I disagree with Jeremy

Jeremy Corbyn photo by lewishamdreamer1Jeremy Corbyn strikes me as someone who is still fighting all the battles of the 1980s and has not thought much about anything since.

Re-open the coal mines! Of course – they were closed by the Tories, so they must reopen. But ban fracking – because that is getting carbon-based fuel out of the ground, which is wrong. Now I respect people who want a total ban on fracking out of concern for the local environment, or to keep the carbon in the ground. I happen to accept the evidence that it can be done safely, and that the gas has an important role in replacing dirtier coal, running standby plant for wind turbines and weakening Putin’s influence in the world.

But it is the contrast that shows the dogmatism. Coal mining is dangerous, it has killed thousands. Coal burning is dirty. Yes, it used to employ large numbers, noble and macho, but isn’t it still better to be high tech, high skill and safe? Fracking isn’t perfect, but next to coal mining, it is better on every count.

The Cold War

I respect people who want unilateral disarmament – I used to be one myself. The Cold War was terrifying – the USA and USSR standing off, poised for destruction at any moment, over some difference of ideology that is hardly worth blowing the world up over. Playing no part in that madness was an understandable reaction. The left in particular, having some (utterly misguided) sympathy for the USSR’s ideological position, objected to British nuclear weapons, and NATO membership.

I find modern anti-Westernism, like Corbyn’s, much more incomprehensible. There is an alternative on offer to the Western values of freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and capitalism. It isn’t socialism, and it certainly isn’t freedom, democracy and socialism. It is the undemocratic, unfree, state/capitalism of China. The KGB-state of Russia. The theocracy of Iran. The murder-cult of Daesh/ISIL. Socialists should be pro-Western as being the best deal on offer.

Economic policy

Much higher taxes, printing money, price controls, nuff said.

What they’ve chosen to do is to go back to the old socialism of the past… You don’t need to look in the crystal ball to see the consequences, you can look at the history books. These are the policies followed by Hugo Chavez, disasterously, it’s the policy by Syriza, disasterously… These are the policies of the past for the past. Old Labour is in charge by a vast majority with a huge mandate.

This leaves us uniquely placed to fight for a progressive vision of a better world, a vision that is stronger not weaker for embracing opportunity, aspiration and entrepreneurship, and stronger not weaker for holding to sound economic, fiscal and monetary policy.

We may well agree with Corbyn on spending more here or there, but his support for spending more here or there is pretty worthless if he wants to spend more everywhere, paid for by pie in the sky. We may agree in opposing military action, but to my mind the anti-Westerner is a liability to any anti-war movement. We do agree on mental health, he is following our lead and deserves full credit for doing so. But let’s not allow particular agreements to cloud the big picture.

We went into the last election, with profound disagreements with David Cameron and Ed Miliband, but rightly able and willing to work with either, should the voters so demand. It is difficult to see how in good conscience we can extend the same courtesy to Jeremy Corbyn, when he is too extreme even for most of his parliamentary party. I hope and believe we can work with Labour, but they would need, either before or after the election, a different leader.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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82 Comments

  • I’d like to be the first to offer some infantile abuse to mirror the ‘I agree with Jeremey article’

    Fascist. I can’t believe I’m hearing this – is this some kind of nightmare?!!!!

  • Martin Gentles 15th Sep '15 - 12:08pm

    Hear, hear. I have to agree. I have never felt so alienated from the left, of which I still consider myself apart, even if more to the ‘centre’, than I have felt since Labour picked Corbyn. It baffles me.

  • Simon McGrath 15th Sep '15 - 12:23pm

    Great article Joe. Scary that it needs to be written mind you

  • [email protected] will stand in the liberal space in British politics. Compassionate & socially just but also economically competent & pro business

    I agree with Tim!

  • >Fracking isn’t perfect, but next to coal mining, it is better on every count.

    …and that’s where the Cornish stopped reading. 🙂 I saw some straw on the ground regarding “anti-Westernism” too, so I think Joe has unintentionally created meta-information that goes some way to explaining the success of Jeremy Corbyn : it’s hard to sit through a Corbyn speech without agreeing with most of it, whereas this article barely holds a sentence that everyone could get behind. As such, it’s a good analogy for the new situation.

  • J George SMID 15th Sep '15 - 12:56pm

    I read the post ‘I disagree with Jeremy’ after I read ‘I agree with Jeremy’ – no intention there, no preference. It suprises me though that there are significantly more comments on ‘agree’ than on ‘disagree’ page. So I decided to copy my response from ‘I agree’ article:

    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.

  • Neil Sandison 15th Sep '15 - 12:57pm

    Joe Otten .Fracking don’t go there. There are still serious environmental issues with fracking and I predict as we know more and see the Tories ride rough shod over local communities it will make the complaints about wind turbines and solar arrays pale into insignificance .But you are right to emphasis Corbyn contridictions and policy statements that just don’t add up.

  • JC is in many ways the mirror of NF (Nigel Farage)- most (or many) can agree with them identifying – ‘this is a problem’ stance, but when their ‘solutions’ are offered, that is when it starts to fall apart . JC honeymoon looks like the shortest ever for a Party Leader . Labour as a ‘broad church’ party, are now showing that they really are a Party of ‘different religions’, and some accusing others as ‘non- believers ‘.

    Agreed lets get on with our job – and let JC and Labour get on with whatever!

  • Don’t agree with you on fracking, but other wake a very good and sensible piece.

  • Joe after everything you have thrown at Corbyn do you think in 5 years time your position will help you improve on the tame 4TH place you reached at the Election in Sheffield -just asking.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Sep '15 - 1:12pm

    Joe Otten

    I find modern anti-Westernism, like Corbyn’s, much more incomprehensible.

    So were we wrong on Iraq?

  • Peter Bancroft 15th Sep '15 - 1:21pm

    I agree with Joe. And Tim. And you know, other good liberals. I tend to disagree with people from other political factions, especially the more extreme authoritarian ones.
    And Matthew, not sure where you extrapolated your Iraq question from, but it strikes me as having a similar answer to the Daily Mail asking whether eating celery can give you cancer.

  • J George,
    I suspect the reason there aren’t so many comments here is because the people “who don’t agree with Jeremy” or rather the people who think even voicing some common ground on some issues is tantamount for Stalinism were replying to every post with hysteria, where as most of us who had some sympathy with Mary’s piece simply shrug and think oh’ well it Joe Otten, he’s been replying to me and everyone else on the other thread, lets see what he has to and since we’ve already replied there’s not much else to much to add.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 15th Sep '15 - 1:28pm

    Matthew – there was a world of difference between Kennedy’s opposition to the Iraq War and that of, say, George Galloway.

    Kennedy argued – correctly – that the “evidence” for WMD was at best flawed and at worst bogus, that there was no exit strategy, and that it was unlikely to improve the lives of people in Iraq because invading armies find it hard to impose democracy. Galloway opposed it because Saddam was an underdog who ought to be applauded for cocking a snook at Washington DC (and threw a bloody good party whenever he called round).

    It would be unfair to put Corbyn in the same charlatan camp as George… but it has to be said he’s nearer to that school of thought than Kennedy’s.

    Overall, I fully agree with Joe’s article. The Corbyn/McDonnell agenda is knee-jerk, backward-looking, and intellectually featherweight. It is willfully ignorant of evidence and contemptuous towrds dissent. The fact they may genuinely believe it all in their hearts is a cause for pity not praise.

  • On the evidence so far it seems that those on the left of the Lib Dems are much more capable of engaging constructively with those on the right (this article) compared with the histrionics of those on the right over Mary Reid’s article.

  • @ Joe Otten ” the contrast that shows the dogmatism. Coal mining is dangerous, it has killed thousands. Coal burning is dirty. Yes, it used to employ large numbers, noble and macho, but isn’t it still better to be high tech, high skill and safe? Fracking isn’t perfect, but next to coal mining, it is better on every count.”

    Sorry, Joe, but you’re inventing a straw man and extremely misleading about what Corbyn actually said He was talking about investing in clean coal technology which is a near as carbon neutral as possible and which seems a blindingly obvious thing to do. It would reduce the case for fracking and make a huge difference to our balance of payments – with technological and environmental export benefits if successful. Don’t believe the Tory press interpretation – I heard him say it on TV. Britain is currently sitting on 3,196 million tonnes of coal – but we currently import nearly 50 million tonnes (most of it from Russia- often produced in questionable circumstances.).

    To parrot a modern political mantra, “I won’t take lessons from…….” about deaths in the coal industry. My Great grandfather died of phthisis (miners lung) in Chester-le-Street at 28 leaving four kids (no state benefits or compensation from the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family just pennies collected from his mates and the burial club), I well remember Granddad’s back looking like a whiteboard covered in black crayon having gone down the pit at twelve.

    BUT, that was then and this is now. To quote you again, ” isn’t it still better to be high tech, high skill and safe?” YES…… that’s what JC is talking about with massive benefits for the old coalfield areas in Wales, the North and Scotland.

  • @Steve 15th Sep ’15 – 1:31pm
    “On the evidence so far it seems that those on the left of the Lib Dems are much more capable of engaging constructively with those on the right (this article) compared with the histrionics of those on the right over Mary Reid’s article.”

    That’s because it’s not a like for like comparison. If, for example, Joe written an article stating “I agree with Boris!” and listing 5 vague statements that he chose to define in a way that suited him, I’m sure we would have seen a more robust response (probably involving the words “Orange Book”, “Closet Tory” and “wrong party”).

  • So when WE oppose military intervention to remove a dictator in Iraq it’s from a high moral standpoint; HE opposes it because he’s anti-Western…
    When WE support the removal of a dictators in Libya and Syria it’s from a high moral standpoint and HIS opposition is still anti-Western……

    I’m so glad that’s sorted out….

  • Harry Samuels 15th Sep '15 - 1:52pm

    I agree with Joe!

  • Nick Collins 15th Sep '15 - 1:54pm

    Did anyone else see Charles Brandreth on “The One Show” last Friday? He was in Guildford High Street putting various propositions to the people who consented to talk to him on camera. When they agreed with those propositions (a selection from those quoted by Mary Red yesterday), he would say “Do you realise that that makes you a socialist? That’s what Jeremy Corbyn thinks?” . At that point most of them recoiled in horror saying “Oh no; I vote Conservative”, or words to that effect.

    It reminded me of the experiments in cognitive dissonance which were conducted years ago, People were given various unattributed statements and invited to indicate their levels of agreement/disagreement. They were then given similar statements, attributed to various public or historical figures and asked to do likewise. Their attitudes to the statements tended to vary considerably according to whether their supposed authors were perceived as “heroes” or “villains”.

    Personally, I find very little to disagree with in the statements and objectives attributed to Mr Corbyn. For me, the question is whether; faced with the reputation which goes before him, the baggage he carries, his lack of front-bench political experience, a hostile press and the apparent scepticism of his own parliamentary party: he will actually be able to deliver any of it.

    As for the LibDems: I have absolutely no idea what, if anything, they stand for any more. And it matters not a jot which party the they “feel able to work with” since they are unlikely to be in a position to deliver more than a handful of votes in the House of Commons for a long time to come.

  • Gwynfor Tyley 15th Sep '15 - 1:56pm

    This is a very poor post, wilfully misrepresenting what Corbyn has actually said. It is more worthy of conservative central office or the daily mail.

    We still need to determine what our direction is going to be and how that fits with a labour party moving in a significantly different direction to previously. Hysterically repeating the MSM’s smears will not do us any favours.

  • @expats
    I think it’s one of those irregular verbs from Yes Minister.

    We promised to renationalise the railways in a completely liberal manner in our 2005 manifesto.
    He’s the most left-wing Labour leader of all time with policies that nobody (66% of the population) could vote for.

    We promised to increase the rate of income tax to pay for higher education through progressive taxation.
    His plans are mad and pose a serious risk to the economy.

    We don’t want renew trident in it’s current form.
    He’s a threat to national security.

    We want to introduce a mansion tax that has considerable support with voters.
    He’s an unreconstructed class-warrior wanting to tax enterprise and hard work.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 15th Sep '15 - 2:06pm

    “Britain is currently sitting on 3,196 million tonnes of coal – but we currently import nearly 50 million tonnes (most of it from Russia- often produced in questionable circumstances.).”

    Isn’t this exactly Joe’s point – that there is a massive disconnect between Corbyn’s views on coal and fracking?

    If we risk fuel dependency on Russia, the issue is a thousand times more acute in relation to natural gas than it is in relation to coal. Does that mean we should frack away? Not necessarily; there’s a genuine, evidence-based debate to be had about how you balance environmental protection, security of supply, cost and so on. But you can’t seriously use the argument for a relatively small amount of coal and ignore it when talking about fracking (or indeed about nuclear or renewables).

    The reason why Corbyn falls into that trap is as Joe says – that there’s a backward-looking, misplaced romantic quality to it. And that simply makes for bad policy. Instead of starting by thinking about getting the right energy policy for 2015 (indeed 2020 and beyond), Corbyn and his like start by asserting Thatcher did a great wrong over coal mining in the 1980s (which may be true), and set about making the case to turn the clock back with no interest in what it means today, or in achieving any form of consistency or coherence in talking about different fuel sources. It is, at best, intellectual dishonesty.

  • Good article, much better than the hysteria from commenters on the “I agree…” article, which were full of the infantile US Republican-style analysis of “socialism=authoritarianism=illiberalism.” Apparently forgetting that the Lib Dems were founded in part by social democrats who believed in increasing freedom and opportunity by mitigating the impacts of economic and social disadvantage. The comments went to the extreme of denying the possibility of ‘left-liberalism’ which is so absurd it could have come straight from Donald Trump.

  • David Evershed 15th Sep '15 - 2:26pm

    Joe Otten – The voice of reason.

  • What I do not understand is why Ashdown was on that programme. Should our leader not have been there. Is it not time for “Paddy” to gracefully decline and bow out, We may diagree with Corbyn but I fear he will adversely affect our development for some time, unless we get our leader up and running in the media.

  • Eddie Sammon 15th Sep '15 - 2:33pm

    Good article. I disagree with Jeremy too (for new readers). I think the Conservatives have gone in for too strong language over the “threat to national security” stuff because usually anything involving a threat to national security involves the secret service.

    I’m opposed to his economic policies, but I’m even more opposed to his foreign policies. I can see that a desire for a stronger welfare state can come from wanting to end poverty, but I don’t see how a desire for peace can lead to a foreign policy of basically sitting on our hands and blaming everything on the arms trade. ISIS like knives too, anyway.

  • “Fracking isn’t perfect, but next to coal mining, it is better on every count.” err No!

    Whilst, it is right to illustrate Jeremy’s contradictions the logic used in the article also contains its own contradictions and blind faith in a rose-tinted high tech future.

    I think successive governments have allowed political dogma to blind them albeit aided and abetted by an us-and-them attitude to industrial relations to some rather uncomfortable truths and it seems that Joe also falls into this same trap. One of the arguments for fracking is security of energy supply, so if this is important (and Joe says it is as it will help weaken our dependence on Russia) then surely by the same logic we need to have ready access to our substantial coal reserves (even if in the current market we import coal)? But clearly many don’t get this logic and see it as being wholly reasonable and sensible to close our deep mines and so through a combination of physical decay of the mines and the loss of skills, put these energy reserves beyond reach BEFORE fracking has really started in the UK and has many years to go before it gets anywhere near delivering 1% of our total energy needs.

    This is before we consider building those ” high tech, high skill and safe” nuclear reactors… (Remember with nuclear, like coal, we have much experience of when things go wrong, with fracking we’re still in the “wow isn’t tech wonderful and what can possibly go wrong” phase, hence new nuclear is potentially safer than fracking 🙂 …)

    So Jeremy does have a point…

  • Steve 15th Sep ’15 – 2:06pm…

    Yes Minister, indeed! At least Corbyn seems, unlike so many others, to follow a personal ‘austerity’ budget…

    As I posted in ‘the other place’…“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”….

    @expats
    I think it’s one of those irregular verbs from Yes.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 15th Sep '15 - 2:51pm

    Roland – the reason people generally worry less about security of supply for coal is that it’s abundant and geographically dispersed. In other words, in case of instability in one part of the world, there are other options to feed generation needs at a similar price.

    That’s actually one fairly decent argument for not reducing coal use too much (although environmentally it’s considerably worse even with advances in clean coal). But it doesn’t really go to whether Britain should reopen mines (presumably using money from the Corbyn/McDonnell inflationary printing presses for projects nobody else wants to fund).

  • The best observation on Corbyn I have seen is that he is Schrodinger’s Socialist – simultaneously a Grave Threat to Our National Security, and Unelectable.

  • GPPurnell,
    I ‘ve thought that as well.

  • Glenn, GPPurnell,

    Yes, I have been wondering why Joe and others get so excited about someone who is apparently going to plunge the Labour Party into an abyss from which they will never emerge. Perhaps they have a sneaking worry that he might prove popular after all??

    Well, one thing is for sure, Corbyn does not have much power to do anything at the moment, so we have a bit of time to find out what the Labour Party is actually going to do rather than using things Corbyn said 10 years ago or taking random quotes about coal mines out of context..

  • Sir Norfolk
    The coal seams in Britain are heavily geologically faulted thus making coal expensive to extract.
    Chris B
    Did you sit through the speech on vegetarianism?

    The old Liberal Party was formed by Whigs, Peelites , and Radicals.
    Yes Radicals. What was there colour? Red.

  • their

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 15th Sep '15 - 4:30pm

    There are several worries for people like Joe and me.

    If we are right, Corbyn is a catastrophe for the Labour Party, and the issue is not recognised and dealt with very quickly, then the Conservatives are in power for a generation with large majorities. That’s a bad thing and I do not entertain fantasies of our replacing Labour in 2020 or even 2025. The Tories will clobber us with “Your Lib Dem candidate may be super… but don’t risk her letting Corbyn/McDonnell in through the back door”. And it will be a devastatingly effective message. We want a credible partner.

    If we are totally wrong, and Corbyn opens up a 30pt poll lead that never narrows, then he will implement policies that are bad for the country and terrible for the very people he (and we) want to help most. Their effects will last for many, many years.

    And in either case, we worry that some in our own party fall for the superficial attraction of a few SWP soundbites that stand up to no serious scrutiny (the “slogan – tick!” approach). That’s deeply depressing for the long term health of our party.

  • Stephen Campbell 15th Sep '15 - 4:42pm

    Interesting how Corbyn is “backward-looking” and fighting the “battles of yesterday”.

    When the Tories want to gut workplace protections and trades unions, returning us all to the era where capital had absolute power over millions of labourers, that is somehow not fighting old battles, but seen as being sensible by those on the right in society.

    When the Tories (and the coalition) gut the welfare state and leave some of the most vulnerable people in society homeless and destitute (to pay for the mistakes of the powerful), that’s just a “necessity” and in no way backward-looking to the era of robber barons in the slightest.

    When the coalition gives billions of pounds of public money to state-owned, but foreign companies, that is seen as sensible, but when Corbyn proposes to re-nationalise our own energy supply, he’s a dangerous “dinosaur”.

    Corbyn is a “threat to our national security” because he has often advocated talking to terrorists and questionable regimes. And yet, and yet, the coalition was more than happy to do deals with the Chinese (who still maintain re-education camps and have a horrible record on human rights) and crawled up the backsides of the “legitimate ISIS” the Saudis (and I don’t think I need to say anything about *their* human rights abuses), yet again, that is considered pragmatic and acceptable.

    The Tories are taking the lower and moderately-paid people in this country (as well as those unable to work or who cannot find work) back to the Victorian era. Yet somehow, Corbyn is the one living in the past and fighting some vicious class war. Amazing.

    The narrative is that the right is allowed to drag us back to the past, to fight old battles and do business with horrible people and horrible regimes, yet when someone on the left proposes solutions which sometimes look to the past, he’s Lenin incarnate. It all whiffs a bit of the word that begins with “h” and ends with “ypocrisy”.

  • Dave Orbison 15th Sep '15 - 5:30pm

    @ Joe – Corbyn is a socialist. Shock horror. He is not anti-western but an ‘Internationalist’. Criticising western warmongering does not make you anti-western what ever that terms means? Denigrating those that advocate different solutions to ones we prefer is not especially helpful. This is typical of the Bush era of ‘you are either for or against us’.

    Why do we have to join one club or other> Why can’t we start with supporting international law under the UN – which is Corbyn’s position.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 15th Sep '15 - 5:42pm

    Stephen – you’re basically saying is that the Tories are wrong on a lot of issues. I agree. But it’s telling that your characterisation of it is essentially that the Tories want to drag us back to the Victorian era, so let’s join Corbyn in only wanting to drag us back to 1979.

    Here in Britain in 2015, we face a range of serious issues. The Conservatives have one set of solutions to those – the wrong set by and large. So we need serious alternatives. Does Corbyn offer them? Absolutely not. As Joe says, he hasn’t moved on or thought about how the world has moved on since his political infancy. His fans call that “consistency” and “principle”. In reality, it’s stubbornness, a desire for revenge for wrongs of the past (real and perceived), and a total lack of ability to reflect, accommodate change, and apply intellectual rigour.

    You think we are upset because we want to defend the Tory Government. You’re totally wrong. We are upset because we want an alternative that will (i) have a cat in hell’s chance of being implemented; and (ii) make people’s lives better if it is.

  • Dave Orbison 15th Sep '15 - 5:52pm

    @David Raw Thanks for a detailed and factual response. It’s a perfect example of where examination of the detailed policy makes the simplistic and knee-jerk anti Corbynism we see look rather silly. I would add that we have lost huge swathes of manufacturing jobs in the last ten years or so. Part of Corbyn’s policy is to invest and build-up our manufacturing capacity – this neatly fits the bill. Quite apart from burning coal there is much else that can be done with it. Coal is a basic raw material for organic chemistry that touches all our lives from plastics, pharma and much more. Sitting on such huge coal reserves when we could invest in smart and safe technology and research and develop clean ways in which to harness the raw materials we have seems far better than relying on imports from countries who have no regard for the environment or workers’ rights and health and safety. By the way Joe, another example of Corbyn being internationalist in his outlook and not anti-Western as you say. Workers rights, health and safety and the environment are, I hope you would agree, are global issues – so cheap coal at the expense of others? No thanks.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Sep '15 - 5:53pm

    Sir Norfolk Passmore

    Matthew – there was a world of difference between Kennedy’s opposition to the Iraq War and that of, say, George Galloway.

    What do you mean by “Kennedy’s opposition”? Kennedy did not take the initiative in leading the Liberal Democrats in opposition to the Iraq war. In fact he required quite a bit of persuasion to follow what had been established as the party line on it and be seen to be active in opposing it.

  • Jenny barnes 15th Sep '15 - 6:09pm

    Carbon capture & storage uses something like 25%of the output energy to deal with the necessary compression and cooling of the exhaust gas. So that puts the energy cost up. Once it’s been pumped into the reservoir, it has to be kept there for at least 1000 years if it’s going to make a difference to climate change. Wells usually fail much more often than that. As to fracking, there’s plenty gas in Qatar, we don’t need to find more. Renewables and insulation has to be the way to go.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Sep '15 - 6:10pm

    expats

    So when WE oppose military intervention to remove a dictator in Iraq it’s from a high moral standpoint; HE opposes it because he’s anti-Western…
    When WE support the removal of a dictators in Libya and Syria it’s from a high moral standpoint and HIS opposition is still anti-Western……

    Thanks expats, that makes my point. I remember how it was, and I saw little difference between the lines used by Liberal Democrats to oppose the Iraq invasion and the lines used by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn. Liberal Democrat opponents very much did join in the line that the invasion was bad because it was about imposing a pro-western government on Iraq and that was a bad thing in itself. I myself thought there was a considerable amount of hypocrisy in the way that large parts of the left (including many Liberal Democrats) suddenly switched from Saddam Hussein being one of the world’s cruelest dictators, who needed to be deposed, into someone who was ok so long as he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.

    I agree the invasion was wrong, but I don’t think it was wrong intentioned. It was wrong because of the way so many used it to demonise the west and wanted to do so, and the invasion fell into their hands by allowing them to do so. It should only have happened if it had widespread support in the Arab and Muslim world – which it didn’t, because other dictators certainly wouldn’t agree to the idea of overthrowing one of their colleagues. Also it should only have happened had there been a plan to establish a decent government afterwards, which there wasn’t. It seemed to have been hoped pone would magically arise. It didn’t.

  • Dave Orbison 15th Sep '15 - 6:11pm

    @GP Purnell – just catching up. There appears to be much self-congratulation on here as to the unelectability of Corbyn. Looks like he’s a complete disaster for Labour by all accounts. And as for his policies that you have all rattled off – why would anyone vote for them he’s clearly crazy? Anti-western and a socialist – less of the evil today I note.

    Interesting opinions. Just some facts to damped the champagne celebrations: Labour have now gained 30000 new members in the space of a few days; Corbyn won a landslide of all parts of the Party including 85% of over 100k members of the public (Or as described here Hard Left) who were sufficiently enthused to join as affiliates’ ; people relate to his polices – some do not but at least he has some and the killer, if your self-congratulatory political wisdom is so infallible – the General Election Result of 2015? Discuss.

  • Tony Dawson 15th Sep '15 - 6:40pm

    @Matthew Huntbach :

    ” Kennedy did not take the initiative in leading the Liberal Democrats in opposition to the Iraq war. In fact he required quite a bit of persuasion to follow what had been established as the party line on it and be seen to be active in opposing it.”

    Matthew, I think you are right to draw attention to Charles’ reticence on this matter at one point and there was a force within his private office which was rabidly pro-bombing Iraq for rather obvious and sad reasons but I walked the whole of that march with Charles and others and heard his speech at the rally afterwards which was really quite good. As for the forces near the top of the Party organisation which tried to stop our having an official presence on that march and greatly-reduced Lib Dem participation thereby, let’s not go there.

  • George Kendall 15th Sep '15 - 7:13pm

    @Steve “it seems that those on the left of the Lib Dems are much more capable of engaging constructively with those on the right”

    I think most of the problem is we constantly misunderstand those we disagree with. In my opinion, in the other thread, there were unhelpful comments from both sides.

    You suggest irregular verbs from Yes Minister apply here. I agree, but for different reasons.

    We’re hyper-sensitive when our own side is unfairly attacked, but we are completely oblivious when our side unfairly attacks our opponents.

    I think a good approach is to follow that old principle: “Take the log out of your own eye, before you take the speck out of your brothers”.

    The trouble is, we all, including me, find it very hard to notice that log.

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

    @Manfarang “The coal seams in Britain are heavily geologically faulted thus making coal expensive to extract”. For the record, the cheapest way of extracting coal in Britain is through opencast mining. In the last decade or so this was a major, if not the major source, of domestic coal used in power stations, and was mainly extracted in Scotland, not too far from Glasgow. Even if we did continue to generate electricity in coal fired station, it would be open cast coal which was used, not deep mined coal, so the idea of reopening any deep mines is indeed pure romantic nostalgia.

  • Graham
    The company went bust in Scotland..
    Changing technology in the future may make coal a viable industry
    but not like it was in the past.

  • Ah opening the coal mines. I appreciate the fact that you included the part where Corbyn said that this would only happen with vastly improved carbon capture. You didn’t? Can’t think why.

  • Stephen Hesketh 15th Sep '15 - 8:46pm

    Simon Oliver 15th Sep ’15 – 1:19pm

    “Glad to see lots of people speaking up for renewables over fracking :)”

    http://greenlibdems.org.uk/en/article/2015/1110835/gld-energy-and-democracy-emergency-motion-accepted-for-ballot

    Exactly what Simon Oliver says.

    Also Jenny Barnes’ point “Renewables and insulation has to be the way to go.”

  • Stephen Hesketh 15th Sep '15 - 8:56pm

    Gwynfor Tyley 15th Sep ’15 – 1:56pm
    “This is a very poor post, wilfully misrepresenting what Corbyn has actually said. It is more worthy of conservative central office or the daily mail.

    We still need to determine what our direction is going to be and how that fits with a labour party moving in a significantly different direction to previously. Hysterically repeating the MSM’s smears will not do us any favours.”

    So true Gwynfor … anyone would think we won’t be in need of any tactical Labour votes come 2020. Hold on! Perhaps all those nice Conservatives are going to vote for us again just like they did in 2015.

  • Tom MacLean 15th Sep '15 - 9:29pm

    Being a former Lib-dem party member and never having been a member or supporter of the Labour party ,I observe the frenzy of headless chicken panic The Corbs election as his partys leader (Labour are in turmoil,AGAIN,well for now,at any rate,The Tories are either having a go at Jeremys clothes etc or looking back at stuff he said years ago,I dont know what the brass at Lib-Dem towers make if it all.The Corb seems to have bothered people.Thats good.People SHOULD be bothered.The turgid sterile sameness of politicians and the parties,well the three main ones,has bored the pants of many voters.About time we had a REAL opposition,holding THIS government to account.Thats what has been lacking.Not having seen one policy,as yet,from the new Labour party leadership,I await them.

  • I’d have a lot more respect for Lib Dems if you concentrated in opposing the Government and left Labour to their own devices. Yesterday the Trade Union Bill and today the Welfare Bill – and yet not a mention on here. But loads about Corbyn. And you claim to care about the poor and the disadvantaged!

  • Excellent, excellent article Joe. I love the introductory contradiction on reopening coal mines and at the same time banning fracking – good point!

  • @Stephen Hesketh we got more Tory tactical votes in 2015 than Labour.

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

    @Phyllis
    I have something on welfare cuts which I’ve just started cooking, but I’ll need to let it simmer for a while. Give me time, Phyllis. Let’s just say … Ian Duncan Smith won’t like it.

    There was this piece is about Trade Union Reform:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/vince-cable-coauthors-anti-trade-union-bill-article-with-tuc-chief-47417.html

    There are, of course, a lot of articles about Corbyn, but that is hardly surprising. This is perhaps the most astonishing event in British politics in my lifetime.

  • TCO — where is there any data to support your assertion !

    TCO 15th Sep ’15 – 10:38pm
    @Stephen Hesketh we got more Tory tactical votes in 2015 than Labour.

    I have not seen any evidence for this.
    Given that all but 8 of our candidates lost and hundreds of our candidates lost their deposit (ie failed to get 5% of votes in their constituency) it seems highly unlikely that there were many tactical votes coming to Liberal Democrats whatsoever. What’s the source for your assertion? Or is it merely a hunch? Or maybe something you would like to be true?

  • Stephen Hesketh 16th Sep '15 - 6:38am

    TCO 15th Sep ’15 – 10:38pm
    “@Stephen Hesketh we got more Tory tactical votes in 2015 than Labour.”

    Mr O, just for clarity, are you saying that we received more Tory tactical votes than Labour tactical votes at the 2015 General Election?

  • Phyllis 15th Sep ’15 – 9:59pm……………I’d have a lot more respect for Lib Dems if you concentrated in opposing the Government and left Labour to their own devices. Yesterday the Trade Union Bill and today the Welfare Bill – and yet not a mention on here. But loads about Corbyn. And you claim to care about the poor and the disadvantaged!………..

    My thoughts exactly.. The best we can do is George Kendall (cooking something)..

    Strange how we need much time and thought to make any decision to what is ACTUALLY happening, by the Tories, but can decide instantly on what MIGHT happen with Labour….

    Those who were most enthusiastic about our time in coalition still hold sway it seems…

  • Nick Collins 16th Sep '15 - 8:53am

    @ John Tilley and Stephen Hesketh: Maybe that was the case in Sheffield Hallam?

    @Phyllis and Expats: Well said

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Sep '15 - 10:02am

    Tony Dawson

    Matthew, I think you are right to draw attention to Charles’ reticence on this matter at one point and there was a force within his private office which was rabidly pro-bombing Iraq for rather obvious and sad reasons but I walked the whole of that march with Charles and others and heard his speech at the rally afterwards which was really quite good.

    The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s not the case that everything done by a political party is on the initiative of its leader. It seems that these days the Leninist model of political party is so fixed in people’s heads that they just can’t even conceive of a political party being run in any other way. So people commenting on the Liberal Democrats’ position on the Iraq war just assume it was Charles Kennedy who led the opposition to it, and whatever position the party took on it was what Charles Kennedy decided it should be.

    We need to get away from that model of political party. It is not a liberal model, so it is something we should be instinctively opposed to. As I’ve remarked before, one of the reasons for the success of Charles Kennedy as leader is that he didn’t try to impose him and his views on the party, instead he allowed it to be seen as a team-work thing. It may have been because there were personal reasons (as we now know) why he wasn’t actively trying to dominate, but even if it was accidental, I feel it worked well.

    Of course this has relevance to the Corbyn issue, because people seem to have assumed that the Labour Party under his leadership will instantly adopt all his personal policies. Corbyn has given indication that he he won’t run it like that, but we’ll see.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Sep '15 - 10:17am

    Tony Dawson

    As for the forces near the top of the Party organisation which tried to stop our having an official presence on that march and greatly-reduced Lib Dem participation thereby, let’s not go there.

    Opposition to the Iraq invasion had been adopted as party policy through its democratic mechanism, and Kennedy is to be applauded for acting on behalf of the party as a whole as it had expressed its wishes through its democratic mechanism, rather than throwing aside all that and listening instead to personal advisors who had somehow made their way there without any democratic involvement. Unlike, …, well ok, let’s not go there.

    I think, however, we should recall there were arguments on both sides, and as my comments here and elsewhere suggest, I was not nearly so convinced either way as others. Having decided on balance that intervention was a mistake, I was worried that actually there had been a stitch-up deal in Iraq (which quite obviously could not be made public) and a new government put in place very quickly, and if it had worked out ok, we’d have forever afterwards been attacked with the line “If you had you way, the dictator would still be there”.

    Those who are so ready to condemn Blair as a war criminal and claim that all the violence in Iraq thereafter was his and Bush’s fault, nothing to do with the various factions there who turned to violence and seemed and seem to delight in violence, are, to my mind, typical of that silly “all the fault of the west” attitude that I find off-putting in almost all the far left. After all, if the west was as bad as they paint it, and the idea of wanting to try and put a western-oriented government in that place so wrong, how come the refugees fleeing from the war between various factions there want to come to the west?

  • Matthew,
    Personally, I.m against knee jerk military solutions and I do blame Bush and Blair for causing a lot, but not all, of the problems in the Middle East we are experiencing at the moment because they went in with no clear objectives. However, they at least committed ground troops to containing some of the repercussions. My fear at the moment is that Britain and the other advocates of military knee jerk reactions have hit on the idea that you can bomb stuff without committing to clear up the mess. My view is that having made the mistakes we have to accept the long expensive unpopular job of ensuring that what has been done has the best possible out come, which IMO cannot be achieved by airpower alone.

  • @Manfarang
    >Did you sit through the speech on vegetarianism?

    No, but I’m afraid I’m a lifelong veggie too. 🙂 Got a URL? Wouldn’t mind checking it out.

  • @Glenn
    “My fear at the moment is that Britain and the other advocates of military knee jerk reactions have hit on the idea that you can bomb stuff without committing to clear up the mess. ”

    Absolutely. That is why I was opposed Cameron and Clegg’s attempted attacks on Syria. At least Bush & Blair’s plan for Iraq had a small chance of working given that ground troops were committed – Syria was all the mistakes of Iraq but with an even worse likely outcome because of the deluded belief that firing some cruise missiles from a safe distance can affect regime change and bring about an alternative government that commands the Country. The same applied to Libya. Cameron and Clegg were much more cost effective and risk averse in bringing the same outcome to Libya as happened to Iraq but with a much smaller chance of a stable government being formed in the aftermath.

    Libya was a worse error of judgement than Iraq, especially because the lessons of Iraq hadn’t been learned – that when a government falls and the armed forces of that country have had there serious hardware destroyed then all you are left with is competing groups of warlords in a Country awash with small arms.

  • George Kendall 16th Sep '15 - 2:57pm

    @expats “The best we can do is George Kendall (cooking something)”

    After I posted the above, I was kicking myself. I should have reminded you guys that Nick Clegg had recently written an article attacking Tory benefit cuts.

    Don’t worry, the article still takes comments. And I know you’ll want to rush over and post some fulsome unqualified praise to Nick for attacking the Tories 😉

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/liblink-nick-clegg-george-osbornes-living-wage-is-a-trick-and-workers-have-been-betrayed-47412.html

  • Richard Underhill 16th Sep '15 - 6:11pm

    Chavez had money from oil, sold at higher prices than the UK sold North Sea oil and gas.

  • 9 times out of 10, Corbyn would be doomed to failure, Labour will elect a new *moderate* leader in 12-18 months and everything reverts to normal service. .

    However, what about the 1 in 10 chance….what if instead he ends up capturing a new Zeitgeist, where chronic insecurity about employment, the cuts to welfare state, dismantling of the BBC and NHS combine to swing enough people, behind some *socialist* policies.

    I guess the risk is that in capturing this new mood, Corbyn ends up presenting a genuine challenge to the establishment, whilst the Liberal Democrats can only carve a niche as an irrelevant mild mannered centre party. This would be just as ill-conceived as any of the political tactics dreamt up during the Coalition/Clegg era and with just as devastating a result.

    I’m thinking that we should instead be looking to work and campaign on progressive issues together where we can find agreement; developing a new style of politics which seeks to put the common good above political point scoring. I have a feeling there is a market for a broadly progressive coalition, less so for a soggy Blairite faction.

  • “Anti-western”?
    I’m dumbfounded. Jeremy Corbyn has said nothing at any point that is outside the traditions of western thought. He has expressed views that are outside the norm of establishment orthodoxy. For someone to describe themselves as liberal and then utilise the first rule of the authoritarian playbook ie. “If you aren’t with us you’re against us”, beggars belief.

  • Stephen Hesketh 19th Sep '15 - 1:05pm

    James80pk 17th Sep ’15 – 10:50pm

    I agree James. You make some very good points.

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