IN FULL: Tim Farron’s conference rally speech – ‘Labour aren’t interested in standing up to the Tories’

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Here is the speech Tim is about to deliver at tonight’s conference rally:

Last Wednesday, was the 29th anniversary of me joining the party when I was 16. I never ever thought I’d end up leading that party. Its an extraordinary honour.

Thank you, thank you so much.

Like many of us I often find myself harking back to that time – my formative, teenage years. It was the 1980s: The Smiths and The Clash, The Young Ones – and, of course, Margaret Thatcher.

I’d been brought up on Blue Peter appeals which – while good and worthy – attached no blame to anyone for the tragedies they raised money to alleviate.

But then came Live Aid. It was the first time anyone had suggested to me that poverty, disease and starvation were actually the result of bad politics rather than just ‘unfortunate’. And I began to question what was happening in politics around me.

I gave a couple of quid to the Live Aid appeal, I added a Greenpeace membership card to the one I already had for Shelter and, when I went to sixth form college, I joined the Liberal Party.

I remember it now: It was September 16th 1986, the Communards were number 1, Blackburn Rovers were 12th in division 2 (a position we can currently only dream of) and at the societies fair, a certain Tim Pickstone signed me up for £1.50.

£1.50 was a big deal then, it could have brought me two pints instead… except I was 16 so obviously I wouldn’t have done that…

I remember going on endless marches: in support of the miners, against the poll tax, in defence of student grants.

I even remember some of the old chants:

What do we want? Slightly higher grants

When do we want them? As soon as fiscally responsible

We Liberal students were at the cutting edge, I have to tell you.

It was massive fun and it led to … defeat and failure!

All that great energy, that sound and fury, signifying… nothing.

We had no power and no one was listening.

It made us FEEL very good but we didn’t DO any good.

We had a great time… and we lost, over and over and over again.

When I think back to the 1980s and I compare that time with the last five years I wouldn’t swap them for the world. I want the Lib Dems to have power, power to change lives for the better.

Power was difficult, but our job is not to make life easy for ourselves it is to make life better for Britain.

For five years we made Britain better and the proof is seen every day as the unshackled Tories make Britain poorer.

Stand tall and know that we did much more than hold office, we made a difference and I am utterly determined that we shall do so again.

So in the words of Midge Ure, no regrets.

But since May things have changed.

Those last five years were difficult for us. But not as difficult as the last five months have been for others.

Difficult if you are under 25 and face losing housing benefit;

Difficult if you are a working mum set to lose a thousand pounds a year because George Osborne has sneakily cut your income;

Difficult if you run a solar energy firm as your staff face unemployment because Mr Cameron decided to ditch the ‘green crap’.

A couple of weekends ago I took part in the Grasmere Guides Race. Just to be clear that’s not girl guides – ‘guides’ is what we call shepherds in Westmorland so it’s a fell-race. Its only about two miles in length but it’s a bit over a thousand feet up. The winner does it in 13 minutes. It took me 19 minutes… just to get to the top.

Anyway, I got to the top of Butter Crag, which is about half way and one of the marshalls decided to let me know that I was in 130th place.

Then, just to rub it in, he added: “still, there’s eight behind you, which in your job is one more than normal.”

Anyhow, you get an astonishing view from the top of Butter Crag. When I look down into Grasmere itself I can see handful of the thousand or so of the affordable homes that we have managed to build across my constituency.

As a result, families have been kept together, young people have been able to get their first homes and their first jobs, and local industries have been able to find the workers they have needed to grow and thrive.

In fact the homes we have been able to build have kept the wheels of our local economy moving and without them it would probably have been a very different story.

But it’s not enough.

I don’t want just to be able to change lives for the better in South Lakeland – or Bedford or Watford or Eastleigh – or any of the other areas of the country where Liberal Democrats hold power.

I want to be able to change lives for the better the length and breadth of this country.

Which brings me back to the 1980s.

Some of what Mrs Thatcher did then was undoubtedly necessary. She was very good at tearing things down – the over-wielding power of the union bosses, old fashioned industrial practices stuck in the past, public sector monoliths removed from the people they served.

But she created mass unemployment, dismantled our manufacturing base de-skilling a generation, treated Scotland, the North, the West country and Wales as second class places and sowed the seeds of division and separation.

I observe today, interesting developments in the Labour party, who seem to be suffering a collective bout of nostalgia for those times.

Their nostalgia is not for the Morrissey quiff that some of us may or may not have had, or the doctor martens that some of us may or may not still have… their nostalgia is for the fact that politics was fun, colorful and vibrant in the 1980s.

They remember the camaraderie of belonging to a crowd of zealous, committed, energetic people.

The excitement of the picket line, the thrill of the protest march – with a breathtaking soundtrack to back it all up

You just need to look at my record collection for proof that I was there.

The 80s was an exciting time in politics, particularly for those on the progressive side of things.

But then I also remember that there wasn’t a single minute in the whole of the 1980s when the Tories were not in power.

I am nostalgic for my youth, but I am not nostalgic for the destruction of social housing.

I am nostalgic for my youth, but I am not nostalgic for mass unemployment and the destruction of whole communities.

I am nostalgic for my youth but I am not nostalgic for those Labour economic policies which created the space for Margaret Thatcher to win in the first place and which kept her in power for a decade.

When progressives choose to feel good at the expense of doing good, they let down the people who need them the most.

In 2015, I’m not having that, and we’re not having that.

Look at what the Tories are doing:

Forcing housing associations to sell off the affordable homes we so desperately need to put roofs over the heads of those on the waiting list, and to keep the economy moving.

Opting out of their responsibilities for the refugees made homeless in part by the illegal Iraq war that they themselves voted for.

And taking us to the brink of exiting the EU, just at the time when the need for collective international action has never been plainer.

So if Labour aren’t interested in standing up to the Tories and providing a credible opposition that’s their funeral.

The Liberal Democrats will fill that space. Radical and liberal and responsible too.

When the tectonic plates of politics move, they sometimes move immensely quickly – that is what is happening now.

These are momentous and historic times, history calls us, we will answer that call.

Britain needs a party that is progressive, moderate and liberal. We are that party. This is our moment.

So, enough of the 1980s.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that I met Rosie, and not until the turn of the century that she became my wife.

Incidentally, this is Rosie’s first conference – she has previously decided she had better things to do with her time.

‘Why would I want to come to conference with you?’ she’d say. You’ll only spend all night with your mates wearing your Blackburn shirt and drinking beer’.

Which, as you all know, is gross misrepresentation of the way I have spent the last 50 conferences…

Anyhow, on Christmas Eve 1998 I asked her to marry me.

The previous day, I had presumptuously scraped together all the money I had left (which was a paltry £19!) and bought an engagement ring.

I’ve offered to upgrade it several times since, but Rosie loves the fact that it cost me ‘everything I had’!!!

It’s a true story, and though I say so myself, it’s a lovely one and therefore its only right that I should completely spoil it by using it to crow bar in a political point… You see, I spent everything I had… but no more!

I did it with passion and 100% commitment and I went for it… and she said yes.

And that is what Britain needs us to do now – to bring responsibility and passion to our politics.

To do it with 100% commitment – and with a bit of luck, they’ll say yes too.

See what I did there? Seamless!

The need for a credible opposition has never been more obvious. And make no mistake, Labour has left the playing field, which means that only we can provide it.

Now, the Westminster machine won’t always help us out – I’m only going to get a question at PMQs every few weeks now.

But I’ve thought of a way round it, I’m going to write to Jeremy.

‘Next Mr Speaker, I have a letter from Tim from Cumbria who wants to know about land value taxation.’

But we will make our mark in Westminster and in Holyrood, the National Assembly in Wales, the London Assembly and the European parliament – we have dozens of Parliamentarians who will stand up for decency, liberalism and common sense.

We have hundreds of councillors working harder than ever to make to make a difference to the lives of the people around them, protecting schools and hospitals, promoting local transport and services.

And our growing strength lies throughout our country. With 20,000 new members. By their simple act of joining us they proclaim that fear and division will not win, that liberalism can and must win.

The first fruits of those millions of people in Britain who know in their hearts they are liberal and have stepped up to the mark to become Liberal Democrats.

Britain is teeming with liberals, most of them are not yet in the Liberal Democrats.

Some of them, are in other parties.

But we are their home.

We once again see the prospect of a decade or more of Tory rule, and it fills us with dread.

So we have no right to sit in a comfort zone:

every family whose home is at risk because the Tories undermine the recovery that we built;

every desperate refugee turned back at the port;

every business facing ruin if we leave the EU,

every one of them is depending on us.

We are liberals, we correctly talk a lot about rights, but tonight we have a duty. Our duty is to claim the mantle of the credible progressive alternative to the Tories.

We accept that duty. I am fed up losing…lets win again

Thank you.

ENDS

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71 Comments

  • Heck. I’m a fan of Tim Farron but this is a really poor speech. I’m afraid Tim is not going to be enticing people to vote Lib Dem with this sort of revisionist stuff. A bit of humility and some regret is very necessary.

  • I like the humour, and it’s Tim being himself rather than reading someone’s jokes. As Jeremy Corbyn has shown, authenticity is the new spin (sorry if that sounds very cynical). Actually, though, what we were doing in the 80s (and 70s) in the Liberal Party was building a base in our communities, and recreating a tradition whereby successive generations could say “I always vote Liberal (Democrat)”. That capital, so painstakingly built up, was recklessly squandered during the coalition years, and I’m not sure that it can actually be rebuilt street by street and ward by ward. Trust in us has been lost, and it could take decades to rebuild it.

  • Anthony Davies 19th Sep '15 - 8:51pm

    I’m 33, have a keen interest in government and politics but never felt the need to stake my colours to a political party. That may be about to change given the polarising of the two main parties, the future of the EU in the balance and the rise of Scottish nationalism. I’m a liberal at head rather than heart and I’m all for nuance in policy. I despise party politics and the language of campaigning. Parties are not monolithic, they have all sorts of good and bad people, as well as good and bad ideas. Nuance is needed in both campaigning and policy. Rhetoric doesn’t play well among those outside looking in. I’m looking for a party for grown ups and I’ll be making my mind up at the end of the conference. Not the best speech from TF but the premise of the reasonable centre ground being vacated is sound. Britain has a strong liberal tradition and a society predominantly middle class in circumstance; so this Parliamentary session is a fantastic opportunity to reverse the party’s collapse in the 1920s.

  • I like Tim Farron and I think he was certainly the best candidate to lead the LibDems, but I expect a lot better than the rather pleasant rubbish above. If he really thinks the LibDems were a success in government and “made a difference” perhaps he would care to explain why the voters deserted the party in their millions.

  • tonyhill,

    there are still plenty of wards and some constituencies where trust has not been lost (although it may have declined somewhat) and people still vote Liberal Democrat – it is not impossible to spread that, although it will not be easy.

    council seats up in 2016 were often last fought in 2012, and I am hopeful there will be modest net gains..

    BTW I like the speech – typical Tim

  • malc

    We have to start attacking the Tories and in my view Tim is taking the only credible line to do this. Otherwise we would have to say “everything we did in the last 5 years was wrong”

    It is also what he said in every leadership hustings so you should not be very surprised..

    It is what the Tories are doing now that we have to attack, and saying “we stopped them doing it for 5 years” sounds quite convincing to me.

  • Dave Orbison 19th Sep '15 - 9:41pm

    LibDems , the party of the Coalition accuse Corbyn’s Labour of not standing up to Tories., claims LibDems do. Wow, beyond parody.

  • Good speech Tim. Let’s stop the negativity. The Lib Dems were punished in the Election. Enough said. Let’s not inflict more damage on ourselves now. It’s time to move on.

  • Two references to Blackburn Rovers. None to the Refugee/Migrant Crisis in Eastern Europe. Not a single Lib Dem MP has mentioned this in the last couple of days (at least based on Twitter).

    Why the silence?

  • Matthew Huntbach 19th Sep '15 - 10:33pm

    malc

    If he really thinks the LibDems were a success in government and “made a difference” perhaps he would care to explain why the voters deserted the party in their millions.

    Because they had unrealistic expectations about what a party of 57 MPs could achieve in a coalition with a party of 307 MPs and no alternative stable government that could be formed?

    Because they did not realise the extent to which the Conservatives had moved so far to the right that what seemed a very right-wing government was actually a good deal less right-wing than what the Conservatives wanted?

    Because they supposed that had the Liberal Democrats not formed the Coalition and instead said “We’ll leave the country without a stable government until the others give in to us”, everyone would say “Oh wow, what good people the Liberal Democrats are, we’ll vote for them in the general election that’s just been called”?

    Because they supposed that when that general election was called a few months after the last one on the grounds “the existence of the Liberal Democrats makes Britain ungovernable”, people would have flocked to put Gordon Brown back as Prime Minister?

    Because they were angry with the Liberal Democrats for denying them the far-right Conservative-only government that Labour and the Conservatives united in the 2011 referendum to say should have been the rightful outcome of the 2010 general election?

    Because they though 57 Liberal Democrat MPs could have yelled “Jump” and 307 Conservative MPs would have jumped, so they were angry with the Liberal Democrats for not yelling “jump”?

    I don’t know, what do you think?

  • “…It is what the Tories are doing now that we have to attack, and saying “we stopped them doing it for 5 years” sounds quite convincing to me.”

    And….

    “Because they though 57 Liberal Democrat MPs could have yelled “Jump” and 307 Conservative MPs would have jumped”

    And there we have the Lib Dems’ problem in a nutshell. Either you were powerful enough to stop them doing things or you weren’t powerful enough. You can’t have it both ways.

  • @Hywel
    “Why the silence?”

    Oh be still my inner cynic.

    2017?

  • Peter Watson 20th Sep '15 - 1:21am

    “So in the words of Midge Ure, no regrets.”:

    I know you’re leaving but it’s too long overdue
    For far too long, I’ve had nothing new to show to you
    Goodbye, dry eyes, I’ve watched your ‘plane fade off west of the moon
    And it felt so strange to walk away alone

    There’s no regrets
    No tears goodbye
    I don’t want you back
    We’d only cry again
    Say goodbye again

    Interesting choice of song.

  • Eddie Sammon 20th Sep '15 - 2:59am

    Anthony Davies, good point about reversing the party’s collapse since the 1920s. Too often people hark back to the 90s or the days of Grimond, but the party should aim for getting back to the days when it produced three Prime Ministers on the trot with Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith and Lloyd George from 1905 to 1922.

    Winning office and keeping the public happy should not be seen as a dirty objective.

  • Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien
    Ni le bien qu’on m’a fait
    Ni le mal; tout ça m’est bien égal !

    Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien
    C’est payé, balayé, oublié
    Je me fous du passé !

    Avec mes souvenirs
    J’ai allumé le feu
    Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs
    Je n’ai plus besoin d’eux !

    Balayées les amours
    Et tous leurs trémolos
    Balayés pour toujours
    Je repars à zéro

    Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien
    Ni le bien qu’on m’a fait
    Ni le mal; tout ça m’est bien égal !

    Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien
    Car ma vie, car mes joies
    Aujourd’hui, ça commence avec toi

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Sep '15 - 7:39am

    Phyllis

    And there we have the Lib Dems’ problem in a nutshell. Either you were powerful enough to stop them doing things or you weren’t powerful enough. You can’t have it both ways.

    Several Liberal Democrat former MPs who served as ministers in the Coalition have given accounts of what it was like, and they have confirmed what I have said throughout: they were in a position to have some influence, to swing the balance, to put through some minor things when there was not direct opposition to them throughout the Conservative Party, but they were not in a position to change the central thrust of what was mostly a Conservative government.

    Why do you find this point so hard to understand, Phyllis?

  • I like Tim but this is poor very poor. Voters prepared to give you a chance after the mess of coalition will not be pleased. Following Tims declaration that he wants Clegg
    to have a bigger role in the Lib Dems after he has recharged his batteries…Carry on in this way and its game over.

  • Stephen Hesketh 20th Sep '15 - 8:42am

    Silvio 20th Sep ’15 – 8:05am

    I agree Silvio, if there was ever a need for an ‘evidence-based’ approach this is it it. Nick Clegg should not officially represent our party until it is perfectly clear that his toxicity with the electorate at large has passed. Just think Tony Blair.

  • @Phyllis “Either you were powerful enough to stop them doing things or you weren’t powerful enough. You can’t have it both ways.”

    This wilfully ignores the reality that a coalition agreement imposes. Some things were stopped as a result of the negotiations, some weren’t. So yes, we can have it both ways.

    And at the end of the day the Conservatives had 5 times as many MPs as we did.

  • Dave Orbison 20th Sep '15 - 8:51am

    Matthew H “because they had unrealistic expectations “. ‘They’ being the electorate. Ah silly stupid voters they just don’t understand politics . The coalition was great it achieved so much…. It appears this is the basis of your argument.

    Is it possible, just a little bit possible, that some voters, one, two, three million or more heard all of that. Understood all of that and just simply said “working with these Tories”? No thanks. Setting aside election manifesto commitments? No thanks. What a terribly patronising attitude to take. Trying to woo these voters back. By attacking Labour…. Let’s think.. May they conclude that it should be the Tories you are attacking. That by splitting the anti Tory vote, which seem.s to be Faron’s master plan ( I wonder what it had been had Corbyn not been elected) they may say well this will just let the Tories back in. Old politics, failed politics. Dismissal and depressing. As he sets a course attacking Corbyn the man ( as he has so far) he is simply doing the Tories job for them. But then on that note the LibDems have form.

    I voted in 2010 for Cleggs new politics and the LibDems simply enabled the Tories to power. Cameron used Clegg and played the long game. Many like me would see hell freeze over before voting LibDem again. Over the next few days LibDems will consolidate their multilateral position. A missed opportunity to join Corbyn and adopt some radical policies ( at least those you support , that is if there are any radical policies for the LibDems) – dear oh dear.

  • Dave Orbison
    Mr Corbyn has radical Sinn Féin friends. I think the Liberal Democrats can pass on that and most of the other illiberal stuff. However I am sure you are more than happy to become a vegetarian and quit drinking.

  • Dave Orbison:
    I dont know where you live, but if it is somewhere where the Liberal Democrats lost their seat to Labour in 2015 then your vote helped the Tories get their majority.

    I left the Liberal Democrats over tuition fees and only came back after Nick Clegg was no longer leader. I voted Labour for the only time in my life in Pudsey in 2015 – much good that did me! All over the country the Liberal Democrat vote plummeted but Labour were so useless they could not take advantage of it! Just as they were in 2010!

    Now it looks like the Labour membership have committed hari kiri by electing someone as leader who will never get their vote above 30% in a General Election. Joining Corbyn will certainly not get the Tories out of power. Tim Farron is looking after his own party, which is still badly needed as the only viable alternative to the Tories in many places (and which is very different from Labour in the way they do things)

  • Dave Orbison 20th Sep '15 - 9:51am

    Manfarang: Thanks, your piece proves my point. You would rather attacks individuals than engage in discussions on policy where someone may have the temerity to have a different view to yours. This is not grown-up politics let alone new politics. Have a pop at me by all means – shoot the messenger if you wish, cover your ears, pretend there’s a bright new world for the LibDems. I am not sure why my diet or drinking is your concern. Unless you are making a sly reference to that fact that Corbyn is a vegetarian or does not drink. If so QED. Really, you want to make a point of that?
    You seem to have an issue with Sinn Fein. I wasn’t aware the LibDems had a problem with them, they were democratically elected. I assume you are referring to events of ~1980’s but don’t you accept the world has moved on. If Ian Paisley was able to form a double act with Martin McGuinness and forgive/accept or whatever, that the past is in the past, why can’t you? There is a lot that could be said by both sides about political positions in the 1980’s but that was 35 years ago. In 1980 WWII was 35 years old too. Did you go around in the 1980’s saying we should not talk to the Germans…. for goodness sake can’t we focus on tomorrow rather than harp on about the past of decades ago?.
    Sadly this is a perfect example of the direction the LibDems are likely to travel in the next few years and which seems part of Farron’s master strategy. How far have the LibDems sunk? As for the words of the preamble they become more and more meaningless. A party that can no longer define itself by what it stands for, but only by reference to its political rivals, using any tabloid smears along the way. Poor.

  • Silvio,
    I agree with you that Nick Clegg is poison with the Labour leaning part of the electorate at the moment and Tim would be foolish to push him back into prominence.

    But many members still like him including many who joined recently. Even I (who left the Party for 5 years because of him) still have a sneaking respect for him…. So Tim is sensible to seek to use his talents just not (I hope) in too prominent a way

  • Dave Orbison 20th Sep '15 - 10:20am

    Andrew Mc: I live in a safe Labour seat. My councillors (3) have been LibDem before I moved here 27 years ago. In the May election one stood and lost to Labour. As to your general point we simply do not know what will happen in 2020. Saying Corbyn won’t even get 30% is idle speculation, you may as well say he’ll only get 5%. I could equally counter from a position of total ignorance as to what will happen in the future by saying Fallon will win just 1%. What is the point of spending the next 5 years throwing meaningless predictions at each other? It will achieve nothing, absolutely nothing. If the LibDems’ strategy is to be based on laying into Corbyn I happen to believe it will be a missed opportunity. What is liberal about adopting a closed mind-set to Corbyn? Why is it so difficult to focus on defining and promoting OUR polices as LibDems and invite other parties to support such policies, as and when. Equally when Corbyn comes out with a policy, as he did yesterday re the gradual renationalisation of the railways, say we agree or disagree on the specific policy but do so on a policy-by-policy basis rather than adopt a near hysterical loathing for the guy.

    Play the policy not the man. If you are confident of LibDem policies (whatever they may be) why is there any need to attack Corbyn? Why join in with the nasty party?

  • Dave Orbison 20th Sep '15 - 10:21am

    Correction yes yes, I keep saying Fallon and it should be Farron.

  • AndrewMcC 20th Sep ’15 – 9:52am
    “….. Nick Clegg is poison with the Labour leaning part of the electorate at the moment and Tim would be foolish to push him back into prominence.”
    “But many members still like him…”

    Both points are true. Although it is reasonable to ask how many members will continue to like Clegg if he keeps whinging to reporters that it was all someone else’s fault and not his?

    John Rentoul wrote this in The Independent on 18th September 2015 —
    ” Clegg then went on to whinge about the press, who were always against him, and his party which failed to stand up for him.”
    ————————————————

    So everyone was to blame EXCEPT Clegg!  Not an attractive whinge to keep repeating. The antagonistic press in the UK is a given but blaming the party for failing to “stand up for him” stretches credibility beyond breaking point. The truth is that the party and all but half a dozen of the MPs constantly stood up for Clegg; the party lost all but one MEP and all but 8 MPs as a direct consequence.

    The truth is that the party was far too loyal to Clegg and allowed him to virtually destroy The Liberal Democrats .
    He has said more than once that he thought our party was less important than his mission to combine with Nice Tories.

  • Matthew Hubtbach

    “….they were in a position to have some influence, to swing the balance, to put through some minor things when there was not direct opposition to them throughout the Conservative Party, but they were not in a position to change the central thrust of what was mostly a Conservative government.”

    That’s a long way from “look at all the things we stopped them doing in Coalition” .

    Why do you find this so hard to understand Matthew?

  • Tim on Murnaghan this morning attacked the Tories for privatisation and Labour for nationalising the railways but had nothing inspiring of his own to offer beyond some anodyne stuff about “improving things for rail customer…and freight”.

    Where is the Lib Dem vision ?

  • Benjamin Teall 20th Sep '15 - 11:15am

    I’d have rather the speech focused more on a core Lib Dem identity rather than by defining us in relation to Labour in particular. People already think that Corbyn could be leading his party away from the responsibility of holding the governemnt to account, us trying to claim the mantle of the opposition sounds hollow, though it does get us media coverage, because of our reduced influence in parliament.

    Furthermore Corbyn’s commitment to democratic policy making and debate mean it is hard to predict what policies Labour will be advocating so we risk having to agree with some of the policies of a party we earlier criticised for being nostalgic for the 1980s.

    I acknowledge that the ongoing agenda 2020 project (https://www.libdemvoice.org/consultation-opens-on-liberal-democrat-values-and-beliefs-47170.html) means it is hard currently to set out our own values as they are under review but its safe to start on the EU and internationalism given the results of the recent survey of party members, interspersed with cautious criticisms of Corbyn noting that if his position changes we’d be happy to work with him on an issue by issue basis.

    Stating that we are the new opposition does not make us the opposition, though we can become it by our policies and our responses to the government and international events. (Some more MPs would help too.)

    Nor do I feel reminding everyone of Corbyn’s flaws is the best way to go about this. It won’t cause Labour to fail or fracture any faster, that depends entirely on the party’s performance in upcoming elections.I worry it may hinder our ability to attract support and co-operation from Labour if they see it as an aggressive assault on their party.

  • Paul I applaud your spin-doctoring. Those are both references to refugees as they pertain to the UK. Not to the situation in Eastern Europe where razor wire and tear gas are being used to handle a (now) completely out of control situation and the party is remaining pretty much quiet. The issue of the UK taking refugees and in what number is tangential to that.

    Neither Sal nor Tom are the leader – and Sals comments didn’t really cover anything about what the Lib Dems would propose – talking about playing our part in Europe when that is the main cause of the shambles (see Guy Verhofstadt for the sort of things that liberals can say).

  • Dave Orbison 20th Sep '15 - 11:26am

    Simon Shaw – Why do I post on LDV? 2 reasons. a) re my comment about ‘hell freezing over’ – Yes, I should have qualified that with “if there is any prospect on LibDems forming a coalition with the Tories”. Given that some on here seem to refuse to accept the Coalition was a mistake or that there should be any apology for it I think that is a reasonable concern going forward. Indeed Farron seems to be pitching himself along such lines.
    b) Because I thought healthy politics was about debate and persuasion rather that locking yourself in a room of like-minded people all patting yourselves on the back and saying the rest of the world is wrong. Over 40 years I switched from Labour to Undecided to LibDem and recently back to Labour because I was prepared to listen to arguments and be persuaded. I did not nail my colours to the mast no matter what, I kept an open mind.
    I think if you were to look over my posts on LDV you will find that I have certainly come down decisively against the Coalition and Orange-Bookers but have argued (I hope from a constructive point of view) what polies I believe the LibDems should adopt. Also, that going forward the LibDems should focus on deciding what Lib Dems stand for and to articulate that along with any supporting policies. I strongly believe they should resist the temptation to ‘play the man re Corbyn’ i.e. adopt the negative politics of personality. I may be wrong but have you not said you are not a LibDem member yourself? Perhaps I am confused you with someone else.
    But are you suggesting that LibDems should shut their minds to what other voters think? Do you think that is the best way to build the party up from just 8 MP’s? Are you saying if that if you didn’t vote LibDem in 2015 you are not entitled to a say? Blimey, and you have the nerve to criticise Corbyn when he has shown himself to reach outside of the party and to receive a response in such numbers? An interesting contrast in approach I think.

  • Dave Orbison
    OK lets discuss the policy of a United Ireland which the majority of the people in Northern Ireland do not want. Recently there was an attack(murder) on an individual in Northern Ireland which reopens questions on the existence of paramilitaries there.
    Yes I remain opposed to Sinn Féin.I question their utopian political beliefs and those who get angry when such beliefs are challenged.I remain in favour of vegetarianism and teetotalism.

  • Lester Holloway 20th Sep '15 - 11:44am

    I think something about making the party more diverse and speaking against all forms of inequality would have set out his stall for the future. Never mind…

  • Dave Orbison – I have been reading your well constructed comments since you started posting on here. Please ignore the impolite responses from some people. If we are not able as Liberal Democrats to debate in a civilised manner with people who hold different views from ourselves (even, in your case, with people who have actually shared our views in the recent past) then all we are doing is shouting into an echo chamber.

  • So the ‘electorate’ should have realised that 50 odd MPs couldn’t radically affect 300….So strange then, that even before the 2015 election, these same people could be convinced that they (the SNP) could; and voted accordingly

  • Tony Hill
    You can debate until hell freezes over but Mr Corbyn is never going to become a Liberal.During the Lib-Lab pact the left of the Labour Party was opposed to it and I am not aware of any wish of those in today’s Labour party to seek an alliance with any other party, even with the Green Party.
    I am more than happy to discuss with young people why some of these “new” ideas were rejected in the past and the philosophical basis of liberalism.
    The focus of the Liberal Democrats needs to be on creating an economy that can give young people jobs and a future.

  • PHIL THOMAS 20th Sep '15 - 1:57pm

    Interesting that ex Lib Dem MP Jenny Tonge has no faith in Tim Farron and is going to apply to join the Labour Party.
    Conference not got off to a good start with the ice cream story very much in the news ?

  • Phil
    “Lady Tonge said she had known Mr Corbyn for a long time, sharing support for Palestine and meeting Hamas leaders on a joint trip to Gaza.
    “I marched alongside Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn, one on either side. I went to Gaza with Jeremy Corbyn and we met Hamas leaders together. We go back,” she said.”
    A booza story.

  • Hywel,

    Tim has been talking about refugees – in Poole in Dorset on saturday by the look of it. But the press are not paying attention other than in a corner of the West Midlands, it seems!

    http://www.expressandstar.com/news/uk-news/2015/09/19/tim-farron-david-cameron-taking-inhuman-approach-to-migration-crisis/

    No doubt the press release was sent everywhere but Corbyn’s top button or whatever has crowded it out…

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Sep '15 - 3:26pm

    Phyllis

    That’s a long way from “look at all the things we stopped them doing in Coalition” .

    No it’s not.

    Why do you find this so hard to understand Matthew?

    Because it isn’t true.

  • Peter Watson 20th Sep '15 - 4:23pm

    @Matthew & Phyllis
    I suspect that you disagree less than it appears.
    The Lib Dems probably did stop or reduce a few tory policies along the way. But unfortunately those in government (and many on this site) presented the collection of policies from an 80%+ tory coalition as if it were a Lib Dem dream come true (emphasising this with specious claims about how much from the Coalition was Lib Dem policy). This was compounded with a message in 2015 (intended to scaremonger against the SNP) about the power that a minor coalition partner could wield.
    So Matthew is almost certainly correct (though there is always the uncertainty about just how much senior Lib Dems really opposed Tory policies) but the party did nothing to portray itself as a constructive opposition within government and paid the price in May having undermined Matthew’s position at every opportunity.

  • Phil Thomas,

    Baroness Tonge fell out with the Party over Israel and Palestine and resigned the Whip in 2012. Tim Farron would have to make a big speech criticising Israel to win her over. Tim Farron was President at the time. It is not surprising that she prefers Corbyn…

    You may agree or disagree with Jenny Tonge about Israel (I am very critical about Israel, personally, but draw the line at supporting Hamas) , but it appears her lack of faith in Farron is based on a fairly narrow base

  • Matthew Huntbach

    Yes it is very simple. Clearly you are looking at it through the prism of your own ” already converted” position and I am looking at it through the prism of an ordinary voter who is being told simultaneously ” we were so powerful we stopped them being true conservatives” and ” we weren’t powerful enough to stop them being true conservatives’ .

    Of course the ‘already converted’ will see no contradiction in this. But it’s not those people you need to convince. It’s the ordinary voters.. Clearly judging by the results in May 2015, you need to try harder/change tack,

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Sep '15 - 7:19pm

    Peter Watson

    But unfortunately those in government (and many on this site) presented the collection of policies from an 80%+ tory coalition as if it were a Lib Dem dream come true (emphasising this with specious claims about how much from the Coalition was Lib Dem policy).

    Yes, and this was a point I was making from the start of the coalition and throughout. But people like Phyllis ignore that, and because I won’t join them in their ridiculous suppositions about what was possible they attack me as if I was a fan of Clegg and agreed with everything he said and did. It is people like Phyllis in combination with the Cleggies who worked together as a coalition to destroy the Liberal Democrats.

  • Old liberals ruled 20th Sep '15 - 7:27pm

    Sadly too much wishful thinking and not enough honest reflection from Tim, the party and so many members here, who still don’t want to admit that anyone in the Lib Dems, and especially not Nick, made a single mistake over the last five years – the problem was that our role in the coalition was just misunderstood and there really was no alternative.

    It’s just as if the most important pretence is never to admit to having failed and they simply don’t care that voters totally disagreed and continue to disagree. Also we have the self congratulation of those who have lost contact with their cousins in local government; where the enormous loss of power in local councils like Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle and in the South West was of no importance whatsoever compared to five years of being a relatively minor influence for the chosen few in the House of Commons.

    That’s right, it was from 2011 to 2015 “We had no power and no one was listening,” but still we blundered on. It may have made some of us FEEL very good but we didn’t DO anything like as much good as some want to pretend.

    As a result we get a rally that reaches out wonderfully to those in the party who liked nothing better than the emotion in Nick’s resignation speech, but leaves the general public cold and ever more disillusioned with us. Perhaps someone thinks it is vital not to upset those in the membership who like fine words, but the alienation of the electorate who like fine deeds matters naught. It is a strategy of an easy short term feelgood, but a further decline for the party across the country.

    The naïve claim oft repeated in 2011 that 75% of the Lib Dem manifesto was being delivered and only 60% of the Conservatives’ ignored the damage done by the Conservatives doing what was not in their manifesto or the coalition agreement. Again a short term feelgood to bypass real concerns.

    Newbies who don’t want to face the hard work ahead and learn from the people with the experience of decades of success up to 2005 instead pretend aiming for the 1920s is somehow much more achievable.

    We are on the edge. I fear that this conference may finally seal our fate.

  • Dave Orbison 20th Sep '15 - 7:51pm

    Tony hill. Thanks for your support. It’s only natural that some people get passionate and sometimes cross the line into being impolite or worse. I’m sure we have all been on the receiving end and it would be hypocritical of me not to admit that I may have been guilty in the past. I have read LDV for several years but my attempts to contribute were blocked for a couple of years which I found disappointing because I suspect others may have been too. I cherish the freedom to be able to debate differences of opinion in a democracy. To Simon’s point I do not see how we will ever derive the full benefits of a democracy if we choose to listen to only people with whom we agree. So, in a nutshell I do not intend to shut up. I will try to persuade people on issues I feel strongly about until my dying day and applaud current LDV editorial line which shows greater tolerance as to diversity of opinion shared on LDV. I say long may it continue.

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Sep '15 - 11:56pm

    Dave Orbison

    Matthew H “because they had unrealistic expectations “. ‘They’ being the electorate. Ah silly stupid voters they just don’t understand politics . The coalition was great it achieved so much…. It appears this is the basis of your argument.

    No. Nowhere did I say that the coalition is “great”. My personal policy preferences would be closer to those of Jeremy Corbyn than to those of the coalition. The fact that you think as you did, that you can’t be bothered to actually read what I actually said and so jumped to this completely wrong conclusion indicates the problem.

  • Matthew Huntbach 21st Sep '15 - 12:17am

    Phyllis

    Clearly you are looking at it through the prism of your own ” already converted” position and I am looking at it through the prism of an ordinary voter who is being told simultaneously ” we were so powerful we stopped them being true conservatives” and ” we weren’t powerful enough to stop them being true conservatives’ .

    From the start of the coalition I said that the Liberal Democrat leadership and PR people were taking completely the wrong approach in exaggerating what the party could achieve in the coalition. The coalition was forced on us because the alternative was a Conservative minority government, which would have called another general election within a year, and fought it with Labour agreeing “get rid of the Liberal Democrats because their very existence denies Britain a stable government”. It was a “miserable little compromise”.

    That is what I am saying now and that is what I said throughout. With 307 Conservative MPs and 57 LibDem MPs, the central thrust was bound to be that of the Conservatives. The influence of the Liberal Democrats would be roughly reflective of the proportion of Liberal Democrat MPs, and so it was. Which is not to mean it was nothing.

    You however, appear to believe that there is no middle position between the LibDems having no influence and the LibDems having complete control of the coalition.

    The position of the ordinary voter does not understand the idea of coalitions, to be sure. In part this is because it was always put as if when the Liberal Democrats held the balance of power they would be able to get what they liked, so people felt that because they didn’t the LibDems were bad people. Yet if you look at coalitions elsewhere it just doesn’t work like that. The 2010-2015 coalition had the additional factor that there was no viable alternative, as a Labour-LibDem coalition would not have had a majority.

    Even though the influence of the LibDems in the coalition was small, it did push the government away from some of what it is now doing. Conservative discussion groups at the time were full of anger at the Liberal Democrats, accusing them of stopping what the Conservatives really wanted. In reality all they were able to do was to swing the balance towards the more moderate wing of the Conservatives, and this is very much relative, seeing as now right-wing the Conservatives have become.

  • Dave Orbison 21st Sep '15 - 1:22am

    A minority Conservative Govt would have survived if they were able to secure the ongoing support of the LibDems. In which case it could be argued that LibDems would have had a stronger hand than through a formal Coalition as they could withdraw support at any time. The LibDems could have stood up to the Tories over any given piece of proposed legislation and thus their influence would have been far more visible. At the time LibDems justified the Coalition as being in the national interest. This was nonsense. The truth is that it was, as you effectively concede, driven by the self-serving political interest of the LibDems to avoid a follow-on election for fear of being squeezed by Labour.

  • A minority Labour government survived because it had Liberal support. During the Lib Lab Pact the Liberals got hammered.
    A minority Conservative government would have soon called a second election within months. I doubt Labour would have won it. No more than New Democracy had much chance of winning in Greece on Sunday.
    In 2010 Athens was burning.Political stability was much needed in Britain. Sure there were mistakes. A much longer negotiating period was necessary before the coalition was set up.

  • Manfarang 21st Sep ’15 – 9:01am …………..
    A minority Conservative government would have soon called a second election within months. I doubt Labour would have won it. ….

    I really doubt that…..The 8% tory lead (May 2010) in the polls had, by November, turned unto a 2% Labour advantage…Cameron had, in May, failed to win a majority against the most unpopular government/leader in history. Do you seriously believe that Cameron would have ‘gambled’ his political future on a single throw of the dice, with the polls showing his support slipping?

    This scenario is constantly being used to justify the coalition and the way it was handled…IMO It is just plain wrong!

  • @Phil Thomas “Interesting that ex Lib Dem MP Jenny Tonge has no faith in Tim Farron and is going to apply to join the Labour Party.”

    I’ll happily pay her £3, and any other Corbyn-supporting Lib Dems.

  • Matthew Huntbach 21st Sep '15 - 10:02am

    expats

    Do you seriously believe that Cameron would have ‘gambled’ his political future on a single throw of the dice, with the polls showing his support slipping

    Oh COME ON! Do you really believe a year or less after throwing him out, the people of this country would have flocked to bring back Gordon Brown? Do you really believe the Liberal Democrats would have gone up from 57 MPs to 157? Most of all, do you really believe that Cameron leading a minority Conservative government and planning another general election in a year or less time (like in 1974) would not have thrown out a whole load of vote-winning sweeteners and avoided damaging things like tuition fees?

    Do you really believe that a general election fought a few months after the last one because “the existence of the Liberal Democrats means Britain cannot have a stable government” would have resulted in a triumph for the Liberal Democrats, strengthening their hands in another set of coalition negotiations? The way Labour and Conservatives united in the 2011 referendum to say “reject electoral reform, it is better to give all power to one party by propping it up with extra MPs and making it difficult for small parties to break through” shows the sort of message that would have prevailed had there been a late 2010 or 2011 general election.

    This is what I mean by political reality, and the lack of it in the “nah nah nah nah nah” attacks made by the likes of Phyllis and Dave Orbison.

  • Matthew Huntbach 21st Sep ’15 – 10:02am ….

    To use your words…”Oh COME ON!”….If Cameron had been unable to win a majority in May (as I said, against the most unpopular government/leader ever) he would have tried again? As Gordon Brown was not Labour leader after May 2010 your second point is ?????

    As for the ‘sweeteners’? He’d already nailed his colours to the mast on ‘Austerity’ so that is rather unlikely.. A statement from LibDems that, “In the interest of the UK they would support the coalition on a policy by policy basis” would also scupper any unaffordable ‘sweeties’………..

    We agree on more than we disagree on how the coalition was handled/presented…. However, I presented the evidence of polls and you reply with supposition… I believe, supported by his performance, that Cameron is too cowardly and self centred to take such risks….

    I never mentioned AV, so why did you? It had nothing to do with another ‘quick’ election… As for Tory/Labour opposition; they don’t want it for the same reason we do…Political gain….

    As for the last paragraph?

  • Peter Watson 21st Sep '15 - 1:08pm

    @Matthew Huntbach “Do you really believe a year or less after throwing him out, the people of this country would have flocked to bring back Gordon Brown?”
    Would Gordon Brown would have been even more unpopular after 6 months in opposition than he was in May 2010? Or faced with an unpopular Tory minority government would a new Labour leader have lost even more seats? Or after publicly and constructively opposing things with which they disagreed would Lib Dems have lost so many seats and votes?
    The simple truth is that we don’t know.
    It is certainly possible to accept that in 2010 Lib Dem MPs, who were in a very difficult position, had good reason to believe there was the risk of what you describe, but I think that you sometimes overstate the certainty of that outcome.
    My own position (which I believe is not a million miles from yours) is that it seems silly to support a minor party without accepting the principle of coalition government and that it is more useful to debate the way that coalition was negotiated and conducted rather than get hung up on the real and hypothetical details of the world in 2010 which might not apply when any future coalition is being considered.

  • Matthew Huntbach 21st Sep '15 - 4:44pm

    expats

    We agree on more than we disagree on how the coalition was handled/presented…. However, I presented the evidence of polls and you reply with supposition… I believe, supported by his performance, that Cameron is too cowardly and self centred to take such risks….

    Yes, it is supposition, but if you look at similar situations where an early general election was called because the previous one resulted in a tiny or no majority (1951, 1974, and to some extent 1966) the governing party wins.
    If an early general election is planned, the governing party will make sure it does noting unpleasant that will lose it votes, and the general public seem to take the line “Ok, they won, give them the chance to carry on”.

    I never mentioned AV, so why did you?

    Because to me the 2011 referendum shows just how a 2011 general election would have been if we had had one – Labour and Conservative uniting with their friends in the press to preserve the two-party system.

  • The idea that the Liberal Democrats are not willing to talk to others is another thing that isn’t true.
    I have spoken to Palestinians,Israelis, East Germans, Russians , and Chinese to name a few.

  • Matthew Huntbach 21st Sep ’15 – 4:44pm……………… Because to me the 2011 referendum shows just how a 2011 general election would have been if we had had one – Labour and Conservative uniting with their friends in the press to preserve the two-party system……

    I still believe the second election was as likely as the ‘Second Coming’ but….

    Had, Cameron tried, IMO the outcome would be quite the quite the opposite to your scenario….My proposed LibDem stance of “In the interest of the UK they would support the coalition on a policy by policy basis”, would have built on the the ‘gravitas’ of May 2010. The party would have shown itself as the voice of stability/reason without the u-turns..

    As for “friends in the press”? Labour had no such friends….We’d won 57 seats without AV; I believe we would have won far more and been a stronger position to say “NO!”…

    The 2011 referendum was just that; a referendum, not an election…It was fought on single point ( a point we’d already called ‘shabby’) and a point which was not popular with the electorate…

    Sorry about delay in responding but I’m limited to three posts….IMO this ‘rule’ curtails discussion and supports those who throw ‘one liners’ and disappear when challenged…

  • Peter Watson 22nd Sep '15 - 8:14am

    @expats “Sorry about delay in responding but I’m limited to three posts….IMO this ‘rule’ curtails discussion and supports those who throw ‘one liners’ and disappear when challenged…”
    Is this a new policy? Where is this policy described? Is it for all posters? Am I using one of my three posts asking this? If possible could somebody please answer on expats’ behalf so he doesn’t waste his second of three posts?
    This sounds like a terrible idea for a site calling itself Liberal Democrat Voice.

  • expats: re

    I still believe the second election was as likely as the ‘Second Coming’

    Your statement reflects badly on your judgement of realities; you undermine your own credibility. In the absence of a 5 year government rule any minority government would seek to gain an overall majority whenever the opportunity presented itself. Why wouldn’t they? There is every indication that with the economic cloud and a government unable to muster a majority for making difficult decisions that such an opportunity would have been available within months.

    To believe otherwise is more of a fantasy than accept this likelihood.

    Yes, the Lib Dems could have refused a coalition; yes, they would not be as reduced as they are now, but they would have been castigated for refusing to be involved in government and all the counter-factual noise would be saying how they threw away a very real chance of electoral reform, failed to do their duty to curb Tory excesses and had gifted a second election to the Tories.

  • Martin 22nd Sep ’15 – 8:44am …..

    You have responded well to things I never said….Of course, any government would seek an election I things show they’d win. What you don’t respond to is where would this overwhelming advantage come from…. Labour were most unpopular just before/at the election and their ratings steadily improved….If Cameron couldn’t win in May why would he try again within months?
    I write of a LibDem strategy…. “In the interest of the UK they would support the coalition on a policy by policy basis”…and you accuse me of denying a coalition? I was against the coalition but realistic enough, like Matthew Huntbach, to accept it when it was formed….A far bigger failure was to get carried away on a euphoric wave and pretend we were equal, or even dominant (70% policies, etc.), partners…

    As for gifting a second election to the Tories that is exactly what our leaders did… Clegg ‘nodded along’ at PMQs, Alexander spent more media time defending Osborne’s policies than he did….Why, when in 2011 Clegg admitted we were seen as ‘Torylite’, did he do so little to contradict that view? The big issue for me was not tuition fees (bad as that was) but the acceptance of the NHS re-organisation. I’d have thought that such actions were unthinkable….

    Peter Watson 22nd Sep ’15 – 8:14am …Thanks for your concern. I looked out for an answer but????

    Anyway this is my third post so, to coin a phrase, “It’s goodbye from him”…

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Sep '15 - 1:38pm

    Martin (in reply to expats)

    Your statement reflects badly on your judgement of realities;

    Yup, it’s hard to know where to begin with what expats wrote that you are replying to, it shows a quite staggering lack of knowledge and insight.

    The reality was that it was pretty standard under the old system where the Prime Minister could call a general election whenever he wanted to call another one not long after one that was a bit indecisive. Harold Wilson did it twice, in 1966 and in October 1974, and Churchill did it in 1951. History shows that what happens is that enough of the general public go along with the line “They won really, so let’s confirm that by giving them a chance” to give a shift in favour of the ruling party. I am absolutely certain that had there been a minority Conservative government in 2010, the same would have happened, and that is the ONLY reason why I reluctantly accepted the coalition.

    It seems to me very certain that had it been left with “will they, won’t they?” to the Liberal Democrats on every issue, the Liberal Democrats would have been savagely condemned for letting the country burn by leaving it in a state of uncertainty where it was impossible for the government to govern because it could not plan ahead, and Labour and Conservatives would have united in the 2011 general election to say “get rid of them”. By “friends of Labour” in the press, I mean not just the Guardian, but also the normally Tory supporting, illiberal and small-c conservative papers, who when the chips are down support the illiberal and small-c conservative aspects of the Labour Party over us, and do what they can to preserve the two-party system. This happened in the AV referendum, and in the 2015 general election, where Clegg was made to look extra pathetic as the right-wing press far from showing gratitude to Clegg for supporting the Tories joined in with Labour in kicking him for it.

    I have been deadly accurate in my judgment as to how the public will react to various things, it has been at the heart of my criticism of the Cleggies throughout: I have got it right and their expensively hired PR people have got it wrong. So when expats accuses me of talking nonsense over this, perhaps he ought to check my record.

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Sep '15 - 2:03pm

    expats

    The big issue for me was not tuition fees (bad as that was) but the acceptance of the NHS re-organisation. I’d have thought that such actions were unthinkable….

    OK, now here I agree.

    I remember at the count in the 2010 general election (it took so long in LB Greenwich where I was that by the time our results were declared, the balance was clear) saying, in fact to one of the Labour activists there “Oh dear, looks like we’ll have to form a coalition with the Tories, but we should pull the rug under them when the time comes”. The NHS re-organisation was that time. It was clearly directly against the Coalition Agreement, so here was when our Leader should have made the Tories back down on it, and if they refused said “OK, that’s it, we’re out”.

    The point about a coalition is that yes you do have to make a lot of compromises, particularly if you are the junior partner. Anyone who has been in the position of having to seek agreement over compromise positions knows you cannot just rush out afterwards and blab “Oh, I wanted this and they wanted that”, because if you do, the other side will be far less willing to do the sort of frank exchanges with you it requires in future. If you continually threaten to pull out if they don’t give in, you won’t be taken seriously. So, when you do make that threat, it must be over something big, and really justifiable, and you must know you will have outside support for it.

    That is why I accepted and have defended many of the compromises that came out of the coalition, not because I thought they were “great” as Dave Orbison accuses. As Peter Watson puts it, to support a small party and the idea of multi-party politics, but to be unwilling to accept any compromise is a silly position. The Liberal Democrats would rightly be accused of that if they had not joined the coalition, i.e. “As you are unlikely to win a majority, what is the point of voting for you if your very existence just makes the country ungovernable since you won’t join in with a coalition?”.

    However, as the NHS reorganisation was clearly directly against the Coalition Agreement, it was when our Leader should have made the Tories back down on it, and if they refused said “OK, that’s it, we’re out”.

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Sep ’15 – 2:03pm………….However, as the NHS reorganisation was clearly directly against the Coalition Agreement, it was when our Leader should have made the Tories back down on it, and if they refused said “OK, that’s it, we’re out”……………..

    And forced the election that you are so sure the Tories would’ve won?

    post 2 of 3

  • The Lib Dems were known to be principled. If they had refused to join the Coalition on a principled stand they might have been castigated by the right wing media but they would have retained their core voters, those who believed them over ” no more broken promises” . As it is, the Lib Dems lost their core vote and more, are labelled “untrustworthy’, have lost their USB, lost the chance of PR for at least a generation, and are now pretty well destroyed (I suspect those 8 MPs won’t last long) and have no chance of being in power ever again in our lifetimes.

    Now is this scenario better or worse than the one you are depicting, Huntbach?

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