Dear Labour…

Labour,

You can stop the Tories from ever having a majority again. Your party is caught in a tussle between its beliefs and its electability. The main weapon your right wing has against the front runner is the threat that your party will remain powerless: Corbyn supporters reply, “but this is what we believe in”.

If your party exists not to represent the kind of people who support Jeremy Corbyn but to be a socially conscious alternative to the Tories, then to win your party is always going to be wearing a Tony Blair mask. You’ll beat the Conservatives through state compensation for continuing Tory policies: will it really be worth it, or will victory always have the sour odour of spin?

If a Labour-SNP coalition remains a frightening prospect to England then the possibility of a Labour fightback is slim. The SNP are going to be hard to shift, based as they are on dying your clothes tartan: unless the SNP proves it won’t hold you over a barrel for their own ends England won’t vote Labour.

And the SNP isn’t much interested helping you to keep Britain united, so much as it is interested in embarrassing you by wearing social democracy so much better: all the more reason for Scotland to leave England to the Tories if an English leftist is a Tory dyed red.

A combination of resurgent militantism and Scottish nationalism would be the worst possible scenario for Labour. Scots are not likely to abandon a party which has given Scotland a sense of destiny and swing voters in England aren’t likely to be converted on Labour’s credibility issue.

If you are perturbed, disgusted, outraged, or concerned for the people the Tories are happy to squeeze, rob, and exploit, your priority should not be power for the sake of power: it should be power for the sake of guaranteeing austerity cannot mean heartlessness.

Give up on a Labour majority ever happening again. The reason your left has come back to haunt you is because New Labour wasn’t satisfying: it was tarnished by spin, off-the-books financing schemes, inflated grades, fictional WMDs, cabinet psychodrama, and the financial crisis of 2008. The militants want to take your party back, and in so doing damn the country to another Tory election victory. Or two.

Here is how you beat the Tories forever. You don’t keep capturing and using their advantages against them: advantages like a hegemonic press, the first past the post system, the PM’s right to appoint new members to the house of Lords, the ability to gerrymander the constitution unilaterally. You take those weapons away.

Give your power away. Give it to the regions, give it to the minority parties, give it to the people. Fight for devolution, proportional representation, Lords reform, a written constitution. Win a majority, or at least a coalition, by putting the democracy back into social democrat.

Imagine a country where where the Tories are in power, they are always held back. Imagine a country where a person’s national interests are represented by a Tory, because their local services are protected by Labour. Imagine a country where people didn’t have to fear the Conservatives, or the SNP: imagine a country where power meant balance.

If the militants want Labour to self destruct in the political wilderness, at least take the Tories with you.

All the best,

Toby.

* Toby MacDonnell is a Lib Dem member. He is a graduate in history from Sussex university reading Keynes and Baudrillard in preparation for postgraduate studies.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

62 Comments

  • Here is how you beat the Tories forever……………

    It’s, certainly, not to enter a ‘partnership’, shelve all your beliefs and give 5 years active assistance in creating a ‘Caring Conservative’ image……

  • Stephen Campbell 2nd Aug '15 - 10:10am

    Let me preface this by saying I am a Green voter and have little love for what Labour became in the Blair/Brown years.

    But Lib Dems are really in no position to lecture anybody about anything, especially when it comes to what to do about the Tories.

    I find the use of the term “militants” to describe Corbyn and his supporters offensive. Corbyn is not a militant. He is a left-of-centre social democrat/very pink democratic socialist. Most of his positions would’ve been supported and/or enacted by that other “militant” Harold Wilson who, as you may recall, spent quite some time as Prime Minister of this nation.

    This just shows how far to the right the political discourse has shifted in the past 35 years. Positions which were once considered mainstream are now called “militant” or “extremist” by the right-wing press. And you, Toby, seem to have swallowed that narrative hook, line and sinker.

    The fact is that on many issues, the public is well to the left of what the right-wing corporate media (often foreign owned) want you to believe. For example, Corbyn is proposing renationalisation of the railways and the power companies. This is decried as “extremism” by both large sections of the media and even some Lib Dems. Yet as this recent poll shows, more people want the railways and power companies to be in public hands (not to mention Royal Mail which your party helped sell off at a loss) than they do in private hands (https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/03/12/nationalisation-ideology-beats-pragmatism/). Do you therefore consider the British public to be “militants”?

    What else do you find “militant” about Corbyn? The fact that he doesn’t want the poor, disabled and vulnerable to suffer and pay for austerity like you made them do? The fact he apologises for Labour’s role in supporting tuition fees and now wants to abolish them? The fact that he wants women to be represented at 50% in the Commons? The fact he wants to abolish the House of Lords and the Monarchy (which many Lib Dems want as well)? Corbyn wants to scrap Trident. I believe your party once wanted to do the same.

    These slurs against Corbyn and his supporters as “militant” or “extreme” by LibDems need to stop. Especially considering that in doing so, you are making a slur against many of your very own members.

  • Roger Roberts 2nd Aug ’15 – 9:57am …………… “Immigration minister James Brokenshire said rules could be changed to remove taxpayer support for more than 10,000 failed asylum-seekers living in the UK with their families.In the UK, migrants can obtain accommodation and a support allowance worth £36 a week from the moment they claim asylum. This is withdrawn from individuals whose application fails – but failed asylum-seekers with families continue to receive support……………

    New asylum seekers in the UK get vouchers for food and essentials. A young, single person gets £19 a week, a couple gets £47 per week and extra for children.

  • It’s pretty clear the left doesn’t get it. Expats is a prime example.

    It’s like showing prima facie evidence and ignoring it. Do election results mean anything or just what the left want them to mean? Project your fantasies all you like – the electorate has moved to the right and the Conservatives have drawn themselves up as the party of the working person.

    That’s the trouble with the non-conservative activists. Complete lack of imagination to put themselves inside the swing voters head. Even worse there’s a complete aloofness about it. No the best thing is to imagine some nirvanistic solution then just hope that the electorate move to your position. It’s actually disgustingly selfish.

    So we have people prattling on about `It’s, certainly, not to enter a ‘partnership’, shelve all your beliefs and give 5 years active assistance in creating a ‘Caring Conservative’ image……`as if, given the numbers, there was any real alternative. Oh but there was – a majority conservative government like we are having now five years earlier. But no the best thing is to hold on to outdated orthodoxies (so much easier to do that than actually give credit where credit’s due – you might have to think then) and see where we go from here like the writer of this article is suggesting.

    Now let’s open betfair – what are the odds for another tory majority government in 2020?

  • Stephen,
    I suppose the contributors to the Morning Star are all very pink democratic socislist these days. I look forward to the publication in book form of Mr. Corbyns Morning Star newpaper writings which I feel they will be more than happy to produce.
    I feel sure that Mr. Corbyn’s Hamas and Sinn Féin friends are all of equal moderation.

  • expats
    I don’t know exactly where you are, if it is Argentina then maybe you can recall its financial and economic crisis of 2001. There is nothing like political deadlock to quickly to turn into a full blown financial crisis and the fallout from the 2008 banking crisis was never going to be painless.

  • James 2nd Aug ’15 – 10:44am ………..It’s pretty clear the left doesn’t get it. Expats is a prime example……

    I’ll take that as a compliment. If Tory policies are what is required to win an election then why bother to be anything else?
    As for, “prattling on about `It’s, certainly, not to enter a ‘partnership’, shelve all your beliefs and give 5 years active assistance in creating a ‘Caring Conservative’ image (as if, given the numbers, there was any real alternative)”…

    There was an alternative it was either to “Support/Oppose a minority Tory government on a “policy by policy basis” or, when in coalition, make it clear that NHS reorganisation, secret courts, tuition fees, bedroom tax, etc. were a ‘reluctant compromise’ rather than trumpet , “75% 0f coalition policies are LibDem!

    Manfarang 2nd Aug ’15 – 11:00am ….

    Notinghamshire, actually! As for the 2008 crisis; the LibDem leadership were among the most vociferous in claiming that the UK’s ills were all down to Labour’s mismanagement and overspending . The Tories took the party for fools, used ( and are still using) 2008 as an ongoing excuse for the implementation of their ideological beliefs….

    Some on here still don’t get it…After 5 years in bed with them, they got a majority government and we got 8 MPs….

  • David Evans 2nd Aug '15 - 11:59am

    Expats is largely right. Nick spent five years trying to persuade us he was “a moderating influence on the Conservatives.” Sadly he made such a bad job of it that the public (or 92% of voters) regarded him as “David Cameron’s little helper.” Until we acknowledge that and show we understand it and have changed, we will continue to hide ourselves away in articles designed to show how bad a mess Labour are in.

  • Neil Sandison 2nd Aug '15 - 12:13pm

    Stephen Campbell . I hate to burst your bubble regarding militants but you should be aware that a number of the former members of the” Militant Tendency “who were evicted from the Labour Party under first Neil Kinnock and then Tony Blair did not give up their political activism but retreated back into the trade union movement or in a number of cases joined the Green Party indeed if you look at the Green manifesto much of their agenda reappears on its pages. There should be in the political spectrum room for a genuine socialist party but it will be up to the voters to consider if it is at all electable. Social Liberals and Social Democrats have a long history and have appeared within many political movements but the under pinning driver all those that have held that position is to maintain a progressive ,liberal ,and above all else democratic belief in the will of the people and the ballot box.

  • David Evans
    Promising something that could never be delivered has something to do with it I am afraid. Also the need to create a media that can reach people to inform them of the Liberal view is something that needs to be established

  • paul barker 2nd Aug '15 - 12:50pm

    A historical note – one thing you can say in “Militant”s defence is that they always said The IRA were faschists, at a time when many other Trots, including Corbyn, were praising them as Freedom Fighters.

  • The ‘Telegraph’ demonises Corbyn with, “Jeremy Corbyn, the hard-line Labour MP and likely favourite for the party leadership, has been pictured sitting in Parliament alongside Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein leaders.”
    and fails to see the irony of writing a few lines later, “Earlier Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness held talks with David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in 10 Downing Street.”…

    Sadly, some on here, are caught up in the same mindset.

  • David Evans 2nd Aug '15 - 1:45pm

    Manfarang – Promising something that could have been delivered if Nick had fully believed in it and negotiated harder has a whole lot to do with it I am afraid.

  • Expert analysis from the University of Manchester reveals that England was not frightened of the SNP at all. The late swing was UKIP voters in the south of England switching to the Conservatives to keep Labour and the Lib Dems out….

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 2:17pm

    We should separate electability from actions in government. Tony Blair’s “New” Labour was elected in 1997 promising that the top three priorities would be “Education, education, education” which was not delivered in governmemnt. There were also four wars, including Iraq with George W. Bush.

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd Aug '15 - 2:31pm

    What I find interesting , is the number of Liberal Democrats and Conservative Party commentators and commenters who are so altruistically offering Labour advice on how to maximise their chance of victory at the next election.

    If Labour party members vote to have Jeremy Corbyn as their leader, isn’t that democracy in action? Similarly, if the electorate choose or fail to choose a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn, in 2015, isn’t that their democratic right?

    Is this almost obsessive interest in Labour and Jeremy Corbyn really diversion therapy? Or is there an element of fear that a Labour party led by him might actually prove popular and cause damage to other parties? Why the interest in the internal decision making of another party?

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 3:16pm

    Professor Green’s opinions are detailed and evidence-based. With great politeness so were the other panellists. The man sitting by her right hand said it had been obvious to him for a very long time that the Liberal Democrats were going to do badly. You Gov’s Peter Kellner admitted that the polls, including the poll of polls, had been wrong and the polling industry would have an enquiry.

  • David Evans
    A promise too far.With half of the young people going to university the burden on public finances would be too great.
    Remember it was the universities themselves that wanted to increase the fees not just the treasury.

    Jayne Mansfield
    Democracy indeed, no trade union block vote. Labour can choose who they please. The IMF demands will be much tougher however.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 4:21pm

    There is another point about education funding, the younger, the earlier, the better the value for money, the larger the number of children who benefit. pre-school, primary school, … .

  • The Labour party is moving slowly to a democratic position in the election of leader. We should respect their democratic decision…those who vote for Mr Corbyn, from wherever they have emerged are just exercising their right as a member of the Labour Party. If that makes them unelectable or some members take umbrage and leave the party, then that is what happens. The job of Liberal Democrats is to put our own house in order and make ourselves distinctive and electable. and as has been said many times previously, using the preamble to the constitution as the first step

  • Corbyn is a good choice for Labour if they’re after appealing to an enthusiastic Socialist base and securing a good, solid bloc of support as a prelude to leading a broader coalition of progressive political forces. Toby is right to attempt to remind everyone that such a strategy depends entirely on reforming the political system such that enthusiastically gathering the backing of every Socialist in the country doesn’t just leave you sitting on the opposition benches with no voice, no role and no power.

    About a third of the population of this country are some flavour of Socialist who would probably consider Corbyn to be roughly where they are politically speaking. Of course, the far left think he’s just a soft centre social democrat. But then again the far right think Cameron is the sort of wet Maggie would have thrown out of cabinet, so perhaps we shouldn’t put too much stock in the ability of the extremes to accurately plot the positions of others. With a proportional electoral system, Labour can afford to be led by Corbyn, and might even put him into Number Ten. But if they get carried away with their own enthusiasm and forget to push through reforms, they’ll top out at somewhere in the low thirties, having cannibalised the Green and leftish UKIP vote but with the result that they’ve simply stacked up larger majorities in places they already hold.

    Its a risky strategy to go for such an authenticity Socialist now, but if the Tories stumble over the replacement of Cameron, there could be a lot of space for a coalition between Labour and the SNP or the Greens or Plaid. Maybe even the Liberal Democrats if Corbyn can bring himself to put down the partisan attacks that have characterised the last five years and we can bring ourselves to refrain from returning fire now the shoe can go on the other foot. Such a coalition would have to end the two party duopoly though, or Corbyn will end up as a flash in the pan footnote in history.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 6:59pm

    Moderating is perhaps not the right word for all the actions.
    Nick Clegg listed at conference all the vetoes he had exercised.
    Top of the list was the Tory proposal to be able to sack people for no reason at all.

  • @Stephen Campbell “What else do you find “militant” about Corbyn? The fact that he doesn’t want the poor, disabled and vulnerable to suffer and pay for austerity like you made them do?”

    Perhaps the fact that he supported Sinn Fein/IRA, who went out and actually murdered people in the name of their beliefs, counts as militant. But perhaps their victims don’t count as having suffered.

  • Simon Shaw 2nd Aug ’15 – 5:26pm……

    We got about 8% of the vote so 92% of the voting public didn’t like us…..5 years in a ‘partnership’ with the Tories cost us umpteen local councillors, 9 MEPs and, near enough, 50 MPs….
    Spin it any way you like but it still turned out to be a long, drawn out, suicide pact for the party…

  • Stephen Campbell 2nd Aug '15 - 10:43pm

    @TCO: “Perhaps the fact that he supported Sinn Fein/IRA, who went out and actually murdered people in the name of their beliefs, counts as militant. But perhaps their victims don’t count as having suffered.”

    I am happy to say Corbyn was wrong about this, should not have done so and cannot be defended on this issue.

    But by the same token, we must also not forget that Saint Margaret of Thatcher and many Tories (some of whom are still MPs and were MPs during the Coalition) supported Chile’s Pinochet and Indonesia’s Suharto who murdered far, far more people than did the IRA.

    And we mustn’t forget that our own Royal Family recently hosted a state visit by the Saudi Royal Family who control one of the most oppressive, inhumane regimes on the planet which persecutes women, routinely beheads people and openly admits punishments which we in the West rightly consider torture. Cameron has even hailed our “friendship” with them. And I didn’t see many Lib Dems in government protesting these horrible people over the past 5 years.

  • David Evans 2nd Aug '15 - 10:48pm

    Manfarang – No not a promise too far, just a promise some were prepared not to even try to keep. However amongst many other things, David Cameron was allowed to keep his pledge that all OAPs would keep their winter fuel allowance and their free bus passes, also the top rate of Tax was cut from 50% to 45%. Whether the Unis wanted to increase fees or the Treasury, it was a political decision taken by politicians. It’s simply a case of what you choose to do. Nick chose not to and we are still paying.

  • Manfarang,

    Trust is the most important commodity in politics. The Tories manoeuvered Nick Clegg into breaking the pledge, and I am sure they regularly toast this as the biggest success of the entire parliament. It sounds as though he may have been a willing victim too…

    So we threw away trust and as a result will probably never get back to the position we were in in 2010…

    Of course the Universities were happy! They were able to charge more than the actual cost of teaching Arts and Social Sciences while breaking even on Science and Medicine. The Universities would have done worse under the continuation of the old policy for 5 years, but I suspect they would have survived…

  • Simon,

    Signs are that 92% of voters (or at any rate about 65% of 2010 Liberal Democrat voters) regarded Nick Clegg as a promise breaker who was no longer to be trusted or listened to… Some of those (% unknown) also thought he was “Cameron’s little helper”

  • Simon Thorley 2nd Aug '15 - 11:45pm

    @Carl Gardner: “PR would be the way to prevent a Labour government from ever happening in the future. It would give disproportionate power to the LibDems, who would (once you’ve recovered a bit and PR boosted you) mostly decide who governed for ever more. I understand why LibDems want it; your love of it is no more but no less selfish, and no less but no more selfless, than Labour’s opposition to it.”

    There are several issues with your analysis:

    1) The current parties would likely change, merge, break into different factions under a PR system. There would no longer be any need for the uneasy bedfellows of Corbyn and Kendall to be members of the same party for electoral expediency, as is currently the case.

    2) This may be hard to comprehend as a Labour man, but disproportionate power is exactly what Labour has wielded every single time it has formed a majority government.. The only government not to grant a disproportionate amount of power to a single political party since the war is the 2010 – 2015 Coalition.

    3) Even if the current parties persisted in an era of PR, there would be nothing to stop a majority Labour government forming – if they were popular enough to command a majority of the popular vote. Of course, we understand that concepts of ‘electoral accountability’ and ‘democracy’ are of limited interest to Labour – the end of absolute government always justifying the undemocratic means of getting there. Unfortunately, that sort of thinking is why wars start…

  • Andrew
    It was not a Liberal Democrat government.I am sure under one university fees would have been capped .Of course trust is important that is why the two big parties don’t keep there promises! In one manifesto Labour said it would make university free. The Liberal Democrats were part of a Westminster government for the first time without knowing the full realities of power. Some lessons were very painful. It will be 30 years before all the government papers or most of them will be open for inspection. Who knows I might even live to see it.

  • Simon Shaw 2nd Aug ’15 – 10:58pm………..@expats
    But what you say still doesn’t support the claim that “92% of voters regarded Nick Clegg as being David Cameron’s little helper,” which is what I was querying……….I’m assuming you disagree with it as well……..

    I, nor you, know how many potential LibDem voters regarded Clegg in this way….Suffice it to say that those who promised, “seeing how LibDems performed ‘in power’ (please don’t say we weren’t in power; we had the ability to stop ANY proposed legislation) would get us taken really seriously, didn’t get the result they wanted…

    As for the ‘gist’ of my post, as you haven’t commented, I’ll assume you agree that the 5 years were a ‘suicide pact’ for the party..

  • Al 2nd Aug ’15 – 1:48pm ……..Expert analysis from the University of Manchester reveals that England was not frightened of the SNP at all. The late swing was UKIP voters in the south of England switching to the Conservatives to keep Labour and the Lib Dems out….

    I’ve viewed the video and I’m “confused” …..I looked at a couple of ‘southern seats’ (St Austel and Taunton)…In 2010 UkIP were ‘barely on the map’ ; their rise came after 2010.
    In 2015 they polled far more than in 2010 and the Tory vote stayed about the same….If it was the swing from UKIP to Tory that is supposed to have swung the vote the figures just don’t support it. It was the desertion of LibDem voters (between about 20/30%) that lost the seats…

  • Simon Banks 3rd Aug '15 - 10:19am

    Expats misses one vital point. (S)he’s keen to show how Liberal Democrats let people down in the coalition. Expats, actually most of us get that. We do think we achieved more in the coalition than Labour spokespeople or most voters would concede. but actually we know things went badly wrong, we let people down and we made bad decisions. We’re learning from that. What is Labour learning?

    One reason why so few radicals from other sources join Labour, why hardly any left Liberal Democrats defected to Labour in the last parliament, is Labour’s tribalism. It’s the attitude of either you’re 100% with us or you’re an enemy. It’s the record of entering non-party campaigns and trying to turn them into “Labour campaigns”, pushing out those who aren’t comfortable with this. It’s the refusal to consider that rivals might have a point sometimes. So as soon as you see a suggestion that Labour might enter a partnership, you assume that would mean abandoning everything you believe in. Disappointing but not surprising, I’m afraid.

  • David Evans 3rd Aug '15 - 10:32am

    Expats. I wonder if the Lib Dem voters who left us after 2010 regarded it as the desertion of them by the LibDems (or at least those in government) that lost the seats.

  • @expats “I’ve viewed the video and I’m “confused” …..I looked at a couple of ‘southern seats’ (St Austel and Taunton)…In 2010 UkIP were ‘barely on the map’ ; their rise came after 2010.
    In 2015 they polled far more than in 2010 and the Tory vote stayed about the same….If it was the swing from UKIP to Tory that is supposed to have swung the vote the figures just don’t support it. It was the desertion of LibDem voters (between about 20/30%) that lost the seats…”

    The problem with all this psephology is it argues the huge reservoir (30-40%) of non-voters, and the churn between those entering and leaving the pool of voters (coming of age / dieing).

    Unless a detailed voting pattern study is undertaken that tracks movements of individuals’ behaviour over time, its impossible to say whether voters have truly switched, or moved into/out of the pool of non-voters, or been replaced by first time voters.

    So, for example, UKIP could be picking up non-voters, ex-Tory and ex-Labour voters. Labour could be picking up voters from us and from the Tories whilst losing them to the Tories and UKIP; the Tories might be losing voters to UKIP but gaining them from us and Labour. We could be gaining voters form the Tories but losing more to Labour, Green, UKIP, Tories and non-voters.

    Hence, small net changes to Tory and Labour totals; large net changes to us and UKIP.

  • @David Evans “Expats. I wonder if the Lib Dem voters who left us after 2010 regarded it as the desertion of them by the LibDems (or at least those in government) that lost the seats.”

    I suspect that they believed the campaigners (such as, no doubt, those in Westmorland) who told them it was “a two-horse race” and “Vote for us to keep the Tories out”, whilst failing to make it clear that our belief in pluralistic politics meant that at some point we were likely to be in coalition with the Conservatives.

  • Sadie Smith 3rd Aug '15 - 10:46am

    Delighted someone put up Prof Green’s clip from the quick response to 2015 election by Nuffield.
    I found it by accident on TV and found it fascinating. Michael Steed was there and gave a lucid reason for some seats being held and other comparable looking ones were not.. They were local reasons.
    Why are people so fussed about Corbyn? He is an interesting man and, unless the Labour Party has a mass sulk, he will not be alone.

  • Simon Banks 3rd Aug ’15 – 10:19am ……Expats misses one vital point. (S)he’s keen to show how Liberal Democrats let people down in the coalition. Expats, actually most of us get that. We do think we achieved more in the coalition than Labour spokespeople or most voters would concede. but actually we know things went badly wrong, we let people down and we made bad decisions. We’re learning from that. What is Labour learning…..

    I don’t really care about Labour (although I’ve voted twice for them 1997/2015) so please don’t follow the usual trend that when anyone (certainly pre 2015) criticises LibDem policy they must be a Labour supporter…Although, as Labour has increased their new membership at twice the rate we have, that suggests that, perhaps, they are doing something right…From your opinion of Labour may I assume that ANY future coalition with such a party, is unacceptable?

    I won’t go into ” abandoning beliefs” but, as for “learning from mistakes”? I suggest you read Mark Argent’s open letter to Nick Clegg….

  • TCO 3rd Aug ’15 – 10:37am …..

    The ‘Turnout’ in 2015 was almost identical to that of 2015 so that further confuses the issue….

  • should read….The ‘Turnout’ in 2015 was almost identical to that of 2010 so that further confuses the issue….

  • @expats “Although, as Labour has increased their new membership at twice the rate we have, that suggests that, perhaps, they are doing something right…”

    Such as offering the opportunity to vote for Jeremy Corbyn for £3?

  • John Tilley 3rd Aug '15 - 11:44am

    Sadie Smith 3rd Aug ’15 – 10:46am

    Sadie,
    Yes, like you I happened to watch Prof Green and others on BBC parliament. Excellent discussion and presentations.
    It was good to listen to people who have experience of studying such things and do not merely repeat the latest onsense from the Westminster Bubble and the BBC canteen.

    Goodness knows why people get into a hot sweat about Corbyn.
    To read the comments from some in LDV and in the media one might assume that he had horns and cloven hooves.
    He is a North London Labour MP and there is a lot about the Labour Party in that neck of the woods that I would dislike. I would be appalled if the third-rate David Lammy was chosen as candidate for London Mayor or if the dictatorial supposedly “directly elected mayor” of the one-party state of Newham had any influence being his personal fiefdom. Jeremy Corbyn however has always seemed at the sane and rational end of the Labour spectrum.

  • nvelope2003 3rd Aug '15 - 12:51pm

    No one can stop the Conservatives or any other party from ever having a majority again so it is a silly thing to say but sadly typical.

  • paul barker 3rd Aug '15 - 1:49pm

    Can we get back to the theme of the article. Labour are split with 90% of the MPs on one side & 80% of the Unions on theother & the members torn between them. A Corbyn victory could well see some MPs attempt an idiotic “Coup” & will probably see attempts by Corbyn supporters to purge the Blairite/tory virus while Corbyn himself plays “Good Cop”. Lots of MPs & some members will be thinking about leaving & we should be trying to persuade them to join us rather than try to set up an SDP mark 2.

  • Okay, there are several themes in responses thus far. There is a strain looking back at 2015 in microscopic detail in order to disprove the assertion that the English are afraid of the SNP. Fine: but are the SNP really going to be shifted? Will the SNP make Labour look weaker next election as well? Is the SNP good for Labour’s chances?

    Whatever the state of Angelo-Scottish relations, Labour have an uphill fight on their hands trying to overturn a Tory majority They will not win back Scotland.. Is a Corbyn leadership going to appeal voters across England, or only its heartlands?

    Another thread is the “who are you Lib Dems to come over here and tell us about Tories?” That’s a distraction, frankly. The right cannot be acquired or removed, not even by a false dichotomy of good history/bad history. It is inalienable; which is why any question is valid.

    Simon Thorley’s reply to Carl Gardnar expressed my thoughts on that. T-J has again eloquently pointed to the bigger picture, which is what I think is the level national politics should happen on.

    The final voice I want to address is Stephen Cambell’s. There are a lot of assumptions about my views based on my use of the word “militant”: why this label cannot be a source of pride, a la “Tory”, “Whig”, or the donkey and elephant of the US political parties, I don’t know.

  • The long and short of my argument is this: that Corbyn, and those who support him, deserve a mainstream voice which is not closeted in a Labour party which is ashamed of them. If socialists get votes, they deserve seats. I will say the same for UKIP, the SNP, or any faction of the Tory party.

    That the Labour party is now ashamed of its socialist son, that the other candidates are appealing to moderates, or trying to appeal to Tory swingers, says to me that Labour only has only one existential purpose: to beat the Tories.

    If that is the case, win one last election and retire; because what is at the root of people’s disillusionment with politics is that the left is no better than the right. How can they be, when any party that enters government has to do so on a more-or-less Thatcherite platform?

    My proposal is that Labour can appeal to disillusioned voters across the spectrum on a platform of greater democracy. If they endorsed these reforms, the Tories would be the only party left arguing for the status quo: and they can do it, because as the official opposition they have the platform to make the case.

    If Labour could admit its split is irreparable it could take the radical step above the fray for one last victory. It is a greater and better risk than the one they are about to run. If you wish to dissuade me of this, you must first convince me that greater democracy is not worth having.

  • I’ve heard, indirectly, but from someone I trust, that Mr Corbyn is a solid guy, some of whose beliefs I would struggle with a bit. But then where is there a party that, at all times, would match my own beliefs…
    Labour is a broad church, I’ve little doubt a Corbyn leadership would encourage a few more militant types out of the woodwork. I suspect Mr Corbyn might handle them well.
    I’m sure much of the media would be against him however moderate/progressive Labour might be.
    Did someone suggest nationalising the media?

  • Steve 4th Aug ’15 – 7:21am…………… I’m sure much of the media would be against him however moderate/progressive Labour might be. Did someone suggest nationalising the media?

    That is the reason that Corbyn will struggle if he’s elected….We should remember the “Milliband’s Father Hated Britain” headlines (conveniently omitting the fact that he served in the wartime Royal Navy) and realise that the media would not let a day pass without dredging up some ‘horror’ from his past.

  • John Tilley 7th Aug '15 - 7:19am

    Simon Shaw 3rd Aug ’15 – 12:36pm

    Simon, I took the reference to 92% of voters not liking Nick Clegg to be a clear statement from the facts of the General Election result.

    You are a bright bloke who understands about winning elections, so I am surprised that you did not get the point.
    In Southport you still have elected councillors and a Liberal Democrat MP. But you did not campaign in the General Election saying vote for Nick Clegg’s Coalition because it is the best thing since Ronnie Fearn’s Pantomime Dame.

    You have a Liberal Democrat MP but he is one of only 6 in the whole of England. 92% of those who voted in the general election voted for something other than Nick Clegg’s Coalitionism. Before the election, you were calling for an end to Coaliton here in your comments in LDV? I agreed with you at the time.

  • These last two comments remain besides the point.

    If either of you really, truly believe that the Lib Dems are over-powered relative to their support, then support the principle that votes should equal seats. That way, the power of every party will be proportional to their support.

    That is the point.

  • Simon Thorley 8th Aug '15 - 9:34pm

    @Carl Gardiner: let me get this straight: the most recent Labour government, elected on a popular vote of circa 35%, had more legitimacy in ‘doing things which only they wanted’ (as apparently ‘wanting to do things’, e.g. electoral reform, is not OK for the Lib Dems) than the Coalition, composed of parties that received 59% of the popular vote. Fair enough – that’s an opinion. But it is not the opinion of a democrat.

  • Simon Thorley 8th Aug '15 - 9:41pm

    @Carl Gardiner: and another point – listing a raft of LD policies which were ‘foisted on the country… none of which by public demand’ has no bearing on your arguments re proportionality. The government in a representative democracy does not enact policy on the basis of public opinion, but on the basis of Parliamentary debate and procedure. I suspect you know this, however.

    Where you have disproportionate single-party government, you will also have complacency, clientelism, lack of accountability and authoritarianism. Although I suppose you may categorise these as the positive results of a ‘radical’ government.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Chris Moore
    Reagarding imports and exports, it's fantastic you didn't bother reading your own article. Which would have told you that UK exports/imports are DOWN between...
  • Jeff
    Marco 12th Apr '24 - 10:01pm: The right wing media dont bother to defend Brexit anymore... As someone who reads across the political spectrum ...
  • Katharine Pindar
    What a refreshing discussion started by William, warning but also encouraging us. I think we can go strong on climate change policies, as you suggest, William -...
  • Simon McGrath
    “ Technically speaking, Israel is a democracy” Well yes. Alas Israeli’s have elected a dreadful government but the key is they elected them. And yes it...
  • David Allen
    Chris Moore, I'll be delighted if the party can prove me wrong!...