I agree with Jeremy

 

Higher taxation for the wealthiest – tick

Greater public ownership – tick

An end to private involvement in the health service – tick

A national education service – tick

An agenda of “growth not austerity” – tick

Should I be embarrassed at finding that I agree with all of Jeremy Corbyn’s core beliefs?

A bit of personal history. At university in the sixties I was not involved in politics, largely because Labour was in thrall to its militant wing and the Liberals were invisible.  Academic sociology was dominated by a Marxist interpretation of society, and alternative points of view were castigated and dismissed as reactionary. Just as today in right wing US circles “Liberal” is a term of contempt along with “Socialist”, so in those days “Liberal” was an insult hurled from the left.

Back then I did describe myself as a democratic socialist, as does Jeremy Corbyn today. Democratic socialism is far removed from the left wing Marxist-Leninist socialism that was highly influential within the unions and the Labour party fifty years ago. In a nutshell, democratic socialists believed that the state should provide a wide range of essential public services, especially for the vulnerable, under democratic control. They are also deeply suspicious of capitalism but are usually committed to evolutionary rather than revolutionary progress towards co-operative forms of social ownership.

So I still find it odd to hear Corbyn described as being left wing – back then he would have been firmly ensconced in the mainstream of his party, if not to the right. But it is evidence once again of the seismic shifts within the Labour movement that we have witnessed since then.

Since I started writing this, Caron Lindsay drew my attention to this post on Left Futures:

Newspaper pundits and Labour Party grandees have queued up to denounce his plans as a return to the dark days of 1983. This is the year Labour stood in the election on a left-wing platform, and lost by a landslide to the Tories, led by Margaret Thatcher.

The talking heads have a point. Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto is close to one of those from that fateful year. But it’s not Labour’s. It’s the Social Democratic Party.

It’s a moot point whether social democrats today would call themselves democratic socialists, but back then there was not much difference in policy terms. In other words, people who looked very much like Jeremy Corbyn today (beards and all) left the Labour party to eventually form the Liberal Democrats.

Nowadays I would describe myself as a social liberal with some socialist tendancies – because, although I’m not convinced that it is necessary to replace capitalism in order to run a just society, I do believe in a firmly regulated mixed economy. But I do place social justice at the heart of my political activity and believe that liberty must be tempered by equality. That locates me on the left wing of the Liberal Democrats, where I feel very comfortable, and I find many others who share my core values within the Social Liberal Forum.

Although social liberalism does differ in key respects from democratic socialism, nevertheless I imagine that some Liberal Democrats will find Corbyn’s vision for society very attractive. So rather than opening up a wide space in the centre left of UK politics that the Liberal Democrats could make their own, I fear that Corbyn’s Labour could well move in and occupy it. And I’m not so sure that a party under his leadership will be unelectable, as some are saying.

From another perspective, people who have worked with him tell me that he is a decent, principled man. That is to be applauded. I know enough politicians to recognise that, contrary to public opinion, the majority are committed to the service of their communities and operate ethically. So we should not fall into the easy trap of assuming that all politicians in other parties are of dubious moral character, but celebrate and work with those who share our fundamental human values and are motivated to increase the common good.

So what if we do agree with Corbyn? Then we must not be afraid to say so. The wider public good should always trump political point scoring, so we should get behind Labour, or indeed any other party, when they propose policies that accord with Liberal Democrat principles.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames and is a member of Federal Conference Committee.

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272 Comments

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Sep '15 - 12:45pm

    I agree with Mary!

  • I must have the date wrong – is it April 1?

  • Can I also ask: what are your views on Hezbollah, Hamas, Putin and the IRA?

  • Lizzy Norman 14th Sep '15 - 12:49pm

    I agree 100% with everything you have written hear, it sums up exactly what I have been thinking on this matter.

  • Pramod Subbaraman 14th Sep '15 - 12:50pm

    Fact is, this just makes Labour a left wing version of UKIP: a return to the past kind of party!

    That said the electoral reality in 2020 may mean that we may have to work with them, unless we are prepared for Conservative Government until 2030. In that case we can remain aloof and rebuild in our own sweet time.

  • As ever Mary Reid you shine through as a beacon of good sense.

    Like sunshine coming through the clouds , Mary, you have provided common sense opionions.

    I too find it bizarre that Jeremy Corbyn is described as “hard left”.

    Perhaps it is his policy of making music available in all schools, without parents having to pay. Or maybe it is his belief in providing more allotments for ordinary people to grow their own food and flowers. If those are “hard left” policies put me down as a “hard left Liberal”. If we look back Liberals favoured both things before Jeremy Corbyn was born.

    The BBC lists 28 policies that Corbyn believes in. It is hard to disagree with 20 of those.

  • Matt (Bristol) 14th Sep '15 - 12:54pm

    Thanks, Mary for being bluntly honest and calling our attention to the diversity of views in our party that some would have us airbrush out. I don’t (consistently) agree with Jeremy although I agree that to whip ourselves into hysteria about him is daft as a brush, and this new post on Thinking LIberal (a very good blog) illustrates pretty much why, in words better than wot I could come up with: http://thinkingliberal.co.uk/?p=1978

  • Stephen Howse 14th Sep '15 - 12:55pm

    I disagree with Jeremy Corbyn and the idea of him, John McDonnell and the rest of their merry band of socialists being put into government fills me with horror.

    Higher taxation for the wealthiest – practically bad because it would drive away investment, morally bad because as liberals we should believe in rewarding individual endeavour while balancing it with the benefits those individuals derive from being members of our society. There are wealth taxes we could support, e.g. LVT, but if this means hiking corporation tax and income tax just to punish the rich then we should have no truck with it.
    Greater public ownership – why do people still look back upon the days of British Rail as some sort of Golden Age? There are better, more liberal solutions to running a 21st century public service (mutualisation, say) than renationalisation.
    An end to private involvement in the health service – outcome matters most. Look at the state of the NHS in Labour-run Wales then tell me that just getting rid of private companies is the way to make the health service more effective for patients.
    A national education service – a dreadful idea. Why does the Education Secretary need to have control over what every single child in every single school in England is taught?
    An agenda of “growth not austerity” – Corbyn has already said he will run a balanced budget, he’ll just spend far more than the Tories do (and more than we would too) and tax far more to pay for it all.

  • It’s pretty clear that anyone who’s a Socialist (democratic or otherwise) has little or nothing in common with mainstream Liberalism.

    That said, Corbyn’s Labour now has 500,000 members and affiliates so I’m sure there’s room for a few more new recruits.

  • Stephen Howse 14th Sep '15 - 1:01pm

    “The wider public good should always trump political point scoring, so we should get behind Labour, or indeed any other party, when they propose policies that accord with Liberal Democrat principles.”

    Absolutely. And when they don’t, we should argue against those policies. So we must do with Corbyn, while putting forward our own better alternatives.

    If Tim Farron’s tweet yesterday is anything to go by, then he believes that is what we should do too. We will be pro-market and pro-business, offering people on the ‘left’ who are not enamoured with Labour’s direction a new home.

  • What this article crystalises is that the Lib Dems and Labour each look like a pair of unhappily married couples.

    It would seem greater happiness and fulfilment could be obtained by each couple divorcing and then remarrying the other’s spouse.

  • Simon Thorley 14th Sep '15 - 1:08pm

    Mary, perhaps you could outline where (specifically) you don’t agree with Jeremy?

  • @Harry Samuels

    Your words (https://psephology.wordpress.com/author/hnjsamuels/):

    “How have my views changed: Used to be a member of the Tory Party. Have gone slightly further left than I used to, but am mostly the same.”

    The fact is, you still look like a Tory to me. Here you are attacking a life-long Liberal for not agreeing with your Tory vision.

  • @Stephen Howse

    Corbyn has not explained in detail what he means by a National Education Service but I take it to mean consistency of approach, and the end to the free-for-all and lack of accountability that you get with academies and free schools. It would also not be incompatible with returning proper oversight to local authorities.

    I don’t think there is any appetite, least of all from the professionals, for a return to a highly prescriptive national curriculum.

  • Thank you, Mary Reid, for expressing clearly what I have been feeling, rather confusedly, since Jeremy Corbyn burst unexpectedly (I’d never even heard of him before!) onto the Labour leadership contest stage. I don’t have a memory of the years you’re referring to, even though we must be close in age, simply because at the time I was a young economic migrant from Italy, fed up with the political uncertainty, lack of prospects and economic stagnation that characterised Italy in those days, when I was still at university and trying to make sense of a political situation that defied (my limited) intelligence. So to me Jeremy Corbyn is not a byword for bonkers lefty, and I have been listening to him, and his supporters since the start of the leadership contest. I found myself largely in agreement with his analysis, his views and most of his policies. On foreign affairs I remain to be convinced, but that’s about it. It will be very interesting to observe at the Party conference, which I will attend for the first time, whether idealistic social liberals, leaning towards social democracy, like us will find that they still have a place in #libdemfightback.

  • Stephen Howse 14th Sep '15 - 1:19pm

    Mary, one woman’s free-for-all and lack of accountability is another man’s freedom to innovate and provide the right education for the children a school educates.

    I do agree with Corbyn on the importance of lifelong learning opportunities being available, but I am not convinced having one system centrally run from Whitehall is by any means the right idea – I’d be involving LEPs and Combined Authorities as they are surely better placed to make strategic decisions regarding the future skills needs of their localities than some faceless civil servant behind a Whitehall desk.

  • @Steve “The fact is, you still look like a Tory to me. Here you are attacking a life-long Liberal for not agreeing with your Tory vision.”

    How can a self-declared “democratic socialist” be described as a life long Liberal?

  • “I agreed with all of the 2015 Lib Dem manifesto ”

    There was nothing in it to disagree with because it was completely vapid.

    The reason I call you a Tory is because, after reading through your linked page, your views are, to me, indistinguishable from traditional Tory values. I don’t find it surprising that you used to be a member of the Tory party and that you describe yourself as being mostly the same now.

  • @Mary Reid ” I take it to mean consistency of approach, and the end to the free-for-all and lack of accountability that you get with academies and free schools. It would also not be incompatible with returning proper oversight to local authorities.”

    Is this the same local authorities that are elected on less than a third of the franchise and are too often one-Party fiefdoms playing politics with little regard for how parents feel?

  • @Simon Thorley
    Of course, I didn’t say that I agreed with everything. But I am concerned that he seems unsure over membership of the EU, and worry that he may not wholeheartedly support us on the referendum.

    I don’t think that Right to Buy should be extended to private sector tenants. And I totally disagree with him on reopening coal mines.

    I’m not blinkered, but trying to show that Corbyn is not as left wing as the media suggests, and as such is far more of a challenge to us as Lib Dems.

    @Dan Falchikov
    We probably have to agree to differ. But the comment about the NHS is shorthand for stopping the commissioning of NHS services from private sector companies, and avoiding PFI deals – I can’t imagine that he wants to change the status of GPs, and would disagree with him if he did.

  • An erudite and thoughtful peace, Mary.

    I am of a similar generation to you Mary and continue to consider Marxian interpretative methods a valid and academically rigorous approach to research in the social sciences. That said, having analysed and isolated the determinants of inequality in society we should be careful not too make the mistake of accepting or pursuing Marks/Engels prescriptions for remedying the fault lines that appeared in the early years of the industrial revolution. George Orwell’s moral fable – Animal Farm – eloquently dismissed the efficacy of a dictatorship of the proletariat.

    Social liberalism will share much of the same aims of Corbyn’s Labour party, if not the means by which they may be achieved. This contrasts with the Conservative party, who’s aims and the means by which they seel to achieve them are wholly inconsistent with the mission and raison det’re of the Liberal Democrats.

    We should not be afraid to espouse our support for Labour’s social objectives where they are in close agreement with Liberal Democrat aims, even where we disagree with the means of achieving shared goals.

    One area of potentially fruitful cooperation with a Labour party returning to its grass root principles is the Coalition for Economic Justice, where Alter (the Libdems action group for the introduction of Land Value Tax) has worked with like minded labour activists over the years.

    With the housing crisis in London and elsewhere at the heart of disillusionment with mainstream political approaches, we should not miss this opportunity to put essentially liberal solutions at the heart of the debate on solutions needed to meet 21st century problems.

    Another area is the management of monetary policy and the crucial role of state infrastructure investment in developing the kind of Industrial strategy long advocated by Vince Cable. We are much more likely to find some common cause with socialists on these economic issues, then with conservatives obsessed with privatisation at any cost and imposing market solutions on natural monopolies.

  • …………..Newspaper pundits and Labour Party grandees have queued up to denounce his plans as a return to the dark days of 1983. This is the year Labour stood in the election on a left-wing platform, and lost by a landslide to the Tories, led by Margaret Thatcher……..

    What they don’t say was, in Autumn 1981, Mrs Thatcher had the lowest popularity of any previous PM (16%.. well below Foot, the then leader of Labour) and was in danger of being ousted by the ‘gang of 25’…The SDP-Liberal alliance was riding high with the polls….
    Then came the Falklands…. without that convenient war, who knows….

  • “Dear Jeremy, would you be amenable to a mutual exchange of POWs? If you bring Liz Kendall to the end of Westminster Bridge at midnight, we’ll have John Tilley waiting.”

    😁

  • Of course we shouldn’t oppose Corbyn’s policies for the sake of it, but those wafer-thin statements at the start of the article need far more explanation before I could possibly give them a tick.

  • @Harry Samuels
    “Socialism, Communism, Capitalism: Capitalist. In its true sense”

    So, not a modern Liberal then. No third way, no mixed-economy , no redistributive taxation. You describe yourself as a Capitalist, not a Liberal.

    Your favourite politician is another ex-member of the Tory party – Nick Clegg.

    “so, republicanism, support for voting reform, backdated opposition to austerity, pro-Europeanism, pro-immigrationism, support for a living wage and support for drug legalisation are “indistinguishable from traditional Tory values”?”

    Republicanism, pro-Europeanism, pro-immigrationism are neither here nor there. These are issues that are split within most mainstream parties – they might not have been facets of old-world blue rinse Tories – but they’re dead now. Osborne believes in a ‘living wage’, probably in much the same way you do. What distinguishes the Tory party from other parties is their belief in laissez-faire capitalism. I know which side of that fence you’re on.

    Did you not notice that the Lib Dems were nearly wiped out because of the prominence of people with your views?

  • Christopher Haigh 14th Sep '15 - 1:44pm

    @TCO-why do you think that you have a better knowledge of mainstream liberalism than other members of the party?

  • Joe Otten 14th Sep ’15 – 1:02pm………Austerity is due to be over by 2020 anyway..

    If memory serves t was supposed to be over by 2015

  • “Higher taxation for the wealthiest”
    – for what purpose? To actually raise revenue (the current estimates are that we are at the top of the laffer curve) or just to bash them? Unless you are favouring a LVT but that is a matter of moving to more efficient taxation and that is not just the wealthy.

    “Greater public ownership”
    – Of what? BT? Utilities? Where is the money coming from? And what actually happens in the investment front when these industries start being constrained in investment due to the timing of other investment? Or British Rail, god save us…
    “An end to private involvement in the health service”
    – Yes get those dam GPs.
    “A national education service”
    – Central control, one thing that made the Soviet Union so successful… oh wait.
    “An agenda of “growth not austerity””
    – So indefinite deficit spending (or Mugabenomics, hyper-inflation here we come)

    “So I still find it odd to hear Corbyn described as being left wing – back then he would have been firmly ensconced in the mainstream of his party, if not to the right. But it is evidence once again of the seismic shifts within the Labour movement that we have witnessed since then.”

    Really, he was part of a group with Tony Benn in the early 1980s, that may be seen as mainstream by the Bennites but given the voters gave that lot a thumping in 1983 (including kicking Benn out of his seat in Chesterfield) I don’t think you could call it mainstream.

    “I imagine that some Liberal Democrats will find Corbyn’s vision for society very attractive.”
    And most people find the salespersons pitch very appealing but when the health food product doesn’t make you 20 years younger, happier and more attractive you realise the claims are outlandish. Life is a mater of hard choices, any politician who claims that there is a magic wand will poll well initially, get lots of the committed ‘true believers’ out to meetings but in the cold quite of the polling booth gets easily dismissed (and they gave the 1983 Tories a 144 seat majority).

    “we should get behind Labour, or indeed any other party, when they propose policies that accord with Liberal Democrat principles.”

    Like Labour did in advocating electrol reform in the elections in 1997 and 2010 which was followed by, oh, errr, hmmm.

  • Mary, what a pleasure to read your article and to know the flame of radical Liberalism is still alive on LDV. Your post has made my day.

    Last month it was revealed that FTSE 100 chief executives (CEO) earn on average 183 times more than a full-time worker. A report by the High Pay Centre, a think tank which monitors income distribution, shows that top bosses earned on average £4.964m in 2014. That compares to £27,195 median pay for a full-time employee in 2014, according to official figures.

    At the same time latest figures from the Trussell Trust show a 19% year-on-year increase in food bank use, demonstrating that hunger and poverty continue to affect large numbers of people, including rising numbers of low-paid workers. The trust’s 445 food banks distributed enough emergency food to feed almost 1.1 million people for three days in 2014-15 – up from 913,000 the previous year. Back in 2009-10, before the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition took power, 41,000 people were given three days’ food by the 56 food banks established at that time by the then little-known charity. (Guardian, 22 April, 2015).

    To the Orangista Tendency in the party for goodness sake please open your eyes. Stop being in denial about the public’s verdict on pale blue liberalism last May. Trickle down Thatcherism and austerity is a device for widening not closing the gaps in a very fractured society. It’s difficult to challenge when 80% of the media is owned by non dom billionaires – but challenge it we must . On issues in common let us open the conversation with Corbyn where we can.

  • @Steve “Republicanism, pro-Europeanism, pro-immigrationism are neither here nor there. These are issues that are split within most mainstream parties – they might not have been facets of old-world blue rinse Tories – but they’re dead now. Osborne believes in a ‘living wage’, probably in much the same way you do. What distinguishes the Tory party from other parties is their belief in laissez-faire capitalism. I know which side of that fence you’re on.

    Did you not notice that the Lib Dems were nearly wiped out because of the prominence of people with your views?”

    No, the lib dems were nearly wiped out because people of your views insisted on telling voters that we were an anti Tory party rather than a Liberal party.

    @Harry don’t worry thankfully this is not a representative view.

  • Stuart Wheatcroft 14th Sep '15 - 1:49pm

    I think it’s telling, Mary, that you’ve already clarified that your support on particular points is subject to your interpretation matching Jeremy Corbyn’s intention. I’m not surprised to see a liberal making those clarifications – but I do think it suggests your article was, at the very best, premature!

    In fact Jeremy Corbyn is not a liberal. He’s had ample opportunity to reflect on his political identity and, I suspect, has not felt much indecision on the subject, at least as regards the liberal movement. I think we are all likely to disagree with much of his agenda, as that becomes clearer.

    Personally I feel the direction of travel of the Labour Party is already pretty clearly one I cannot welcome. That’s hardly new, of course, but if anything I expect it to become even less liberal than it was.

  • @Christopher Haigh I don’t. The clue is in the Party name. Hint: it’s Liberal Democrats, not Socialist Democrats.

  • @Psi +1

  • Neil Bradbury 14th Sep '15 - 1:52pm

    No need to be embarrassed but I would say you are wrong and your views aren’t in line with mainstream Liberla thinking in a number of areas.

    Higher taxation for the wealthiest – tick, I agree but from what I can see Corbyn is proposing higher tax for the highest earners. A small distinction but a massive one that means you end up taxing initiative.

    Greater public ownership – no tick from me. This means more state ownership of companies. Apart from the fact that the state has a patchy record here, we should be in favour of employee ownership and influence and recognise that mutuality is a good way forward.

    An end to private involvement in the health service – no tick here. Are you in favour of nationalising all GPs and dentists? Do you think that private companies and independent providers (ie charities) have no role to play in driving up standards. The red cross for example has been running good schemes helping people in the transition out of hospital. Real innovation that has come from outside the state.

    A national education service – no tick from me. Why do we want a one size fits all education system? The solution for teaching in an inner city school should be radically different to a small rural school with a homogeneous population. Lets not stifle innovation.

    An agenda of “growth not austerity” – tick – but its a meaningless motherhood and apple pie statement so everyone would agree with it.

  • Peter Bancroft 14th Sep '15 - 1:54pm

    The difference from now and the 1960s is surely the decline and fall of the Soviet Union and therefore de-legitimising the belief that the communist/ socialist model is a viable alternative to today’s liberal market model (or yesterday’s American-led model).

    In our party we often talk about the similarities between Social Democracy and Liberalism. They are definite competing ideologies, however the types of policies they recommend are often quite similar. That is not at all true of democratic socialism which relies on huge centralisation of power in Whitehall and arbitrary and punitive attacks on private property, business, relations and personal life.

    Many people in our party have welcomed the political debate widening by Labour moving away from social democracy, which is something I regret. I’d much rather have Labour offering ideas which are not fully incompatible with our own, particularly given the reality that we spend most of our time watching government from the opposition benches. The move to re-legitimate democratic socialism in the UK is akin to Cameron’s Conservatives wanting to bring back discrimination based on race and sexual orientation. It is not to be welcomed.

  • Stephen Howse 14th Sep '15 - 1:54pm

    “Jeremy Corbyn is not a liberal”

    That this is a point anyone even feels the need to have to make on here is, to say the least, a tad concerning.

  • @expats Thatcher’s poll ratings were recovering by the end of 1981. Yes the Falklands and Foot helped, but it’s likely she would still have won in 1983, just not by a landslide

  • @Stuart Wheatcroft
    “In fact Jeremy Corbyn is not a liberal.”

    Really? Would you like to back up that claim with some evidence. I’m all ears if you can, but already Corbyn has demonstrated himself to be a far better liberal than Farron over the issues surrounding Osama bin Laden’s death.

  • paul barker 14th Sep '15 - 1:55pm

    The article has a list of policies designed to win over moderate lefties, those are not Corbyns core beleifs. Corbyn is a communist & thinks that the millions who died in the early years of the Russian experiment with Communism were unfortunate. He wants to run that experiment again, with us as the guinea pigs. Most of the slogans the new Labour leadership come out with are vague & ambiguous & they are meant to be. Corbyn is Trotsky with a dog collar, all fluffy platitudes & Moral Crusades.
    The Labour we see today is already a long way to the Left of The Party that elected Corbyn & the Leftward shift is still accelerating as more people from the Left join & moderates drift away. This is just the start of Labour,s transformation.

  • An excellent article Mary. Ignore the naysayers.

  • @Stephen Howse

    You just don’t get it do you. What part of liberal-left do you not understand? I can understand you setting out to argue against the left bit, but to describe Corbyn as not being a liberal is absurd.

  • Stephen Howse 14th Sep '15 - 2:03pm

    “What part of liberal-left do you not understand?”

    The part where liberalism and socialism are compatible ideologies, I suppose. Enlighten me – because as far as I can see, liberalism is an ideology which promotes individual rights and freedoms while socialism is one which tramples them under the foot of the social ‘greater good’.

  • John Nicholson 14th Sep '15 - 2:03pm

    I agree with Mary, and am delighted to do so. I am, though, very disappointed at some of the comments that follow her piece. As Liberals, are we (any of us) really content with the growth of inequality that we have seen in the last 35 years in Britain? Bankers and other simply do not create so much wealth that they should be allowed to take their winnings out of the system (as happens now) and leave the rest to struggle. One of our core values as that no-one should be enslaved by poverty. If we will not challenge the obscene and unearned wealth of the less than 1% when it clearly impoverishes others, we are betraying that value. It is not about punishing the rich; it is about introducing a bit of fairness.

  • @ TCO “Dear Jeremy, would you be amenable to a mutual exchange of POWs? If you bring Liz Kendall to the end of Westminster Bridge at midnight, we’ll have John Tilley waiting.”

    Nah….. much better……Dear Dave (or Boris or Nige), Now that the Premier League transfer window has closed would you be amenable to giving a good home to a few free transfer MOT failed ex-Coalitionists together with a collection of reduced to clear Orange Books as a modest contribution peace and harmony at half-time ? Was going to send Liz Kendall, but Jose ain’t too keen on having women on the pitch (come to that, neither was Nick).

  • @Steve

    You just don’t get it do you. What part of “Socialist-authoritarian” do you not understand? I can understand you setting out to ignore the authoritarian bit, but to describe Corbyn as a liberal is absurd.

  • Graham Evans 14th Sep '15 - 2:05pm

    @Steve. Just because Mary Reid has been a life-long member of the Party doesn’t make her thinking regarding Jeremy Corbyn any less naive, nor in anyway validate her claim that her ideas represent authentic liberalism. I too am a life-long Party member, for over 40 years, but unlike her I recognise that the world has moved on from the 1980s, let alone the 1960s. The depressing thing about the left in politics, not only in Britain, but throughout much of Western Europe, is the failure to embrace the change while developing policies which enhance the benefits and ameliorate the drawbacks. Instead we are offered “solutions” to economic and social structures which no longer exist.

  • Andrew Emmerson 14th Sep '15 - 2:05pm

    Goodness LDV’s love in of Corbyn is embarrassing.

  • I went to university at the end of the sixties. I marched against the Vietnam war and I considered myself a social democrat. I joined the SDP in 1981 but I don’t share Mary’s view about Mr Corbyn. I don’t think his views would chime with Shirley Williams, who has really been my role model. Corbyn would be close to Tony Benn, not Shirley. I doubt she agrees with printing money to solve our economic problems, known now as PQE. I doubt she supports Mr Putin over Ukraine. I want to see a regulated market economy and real support for those in need because we care.

    Similarly colleagues who want us to work with Greens, should look at their socialist manifesto for the last election.

  • @Graham Evans ” I too am a life-long Party member, for over 40 years, but unlike her I recognise that the world has moved on from the 1980s, let alone the 1960s. ”

    Thank you. You’ve restored my faith that this isn’t just some sort of generational malaise; a soixante-huitard harking back to the “good-old-days”, when real men (it was never the women) manned the barricades.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Sep '15 - 2:13pm

    I actually submitted a formal complaint to the BBC for that article (the one citing his core beliefs) on the weekend. It is a traditional tactic of the hard left – suggest arguably extreme policies all day and then when speaking to the press only highlight your more reasonable sounding ones. It missed his pacifism and sympathies with terrorists completely off the list.

    I don’t believe Jeremy Corbyn even has a left wing foreign policy. It is completely different to that of Attlee and Bevan and I think the battle can be won on this: Corbyn’s isolationist defence and foreign policy is not left wing.

    Regards

  • @David Raw we’ll offer you and John on a two-for-one 😉

  • I’ll note that the people saying the Corbyn is on the cusp of sweeping in a new wave of popular socialist policies are the same as were claiming that Milliband was about to sweep to victory by taking left.

    If the last 5 years teach anything, it is to avoid getting pulled close to another party, keep distinct and keep it liberal.

  • @Graham Evans
    I certainly did not claim that my ideas represent ‘authentic’ liberalism (a phrase that was abused during the leadership campaign). But I do claim that my position as a social liberal is a legitimate one for a Lib Dem to hold, and indeed there are many of us within the party.

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a democratic socialist these days. My point was that while we split hairs over all the variants of ‘democratic’, ‘liberal’ and ‘social’, what matters is policies that match our fundamental values. And if Corbyn is proposing some that we agree with then we should support them.

    My other point was the danger to us posed by Corbyn’s attractiveness to voters.

  • “The part where liberalism and socialism are compatible ideologies, I suppose. Enlighten me – because as far as I can see, liberalism is an ideology which promotes individual rights and freedoms while socialism is one which tramples them under the foot of the social ‘greater good’.”

    Yes, I personally had my individual rights and freedoms trampled on this morning when I drove my car on publicly-owned roads. I could have chosen to have them trampled on in a different way by taking the train on publicly owned tracks and if that commie gets in he’ll trample me even further into the ground if I take a publicly owned train. If he goes all Commie Merkel and introduces rent controls it’ll be the end.

    I don’t agree with much of Corbyn’s personal policy prescriptions but to describe him as hard-left and to deny that he is a liberal is the playground politics of the entitled, hard-right. By choosing to join in with those attacks will paint the Lib Dems as such.

  • Stephen Howse 14th Sep '15 - 2:20pm

    “I don’t agree with much of Corbyn’s personal policy prescriptions but to describe him as hard-left and to deny that he is a liberal is the playground politics of the entitled, hard-right.”

    There is nothing ‘hard-right’ about being anti-socialist. And there is nothing liberal about socialism.

  • @Eddie Sammon
    “It missed his pacifism and sympathies withv terrorists”

    Sympathy with terrorists? That really is a libellous and unfounded comment. I wouldn’t always agree with Corbyn’s approach to these matters but the fact that he looks to non-violent solutions to conflict does not equate to sympathy with terrorists. That is obvious. What is this, the Daily Mail?

  • @Mary Reid “My other point was the danger to us posed by Corbyn’s attractiveness to voters.”

    That has yet to be shown. He’s undeniably attractive to the old-style socialists, student ingénues and mischief-makers who signed up to vote in Labour’s leadership election.

  • Richard Ingram 14th Sep '15 - 2:23pm

    I think you have to carefully look at the proposed method of travel . It’s very easy to say I agree on headline policies like “Tackling the Housing Crisis” ” Improving Mental Health” two areas where LibDems have and continue to campaign. When digging into the detail many will find they don’t believe his method of travel stacks up and this is where we need to put the Lib dem way forward. It will interesting how many of his policies standing for leader make it through to be Labour policies and how watered down they might become.

  • Duncan Reid 14th Sep '15 - 2:24pm

    All of our mainstream policital parties are made up of people of varying opinion and thought – we are, each of us, a broad church. We join or support a specific party because we feel that they best broadly represent our own understanding of how society should be run. The fact that we are members of the Liberal Democratic party does not mean that we won’t or can’t, in some way, support the policies of another political party, or have sympathy for certain individuals who nail their colours to another mast. In fact it would be greatly surpising if we did not, for there is always going to be a great deal of overlap in policy as our different political ideologies draw us to similar conclusions on issue, albeit from differing perspectives. As such I agree with Mary. Not just as regards my support for some of Jeremy Corbyns policies and beliefs on social justice and fairness, but also in my support for a more progressive politics that applauds truth, no matter which mouth it comes out of. We are far too comfortable in our negative politics that looks to score political points and spin to our own advantage. Let us celebrate our sameness whist also being mindful to clearly communicate our differences.

    Maybe Harry and Steve should take note…

  • @Steve “you can judge a man by the company he keeps.”

  • Mary do you have any comments on Corbyn’s and McDonnell’s attitudes to terrorists?

  • Mark Blackburn 14th Sep '15 - 2:32pm

    Mary, thank you for providing such a well-reasoned and balanced antidote to the Daily Mail-like hysteria emanating from the right wing of our party. I did a correlation exercise between our 2010 manifesto and Corbyn’s election manifesto and found a 73% overlap (actually, I made that up but it wouldn’t surprise me). The difference is you suspect JC would try and stick to his manifesto, whereas NC threw ours out of the window, using the Coalition as an excuse to move our party to the right.

  • Matt (Bristol) 14th Sep '15 - 2:33pm

    Can I say that:
    1) Corbyn definitely presents a clear risk to LibDems picking up Green and Labour votes in Bristol, the self-styled ‘rebel city against all authority’ as a piece of graffiti in the Avon Gorge used to say. Can’t comment on other areas.
    2) There is a difference between robustly opposing Corbyn and hysterically demonising Corbyn and we need to strike it.
    3) I am sceptical, but note in Labour’s new shadow Communities Secretary being designated as ‘Shadow Minister for the Constitutional Convention’. This could be interesting…

  • I strongly agree with Dan Falchikov’s points:

    “If you agree with higher taxes for the wealth? Which ones do you wish to raise and with what purpose?

    If you support greater public ownership – which industries or servies do you want to hand to the man in Whitehall to run?

    If you want to end private sector involvement in the NHS – how do you deal with GPs – all of whom are private sector?

    If you support a national education service – could you explain what it actually is and how you are going to sell it to local councils and parents (who presumably lose their decision making powers)?

    If you support an agenda of growth not austerity – could you explain how you want to add to the UK government’s current borrowing of about £2billion a week?”

    I would pick out one as intensely anti-Liberal: your support for a national and centralised education service. So much of what has gone wrong in education over the last 20 years is a result of ever increasing centralisation, it has led to broad brush policies that have manifestly ignored the local interests of communities, it has created sink schools, demoralisation in the teaching profession, spiralling grade inflation and produced absurdities where children commute long distances in opposit directions. It is the product of an anti-Liberal mindset that rejects local democracy in favour of authoritarian state control.

    The idea that Corbyn has been a closet Liberal the last 35 years, but until now we have failed to notice it, is rather risible. True, many a closet Liberal, career politician has found themselves a comfortable niche with a safe seat in either the Tory or Labour parties, but are we really suggesting Corbyn is one of these?

  • @Andrew
    I’m surprised you haven’t come across Corbyn’s views on terrorism. Here he is on the 6th August (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-criticised-by-victims-families-after-failing-to-condemn-the-ira-10442683.html):

    “I condemn all bombing, it is not a good idea, and it is terrible what happened.”

    Is that not clear enough? He condemns violence. Just because he won’t be drawn into singling out one of the competing terrorist groups in the Northern Ireland conflict for special condemnation does not mean that he doesn’t condemn violence by terrorist groups. How can that be so difficult to understand?

  • Not a million miles from my thoughts… do you think LDV would welcome something similar from a newbie?

  • @AM

    We always welcome posts from new members – see our guidelines https://www.libdemvoice.org/contribute-to-liberal-democrat-voice

  • For those who are complaining that the in equality between the very highly paid and the “normal” workers, for the most part I agree that the gap is too high. The problem is that these are normally die to either the industries these people work in are un-economically profitable or the businesses they are running are too large.

    A reheated 1960’s ideology doesn’t actually address this in a sensible way. These things happen because the frameworks of these industries push them in a particular direction Corbyn doesn’t look to understand the drivers of these and work out how to fix them, he just wants him self in charge calling the shots.

    To fix a problem it helps to understand it.

  • @Cllr Mark Wright

    I think I have said enough times that I don’t agree with everything Corbyn stands for, but just looking for areas of agreement and co-operation, and recognising that we have more in common that some people seem to think. If you hadn’t noticed, the headline was slightly ironic.

  • Roger Billins 14th Sep '15 - 2:53pm

    I have never seen so much woolly thinking as published above. Anybody who is at all left of the Tories will be for more equality, less paying for reducing the deficit by hitting the poor and so on but there the similarities with a Corbynite Labour Party stop. We must remember that we are Liberals not Socialists and that means internationalism and not pulling up the drawbridges to protect a siege economy; it means a green, clean economy not more coal mines and it means allowing communities to take control of their own affairs without state control and bureaucracy; it means infrastructure projects and public housing funded by green taxes and taxes on wealth not destroying entrepreneurship by unthinking increases on income and corporate taxes and it certainly doesn’t mean printing money. Where we can find common ground with Labour then we should do so to oppose this awful government but there it stops !

  • TCO 14th Sep ’15 – 1:55pm ………[email protected] Thatcher’s poll ratings were recovering by the end of 1981. Yes the Falklands and Foot helped, but it’s likely she would still have won in 1983, just not by a landslide….

    Absolute nonsense! If anything they were worse. Her chief whip wrote to her on the 4th Dec 1981 (is that late 1981 enough for you) to say the situation had worsened since November… The battering was to continue for at least another four months, until the outbreak of the Falklands war restored her political fortunes….
    BTW…The only commentator at that time to be predicting a 1983 Tory election victory was Old Moore’s Almanack.

  • @Cllr Mark Wright
    “Mary, it’s worth pointing out that both Stalin and Mao would also have had ticks in all the boxes you ticked. So would you say you agreed with them also? I think we should be told.”

    I think it might be worth pointing out to those who were unaware, but Stalin was a murderous psychopathic despot. Corbyn believes in democracy and shows no signs of committing mass-murder that I can see. He wants to renationalise a part of the railways that isn’t already nationalised and pay for HE tuition with progressive taxation. For those not old enough to remember – this is how the Country operated in the 1990s – a time not noted for its gulags and purges. Also, for the uninitiated, a party called the Lib Dems advocated paying for HE using progressive taxation and an increase in income tax as recently as the 2000s. I don’t believe that the Lib Dems were proponents of gulags, purges and mass-murder just because they supported this policy.

  • Simon Thomson 14th Sep '15 - 3:02pm

    Mary,

    I agree with those things as well and would be happy to cooperate with a Corbyn led Labour Party to achieve common aims, however, for a number of reasons I fear this may not be possible.

    I am a Liberal because I want to devolve power to communities and work with trans-national bodies such as the EU and NATO. Labour have, in the past, proved to have an authoritarian and centralising streak hard wired into their DNA, something that I, as a Liberal,reject completely. Corbyn’s equivocation regarding the EU and outright rejection of NATO, coupled with his attitude to ‘friends’ in Hesbollah fills me with dread. Also his attitude towards transferring tax raising powers to Holyrood raises questions over the extent of his support for devolution.

    I believe Liberals need to offer a radical, but economic credible alternative that is true to our traditions. We should work with Corbyn where we have common ground, but highlight the inadequacies of Labour Party policy in areas where we have no common ground.

  • @Cllr Mark Wright
    “a genuine terrorist sympathiser ”

    Evidence please.

  • @expats “http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/voting-intention-1979-1983”

    You’ll notice an uptick in Tory support at the end of 1981 and the first three months of 1982.

  • @ TCO “@David Raw we’ll offer you and John on a two-for-one “.

    Blimey, TCO, you have all the shrewdness of the Chairman of Wigan Athletic. Losing two top class experienced pros with a proven track record and a bit still left in the tank for a somewhat confused and unproven youngster who doesn’t know which side of the pitch is right or left . No wonder we’re bumping along at 7% and heading for the fifth tier out of the League.

  • @Steve “Also, for the uninitiated, a party called the Lib Dems advocated paying for HE using progressive taxation and an increase in income tax as recently as the 2000s. I don’t believe that the Lib Dems were proponents of gulags, purges and mass-murder just because they supported this policy.”

    No, they were just wrong.

  • @Steve
    “Sympathy with terrorists? That really is a libellous and unfounded comment.”

    He once held a minutes silence to honour those PIRA members who were killed, legitimately, by our special forces.

    He has promoted to Shadow Chancellor a man who in 2003 stated, “It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA.”.

    I believe that demonstrates a sympathy for terrorists…

    Incidentally he had nothing to say when 11 of my colleagues were killed by the same terrorist group, and neither did hold a minutes silence for them.

  • Nick T Nick Thornsby 14th Sep '15 - 3:20pm

    Most Lib Dems would agree with George Osborne on issues of social/personal liberalism, but considered without its context that is a bit meaningless.

    One has to look at political views in the round, and whilst most Lib Dems would be only to happy to point out that they don’t share Osborne’s overall outlook (despite agreement on some areas) there seems to be a willingness to overlook the very many illiberal things Corbyn believes (and which are fundamental to his beliefs) because he occasionally sounds like a left-liberal (i.e. tones down his socialism) on a couple of issues.

    I can only assume that is because there is inherent assumption that Corbyn must be well-meaning because he is of the left whereas (for example) Osborne must be mendacious because he is of the right. Whereas in actual fact on the areas where liberals part company from both, Corbyn is certainly much more illiberal.

  • @Nick Thornsby “I can only assume that is because there is inherent assumption that Corbyn must be well-meaning because he is of the left whereas (for example) Osborne must be mendacious because he is of the right. ”

    I think you can assume correctly. There are many comments and commentators on this thread who subscribe to the “Tories are inherently evil” point of view. Despite, allegedly, being Liberals.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Sep '15 - 3:42pm

    Those who have accepted positions in Labour’s shadow cabinet are already publicly trimming the policies which their leader was so keen to express as absolutes. Should we adjourn the Liberal Democrat conference for a couple of weeks while we wait for the dust to settle? Canvassing in a borough council by-election up to 10/9/2015 it was clear that on a foremer council housing estate there was a consensus against voting. If these people can be drawn back into electoral participation democracy can be strengthened. Turnout was 34.3%.

  • Simon McGrath 14th Sep '15 - 3:43pm

    I agree with a number of things on the front of the UKIP manifesto:
    End income tax on the minimum wage; tick,
    Cut business rates for small businesses; tick,
    Increase defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP to honour our NATO obligations: tick,
    Invest £1.5 billion into mental health and dementia services: tick.
    But if i wrote a piece for LDV saying ‘I agree with Nigel’ I would expect to be castigated and rightly so.

  • Tony Dawson 14th Sep '15 - 4:00pm

    I am totally appalled at this vitriolic blood-letting by Lib Dems on a public forum. Then I think to myself “perhaps we should have had a bit more of it in 2010-11 rather than waiting for the culmination of the party’s five electoral demises?”

    Can I just remind everyone of a few truisms?

    There are some VERY nasty people who back Jeremy Corbyn as Labour who want a world (and Britain) very different than anything any of us would entertain.

    There were some VERY nasty people involved in the Conservative Party we’ve just been in coalition with for five years who want a world (and Britain) very different than anything any of us would entertain.

    There are a lot of right wing Labour people right now who are very upset and wonder where to go. Some of them are quite nice but others are VERY VERY nasty people even though the world that they say they want is far more similar to our own than either of the other two. Dealing with the fall out of this lot is likely to tax us far more severely over the next few years than will come from what we think of either the other two sets.

    So PLEASE Liberal Democrats, behave responsibly and leave each other alone on this issue for now.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Sep '15 - 4:04pm

    Hi Steve, I’ll consider your point, but whilst Corbyn never endorses violence (although the same can’t be said for his Shadow Chancellor), he often defends them.

  • @Ian MacFayden – I did answer it some while back.
    “@Dan Falchikov
    We probably have to agree to differ. But the comment about the NHS is shorthand for stopping the commissioning of NHS services from private sector companies, and avoiding PFI deals – I can’t imagine that he wants to change the status of GPs, and would disagree with him if he did.”

  • @Steve Way
    McDonnell’s comments were crass and stupid. He was, I believe, making a counter-point to the automatic praise and adulation given to our armed forces – the same armed forces and security forces in Northern Ireland that included in their ranks people who murdered and colluded in murdering people and have never faced justice. He was satirising those that heap praise on our armed forces for, in their opinion, bringing peace to Northern Ireland. A crass and idiotic thing to do – yes. Questions about his ability to handle foreign affairs and about his statesmanship – yes. Supporter of terrorists – no. As for Corbyn’s minute’s silence – I don’t know what his motivations were but is it possible to believe that it is because he saw all loss of life in the conflict a tragedy and he was giving ‘balance’ to the automatic sympathy given to ‘other’ combatants. Crass – yes – but it doesn’t mean to say he sympathises with terrorists. He has, as the quote I provided above, condemned all acts of violence.

  • Tony Dawson 14th Sep '15 - 4:07pm

    “TCO

    “There are many comments and commentators on this thread who subscribe to the “Tories are inherently evil” point of view.””

    Might that not be because they are? Toryism not only appeals to our baser natures, it also encourages a collective debasing of our nature. Doesn’t mean that everyone who votes Tory is evil. Or that everyone who is a Tory will be inherently evil forever.( I proposed to one once. She even accepted).

    Socialism, on the other hand is just plain wrong – and can also bring forward evil consequences. It came about as a reaction to the evils of Toryism. Just the wrong reaction. And a wrong reaction to an evil can itself bring equal evil – or even worse.

  • Tony Dawson 14th Sep '15 - 4:09pm

    @Eddie Sammon

    “whilst Corbyn never endorses violence (although the same can’t be said for his Shadow Chancellor), he often defends them.”

    So does our Prime Minister who is happy to bomb civilians to bits as long as he kills a few combatants without having any idea of what he wants to put in place once the combatants have miraculously disappeared.

  • @Steve so, by your own admission he has shown colossal errors of judgement at the very least.

    “He was, I believe, making a counter-point to the automatic praise and adulation given to our armed forces – the same armed forces and security forces in Northern Ireland that included in their ranks people who murdered and colluded in murdering people and have never faced justice. ”

    Those same armed forces who are under the control of and subject to an elected government, which can itself be kicked out. Something that cannot be said of the IRA.

  • @Tony Dawson “Might that not be because they are? Toryism not only appeals to our baser natures, it also encourages a collective debasing of our nature.”

    Well it might suit you to live in this unquestioning intellectual comfort zone, Tony, but it doesn’t help us identify why people vote Tory and how we might persuade them otherwise. Quite the opposite.

  • David Allen 14th Sep '15 - 4:29pm

    The Tories, and their fellow travellers within this party, have now shifted the battleground to where they would like it to be for the next five years. We will hear endless debate about the failings, real or imagined, of Jeremy Corbyn. Labour will be loudly jubilant when they show that some of the mud does not stick. The Tories will be quietly pleased knowing that some of it will. Meanwhile, the manifold misdeeds of the Tory government will pass relatively unnoticed. They will quietly work to enrich the oligarchs upon whose support they depend, to dismantle public services, and to marketise everything they can touch. A compliant media will leave them in peace. Corbyn, to his own detriment, will hog the headlines.

  • @David Allen “The Tories, and their fellow travellers within this party, have now shifted the battleground to where they would like it to be for the next five years. We will hear endless debate about the failings, real or imagined, of Jeremy Corbyn. Labour will be loudly jubilant when they show that some of the mud does not stick.”

    Luckilly for him Corbyn has some fellow travellers within this party to point this out on his behalf.

  • I agree with Mary and also with Caron’s earlier two articles. Thank goodness for sensible Lib Dem women!

    And I also agree with Jeremy:)

  • Richard Underhill 14th Sep '15 - 4:47pm

    Simon McGrath 14th Sep ’15 – 3:43pm
    UKIP copied Liberal Democrat policies, such as on income tax.

  • Matt (Bristol) 14th Sep '15 - 4:51pm

    Blimey … you’ve all gone mad.

  • If the guy wears a white poppy on remembrance day he won’t last until Christmas – a disastrous choice by the Labour Party. He and his Shadow Chancellor have so much history they are already dead men walking.

  • @David Raw “Blimey, TCO, you have all the shrewdness of the Chairman of Wigan Athletic. Losing two top class experienced pros with a proven track record and a bit still left in the tank for a somewhat confused and unproven youngster who doesn’t know which side of the pitch is right or left . No wonder we’re bumping along at 7% and heading for the fifth tier out of the League.”

    I prefer my spheroids oblate, so I’m not that well up on what you’re talking about, but as that great soothsayer Allan Hanson said, “you’ll never win anything with kids” 😉

  • David Evershed 14th Sep '15 - 5:01pm

    It is not liberal to

    – nationalise businesses

    – prevent private businesses providing services to the NHS on ideological grounds

    – to overspend on current government services, building up debt which has to be repaid from the tax on future generations

    These are socialist policies.

    Mary is in the wrong party. She should join the Greens or Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

  • This debate is fascinating.

    I can’t help feeling that most incumbents of the political spectrum start out with what has become known as progressive intentions. The degree to which they think through the consequences, practicalities and further implications of these intentions is what defines their position in that spectrum.

  • John Tilley 14th Sep '15 - 5:06pm

    Fascinating.

    My father once explained it to me the country pursuit of “ratting” – something from which he had earned money as a teenager.
    You put your ferret down a drain and within a second out run the rats. Then you deal with them.

    I must stress that I am not calling anyone a rat. It is the outburst of rapid reactionary comments to Mary Reid’s article that is similar to rats emerging into the sunlight in a panic.

    It looks very much like Mary’s article has been the policy discussion equivalent of putting a ferret down a drain.

    The antagonistic, knee-jerk reactions evidenced by some of the comments in this thread reveal two things.
    1…..There are a fair number of Conservative Party apologists who in recent years have been misinformed about the nature of Liberal Democrat beliefs.
    2…..There can be no realistic expectation of a coming together between the ideas of people who are genuine Liberal Democrats and those who are Rightwing Libertarians or apologists for The Conservative Party of Cameron/Osborne.

    The attacks on what Mary has written come from people who in many cases cannot possibly sign up to The Preamble to the Constitution of The Liberal Democrats.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 14th Sep '15 - 5:06pm

    I find this article and this thread profoundly depressing. It starts by taking half a dozen glib slogans of the kind trotted out at a Socialist Worker rally. Then it simply says “tick” next to each one (on the assumption, the author kindly clarifies later, that they mean what she reckons they mean).

    Is this really the standard of debate now in our party? At the very least, the author and her fans need to answer basic questions about each of the Corbyn catchphrases before we can even start to have a sensible discussion. Just for starters:

    “Higher taxation for the wealthiest” – How much higher? Over what wealth threshold? Income or assets? To raise money (and if so for what) or as an article of faith?

    “Greater public ownership” – Of what? Trains? The National Grid? Advertising agencies? Newsagents? What would the structure of such ownership be to make them responsive and efficient bearing in mind experience from the 1940s-70s?

    “An end to private involvement in the health service” – What type of private involvement? PFIs? GP surgeries? Pharmacists? Would nationalised industries make plastic hips and pharmaceuticals? Would hospitals ever buy in facilities management or gardening services?

    “A national education service” – What does this even mean? No local variation – if so, where does it leave local authorities? If it means “hand back to local authorities” what about where they fail pupils and parents?

    “An agenda of growth not austerity” – Where’s your magic pill to turn around UK long run growth so quickly and violently that it necessitates no substantial cuts to plug the deficit in a timeframe that will allow us to actually borrow the money required? If it’s Corbyn/McDonnell’s ludicrous “crank up the printing presses” scheme then, er, we need to talk.

    And that’s all just a starter for 10. Honestly, I believe in a broad church but if people in this party are going to happily swallow this sort of vacuous Kool-Aid from the SWP’s 1970s cupboard… well, we will really just need to go our separate ways.

  • @Peter “I can’t help feeling that most incumbents of the political spectrum start out with what has become known as progressive intentions. The degree to which they think through the consequences, practicalities and further implications of these intentions is what defines their position in that spectrum.”

    Interesting point, Peter. Where do you think greater or lesser degrees of thought places one?

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 5:14pm

    Well Mary certainly poked a hornet’s nest here. I think it’s just disappointing that people can simply by refer to Corbyn or McDonnell and portray them in a Daily Mail fashion as the anti-Christ. Those that have the temerity to suggest that he may just have something are being shot at when all they appear to be saying is let’s judge once policy at a time. He hasn’t been in the lob more than 2 days and people are jumping up and down in judgement. Judging in advance of what he advocates as policy seems rather illiberal. Apparently progressive taxation is a bad thing? Really? Taxing the rich rather than the poor is wrong is it? And whatever happened to the Mansion Tax. I can only image what would have been said on here had Corbyn come up with that one. It sounds oh so Marxist.
    What strikes me most is the ongoing battle within the LibDem for the soul of the Party. You may derive some comfort from the divides within the Labour Party but let’s not kid ourselves the splits within the LibDems and recriminations are there – well in what is left of the Party as it has waned over the last five years.
    Throughout the threads the arguments rage as to whether this is Liberal or is that Liberal? Do you know what – the public do not care one jot. Sure they want to know where you stand on policy XYZ but this barely concealed warfare (oh I’m sorry this is the LibDems so we will call it a debate) does nothing, absolutely nothing for the prospects of the party although I guess increasing members are wondering ‘what is the point’? Some of the venom, and I use that word advisedly, to attack the individual concerned simply cannot be seen as liberal. But if the LibDems want to define themselves not by where they stand for example of taxation vs cuts; privatisation in the NHS, the Bedroom Tax, Welfare Bill and Trident but by simply how much vitriol they can throw at Corbyn or any individual member of his team then you deserve to become the debating society you will collapse into. And a small one at that.

  • David Allen 14th Sep '15 - 5:14pm

    TCO,

    Yes, I thought you’d react when I mentioned the Tories and their fellow travellers within the Lib Dems!

  • Jonathan Pile 14th Sep '15 - 5:15pm

    @David Evershed
    “Mary is in the wrong party. She should join the Greens or Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.”
    Steady on David ! – We don’t need any Labour purge style language here , we’re Liberals and we do believe in a Broad Church. (Although we have had 5 years where the Leadership neglected this) Some businesses such as natural monopolies belong in National Ownership because of what they do i.e we dont have a mercenary army, navy or airforce, or Bank of England. Clearly Corbyn is not going to stand up for SME’s & Businesses .I happen to disagree with Corbyn on 90% of his extremist politics., but he has good instincts on the small but important issues like HS2, Tuition Fees, PR, Anti-Austerity instincts. He is massively wrong on Falklands,Defence, NATO, EU. We should welcome New Labour Social Democrats , just as we did in the 1980’s-1990’s but still work with other progressive parties to oppose the Tories.

  • David Allen 14th Sep '15 - 5:20pm

    TCO “as that great soothsayer Allan Hanson said, “you’ll never win anything with kids” ”

    I think it was Gary Lineker, and, if he was correct, Jez we can!

  • @David Evershed
    I have no intention of joining any other party! This is my political home and I have given forty years of my life to it. You really ought to read my post more carefully. If you are not happy that our party includes people like me (and there are a lot of us) then perhaps you need to rethink your own liberalism.

  • @Dave Orbison
    You make some excellent points. Perhaps after the election defeat it is understandable, but there is too much obsession with whether the policies are Liberal or not. The debate should be whether the policies are sensible, not whether they meet an arbitrary, ideological, nice warm feeling rating.

    Also, why should LibDems be under such pressure to adopt uniform group think? The forthcoming EU referendum is a private vote for citizens, not political parties. Sceptics on this site are treated like outcasts.

    People are trying to define the LibDem position on everything then selecting the policies that fit. That is one way of doing it. I would prefer to see debate from many points of view arrive at the best policies. Put the resulting portfolio together and that defines the party. The public are looking for policies that are common sense.

  • @TCO
    I would say that the Green Party has laudable intentions. Their policies often address the issue head on. The simplicity of this may appeal to activists who thirst for action.

    Unfortunately, in a complex world there is a level of simplicity that is childish. Many Green policies have damaging consequences or look ridiculous under scrutiny. As Einstein once said, theories should be as simple as possible, but not too simple.

    I think it best if readers work the rest out for themselves!

  • Samuel Griffiths 14th Sep '15 - 5:57pm

    I’m enjoying this debate, albeit with the slightly tingly horror of watching a train crash. John Tilley analogy seems quite spot on, we really are seeing people’s true colours emerging here. I feel a little sad in being proven right, but let’s face it: The two wings of this party have nothing in common. I can always appreciate a disagreement and am happy to lose battles for a united front, but some of the simple values being displayed here reflect appallingly on the individuals spouting them. At least Mary has helped us draw this into the light. Now what’s next?

  • What concerns me most about Mr Corbyn is (1) his erstwhile (at best) ambivalence towards Sinn-Fein IRA, and (2) his support for Argentina’s claim on the Falklands. A true democratic socialist would surely (1) uphold the right of the people of Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands to self-determination, and (2) execrate the criminal behaviour of clerical-fascist terrorists and a right-wing military dictator? Not Mr Corbyn, though, who seems to be happy to throw his support behind any group that is against Britain.

    Mr Corbyn will fail, for much the same reasons that Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock failed. He will also fail because he is frankly not very good. I listened to his acceptance speech and started counting the number of times he used the word “passionate”, but had to stop when I got out of my car. We are witnessing the re-emergence of “boring Labour”, something that I had thought the Blairites had banished. Poor speeches and hack oratory, and lame appeals to class solidarity. Is that what the electorate expects? Then we had a cringe-inducing solecism from Tom Watson. You watch your back for attacks by your own supporters, not your opponents.

    As George Kendall has pointed out, Mr Corbyn will likely scare people into voting Tory. So a lose, lose situation for the left and centre-left.

  • Jamie Stewart,

    that’s the first intelligent effort I have seen to engage with the issue of monetary policy on this forum yet. Much of the post-war period was spent in an effort to apply Keynesian stimulus remedies to an industrialised economy wilting under the pressure of foreign competition, when what was required was radical structural reforms.

    Much of the Reagan/Thatcherite era has been spent in an effort to resuscitate slowing service economies by applying ever more radical monetary remedies. primarily aimed at supporting increasing consumer debt and flagging housing and equity markets.

    I look forward to the time when our focus will turn to the drivers of the real economy – increasing development of transport and communication infrastructure, targeted investment in research and development, advanced skills training, full employment. adequate housing development to meet ongoing needs and real wages sufficient to meet the basic needs of young families without reliance on tax credits.

  • Some people are getting a bit hysterical.
    What I would say is this. Is all those bemoaning even mentioning the idea renationalising loss making industries like rail should also demand that we stop giving them public money and accept the consequence having no services. As to arguments about what is or isn’t liberal it depends on what your definition of liberal is and that has adapted and changed over the years just like any other political ideology.
    My view of, based on what he says, is that Corbyn is essentially trying to reconfigure the political debate and modernise the Labour party so the PLP is more accountable/responsive to its rank and file membership I still don’t get why he is more dangerous than Tony Blair and his murderous foreign policies or how talking to Hamas is worse than flying flags at half mast for the king of Saudi Arabia, a country with pretty much the same legal framework ISIS supports. And really the people who talked to the likes of Jerry Adams ultimately achieved more progress than those shouting traitor and no compromise. I don’t even think Corbyn has any intention of leading labour in 2020.

  • “I agree with Jeremy”

    And the problem with that? The other half of the Liberal Democrat Party disagree with all it.

    And there you have it, the Lib Dem problem laid bare, a party that is 50% Social Democrat and 50% liberal, two very different ideologies, a “moderate radical party”, “the radical centre” and hence they have nothing consistent to offer the public other than not being the Tories, which after a coalition with the Tories will not work any more.

    Now, how do you solve that?

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 6:21pm

    @Simon Shaw You find my comments strange so let me make it a bit easier.
    “Judging in advance of what he [Corbyn] advocates as policy seems illiberal” Corbyn has committed himself to build a Broad-church and to give ‘one member, one vote’ in terms of determining policy. You may not believe him and he may fail. But as yet he has not set out what those policies will be. He has been leader for two days. Many, not all, on LDV have already made up their minds based on what they believe, anticipate, have been fed by the media or perhaps guided by their tea-leaves, who knows, but certainly NOT a written policy that has been approved as Labour Party policy
    Whereas the Greens and SNP have found it easy to say they will vote with Labour under Corbyn on policies where they agree. So it was the rush to prejudge and dismiss out-of-hand Corbyn policies that I thought that was illiberal. You know the thing about not prejudging, open mind and deciding on real evidence before passing judgement. Perhaps you disagree with this.
    On my other point re taxation, if you really think Cameron & Osborne actually believe in progressive taxation (I don’t) then all I can say is that Corbyn supports an even greater shift so that the proportion of tax falling on the wealthy is greater than at present. Assuming you agree that the Bedroom Tax is regressive and should be scrapped, then that would accept that it would be replaced in terms of tax revenue and that this would be done through progressive taxation. Again a subtle example of reducing regressive taxation for progressive taxation. Also, the much loved Mansion Tax – certainly not supported by Cameron et al – wasn’t this a LibDem Policy? Wasn’t the idea that it was designed as a progressive form of taxation that would affect wealthy people and not impoverished? I was referring to those sort of things. I was under the impression that this was an example where there was some common ground between LibDems and Corbyn, if not on the details of the mechanism, at least in terms of the net result in terms of shift in progressive taxation. I hope this clarification helps.

  • @Simon Shaw: “It’s because you actually agree with most of what Corbyn says.” – I suspect half the Lib Dem Party believe in most of the same stuff as Corbyn. The other half, people like yourself, probably disagree with the vast majority of what Jeremy Corbyn says.

    This “moderate radical party” is actually a divided party that doesn’t stand for anything.

    You know, I said on this site that a Corbyn win would not help the Lib Dems, I might be wrong, if half the Lib Dems joined Labour as a result of Corbyn winning the Labour ship election that would actually help the party, because they would actually be able to stand for something other than not being someone else.

    Do you agree?

  • @David W
    You solve it by being grown-up and pragmatic, and working with people even when you disagree with them (as indeed we do as a team on Lib Dem Voice).

    Oh – and I never have been a Social Democrat.

  • @John Tilley “Fascinating.

    My father once explained it to me the country pursuit of “ratting” – something from which he had earned money as a teenager.
    You put your ferret down a drain and within a second out run the rats. Then you deal with them.

    I must stress that I am not calling anyone a rat. It is the outburst of rapid reactionary comments to Mary Reid’s article that is similar to rats emerging into the sunlight in a panic.”

    I agree. The unseemly haste with which the Corbyn apologists have emerged blinking has been quite remarkable.

    I find plenty in common with the moderate social and economic liberals in my party. I find some common ground with moderate liberals in the Labour Party, of the sort now recoiling in horror at what’s happening to their party. I find some common ground with moderate liberals. I find nothing in common with you.

    I do, however, note your admiration for Mr Corbyn, and will happily donate the necessary £3 whilst wishing you a long and happy association.

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 6:37pm

    Sesenco You watched Corbyn and you felt he was boring and will not win. Well you are entitled to your opinion of course. Did you not notice that he won a landslide and gaining the support of a couple of hundred of thousand votes? 15,000 new Labour Party members overnight; that wherever he went he packed out venues all over the country? I presume you do not think these are all mischievous Tories pretending to like him. As for harking back to Foot and Kinnock why stop there? Why not say perhaps Wilson or Atlee? You nor I just do not know. It seems the height of complacency to dismiss Corbyn not least because the LibDems are currently and ACTUALLY back to were you were in the 1970’s. As for the glee at the divisions within the Labour Party – read the posts on here and tell me this is a united party. It is a party of two distinct halves and with less common ground (other than the name of the party) than people want to admit. Dismiss Corbyn if you wish but when it comes to ignoring what is in front of your very eyes, I think that is rather alarming.

  • @David W “You know, I said on this site that a Corbyn win would not help the Lib Dems, I might be wrong, if half the Lib Dems joined Labour as a result of Corbyn winning the Labour ship election that would actually help the party, because they would actually be able to stand for something other than not being someone else.”

    It would seem you are correct.

    Then we might have a new SDP for pragmatic, moderate, liberal, halfway economically literate people who look at Corbyn, Farage and Salmond with a mixture of bemusement and horror (may be the “FFS Party”) I’d be first to stump up my £3 – maybe even £4 if it was around payday.

  • The contrast between the civility and thoughtfulness of the article and some of the comments should make the commenters in question be a bit embarrassed to be honest.

    As a Labour supporter who reads LDV, maybe I’ve just imagined all those articles down the years calling for a positive attitude towards migrants and refugees, or attacking the Iraq war and other foreign policy follies, or calling for a closing of tax loopholes that benefit the rich, or (gulp) supporting the idea of free higher education. It seems pretty obvious that a lot of Lib Dems are going to agree with Corbyn on these and other matters – what’s wrong with saying so?

    Five years ago, in a very different political environment, these pages were often graced with articles telling us that old-style left/right distinctions and tribalism were unhelpful and that it was a grown up and intelligent thing to agree with your opponents from time to time.

  • Dave Orbison,

    You really need to (we all need to) read what people write with care. You seem to think that I “watched” Corbyn, when in fact I listened to him on my car radio, as my words make clear.

    You remind me a little bit of the Militant Tendency back in the 1970s who insisted that if Labour adopted their programme (nationalisation of 200 monopolies, etc) they would win with a massive majority (and that the mass canvass they did in Bristol in February 1974 proved it).

    Mr Corbyn undoubtedly has attracted a great deal of support from the left. What he has failed to do thus far, and in my opinion is unlikely ever to do, is attract support from outside the left, which he needs to do for Labour to win. That is what Tony Blair succeeded in doing, and also Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson. They did not do it by preaching to the converted. To win, Mr Corbyn has to get outside the echo-chamber and present his message to the people at large. I seriously doubt that he will achieve any measure of success.

    I am not expressing any glee at the divisions in the Labour Party (they have always been there), because the new ascendancy of the hard left is likely to lead to further Tory victories.

  • @Stuart “it was a grown up and intelligent thing to agree with your opponents from time to time.”

    If Kendall had won there would be plenty to agree with. I can’t see anything in Corbyn’s programme and plenty of others gave deconstructwd Marys opening comments and ticks.

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 7:25pm

    @Stuart I think the change that you see and I agree with you, re the hardening of attitudes on issues you have listed are simply due to a gradual, but palpable, shift to the right within the LibDems. In reading LDV over the years I understand that culturally LibDems do not like to refer to ‘left-right’ but prefer to refer to Orange-Bookers or ‘economic Liberals’ or whatever. All very intellectual but it is a split all the same. A split between two groups battling for the soul and direction of the party.

    It’s clear than in recent years the Orange-Bookers have prevailed. They have been spurred on by the ‘success’ of forming the Coalition. Success that did not match the results. So we have seen on LDV, as in the party, and with the electorate, people voting with their feet. Some of the intemperate stuff on here is really insightful. Some of the wild smears and labels thrown at Corbyn, who again let me remind people won a landslide, beggars belief. Carry on like this and I see no future at all for the LibDems – increasingly members must be wondering what’s the point when that ‘denial lobby’ refuse to acknowledge the scale of their defeat and the shift in popular support for Corbyn – albeit early days. Just before I am shot down for saying something about Corbyn – please answer me this – how many people went to see Tim Fallon in any of his leadership addresses?

  • @Glenn
    “And really the people who talked to the likes of Jerry Adams ultimately achieved more progress than those shouting traitor and no compromise. ”

    Corbyn was not one of the people who talked when it mattered, he was not one of those who led the way, he was talking to them within two weeks of their attack on the Government in 1984. Major, Blair and notably Mowlam were the ones who talked when it mattered…

  • Graham Evans 14th Sep '15 - 7:40pm

    @ Tony Dawson The idea that Toryism is inherently evil is just plain stupid. One does not need to have to agree with all their policies to recognise that Tories like Disraeli, MacMillan, and Butler were motivated by a desire to improve the lot of their fellow citizens. Moreover, what does one make of Churchill, who started life as a Tory, became a Liberal before returning to the Tory fold? Simply dismissing Tories as appealing to people’s baser instincts fails to explain why through generations so many people have continued to vote for the Conservative Party (though I guess that if you are a fundamentalist Christian you believe that we are all born evil, though in that case we can only be saved by accepting Christ, and certainly not by voting LD or Labour).

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 7:52pm

    Sesenco – you are pulling my leg aren’t you? It’s OK I have a sense of humour. You berate me for saying you ‘watched’ Corbyn when in fact you listened to him. I stand corrected. However, my point was your judgement on his speech and your extrapolation that he is boring and has no appeal remains as valid re attendance at public meetings, % of vote, new members etc.
    You admonish me for not reading what people have wrote. Then from nowhere you decide I am somehow related or am the embodiment of Militant Tendency and refer to widespread nationalisation of 200+ monopolies. Where did this come from? Not my piece as that made no reference to Liverpool, the MT, 200+ monopolies etc. etc.
    The words ‘kettle’ and ‘black’ come to mind. But as was the thrust on my piece, shut yourself off from what’s happening and repeat after me “We were right, the electorate were wrong….”

  • I agree with the premise of your article Mary – and probably so do quite a large proportion of the electorate! Surely most people want a properly funded NHS, a decent and reasonably-priced transport network and an education system that gives everyone an equal chance – and for that we need higher taxes and – up to a point – more central control of some, although not all, services. Just one example: why are UK rail services the highest in Europe – because of privatisation. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jan/02/british-commuters-rail-travel-europeans

    It would not be sensible to disagree with everything Jeremy Corbyn says as the electorate will see right through that.

  • @Dave Orbison
    “Just before I am shot down for saying something about Corbyn – please answer me this – how many people went to see Tim Fallon in any of his leadership addresses?”

    I can’t answer that, but I do know that less than 32% of Lib Dem members bothered to vote for him as leader. Yet there are some here who are certain that Farron will inspire millions of Labour voters to vote for him in 2020. That seems so unlikely to me I’m sure Stephen Tall must be putting it out as his next big prediction.

    Farron will have much more chance of wooing Labour voters if he’s not afraid to agree with Corbyn from time to time rather than joining in with the Tory/Mail hysteria we’ll be getting non-stop from now to 2020. (When Clegg joined in with the Red Ed / SNP scaremongering in May it was a colossal blunder.)

  • David Evans 14th Sep '15 - 8:04pm

    TCO – It is an astonishingly blinkered view of the past five years to state “the lib dems were nearly wiped out because people of your views insisted on telling voters that we were an anti Tory party rather than a Liberal party.” Although you are consistent in that view, it remains totally wrong.

    Under your logic, the Lib Dems under Nick who went into the election in 2010 being seen by so many of its voters as a breath of fresh air, promoting ‘a new way of doing politics’ and ‘an end to broken promises’ were not undermined by Nick and Danny et al making them seem indistinguishable from the Tories. In 2015 they were not seen by left leaning supporters as so far from what they voted for in 2010 they went to Labour and the Greens, and the right leaning ones as so close to the Tories as to make it better to vote Conservative, and those who just believed in a better form of politics who went to anywhere but the Lib Dems. No from your viewpoint it was people like Steve, presumably aided by tens of thousands of others, who undermined the master plan and led us to defeat by refusing to believe Nick’s achievements like the ignoring of conference on Secret Courts, our destruction in the Scottish elections of 2011, the AV referendum, the local elections in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and the annihilation in the Euro elections.

    In your view we do not stand against the Tories who are now undermining many of the things we put in place in Coalition to ensure that “no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.” We were not in coalition to offset the Tory ideals of cut benefits for the poor and cut inheritance tax for the rich; ditching the human rights act; weakening the equalities act etc etc.

    Liberals are anti-Conservative because of what Conservatives are like in power. We are anti-Labour because of what labour do in power. What our leaders sadly forgot in coalition for five years was we are Lib Dems in order to do Liberal things in power, not simply to slow down the others for five years.

    We won’t recover if we don’t change. We won’t change if we don’t learn and we won’t learn if we refuse to face up to our failure and stop blaming those who knew what was going wrong and told us.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. We sadly started five years ago, but you still seem to want the party to continue to march in that direction.

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Sep '15 - 8:09pm

    Christopher Haigh 14th Sep ’15 – 1:44pm
    @TCO-why do you think that you have a better knowledge of mainstream liberalism than other members of the party?

    Absolutely Christopher. I would extend that to include only a very sketchy understanding of the political philosophies and histories of Liberalism and Socialism and the development of their representative British political parties.

    The view that failed Blairites are more in tune with Liberal Democracy than are CERTAIN STRANDS of Democratic Socialism would be laughable if it were not so dangerous.

  • In 2005 I voted for a party that had a policy of rail nationalisation, increased taxation and a commitment to scrapping tuition fees. The same party, in government, drastically increased fiscally regressive tuition fees, privatised the Royal Mail at a huge loss to the taxpayer and advocated reducing taxes during a period of public account deficit. It now appears that members of that same party find those 2005 policies hysterical and ‘hard-left’, denouncing anyone within their own ranks as extremist anti-liberals, despite the fact that the party was almost destroyed at the ballot box because of the change in direction.

    @TCO
    “@Steve so, by your own admission he has shown colossal errors of judgement at the very least.”

    I’m not his mum – I don’t have to agree with everything he says. I just disagree with the hysterical and hyperbolic attacks on his centre-left economic policies.

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Sep '15 - 8:18pm

    Graham Evans 14th Sep ’15 – 7:40pm
    @ Tony Dawson The idea that Toryism is inherently evil is just plain stupid.

    Perhaps then Graham we might try you with: “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”

  • Dave Orbison,

    I think you might be getting a little bit confused.

    I was making the point that there is a tendency on the hard left for people to think that their policies are widely popular, and that if only the Labour Party adopted them it would win big. I pointed out that I heard this from the Militant Tendency in the 1970s, and I seem to be hearing something similar from you today. You have been involved in a campaign which has generated a lot of excitement within the engaged hard left, and assume that the atmosphere will be similarly charged in the world outside. Clearly, Jeremy Corbyn has shown himself adept at enthusing like-minded people. Can he enthuse the rest of us?

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 8:30pm

    To the anti-Corbyn brigade not mater what he says or does….. how many people outside of the LibDems and Westminster bubble know who Tim Fallon is? Who can name any policy he stand on other than perhaps prevaricating on gay marriage – and whether it’s a sin. Nice one Tim.

    Fingers on one hand, compared with Corbyn. You know the saying no publicity is bad publicity. LibDems are becoming the ventriloquist’s dummy as he get stuffed into the box at the end of the act. A muffled cry of ‘let me out’. But ultimately helpless and whose protestations serve only to amuse. Harsh?

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 8:31pm

    I’m sorry I genuinely meant to say Tim Farron – at least I least I think I did.

  • Neil Sandison 14th Sep '15 - 8:39pm

    Mary There may be some common ground on some issues but what matters is how you deliver the outcomes .Will it be fair, Will it be proportionate, or will it dis-proportionate ,unfairly levied or as politically motivated to hurt a group of people who are not your natural supporters much as George Osbourne is currently doing from the right of the political spectrum ?

  • @Stephen Hesketh “Perhaps then Graham we might try you with: “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.””

    True colours coming out now, eh Stephen? That’s a very illiberal thing to say.

  • @David Evans it’s very simple – tell people you’re anti- something ( in this case anti-Tory) and they get upset when you go into coalition with them.

    Anything else is irrelevant

  • Dave Orbison – I respect the decision you have made to rejoin Labour, and talking to people since Saturday I have heard about many other people who have done the same thing. Those of us who want to see a better world yearn to be inspired by a politician offering a fresh, honest, truthful vision: Kennedy, Clinton, Blair, Clegg, Obama, Corbyn – add to the list as you wish. But one person does not normally have the ability to change the world (nor should they), and their actions in power inevitably become mired in compromise. We are not going to see Corbyn win power, but those who support his dreams of a better world are entitled to their moment of hope. And those who have responded on this thread so negatively to Mary’s article (and in my experience they are atypical of Liberal Democrat members) might do well to ponder about the real nature of our democracy if it denies, as it will, the legitimacy of a mildly radical programme of social change such as Corbyn’s.

  • Nick Collins 14th Sep '15 - 9:00pm

    @ Mary Reid

    I was saddened to read the following in your opening paragraph:

    “Academic sociology (in the 1960s) was dominated by a Marxist interpretation of society, and alternative points of view were castigated and dismissed as reactionary. Just as today in right wing US circles “Liberal” is a term of contempt along with “Socialist”, so in those days “Liberal” was an insult hurled from the left.”

    Which university were you at, Mary? I studied sociology at that alleged hotbed of socialism the London School of Economics, and I do not recognise your description. To be sure, some of my lecturers were Marxists (the excellent Professors Westergaard and Bottomore to name two) but by no means all. Debate and discussion (academic debate that is; debate in the Student’s Union was, like debate on LDV, often something else!) was always, open, civilized and stimulating. And I was never embarrassed to identify myself as a Liberal. And , by the way, under Jo Grimond’s leadership ,and with the then President of the Party, Nancy Seear, on the teaching staff, we were neither invisible nationally nor within the School..

    That apart, I agree with your sentiments entirely, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the predictable howls of outrage and derision from “the usual suspects”

  • Peter Watson 14th Sep '15 - 9:01pm

    This has to be the nastiest and most bitter thread I have come across on this website.
    I cannot blame Mary: her article strikes a reasonable tone and her comments have been very polite in spite of some unpleasant provocation.
    It seems ironic that the leadership competition in another party has ignited this debate more than the Lib Dems’ own recent election.
    Perhaps it marks some sort of watershed moment. It certainly gives the impression that niggles and disagreements over the last few years have given way to a more open civil war, with so many familiar names popping up on both sides in the comments above.

  • @Stephen Hesketh so I’m not an evil Booker? Progress of sorts

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 9:14pm

    tonyhill _ fully agree with what you say. Corbyn on his own can achieve nothing. But if he does bring in one member one vote in determining policy than everyone that joins Labour, inc LibDems will for once in our democracy have a say. as opposed to Tim Farron’s plea – don’t vote for scrapping Trident – kick it into the long grass – we have had too much of that in Labour and the LibDems. Time for a possible realignment and genuine democracy, It may not happen but seems more likely to with Labour and Corbyn than elsewhere.

  • There’s an interesting survey on the YouGov site, where they’ve attempted to analyse the backgrounds and mindsets of Labour party members supporting the different leadership candidates.
    It’s at https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/08/27/you-may-say-im-dreamer-inside-mindset-jeremy-corby/
    A surprising finding, for me, is that fully 20% of Labour members supporting Corbyn were LibDem voters in 2010, roughly twice the percentages supporting the other candidates.
    Not having any background knowledge about Jeremy Corbyn, my own take is based on the reputation/ record of the people he’s appointed to the Shadow Cabinet and I have great deal of time for people like Diane Abbott, Tom Watson and Angela Smith.

  • Simon Shaw,
    What is a centrist. If the position of parties change then the centre changes. A centrist in the 1950s is not the same as a centrist in the 1990s or in 1880s. Centrist is simply a vague idea based on shifting poles and an imagined equidistance. To me it much more important to have policies that one does or does not support rather than try to position a party in a permanent centre ground.
    The problem with what’s being called the centrist wing of new labour is they took us into a catastrophically bad war that has destabilised the Middle East. ultimately leading to the deaths of thousands and a refugee crisis on a scale not seen since WWII. I refuse to see the heirs of Tony Blair as less dangerous than Corbyn who at least had the moral fibre to vote against his party’s awful policies. Outside of party loyalty, most of what he voted against was sensible to vote against. The point is that if you are in the centre between bad and awful the result isn’t good. It’s just another shade of rotten.

  • George Kendall 14th Sep '15 - 9:32pm

    Dear Moderators,

    Well, that was in interesting experiment, showing us what LDV would look like if you stopped moderating impolite posts, from both sides.

    Could you switch the moderation on again, please?

    Oh, and to those posting, can we stop suggesting others leave the party? We’re a broad church, if we’re to deal with the significant challenges we face, we probably need to become an even broader church. And, besides, that’s not very liberal.

  • Stephen Howse 14th Sep '15 - 9:33pm

    “So you aren’t actually a Preamble-believing Liberal Democrat but a “pragmatic, moderate, liberal, halfway economically literate” person.”

    Where’s the contradiction? So if you’re not a Corbyn enthusiast you now can’t say you want to see an end to poverty, ignorance and conformity?

    With the party sitting at 8% in the polls and with 8 MPs, it’s nice to see some people focusing on attacking their imagined enemies within.

  • Little Jackie Paper 14th Sep '15 - 9:46pm

    ‘So I still find it odd to hear Corbyn described as being left wing – back then he would have been firmly ensconced in the mainstream of his party, if not to the right. But it is evidence once again of the seismic shifts within the Labour movement that we have witnessed since then.’

    Well, yes. But then, frankly what they delivered was not very much beyond some flag-waving. I realise it makes the collective skin sizzle on here, but the years 1997-2003 were probably the most identifiably left leaning years I will ever see in my life time (and, it should be noted, partly on Conservative spending plans). That was delivered on the back of a broad-based social coalition.

    Corbyn seems to have picked up a habit of saying he wouldn’t be seen as left wing in other European countries. I have always thought this strange – what would he think of Hartz IV for example?

    For good or for ill society has changed and Corbyn’s election seems to be almost a hankering for days that are gone. I hope, really hope, I’m proved wrong – but all I see in Corbyn is a route to PM Boris with a very large majority. And to be clear I take no pride in that.

  • Superficially, this debate seems to have revealed an enormous gulf between those who thoroughly approve of Corbyn’s policies and those who reject them.

    I’m not surprised. The motherhood statements at the beginning are pretty broad and I would not commit to any of them as they stand. I doubt if some are practically possible and others may have unwanted consequences.

    Having said that, I want an element of each of these statements and I certainly do not wish for the opposite of any of them. The differences of opinion, I suspect, lie more in the next levels of detail which is where the problems and consequences are identified and which temper the strength of the initial opinion.

  • Perhaps I should add that I do not favour an ideological approach to these matters. I prefer analysis every time, taking into account as many angles and options as possible in order to find the best objective judgement. As a consequence I have no idea of my appropriate political label. It is of no interest to me. I judge things on their merits.

  • @Nick Collins
    I was at York, right at the beginning. It was small and very left wing. Tony Banks was the student leading light.

  • @George Kendall
    As it happens I have been duty editor and have been moderating all day, and I didn’t want to be accused of stifling debate so I have perhaps been more lenient than my colleagues. I would be interested to hear whether others think we should have been tougher with the moderation.

  • Little Jackie Paper 14th Sep '15 - 10:40pm

    Mary Reid – ‘I would be interested to hear whether others think we should have been tougher with the moderation.’

    Absolutely NOT. Far too often on this website the moderation comes across as not trusting the readers. People who read this can tell the difference between gobby partisanship, sensible comment, wrongheaded criticism, wind-baggery and the like. Yes, it can be frustrating and it can feed the echo chamber. And, of course the internet is really little more than a load of people of no importance. However so be it. In the real world we can make value judgment on people’s comments and we can do so on the internet too.

    Trust your readers.

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Sep '15 - 10:42pm

    Stephen Howse 14th Sep ’15 – 9:33pm

    An interesting point Stephen. The description sounded to me to be more like the sort of person we need to turn into Liberal Democrat voters than that of an active and committed mainstream Liberal Democrat member. Taken collectively I don’t see the Labour right being particularly Liberal – just moderate in a status quo sort of way. The Liberal Democrats exist to build a Liberal society not to protect the status quo.

    Simon Shaw 14th Sep ’15 – 9:06pm
    Simon as one of your 10%, let me say I took Mary’s article in the sense I believe it was intended – that many of the headline objectives are not the ‘hard left’ agenda the press and others are portraying them as. I certainly didn’t take it as being a proposal of there being no difference between Liberal Democrat and Socialist aims and methods.

    Some have completely over reacted to an article I also took to contain a degree of light heartedness.

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Sep '15 - 10:46pm

    George Kendall 14th Sep ’15 – 9:32pm Mary Reid 14th Sep ’15 – 10:32pm

    Mary and George. I apologise for my impolite ‘rhyming slang’ post!

    Regards

    Stephen

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Sep '15 - 11:01pm

    TCO 14th Sep ’15 – 8:52pm
    [[@Stephen Hesketh “Perhaps then Graham we might try you with: “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”]

    “True colours coming out now, eh Stephen? That’s a very illiberal thing to say.”

    Just for the record TCO, I placed the words in quotation marks because they are not my words but have been attributed to one John Stuart Mill 🙂

  • Good to hear Vince making it clear what the Tories are really up to with the Trade Union Bill (The Guardian):

    “The government is launching a vindictive, counterproductive and ideologically driven” attack on Britain’s trade unions that threatens to undermine fundamental human rights in the UK,. The government’s crackdown iss part of a raft of“very hard ideological policies being pushed through by Tory ministers in the first months of the new parliament.

    “It is very provocative, highly ideological and has no evidence base at all,”

  • George Kendall 14th Sep '15 - 11:17pm

    @Mary Reid
    Sorry, I was trying to make a humorous point to defuse the rather angry tone of this thread.

    I didn’t mean to criticise you at all. It must have been impossible trying to moderate your own thread – thank you for taking on the thankless task of doing it.

    As to whether you should have been tougher in your moderation … Perhaps, I don’t know. All I know is the posters should have been tougher in their own self-moderation.

    As I said, moderation is a thankless task, you’re hanged if you do, and hanged if you don’t.

    Whichever approach you take, you’re not going to find me criticising it.

  • Graham Evans: “The idea that Toryism is inherently evil is just plain stupid. … Tories like Disraeli, MacMillan, and Butler were motivated by a desire to improve the lot of their fellow citizens.”

    Those two statements need not both be true. Nice people can espouse nasty beliefs. Rational people can believe that good can sometimes be achieved by working with bad people or questionable organisations.

    Coming more up to date, Michael Heseltine clearly had a sincere belief that Liverpool could best be revived through free enterprise and money making. He put in a great effort. It worked. He has also made himself very rich. Evil, good, or what?

    In my view the Tory philosophy is inherently – well, evil is an overstatement, but nasty is a suitable word. That does not mean that all Tories are nasty people or that Tories never act decently.

  • Peter Watson 14th Sep '15 - 11:30pm

    @Mary Reid “As it happens I have been duty editor and have been moderating all day, and I didn’t want to be accused of stifling debate so I have perhaps been more lenient than my colleagues. I would be interested to hear whether others think we should have been tougher with the moderation.”
    If the bitterness that is apparent in this thread is typical of what is normally moderated out of other threads then it is something of an eye-opener. But I believe you were right not to censor it since debate should be open rather than stifled.
    Perhaps there is a degree of consensus here after all though. So many Lib Dems seem to believe a different party is a more suitable home for each other that maybe there is agreement that this party is redundant. If not, then people really need to decide what the Lib Dems are for because it is certainly not obvious why any voter should choose it over another.

  • @George Kendall
    Welcome back, good to see you commenting regularly again with your distinct style 😀 (I meant to write that ages ago on one of your posts btw)

  • George Kendall 14th Sep '15 - 11:45pm

    @Chris_sh
    Thanks. And good to see you still here.
    Interesting times, aren’t they?

  • @George Kendall
    “Interesting times, aren’t they?”

    Oh I don’t know, I’m not tall enough to look over the top of the sandbags 😉

  • Matt (Bristol) 15th Sep '15 - 12:13am

    What George Kendall and Peter Watson said.

    I don’t agree with Mary entirely but the vitriol and name-calling on here and attempts by all-comers to dispossess each other of the right to be called liberals at all is entirely disproportionate and a high-risk public shoddy carnival.

    If you all go to conference, I hope you calm down, seek each other out and buy each other the drink of your choice as a peace offering.

    Mary I was at York in the late 90s (not terribly active in student politics at the time). The exploits of the foundational generation, Tony Banks etc were the stuff of legend and possibly some exaggeration, all of which as good children of Thatcher, Major and Blair we largely had no serious inclination to follow and were tone-deaf to the nuances of as we were almost all there to ‘get a good salary’ (what a joke that turned out to be)…

  • George Kendall 15th Sep '15 - 12:45am

    @Peter Watson
    “If the bitterness that is apparent in this thread is typical”
    Typical of the internet. Totally untypical of the party.

    I spent a lot of time in the years leading up to 2015, visiting parties around the country and ringing party activists. I have talked to certainly hundreds, maybe thousands, of party members over that period. I doubt I came across more than 5 people who were like this.

    If you fear this is what the party is like, don’t worry, it’s nothing like this. There are, maybe 20 people getting angry in this thread, if that. There are, what is it now, 61,000 members?

    The web attracts angry people, and angry threads repell polite people. Don’t worry. The party is nothing like this.

  • J B Priestley’s play “An Inspector Calls” was screened on the BBC last night. Set in 1912 it is a good reminder of the kind of social conditions and hypocrisy that existed a century ago in British society. Well worth a watch, if you can find a spare 86 minutes.

    This is the same period to which George Dangerfield in his book “The Strange Death of Liberal England” traces the causes of the decline in the influence of the old British Liberal Party.

    That old Liberal Party is never coming back. The social radicalism of Asquith’s 1906 government was usurped by the Labour movement and it fell to the Labour party to take up Keynes economic policies and Beveridge’s welfare state.

    When the Labour party turned in on itself and imploded in the wake of the 1979 election, the merger of the SDP and the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats offered the promise of a realignment of the UK’s socially progressive political base.. The electoral victory of new labour in 1997 challenged that realignment for a time. The recent experience of coalition government has regrettably set-it back further.

    If Liberal Democrats are to successfully rejuvenate as a serious challenger for election as a party of government, it can only be in opposition to the principles of Conservatism and as a pragmatic alternative political ideology to the class confrontation imbedded in socialism. It is natural therefore, to find common cause with the progressive aspirations of democratic socialism, while not sharing the collectivist prescriptions that a Labour party will advocate in seeking to achieve these commonly held goals.

  • A little more complex…

    Higher taxation for the wealthiest – Up to a point – suspect if we go back to the1970’s we will experience a brain drain.

    Greater public ownership – depends on what it is – not sure I want British Leyland repriviatised, Where Private ownership works leave it, where it’s failing let’s think about it.

    An end to private involvement in the health service – There has always been private sector involvement in the NHS, if we didn’t we wouldn’t have any beds, disinfectant or drugs. A more prudent point is a private company can offer a service cheaper and better than making than the NHS – why is this a bad thing?

    A national education service – I have no idea what he means by this

    An agenda of “growth not austerity” – I want both less debt and more growth. To do that you need a balanced approach, basically not as fast as the Tories want but still making cuts in area’s that don’t harm the poorest in society.

    Quite simply at the moment we are stuck with two parties one ideologically driven to cut the state to ludicrous proportions and one that wants the complete opposite. I want a state that is pragmatic that helps and enables people to fulfil their ambitions in life but get’s out the way when it’s not needed.

  • I read your article, Mary with joy that the alternative view about Jeremy Corbyn was being presented, but I didn’t get hung up in the details, it was the spirit of the piece that I enjoyed. I do like the idea of a Labour Party challenging the neo-liberal economic consensus and looking for ways to increase wealth equality. I hope we will join in.

    I wonder if those attacking Socialism are really referring to Communism or State Capitalism. I think it is possible to be a Socialist and believe ownership should be based on those doing the work and not by the state.

    @ TCO
    “telling voters that we were an anti Tory party rather than a Liberal party.”

    I don’t know how much history you know, but I would like to remind you of the rivalry between the Whigs and Tories, the ancestors of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, who were rivals for about 200 years. I can image Charles James Fox, Charles Grey (2nd Earl Grey) and John Russell (1st Earl Russell) turning in their graves that anyone in the successor party to the Whig tradition can believe we are not an anti-Tory party.

    @ Simon Shaw

    Libertarians really should form their own party, as neither the Liberal Democrats nor the Conservative Party are where they should be, or is there one already? Conrad Russell said, “Libertarians are for minimum government; Liberals are for minimum oppression. We want to see all power subject to control …” (Times 11 June 1999).

  • @ George You are right. The internet and social media tend to polarise people and this thread is not representative of Lib Dems as a whole.

  • John Tilley 15th Sep '15 - 8:27am

    Leftwing people at the top of The Labour Party can often have an impact well beyond The Labour Party.

    As the excellent Jonathan Calder points out on his blog —
    http://liberalengland.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/malcolm-turnbull-is-related-to-angela.html

  • I favour a broad church approach and rather than telling people they belong in another party, trying to use reason to help them see the light. Several other sensible posters have helpfully unpicked Corbyn’s superficially appealing policies. Most of which seem to rely on the same species of magic money tree that the Greens and SNP want to plant. With the Tories revealing their true colours now they are free of our restraining hand and Labour opting for left-populism, there has to be an opportunity for us, even if only by a process of elimination!

  • Well! Having read through the vitriol that passes for debate on this thread, our hope of “uniting behind Tim” looks a folorn hope…
    If Mary Reid’s tentative agreement with the vague aspirations of a man who was elected just a few days ago invites such vilification then where does the word ‘Liberal’ belong?
    Caron told me, on another thread, that we differ from the Labour party in the ‘vicious in-fighting stakes’…Hmmm?

  • Agree with Mary, and I would add on:

    not replacing Trident – tick;
    zero-cost re-nationalization of the railways – tick.;
    returning the House of Commons to serious debate on issues rather than cheap point-scoring at the expense of individuals – tick.

    Where I part company with JC, is on foreign policy – NATO, EU and defence (I would like to see us to commit to 2% GDP alogside Trident not being replaced).

  • Let me translate
    Higher taxation for the wealthiest
    So high they move abroad with all their assets-Treasury income nil

    Greater public ownership
    An economy with a large inefficient public sector.

    An end to private involvement in the health service
    An NHS which requires huge public funding with long waiting lists.

    A national education service
    Schools follow the party line. No private schools or much religious freedom

    An agenda of “growth not austerity”
    Which foreigners are going to invest in a failing economy?

    Read the histoy of Germany.Spring and Summer in East Germany.but Summer is over.

    Social liberalism is a political ideology that seeks to find a balance between individual liberty and social justice.
    Do not confuse it with socialism. There is a difference between nationalisation and state enterprise, the latter operates on sound management in a competative environment not the monopoly of the former.
    The Liberal Democrats need to look forward with new thinking. Don’t trust a second hand bicycle salesman.There are new very good bicycles with modern designs.That’s what we are here for.

  • @MichaelBG “I don’t know how much history you know, but I would like to remind you of the rivalry between the Whigs and Tories, the ancestors of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, who were rivals for about 200 years.”

    Yes, and in 1865 or so the Liberal Party was formed. 50 years later the Labour Party was well established and the franchise extended, so the situation today is completely different.

  • I think that the Labour Party really need to have this time with a Socialist as their leader. There has been division and unhappiness for decades in the party. Being centre-right as Blair was then Centre-left as Miliband tried to be didn’t work so now it’s time to lance the boil and give the traditional Labour wing a chance. For years and years I have heard left wing people complain that Labour is no longer on the left and that they have betrayed their voters. At least by 2020 the prevailing culture will have been challenged and the country will have been exposed to a discussion on “private-good; public-bad” ; the cost-effectiveness of nuclear weapons; the balance between taxation and cuts; the role if the orivate sector in the NHS etc etc, there has been no proper discussion on this and Tory wisdom has been accepted lock stock and barrel. So hopefully we will be a more enlightened electorate by 2020 and a better informed one.

    Already I am liking that Corbyn is challenging why Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary are more important than Education or Health. That’s the kind of “fresh” approach I like. I like people challenging the Status Quo and suggesting a better way of doing things rather than the suited clones we have as politicians these days. . I would have thought the LibDems might too.

  • Having slept through some of the excellent postings in the middle of the night, I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed their mellow reflections and wisdom. Much better than the day stuff. Does insomnia produce wisdom ?

    The historic parallels and examples were fascinating. Completely agree about the wisdom of Jack Priestley (banned from broadcasting by ex-Liberal (??) Churchill in WW2). Amazing how Churchill is so well regarded these days….. he was in fact an enfant terrible into his seventies and Boris’s recent ‘seminal work’ is a self justifying whitewash.

    The 1908-14 period is rich in examples of internal conflict in the Liberal Party with contra demands of social reform, economic liberalism, and the cost of defence preparations…. and ultimately the tragedy of war. Would that we had an Asquith now with the wisdom and judgement to hold all the different factions together. Yes, I’m a Squiffy fan – his virtues vastly outnumber his human failings and misjudgements.

    There is so much to learn from that period. I would make the study of political history compulsory for all aspiring politicians (Blair would have benefited – as would Nick Clegg on the outcomes of coalitions). Not sure whether there’s a chat thing on the Liberal Democrat History website… but it sure would be fun.

    @ John Tilley…….. Going to Conference ? Happy to buy you a conspiratorial drink….. but don’t tell anybody !!

  • @expats “Well! Having read through the vitriol that passes for debate on this thread, our hope of “uniting behind Tim” looks a folorn hope…”

    On the contrary. Tim has admirably avoided “doing the Timewarp!” (“it’s just a jump … to the left!”) and restated that the party stands for good economic governance and sound liberal principles. Something that everyone, except the Corbyn fans, can unite around.

  • Manfarang 15th Sep ’15 – 9:24am ……….
    Let me translate
    Higher taxation for the wealthiest
    So high they move abroad with all their assets-Treasury income nil………

    I am 71, ever since I can remember, that has been the threat (I remember tax of over 90%)..They are still here….

    Greater public ownership
    An economy with a large inefficient public sector……

    You mean like ‘East Coast Rail’?.

    An end to private involvement in the health service
    An NHS which requires huge public funding with long waiting lists……..

    There have always been private contractors in the NHS ( GPs, Dentists, etc) it is the current ‘public bad; private good’ ddoctrine that needs to change…

    A national education service
    Schools follow the party line. No private schools or much religious freedom…..

    Conflicts of interest, unqualified teachers, etc…

  • On the subject of Europe, isn’t Corbyn right to point out that whilst there are negotiations going on, no politician should show their hand? Seems canny to me.

  • @expats “Let me translate
    Higher taxation for the wealthiest
    So high they move abroad with all their assets-Treasury income nil………
    I am 71, ever since I can remember, that has been the threat (I remember tax of over 90%)..They are still here….”

    Then you’ll also remember that in the 1970s capital controls were such that money and assets could not be moved freely around the world as they can be today.

    “Greater public ownership
    An economy with a large inefficient public sector……
    You mean like ‘East Coast Rail’?.”

    He means like British Leyland.

    “An end to private involvement in the health service
    An NHS which requires huge public funding with long waiting lists……..
    “There have always been private contractors in the NHS ( GPs, Dentists, etc) it is the current ‘public bad; private good’ ddoctrine that needs to change…”

    And there also need to be a recognition of the contribution of the private sector to the NHS and its ability to provide flexible spare capacity.

    “A national education service
    Schools follow the party line. No private schools or much religious freedom…..
    Conflicts of interest, unqualified teachers, etc…”

    Central diktat on curriculum. One size fits all mediocrity. Further entrenchment of privilege in catchment area house prices.

  • Gwynfor Tyley 15th Sep '15 - 10:26am

    2 comments:

    Jeremy Corbyn is a breath of fresh air for opening up debate across the political spectrum – witness the number of comments on this post – have there ever been as many in response to one short article? I’m with Mary in seeing the positives in many of the things that Corbyn has “proposed” and want them brought into the open for debate, but I am also deeply sceptical that Labour will ever throw off its illiberal attitudes.

    The depressing thing is the tone and quite frankly bullying attitude of so many of the posts – wilful misinterpretation, insults and a closed mind and more to be expected from the right wing media. Is this typical of the behaviour of the so-called “Liberal” party that I so recently, maybe naively, joined?

  • Neil Sandison 15th Sep '15 - 10:40am

    Joe Bourke .Well said and a good analysis of liberal democracy versus state collectivism a trap many labour politicians fall into where intervention becomes authoritarian control. rather than enablement and empowerment.

  • Simon Hebditch 15th Sep '15 - 10:56am

    What a profoundly depressing farrago of comments on Mary’s perfectly reasonable starting point! So many in the Lib Dems seem to have failed to analyse what has been happening “out there”. What explained the amazing Scottish referendum campaign? Why were Labour and the Lib Dems all but eliminated in the subsequent Scottish elections? How did Jeremy Corbyn galvanise Labour members and supporters to bring about such a dramatic victory?

    If we are a party defined by the preamble to the party constitution then we must see ourselves as radical and dedicated to major economic and social change. We must see social justice at home and abroad as the objective of all our policies. We know we are confronted by a Tory government keen to dismantle the welfare state and which will continue with a failed austerity programme. We should, therefore, be looking for ways to create a new alliance compromising ourselves, Labour, the SNP, the Greens and the myriad of campaigning organisations on the centre left.

    To stand a chance of any of that, and to remain relevant, we need to work with others for change. Insulting Labour’s membership and many of our own members is not conducive to collaboration across the centre left.

  • @ Simon Shaw “does the “they” refer to the large number of relatively wealthy French people who have (reportedly) moved to Britain, and now pay taxes to the British Exchequer, as a result of Hollande applying his own version of Corbynomics?”

    And how many would that”reportedly” be, Simon ?

    According to the United Nations Populations Division there were 172,806 Britons living in France in 2013 (a number which had increased since 2010) . According to your logic they must have been trying to escape Cameron/Clegg’s austerity.

  • Simon Shaw
    Most of the French people who live and work in the UK are in London and have been here for a vary long time. You should check on taxation in France before making any more spurious claims as to their motive for living here.

    I worked with a French person in 2004. She was a very good human resources expert. She pointed out to me that London was one of the biggest French cities in the world. She also pointed out that it is much more expensive to live in London than almost anywhere in France and that nobody in their right mind comes here to avoid French taxes because the marginal difference it would make to their overall standard of living would be very marginal.

  • Acccording to the dictionary, “liberal” means: “Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms”.
    Following this:

    – Higher taxation for the wealthiest – Not liberal
    – Greater public ownership – Not liberal
    – An end to private involvement in the health service – Not liberal
    – A national education service – Not liberal
    – An agenda of “growth not austerity” – Potentially not liberal….

    It’s interesting that some “liberal” democrats agree with the above list…

  • @Simon Hebditch “We should, therefore, be looking for ways to create a new alliance compromising ourselves, Labour, the SNP, the Greens and the myriad of campaigning organisations on the centre left. To stand a chance of any of that, and to remain relevant, we need to work with others for change. Insulting Labour’s membership and many of our own members is not conducive to collaboration across the centre left.”

    Simon, that’s a laudible objective. However, I’m not sure we can count the Greens, the SNP or Labour (in it’s Corbyn incarnation) as centre-left.

    Perhaps we should be looking for an alliance of liberals across the spectrum?

  • Simon Shaw 15th Sep ’15 – 10:38am………….When you say “they are still here” does the “they” refer to the large number of relatively wealthy French people who have (reportedly) moved to Britain, and now pay taxes to the British Exchequer, as a result of Hollande applying his own version of Corbynomics?

    ‘Reportedly being the operative word…..I can’t think of any…Sorry, one, ‘Christian Clavier’….but he says it’s nothing to do with tax…
    Wealthy Brits/French have moved abroad for tax reasons no matter how low the rate; often to Switzerland… Johnny Hallyday moved just after Sarkozy created his ‘shield’ for the wealthy…

    There have always been ‘wealthy young French’ working in Britain because of the Anglo- French connection…

  • Stephen Hesketh 15th Sep '15 - 11:51am

    Simon Hebditch15th Sep ’15 – 10:56am

    I’ll sign up to that Simon!

  • david thorpe 15th Sep '15 - 11:54am

    thge new shadow health secretary appiiunted by corbyn believes in a ‘minimum’ amount of private involvement in the NHS-according to the BBC profile of the person in question-so Corbyn presumably believes that as well….

  • david thorpe 15th Sep '15 - 11:56am

    Lib Dems say they believe in evidence based policy making-the laffer curve has shown for decades that higehr tax rates reduce the tax take-it showed it in the last parlaiment-(according to Lorely Burt who was PPS and the traesury and saw the caluculation and told both Geoff Payne and Christian MOON THAT)..so evidence based polciy making says higher income taxes on the rich dont work-so which is it_abandon evidence or…..?

  • I agree with much of the sentiment Mary is expressing, and the reaction to it should alarm us all.

    As I see it, if Corbyn maintains a team and manifesto that looks plausible (unlikely), then members and voters like Mary and I are going to be drawn to a party making a stronger, more robust commitment to social values than the Lib Dems are. If, however, he keeps making mistakes that make his candidacy seem unrealistic then all of this will blow over across the term – he’ll be another Miliband.

    If you remove Mary/Corbyn sympathisers from the Lib Dems, what remains won’t be a political party that will have any MEPs, MPs or power.

  • @ChrisB “If you remove … Corbyn sympathisers from the Lib Dems, what remains won’t be a political party that will have any MEPs, MPs or power.”

    I’m not sure how you draw that conclusion, ChrisB? Given that Corbyn is an unavowed and self-declared socialist, one must presume that his supporters are the same, in which case they must find membership of a Liberal party a distinctly uncomfortable experience. You may have evidence to suggest otherwise but I’m not aware of any of our MEPs or MPs being socialists.

  • @Albert
    “– Higher taxation for the wealthiest – Not liberal
    – Greater public ownership – Not liberal”

    You’ve come to those conclusions without offering any evidence or reasoning. What if the taxation of the rich is targeted at unearned income with a corresponding reduction in taxation on work-related and entrepreneurial-related income? – the Tories would hate that and it would lead to a more liberal solution. What if public ownership can be demonstrated to bring greater efficiency, liberty and other favourable outcomes for a particular organisation compared with private ownership of the same organisation? I have no doubt you would still oppose it, because private=good, public=bad, right?

  • @TCO
    Presume what you like, or read the comments, above. A significant proportion of members sympathise with many of Corbyn’s positions – the Survation poll showed similar proportions.

  • Stephen Hesketh 15th Sep '15 - 12:50pm

    TCO15th Sep ’15 – 9:53am
    “On the contrary. Tim has admirably avoided “doing the Timewarp!” (“it’s just a jump … to the left!”) and restated that the party stands for good economic governance and sound liberal principles. Something that everyone, except the Corbyn fans, can unite around.”

    An interesting observation Mr O … especially considering just how many of the names of those posting here and wishing to see a freer, fairer, greener, more equal and democratic Liberal Britain and World also appear on the the back of Tim Farron’s leadership booklet.

  • Christopher Haigh 15th Sep '15 - 12:51pm

    @stephen hesketh 11.51am – that makes three of us that actually agree with each other ! Great to read an article like this posted on LDV by the way. I would tremor at the very thought of challenging the mindset of the orange bookers but lots of background information has come out in this discussion. I feel that it is vital that we can discuss the party honestly and openly in you our local communities ‘worts and all’ without thinking we are in any way being dis-respectful. Thank you Mary.

  • Stephen Campbell 15th Sep '15 - 12:51pm

    @Albert: “– Higher taxation for the wealthiest – Not liberal”

    If that higher taxation on the rich allowed fewer cuts to, say, disability benefits which many people rely on to live then I consider that a greater increase in liberty. Keeping people alive and in their homes is slightly more important to me than the rich having to buy a £50 bottle of champagne vs. a £75 bottle.

    “– Greater public ownership – Not liberal”

    If greater public ownership brings reduced prices on things such as public transport and essential utilities such as electricity, then the individual liberty of people on lower incomes such as myself is increased, as I will have more money in my pocket. Those with less money suffer decreased liberty due to the very fact of being less well off.

    “– An end to private involvement in the health service – Not liberal”

    If private profit in certain areas of the NHS is reduced and invested back in the NHS (especially in terms of higher staffing levels and research), rather than in the hands of shareholders and CEOs, then it is possible to argue more lives will be saved, thus increasing liberty for those who would have previously died or received poorer treatment.

    What if often considered “liberty” for the well-off is often considered oppression by those who are not well-off. And there are more people on low and medium incomes in this country than on huge salaries. I take the view that Mr. Spock from Star Trek took: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

  • J George SMID 15th Sep '15 - 12:52pm

    John Marriont (and others) hit it on the head: yes, there are a number of policies we can ‘agree with Jeremy’ and there are some we have to profoundly disagree. (EU, Trident)
    There is no doubt in my mind that the election of Jeremy Corbyn does pose a challenge to LD. We cannot become the ‘New Old’ Labour minus Trade Unions. Or ‘New Old’ Labour with Trident for that matter. The challenge is that there are of course a lot of Liberal Democrats who are opposed to Tridents, who are unsure of EU …
    The answer to that challenge must be to formulate distinctive policies – lets hope we will be able to at Bournemouth.

  • I certainly agree with JC on ‘parliamentary expenses’….Corbyn was revealed to have claimed the lowest amount of expenses of any Member of Parliament and says, ” “I am a parsimonious MP. I think we should claim what we need to run our offices and pay our staff but be careful because it’s obviously public money”…

    How refreshing when there are those who claim for ‘travel’ of a few hundred yards and “£40 breakfasts”….

  • Helen Tedcastle 15th Sep '15 - 1:16pm

    What a great article. A wonderful read. I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Mary and accord with her own political self-description. Jeremy Corbyn speaks a great deal of common sense on domestic policy. He is on the left but not hard left.

    Personally, I took great pleasure from seeing the likes of Tristram Hunt and Chuka Ummuna consigned to the back benches. I cannot remember a single thing they said, even though they popped up frequently on the media.

    Corbyn is saying things that haven’t been said by Labour for years. Politics is interesting again.

  • @Stephen Hesketh well I can only take Tim at his word, but if we do take him at his word it looks like some of those hoping to “do the Timewarp” will be disappointed.

  • Thank you Mary for helping a lot of us to place ourselves with regard to Jeremy Corbyn. I wouldn’t tick all the boxes but I do want social justice for the many rather than the few. I think that many ordinary voters are fed up with slick politicians who have little integrity and that this is the explanation for the thousands of people joining Labour to vote for Corbyn. I doubt that they are concerned with his more esoteric beliefs but have voted for someone who offers hope for the ordinary person in the street.
    However it is in the means to that end that our party and Labour differ and Socialism in my view was never about the ordinary person in the street but about using the power of the working class , often through Union activity, to bring about change.
    I was originally an SDP member but now I believe that the Liberal way of trying to achieve equality of opportunity, although far more difficult, is much more relevant to our own disparate society where we have to balance the rights of so many different groups in order to achieve social justice.

  • Expats 9:59
    Like in East Germany not East Coast Rail
    I did say State Enterprise can be successful with good management in a competitive environment but a monopoly like British Rail is not so good. Do you remember Dr Beeching?
    I did do some tax work 40 years ago.Where were the clients? British people living abroad.
    I should mention as in fact I live abroad that in most countries foreign residents in those countries are are liable to local tax. I am a tax payer but the taxes are moderate not penal rates. (and there is a double taxation Treaty which means I am not liable to UK tax as I am in the UK for only a couple of weeks)
    In my youth I did know a lot of new left people schooled as I am in Marxist-Leninism so it seems strange to revisit all these old arguments when its clear centrally planned economies do not deliver wealth or liberty to people at large.
    That does not exclude new thinking but the source of those new ideas will most likely be liberalism.

  • It can be illuminating to recall how British socialism first developed in the late nineteenth century.

    The founder of the Labour Party, Keir Hardie,, began his political life as a supporter of Gladstone’s Liberal Party. He had read Henry George’s ‘Progress and Poverty’ and been deeply impressed with the George’s ideas. Although Henry George was not a socialist, Hardie later said that it was George’s book which gave him his first ideas of socialism.

    Hardie became disillusioned with Gladstone’s economic policies and began to feel that the Liberals neither would nor could ever adequately represent the working classes. He concluded that, while the Liberal Party wanted to retain the votes of the workers, it would never in return offer the radical reform he believed to be crucial — and so decided to run for Parliament himself.

    The radical Liberals didn’t arrive on the scene until a couple of decades later in the form of Asquith, Lloyd George and Churchill. By then it was too late, the Labour party was formed and sent 29 MP’s to Parliament in the 1906 election, The Labour party has continued moving in a different direction to the modern Liberalism of the Edwardian era ever since, despite both parties continuing to share a common appreciation of the ideas of Henry George.

    Hardie’s was a republican. He campaigned for votes for women, self-rule for India and an end to segregation in South Africa. His criticism of sectarianism in America caused a stir among radicals there. As a pacifist, Hardie tried to organise an international general strike to stop the Great War, alienating his own Labour Party at the time..

    That the Liberal Party and the Labour Party could not maintain a working relationship after the first world war, allowed the conservatives free reign for 50 years (with the brief interlude of the dismal Ramsey McDonald government in 1929).

  • Manfarang 15th Sep ’15 – 3:25pm ….Expats 9:59…. Like in East Germany not East Coast Rail
    I did say State Enterprise can be successful with good management in a competitive environment but a monopoly like British Rail is not so good. Do you remember Dr Beeching?…

    We can agree that State Enterprises can be good… As for BR …I used it daily and it was never as bad as it’s now portrayed…At least I could turn up, buy a ticket and get on the train instead of booking ages in advance or paying ‘through the nose’… It’s main problem was being starved of investment for years because Tories considered money given to BR as ‘subsidies’ and to road building as ‘investments…

    Dr Beeching…I remember him well…. And his boss, Ernest Marples (he of the road building/cement business)….I also recall, 25 years later, a certain Sir David Serpell, he of , no railways west of Bristol or Cardiff and none in Scotland apart from the central belt….

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 15th Sep '15 - 4:06pm

    Mary,

    Thank you for being so honest.

    You have my support.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera

  • A Social Liberal 15th Sep '15 - 4:19pm

    My, aren’t the Bookers out in force today. So ready to defend the policies that have led our party to ruination, so keen to rubbish anything that even seems slightly left wing.

    Dan Falchikov said

    “[1]If you agree with higher taxes for the wealth? Which ones do you wish to raise and with what purpose? . . . . . .

    . . . . . . . [5]If you support an agenda of growth not austerity – could you explain how you want to add to the UK government’s current borrowing of about £2billion a week?”

    My personal answers

    [1] I would move the income tax rates back to that which they were on May 7th 2010. Why, because they are fair and proportionate. More, I would aggressively go after the corporations which are tax dodging and make it so that everything earned on British soil is taxed in the UK and cannot be offset by costs in the US or anywhere else.

    [2] I would reabsorb the railways back into nationalisation as and when the contracts run out – this would make it a long term thing but would not cost us any money to buy back the contracts. An alternate way could be to offer the same amount of money to the companies owning the contracts as they would get in subsidies over the remaining time their contracts have to run. I would also bring back the utilities into national ownership – it should be a human right to be warm and have free access to water – the latter works in Northern Ireland, it should be able to work here.

    [3] I’d like to turn your question on GPs on its head – can you show me how it is detrimental to have all doctors working in the NHS on a payroll?

    [4] I don’t have enough knowledge to comment on a national education service. However, in keeping with what has been said in conference I would bring all free schools and academies back into LEA control and hand back the funds to be controlled by the LEA.

    [5] When austerity is being paid by those least able to look after themselves it must be the wrong way of reducing the deficit. Perhaps we should look at a specific, temporary, tax levied on those earning over £40,000

  • Dave Orbison 15th Sep '15 - 5:14pm

    @A Social Liberal Essentially the LibDems and Labour post-election face stark choices in terms of their future direction and leadership. In the run up to 2010 the Orange-bookers won hands down in controlling the party and hence we had the Coalition experiment. The 2015 election debacle would, you have though, given them pause for thought. Do the LibDems advocate more of the same or change of direction? You may say it’s early days for Farron but just look at the responses on LDV. The number of topics and the responses relating to Corbyn (good or bad) are orders of magnitude greater in number than the other subjects.
    But it is my humble opinion that if the LibDems do not change direction, and given the volume from the unabashed unapologetic Orange-bookers on LDV, it seems that will not happen, then I just don’t see how the LibDems can expect to reverse their fortunes.

    By the way where were the LibDems on the issue of the Trade Union Bill? One of the most odious pieces of legislation ever put before the House? Good luck @Social Liberal but if those responsible for LibDem’s demise are incapable of acknowledging the scale of the Coalition and do not move aside, then I am afraid you are fighting a lost cause.

  • @ TCO
    “@MichaelBG “I don’t know how much history you know, but I would like to remind you of the rivalry between the Whigs and Tories, the ancestors of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, who were rivals for about 200 years.”
    Yes, and in 1865 or so the Liberal Party was formed. 50 years later the Labour Party was well established and the franchise extended, so the situation today is completely different.”

    Are you really saying that the Conservative Party doesn’t pursue the same type of policies to protect those with power as the Tories of old? And we should throw away about 300 years of history of reducing the power of the powerful and join the Conservatives in not wanting to increase equality so everyone has the same economic freedoms?

    @ Albert

    “Acccording to the dictionary, “liberal” means: “Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms”.”

    That is a very negative definition of liberal. I like to see it much more positively – changing society so everyone has the same individual rights and freedoms and ensuring that nobody has their freedoms reduced by their economic situation.

    Higher taxation for the wealthiest to reduce their economic freedom so others can have more economic freedom = increasing equality.
    Public ownership of natural monopolies so the people are not exploited by a private monopoly in the interests of the shareholders.
    An education system where particular interests are not subsidised by the state by allowing them to run schools without local authority oversight.
    An agenda of growth nor austerity to achieve full employment and raise the standard of living for the poorest in society and the left behind.

  • George Kendall 15th Sep '15 - 6:42pm

    I think a lot of this division is based on misunderstanding each others positions.

    Laura Willoughby’s article is one I suspect almost everyone in this thread would agree with.
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/everything-jeremy-corbyn-taught-me-about-being-a-liberal-47476.html

  • John Tilley 15th Sep '15 - 7:29pm

    Simon Shaw

    I did not mention the French Prime Minister. I have no idea what you are talking about and it appears that at least we have that in common.

    You perhaps missed my point about the cost of living in France compared to the cost of living in London.

  • @Michael BG that’s an excellent straw man! Well done!

    Labour is the anti-Tory party; we are the Liberal Party. As such we are against all concentrations of power.

  • Have just read a number of articles on JC’s election. I broadly agree with the second half of your article but not he first. Corbyn’s core beliefs are so broadly defined here as to make them easier to agree with, but even so I don’t. Specifically:

    Higher taxation for the wealthiest – well yes, from where we are now. But JC proposes utterly punitively high tax for the richest which strike me as trying to punish the rich rather than raise money. Punitive taxation isn’t liberal.

    Greater public ownership – in what? And for what reason? I’m open to public rather than private ownership if it raises efficiency, effectiveness or for any other good reason. But JC sees public ownership as some panacea which is going to solve the problems of the NHS, utilities, transport and so on. Sorry, but no.

    An end to private involvement in the health service – as others have said, so you would abolish GPs then?

    A national education service – as before, what does this mean? If it means what JC seems to be proposing, namely to nationalise all privately run schools, that strikes me as wrong for so many reasons. It’s not liberal, it will almost certainly lose some of the unique character that many good schools have built up and likewise will almost certainly lower achievement. This is one of those areas where JC’s dogmatic “the state is always better” mantra is an interesting reflection of the right wing of the Tory party who believe the state is never better. Both are in my opinion mistaken.

    An agenda of “growth not austerity” – as if that’s the alternative on offer. As left wing governments the world over have discovered you can’t avoid balancing the books forever.

    Overall, yes we can point to the odd thing here or there which JC likes and so do we but overall the man is poles apart from us and we should say so.

  • after reading this article and the following comments i can only say that you have you’re answer as to why you were wiped out at the last election

  • BTW….The removal of the 75% tax had nothing to do with the mass exodus (that no-one can find) of the wealthy…The French PM did not say it nor did the ‘Independent’ (they just linked it in the same sentence…Journalists do that)…
    It was removed because the French constitutional court found it to be ‘unconstitutional’, and therefore illegal, because it “failed to recognise equality before public burdens”. Unlike regular income tax, which is levied on households, the 75% rate would have been applied to individuals. This meant an individual earning over €1m a year would have been subject to the tax, but a couple each earning €900,000 would not…..

    Far from being about any mass exodus the stories were all about Gérard Depardieu moving just over the border into Belgium; most were anti-Depardieu as his ‘claim for Russian citizenship had been lampooned earlier…

  • TCO 15th Sep ’15 – 10:10am…………..Then you’ll also remember that in the 1970s capital controls were such that money and assets could not be moved freely around the world as they can be today…..

    Ah, yes, the 1970s…The days before electronic transfers of anything, pre- credit cards as we know them today, …You might as well compare now with the Victorian age….

    “Greater public ownership
    An economy with a large inefficient public sector……
    You mean like ‘East Coast Rail’?.”…..He means like British Leyland….

    The 1970s again…. Why is it so wrong for Corbyn to seek to TAKE Rail back into public ownership when it was deemed ESSENTIAL to take it into public ownership when the private operator went bust?…..Why was it so right to privatise it although it was performing so well?

  • Stephen Hesketh 16th Sep '15 - 4:04pm

    TCO 15th Sep ’15 – 7:40pm
    “@Michael BG that’s an excellent straw man! Well done!
    Labour is the anti-Tory party; we are the Liberal Party. As such we are against all concentrations of power.”

    Er no! We are the pro-Liberal Democracy anti-Tory party.

    As for being against all concentrations of power, I totally agree. No argument from me – at all – zilch.

    But what puzzles me is how you can put forward that principle and yet be such an apologist for concentrations of power if wielded by private individuals, newspaper magnates, multi-national corporations etc.

    Might you and I agree that the Liberal Democrats are against ALL concentrations of power?

  • @Stephen Hesketh “But what puzzles me is how you can put forward that principle and yet be such an apologist for concentrations of power if wielded by private individuals, newspaper magnates, multi-national corporations etc.”

    The simple answer is that I’m not an apologist for corporate concentrations of power and I haven’t ever been so You misconstrue Orange Bookism as corporatism; it’s not. QUite the opposite, in fact.

    I challenge all concentrations of power, monopolies, and monopolist behaviour, be they private or state. What I can never understand is why supposed liberals who are so aggressively anti-private business are relaxed about the state’s equivalent behaviour.

  • Peter Watson 16th Sep '15 - 9:33pm

    @TCO “What I can never understand is why supposed liberals who are so aggressively anti-private business are relaxed about the state’s equivalent behaviour.”
    An interesting point. I wonder if it’s because people believe or feel intuitively that we are the state, so state ownership or a state monopoly does not seem illiberal or exploitative.

  • @ TCO
    “@Michael BG that’s an excellent straw man! Well done!
    “Labour is the anti-Tory party; we are the Liberal Party. As such we are against all concentrations of power.”

    I didn’t expect you to agree with my second clause, but do you see a difference between “reducing the power of the powerful” and “we are against all concentrations of power” or do you see them as essentially the same policy? Without my part of actually doing something about the power of the powerful and only having your part, then we would just be onlookers saying, “Oh aren’t concentrations of power a bad thing, I wonder what we should do about them?”

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Sep '15 - 9:54am

    TCO

    I challenge all concentrations of power, monopolies, and monopolist behaviour, be they private or state. What I can never understand is why supposed liberals who are so aggressively anti-private business are relaxed about the state’s equivalent behaviour.

    Who are they? I don’t recall any liberal here, supposed or otherwise, being aggressively anti-private business.

    Opposed to the way that large scale corporations mean power concentrated in a few hands, and the sort of shady mechanisms of whole networks of companies and the like which means it’s hard to see who is really accountable, sure. But that’s not the same as being opposed to any business which is privately owned, as you are alleging.

    Supporters of the modern aristocracy, like you, love to use this line, hiding your support for undemocratic control of our lives by an untouchable hidden elite by pretending that it’s all ma and pa corner shops and the like. Your tactic is obvious in the line you use here, and it is a disgrace.

  • Stephen Hesketh 17th Sep '15 - 10:11am

    TCO16th Sep ’15 – 4:42pm
    “What I can never understand is why supposed liberals who are so aggressively anti-private business are relaxed about the state’s equivalent behaviour.”

    This is simply untrue. I believe in liberal and democratic values and outcomes. When business and or government interests clash with freedom, fairness, equality along with democratic, environmental and economic sustainability, I simply come down on the side of individual human beings rather than institutions of any kind.

    It’s just mainstream Liberal Democracy based on social liberalism and elements of social democracy and not requiring me to add any special ‘economic’ tag to it.

    I really don’t see that the policies of this party or the views of its members of which I am aware have ever been anti-business.

    Vince Cable is exactly someone from the traditions I mention above. Were his policies in government anti business?

  • Peter Watson 17th Sep '15 - 10:55am

    @@TCO “What I can never understand is why supposed liberals who are so aggressively anti-private business are relaxed about the state’s equivalent behaviour.”
    Having read Matthew and Stephen’s eloquent responses I realise that when speculating on why the intentions of the state and private business might be perceived differently I ignored the “aggressively anti-private business” straw man so it might look like I accepted it, but naturally I don’t.

  • Peter Watson 17th Sep '15 - 11:01am

    @Simon Shaw “Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister, announced in London this week that the top income tax rate of 75 per cent would be abolished next January after a number of business tycoons and celebrities moved out.”
    He also announced it after I visited in France, but that does not mean he did it because of my holiday.
    I think that is the point that expats made: “The French PM did not say it nor did the ‘Independent’ (they just linked it in the same sentence”

  • @Matthew Huntbach, @Stephen Hesketh, @Michael BG

    Let’s unpack this a bit, shall we?

    Do you, or do you not, believe that the state, and only the state, should provide medical care, social care, and education? Do you believe that that provision should be centralised? Are you relaxed that that provision is a monopoly or monopolistic?

  • @Stephen Hesketh “Er no! We are the pro-Liberal Democracy anti-Tory party.”

    The implications of that statement are that 1) you believe we should be anti-Tory in every circumstance, even when we agree with them and 2) you believe that means we will always be closer to Labour and should side with them against the Conservatives.

    I and many others do not want to nail our colours so firmly to one mast.

  • @ TCO

    I don’t understand what “Do you, or do you not, believe that the state, and only the state, should provide medical care, social care, and education? Do you believe that that provision should be centralised? Are you relaxed that that provision is a monopoly or monopolistic?” has to do with my questions to you:

    do you see a difference between “reducing the power of the powerful” and “we are against all concentrations of power” or do you see them as essentially the same policy? Without my part of actually doing something about the power of the powerful and only having your part, then we would just be onlookers saying, “Oh aren’t concentrations of power a bad thing, I wonder what we should do about them?”

    However in the hope that if I answer your questions you will answer mine.

    I do not have a fixed position on private or public on medical care, social care or education. I accept that individuals should be free to reject the public provision of these services and purchase their own in the market place. I accept that social care is often provided by private companies and I do not think only state owned originations should provide the service. Last year I posted in the comments section the disadvantages of having competition in the public financed education section, the main one being increased costs because in a market there has to be spare capacity so that the consumer can choose their preferred supplier and not be disappointed because there isn’t room in the classroom for their child. I accept that churches provide education as part of the state provision and if a private company or charity wanted to provide education under the same oversight then I have no objection. I have used NHS medical care provided by a private company and it was a much better experience than visiting my GP or the NHS Trust hospital. Therefore in principle I am not against private provision in the NHS, but it has be highly regulated and private provision should not be allowed to cherry pick what they provide. Therefore the nature of what is being asked for has to carefully drawn up. (Also I am not sure that there are lots of party members who would not allow private dentists carry out procedures under the NHS.)

  • @ TCO

    I dislike all monopolies and believe where monopolies exist the state has a duty to intervene to protect the consumers. I can’t change my water supplier and therefore a case can be made so that the provider should be publically owned. However an alternative case could be made for regulation to ensure that huge profits are not made and pricing is structured so the consumer is not paying too high a price for their water. A case can be made for the rail network to be publically owned as is the road network, especially if it is believed that using a train is a public good that helps the environment. If rail transport could be truly competitive as is road haulage, then I would support it. I love the idea that if I wanted to go to London I could go on the internet and download not only the times and speed of the trains but the different prices depending on which private train operator happen to get their trains to my station in the time period I wished to travel.

    I do not believe provision should be centralised. It should be decentralised and this applies to those things provided by publically owned organisations. It is vital that local people have control over their public services

  • Sorry “state owned originations” should be “state owned organisations”.

  • Stephen Hesketh 17th Sep '15 - 6:47pm

    TCO 17th Sep ’15 – 11:34am
    [[@Stephen Hesketh “Er no! We are the pro-Liberal Democracy anti-Tory party.”]]

    The implications of that statement are that 1) you believe we should be anti-Tory in every circumstance, even when we agree with them and 2) you believe that means we will always be closer to Labour and should side with them against the Conservatives.

    OK, 1) on the rare occasions when the Conservatives might support anything remotely Liberal and Democratic, I agree with you, I am happy to work with them in the interests of a Liberal outcome.

    2) simply doesn’t follow at all. Because I am temperamentally anti-Tory and belong to a movement that has historically opposed the Tories, this absolutely does not make me more likely to support illiberal Labourites.

    What is interesting is that while I have written here and on Twitter against illiberal Labourites joining us, you have done the opposite in the interests not of Liberal Democracy but of moderate politics.

    Would you indulge me regarding my question about Vince Cable and anyone else in this party being ‘anti business’ as I personally don’t see it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Sep '15 - 9:44pm

    TCO

    Do you, or do you not, believe that the state, and only the state, should provide medical care, social care, and education?

    I believe that if people want to purchase these things from a provider other than the state they should be free to do so.

    Do you believe that that provision should be centralised?

    No.

    Are you relaxed that that provision is a monopoly or monopolistic?

    Let me turn this round. Would you be relaxed about paying higher taxes so that a greater variety in provision could be provided?

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Sep '15 - 9:58pm

    TCO

    Do you, or do you not, believe that the state, and only the state, should provide medical care, social care, and education?

    I am concerned, however, that people selling such services for profit may not provide me with the best services. These are things where I want the service to be provided by people who I can be sure are working in my best interest, and not merely pretending to do in order to make a profit.

    Take health care. If I go to a private practitioner who tells me for the sake of my health I need some expensive treatment which he will provide, how can I be sure I really need it? Or, if I pay the other way round – a fixed fee in insurance regardless of what health care I receive, how I can I tell if I am told some health care is not needed that is in my best interests rather than the insurers saying so in order to keep their profits up?

    I have seen several people ripped off rotten by health quacks, that does make me suspicious of private provision in this area.

    Obviously, also, it is part of liberty to say that people should get basic health care regardless of their income and wealth. If someone dies because health care is provided privately and they can’t afford to pay for it, it is a rather drastic diminution of their liberty, isn’t it?

  • I visited this site half an hour ago convinced I would join the liberal democratic party, that a new political powerhouse of the center ground was about to emerge from the ashes to populate the space vacated by the labour party, and that I wanted to part of it.
    Then I read this blog post and comments.

  • Nicholas Jenkins 20th Sep '15 - 9:07am

    Agree with 3 of these, especially growth not austerity because we need to be making our economy viable for today and the future with public sector investment to help the private sector recover properly. I think we should tax the wealthiest more but not to the extent Corbyn would wish (with the way capital can move around today, no one would do business in Britain at very high rates). But greater public ownership? This has no place as a policy of a liberal/centre/centre left party. Look at the countries where socialism has worked- they combine free market capitalism with a strong welfare state and collective bargains (Nordic model: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_model). Scandinavian countries are well-known for their free markets which are good for business. Anyone espousing this policy should get real and join the labour party. Also don’t call it public ownership, which would be workplace democracy. It’s bureaucrat ownership- (without the profit motive and with somewhat more public accountability). Public ownership also hurts the reputation of unions because they often behave terribly under nationalisation- there is no mutual destruction so they often just keep going until the government is forced to give in (hence the 70s). Sorry for the poorly researched nature of this post I did very quickly.

  • Alan Hughes 21st Sep '15 - 3:29pm

    @Neil Bradbury said it well on the 14th of September as some of these issues are clear fracture lines between socialists and liberals. I fear that some of the problems that befall the Liberal Democrats is that these differences are not adequately clear. Speaking for my own part I would have flistened to the Liberal Democrats sooner had I been aware of these issues and not, unfortunately seen them as Labour Lite.

  • Thomas Shakespeare 29th Dec '15 - 11:05am

    The trouble is that even if you agree with Jeremy the parliamentary Labour party is so divided that he will struggle to implement his & Labour members’ ideas in the face of opposition from his own MPs.

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