Chuka: Lib Dems offer the best chance to improve the lives of the people I represent

I am convinced the Liberal Democrats, as the spearhead of a broader progressive movement in civil society, offer the best chance to improve the lives of those I represent as well as countless other citizens across our country.

The time has come to put past differences behind us and, in the national interest, do what is right for the country. So I urge others to join the party too.

So says the newest Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna in an article on the Lib Dem website. He’s also been on the Today programme this morning (at about 7:12 am if you want to catch him on catch up) knocking it out of the park, to be honest. It was a very strong and positive interview in which he described how, as a social democrat with liberal values and a passionate internationalist, his values matched up to ours.

In his article and interview, he tackled his prior criticism of the Liberal Democrats’ role in the coalition.

I found it hard to come to terms with the impact of the public spending cuts which were instigated by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of 2010-2015.

I did not disagree with the need to reduce the public sector deficit and debt – indeed Labour’s last Chancellor Alistair Darling accepted this.

But I did disagree with the speed and severity of fiscal consolidation, and the extent to which cuts to public spending as opposed to tax increases were made to carry the burden.

Four years on from their time in office, things have changed.

The Liberal Democrats have voted against every Tory budget since 2015. They stood on an anti-austerity manifesto in 2017 with, for example, commitments to end the public sector pay cap, increase tax to pay for the NHS and reverse cuts to housing benefit and Universal Credit.

Senior figures – including Vince – have since said that, although they curbed George Osborne’s worst excesses, they should not have allowed measures like the bedroom tax to be introduced.

They also accept that a major mistake was made in making and then breaking a pledge on university tuition fees, which should never happen again.

Most importantly, the biggest impediment to ending austerity currently is pressing on with Brexit.

It is worth pointing out that many Lib Dem members were incredibly unhappy with some of the things we allowed to go ahead as part of the coalition – including me – even if we did see some of the good that we were doing.

His experience since leaving the Labour Party has taught him the importance of having an established party structure:

I massively underestimated the challenge of building a new, fully fledged party like Change UK in the midst of a national political crisis and attempting to do so at the same time as running a national election campaign.

Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, was right to point to the importance of having a party infrastructure and existing relationships with hundreds of thousands of voters which hugely contributed to the party’s recent election successes.

There is also no doubt that under the First-Past-The-Post electoral system used in Westminster elections, there is space for only one main centre ground offer. That is clearly the Liberal Democrats.

If only he had joined before last Friday to get a vote in the leadership election…..

Anyway, read his whole article here.

We’ll hear more from him later today – he is doing a press conference with Vince at around midday.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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58 Comments

  • I can’t help but think many politicians are having to go on deeply personal journeys right now due to both Brexit and Austerity. Chuka may be one of the first prominent MPs to go on such a journey but he won’t be the last I’m sure

  • He should stand down to force a by election and let the local electorate decide if they still want him to represent them. So far he’s been a labour MP, a TIG, then change UK and now a Lib Dem. And only one of them involved voters having a say.

  • Mmmmmmmmmm…… “National service should be compulsory for the young, says Chuka Umunna”, The Metro 8 Mar 2019

    Let’s hope we hear no more vague talk of this aimed at disenfranchised 16 year olds, some of whom will be about to enter their sixth form studies or to start an apprenticeship.

    One Chukka doesn’t make a Polo match.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '19 - 10:13am

    Charles Kennedy urged former Liberal Peter Hain to cross the floor and rejoin.
    Under the rules at the time Peter Hain MP could have not just voted in a leadership election, but actually stood for leader.
    Charles had a strong sense of humour and was not taken seriously.
    Perhaps Peter Hain thought that Charles was trying to make trouble for him, but he did not say so.
    Nowadays there would be jokes and challenges on Twitter, particularly for someone who agrees on some issues, such as electoral reform.
    Chuka Ummana may need to acclimatise a little.
    As an MP in Greater London he will be familiar with the rather weak scrutiny provided by the members of the Greater London Assembly.
    Tony Blair never got the sort of Mayor he really wanted and wound up supporting the re-election of Ken Livingstone, a temporary advantage.
    Tony Blair cannot have been pleased with the election and performance of Boris Johnson as Mayor, but must take some of the blame. A stepping stone?
    Our next leader should consider making Chuka Umunna spokesperson for London, if he agrees.
    Raising his profile may help his prospects of re-election as an MP.
    Treating him as more than temporarily important may help to fend off the inevitable critical and probably condescending comments from tribalists in other parties.
    Vince Cable is still delivering for our party.
    He was part of the Labour party machine once, as he said to our federal conference.
    There should be an important role for him, if he wants.
    He will be a hard act to follow.

  • David Becket 14th Jun '19 - 10:44am

    @Glenn
    At least he is not going to be forced on the nation as PM. The whole Tory party should resign and let the country choose. Labour should also resign, as it is their indecision over Europe that has caused Chuka to make this move. He has not left the Labour Party, they have left him.

  • Mark Sherratt 14th Jun '19 - 11:04am

    I not a fan of Chuka but different ideas are fine as long as they are debated and measured according to the parties values.

    Chuka will find some of his former ideas don’t fit with party direction and values, but the more he is encouraged to engage and debate those ideas (preferably internally within the party and not via national press) the more likely he is to spot opportunities and ideas that -are- aligned to liberal values but have been missed.

    Nothing like a fresh pair of eyes to perhaps come up with new radical policies for tomorrow.

  • Brian Robinson 14th Jun '19 - 11:16am

    @David Raw, some of the news reports on that were a tad misleading.

    Chuka Umunna’s pamphlet itself is still available: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/0bdefb_96c4e45b94ea45febcba0162256b03bf.pdf

    Rather than being taken as a manifesto, he said the pamphlet “should be considered more a contribution to provoke a discussion because I believe we need a proper debate” (p.4).

    So while I, too, oppose the idea of compulsory citizens’ service, it was one of many suggestions made in order to stimulate a conversation. Specifically, the pamphlet proposed looking at what is being tried in France and Germany to see whether it works (see p.39).

    I doubt I’ll change my mind about it, but I’m open to (a) hearing other views, and (b) examining the evidence of what works – or doesn’t! – elsewhere.

  • Brian Robinson 14th Jun '19 - 11:29am

    And just to make clear for anyone who doesn’t want to read the pamphlet itself, Umunna is clear that his suggestion is “not a call for compulsory military service” (p.38) but that it would “build on the National Citizen Service scheme introduced by the Coalition” (p.39) – though, yes, he does propose making it compulsory, and I think that would be a mistake.

  • David
    In general elections people vote for the party, not the PM. Personally, I would prefer it if changing PMs did force an election and have said so on here before. But we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about a local MP. I think crossing the floor without with giving voters a shows them a lack of respect and is disrespectful to the canvassers who providing their time to get Mr Umunna elected as a Labour MP. I think that if it was a Lib Dem MP changing parties seemingly from week to week or even just once pretty much everyone on here would be saying pretty much the same thing. I am consistent on this. I’m a lib Dem voter.

  • I really welcome Chuka Umanni to our party and only wish a few more would have courage of their convictions and do the same, I have waited many years for the break up of the so called main parties and hope that at last things are moving in that direction. It cannot come soon enough for me, so come and join us and make this country one we can be proud of again!!

  • Ian Patterson 14th Jun '19 - 1:13pm

    He has landed the Treasury post already!

  • Could we all please make an effort to spell his name correctly – it is only polite.

  • Paul Barker 14th Jun '19 - 1:54pm

    On Twitter Chukas move has been met with a tsunami of bile. Hate comes from Fear, lots of Labour tribalists are terrified that others will follow. With Labour barely ahead of us in The Polls & coming just after an Election where less than half their Members Voted for them, Labour are right to be worried.

  • Barry Lofty 14th Jun '19 - 2:05pm

    Sorry about the incorrect name spelling, no rudeness implied.

  • David Becket 14th Jun '19 - 2:50pm

    @Glenn
    I have some sympathy with your views. As a Lib Dem councillor I became increasingly angry at the way Clegg was conducting the coalition, it was obvious where he was leading us. I did not leave the party when my wife did as I was elected a Lib Dem Councillor. (She has since rejoined)
    However we are now in wall to wall chaos. That a handful of (mainly ancient) tories can elect the PM is an insult to our democracy. If Chuka should resign then every MP who has left a party, or will leave when Boris becomes PM, should also resign. Our wall to wall chaos will intensify with wall to wall by elections. The only democratic answer is a General Election.

  • Ethicsgradient 14th Jun '19 - 3:01pm

    Hi,

    I just wanted to give an outsiders viewpoint on Chuka moving to the Lib Dems. Personally I’d be careful if I was the Lib Dems.

    I can see that Lib Dem’s political positions are more closer to where Chuka seems to be rather than a Corbyn led Labour.

    Beyond that though to people with a passing interest in politics which is the majority of the country (out at work, raising families, watching sport and so on instead of following political updates on twitter every hour), see him as a hypocrite, vain, with little substance or backbone.

    Lib Dems are still recovering from the Tuition fee’s duplicity and the enabling of effectively a one-nation Tory government. Consider it friendly awareness, Lib Dem’s are only known for the ‘stop brexit’ policy. Definetly ride the EU elections wave, build a platform but be wary of Chuka being ‘damaged goods’.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '19 - 3:07pm

    After the second general election for the Alliance and before the Special Assembly for the merger a prominent member of the SDP spoke to a lunch in a London restaurant. He was not a member of the Gang of Four. He told us that the SDP leader (D.O.) had promised that there would be a powerful idea arriving by post just before the general election and they should all follow it. (Nothing about consultation, or agreement, with the partner in the Alliance). Nothing of the kind happened, reduced support.
    A column in The Times by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Finkelstein was recently used to blow out of the water similar ideas in the Tory leadership race.
    There are learned comparisons with Nixon in China, without the music, or the dancing, but the main theme is that if someone has an idea s/he should tell now. If s/he does not do so, it should be assumed that s/he does not have it.
    A cartoon in the Times on the op-ed page depicts Boris Johnson MP as an emperor with no clothes. When he was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 World at One (WATO) on 14/6/19 he talked continuously without allowing questions.
    He has chosen which tv debate he will condescend to participate in.
    He has agreed to the debate onthe BBC because it is after the next round of voting by Tory MPs. He dislikes ‘blue on blue’ and may be hoping that the bottom candidate from round one has been eliminated by then, although if that is Rory Stewart he offers a real choice to the Tory faithful.

  • chris moore 14th Jun '19 - 3:50pm

    Ethicsgradient 14th Jun ’19 – 3:01pm

    I can see that Lib Dem’s political positions are more closer to where Chuka seems to be rather than a Corbyn led Labour.

    Beyond that though to people with a passing interest in politics which is the majority of the country (out at work, raising families, watching sport and so on instead of following political updates on twitter every hour), see him as a hypocrite, vain, with little substance or backbone.

    This is your personal view of him; you’ve got no basis for saying it’s the view of the “majority of the country”.

  • Having seen the umpteen threads and the gushing posts I scanned the skies for portents of the ‘second coming’ but found it was just another turn in the serial defections of Chuka Umunna.
    It seems that now “The ib Dems offer the best chance to improve the lives of the people I represent”. Could this be the same Chuka who said he “could never forgive the Lib Dems” for their coalition actions and who would “never believe a word this party said”?
    Has this party proffered abject apologies for 2010-15? Not as I’m aware.

    What has changed is that Chuka Umunna, having tried every other avenue, sees this party as as.the last chance for for personal advancement.

    You are welcome to him.

  • Andrew McCaig 14th Jun '19 - 4:02pm

    The problem for us is that the majority of the country donf have a view one way or the other about Vimce Cable, let alone Jo Swinson or Ed Davey.
    Chuka has some friends in the London media which will get us in the news now, and with luck Labour will keep attacking him which will just emphasise the fact that London is between Lab and Lib Dem now.

  • Sandra Hammett 14th Jun '19 - 4:52pm

    While I am pleased that we continue grow it is apparent to me that it is the recent success of the LibDems at th EU elections and clear failure of CUK has attracted him.
    He has always seemed to me to be a political careerist with poor instincts and without conviction. And is now hoping to ride the wave we have generated.
    If Labour backed a People’s Vote and Corbyn was replaced by Tom Watson, would Chuka stick with us? I doubt it. He’d chuck us faster than he did the CUKs.
    I wait to be proved wrong.

  • Dennis Wake 14th Jun '19 - 4:57pm

    The Party is doing well in elections and Opinion polls (22% in YouGov today just behind the leader Brexit on 26%, Labour third on 19% and Conservatives 4th on 17%). People are flocking to join apparently so what do our brave veterans do but try to drive them away. This might be the first time for over 100 years since the 1918 election when the Party has a chance to change the political system and we should make the most of it as the present circumstances might not occur again for a long time.
    By all means be careful of new members but try to be welcoming if they seem to be acting in good faith. I am not surprised by the reaction of Mr Lavery who is apparently the Chairman of the Labour Party – what do you expect him to say ? Many of their MPs must be in turmoil as to what to do next. They are totally divided and support for them seems to be falling as it did for the Liberals in the 1920s as the voters moved to other parties. Maybe the Greens will replace the Labour Party as they have recently replaced the Social Democrats in Germany but it could be us doing that.

    I am not sure we want a situation where the Conservatives are replaced by Mr Farage’s Brexit Party, the Liberal Democrats become a sort of moderate pro EU Ken Clarke/Rory Stewart type conservative group and the Labour Party becomes a Corbynite rump.

  • David Becket 14th Jun '19 - 5:02pm

    @ expats
    Come off it. Both leadership candidates have made it clear we made mistakes, and our record since 2015 shows we wish to reverse austerity.

    Have the Tories proffered abject apologies for providing unstable government since the end of the coalition?
    Have the Tories proffered abject apologies for lumbering us with the chaos of Brexit?
    Have the Tories proffered abject apologies for scuppering the Brexit deal their own PM was negotiating?
    Have the Tories proffered abject apologies for squeezing the poor harder since they were not kept under control by the Lib Dems?

    Have Labour proffered abject apologies for sitting on the Brexit fence?
    Have Labour proffered abject apologies for failing to provide effective opposition?

    I realise that if you do not like Lib Dems you have a stick to beat us with. However as time progresses and things get worse that stick becomes brittle and those waving it sound more and more like yesterdays men with no answers for the current mess.

  • Andrew McCaig 14th Jun '19 - 5:10pm

    I think Labour would be scared stiff of Chuka resigning to force a by-election and standing as a Lib Dem, tbh.

    Look up Streatham here https://medium.com/@chrishanretty/ep2019-results-mapped-onto-westminster-constituencies-8a2a6ed14146
    or look up the 2010 result if you want to know why…

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Jun '19 - 5:19pm

    It is difficult to compute what Chuka Umunna has said about the Liberal Democrat Party, and the attempt to destroy the Party before reality hit him regarding the number of centre ground people who would join the breakaway group he co- founded .

    Whilst we can all change our minds, what has changed about the Liberal Democrat party since Chuka made those comments, and attempted the destruction of the party?

    I am unsure how one can work to undermine the unprincipled, Boris Johnson in his bid to become our next PM. by channelling Nigel Farage, if one is open to the same criticism regarding principles.

  • I’d like to thank the Reactionary and Croybn apologists for their views. My view if it pee’s you off it can’t be all bad. I think the times we paid much attention to your views have gone, the Lib Dems have a spring in their step and a vision going forward. I accept you’d rather we drifted back to the days of Clegg when we wanted the approval of every man , woman and their dog, but i think we have worked out it is better to be principled and right than court passing popularity and be wrong.

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Jun '19 - 5:34pm

    @ Andrew McCaig,

    Streatham is a strong remain seat,.

    Chuka Umunna should put his current position to the test. He is a strong advocate for Remain, but he was elected in 2017 on a Labour manifesto. A by election seems the best, and certainly most democratic way of settling the issue. One that members of all parties and none will have to respect and reflect upon.

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Jun '19 - 5:39pm

    @ frankie,

    What causes me to have a weak bladder, is the adding of fuel to the fire of all those who say politicians are unprincipled and can’t be trusted.

  • John Marriott 14th Jun '19 - 5:55pm

    “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”. Wise words when JFK said them back in the 1960s and wise words now as well.

    As for what Chuka did or didn’t say, give the guy a break. Most of us struggle with crystal balls gazing. Do you remember “Go back to your constituencies and prepare…for government?”? And what about “Crisis, what crisis?”? Stop being holier than thou. The fact that MPs like Mr Umunna and Ms Allen are prepared to join the Lib Dems and, some might say, throw away a seemingly safe political career says a lot for them in my book.

  • John Marriott 14th Jun '19 - 6:11pm

    I should, of course, have said that, as far as Ms Allen is concerned, the words should have been “prepared to consider joining the Lib Dems”. I hope that MPs like Sarah Wollaston might consider similar and also Chris Leslie and Anna Soubry. As Chuka said, under FPTP there is little room on the centre ground for more new parties. Perhaps that ‘centre ground’ should read ‘radical politics’ instead.

  • Paul Barker 14th Jun '19 - 6:50pm

    One of the striking things about our recent recovery is that it seems to keep going, we keep edging up in the Polls. If we keep going up the way we have been over the last 6 Weeks we will soon be topping the Polls on a regular basis, there’s only 2-3% between us & The Brexit Party.
    There are lots of people at all levels in both Labour & The Tories who would fit just as well in The LibDems; many of them didn’t choose us because we didn’t seem like a viable option. If Members, activists & even MPs from other Parties can now see a possible future with us that is part of our reward for not giving up in the hard times.

  • I do apologise for not joining in the celebrations in welcoming a self-serving MP who, to be honest, had nowhere else to go. The last time I witnessed such euphoria was when Boris Johnson’s sister joined this party; that turned out well, didn’t it.

    Jayne Mansfield asked, “What has changed about the Liberal Democrat party since Chuka made those comments, and attempted the destruction of the party?”

    Perhaps the first question he might be asked should follow Mrs. Mertons’s, “What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”

  • Well, I suppose getting rubbed out in the EU election concentrated Mr Umunna’s mind, but I’ll be happier if Dr Sarah Wollaston and Ms Heidi Allen, as is rumoured, decide to join…. and both could well hold their seats next time.

    We’ll have to see how it all pans out and how much of a Lib Dem Mr. Umunna really is….. and whether he still stands by this :-

    Politics Home : 22nd September 2016

    “Chuka Umunna has declared that Britain should give up access to the EU Single Market if it has to accept freedom of movement in return.”

  • Ethicsgradient 14th Jun '19 - 7:42pm

    @chris moore 14th Jun ’19 – 3:50pm

    A valid you make and one I accept. It is my opinion/ feel rather than evidence based.

    All I would add is in the few months after the referendum lots on here (or at least remain voting) said there was a significant ‘briget/vote leave regret an I argued that it wasn’t true. I just did need not see people who voted leave had had any chance of mind. This has been born out with John Curtice (who I think we can both expect as a trusted authority) consistently saying the country remains split 50/50 between leave and remain with a few switching on either side.

    @Lorenzo Cherin: Thanks for the mention. The name is a nod to one of my favorite authors Iain M Banks and his culture series. A second level to the name is truthfully if politics is the art of comprise then all prinicples and ethics must by on a sliding scale, simply by definition. Compromise = an Ethics gradient. I’m just playing a little wit that.

    Politically: I belong to no party and have no interest in doing so. I am a libertarian at heart, less state intervention the better, less rules the better with the caveat that a person is causing no harm to another and all is consensual. This is balanced by pragmatism So a free marketeer but understand the need for decent regulation a social safety net. Supporter of full WTO brexit with a replacement free-trade agreement with the EU. I still cannot see the need for the political structures of the EU as a requirement of a FTO when every other FTO simply needs a regulator/arbitrator. That’s me a floating voter who beside brexit will evaluate and decide which party is closet to political viewpoint.

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Jun '19 - 8:49pm

    At least Dr Sarah Wollaston sponsored a bill in 2011 that. “seeks to ensure that any Member who crosses the floor or ‘defects’ should trigger an automatic by- election”.

  • ONceALIbDem 14th Jun '19 - 9:29pm
  • There was a feeling after the referendum that we should all tagalong with Brexit and make the best of a bad job. Many politicians wanted Brexit to work, to fudge a compromise and move on. A laudable sentiment in many ways, but it failed to take into account Brexit had not been defined, Nye was impossible to define as it ment so many things to so many people. Now as the truth of the stupidity and impossiblity of Brexit became more stark people and polticians moved to a position of Bollocks to Brexit, I don’t decry their stance, I may however wish they’d come to that conclusion earlier.

  • David Becket
    I tend to agree. Any PM is going to struggle in this kind of hung parliament and it is absurd to have yet another one foisted on the country by the Conservative Party’s convoluted leadership election system. It certainly isn’t going to solve anything.

  • chris moore 15th Jun '19 - 9:18am

    expats 14th Jun ’19 – 7:01pm
    I do apologise for not joining in the celebrations in welcoming a self-serving MP who, to be honest, had nowhere else to go. The last time I witnessed such euphoria was when Boris Johnson’s sister joined this party; that turned out well, didn’t it.

    Firstly, you’re not apologising.
    Secondly, no-one on here is euphoric.
    Thridly, no-one was euphoric when Boris johnson’s sister joined the party.
    Fourthly, she later left the party. So what?

    People do join and leave parties. Get used to it. Show a bit of generosity.

  • I recall a lot of scepticism when Rachel Johnston came out in support of us, and it being roundly dismissed when papers suggested she might be a candidate at the 2017 election. Some people were appreciative of a high profile supporter in the media and saw that as a bit of a coup, but IMO that reflected more on the fact your typical news review type feature has someone representing the Tories, and someone representing Labour, with both bashing each other and us.

    IMO, that’s still an area where we need to do a lot of work. It’s one thing for the public, or even Alastair Campbell to switch their votes in private in Euro elections, but another thing for regular columnists who have made their living from finding fault with us in public to start saying nice things.

  • chris moore 15th Jun ’19 – 9:18am……………
    Firstly, you’re not apologising.
    Secondly, no-one on here is euphoric.
    Thridly, no-one was euphoric when Boris johnson’s sister joined the party.
    Fourthly, she later left the party. So what?
    People do join and leave parties. Get used to it. Show a bit of generosity…………….

    Firstly, it’s called sarcasm.
    Secondly, really? I suggest four/five threads extolling his virtues, ignoring his past history of anti-LD comments, etc. say otherwise.
    Thirdly, again really? There was talk of changing the rules so she could stand as a LibDem candidate.
    Fourthly, her leaving showed that high profile defections say more about self than a change of commitment.

    As for, ” People do join and leave parties. Get used to it. Show a bit of generosity”…Let’s see what the near future brings. If Chuka hasn’t made a ‘take-over’ bid I’ll talk about running naked through London.

  • I believe Lib Dems won Streatham at the Euros with something to spare? Proably a nailed on Lib Dem win, especially with Tory votes to squeeze..

  • Paul Barker 15th Jun '19 - 2:30pm

    I used to be a member of The Labour & Green Parties (not at the same time) then I changed my mind. Isn’t continually questioning things a Liberal Value ?
    I don’t feel euphoric yet but I am very pleased to see people joining The Liberal Movement, whether as Voters or Members.
    Whats not to like ?

  • John Marriott 15th Jun '19 - 2:32pm

    What a mean spirited lot some of you are! Whatever he might have said in the past, it takes a brave politician to go with his conscience. I hope a few more with ‘previous’ might join Chuka.

    I’m sure that, if you rake through the files, you will find that many politicians have said things they probably wished they hadn’t. Who said; “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government” or, in answer to the question “How do you see the EU in ten years time?”, who replied; “About the same”?

  • Sandra Hammett 15th Jun '19 - 3:04pm

    I have no desire to be mean spirited but we are right to be cautious, Chuka thought he could be a British Macron, for CUK read En Marche, leading a centrist party under his direct control but it failed, NOW he realises that the LibDems have the numbers and infracture, he could have joined the LD straight off but he thought saying that all the current parties were broken was what people wanted to hear (reading from the Trump Populism Handbook) had a better spin to it.
    Sure he’s a social democrat but he is also highly ambitious and happy to use whatever means will get him where he wants to be the fastest.

  • John Marriott 15th Jun '19 - 5:01pm

    @Sandra Hammett
    Social Democrat? British Macron? Am I bothered what label you want to give him? In my book he’s a talented guy, who, unlike some of his former Labour colleagues, is not prepared to bite his tongue any more and who has finally realised that, under FPTP, there is only so much room in the centre ground, which, whether the purists like it or not, is more or less where the Lib Dems are.

    If the Lib Dems are to maintain a regular Opinion Poll rating of over 10% let alone 20%, they are going to have to broaden their church and stop trying to pigeonhole people, whose views may not be as pure as theirs. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

  • @John Marriott. Well said, Sir. When we have genuine PR we can all go off into our little factions, until then it’s broad church politics or nothing.

  • John Littler 15th Jun '19 - 6:05pm

    The one reason I heard any of the Change people gave in policy terms for not joining the Libdems was that of doubts over whether the LibDems would support harsher judicial punishments.
    The LibDems don’t like populist ‘ang ’em & flog ’em guff. I say good. The UK having overcrowded prisons and numerous prison riots, no voting allowed and sometimes no books allowed in, or the largest European prison population proportionately, has achieved nothing and appears to breed and train criminals for entrenched careers of crime.

  • Dilettante Eye 15th Jun '19 - 7:17pm

    “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”

    Just shows you can fool some people all of the time. Some still don’t get they were hijacked by a bunch of orange Booker ‘cuckoo’s in the nest a decade ago, and have decided they want more.

  • John Marriott 15th Jun '19 - 10:12pm

    @Dilettante Eye
    Just who is fooling who? Whoever you are, your nom de plume just about sums up the naivety of your view. On the other hand, you might be right. Let not the pure blood of liberalism be contaminated by alien bacteria. Ok, if that’s what you want then stay on the margins. What are you afraid of? Power to make some of what you believe a reality? Or, as a true ‘dilettante’, are you just playing at politics?

  • Peter Martin 16th Jun '19 - 8:50am

    “I did not disagree with the need to reduce the public sector deficit and debt ”

    That’s ‘cos of his neoliberal tendencies! If anyone wants to help reduce the National Debt then just send of a cheque to the Treasury.

    Or burn a £20 pound note. But maybe not in front of a homeless person! It’s all pretty much the same thing. We reduce our assets and the government reduces its liabilities. We cross off our positive numbers and they do the same with their negative numbers.

    Debts and deficits aren’t problem for governments. They are just the mirror images of our assets and surpluses on a financial balance sheet that sums to zero.

  • Peter, honestly, you should make clear to any economic innocents that this comes straight out of the Modern Monetary Theory play book.

    I, for one, am not an MMTer. Nor I imagine is our new MP recruit. But that does not make either Chuka or myself a “neo-liberal”. The whole world and his dog apart from a few dogged MMTers will be neo-liberal on that definition.

  • expats 15th Jun ’19 – 11:14am If Chuka hasn’t made a ‘take-over’ bid I’ll talk about running naked through London.

    I look forward to you running naked through London. Start in Streatham.

  • Peter Martin 16th Jun '19 - 2:08pm

    @ chris moore,

    It sounds like you are saying I must be wrong because, er, well because I must be! Surely the world, Chuka Umunna and his dog all can’t be wrong.

    PS I’d not sure about the dog BTW !

  • Paul Barker 17th Jun '19 - 6:19pm

    When is Chuka supposed to make this takeover bid then ?
    I imagine the New Leader will want to spend some time in the Job – 5 Years at least surely.
    If Chuka want to stand for Leader in 5 Years time that sounds fine to me, we will have had 5 Years activity to judge him on.

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