Everybody loves us Lib Dems

I blame the Tories. Ever since David Cameron became their leader, he’s been determined to ‘love-bomb’ the Lib Dems. Love-bombing is the ingenious tactic by which other parties claim to believe in enough Lib Dem policies without, y’know, actually being Lib Dems.

Labour leadership hopeful Ed Miliband was at it last month. Then earlier this week the Greens’ Caroline Lucas made her pitch.

And now it’s the turn of the continuing Liberal Party:

We appreciate over the last few weeks many LibDem Councillors and members have become increasingly uneasy about the coalition government.

The fact that LibDem MP’s will be whipped into voting for measures you, and they, campaigned against at the last election and which run contrary to long held beliefs and principles must be a source of deep concern and frustration. For example LibDem MP’s will be corralled into voting for imposed elected mayors, increases in VAT with its disproportionate impact on the low paid, replacement and immediate and drastic public spending cuts – when before the election a “soft landing” was advocated

Many regret that the Lib Dems will be muted campaigning against the replacement of Trident and for the redistribution of wealth by progressive taxation

We appreciate that the Labour Party is making overtures to many LibDem councillors. Let us not forget whose financially reckless policies got us into this crisis in the first place, and whose authoritarian, ‘big state’ approach any liberal-minded individual would be glad to see the back of.

We would wish to let you know that the Liberal Party would welcome any enquires from concerned Liberal Democrats. We believe we are the most appropriate home for anyone from our liberal tradition

As the public sector cutbacks and tax increases are felt by your constituents, we will be campaigning against excessive cutbacks.

With us you can remain true to your Liberal beliefs, principles and traditions and continue to represent the needs of your constituents

Please feel welcome to contact us – all enquiries will be treated in the utmost confidentiality

Cllr Steve Radford
Leader Liverpool Liberal Party Group

Cllr John Clark
Leader Ryedale Liberal Party Group

Cllr Adrian Miners
Leader Peterborough Liberal Party Group

And indeed there’s much in the Liberal Party programme which Lib Dems would happily endorse (though not perhaps their opposition to the EU). Still, I suspect their entreaties won’t be keeping Nick Clegg awake at night.

Anyway it’s nice to be popular, wooed by so many rival parties. Alas for them their success seems to be limited.

As Baroness (Ros) Scott noted when announcing she was stepping down as Lib Dem President, party membership is higher today than it has been for many years: at least 4,500 new members have joined the party in the last four months. Why? Because they are attracted by the fact that liberal and Lib Dem policies are being implemented in government for the first time in decades.

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  • @ Stephen Tall
    “Why? Because they are attracted by the fact that liberal and Lib Dem policies are being implemented in government for the first time in decades.”

    Yes, without any mandate and just twenty three per cent of the vote! Don’t kid yourself, there are millions out here who can’t stand your policies and who don’t see why they should be being implemented when you got nowhere near the winning post at the last general election.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 11th Sep '10 - 6:39pm

    Would have been nice if your leadership had told us what your policies were that they’d like to implement… the overriding issue is cuts and I know people who voted Lib Dem having been mislead that the Lib Dems were in line with Labour on cuts- your people were well content to pose as “Labour without the war” before the election. But no, Clegg, Huhne, Cable, Laws and Alexander have got what they always wanted but couldn’t stomach to say to voters.

    And I don’t think everybody loves you Lib Dems- everybody scents blood and wants a piece of what could soon be a carcass.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 11th Sep '10 - 6:44pm

    “As Baroness (Ros) Scott noted when announcing she was stepping down as Lib Dem President, party membership is higher today than it has been for many years: at least 4,500 new members have joined the party in the last four months.”

    These misleading claims about membership become more and more bizarre.

    In fact, Ros Scott didn’t say “membership is higher today than it has been for many years”, She said “after several years of decline, membership has risen,” which is completely different. It would have to rise by a damn sight more than 4500 to be higher than it was even when Clegg became leader.

    And as for that 4500 figure, what are we to believe? We were told initially by Stephen Tall in mid-July that 4500 had joined “since [the] election and coalition agreement.” That turned out not to be true, but of course the misleading headline was never corrected, and Stephen Tall carries on linking to the article at every opportunity.

    Now we’re told the figure is 4500 in “the last four months.” I can only guess what that means, but it sounds as though membership must have stood still over the last two of those four months. Though admittedly that would be something of an achievement, given the party’s slump in the polls.

    If it’s true, that is.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 11th Sep '10 - 6:59pm

    @Niklas Smith: Clegg said that he changed his mind about the timing of cuts before the election in a televised interview with Nick Robinson. This is after saying he changed it after the election, sure, but he was lying then. Possibly he never intended to delay cuts, but only he can know that for certain.

    And Clegg wanted to cut deeper than the Tories. That is something he managed to say before the election, though he said different things to different audiences. I’m sure when he was addressing that Sheffield audience about Tory cuts being illegitimate he didn’t mean to give the impression that deeper cuts were the preferred option.

  • paul barker 11th Sep '10 - 7:32pm

    I am getting tired of repeating this but Labour & Libdem memberships seem to have risen by similar amounts, in percentage terms, presumably for similar reasons. Current memberships seem to be about 65K for the Libdems & 170K for Labour. I dont know about the “Continuity Liberals”, about 4K I should think.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 11th Sep '10 - 7:39pm

    @Stephen Tall: If it’s a fact (and as far as I’m concerned it could be- I’ve never seen the Lib Dems as a party with the interests of the vulnerable at heart, they just like that that pose. It’s just the atheists-weed-loving Tory party as far as I’m concerned. The Ayn Rand strand of Rightism.) could you post the statistics? The only statistics I’ve seen by people saying that have stretched to the beginning of May, when pre-election excitement could easily account for a lot of new members.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 11th Sep '10 - 8:06pm

    “Not true. There were 64,727 Lib Dem members when Nick Clegg was elected. With the net rise of c.4,000 members since May, my guess is the party is more or less back up to that level.”

    Nonsense. We know that by August 2008 membership was down to 60,357 – which was a decrease of 4,370 in only 9 months, or nearly 500 a month.

    Are you seriously trying to tell me membership didn’t decline at all between August 2008 and May 2010 – in fact that it increased? I don’t believe a word of it.

    “your visceral dislike of all things Lib Dem”

    Please don’t give me that rubbish. I actually voted Lib Dem in May, though I certainly regret it now. But what I really dislike is the kind of dishonesty you come out with.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 11th Sep '10 - 8:19pm

    OK. From the party’s statements of accounts:
    Membership at the end of 2008 was 59,810.
    Membership at the end of 2009 was 58,768.

    So – exactly as I said – membership would have to have risen by a damn sight more than 4,500 – by nearly 6000, in fact – to take it back to where it was when Clegg was elected.

  • @Jedibeeftrix: Your don’t make a particularly compelling argument. Nation states are hardly the most natural form of existence, merely the most recent, and migration and cultural exchange have fatally weakened the basis on which they were developed. Nor are they a guarantor of shared aims, situations, and reactions to adversity. The UK itself has had almost continual tension between its varying parts, let alone the North South divide in England itself. If I wanted to be particularly flippant I would say that the ambitions of the wealthy in Chelsea and Knightsbridge are quite different and without kinship to those living in Bethnal Green. And the first past the post system is certainly not “more than anything a declaration of trust in the cohesiveness of ones society”, its a method of allowing minority groups a majority say in government.

  • How do the lib dems sleep at night?

  • Grammar Police 11th Sep '10 - 9:07pm

    If the continuing Liberals can’t learn to use apostrophes, then I’m never joining them ;o)

    @ Labour Mike:

    “Liberal Democrats believe we may need to revisit both the timetable and the level of savings required…
    If borrowing conditions worsen dramatically, if growth does not match up to Treasury expectations or if the structural element of the deficit turns out to be larger than estimated.”
    published : 16th March 2010

    @ Pat Roche – an awful lot easier than Labour activists should have done in the last 13 years!

  • By closing their eyes I imagine, I find that the best way to start the process.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 11th Sep '10 - 9:43pm

    @Grammar Police: And? Those conditions, according to Clegg, changed before the election but he just didn’t tell anyone that he thought the conditions had changed until after election. He continued to say it was either a compromise or a genuine post-election change of heart for quite a while before revealing he’d changed his mind before the election.

    Like I’ve said before, platitudes about timing the cuts based on the circumstances mean nothing when you were also saying that in you view the conditions merited delaying the cuts until the economy could take them. Do you think that any party would say they weren’t going to time cuts based on economic conditions? Your message was “we’ll base it on the economic conditions, and the economic conditions show that early cuts this year are bad.”

    Some quotes from Clegg-

    Before the election: “I think the present line on the budget is: Trust us and we’ll tell you after the election. That simply isn’t good enough.” – Exactly what he did.

    Before the election: “We think that merrily slashing now is an act of economic masochism. If anyone had to rely on our support, and we were involved in government, of course we would say no.”

    After the election, he said that his conversion was due to a conversation with Mervyn King- “He couldn’t have been more emphatic. He said: ‘If you don’t do this, then because of the deterioration of market conditions it will be even more painful to do it later.'”

    And then later he said he’s changed his mind earlier than the election.

    This is an issue that has shown how the Lib Dem are so in thrall to the leadership that they feel they can do no wrong. Your line shifts as your leadership contradicts what you say.

    I posted about the Labour negotiators saying that cutting this year was one of the conditions set by the Lib Dems. “Labour lies” you all said.

    I posted about a Financial Times article in which its political editor wrote of conversations with anonymous leading Lib Dems who said that Vince Cable had never believed in putting off cuts. “Lying Labour hack” you said.

    And then Clegg comes out and reveals that, not only is it not a compromise- it was definately intended even before the election. And suddenly the position you used to argue for makes Labour “deficit deniers” and you’re scrabbling about for ambiguous quotes that with hindsight could show that Clegg didn’t in fact mean to “say no”.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 11th Sep '10 - 9:50pm

    And don’t forget this one, less than a week before the election:
    “My eight-year-old ought to be able to work this out — you shouldn’t start slamming on the brakes when the economy is barely growing. If you do that you create more joblessness, you create heavier costs on the state, the deficit goes up even further and the pain with dealing with it is even greater. So it is completely irrational.”

    But by his own admission, he didn’t believe a word of what he was telling people when he was trying to get them to vote for him …

  • Mike(The Labour one) 11th Sep '10 - 9:53pm

    @Grammar Police: In fact, here’s what you wrote when I posted the link to Peter Hain saying that the Lib Dems were arguing for early cuts.

    “As for Labour’s stuff about cuts and the Lib Dems lying to the electorate. Why would any genuine member or supporter of the Liberal Democrats choose to believe Labour party spin about something like this?”

    If it was what you believed in before the election why would you dismiss the idea as “Labour spin”?


  • It’s incredible isn’t it; one minute the Greens say Liberal Democrats are the dirtiest campaigners and most dishonest on the environment, the next they say they want Liberal Democrats to join their party!

    @paul barker. The continuing Liberals have a national membership of between 250 and 300 (based on Electoral Commission data for membership fees) The con Libs get barely a dozen people to their annual conference.

  • Grammar Police 12th Sep '10 - 12:14am

    @ Mike – why would anyone choose to believe Labour about what the Lib Dem negotiators said; I stand by the comment, which is not inconsistent with my pointing out Nick Clegg’s explanation of the Lib Dem position on the economy (which was indeed our position all along. I’m not going to argue that Nick didn’t cloud the water with some of his comments in the debates – but our position always was that the cuts needed to be made in accordance with the economic conditions, not controlled by dogma, as both Lab/Con were – and possibly, still are – arguing).

    I think Peter Hain has a motive for making particular claims about why the negotiations with Labour broke down – don’t you?

    As for when Nick arrived at a judgement that the economic conditions required more immediate cuts . . . I’ve said a number of times, I don’t think any single issue makes up someone’s mind on something like this.

    A number of competing factors are in play. Perhaps Nick was inclined towards early cuts anyway; for the last few years there would have been ongoing discussions within the party about this issue; the economy was constantly changing; then there was the stuff in Greece; then there was the election campaign and the PM debates – both which result in all parties and the media simplifying messages; then there was the election with an inconclusive result, and the a need to reach an agreement on a Government economic plan with another party; then there was a discussion with Mervyn King (who just said what he always said); then there were more discussions within the party; then there was the finalisation of the coalition agreement and more discussions – who’s to say what, when or how exactly decision like this is reached? He didn’t just wake up on May 6th and flip a coin.

    Can you provide the date and precise single issue which of itself alone lead you to making a specific decision on a difficult issue in a relatively rapidly changing context? I’ll hazard that it’s quite difficult for you to do that for most decisions you’ve made in your life. Those who criticise seem woefully ignorant of their own decision-making processes.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 12th Sep '10 - 12:36am

    According to his own account, Clegg had decided before the election campaign that early cuts would be necessary. But we know that he stated the opposite, in extremely forthright terms, during the campaign.

    Who can tell what the truth of the matter is? Was he lying then, or is he lying now? Either way, it’s beyond me how anyone can defend such behaviour.

    Do people really find it surprising that the party is unpopular?

  • @Jedibeeftrix: Oh well then, the answer in my opinion is that the single currency has a great number of advantages for both business and consumer, some level of tax harmonisation will be an inevitable effect of an area with virtually unlimited freedom of movement, and all the movement on the issue of common European defence doesn’t seem to be making any progress on the matter of a single European armed service any time soon. It’s more possible that it will undermine and supplant NATO in the future, though. Do you feel particularly that NATO offers us something that some form of European alliance cannot? I feel there’s certainly an argument to be made that by excluding Canada we’re alienating one of our Commonwealth friends.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 12th Sep '10 - 11:36am

    @Grammar Police: So if you genuinely believed that to cut early was your position all along- why would you say it’s a lie from Peter Hain to say that the Lib Dems were arguing for it? Surely if that was your position and you knew it, it would be slander to suggest otherwise?

    Why would it be “Labour party spin” for Peter Hain to suggest the Lib Dems were arguing for what you seem to have uniquely known they had planned since before the election, despite even Nick Clegg claiming originally that he had changed his mind sometime after the election. I’m not speculating about when Nick Clegg changed his mind- I’m using what he himself said.

    You’re all over the place. You’re trying to support a number of conflicting excuses- that Peter Hain, Ed Miliband and the rest of the Labour negotiating team are lying when they say the Lib Dems called for early cuts as part of coalition discussions. That Nick Clegg can’t have been sure when he changed his mind so when he says “before the election” citing the month of March as the earliest possible time he must be wrong. AND trying to say that it was Lib Dem policy all along! Please decide on an excuse. Did the Lib Dems plan early cuts before the election or did they not, do you think?

    You’re wrong. You’re scrabbling with weak excuses that don’t square up to reality, trying to contort yourself into the mould provided by your dishonest leadership.

    Here are the facts-

    The Lib Dem negotiating team were arguing for early cuts with Labour, a matter of hours after a campaign fought on the idea that early cuts would be harmful.
    Nick Clegg first claimed that early cuts with the Tories were a compromise that he then changed his mind in favour of.
    Months after the election he said he changed his position before the election. (We knew this all long, didn’t mislead us!)

    And this, this is ridiculous-

    “but our position always was that the cuts needed to be made in accordance with the economic conditions, not controlled by dogma, as both Lab/Con were – and possibly, still are – arguing”

    You’re talking rot. Please find a quote from the Tories or Labour saying that they want to time the cuts based on anything other than economic conditions. You don’t get a cookie for saying you’ll base your economic policy around economic conditions- as Chris Rock said that’s shit you’re supposed to do. It’s a given. The difference is that different people interpret economic conditions in different ways and the Lib Dems said that they agreed with the idea that cutting too early would destabilize the economy while it was vulnerable. They never publicly backed off from that interpretation, though they have admitted that they privately did so before the election. That is taking the voting public for fools.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 12th Sep '10 - 11:45am

    That “(We knew this all along! Didn’t mislead us!)” is the current Lib Dem position. I was going to write the changing attitude of the Lib Dems towards this in brackets but forgot for the rest- I certainly didn’t know it all along.

    Anyway, take a look at yourself. Is it logic that has you vigorously supporting something from your leadership that you earlier dismissed as a malicious lie when revealed by Peter Hain and Ed Miliband? You’re tring to rewrite your own history in your leadership’s favour- you were always in favour of early cuts and knew that was what you were voting for, you were always at war with Eurasia.

  • YouHaveNoIdea. 12th Sep '10 - 2:12pm

    Watching and listening to LibDems is like seeing and hearing a child struggling to swim. Therefore, I too would want to ‘Love-Bomb’ you all before you end up drowning! Best if you leave politics alone if you are unable to understand your party leaders are pulling everyone under, have no principles and have ditched your policies! No excuses, you remain a bit ‘spashy’ better at helping society when a pedestrian crossing or dog litter bin is needed, the rest is much too deep.

  • Anne Waters 12th Sep '10 - 3:17pm

    People in Bilston, Wolverhampton do not ‘love you’! Share of vote collapsed over 90% since May and Tory/Lib Dem coalition now dissolved. Labour won with 13.1% swing from the Tories. Lib Dems in last place behind UKIP.

    Councillor Darke, cabinet member for schools who who represents Park ward, said: “It is not only politically wrong, but morally wrong, to keep in power a coalition rejected by the majority of the electorate in Wolverhampton. The by-election in Bilston in July meant that Labour now has the electorate’s support.” (Express and Star 11th Sept).
    A quote from the Wolverhampton Lib Dem statement 11th Sept.
    “Unfortunately the strains of coalition working coupled with poor communications across the partners have taken their toll and has resulted in the Liberal Democrats withdrawing”

    Signs of things to come? Lib Dems have chosen short term gain for long term pain. I am one who voted for you in May but never again. There are many of us.. P.S. I am not a Labour supporter.

  • Nice to see in the introductory letter 3 LD councillors ready to campaign locally against national cuts by the coalition.
    I voted LD because I actually believed Cegg’s lies- I and millions of others were taken for fools.
    Radford et al are grasping at straws.
    Fool me once- shame on you, fool me twice- shame on me.
    Multiplied at least 5 million times.

  • Chris Smith 12th Sep '10 - 4:06pm

    I have experienced visceral hate verbally and near physically on the doorstep and in the streets over the last few months for being a Liberal Democrat. I am also a Roman Catholic and work in the City which means that at the moment I should be tortured slowly in the Tower before being publicly slaughtered before a panel of TV news and media luvvies all of who will be singing songs of praise to Gordon Brown and Ed Balls as the flames lick up my body. Bring on the love-bombing becauase the treatment meted out to us by members of the Labour party, biased media socialists in the BBC and disaffected old Liberals still groaning on about the SDP merger, week after week after week, is getting extremely boring and very wearing. Yes the party might implode, it might split, we will be blamed for everything including the weather but we are actually DOING something about the problems the country has and, funnily enough, not with a cackle and demonic lust for crushing the poor. I know this must surprise many but there are also many, many members of the public are with us (cue large amouts of polling stats and data to prove otherwise).
    Two final thoughts. We all have misgivings about some of what has gone on, but the bitter attacks on the party by the media and the Labour Party have, at least in my case, pushed me to support things I would not otherwise have done so enthusiastically – well done! Secondly on membership the real test must surely come next Spring when the Cleggmania surge either renews or doesn’t.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 12th Sep '10 - 4:44pm

    “Anne Waters: You’re not a Labour supporter? So who are you advocating support for, exactly?”

    It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that only a tiny minority of the population goes in for mindless political cheerleading. The great majority of people don’t “advocate support” for any party.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 12th Sep '10 - 5:03pm

    “We all have misgivings about some of what has gone on, but the bitter attacks on the party by the media and the Labour Party have, at least in my case, pushed me to support things I would not otherwise have done so enthusiastically – well done!”

    The sad thing is I expect this is true. Your party is like an angsty teen that has fallen in with the wrong crowd and is doing stupid things on purpose because daddy didn’t give you enough attention. Christ, you support things you otherwise wouldn’t because the Labour party isn’t your friend anymore? Grow up.

  • Chris Smith 12th Sep '10 - 6:40pm

    @Mike (the Labour One) To clarify – there are certain difficult policies on which we as a membership are giving the leadership of the party and the Colation government to be frank, time on. There are other threads on the specifics of this.
    However your shouty and hypocritical behaviour as a Party has debased debate about important issues to black and white, yar boo sucks style discussion which does no-one any good, least of all the country. In my case, and I think unfortunately this is a fault of human nature, I am finding it more and more difficult to agree with even reasoned opposition views when they are accompanied by calls for our extinction, accusations of betrayal, disgusting behaviour etc.
    So don’t patronise me but carry on with your vendetta by all means.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 12th Sep '10 - 7:04pm

    You’re an opposing delivering terrible governance. Opposition from an opposition party is not a vendetta, don’t pretend that you’re innocent victims of unjust opposition. “Those nasty Labour people don’t *agree* with us!” It’s ridiculous.

    Believe me I’m not going to bend over backwards to please the Lib Dems and you shouldn’t expect it, and you certainly shouldn’t petulantly declare that you’re supporting things you otherwise wouldn’t out of spite because Labour doesn’t support you.

    “We all have misgivings about some of what has gone on, but the bitter attacks on the party by the media and the Labour Party have, at least in my case, pushed me to support things I would not otherwise have done so enthusiastically – well done!”

    You’re trying to blame Labour for you supporting things enthusiastically that you otherwise wouldn’t! It’s only human nature for children. A “you made me do this!” whinge.

  • @Jedibeeftrix: Bearing in mind that it didn’t spring fully formed into existence, NATO has had it’s ups and downs but the relationship with the US has hardly been an unalloyed good for Britain. They abandoned us over Suez, cut us off from Nuclear technology that we helped to develop and didn’t show much support over the Falklands either, not to mention dragging us into that massive cock up in Iraq that’s led us to a situation where security in Afghanistan is at risk. I’m certainly not anti-American but our and their interests don’t always align. Heavens above, what if Palin were vice president now? I dread to think.

  • Chris Smith 12th Sep '10 - 7:54pm

    Mike – you really are incapable of adult discussion aren’t you?

    The shape of the Hof C itself is not, IMHO, conducive to reasoned debate. It is adversarial and plays to the many barristers that sit on all sides. I will admit that the Labour party leadership campaign has lowered the tone of every debate to its lowest common denominator and perhaps things will pick up later…I doubt it.

    I have many individual friends in the Labour and the Conservative Parties but I do not regard those parties as institutions as “my friends” and therefore I couldn’t care less whether Labour is my/our friend or not. To put it in more simple language the ferocity (and in your case heroic persistence) of your hate campaign is hugely counter-productive if you are out to change others’ views. Maybe you’re not – either way nearly all your comments are depressing in the extreme.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 12th Sep '10 - 8:27pm

    Adult discussion about the fact that by your own admission you’re only supporting policies out of spite? Not because you think they are for the best but because you don’t like having an opposition party disagree with you? You’re a joke.

  • Chris Smith 12th Sep '10 - 8:44pm

    Disagreement I welcome and enjoy. and as for “only supporting policies out of spite” that has to be one of the more ridiculous and offensive things you have said. You are clearly on some sort of mission of destruction – it is not opposition or debate – otherwise I don’t understand why you go on and on and on and on on this site. Nevertheless you are right I should grow up and ignore you.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 12th Sep '10 - 9:33pm

    “the bitter attacks on the party by the media and the Labour Party have, at least in my case, pushed me to support things I would not otherwise have done so enthusiastically – well done!”

    Spite. Exactly what I said it is- an adolescent “you pushed me to do this!” whinge.

  • Anne Waters 12th Sep '10 - 9:54pm

    Andy Hinton
    “Anne Waters: You’re not a Labour supporter? So who are you advocating support for, exactly?”

    My post spelled out the news of a collapse this weekend in a LibDem/Tory coalition in Wolverhampton. The reason I added that P.S.is that it ruled out an attack on me for being a Labour Party member. Your comment is puerile.

    I advocated support for the Lib Dems in May because of lies told me on the doorstep. I do not advocate support for Labour because of what they have become. I will never advocate for the Tories. I will advocate support for a party that believes in fairness and equality and has the moral courage to stand by its beliefs, not be blinded by power and greed and does not attack the most vulnerable..
    Hey, maybe I’m a floating voter, you know one of those you were wooing in May but now show contempt for.

  • Nick (not Clegg) 12th Sep '10 - 11:05pm

    Stephen Tail muses that members of other parties now profess to agree with LibDem policies without actually being LibDems. I suppose that’s in contrast to individuals who profess to be LibDems while not actually supporting LibDem policies.
    So, when listening to speeches by Clegg, Cable and Co, should we believe (a) what they said before the election, (b) what they say now or (c) neither?

  • Paul McKeown 13th Sep '10 - 2:19pm

    Do the moderators here actually want to have a functioning site at all????

    This whole thread (and many others since the coalition was formed) seems to be nothing but a stream of abuse from Labour supporters and nothing at all to do with the posted headline or article in the slightest. Just an election campaign being run much earlier than usual and with even greater ferocity.

    Do the moderators not realise that all the garbage about “extinction” is genuinely wished by those posters who invoke it?

    Don’t the moderators understand that those posters, if such nonsense isn’t curbed, will continue in the same depressing vein until the next General Election?

    Do the moderators not see how damaging that continual bilious miasma is for the Liberal Democrats?

    Can it really be that, in their nice, liberal, democratic view of the world they think that they should give their enemies a good clean head shot? Do they actually believe that by allowing this nonsense to be posted and then patiently correcting it, as a patient parent with a wayward child, that they will persuade anyone at all?

    The truth is, anyone who comes to this site, looking for a Liberal Democrat perspective on the news of the day is liable to leave quickly, deluged under a welter of nonsense. Streams of abusive commentary like the screed above are not going to encourage anyone to vote Liberal Democrat, the opposite in fact.

    Encouraging an open debate is fine. But is it open? Or is it just an open invitation to Labour fanboys to rant until the cows come home?

    Frankly, although the article itself was interesting, I can say with confidence that I have gained no useful insight at all from the subsequent drivel posted as comment, and indeed, having worked my way through that commentary it is actually difficult now to recall the main article at all.

    Seems like the Lib Dems are shooting themselves in the foot by ignoring truths of human nature and the cynicism of their political opponents. Good Christians all, turning the other cheek…

    Can the moderators at least explain what genuine advances in political understanding can be attributed to the commentary associated with this current article?

    I can’t see it at all.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 13th Sep '10 - 3:36pm


    As you know, this site’s “mission statement” says that it welcomes opinions not only from those in the party but also from those outside it. (In fact, if I remember correctly, you’re not a party member yourself.)

    All I can say is that it’s a good job that’s so, because the loyalists are posting a tremendous amount of misinformation here. Stephen Tall’s claim that “party membership is higher today than it has been for many years” is a prime example. So, I’m afraid, was your own claim on another thread that YouGov had reduced the Lib Dem party ID weighting by 3%. I assume you now accept that the party ID was not changed, though (typically) there was no acknowledgment of the error that when I pointed it out.

    As for the comments posted here being “damaging” to the party, I think you have a rather over-inflated idea of how influential this site is. Perhaps some of the party’s opponents do too, but let’s try to keep things in proportion.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 13th Sep '10 - 4:00pm

    @Paul McKeown: There’s a forum just for members isn’t there? If you want an echo chamber, you can always go there.

    If there’s anything specifically you take issue with, bring it up if you like.

  • Paul McKeown 13th Sep '10 - 4:05pm

    @Anthony @Mike

    Is there anything in the stream of consciousness abuse that passed for commentary on this thread that was actually reasonably relevant to the original posting? That’s really all I’m asking for.

  • Paul McKeown 13th Sep '10 - 4:30pm

    @Anthony @Mike

    Frankly, it is just not pleasant reading at all, in fact it is pretty shitty. Reading through that mountain of abuse leaves me feeling that I need a good shower to get rid of the stench. Nothing is more likely than that to just wish all a plague on their houses. If such commentary is meant to persuade doubters that Labour has a better grasp of the economic or social issues, then those pushing it are mistaken. It certainly doesn’t aid the Liberal Democrats, sure, and that’s the reason for the continual war of words, but it certainly doesn’t make the Labour party any more attractive, either, if that is the behaviour of its proponents. It just seems to make Labour and its supporters seem unpleasant, unreasonable, opportunistic and cynical. I suppose that just intimidating Liberal Democrat voters is sufficient for the day. Politics is unpopular. Is it any wonder?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 13th Sep '10 - 5:02pm


    As a matter of fact, Mike is the only poster on this thread who has expressed any kind of support for Labour.

    I can see why you find it convenient to pretend that everyone who is unhappy with the coalition is a secret Labour supporter, but it’s simply not true. Personally I’ve never voted Labour in my life.

  • David Allen 13th Sep '10 - 6:02pm

    “Anne Waters: You’re not a Labour supporter? So who are you advocating support for, exactly?”

    Perhaps you’re a Real Liberal Democrat, Anne. Like Jenkins, Steel, Williams, Ashdown, Kennedy, Campbell. Unlike the usurpers who have held brief sway since. They will not last. When the cuts truly bite, when their ideological basis is made plain, and when the nation turns against the Coalition, our party will belatedly come to its senses.

    But the longer we take to do it, the more we shall lose. The more obviously Lib Dems demonstrate that their heads are in the sand, and that they are prepared to do anything for the sake of a glimpse of power and an electoral bribe, the less anyone will want to trust them.

    That’s why Chris Smith’s “There are certain difficult policies on which we as a membership are giving the leadership of the party and the Coalition government to be frank, time on.” is so wrong-headed. We cannot afford to give people more time when they are frantically haring off in the opposite direction from the way they should be going!

  • Leekliberal 13th Sep '10 - 6:23pm

    Mike(The Labour one) – Is the Labour Party website so terminally braindead on policy that you are driven to constantly bore us witless with your rantings or are you on a sponsored destructive mission to drive us to despair? Come on it’s time we learned the truth!

  • Mike(The Labour one) 13th Sep '10 - 6:57pm

    @Paul McKeown: Of course it’s relevent. This post I’ve been in three seperate strands-

    The first, expressing the idea that it isn’t because every party secretly supports your policies or anything that they’re courting Lib Dem voters, but because of the weakness of the Lib Dems.

    The second, in reply to another poster, was about the truth of Lib Dem betrayal- showing the falseness inherent in the arguments that the cuts are either a compromise that the Lib Dems don’t actually want, or an approach that was presented to the voters before the election. The person who said that it was what he voted for, for instance, vehemently denied the idea a month and a half after the election when Labour revealed it but has retroactively decided he was always in favour of it because Clegg affirmed it. That needs pointing out.

    The third, a reply to a poster who claimed that he’s supporting things that he otherwise wouldn’t *because* of Labour’s opposition. I pointed out how ridiculous that is.

    Feel free to not get involved in any of those discussions if you don’t want to.

    @Leekliberal: Not that it’s any of your business, but I post on whatever websites scroll across the top of PoliticsHome that is about a topic I’m interested in, no matter what the party.

    Now, if any of you would like to argue with any of the issues raised in this post, feel free.

    1) The other parties are wooing Lib Dems because they scent weakness, not because Lib Dems are somehow more desirable.
    2) Early cuts were planned by your leadership before the election but that plan didn’t reach the voting public or your party at large.
    3) Clegg wanted to cut deeper than the Tories.
    4)It is childish to support policies solely because Labour are treating you as an opposition party.

    Those are the four main points I’ve made in this thread. If you want to talk substance, pick a number and try your luck. If you want to moan that I’m not treating you with kid gloves and pretending to think that you’re doing the right thing you can continue to do that too, but it isn’t as interesting from a political anorak perspective.

  • Mike(The Labour one) – I think those four points of yours are reasonably fairly made, except that before the 2009 Autumn Conference Clegg did say that he wanted the LibDems to be “quite bold, or even savage, on current spending”. Admittedly he subsequently back-pedalled a bit in tone during the Conference itself (and during the general election campaign) but it was a pretty clear indication of what he really thought was necessary. Not that I agree with him.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 13th Sep '10 - 7:44pm

    @tonyhill: That doesn’t say anything about the timing, though- he did manage to say he wanted cuts deeper than the Conservatives before the election, I don’t dispute that- I think it’s a strike against him, showing how empty the idea that the social Liberal wing clings to, that the Lib Dems are moderating the Tories, is.

    On the timing, he aligned himself with Labour before the election, pretended to compromise with the Tories immediately after it, waited a few days to be well and truly “won over” by the idea and then months later let it slip that he had his heart on immediate cuts since before the election.

    I find it interesting mostly because of how it shows the changing attitudes of Lib Dems on this site: from opposition, to compromise, to saying that circumstances had changed, finally to saying they always supported it. You shouldn’t be looking at outside factors like that MP calling for a pact if you’re scared of being gobbled up by the Tories- look at how you’ve changed. Coalition Lib Dems retroactively assigning themselves support for coalition policies!

  • Mike – how LibDem views have changed since the election is an interesting subject of discussion, but not one I have time to get into now. If this thread is still running tomorrow I will try then, but I don’t think that those of us who have spent our political lives hating the Tories are necessarily hypocrites to have somewhat moderated our views.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 13th Sep '10 - 8:16pm

    It’s more that those views haven’t been moderated- they’ve been turned on their head and claimed to have been that way all along. They’ve been contorted to accomodate revelations about your leadership, so that when Peter Hain and Ed Miliband said that the Lib Dems were arguing for early cuts in discussions with Labour you all dismissed it as Labour spin, as lies. When Nick Clegg confirms that he changed his mind before the election you assign yourselves his view and pretend it was that way all along.

    That’s why I found the discussion in this thread with Grammar Police so comical. Now he’s arguing that the Lib Dems didn’t campaign against early cuts and that the electorate knew that all along. In the middle of June he called the idea “Labour party spin”.

    And that’s why “We were always at war with Eurasia” should be the tag line for this website. I’m afraid I might be contributing to the irrelevence of the current “Our place to talk” line! Outside of member-only areas, of course.

    Anyway, if you people don’t want any opposition comments, you could have the site taken off the PoliticsHome list, or just request that non-Lib Dems don’t comment.

  • @ David Allen
    Re your “wrong headed” accusation at me for suggesting that we don’t spin around like a top on certain policies now that we are in government. Clearly I disagree with you but if you think the leadership are haring off in the opposite direction I can see your point. My own view is that the economy will pick up much sooner than many think it will, the cuts PR is one of expectation management (i.e. when they come in at much lower numbers it will be a victory) and meanwhile the hard rhetoric is giving the UK currency and markets a real boost thereby aiding further our positive momentum. To get back to the thread I think our growing membership and the public are seeing the potential positives more than the negatives at the moment. I won’t go into the latter as they are covered so enthusiastically above. I am sure this will all come up in Liverpool – maybe we could have reasoned discussion at the bar if you are going to be there!

  • @ Paul McKeown

    I suspect that you are so depressed because this site, which prior to the Orange Tories Molotov/Ribbentrop pact, served as a symposium for the erudite, is now being bombarded by people who are actually affected by those policies of yours, which sounded perfectly sensible in the thought laboratory but which, in their effect, are inevitably going to ruin so many people’s lives. But that’s politics. It is a rough old trade, more concerned with the provision of bread and circuses than perfectly honed theories which the bulk of the populace either do not understand and resent because they do not understand them or understand too well what the effects of those policies will be for themselves and their families. People always scream when they are being mugged. Hence the abuse on this once, recondite, site. What did you think would happen when you gained power? People would reward you? If I were you, I’d think positively and accept that getting your hands dirty are part of the game. The experience may even be empowering for you if you can do so without becoming demoralised. It’s been happening to those of us in Labour for the past 13 years. Stand your ground and fight back. Or better still, modify your policies preserving your party’s identity. You’ll feel much better. The Molotov/Ribbentrop pact didn’t last, remember.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 14th Sep '10 - 4:03pm

    “I suspect that you are so depressed because this site, which prior to the Orange Tories Molotov/Ribbentrop pact, served as a symposium for the erudite, is now being bombarded by people who are actually affected by those policies of yours …”

    I suspect it’s really just a question of the loyalists disliking the fact that they’re in a minority among contributors at the moment.

    But I suggest they brace themselves, because I think they are going to feel much more uncomfortable by the end of the year.

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