham Evans 22nd Apr '19 - 11:43pm

    The problem with the original ID card proposal was that the Government wanted to link it to an enormous data base containing vast amounts of sensitive information. Given the inability of most big organisations to properly secure their own data bases, allowing the Government to create such an all encompassing data base linked to an ID card was a step too far.

    Had the Government simply restricted the card as a means of identification, perhaps based on allocating an NI number to everyone (ideally at birth), then I too would have supported its introduction.

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Apr '19 - 12:13am

    Good news just learnt from Dr Mark Pack is that a Conservative MEP, Julie Girling, who has joined Change UK has decided not to stand as a Euro candidate for them because of the way the anti-Brexit forces are being weakened by lack of agreement on shared tactics. Perhaps her generous withdrawal will cause a rethink by the Change UK leaders, which would be a real boost to the possibility of making an impact in the Euro elections.

    Other than that, thanks to Tom McLean for his helpful comment, and can I politely request contributors on this thread please to bear with each other, and perhaps if possible concentrate on our future hopes and prospects rather more than on our past?

  • I have not renewed my subscription to the Lib Dems and have, to the extent one can at the moment, joined Change UK.

    My sense is the Lib Dems are full of people with whom I share a lot values. However, my sense and experience is there is too much hobbying in this party. The comment from Change UK that the Lib Dems have simply not made enough progress chimes very much with me.

    I’ll give you one example. When I changed jobs a few years ago which meant I did not have to be away from home all week, I was very keen to commit to devoting more time to campaigning for the party locally. None of my emails asking about local events were responded to. In due course an email came round inviting members to the local AGM. The date offered was, from memory a date passed – presumably a silly error and from a professional outfit it would have been jumped on quickly and corrected to maximise the size and reach of the team.

    I wrote mails and tweets asking for clarification of the dates and…nothing. Maybe I missed something but this is one of a number of attempts to make contact have not been very successful at all. The overwhelming sense is the Lib Dems are a clique for people already in a social circle in my constituency and they do not devote energy or time to professionally fostering, developing and leading a team. I have never found something so difficult to engage with and the Lib Dems in my region.

    So I’m out. I get very regular comms from Change UK, remarkable as they have no real structure yet but they use all means to communicate and I welcome the opportunity to contribute.

    Are the lib dems part of the problem? For me yes. Not in the same way the Tory’s are but the “on the ground” defense of centre left politics has in my personal experience in my region been too feeble, too hobbist and I cannot get behind that level of ineffectual.

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Apr '19 - 7:03am

    @Graham Evans
    “The problem with the original ID card proposal was that the Government wanted to link it to an enormous data base containing vast amounts of sensitive information……
    Had the Government simply restricted the card as a means of identification, perhaps based on allocating an NI number to everyone (ideally at birth), then I too would have supported its introduction.”

    Absolutely. And it seems to me from the regularity of government data protection breaches reported in the media that there is an incredibly cavalier attitude to data protection and privacy at all levels of government. And there is no realistic way of making those responsible for these breaches take proper responsibility for these failures. So they are not fit and proper organisations to hold sensitive data about the people.

  • The answer to the question at the top of the article is that they would be worth joining if they represented the best way of breaking the stranglehold of the two-party system. Until that happens the LibDems have no role beyond the fringes of British politics, and are unable to become the driver of such change themselves because of the mistakes made during coalition and by lacklustre leadership and lack of focus subsequently.

    I agree however with David above that TIG has so far disappointed. Their choice of name is a disaster, ducking the question as to what they stand for, and unsupported by any credibility given the lack of change being proposed. Right now TIG/CHUK fulfils merely the role of a lifeboat, already launched in anticipation that one or both of the big ships will sink. Which may still happen, of course.

    It would be great to see a cross-party crusade for political change at the next election, with the banner carried by just one of the non-Tory/Labour parties at the next election (in England and ideally Wales at least). The LibDems are so hollowed now that we can’t fight meaningful GE campaigns in more than 50-100 seats, so there are plenty of seats to go round. It was great that we (finally) have Lucas a clear run in Brighton last time, since the Greens have been trying to advocate such co-operation for years. Let’s see it organised on a national scale!

    You can sense that the terms of political engagement are starting to change around the world: examples of the established order being rejected abound, and protests like those over climate change show that the next generation sees and does its political differently. Meanwhile the centre-left lacks inspiration, leadership or direction and we are left impotently watching to see if it will be Farage who finally breaks the mould for us.

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Apr '19 - 7:11am

    @Katherine Pindar
    “Perhaps her generous withdrawal will cause a rethink by the Change UK leaders, which would be a real boost to the possibility of making an impact in the Euro elections.”

    Too late to change party registration details to have joint lists for the EU Parliament elections – nominations close tomorrow in SW/Gilbraltar and Thursday in rest of UK

  • As the subject of ID cards has come up several times in relation to Change UK, and comments from LibDems in response seem largely in favour I wonder whether a compulsorily chip implanted into all UK citizens would be regarded in the same positive light as ID cards? If not, why not? It is actually a neater solution than having to carry a card around and there is no real difference between someone in authority demanding you open your wallet or scanning your arm. “I am a Liberal and I am against that sort of thing”.

  • William Fowler 23rd Apr '19 - 7:18am

    “The problem with the original ID card proposal was that the Government wanted to link it to an enormous data base containing vast amounts of sensitive information. Given the inability of most big organisations to properly secure their own data bases, allowing the Government to create such an all encompassing data base linked to an ID card was a step too far.”

    Too late, the govn has two massive databases, one on the passport/driving licence, the other on tax no/NI – the two used to cross check IDs in many govn dept’s… and worse yet, a lot of that information, without permission, is now distilled into the searchable (even if you tick the box on the voter’s registration form not to be on the open register) database related to voter registration.

    In the Euro’s may find Labour properly coming out in favour of a second vote, might wipe out the smaller remain parties (which has always been their ambition in GE). In the next GE you may find that the Brexit Party and LibDem hold the balance of power – the only thing they have in common is wanting PR, will they hold their noses for a couple of years to get that through and hence radically change politics going forward?

  • Richard Easter 23rd Apr '19 - 7:41am

    TIG / Change UK are not liberals. They are a mixture of Europhile Labour neo-cons, Pro EU Thatcherites and the politically homeless who have no fixed positions.

    Essentially they are against left wing economics, right wing nationalism, and non-interventionalist foreign policy. It is hard to see what they actually are for.

  • Richard Easter 23rd Apr '19 - 7:44am

    As for ID cards, wasn’t the complaint related to them being biometric and all the information they would keep – for example all known addresses, employment, details of education, retina scans, fingerprint details and so on, rather than just the basic passport / driving licence information – and the fact that the details could be given to a raft of organisations who generally have no business having them – which would almost certainly include outsourced state services run by the likes of Capita and G4S.

  • At the end of the day how many voters really vote Lib Dem because they want Liberalism? Many vote Lib Dem because they want centre ground politics.

    The average voter who wants to vote for a mainstream pro European party will be extremely annoyed that they are being forced to choose between the Lib Dem’s and Change UK. Both parties must reflect on this and sort something out. An electoral alliance makes sense frankly. Unless neither party wants to ever get elected that is!

  • To most commentators and voters, the number of seats we get in the European Parliament is not that important. Most voters don’t know what it does anyway. The forthcoming European elections are going to turn into a pseudo referndum on the EU with the Brexit party (and whats left of UKIP) representing the ‘No Deal’ view. Its a shame that ChangeUK won’t co-operate in a common platform but I can see that want to develop their own identity before entering into any pacts. To my knowledge, Vince didn’t approach the Greens for co-operation. What matters for all the 3 Remain parties is that their total vote % is bigger than Farage’s outfit. If it is (and thats definitely a possibility), then we can say with confidence that Remain has more support in the country than an extreme Brexit. Even the biased BBC will surely see this as a triumph for a 2nd referendum and Remian. Every vote will count!

  • I suspect that the reason why Change UK has not considered an electoral pact with the Lib Dems or other parties is that it is not possible under the UK Regulations for Euro elections. These require that the party name on the ballot paper is a party registered with the Electoral Commission. Voters can only vote for a single party. Change UK was very lucky to get its registration in time for the Euro elections. Given more time, it might have been possible to register a political party for the purpose of an electoral pact , the “co-operating party”. Otherwise, the only way to form an electoral pact is for each party to stand aside completely in some European Regions. Lib Dem Regions: any volunteers?

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Apr '19 - 8:37am

    @Christian
    “Both parties must reflect on this and sort something out. An electoral alliance makes sense frankly. Unless neither party wants to ever get elected that is!”

    Please wake up. Overtures to TIG/Change UK were made by the LibDems and were rebuffed.

    e.g. https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/liberal-democrats/news/103347/change-uks-chris-leslie-dashes-hopes-anti

    Seems TIG/Change UK still want to engage in tribal politics without saying what they actually believe.

    There is no time to revisit this before nominations close for the EU Parliament elections tomorrow/Thursday.

    Frankly I’m thinking that TIG/Change UK not only have no values but are utterly incompetent – in their (lack of) understanding of how the EU Parliament elections voting system operates in the UK to the disadvantage of smaller parties and their inability to come up with a logo for ballot papers acceptable to the Electoral Commission as not likely to cause confusion. What a shambles!

  • @Richard Easter

    But all that information is available through credit reference agencies.
    They hold an enormous amount of data on us from work history, addressees, people were linked to financially, etc etc.
    And as for technology, it has moved on to a stage were biometrics is becoming the norm, from mobile telephones to online banking.

    I really do not see the issue with it.

    I have an australian partner who has a biometric visa, when we travel and have to go through customs, he is able to join me in the fast track immigration as my husband, one scan of his finger and his resident status comes up and we fly though immigration, no queuing for hours.

    And if the police had access to an online data base that would help them to fight crime more efficiently, cutting down on time and costs, then i am all for that.

    If a ID card helped the NHS to determine who was eligible for free healthcare and cut down on costly costs of administration and checks, then I am all for that.

    If it helped the DWP determine who eligible for welfare support, or,
    help landloards determine who is eligible for housing and employers to check who is legally allowed to be employed…….
    There are so many benefits to having a single identity card, which can cut out unnecessary and expensive bureaucracy which is a burden to so many.

    I really fail to see what the problem is and as i said previously, if it also prevented another windrush scandal, then i can only see positives

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Apr '19 - 9:06am

    @Simon Pike
    “Otherwise, the only way to form an electoral pact is for each party to stand aside completely in some European Regions. Lib Dem Regions: any volunteers?”

    TIG/Change UK regions: any volunteers?

  • @Tony
    ” I wonder whether a compulsorily chip implanted into all UK citizens would be regarded in the same positive light as ID cards? If not, why not? It is actually a neater solution than having to carry a card around and there is no real difference between someone in authority demanding you open your wallet or scanning your arm. “I am a Liberal and I am against that sort of thing”.”

    The Difference is, forcing someone to undergo a medical procedure (which implanting a chip would be) is abuse.
    The two are not anywhere near comparable.

    I am sure you carry ID around all the time, as do most people

  • OnceALibDem 23rd Apr '19 - 9:29am

    “I am sure you carry ID around all the time, as do most people”

    I have one bank card in my wallet which doesn’t even carry my full name. Nothing else that would be classed as valid ID for picking up a parcel let along as proof of ID for any government service. And nothing with proof of address, residence status etc.

    So no to answer your question.

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Apr '19 - 9:36am

    @Matt
    “But all that information is available through credit reference agencies.
    They hold an enormous amount of data on us from work history, addressees, people were linked to financially, etc etc.”

    And there is a real question mark over whether they should be allowed to hold this data given their poor track record over security.

    https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/security-data-protection/4-credit-bureau-data-breaches-predate-2017-equifax-hack/

    And I perceive you have a touching faith in the competence and ethical standards of government departments. Home Office? Ethical behaviour? I think not – neither do I think they are in any way competent.

  • @Nonconformistradical

    “And I perceive you have a touching faith in the competence and ethical standards of government departments. Home Office? Ethical behaviour? I think not – neither do I think they are in any way competent.”

    I never said that I had faith in their competence, however, that is not a reason not to have them.
    Their are security hacks all the time from banks, insurance companies, credit cards, NHS, governments.
    Nobody is immune to hacks.
    Is that a real valid reason for not having a data base? Or is this just a principle stand against authority?

    If having ID cards meant people were less apposed to Brexit, because they had more faith in a system of who was entitled to what and who was entitled to housing and it provided some assurances on our boarders, would that change your mind at all?

    @OnceALibDem

    But what is your objection to carrying ID?

  • David Stevens 23rd Apr '19 - 10:03am

    Should we be considering electoral pacts etc with Change UK? Absolutely, they’re looking like they’ll be a centrist and socially liberal party with sufficient in common with us for an alliance to be credible. Electoral pacts etc with the Greens? Absolutely not, they’re to the left of Jeremy Corbyn.

  • So many ‘red herrings’ about ID cards on here that I’m tempted to create a collective noun for them.
    Since when was carrying no form of ID a virtue? Accidents happen and ‘John Doe’ is a poor way for family to try and find information.
    A for giving government/private companies details (addresses, ; “are there no censuses, banks, loyalty cards, etc., etc.?
    Reading some of these objections just convinces me that ‘obstruction’ of authority for it’s own sake is involved.
    It might be worth remembering that the ‘Windrush Scandal’ was only possible because a Home Office run by a malignant government could deny the history of residence and employment of citizens.

  • Humphrey Hawksley 23rd Apr '19 - 10:15am

    I suspect, Katharine, that many who jumped ship are among those who sought post-referendum sanctuary in the Liberal Democrats only to be ground down by the lack of flare and the ‘this is the way we do things’ culture that you and I have debated before. Of twelve activists I brought in during that era, all have melted away. They have busy, professional lives and they concluded the Party was neither energetic enough or receptive to the big, new ideas needed to punch through the political paralysis we are now witnessing.

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Apr '19 - 10:28am

    People including Simon Pike and NCF have rightly pointed out the real difficulties of having any electoral pact for the Euro elections. Not only individual candidates, but the party itself, would have to stand aside n one or another regions to make way for the other party. The quality of Lib Dem candidates standing, together with our well-known and established record as a pro-Europe and pro-EU party, will hopefully influence voters in choosing between the parties.

    Perhaps, though, we can remain as friendly rivals. If Chris Leslie does not seem so inclined, neither do various contributors here. The now seemingly inevitable contest next month should not be allowed to prevent future co-operation of progressive parties, in the fast-changing political scene in England this year.

    The Liberal Democrat, formerly Liberal, Party has lived a long time, Ian, with ‘the strangle-hold of the two big parties’, and we are not about to give up at a time when both those parties are in danger of losing large sections of their parliamentary following and even breaking up, There may be unprecedented opportunities for us to make pacts or form alliances in the next few months, and in the long run our party will continue to play an important part in the political scene here. The outlook for Change UK is much more doubtful, but they may still be important allies for us in the near future.

    It was sad to read about your experience with local Lib Dems, Andrew, and I know you are not the only poster here who has given up on your local party. There are in fact many of us dissatisfied with various people in, or with actions or inactions of our local parties, and perhaps that is inevitable with the interaction of so many very individual but very committed people. As the particular activists in a local party change, you may yet find your local Lib Dems become better organised and worth contacting again, but certainly if the region is not helping you should complain to its or higher leadership. Best wishes.

  • I thought Rachel Johnson was a LibDem member but, it seems, she is standing as a Change UK MEP.

  • Who are these 105 former Lib Dems? Two things we know is they’ve left the Party and are still interested in politics. They will be a mixed bunch. It does show that we are not perfect and must look to continually improve our internal processes.

  • marcstevens 23rd Apr '19 - 1:10pm

    New European is doing a poll on how people will vote in the local elections, Lib,Dems well ahead on 42 %.

  • Peter Watson 23rd Apr '19 - 1:55pm

    @marcstevens “New European is doing a poll on how people will vote in the local elections, Lib,Dems well ahead on 42 %.”
    A voodoo poll with self-selecting participants on the website of a very biased publication which 12 months ago had the Lib Dems well ahead on 57% (https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/how-will-remainers-vote-in-the-may-2018-elections-1-5485309).
    Taking this sort of thing too seriously puts a substantial dent in any Lib Dem reputation for an evidence-based approach.

  • Sue Sutherland 23rd Apr '19 - 1:58pm

    Thank you @marcstevens for shining a light on those of us who are walking in darkness! Even if I can’t quite believe it.
    ChangeUK have the attention of the national media because they are news. I expect some of the existing MPs local members and supporters will work for their new party but I doubt very much if they will get the numbers they need to fight an election against their previous parties.
    At the moment we are very much locally based so the only media interest is likely to be local. Yes we are in the doldrums, that’s where we are. We’ve been there before when we had a charismatic leader in Paddy Ashdown and I can clearly remember conversations bemoaning our lack of publicity back then. It was only when we went into Coalition that we really got noticed by the national media.
    We need to consolidate and build our local political force and judging from the cheerful way in which a lot of activists are working hard and from the reports of a warm welcome from different parts of the country we just might be able to do this at these local elections.
    So let’s leave Change to their own devices and soldier on, concentrating on building up our local support because this will help us in the Euro elections, if they happen, and if there is a referendum on the terms of a deal. A good result in the locals will also invigorate our national politicians.
    I’m very sorry that some contributors here haven’t received the welcome they should have done from their local party. I share that experience because back in the 80s it took me 4 attempts to contact my local party to volunteer and they even had a paid assistant because it was a target seat.
    Maybe you could try again and offer to contact any new members to welcome them? It could be the start of a whole new career. Maybe the historic members here could do the same? A lot of people are having a great deal of fun at the moment, contacting the voting public and if you are able to help it seems like a great time to do so.

  • marcstevens 23rd Apr ’19 – 1:10pm………….New European is doing a poll on how people will vote in the local elections, Lib,Dems well ahead on 42 %……….

    The only thing lacking in their poll is the promise to run naked down Whitehall.

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Apr '19 - 3:09pm

    The BBC is having difficulty changing the name of a TV programme from The Daily Politics to Politics Live, as evidenced when they move the programme from BBC2 to make way for the snooker.
    Change UK may regret the name they have chosen. Interim Leader Heidi Allen MP fluffed her lines her press conference. Spokesperson Chuka Umunna was unable to produce anything sufficiently radical and newsworthy when interviewed. He did not explain the electoral system for MEPs. referring to the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%27Hondt_method
    does not get name recognition among the general public.
    He did not say whether his party will stand in Northern Ireland, which elects by the Single Transferable Vote.
    The system introduced by Tony Blair (Labour) and Jack Straw (Labour) was criticised by Alan Beith MP (Liberal Democrat) for not allowing voters to change the priority of candidates on the party lists. They preferred central control to voter choice.

  • Thanks for your article Katharine

    FWIW my thoughts for the Lib Dems in the face of Change UK are:

    1. Practice re-invigorated community politics.

    If your local party is not helpful viz the comments. For god’s sake – work with them but don’t be a wimp, do it yourself and get advice and support from the parts of the party that are such as ALDC.

    Councillor or not. A helpful local party or not. Get something done locally. A streetlight mended. A parish council set up. Better play equipment. Deliver remain leaflets. Post on the internet. Ask an awkward question at your council. Involve your friends, neighbours, enemies! With passion, fun and noise! It is the only route to electoral success. Our great strength is our local army (even in areas where it is one man and a dog). We have built this great party of ours on liberals who did things locally. And then got elected! And there were many local parties that were one man and a dog in 1970 that we won in 97.

    2. Be Bold – March towards the sound of gunfire. Draw a line under the coalition.

    We’re at our best when we’re bold. Ashdown on more tax for education. Kennedy against the Iraq War. Farron for a 2nd referendum. They’ll be marmite but many love marmite. All parties have to move and show the electorate they have learnt and changed.

    3. Be the torch bearers for liberalism nationally (especially when it’s difficult) and locally

    Liberals will respond and be attracted to us. Only we are the liberal party and people respond to leaders and parties that are true to themselves viz Farage.

    4. Ignore the Westminster machinations

    Yes we can work or not with CHUK, the Greens, Labour and some Tories. It may ultimately not matter much and hopefully we’ll get it right but we strength our leaders’ hands in that and the cause of liberalism by every vote, every councillor, every MP we get.

    5. Never give up. Never believe your own publicity. Never think the battle is won. Never get too frustrated.

    It is never as good or as bad as it seems! The nirvana of 14% in the opinion polls may never come again! But I suspect it will. Sadly but understandably people give up too much when they lose – that’s when you should get started! And if you win, I have news for you and your campaign are not great. Lessons sadly I did not learn enough.

  • Peter Watson 23rd Apr '19 - 5:30pm

    It looks increasingly like the European elections might become a proxy “people’s vote” between Change UK (must be galling to see them billing themselves as “the home of the Remain alliance”!) and the Brexit Party, with a massive influence on Brexit/Remain negotiations.

    The division of remain votes (especially in England) could be significantly impacted by the preceding local elections (or more importantly, the reporting of them!), which could either be something of a false dawn for the Lib Dems before a low EU election vote, or a real dawn which takes the wind out of Change UK’s sails in the EU elections.

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Apr '19 - 6:16pm

    Great to have this continuing conversation, thank you, folks, especially the constructive but cheerful advice from posters like Sue Sutherland and Michael 1. People in semi-derelict or mismanaged constituency parties, take heart! We are certainly a community here, and we will go on growing nationally.

  • @Michael1 – your post at 4.20pm is brilliant. Thankyou.
    @Andrew – I completely sympathise, having been in a very similar local party myself in the past. That kind of experience is galling and demoralising. But notice, I’m still here. I stayed, and eventually got involved with a different local party and became highly active and loved making a difference. And the fact you are still posting/reading here suggests you are perhaps not completely ‘out’? You sound to me like a classic Liberal Democrat. The fact your local party needs a kick up the arse shouldn’t mean you leave us. Take Michael1’s advice; talk to ALDC. Or get in touch with a different local party nearby. You could be that kick up the arse your region needs!
    In national terms, the last few years have been really awful for LibDems, and yes we have not been as vibrant as we should have been. However, slowly but surely, we are getting there. And we are about to enter a vital new phase – with (hopefully) our most positive local and Euro election results in years, a highly winnable by election likely in Brecon and Radnorshire, and a new, younger, probably female leader. This is not the time to leave. Rather, it’s a great time to get active.

  • OnceALibDem 23rd Apr '19 - 7:45pm

    Given her borderline transphobia and other unpleasant views in her Mail column I don’t think Rachel Johnson is any loss to the Lib Dems (and should never have been allowed in in the first place TBH). Says a lot about whether Change UK will be any sort of liberal party.

  • OnceALibDem 23rd Apr '19 - 7:59pm

    FFS – Diana Wallis apparently at the top of the Chg Uk Yorkshire list. That alone would be a pretty strong reason not to have a CHG/LD link up. Still with her formidable campaigning skills I’m sure they will make a big impact – http://www.dianawallismep.org.uk/

  • At the moment, CHUK is a blank slate appealing mainly to opportunists and those whose interest in politics runs little deeper than “Ooooh, shiny!”.

  • David Evans 23rd Apr '19 - 8:25pm

    Katharine although your optimism is to be applauded, by all objective measures our growth has stalled and we are now in danger of sliding back to the edge of the abyss again. Sadly this is mainly due to the unwillingness of most party establishment and influencers to accept the failure of the strategy adopted in 2010 by their hero, pretending that all we need to be is more liberal and the loss of all those left of centre voters will be of no consequence.

    That was never enough when the party was known as just the Liberal party and is certainly not enough now. As Tony Greaves has said elsewhere, where is the new generation equivalent of the 1960s Young Liberals, playing a leading role in the environmental movement? Our party and our leader, however worthy, are being ignored and there is no insurgent voice fighting against this and demanding better except on the usual ‘right on’ matters of sex and sexuality.

    Each and every one of us needs and stop looking to simply tick the correct boxes, please the party establishment, and promote our chosen favorite for leader and instead look outside the cosy Lib Dem bubble and strive to continuously increase our party’s relevance and impact on the local and national scene. Only by doing that will we make the Lib Dems a party once again worth leading, supporting and voting for.

  • Intresting

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Wallis

    In 19 January 2012, two days after failing to become the Parliament president, Wallis announced her resignation, which took effect from 31 January 2012. Wallis had been due to be succeeded by her husband Stewart Arnold, who had been second on the list of Lib Dem candidates for the seat in the 2009 election, but he declined the appointment after pressure from within the party due to complaints of nepotism. Rebecca Taylor, who was third on the list, was appointed instead.[11] Wallis and Arnold then went on to found the Yorkshire Party.[12]

    The more I see of polticians the stranger they seen to me.

  • OnceALibDem 23rd Apr '19 - 9:39pm

    Her MEP mailings on at least one occasion included material written by her husband (and employee) close to the MEP selection. When he came second. It was a flagrant – and in my opinion corrupt – abuse of her MEP/ALDE expenses.

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Apr '19 - 10:18pm

    David E. Sorry, David, but that latest post of yours is gloomy nonsense. What ‘objective measures’ are those, when we keep hearing that we should be able to do well in the local elections next week? What is this’strategy adopted in 2010 we are supposed still to be following? I had no hero in 2010 who lasted, but I had a lasting hero in 2016 when Tim Farron declared that we must not give up on the EU, especially for the sake of the younger generation’s future.

    There are plenty of us who have lived through much worse times for the party who see no reason for giving up at the very time when both the great behemoths are lurching and slipping. There are plenty of long-standing Liberals who comment here who have done the work and carried the standard of the party for dozens of years, and are not dreaming of stopping. Just read again the inspiring post of Michael 1 above, and TonyH’s further encouragement. Just look again at all the good work that is continually being done locally in your own constituency, in Tim Farron’s own heartland. I am amazed at how you can continue to feel so pessimistic, and grieved that you cannot share our hopes.

    The latest good news is that the party hopes its name in the Euro elections will have the addition of words stating that we are fighting Brexit. What a simple, ingenious device! Well done, Harvey or whoever at HQ thought of that one!

  • @TonyH

    Thanks for your kind words – greatly appreciated!

    @David Evans

    I have a large degree of sympathy for much of what you say. Activism needs to come from us all – not just young Lib Dems! On our progress “stalling” – actually probably not. I think the locals are likely to be pleasing for us but we don’t know how the Leave Tory vote will behave and Labour are starting from a low base in 2015.

    All the parties have problems – Labour and Tories more than us – they are not stalling they are going backwards. CHUK’s initial performance has been poor IMHO and I try to be relatively objective – little media coverage for their Euro launch today, no new MP defectors etc. – but they may make progress. My prediction at the moment is that we will lead them and the Greens in the Euros.

    I would add two things for us to do immediately (and I appreciate that most here are doing more than me):

    1. Work like hell between now and Thursday week – deliver an extra leaflet. Involve more people. Go to an area with local elections if you don’t have them – now. Get more donations. But don’t be too optimistic – target, target, target!

    2. Don’t collapse or go away or hide away in the council on May 3rd.

    The council should only be a tool and unfortunately I did not treat it as such enough in my time as a councillor not a place to park your backside in a boring meeting. This time make sure that you deliver that Thank You Focus (and in areas that didn’t have an election) on May 3rd and not in three months’ time. And hold a local planning meeting for the Euros on May 3rd. Get to young people, EU nationals, remainers. Have a strong plan for the Euros. The internet may be important but getting to people locally one to one is more important. The summer will be a crucial period for local campaigning. We are here for people when the hullabaloo has subsidised. Do those surveys, and take action. Prove that “we work hard for people all year round” is not just a slogan. Win or lose an election is a start not an end!

  • Want to beat TIGGER in policy front? The latest Trudeau budget can give us a clue. If we look beyond the SNC Lavalin mess, evidence suggests that the 2019 Liberal budget is actually a very popular one.

    Liberal politics are always prone to infighting and/or disagreements. But what will happen to TIGGER will make Libdem internal tensions look like a childplay. If we look beyond their Remain stance, they are literally a coalition of Socialists and Thatcherites who are pro-Remain. Economically you would have a wing that is on the left of our social liberals, and another on the right of Cleggite liberals (if there are any left in our party). There will be huge bickering, unless the larger Socialist wing completely marginalizes the Soubry/Allen wing, and in this case they will be Nu Labour 2.0.

    And I am not even sure that more than half of them will survive a hypothetical by-election tomorrow.

  • Ruth Coleman-Taylor 24th Apr '19 - 8:50am

    I’m sceptical about the quantities of activists from other parties reported to be flocking to Change UK. A businesswoman I know was contacted by Change UK recently who asked if she would like to be one of their Euro-candidates. She has never been politically active and her main qualification seemed to be that she has run a business in France! She turned them down.
    It doesn’t sound as if they had done any serious research into her potential for being a candidate.

  • OnceALibDem 23rd Apr ’19 – 7:45pm……………Given her borderline transphobia and other unpleasant views in her Mail column I don’t think Rachel Johnson is any loss to the Lib Dems (and should never have been allowed in in the first place TBH). Says a lot about whether Change UK will be any sort of liberal party………..

    Indeed, I remember an LDV article entitled “Could Rachel Johnson stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate,” in the run up to a general election, which said “it is perfectly possible that she would be eligible in Scotland.” In addition, “Getting approved is another barrier, but not an insurmountable one,” and “It’s also more than possible that the party might waive some of the rules if she were licensed for one election to contest a specific seat.”

    She, like the launch of the TIGs was seen, without sensible analysis, as a ‘bauble’; she just took longer than the TIGs to ‘waive’ goodbye.

  • Presuming that reports of The Change strategy are correct then I am very disappointed that their approach is so short-sighted & aggressive. Their belief that they can quickly get more Members than The Libdems seems wildly overoptimistic to me, it took The SDP 6 Years to build up a Membership of 60,000.
    I regret the sectarianism being shown by both Change & The Greens but I hope that a more realistic attitude will develop after The Results of the May Elections come in.

  • Nonconformistradical 24th Apr '19 - 8:14pm

    I hate to mention the daily fail but…
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6954283/Change-UK-group-plots-destroy-Lib-Dems.html

    So much for any idea about co-operation….

  • Katharine Pindar 24th Apr '19 - 9:02pm

    At least in the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale, the whale is presumed to have been bigger than Jonah when it gulped him down. The leaked memo from Change UK, whoever wrote it, is laughable in its oversized pretensions. Aiming for Change UK to be a single party, swallowing up the Liberal Democrats – oh, and some other ‘progressive traditions’ as well – the author of this fantasy is either a megalomaniac or away with the fairies. Dream on, little dreamer. There are surely still many sensible people in charge of your new party, with whom we can continue to talk of our future co-operation on shared aims for the good of the country.

    I love Mark Pack’s very British reaction, in his report on the memo.
    ‘That is all rather disappointing, to put it mildly.’

    Quite so, Mark. I don’t think any of us will be having nightmares tonight.

  • “Meet the New Politics
    same as the Old Politics”
    Change are being very silly but I hope the meeting with Reality over the next Month will make them wiser. The document in The Male, apart from being rather nasty, seems quite odd. The ambition to recruit 100,000 + Members & 250,000 supporters – a bit over-ambitious perhaps ? It took The SDP 6 Years to get 60,000 Members.
    All that Media attention has gone to some peoples heads.

  • Katharine Pindar 25th Apr '19 - 9:33pm

    It’s really good to hear that Paddy Ashdown’s More United is flourishing now as a cross-party network of more than 50 MPs, including Jo Swinson and nine other Lib Dem MPs, David Lammy and 23 other Labour MPs. Nicky Morgan and four more Conservative MPs, and six members of Change UK. According to a report in The Times, the members have now committed themselves ‘to proactively work together where they can find common ground. ‘

    This sort of cross-party willingness to work together feels like a small spring breaking through the crusted surface of our constitutional impasse, and perhaps the mass movement that the network apparently intends could turn out to be as significant as the advent of the new party Change UK. Whether or not, this year and the next may present in my view unparalleled opportunities for our party to regain its rightful influence in national politics.

  • Katharine Pindar 28th Apr '19 - 7:23pm

    Useful new information about the reinvigorated More United is emerging, I see, now that Caron is highlighting the network. I was interested to read that members ‘have already expressed an interest in exploring new ways to prevent poverty.’ This cannot but be welcome, but I hope our MPs in the network will also seek support for our own party’s policies and initiatives in this direction, notably the work being done following Spring consultations by our Fairer Shares for All working group. It would be good also to see Heidi Allen of Change UK and Christine Jardine our Welfare spokesperson working together, not only to inform that debate, but also to demand that budgetary steps be taken this year to alleviate the poverty being currently experienced by so many disadvantaged individuals and families in our society.

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