Hitting the wrong note

I thought it was a joke at first, a spoof.

The project for a song for One Britain, One Nation has much wrong with it.  Innocently written by a class of primary school children (but with some help), this was an act of symbolic violence against them.   Exploited by the Government’s agenda, this song will be rammed down children’s throats on Friday who won’t understand the nationalistic political context behind this.  The British public saw through it and went for it on twitter – #hitleryouth even started trending as a result.   The jingoistic overtones of this music project contributes to the current debates on the concept of #whiteprivilege, and whether critical race theory should be taught. This is how this project is coming across.

Where was the diversity in this, and the tolerance which is an essential part of the UK’s character in the brief for this project?  Where was the recognition of diverse cultures in the UK – the Scottish pipes, the Welsh choir, the Gaelic folk music, the bagpipes, the tin drums and the wide range of music from immigrant communities such as the Windrush generation, who have made the UK better and richer place after World War II by contributing so much to our community and country?   You want to really engage children in the classroom?  A bit of rap, ska or grime – which excellent music teachers are teaching as part of a diverse range of music, would have been good here.

If I was Ofsted inspector, I would have no choice but to fail this project on the grounds of inclusivity.  Last time I checked, Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom.  Yet not content with one border for goods drawn down the middle of the Irish Sea, the Government is now promoting another: a cultural border running somewhere west of the Isle of Man and east of Belfast.  This shouldn’t have been a song just about Britain, it should have been a song about the UK and tolerance and diversity.

In summary, as Daisy Cooper MP has pointed out, the Welsh weren’t consulted on this and the Scottish schools are on holiday on this day.  In addition the Northern Irish were completely excluded and immigrant communities were ignored by a Government that so often seems to want to hark back to jingoism and the days of Empire.  All that’s missing is Make Britain Great Again.  Donald Trump would approve – that’s how bad this has come across.

Fortunately there are alternatives.  It’s not like Three Lions is difficult to teach in England, and you could have had a cracking joint PSHE and Music lesson on English football culture.  Next door in Wales, the Welsh got it right:

Inclusive, positive, diverse and something that everyone can get involved with, from SEND students and mainstream primary children to A level music students.

Count Binface (and what represents the UK more politically than a joke candidate standing for election?) has proposed a song that everyone can sing on Friday:

 

Liberal Democrat activists singing along at home may wish to insert the word “blue” into the Pink Floyd lyrics:

“All in all you‘re just another brick in the blue wall…”

 

 

* Simon Foster is a lecturer in Politics and Economics, and has published twenty-five books on Politics, PSHE and Citizenship.

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51 Comments

  • Liberal Neil 24th Jun '21 - 8:50pm

    Tomorrow would have been the 58th birthday of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, better known as George Michael.

    What better way to celebrate British values than by singing ‘Freedom’ by a gay son of Greek immigrant and Jewish heritage?

  • Simon Foster 24th Jun '21 - 9:12pm

    Nice one Neil. As I said, plenty of choices of inclusive songs with a good context that would make a good lesson. Especially as its Pride Month.

  • Brad Barrows 24th Jun '21 - 9:12pm

    @Liberal Neil
    A better way would be to find someone who did not have a number of arrests/convictions for drug possession, drug-driving, and ‘engaging in a lewd act’.

  • Simon Foster 24th Jun '21 - 11:12pm

    PS: To all those SLTs who have conveniently booked an inset day for tomorrow and thus won’t have to do thus I say, well pkaye!

  • Simon Foster 24th Jun '21 - 11:13pm

    PS: To all those SLTs who have conveniently booked an inset day for tomorrow and thus won’t have to do thus I say, well pkayed

  • Peter Martin 25th Jun '21 - 7:51am

    “This shouldn’t have been a song just about Britain, it should have been a song about the UK and tolerance and diversity.”</em

    OK but "we are citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" would be slightly more tricky to work into a song, Lyrics are supposed to scan!

    On geographical point of information it should be pointed out that the British Isles does include Ireland. A song about Britain could also be criticised for including the whole of Ireland rather excluding part of it. As the Ulster Unionists like to be called British they probably wont mind too much. The North of Ireland Nationalists don't want to be a part of Britain so they won't mind being excluded.

    The term Great Britain derives from it being the largest island of the archipelago. So arguably the good residents of the Isle of Wight, the Orkneys, Shetlands and the Scilly Isles are being excluded too.

    The real problem isn't about geography. It's all tied in with whether we are primarily European or EUopean, primarily Scottish , Irish, English or Welsh, or primarily citizens of the United Kingdom. We are all very much divided on these questions and look likely to be for the foreseeable future.

  • There is without question something wrong with the Government seeking to ensure school children sing a song like this on a specific day. The comments by Daisy Cooper are spot on. When the school premium is being cut and the future of children being able to catch up in lost education far from clear, you do have to wonder why Education ministers are obsessed with this issue. However, I do just think that Liberal Democrats should be slighty careful from knocking the initiative in its entirety – even if it has been hijacked by a desperate Government. By all means challenge the motives of Government ministers, but we do sometimes run the risk of looking a bit smug in knocking some ordinary people. It is also worth noting that if you look at the website onebritainonenation.com they have managed to secure the backing of a wide range of community and faith leaders, but also politicians, including Peers from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and cross benches – as well as Conservaties. Our very own Lord Dholakia is one of them. Just saying…

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Jun '21 - 8:13am

    @Peter Martin
    “The real problem isn’t about geography. It’s all tied in with whether we are primarily European or EUopean, primarily Scottish , Irish, English or Welsh, or primarily citizens of the United Kingdom.”
    Why does it matter? For most people they have no choice at least as to what citizenship they start life with i.e. factors such as where they were born, parents’ nationality etc. e.g. Boris Johnson. A small number may acquire another nationality through marriage etc.

    Aren’t people being brainwashed into this false patriotism?

  • George Thomas 25th Jun '21 - 8:15am

    “the Welsh weren’t consulted on this and the Scottish schools are on holiday on this day. In addition the Northern Irish were completely excluded and immigrant communities were ignored by a Government”

    If we can use “on holiday” to mean doing their own thing and already quite separate then this comment can be saved and re-used on almost every move this anti-devolution government takes to attack (in their minds: save) the union. How can they get away with call themselves proud to be British?

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Jun '21 - 8:32am

    @George Thomas
    “How can they get away with call themselves proud to be British?”
    Quite.

    What genuine patriot would risk doing the kind of damage to their country which appears to be happening to the UK and its constituency countries?

  • @Peter Martin
    “The real problem isn’t about geography. It’s all tied in with whether we are primarily European or EUopean, primarily Scottish , Irish, English or Welsh, or primarily citizens of the United Kingdom.”
    Why do we have to choose? These things are not mutually exclusive (along with various other forms of identity such as regional, linguistic or ethnicity) nor do they need to be consistent.

    It’s not hard to understand and we seem to manage just fine when it comes to sport: I can support my local football team where I grew up, along with the English side, Team GB in the Olympics, Europe in the Ryder Cup etc.

    The concept of having a single, exclusive nationality is not only outdated, it’s never really had much validity even going back in history (the “nation state” itself is a very 19th century concept and not universally accepted even then). People who argue for this exclusive interpretation of identity often have ulterior political motives and as Liberals, we should be wary of that.

  • I wonder if this is an issue where the Chattering Classes and the rest of the public are at odds. There seems to be a lot of sneering about a song written by children and promoted by an British-Asian former police officer.

    A lot of the public are proud to be British and are proud of the Union Jack and don’t understand that mocking and sneering about this by a class of people who at the same time are flying Palestine and/or EU flags and singing Ode to Joy as an EU anthem.

    Twitter =/= the rest of the UK.

    I personally wouldn’t make too big an issue of this song, as I think doing so will backfire with members of the public.

  • Jenny Barnes 25th Jun '21 - 9:21am

    I’m excited about my free picture of the Queen, although a bit disappointed that a picture of our real hero Boris isn’t an option

  • When I was eleven we had to walk round the inner ring road in Bradford, past David Hockney’s house, to Bradford Park Avenue cricket ground.

    We were part of the ‘massed Bradford children’s choir’ who had to sing ‘On Ilkley Moor Bar t’At’ to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh who drove round the boundary in an open top Land Rover.

    It clearly ruined my patriotic little life because these days I see the Royal family as part of the entertainment industry to the tabloids.

    Talking of which, interesting to see Hancock is getting on with the job at a cost of £ 15,000 to the taxpayer. Enough to make a Union Jack blush.

  • Well said slamdec. I’m not sure the Lib Dems will ever understand how proud many people are to be British.

  • Peter Martin 25th Jun '21 - 9:55am

    @ Dominic @ Nonconformistradical,

    “Why does it matter?” & “Why do we have to choose?”

    Good questions. I’m not sure I have a coherent and comprehensive answer except to say that what I might think personally is quite inconsequential. However, we can’t make any sense of history at all unless we consider that various groupings of people do have different allegiances and what they consider to be their own National identity.

    The Brexit issue was no different in this respect. A common theme from Remainers was to say they were Europeans first and British, English, Scots, Welsh (or whatever) second. Those who were slightly less enamoured, with the EU, like myself either would have put it the other way around or not included ‘European’ at all. It isn’t normal for inhabitants of any other continent, expect if we include Australia, to express their own national allegiance towards a large land mass.

    Ten years or so ago it was more politically correct to express one’s sense of Nationality as British rather than English. Scottish and Welsh were still OK! The OBAN movement looks like it grew up during this period. The rise of Scottish Nationalism has meant that even British is no longer PC. I expect that many of those who were originally keen on the concept, (like Joanna Lumley ?) , may well be now having second thoughts.

  • ” I am not sure Lib Dems will ever understand how proud many people are to be British ” I am as proud to be British as the next person, what I object to is being led by the nose by a populist, narrow minded rightwing government which does not represent the best interest of our country and it’s people and is always seeking short term headlines.

  • Simon Foster 25th Jun '21 - 11:11am

    I refer Peter Martin to the Collins English dictionary:

    Britain /ˈbrɪtn/ NOUN. Britain is the island consisting of England, Scotland, and Wales, which together with Northern Ireland makes up the United Kingdom.

    Whilst there are other definitions, my point is that it is contestable and that there are some people who will feel excluded and thus negative about this song, and in particular, Northern Ireland.

    The word “UK” is very short Peter a lot of things rhyme with it.

  • Simon Foster 25th Jun '21 - 11:15am

    Mark – I agree with you. That is why I was very careful to write above “The project for a song for One Britain, One Nation has much wrong with it” at the beginning. I’m sure the organisation does a lot of good in the local area.

    However, this particular project, its brief and the way children have then been used by this Government I believe is definitely wrong and need to be called out.

    Barry is absolutely spot on with that last comment – couldn’t have summed it up better myself. There is a clear difference between patriotism (being proud of one’s country) and jingoism (with an aggressive foreign policy and putting other countries down, leading quickly to racism and xenophobia).

    I’m a patriot for the record. Liberals should fight jingoism wherever they find it.

  • @Peter Martin

    “The rise of Scottish Nationalism has meant that even British is no longer PC.”

    In the 2011 Census, 68% of Scottish respondents identified as Scottish only, 18% as British only. Scottish unionism has always been strongly and proudly Scottish and nationalist while supporting the political project of the United Kingdom (although the unionist parties are now increasingly British nationalists). The difference between traditional Scottish unionism and independence supporters is the latter no longer support the union political project and seek self government for Scotland.

  • I agree slamdac. Don’t get me wrong, the thought of singing any kind of song designed to pull the nation together sounds a bit naff, but as has been pointed out, it was essentially a school project and the brain child of an immigrant to this country who thought he was doing a nice thing by showing his appreciation. In return he’s been caught up in a bunch of contrived hysteria from people who should know better than to make tasteless comparisons to 1930s Germany.

    What’s wrong with saying “not for me, thanks”? I know people think it’s hilarious and a fantastic mic drop moment to get things like “Hitler Youth” trending on twitter, but IMO they are guilty of their own snobby version of jingoism.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Jun '21 - 11:39am

    I despair at the tone of the article, and the words are worse than the ones criticised !

    Simon refers to violence against children, in this project.

    The Yorkshire kids wrote this as a lesson in the very sort of subject that the author of the article wants more of.

    The song refers to “different races” “many faces,” “love in hearts!”

    The chorus of disapproval is worse, far more, than the song.

    I write, professionally and for love of it. I have written songs for production, not lease for kids theatre for young people.

    This song was not written by great or good songwriters, but by kids in schools.

    The govt is awful, but not for giving backing to a project started years ago under New Labour when cool Britannia was at worst a laugh, and not compared to the sorts of regimes this song is!

    My father grew up in the Mussolini years in Italy, forced into the Mussolini Youth, and to salute him in a line up!

    There are some, like me who know what the differences are!!!!!

  • Peter Martin 25th Jun '21 - 1:58pm

    @ Simon,

    “…some people who will feel excluded and thus negative about this song, and in particular, Northern Ireland.”

    But not these guys!

    https://c8.alamy.com/comp/M7T5PJ/ulster-football-fans-in-trafalgar-square-after-a-win-with-flags-and-M7T5PJ.jpg

    I’m not going to be singing this song in the bath any time soon but I agree with Lorenzo. There’s nothing much to complain about.

  • Matt (Bristol) 25th Jun '21 - 5:14pm

    Until people who are concerned about this project can put their concerns across calmly in terms that put blame on the department for education, they will not win over the ‘middle ground’ that disparages overt patriotism of any kind but also steps quietly away from those who try to actively suppress people making a free choice for patriotism (because they are fearful of nationalism, or derive pleasure and identity from combatting nationalism).

    I don’t support the project in its current form – it is at best naieve and at worst a conscious provocateur strategy and even if one accepts the aims of the project, its methods seem unlikely to achieve them.

    But so far the angst over this is working well for the celtic nationalists (who can say to their followers, ‘see? the English hate our culture and want to subsume us or isolate us’) and the Brexit nationalists (who can say to their followers, ‘see? the Left elites even hate Indians and multiculturalists who wave the Union Jack’).

    Just one byelection in the home counties doesn’t – yet – give Lib Dems freehold on the centreground, or the ability to readily identify it at all, to be honest.

  • Simon Foster 25th Jun '21 - 7:18pm

    Matt – it wasn’t just one by-election on the centre ground, you obviously missed the local elections that came before it. Whether it was control of Amersham Councillor (from zero to 8 and overall control), going from third place in Oxfordshire to first and forming the first non-tory administration there EVER, or even last nights result in Chichester East with a 25% swing to the Lib Dems and a gain from Labour having started in third place, it is very clear that those people who have written off the Liberal Democrats did so prematurely.

    In addition, the Lib Dems don’t believe in your “freehold” of the centre. We’re pluralists, who work readily with other parties when they share our values. Its why the Lib Dems and Greens stood down for each other in Oxfordshire, and have formed one council group with them and are running the council now in coalition with Labour.

  • Simon Foster 25th Jun '21 - 7:24pm

    Peter – a bunch of Unionists feeling British may not be quite the argument clincher you think it is. Again my point is, is the song contentious? And of course, it is to some.

    Some, like you, may think there is much to complain about, but there are many people who may feel differently. Being a liberal, I like to listen to all points of view, and consider everyone’s view. Tyranny of the majority is exactly what liberals like John Stuart Mill have written about, and exactly why liberals and the Lib Dems will always aim to listen carefully to a range of views and plurality of opinion.

  • Simon Foster 25th Jun '21 - 7:46pm

    Lorenzo – please don’t misquote me with deliberate partial references – I referred to symbolic violence (ref: Bourdieu although I suspect he’d be the first to look at the situation far more deeply) against a group of innocent children, which thanks to the Government’s actions it clearly was.

    Were parents informed beforehand? Did the Government check before using this in such a way? Where’s the choice in this for children and parents, which the Government have taken away by thoroughly politicising this, around the fifth anniversary of Brexit?

    I believe the language we use in discussion is important – I was a trained language teacher before I taught politics for 10 years, including political ideologies as nationalism, including fascism and Nazism, in addition to my qualifications in neuro-linguistics. So I’m well aware of what to watch out for, and to call it out when I see it, which I have.

  • Simon Foster – you say ” Being a liberal, I like to listen to all points of view” unfortunately that is the problem Lib Dems don’t and haven’t since the days of Charles Kennedy. The Tories listen and are a far more open party.

  • Peter Martin 25th Jun '21 - 9:34pm

    @ Simon,

    I sometime wonder if those comparing the pupils of St John’s CE Primary School Bierley, Bradford with the Hitler Youth have any idea of its ethnic composition or even if they have ever listened to the wording of the supposedly controversial song .

    So, just for the record, these are the lyrics:

    Verse 1:
    Our nation survived through many storms and many wars
    We’ve opened our doors, and widened our island’s shores
    We celebrate our differences with love in our hearts
    United forever, never apart

    Verse 2:
    So many different races, standing in the same place
    So many different faces, moving at the same pace
    We all stand together with pride in our hearts
    United forever, never apart

    Chorus:
    We are Britain
    And we have one dream
    To unite all people
    In one great team

    This unofficial anthem may not be to everyone’s taste but then neither is God Save the Queen nor the Marseillaise, with its call that the blood of slain enemies be used for irrigation purposes!

    The worst that be said about it is that it sounds, at least to me, meaninglessly sentimental. But, as I’ve never written any kind of song, ever, what would I know?

  • Simon Foster 26th Jun '21 - 6:44am

    Malc – you have given an opinion without any evidence to back it up. If the Tories were an open party listening to people Matt Hancock would have resigned months ago. Meanwhile, as I’ve stated, the Lib Dems are forming coalitions in Oxfordshire working with other parties. How on earth is that not listening?

    Peter – again you miss the point. The students, as I’ve stated, are innocent victims in all this. The Government’s actions, trying to make people act in a way some have described as Hitler Youth is what the problem is here.

    Forcing pupils on a Friday, with no choice in the matter, to turn up wearing red, white and blue and sing a song with “Strong Britain, Great Nation” repeatedly in it (which seems to have conveniently been edited out in your version above) is a stunt worthy of a totalitarian dictatorship which needs calling out. Good luck with that in Scotland (many schools had broken up and on holiday) or with nationalist communities in Northern Ireland – is the Government further trying to undermine the Good Friday Agreement???

    Fiona – Jingoism, definition, Collins dictionary: “Jingoism is a strong and unreasonable belief in the superiority of your own country.” Attacking such crass nationalism from the Government is exactly the opposite.

    Finally, thanks to Senior Leadership Teams (SLTs) in schools such as those for my kids that declared an inset day yesterday and avoided compulsory uniforms and nationalistic chorus’ as part of Government led jingoism – well played.

  • Barry Lofty 26th Jun '21 - 9:56am

    Simon Foster: Just to say ” Hear Hear” there is something deeply disturbing going on in our country at the moment!

  • Peter Martin 26th Jun '21 - 11:00am

    Malc,

    ‘ ” Being a liberal, I like to listen to all points of view” unfortunately that is the problem Lib Dems don’t and haven’t since the days of Charles Kennedy. The Tories listen and are a far more open party. ” ‘

    It’s not just Lib Dems. The Labour Party is full of people who despise the working classes, firstly for voting Brexit and later for voting Tory. They are genuinely puzzled that they’ll vote for an old Etonian rather than them, who probably didn’t go to the local comprehensive either! And neither do they want their own children too.

    The point they don’t grasp is that the Tories are smart enough to not sneer at the voters, and at least pretend to listen. That goes a long way towards getting in the votes.

    I would expect the voting pattern in the upcoming Batley and Spen by-election will be very similar to Hartlepool. There’ll be mass Labour abstentions, leading to a low turn-out, but the Tory vote will hold up enabling them to take the seat by a comfortable margin.

  • Peter Martin 26th Jun '21 - 11:16am

    @ Simon,

    You ask in your OP:

    “Where was the recognition of diverse cultures in the UK……..”

    How about lines 2 and 3 in verse 1. Then lines 1 and 2 in verse 2?

  • Peter Martin: Your analysis of B&S misses out several factors that make it different from Hartlepool. (1) The presence of George Galloway, who is siphoning off the hard-left and Islamist vote, but may mobilise more mainstream Labour voters (who in general absolutely loathe the man and what he stands for) to turn out for their candidate. Galloway’s supporters include Corbynites who would rather the Tories won in order to give Keir Starmer a kicking. (2) The Labour candidate, Kim Leadbeater, is a local woman from a working class background who is well known and very popular locally, being the late former MP Jo Cox’ sister. By contrast, the Labour candidate for Hartlepool was parachuted in from Stockton and was not popular locally for various reasons. (3) After the unexpected (by all of the commentariat) Lib Dem success in C&A, Lib Dems could take votes from soft Tories. (3) The seat is demographically different from Hartlepool.

  • Simin Foster 26th Jun '21 - 1:01pm

    Peter: Line 1 verse 1:

    Our nation, singular.

    Wrong. The English are a nation, as are the Scots, the Welsh, the Irish, the Northern Irish Protestants with their own language, the Cornish, the Manx, I could go on, but you get the point. The UK is a rich melting pot. As any A level politics student studying nationalism would tell you: the nation and the state are two different concepts, combining to create the nation state.

    Literally excluding people in the first line.

    Unfortunately, the verses aren’t getting the airtime, the chorus, which you’ve once again ignored, is what is going round the internet in the Govt’s own tweets.

    As I repeatedly said, I don’t have a problem with innocent schoolchildren, my problem is with the Government and I suspect the project brief. It would be lovely if the Government matched some of the sentiment here. However, it’s a song that sadly, will still come across as exclusionary overall to some, myself included.

  • Oh dear, LDs don’t need lectures from right wing chancers on being either British or proud. The right is slowest realising that it’s world view (Britain has an empire, the home nations are just big counties really, the Russians are afraid of our navy and the former imperial ‘possessions’ will be asking us back to govern them soon, and the world is just gagging to learn from the Westminster model) is … well, wishful thinking at best. It won’t stop them shroud wrapping or flag waving, it’s about all they have left!

    Am sure that the song is well intended, and it might work well in areas of England that have changed through deindustrialisation and immigration.

    Ludicrous though that Westminster has seized on it, tried to impose it on school kids across the U.K. (even though it doesn’t actually mention poor old NI and the Scots kids are on holiday!) It’s quite the metaphor really for the Union cause I’d say – outdated, embarrassing, doesn’t even know what the Union is, and a waste of money.
    And, the worst part is how self defeating it is. Wales’ kids are singing Mae Hen Wlad instead and I should imagine the Scots are howling with laughter.

  • Jenny Barnes 26th Jun '21 - 2:28pm

    With the Hancock incident, I suspect that many Tories will either stay home or vote LD. With many ex-Labour voters going Galloway or Green, it’s become very hard to call. I still think a Tory win, but Labour might scrape it, with much reduced vote share for both.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Jun '21 - 2:33pm

    Simon I did not deliberately misquote you or act with partial reference thus, you said violence, yes, sorry, you did mean and said it, symbolic, but that is also in my view a way too over the top comment.

    It was a song written by young children as a project by a charitable organisation.

    If the populist government jumped on a bandwagon,. no impact from them, we expect it.

    I refer to my own family knowledge of real totalitarian brainwashing, my father was made to see films of Jews shown as rats.

    I know what is the difference, and do not need my or your academic knowledge to see or hear that difference.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Jun '21 - 2:35pm

    And the anti woke right groups and commentators, on you tube, called the song woke!

  • Simon Foster 26th Jun '21 - 3:17pm

    Lorenzo, to expect a populist government to jump up the bandwagon and to nothing about it is to surrender to the Government on this.

    I know you know the difference when it comes to totalitarian brainwashing. However, your original comment implied others, including myself did not. Hence me pointing out I do, having lectured on the subject.

    I accept you did not deliberately misquote me, thank you for clarifying.

    Peter, line 1, verse 2: Our nation, not nations. I could go on but I’m out campaigning in Bucks 🙂

  • Simon foster 26th Jun '21 - 3:19pm

    Sorry meant line 1, verse 1 there.

    PS: Isn’t it funny that people are ignoring the instructions for kids to dress up in red, white and blue in this debate?

  • Simon foster 26th Jun '21 - 3:19pm

    Sorry meant verse 1 there.

    PS: Isn’t it funny that people are ignoring the instructions for kids to dress up in red, white and blue in this debate?

  • Simon foster 26th Jun '21 - 3:20pm

    Sorry meant one there.

    PS: Isn’t it funny that people are ignoring the instructions for kids to dress up in red, white and blue in this debate?

  • Simon Foster 26th Jun '21 - 3:21pm

    Dunno what happened there. Admin can you tidy up?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Jun '21 - 3:30pm

    Simon thanks for a good reply, we agree on values and instincts, and much, but not this on one minor thing.

    I think the comments you made now are right, faced with populism we ought to react by showing we can be popular!

    Most Brits know that to be one extreme is not much better than to be t’other.

    I think we need to meet patriotism and embrace it. And feel it. It is usually, those with immigrants in the family who do. hence Policeman Kash Singh, hence my father, my wife, any immigrants. They came here and stayed because they liked it. they can feel a celebration, whether a govt is in on it or otherwise.

    And I have a fabulous patriotic song written by me for a musical I have written, that has a patriotic song that is called, you’ll love it, A United Kingdom!

  • Andy Boddington 26th Jun '21 - 5:05pm

    At times this debate has become a bit personal and people arguing between themselves. Please remember that the objective of LDV is enourage debate about the subject and we request calmness and respect for differing views

  • Alex Macfie 26th Jun '21 - 5:10pm

    Jenny Barnes: If you are referring to Batley & Spen in 26th Jun ’21 – 2:28pm, the Greens aren’t standing, as their candidate withdrew over historic homophobic tweets and there was no time to field a replacement (or they just decided not to).

  • Matt (Bristol) 26th Jun '21 - 7:48pm

    SImon — I haven’t written off the Lib Dems, and am a former member. I am just arguing that the party should not alienate moderate patriots who see nothing wrong with this programme (I do see some things wrong with this programme, by the way), and language needs to be careful, moderate and focused.

    I am impressed with the gains the party made in the SOuth East, and in some urban areas eg Sunderland. But I would ask you how you ‘know’ that all the party’s voters identify strongly with what you define as its ‘values’, and whether they would see — as you do, and I probably do, too, to an extent — any tension between those values and this OBON programme.

    The communications project for the party is further back and more nuanced, it needs to guard against triumphalism, and can be nixed by intemperate potshots at the right targets in the wrong spirit.

    I am glad the party still believes in pluralism. I would sincerely like there to be an anti-Tory, moderate, centre-to-centre-right, regulated-economy, devolutionist, democratic, pro-European, socially-conservative UK or English party to test the party’s preparedness to deliver on that promise (ie a modern, loosely John-Major or Heseltine-style party). The points of intersection would be different to those with the Greens, and the factions of Lib Dem activists who would have to hold their noses would be different.

  • Simon Foster 26th Jun '21 - 8:39pm

    JohnMc: agreed.

    Barry: thank you for your support.

    Alex Macfie: interesting analysis of Batley and Spen. Will wait to see what happens on Thursday.

    Then I suspect it will be Lagan Valley next, between the DUP and the Alliance.

  • Simon Foster 26th Jun '21 - 10:07pm

    Matt: I see where you’re coming from, and would suggest you have a look at the work of Liberal Reform on the right of the Lib Dem’s.

    Personally, I’m a modetn liberal in the style of John Rawls on the centre left.

    Some of the latest research in voters puts them into at least 7 tribes, some of whom agree with the Lib Dem’s, others don’t. I think most people would prefer the liberal value of equality of opportunity than the Tory value of hierarchy.

    As for the language, write for your audience I say. Symbolic violence is there for a reason on a discussion page, and I was quite prepared for the reactions I got. Not the language I would expect on a focus leaflet.

  • Matt (Bristol) 26th Jun '21 - 11:09pm

    Oh, I would probably be in a social democratic party of some kind, if not a liberal one.
    But what I’m talking about as missing in UK politics is the sort of centrism that would be identified as ‘Christian democratic’ in Europe. I really don’t think Liberal Reform, having read their stuff, is that kind of communalist/communitarian democratic grouping.

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