How to help Lib Dems like Vince Cable in the run-up to the election

Vince Cable - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsPerhaps you’re a Lib Dem Voice reader, who would love to help get Lib Dems elected next May in the General Election, but you’re not sure how to go about it. Whether you are a member or not, if you’d like to help, this article is for you.

In the coming weeks and months, there will be many action events in key seats throughout the country. For example tomorrow, Saturday 6th December, there will be a big Regional Action day in Vince Cable’s seat of Twickenham.

Maybe that’s too far, and you want opportunities to help closer to where you live. The party website has a form just for that.

You can also contact the team of a Lib Dem MP directly. One way is to go to a map like the BBC results website of 2010 and look for an MP near you. Then you can google for that MP’s site. The site will have contact details, and probably a form you can fill in to say how you’d like to help.

As for Vince’s Twickenham day, it’s going to be great. There will be good company, excellent organisation and delicious food.

And if you don’t yet have any experience, all the better. The day will have all the briefings and materials you need. If you wish, you can pair up with someone more experienced to show you the ropes. If you’d rather not knock on doors, there will be plenty of delivering leaflets.

If you want to come, the local team need to know numbers beforehand, so could you pre-register here? If you do, I’ll look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

* George Kendall is chair of the Social Democrat Group, which is being formed to celebrate and develop our social democrat heritage, and to reach out to social democrats beyond the party. He writes in a personal capacity.

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34 Comments

  • Excellent George Kendall, well done. I hope droves of real Liberal Democrats will make their way to Twickenham to support an MP who has the common sense to see through the empty rhetoric of the autumn statement.

    Other decent Liberal Democrat MPs around the country who are not slavish supporters of Coalitionism deserve support as well. Grassroots Liberal Democrats should pick wisely and support people who will help re-build the party starting with the General Election.

  • David Evans 5th Dec '14 - 11:37am

    George, The party website has contact details for all our MPs and their constituencies. See http://www.libdems.org.uk/mps Click on the photo and you get the e-mail and Phone number at the bottom of the page.

    However the best thing any Lib Dem could do to help other Lib Dems to get re-elected would be to persuade Vince that replacing Nick right now is absolute top priority. Vince can do leader’s debates, Nick will be a car crash. So get down to Twickenham, help out and let Vince know! 🙂

  • David Blake 5th Dec '14 - 1:28pm

    And just think, if there are chancellor debates too, it’ll be Danny Alexander doing them.

  • George Kendall 5th Dec '14 - 1:38pm

    John Tilley.

    We’ve already got droves of Lib Dems signed up to come. It’s going to be great.

    We can handle more, but please do pre-register at http://goo.gl/QrrJDG, so we have early warning of extra numbers. We will provide excellent food and organisation, but we need to know numbers beforehand to do that.

    David Evans, thanks for the link,.

    There are action days going on all over the country all the time. I know of several others tomorrow. If you’re one of those organising one, do please add the details in a comment below.

    Personally, I think they’re all well worth supporting. The party stands for excellent values, compassion, individual liberty, community, internationalism, pragmatism, a knowledge that the best solutions are often not the most simple, and many others.

    Whatever the compromises forced on us while in coalition, every Lib Dem MP and candidate will be fighting for those values at the coming General Election.

  • “Other decent Liberal Democrat MPs around the country who are not slavish supporters of Coalitionism”

    By that measure, Vince Cable is in it up to his neck, having been a minister for the past four and half years. Incidentally, I agree with you that he has been one of our best ministers, apart from Ed Davey, and deserves whole hearted support. It’s just that I also think this extends to our leader and even, although I’m not his greatest fan, Danny Alexander.

    Vince would have made a far, far better shadow chancellor for the debates. Maybe it’s not too late to force the issue within the party before the election. Danny Alexander will be instant death for the party as he is utterly wooden and charmless in front of the cameras and usually doesn’t answer the question either.

  • RC

    Totally agree with you on — “Vince would have made a far, far better shadow chancellor for the debates. Danny Alexander will be instant death for the party as he is utterly wooden and charmless in front of the cameras and usually doesn’t answer the question either.”

    Danny Alexander will actually be worse during the election period because the life support system provided by civil servants will have been withdrawn.

  • I am no expert, but I started following this website, as a left of centre non expert, just a grandma really, upset at the NHS act
    I thought that I would hate you all, because of the LDs okaying legislation from the most rightwing Tory government of all time.
    In fact, the views of many of your regular posters are not a whisker different from my own, particularly the more left centre contributor.Vince is not perfect and none of us are, but I think he stands head and shoulders above many of the chancer MPs, who currently represent the party.He,Charles Kennedy and Lord Oakshott, spoke more sense to me than the nodding dogs who seem to be in the Westminster Government.
    I hope that a way can be found for him to deliver the party and the country from this topsey turvey political world,where the coalition are claiming that they have delivered us and our grandchildren, from debt,contrary to expert opinion, in spite of spending more than ever before and only he has the courage to say that reducing the deficit,on present Tory and coalition spending plans, can only happen after great pain from poorer and underprivileged people.That’s all really.I consider Vince to be the most authentic and honest person,where the economy is concerned.He is head and shoulders above the other current Libdem MPs.

  • Simon McGrath 5th Dec '14 - 6:47pm

    “I thought that I would hate you all, because of the LDs okaying legislation from the most rightwing Tory government of all time.”
    You dont remeber Mrs Thatcher then?

  • Tsar Nicolas 5th Dec '14 - 7:00pm

    “Simon McGrath 5th Dec ’14 – 6:47pm

    “I thought that I would hate you all, because of the LDs okaying legislation from the most rightwing Tory government of all time.”
    You dont remeber Mrs Thatcher then?”

    I remember Mrs Thatcher – and the Coalition is far further to the right than any of her governments.

  • @Simom. I well remember Thatcher and this coalition has been more punitive and divisive than she ever dreamed of, all enabled by the liberal democrats.
    If you support what has been done in your name, over the last four and a half years, you are entitled to that opinion but in my view, your party has out Thatchered Thatcher and there will be a day of reckoning.

  • Richard Church 5th Dec '14 - 10:09pm

    “I remember Mrs Thatcher – and the Coalition is far further to the right than any of her governments”

    Really? You have a very different memory of Thatcher’s governments than I do.
    Thatcher cut the link between pensions and earnings. The coalition has more than restored that link.
    Thatcher persecuted the gay community with section 28. The coalition introduced gay marraige.
    Thatcher cut overseas aid. The coalition is the first ever government to meet the UN target of 0.7% of GDP for overseas aid.
    Thatcher de-regulated the banks, the coalition has had to deal with the resulting mess.
    Thatcher opposed sanctions against apartheid South Africa and said Nelson Mandela was a terrorist. The coalition (and virtually everyone else) recognised his huge achievement in transforming South Africa.
    Thatcher used Scotland as a guinea pig for right wing policies like the poll tax. The coalition is going further than any government has gone in devolving power to Scotland and Wales.
    Thatcher introduced the ‘right to buy’ and stopped local authorities from building social housing, leading directly to the housing crisis we have today.
    Thatcher cut funds for schools and hospitals. The coalition ringfenced them from austerity cuts.

    It seems some people now remembers Margaret Thatcher with remarkably rose tinted spectacles.

  • Julian Gibb 5th Dec '14 - 11:48pm

    Latest YouGov poll – LibDems now in 5th. Place behind the Greens… I don’t think anyone can help recover from this collapse..

    If you really believe the LD’s did a good job then why does the public disagree so strongly?

  • Yougov poll on 18 – 24 year olds – the LibDems in 5th place again, this time by a decent margin.

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/12/05/green-surge-among-young-brits/

  • David Allen 6th Dec '14 - 12:35am

    Thatcher did a lot of bad things, but she didn’t introduce wholesale privatisation and marketisation into industries such as rail for which it was wholly inappropriate, and into the NHS, schools and universities.

    Thatcher insisted that the NHS was safe with the Conservatives and that the welfare state needed reform rather than destruction. The Coalition has boasted of its ambition to shrink the State and transform welfare provision beyond recognition.

    Thatcher helped Pinochet do dreadful things in his country, but she didn’t help Russian oligarchs do dreadful things in our country.

    Thatcher wanted to preserve class division and safeguard the rich. Cameron entrenched the fundamental changes in our economy that are achieving those ends.

    Thatcher made a lot of noise. Cameron spoke softly and carried a very big stick.

  • Alex Sabine 6th Dec '14 - 2:30am

    @ Richard Church
    “Thatcher cut funds for schools and hospitals.”

    Really? Do you have any evidence to back up this assertion? Actual figures I mean, rather than the usual lazy left-wing talking points.

    I think you will find that pulic spending on schools and hospitals increased substantially in real terms throughout the 1980s. In fact the only UK government that has actually cut spending on the NHS – for all Labour’s piety on the subject – was the Callaghan administration in the late 1970s, as it wrestled the huge budget deficit that its 1974 vote-buying spending binge had run up.

  • Tsar Nicolas 6th Dec '14 - 4:38am

    @Richard Church

    Try being out of work under this government, or on a low wage.

    I can’t recall so many people being so dependent on charity for their continued existence. Food banks were unheard of in Mrs Thatcher’s time – maybe it was because the 1980s were within living memory of the pre-war years, but nonetheless they didn’t exist, or if they did, usage was minimal.

  • Richard Church 6th Dec '14 - 8:19am

    Astonishing seeing people here seeking to defend the record of Thatcher. When you try to defend casual throw away lines like this government is more right wing than Thatcher, that’s the ridiculous position you end up in.

    She increased unemployment to over 3 million. Unemployment under the coalition will be less at the end of this parlaimentthan at the beginning. She destroyed swathes of our manufacturing economy, particualrly in the north, devastating whole communities in the process and creating localised mass unemployment on a scale that we are still struggling to put right today. Meanwhile she promoted the values of greed and selfishness which characterised the 1980’s.

    And you would rather have her government that the coalition? Really??

  • Stephen Hesketh 6th Dec '14 - 8:23am

    @malc 6th Dec ’14 – 12:26am
    Yougov poll on 18 – 24 year olds – the LibDems in 5th place again, this time by a decent margin.

    Very sobering. Centrist Nick Clegg and his centre-right colleagues sought to move our party to the right. There can be no doubt as to that. I very much doubt they had any intention of actually destroying our party in the process but by a mix of design, negligence and ineptitude, they have placed the party on a collision course with a near perfect political storm.

    It may or may not work but electing a new Captain and making a sharp change of course NOW is surely the only credible response. More of the same will yield more of the same.

  • Just to get back to Vince, my impression is that he is a healer and could work with Labour and others, in a way that would be impossible from Clegg, Alexander and Laws.
    He has never looked comfortable, which makes me warm to him, just trying to get on with the job.

  • Peter Andrews 6th Dec '14 - 9:02am

    We would gladly welcome any help people would be willing to offer in Leeds North West. We have action days twice a month with lunch provided and tasks suitable for all abilities available from stuffing envelopes to canvassing with our MP or local Councillors. http://gregmulholland.org/en/contact

  • Surely the debate is pointless. Thatcher pronounced that the economic policy should be based on the Hyekian model. This has remained the case as far as I can see. Further extensions of marketization and the pursuit of self interest is merely a continuation sadly endorsed by the Liberal Democrats In Government.

  • Maybe we might just achieve a modicum of political respectability if Vince replaced our hapless leader.

  • Tsar Nicolas 6th Dec '14 - 11:02am

    @Richard Church

    I am not trying to defend Thatcher. I am saying the Coalition is worse than Thatcher. Lib Dem participation has enabled the policy of a minority of parliamentarians (the Tories) to be implemented. That’s how we’ve ended up with so much dependency on food banks.

    As for unemployment being higher under Thatcher, I’m not so sure it was. I think if it was measured by the same methods now as in, say, 1983, the figures would be comparable. But what we have now is mass sanctioning, classification of people into 25 hour per-week jobs on minimum wage as being equivalent to full time jobs on decent pay, and of course classification of a huge number of under-employed people as self-employed.

    There is no recovery, only an ongoing economic depression that began in 2008.

  • @Richard Church

    Thatcher was a Tory. Thatcher acted like a Tory.

    LibDem MPs were meant to be Liberals. In government the majority of LibDem MPs have acted as if they were Tories. If you don’t or refuse to understand the sense of betrayal and level of anger there is amongst people who bothered to vote for the LibDems last election, then there is nothing I or anyone-else can do to convince you.

    Let’s revisit things post election.

  • After January’s VAT on digital products comes into effect Vince may lose a fair bit of shine for some, I wonder if the temporary cessation of bad news prior to the general election will happen this time around.

  • @Alex Sabine
    “I think you will find that pulic spending on schools and hospitals increased substantially in real terms throughout the 1980s.”

    Perhaps, but to what extent was this down to incompetence rather than by design? I don’t think anyone would deny that Thatcher wanted to cut state spending generally, yet somehow she managed to preside over the highest level of spending (as % of GDP) in history.

  • Apparently there are some who come onto this site to tell us that squandering North Sea oil on creating mass unemployment for its political effect was something of a minor foible.

    In the 80s there was a lot of money pouring into government coffers; in the 10s, by contrast, there has been a lot of debt: the cupboard has been bare.

  • @Alex Sabine
    “I think you will find that pulic spending on schools and hospitals increased substantially in real terms throughout the 1980s.”

    An easy way to check this statement is to track the sale of school playing fields. If spending on on schools was going up as claimed why were school playing fields being sold to raise cash during the 1980s?

    It is no doubt true that one type of spending went up but did that spending keep pace with inflation?
    Did it keep pace with growing demand because of changes in population?
    Did class sizes go up or down?
    Was it capital spending (investment in buildings and new schools) or was it revenue ?
    Schools and hospitals were perhaps increasing spending on buckets to collect the water from leaking roofs.

    Trying to paint a rose tinted version of public spending under Thatcherism in the 1980s simply is not credible.

  • David Allen 6th Dec '14 - 8:18pm

    What Tsar Nicholas said. It’s not a question ofdefending Thatcher. It’s a question of recognising that appearances can be deceptive. Thatcher played up her convictions and ideology. Cameron plays them down. Thatcher wanted people to believe she would achieve a great transformation. Cameron wants to conceal the extent to which he is achieving a transformation in the way the economy works. Thatcher thought she could gain popularity through class struggle. Cameron, and Clegg, are carrying on in the same direction, in many ways more “effectively” – but they don’t want people to know it!

  • Alex Sabine 6th Dec '14 - 9:51pm

    JohnTilley: By talking about school playing fields you are really moving the goal posts! You asserted that the Thatcher government “cut funds to schools and hospitals”. I pointed out that this was untrue, that in fact spending on these services rose in real terms, that is to say after accounting for inflation.

    Spending on the NHS increased by more than 3% per year in real terms. I don’t have the figure for schools to hand but here too spending was increased. Over the period 1979-1997 education spending increased by 1.5% per year in real terms. Given that the higher education budget was squeezed, I suspect the growth in schools spending was higher than this. I don’t have per capita figures, but the school-age population was declining in the 1980s so that would if anything increase the figure for the rise in spending per head.

  • Alex Sabine 7th Dec '14 - 12:06am

    JohnTilley: Apologies, it was Richard Church who said Thatcher cut funds for schools and hospitals; you merely cast doubt on my statement that she increased it.

    Stuart, you say Thatcher “wanted to cut state spending generally”. I’m not so sure that was even her intention, and it certainly wasn’t the result. There were several areas where she wanted to increase spending, and others where she wanted to cut it (subsidies to industry, for example). Cutting spending on the NHS was not on the agenda; indeed, her argument in the late 1970s and thereafter was that one of the reasons it was important to set private enterprise free was that it was the only reliable way to create the wealth from which to fund public services, or the ‘social services’ as they were then called.

    Granted, she wanted a lower overall level of state spending than Labour planned, and she wanted the relative size of the state to fall, ie public spending as a proportion of GDP. At one stage Nigel Lawson suggested freezing spending in real terms while the economy grew, but he later satisfied himself with a lower growth rate for government spending than for the economy as a whole.

    This, more or less, is what happened once the 1980-81 recession had given way to rapid GDP growth. It’s not true to say that Thatcher presided over the highest level of spending as a percentage of GDP in history: that dubious accolade goes to Labour in 1974-75, when spending reached a whisker under 50%. What is true is that public sector receipts as a percentage of GDP were never higher (in peacetime) than under Thatcher, peaking at 45% in 1981-82. This partly reflected the stiff tax increases in Geoffrey Howe’s 1981 budget, but also the rise in North Sea oil revenues.

    Public spending as a percentage of GDP initially rose from 45% to 48% during the recession, then steadily declined to around 39% in the late 1980s, approximately the long-term historical average for the UK. But this reduction was achieved because GDP rose faster than public spending, not because public spending was cut.

    You can draw your own conclusions about whether his was the right policy course or not, but let’s at least get the facts straight.

  • Stevan Rose 7th Dec '14 - 2:05am

    @David Allen

    What dreadful things have Russian oligarchs done in this country that can possibly outweigh the murder of at least 3000 people and the unspeakable torture of thousands more on Pinochet’s orders?

  • David Allen 7th Dec '14 - 11:29pm

    Steven,

    I concede your point about Pinochet in terms of evil criminal behaviour. But my point was a different one.

    Pinochet wasn’t allowed to do anything very much within Britain itself. By contrast Cameron has allowed Russian oligarchs to become major Tory donors, to distort the London property market, and to take big stakes in UK enterprises. So in that sense Cameron has been the more cynical in terms of allowing rich and powerful “friends” from overseas to come to Britain and potentially to do a lot of harm in Britain.

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