It’s the Tories, stoopid

“Bye bye, new Labour”, “Death of New Labour,” “Red and buried,” (actually, that’s quite a good one, not often you find me saying anything complimentary about the Fail on Sunday). So scream today’s headlines. A casual assumption that the party is well and truly over for Labour, leaving the Tories in power forever.

I am not scared of socialist ideas suddenly being put into the public space. We need to have a grown up debate about them and as a liberal, I’ll utterly oppose anything that reeks of centralised state command and control, but it’s a perfectly legitimate discussion to have.

No, the most utterly terrifying prospect at the moment is the thought of the Tories getting a free pass. This lot make Thatcher look like a cuddly teddy bear. Another victory in 2020 and they could soon be making Sarah Palin look positively sensible. The Tories think they are going to walk the next election and that they will not have any credible opposition over the next five years and they will spend millions on demonising Corbyn in a manner which will make the Miliband puppet poster look like a puff piece.

They think that they will be free to pursue their nasty, small-state, isolationist, xenophobic agenda and nobody will be able to touch them.

The SNP exploits those fears of untrammelled Tory power with the false hope that Scottish independence is the answer, floating the possibility of a second referendum when the ink is barely dry on the result of the first. Labour look like they are going to spend all their time fighting each other. This is not new. It’s what they have always done and they should have learned that it doesn’t really help.

The Tories need proper, effective opposition and parties need to work together where they agree to campaign against the truly awful things they are doing. What does that mean for the Liberal Democrats? For a start, it means that we shouldn’t do anything that legitimises the Tory’s Corbyn-bashing. The Labour leader is going to say some outrageous things that we disagree with and we should say when we do, but let’s keep the character stuff out of it and, as I said yesterday, be seen to be fair by calling the Tories and the media out when they go too far. I think we legitimised the erroneous and misleading Tory nonsense on Labour and the SNP during the election – and look where that got us. Our failure to stand up to it cost us seats and we’ve ended up with a Tory government controlled by its right wing doing far more damage than Miliband and the SNP could have managed even if they’d intended it.

There will be times when we agree with Corbyn – on refugees, on civil liberties and when that happens, the two parties need to find some way maximising effective opposition to the Tories along with anyone else who cares. When we disagree, and there’s plenty of potential for that when it comes to the economy and foreign affairs particularly, we should do so by highlighting our liberal values rather than demonising Corbyn.

The SNP needs to do more than get the popcorn & plan Indyref 2, Labour needs to give up habit of a lifetime & quit the toxic factional in-fighting, sense of entitlement to power and tribal hatred of anyone who isn’t them.

As for the Liberal Democrats, we just need to make sure that we are authentically and instinctively liberal in our responses to things. We should not be painstakingly calculating which centimetres of space we should be inhabiting on the political spectrum. We should be boldly advancing a radical and reforming liberal agenda, tackling vested interests wherever we find them. If we can avoid phrases like the meaningless centre ground, then so much the better. Tim Farron did well in this tweet yesterday, probably better than both Sal Brinton and Willie Rennie in their rather formulaic responses to Corbyn’s election:

There is too much for this country to lose. By working together on campaigns, for example, progressive parties can reach more people and build an anti-Tory consensus which will help overcome them. No party is big enough to do it on their own. The bonkers electoral system we have simply won’t let that happen. There are too many vulnerable people who are set to suffer enormous hardship at the hands of this government. We need to make sure we have their backs.

Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign’s relentless focus on the economy took him from being an outsider to the Oval Office. We could learn something from him and British politics would be all the better for it.

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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103 Comments

  • Caron.
    I 100 per cent agree.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Sep '15 - 11:40am

    The Tories are in power and doing the damage, Labour aren’t. We have five years to change he political consensus in this country to something that is more like our way of thinking and we can’t pass up that chance.

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 11:46am

    @Joe Without resorting to the Mail On Sunday et al stuff can you please list those policies that Corbyn has actually supported (as opposed to those attributed to him) and explain how they are dangerous?

    I’m curious to see the specifics of such policies and to understand why, not just that you disagree with them which is fair enough, but why your repeatedly state they pose a danger? I can’t think of one, not a single one.

  • Caron, I applaud your second article talking sense….But if only such ‘Corbyn bashing’ were consigned the Tories…I’ve lost count of the threads/posts on LDV doing just that (with some posters taking quotes directly from ‘Conservative Home’)….I’ve argued, like you, that we need to engage with Labour both where we agree and where we disagree…..

    It seems in the Tory and LibDem parties “A broad church” is to be applauded…In the Labour party, under Corbyn, to differ (as with the Tom Watson interview) is something the media now call “Labour tearing itself apart”….

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Sep '15 - 11:50am

    Dave,

    Splashing loads of cash on renationalising stuff isn’t going to tackle poverty which is where I part company from him.

    There’s an interesting article doing the rounds that compares the SDP manifesto of 1983 with Corbyn’s economic policy and finds Corbyn to be more right wing. Not sure how much it really stacks up but it’s interesting nonetheless. http://www.leftfutures.org/2015/08/extreme-back-to-the-80s-how-corbynomics-compares-with-the-sdp-manifesto/#more-44326

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Sep '15 - 11:51am

    @expats Labour can’t be at peace with itself even in the good times, though, you have to admit that. Has there ever been a time when there hasn’t been toxic factional in-fighting?

  • Yes, it’s the Tories, Caron. Quite right as is you general summary of what should be our approach.

    BUT – it’s not just the Tories it’s their cheerleaders in the Mail (Rothermere), the Express (the fragrant Richard Desmond) and the Murdoch Empire. Desmond also owns Channel 5 and the Murdochs Sky. Between them they’re trying to undermine the BBC and anyone who dares to challenge their chums and the establishment (remember Vince ?).

    It would be salutary for all Lib Dems to read the book by the new Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson. : “Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and The Corruption of Britain Hardcover – 19 Apr 2012 by Tom Watson (Author), Martin Hickman (Author). No, I’m not on commission.

    We (the Lib Dems) are up against some pretty ruthless nasty characters and it would be a mistake to see individual political events in isolation. As for Jeremy Corbyn, whatever differences we may have, I recognise a decent human being who will require a huge amount of courage to sustain himself from a barrage of sustained abuse, vilification and misinformation over the next few years,

  • David Pollard 13th Sep '15 - 11:56am

    Its taken 24hrs but I think this strikes just the right note. Let’s not focus on where we disagree with Corbyn, but where we agree. The first objective is to defeat the Government often enough to weaken Cameron. Then as we approach the next election (which is years away) we can easily differentiate ourselves from Corbyn’s left wing ideas.

  • Gwyn Williams 13th Sep '15 - 12:04pm

    Totally agree Caron. It may seem a little far fetched now but a radical and reformist agenda to be enacted by a Liberal and social democratic Government in 2020 must be the our aim. Over the next few years we must avoid the distractions of the 1980s . Individual Labour MPs facing reselection must not see us as a lifeboat to ferry them through the dark days until the Labour left capitulate to the inevitable.

  • Caron Lindsay 13th Sep ’15 – 11:51am…[email protected] Labour can’t be at peace with itself even in the good times, though, you have to admit that. Has there ever been a time when there hasn’t been toxic factional in-fighting?…

    As with us and the Tory party…The difference being that they tend to ‘wash their dirty linen in public’ where we and the Tory party do it more privately….I won’t bother with the Tories but let’s try the ‘Times’ headline of May 2014…

    “The Liberal Democrats were consumed by infighting and contradictions yesterday, amid growing fears in Downing Street about the health of the junior coalition partner. Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, emerged weakened from another day of squabbling as he struggled to recover from humiliating results at the ballot box on Sunday.”

    And we know how that turned out for the party ….

  • Neil Sandison 13th Sep '15 - 12:10pm

    Agree there will be common ground on some but not all issues the 1983 Manifesto was appropriate for that time in history pre the global financial crisis .Already the cracks are showing in Labours camp with a marked difference of view between Corbyn and his deputy Watson on NATO. Lets not rush in until the dust settles and see if they are replacing the rose for the hammer and sickle.

  • Joe Otten, “Shall we try to work with the Conservatives to keep Labour out?”

    We’ve just tried working with the Tories for five years. We had good opportunities to promote our own distinctive stances and policies while in Coalition. Nevertheless, the public dismissed us as pale blue Tories and ran away from us in droves.

    Now you present us the option of working with the Tories for five more years. We do not now have the excuse that the financial sky might be about to fall in. The Tory and tabloid onslaught on progressive politics in general and on Corbyn in particular will be loud, aggressive, mendacious and wholly negative. By contrast with the previous five years, we will have almost no opportunities to promote a distinctive stance, if we work with the Tories. We shall merely be Little Sir Echo.

    How can you possibly continue to believe that this is an appropriate option?

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 12:17pm

    Caron: “Splashing loads of cash on renationalising stuff isn’t going to tackle poverty which is where I part company from him” That’s fine then the LibDems need simply to vote against it as and when it comes up. Though I disagree with your spin. With respect I don’t think Corbyn is advocating renationalisation of the railways as a solution to poverty. I think he sees that as part of building a revitalised and cohesive transport infrastructure. Not everything has to be linked with the important goal of tackling poverty. Likewise I support the renationalisation of energy companies. Utility infrastructure is a strategic issue for any nation. After years of privatisation we are perilously close to having insufficient power generation to meet peak demand. Furthermore, the private sector are simply incapable of addressing long term green issues. I assume many may disagree with me on these points. That’s fine. But labelling Corbyn as an extremist, unelectable so and so, calling him dangerous and all that hyperbole is just unnecessary – what happened to honest debate with rancour? So in essence I applaud the thrust of your comments re Corbyn – a much more considered approach as opposed to some of the knee-jerk, pointing scoring, ya-boo politics shown by some ‘leaders’ within the LibDems re Corbyn.

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 12:19pm

    Oops – obviously I meant to say “without rancour”

  • David Pollard – That’s a rational plan.

    Imagine fighting the next election on a platform of governing with Labour – but only with cast-iron guarantees that we will not leave Nato, not leave the EU, not borrow more than is agreed by an independent economic regulatory body, not abandon defence spending, and not allow huge increases in trade union power – alongside a programme to fight inequality, climate change and xenophobia. A recipe for our resurgence?

  • Graham Evans 13th Sep '15 - 12:35pm

    @Dave Orbison The mess which is UK energy policy has little to do with whether energy generation is in the hands of the public sector or the private sector. The problem is that the Tories, Labour and the LDs have internally contradictory policies which discourage long term planning, whereas the Greens advocated a totally different economic system to deal with the issue.

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 12:55pm

    @ Joe Otten – QE that’s it? That’s the one policy that you can come up with where you justify calling Corbyn ‘dangerous’. Really? Is that a proportional use of the word ‘dangerous’? After all your personal attacks on Corbyn and your encouragement that LibDems should ‘play the man’. After all the abuse you aim at Corbyn, you seek to justify it on the basis of just ONE policy difference. Remember I did ask you which you thought were the ‘dangerous policies’. Even on that I strongly disagree with you. Yes, QE does pose a risk of inflation. But the Coalition have presided over QE on an industrial scale – no inflation by the way. In addition, there are tools to mitigate such a risk. On top of that many economists who have put their name to supporting Corbyn’s policy. Have we lost the art of political debate? Can we not honestly focus on debating differences of opinion of policies without having to make personal attacks? Do you really advocate that the LibDems (or anyone else for that matter) should ‘fight to the death, no holes barred, whatever it takes’ – yes ‘Play the man’ take him out and why not his family too? Do you really think this is what the public want? I for one do not. I applaud Caron’s take on the Corbyn issue though I respectfully disagree with some of her points. I do not though have any time for the tactics you advocate.

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 1:01pm

    @ Graham Evans – I agree with what you say. I think the disjointed and short-termism is at the root of the probles in that sector. Given that private enterprise and their bonus systems for senior management are all driven by short terms goals, perhaps it would have been better for me to say that private ownership simply compounds the problems and is not best suited for such a sector. Hence, my views as to the need for public ownership remain as stated.

  • @Caron:A “bonkers electorial system” eh? Just as well we didn’t get AV then, the Tories would have an even bigger majority than they do now under AV.

    Face it, the lib dems backed down on PR because they believed at the time that they would benefit from AV. Which makes me think that what a bonkers electorial system really means is an electorial system that we don’t like because we can’t win much under it.

  • @adrian sanders
    Maybe your friend, Jamie Reed MP, could have had the courtesy to wait until Jeremy Corbyn had finished his acceptance speech before resigning if he was hoping for a more civil response from John Prescott and many other Labour supporters.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Sep '15 - 1:23pm

    @DavidW I think that is absolutely wrong. We wouldn’t have benefitted from AV. As it happens, I think we were daft to push for the referendum on a system that nobody loved, but I think there was a feeling you had to have something on electoral reform to go into coalition.

  • @Joe Otten
    “I don’t make personal attacks on Corbyn. It is all about the policy.”

    In all the excitement since the leadership announcement of, ooh, 26 hours ago, I’ve completely missed all the new Labour policies you keep referring to. Do you have a link to any of them?

  • @Caron Lindsey

    “I think that is absolutely wrong. We wouldn’t have benefitted from AV.” – No you wouldn’t have. But that’s not what I said, I said the party believe at that time, that they would. Do you dispute this. Are you claiming that in 2010 the Lib Dems didn’t believe that they would gain more seats under FPTP than under AV?

    “As it happens, I think we were daft to push for the referendum on a system that nobody loved, but I think there was a feeling you had to have something on electoral reform to go into coalition.” – So you decided to push for a system that will deliver a less proportional result, most of the time. A system that harms smaller parties even more than FPTP? Did the party have a death wish or something?

    One other question if I may. Are you also critical of the electoral system used for Holyrood? Would you liked that switched to STV when it delivered 5 MSPs when STV would have delivered 1 or 2? In 2016 I think the Lib Dems will be doing well to keep 3 MSPs. But that is still less ‘unfair’ than STV?

  • George, why will Corbyn be toxic, any more than say, Gove? The Tories superimposed demonic eyes on Blair, they have always been more comfortable attacking personality than policy. I cant see Corbyn unifying Labour, but at least Labour will have a public debate, which was more than the Lib Dems managed while Clegg was leading us to electoral oblivion.

  • This is a brilliant article and by far the most perceptive thing I’ve read by a Lib Dem about the Corbyn victory. You are right both about UK politics and what is likely to happen in Scotland.

    There is only one bit of the article I take issue with :-

    “Labour look like they are going to spend all their time fighting each other. This is not new. It’s what they have always done and they should have learned that it doesn’t really help.

    As a Labour supporter (but not a member), I have no doubt they will continue to “fight”, but why would I want it any other way? One of my pet hates about politics is the way in which parties are expected to put on a show of unity which, if it ever happens, everybody knows is going to be fake. I find such an idea curiously illiberal, in that it’s assuming everybody should act as one subservient mass rather than as individuals. Horrified though I am at Corbyn’s victory, the bit in his speech yesterday about disagreeing on policy while sharing common values was absolutely spot on.

    “Splashing loads of cash on renationalising stuff isn’t going to tackle poverty which is where I part company from him.”

    I’m not sure about that either. It could help, a bit. At the moment we’re handing over money to foreign state-owned energy and rail companies which make profits for their taxpayer-owners. That’s less money we have to do useful things with that would benefit people in Britain. Wholesale renationalisation would be a big mistake, but there are certain sectors where it makes sense, partly because we need central planning in those sectors anyway.

  • @JoeOtten, why is QE, directing printed money to the stock market, better than the old fashioned kind of money printing to pay for capital projects?

  • @Caron Lindsay
    “I think we were daft to push for the referendum on a system that nobody loved, but I think there was a feeling you had to have something on electoral reform to go into coalition.”

    Given that a British election survey was suggesting at the time of negotiating the coalition that had AV been used at the 2010 general election, the Conservatives would have had 22 fewer MPs and Labour 10 fewer, while the Lib Dems would have gained 32, it was entirely understandable for the negotiating team to have accepted a referendum on AV – quite apart from the fact that it was the only system on offer.

  • @ Adrian Sanders, I had to say who? about Jamie Reed, never heard of him and neither had others I know!
    If the Tories and some LibDems and ‘Labour’ were not afraid then they would not be attacking him in the way they are. We have just seen democracy in action yet those who do not like or are afraid of Corbyn want to ignore it. The Westminster Village is in disarray and it is so amusing to watch. I would however warn Corbyn to keep away from woods.

  • Since Corbyn was elected there has been a surge in Labour Party membership. 14500 in 24 hours and rising, perhaps a mixture of new and registered supporters but wow! No wonder Cameron is scared. All that nonsense he has been spouting today. I was in Labour Party but left when Blair was elected leader and consequently never voted for New Labour Voted LibDem in 2010 in hope but that was destroyed by the way you behaved in coalition. Now I too am very tempted to rejoin, how many are there like me? A hell of a lot I imagine!

  • tony dawson 13th Sep '15 - 3:20pm

    @Joe Otten

    “surely there comes a point, with Labour lurching to the left, where they become more wrong and more dangerous than the Conservatives are. I think we are past that point. ”

    ‘More wrong’ and ‘more dangerous’ are two completely different things. The newspapers today are saying Labour is in the wilderness for over a decade. Presumably because they are ‘so wrong’ they are not considered dangerous at all by the right wing press?

  • @ S. Shaw. “Worked out well for them in 2015, didn’t it?”

    Our former Member for Torbay, Adrian Sanders, posted above “We worked with the Tories quite recently. Worked out well didn’t it”. So who are you talking about, Simon ? Labour or Nick Clegg and chums ? Stones, glass houses comes to mind. The AV campaign was a disaster and not, I’m afraid, Nick’s finest hour.

    Time to look forward and to discuss some radical policies at Bournemouth. If there’s any common ground with J. Corbyn let’s pursue it.

  • tony dawson 13th Sep '15 - 3:26pm

    @Simon Shaw

    “You said “Face it, the lib dems backed down on PR because they believed at the time that they would benefit from AV.”

    That’s clearly rubbish. My assumption has always been that the reason why Nick and colleagues pursued AV rather than “full PR” was that the 2010 Labour manifesto said that they supported AV. Accordingly, there ought to have been a majority for it, despite the Conservative opposition to any move away from FPTP. ”

    Both statements are correct. Nick Clegg and co saw AV as a less-than perfect guarantee of about 60 seats even if they didn’t emerge from the Coalition being particularly popular – and were so complacent about Labour support for it being a ‘shoe-in’ for the referendum that they allowed people with no campaigning experience to run the…er….’campaign’. They also timed it very foolishly without thinking of any personalised immediate ‘anti-Clegg’ backlash: Proportional Representation for local government would have been a much more sensible ‘first step.’ towards possible STV for General Elections.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/feb/05/av-get-clegg-campaign

  • John Tilley 13th Sep '15 - 3:39pm

    Someone is suggesting–
    “…with Labour lurching to the left, where they become more wrong and more dangerous than the Conservatives …..shall we try to work with the Conservatives to keep Labour out?”

    Someone thinks that the Labour Party (who are not in government and certainly will not be before 2020 at the earliest ) is “more dangerous” than The Conservatives are not dangerous even though they are the government and are destroying state schooling in England, are running down and flogging off The NHS, and will spend £ 100 Billion on Trident whilst condemning more people to The Food Bank and homelessness.

    Where do you buy the sort of political blinkers that enable you to see things so clearly ?

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '15 - 3:41pm

    I agree with Joe Otten. I want the Lib Dems to ditch equidistance and announce that until Labour sort themselves out the party is actually closer to the Conservatives. This is how I instinctively feel and I think with Labour electing Corbyn that there is an academic case for it too.

    Ideologically I’m still a centrist, but I agree with Caron that banging on about the centre-ground doesn’t really work. I think the party should adopt an unashamedly patriotic campaign of standing up for all corners and everyone in the UK. The Tories are still weak on public sector jobs and wages. I think we also need to re-introduce the 50p rate (but abolish national insurance over that amount to ensure it is not a 52% rate).

    The market for a strong competent liberal party is a big one. On foreign affairs too, I think the Conservatives plan to get rid of Assad and ISIS with international agreement is actually quite progressive.

  • “Splashing loads of cash on renationalising stuff isn’t going to tackle poverty which is where I part company from him.”

    …Do you believe that privatisation of the rail has been a success or a failure and can you explain why the East Coast rail line, which was bankrupted in the private sector in 2008 and then rescued and run successfully by the state, was subsequently privatised again despite five years under a successful nationalised model which, according to the Office of Rail Regulation, it generated more than £1bn in premiums as well as several million in profits to the Treasury, as one of only two rail firms in the country to make a net contribution to government coffers in the last two years, paying in more than it received in subsidy or indirect grants and delivering high customer satisfaction levels?
    Perhaps we should accept that what matters should be what works rather than ideological dogma and therefore it’s time to renationalise the rail?

  • John Tilley 13th Sep '15 - 4:01pm

    Eddie Salmon
    Eddie, you say —
    “…the Conservatives plan to get rid of Assad and ISIS with international agreement …”

    Which plan is that?
    Will they get rid of Assad and The Daesh by waving a magic wand?

    Cameron ‘s UK government cannot usually get international agreement from more than half a dozen fellow members of The EU on anything.

    The idea that he could neatly and quickly sow up an international agreement to solve the problems of Syria and deliver that plan, is I would politely suggest, completely bonkers.

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 4:17pm

    Joe Otten: ” You only asked for one! There are plenty more” Wrong that is not what I said at all. Really is frustrating having things attributed to you which are not true. I know how Corbyn must feel.

    Feel free to check your facts: – I said: “@Joe Without resorting to the Mail On Sunday et al stuff can you please list those policies that Corbyn has actually supported (as opposed to those attributed to him) and explain how they are dangerous?” Note the use of the plural. Just shows how easy it can be to get the simple things right.

    In any event I’ll invite you again to list (as in more than one) the policies that you say are DANGEROUS as oppose to those you simply disagree with unless you think anyone who advocates a different policy is not just wrong but also automatically dangerous.

  • Helen Tedcastle 13th Sep '15 - 4:19pm

    I am simply rendered incredulous by this comment: ‘ I think we are past that point. So shall we try to work with the Conservatives to keep Labour out?’ (Joe Otten)

    I agree with John Tilley in being utterly bemused by the idea that Labour in opposition are more dangerous than a Conservative Government with it’s hardline austerity agenda, yet spending half a billion on upgrading the Faslane naval base.

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 4:48pm

    Anne – Come and join Labour by all means – you are all welcome. Let’s give the Corbyn experiment a try. A genuine ‘one member one vote’ to decide policy. How much more liberal and democratic can that be? You tried the LibDem ‘coalition to save the country’ stuff and look what we have. I say this not in an attempt to push buttons or wind anyone up but what is the point of spending five years in a party where the leadership will run rings around Conference, Committees, Executives of Federal whatever’s in an attempt to elect what 10, 20 MP’s? For what?

    Yes the Corbyn experiment may fail but what have you got to lose. Any analysis of the anti-Corbyn lobby hear almost invariably rely on their crystal ball saying he will be a disaster, unelectable have dreadful policies etc etc But the reality is that none of us because it is all in the future. There is a chance, just a chance with a democratic manifesto process and and democratic Leader (and I have not seen ONE shred of evidence to say Corbyn is other than a democrat) that party members’ view would actually count for once.

    It has to be worth a try.

  • We keep talking about being the liberal force that the country needs, but we do very little to spell out exactly what that means or what our approach will be.

    Is it by attacking the left for economic policies that could send the country spiralling into debt? Is it by attacking the Tories for not providing a sufficient safety net to protect those most vulnerable? We could do that, but with the Tories and Labour trading insults at ever turn we’re unlikely to be noticed or taken seriously.

    Alternatively, we can get noticed again. We can set up campaigns on social issues that matter and start by taking the lead on the refugee crisis. We need to show that the Liberal Democrats will not just welcome, but actively help those fleeing from war-torn nations and prove that we will always put human lives first regardless of nationality. We can campaign for better housing, for a rent-to-buy scheme that will give people an affordable opportunity to own their own home. We can campaign for prison reform to help ensure that rehabilitation and education is promoted to give people a second chance. We can campaign for drug reform to help those suffering with addiction. We can campaign to help fight human trafficking and help women who have been forced into prostitution.

    We are already a liberal voice in Britain and we shouldn’t need to repeat this ad nauseam. The problem is that we are not being heard.

  • John Tilley 13th Sep '15 - 5:14pm

    Dave Orbison 13th Sep ’15 – 4:17pm

    Perhaps Joe is most fearful of Corbyn’s really, very dangerous policy of making music lessons available to all children in state schools.

    At the moment fewer than 45% of children have the opportunity to learn music at school UNLESS their parents can afford to pay.

    This is obviously a very, very dangerous socialist policy which might bankrupt our country if Corbyn had his way.

    It is just the thin end of the wedge, it will start with recorders and triangles and before you know it the socialists will have ratcheted up to string quartets. Where would such a policy end? Will brass bands be marching through the streets of Sheffield bringing civilisation collapsing around us?

    Or Joe may have something else in mind. Until he clarifies his point we can only speculate.

  • Samuel Griffiths 13th Sep '15 - 5:20pm

    Politics is reactionary though. The further to the right the Tories go, the further to the left any opposition has to be. The Tories – with the coalitions help – spent the last 5 years increasing corporate power and dismantling the safety nets put in place to protect both our welfare state and most vulnerable. I have seen no admission from anyone that this can only be fought with radical positions – after all, when power swings one way you can’t drag it back without some serious counter measures. Corbyn is no more an extremist than Cameron. The question is who you think is closer to a liberal future? I know who I would pick.

  • Nick Collins 13th Sep '15 - 5:21pm

    ‘ Eddie Sammon

    What does it matter which party you feel closer to? It’s not as ‘though you are likely to be in a position to from a coalition with either any time soon.

  • Joe Otten, “Shall we try to work with the Conservatives to keep Labour out?”

    No! No! and thrice no!

  • I’m also incredulous with idea that we should work with conservative to keep labour party out
    The Conservatives formed a majority government without us and are redrawing the electoral boundaries to ensure they don’t need us ever again. This ridiculous idea is born of the belief that the coalition was a permanent or even semi permanent arrangement rather than the accidental outcome of electoral arithmetic. Also people like me were told to take our vote elsewhere because there were all these cool new soft Tories to woo and the fact is there weren’t any. We stuck it out and all the alleged soft Tories voted tory and the disgruntled ones voted UKIP. It’s just the National Liberal argument all over again. And also were supposed to believe that Tony Blair. a man responsible for the deaths of thousands of people was a “centrist” because in between getting folks killed he liked to suck up to the wealthy and the powerful. Here’s the thing as a Liberal I don’t like this government and I didn’t like Blair’s either. And yes I actually do want it out of power.

  • AlexLewis, it is not the nationality of refugees that people are afraid of.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '15 - 5:28pm

    Hi Nick, first of all I’m not a party member (although you weren’t to know), but secondly I think it is very important because the big attack line from the Conservatives is going to be “Vote Lib Dem, get Corbyn”. So I think the party should make clear it would prefer to work with Cameron.

    It probably won’t go down well in Scotland, but I think it can be neutralised with some very pro Scottish policies. Perhaps.

  • We are not in a position to work with anyone to keep anyone out….

    But if we are going to win the seats necessary to be in such a position it will be from the Tories, and working with them will work extremely badly, as we have seen.

    All we are doing by this obvious hankering after the wonderful coalition and our wonderful, open-hearted and “not so bad” Tory friends is driving people like Dave Orbison away (although perhaps rather a hasty decision and hopefully not based on reading Lib Dem Voice…)

  • Stephen Campbell 13th Sep '15 - 5:46pm

    I find it sadly funny how so many people consider Corbyn’s policies, especially renationalisation, to be “extreme”. As a recent YouGov poll showed, a clear majority of British people want the railways and power companies taken back into public ownership. Do those people who consider those policies “extreme” also consider the public to be extremists in supporting said policies? Does that make European nations with nationalised public services extreme? And does that mean the coalition itself was extreme in giving contracts to French and Chinese state-run companies to build new power stations?

    And lest we forget, the Coalition spent plenty of time getting cosy with some horrible regimes. We’re happy to do business with the Chinese, who still have re-education camps and quash any opposition to the Chinese Communist Party. We provide state visits for visiting Saudi royality, who run a country that is every bit as oppressive as ISIS. Hell, we even flew our flags at half mast for the deceased king tyrant who ran that country. Have we forgotten the Saudis brutally oppress women, stone those who commit adultery, kill homosexuals, consider atheists terrorists and use beheading as a means of execution?

    The coalition and now the Tories are happy to befriend and do deals with extremists and those who commit the most abhorrent of human rights abuses. Yet apparently Corbyn is the most dangerous man in the country. Amazing.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '15 - 5:46pm

    Hi John, the plan I refer to is the one about allowing Assad to stay temporarily, but not having a future in Syrian politics.

    It is either that or, as David Owen audaciously wrote on Huffington Post the other day: for Jordan to occupy Syria whilst it transitions to democracy and for the UN security council to support Jordan. The thinking here being that any Western occupation will be toxic.

    It’s a radical and interesting idea (but I don’t want to derail the debate).

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lord-david-owen/jordan-syria-crisis_b_8118734.html

  • I think this and the previous article on Corbyn by Caron are both very astute. As someone who voted Lib Dem in 2010 I think it likely that I’ll go with Corbyn next time round. I like Farron – I think his election was a really positive move for the party, a corrective to the direction it had been floating in under the previous captain. I think Farron’s a strong statement against the technocrat, Tory tendency; I think Corbyn is stronger still – and more to the point – the level of support Corbyn achieved in the Labour election is more re-assuring to me than the level of support Farron gained in the Lib Dem election: there are just too many voices that are always keen to push back towards the Tories.

    But even ignoring my subjective take, I think pragmatically Caron’s right. There’s more to benefit the Lib Dems swimming with the anti-Tory tide, and that will definitely be the case over the next few years. Whether the party benefits is probably in the hands of those who are most concerned over the Labour threat.

  • @Simon Shaw

    “No Caron is right and you are wrong.

    You said “Face it, the lib dems backed down on PR because they believed at the time that they would benefit from AV.”

    At the time the conventional wisdom was that the Liberal Democrats were the likely 2nd choice of both Tory and Labour supporters and would therefore benefit from AV as they’d win some of the seats where they were currently 2nd where the 1st party didn’t get 50% of the vote on the first preference, which at that time was a lot of seats. Now have I misunderstood you, or are you actually telling me that this was not so?

    I’m willing to believe that at the time yourself and Caron were so much more politically astute than most other people were, and had a much better understanding of what the reality of the coalition and AV would turnout to be for the party and the country. But that fact still remains that at the time the conventional wisdom, both within the party and without, was that the Liberal Democrats would be the ones to benefit from AV, surely?

  • Meanwhile, Tom Harris – belatedly after Scottish Labour nurtured the ‘othering’ of the Tories and was devoured by it – says purple prose about the venality of the Tories isn’t going to help.

    https://www.facebook.com/tomharris1964/posts/10153688495431458

    Telling people who voted against you that they’re nasty, small-state, isolationist and have a xenophobic agenda as well as making ~*insert folk devil*~ look like a positively sensible cuddly teddy bear isn’t going to endear them to you.

    After the toxicity of the ref, let’s not keep the hatred alive.

  • Nick Collins 13th Sep '15 - 6:25pm

    Joe Otten, “Shall we try to work with the Conservatives to keep Labour out?”

    The vicious right wing press have already begun their hatchet job on Corbyn; what makes you think they need your help? And why would anyone who calls hinself a “liberal” and/or “democrat” want to help them?

  • Nick Collins 13th Sep '15 - 6:30pm

    @ Eddie Sammon. I don’t think the Tories are going to need an attack line against the Liberal Democrats.; the Liberal Democrats are unlikely to be a threat to them for the foreseeable future.

  • @ Eddie Sammon “So I think the party should make clear it would prefer to work with Cameron. It probably won’t go down well in Scotland, but I think it can be neutralised with some very pro Scottish policies. Perhaps.”

    Perhaps ? No, sorry Eddie I can tell you that in Scotland it’s a definitely big not. What your very pro Scottish policies are (free fried Mars Bars for the over sixty fives ?) I don’t know.

    I first joined the Liberals when the great Jo Grimond was our Leader. I can hear his great voice booming now – “The Liberal Pahtee is a Radical Pahtee. It is a Pahtee of Reform”. It had the same revival intensity as some of the Corbyn meetings appear to have had.

    It was indeed a radical party campaigning against Labour and Conservative with ‘Which Twin is the Tory?’, The SNP were nowhere (known as ‘The Tartan Tories’). Years of hard work and squeezing Labour votes got us double figures of MP’s, mostly from the Tories as the focus for the radical progressive anti Tory vote.

    The Faustian pact in 2010 destroyed all that . The situation in Scotland is dire with Alistair holding Jo’s old seat in the Northern Isles by a whisker and good people like Mike Moore losing a seat we held for fifty years. At a council by-election in Edinburgh (Leith Walk ) last week it was more Sunset than Sunshine on Leith with yet another drop. In May, in Willie’s old seat the LibDem vote dropped from 17,169 to 2,232. Frankly, it broke many good Liberal hearts.

    If we ever recover it will be because we will have become our radical selves again. It is time for the pro-Tory folk in the party to go home and think again.

  • @Eddie Sammon
    ” I think it is very important because the big attack line from the Conservatives is going to be “Vote Lib Dem, get Corbyn”. So I think the party should make clear it would prefer to work with Cameron.”

    You have a very short memory Eddie, I think it was quite clear at the last election that the Liberal Democrats preferred to work with Cameron over Labour and look how that worked out for the party, reduced to 8MP’s

    I said sometime ago that I was waiting to see what happened to the Liberal Democrats and see what lessons they learned and what direction they took, then I might consider joining a party for the first time in my life.

    After seeing what the president Sal and Willie had to say, and looking at the same old comments from people who surrounded themselves around clegg, I.e the Joe Otten etc. .
    It does not appear to me as though any lessons have been learnt at all and it is business as usual.

    So glad I did not rush out to buy my membership card like many others.

  • George Kendall 13th Sep '15 - 6:50pm

    @Allistair “George, why will Corbyn be toxic”

    The Tories tried to make Blair toxic and it didn’t work. But they, and their kind, have succeeded around the world so, so many times.

    Remember what the rightwing republicans did to a genuine war hero, John Kerry over his Vietnam war record? It’s now come out that their smears were all lies, but too late to stop G W Bush winning a second term.

    With Corbyn, he has already gifted them so many ways to destroy him politically, it’s almost as if he wanted them to.

    They will actually want him to have a honeymoon, so that a longer Corbyn leadership will give them longer to destroy the Labour Brand. But they hardly have to try. Labour MPs who know him best will do the job for him, aided by an enthusiastic tabloid press.

    It may be unfair, in fact you can be certain it will be unfair. But it will happen. And, as Caron said earlier, we don’t have to, and shouldn’t, be anything to do with it.

    We should be focusing our fire on the government, but we shouldn’t make the mistake of aligning with Corbyn while we do it.

  • Mark Robinson 13th Sep '15 - 10:42pm

    Totally agree Caron.

    However one thing that I don’t think people have grasped is that Labour’s lurch to the left is likely to embolden the very nasty underbelly of the Tory right (and I don’t mean Gideon Osborne) , which will alter the political discourse in ways that no one can understand yet.

    I can see people such as Peter Bone (Wellingborough) becoming even more noisy and nasty, given the relatively slender majority, the government will lurch further rightward to appease them ,which will hopefully give us some space to make a strong liberal voice heard?

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '15 - 11:51pm

    Joe and I were ahead of the curve (slightly). McDonnell as shadow chancellor, no women at the top of Labour and flirting with EU exit. Bringing back mines. It’s all a big nightmare for Labour. Time to work a bit closer to with the Tories and the SNP.

    Also, work on defections from Labour! 🙂

  • Lib Dems need to get their own house in order after being nearly wiped out in May. Tim Farron is being ridiculed for not turning up to last Fridays debate and we have Clegg more interested in making a quick buck on his speaking tours. Making fun of Labour is a side show when the Lib Dem Party is in disarray.

  • I really don’t agree that Cameron, Osborne and co make Thatcher look like a cuddly teddy bear. I really don’t think that at all. Please don’t say these things! I’d take today’s lot over her ’80s crew any day.

  • We’re not that far away from Corbyn et al., so I expect us to be supportive where we agree and politely firm where we differ. Meanwhile, we have to do everything we can to stop the destruction the Tories are waging.

  • Dave Orbison 14th Sep '15 - 6:30am

    @ Eddie. You think Joe and you are ahead of the curve? You sight: a) McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor- so ? Ah let me guess as with Joe often just the very name is enough for you to be ‘anti’ forget the need to examine policies in case there is common ground. b) Then you are not happy with women representations within the Shadow Cabinet. corbyn has said there will be 50% of his team as women. We will have to wait and see but remind me how many women LibDem MP’s are there? How many LibDem women were in the Coalition govt? cc) flirting with EU exit? Yet no policy announced. d) bring back mines) no policy announced. Labour’s nightmare? Over 430k voted. 15000 new members overnight and you think picking up a few egotistical, sulky and failed Labour MP’s is the path forward. Wow radical, go for it and like others on here I present this as Exhibit A as to way jumping ship and joining Corbyn is the truly radical option.

  • John Tilley 14th Sep '15 - 6:57am

    Eddis Sammon

    No, Eddie.
    You re not “ahead of the curve” .
    In his last comment in this thread David Raw pointed to some of those facts of life. You have not responded to this part of what he said —
    “..The Faustian pact in 2010 destroyed all that . The situation in Scotland is dire with Alistair holding Jo’s old seat in the Northern Isles by a whisker and good people like Mike Moore losing a seat we held for fifty years. At a council by-election in Edinburgh (Leith Walk ) last week it was more Sunset than Sunshine on Leith with yet another drop. In May, in Willie’s old seat the LibDem vote dropped from 17,169 to 2,232. Frankly, it broke many good Liberal hearts.”

    You are not a member of the Liberal Democrats. Your views appear to be Conservative of the David Davis variety. You seem of late to be digging into a trench with three or four regulars in LDV who believe that the future of The LIberal Democrats is as a subsidiary brand in the Cameron family of Conservative brands. As someone who writes a lot about small business, you will probably know what happens to small brands that get swallowed up by a family of big brands. They disappear. Hence the relevance of David Raw’s comment on Scotland.

  • I find this knee-jerk opposition to Corbyn rather depressing. There are many issues that most Liberal democrats agree with him about and we should be campaigning alongside him and whichever Labour MPs he can persuade to support him to oppose welfare cuts, the renewal of Trident, the amelioration of the bedroom tax, a defence of the green energy programme, and so on. We don’t have to be in support of his political philosophy to do that: we can surely campaign alongside Nigel Farage on Fair Votes without compromising our principles. Corbyn will struggle to lead the parliamentary Labour Party and we should let them destroy him if they want to. In the meantime let’s not damage a possible chance to advance progressive positions in British politics by being petty.

  • Hear, hear, Tony Hill!

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep ’15 – 11:51pm …………………Joe and I were ahead of the curve (slightly). McDonnell as shadow chancellor, no women at the top of Labour and flirting with EU exit. Bringing back mines. It’s all a big nightmare for Labour. Time to work a bit closer to with the Tories and the SNP…………..Also, work on defections from Labour! :)………….

    I despair! So Osborne, with his economic background, is acceptable but McDonnel isn’t…No women??????? Corbyn has been leader for a couple of days (as DO says, “How many did we have in 5 years of coalition?)

    If it’s a nightmare then it’s Labour’s nightmare. And as for working with the Tories ( They’d laugh in your face) and the SNP (would this be the same SNP that LDV vilifies at every opportunity and anyway who’s views are close to Corbyn’s)?
    Defectors from Labour? With only 8 (7) MPs we’d be eaten alive…

    My advice to LibDems…. wait and see….

  • Paul Kinnock has stated categorically on the Today programme just now that Labour will be fighting to stay IN Europe. Already the Lib Dems have “common cause” with Corbyn on one of the most important issues on the near horizon.

    This is exactly why I have been saying ‘ just give the man a chance’ – we don’t know anything of how he will lead the Labour Party yet. It’s time to watch with open ears.

  • The appointment of John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor, which will offer us significant opportunities to distance ourselves from whatever policies he may come up with, makes it very, very desirable, as I have previously suggested on this site, that the Economy/Business portfolio in our Shadow Cabinet should be held by a MP. This is not intended as a criticism of Baroness Kramer, of whom I have a good opinion, but as a recognition of the fact that the media will give much more attention to what a MP has to say than to statements by a member of the unelected House of Lords – and it seems to me that a MP such as Greg Mulholland with a record of sticking up for small businesses would make a very good fist of the job.

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Sep '15 - 10:01am

    DavidW

    Face it, the lib dems backed down on PR because they believed at the time that they would benefit from AV. Which makes me think that what a bonkers electorial system really means is an electorial system that we don’t like because we can’t win much under it.

    This is complete nonsense, but typical of the nonsense that the Liberal Democrats have faced in attacks since joining the Coalition, and it’s partly the then leadership’s fault that this nonsense was able to stand.

    It is perfectly obvious that the Conservatives would never have agreed to proportional representation or even risked it by having a referendum on it, as that would change forever the political system where they and Labour take turns to have complete power, and it is mostly they. A referendum on AV was as far as they were willing to go, and I think it was right for the Liberal Democrats to accept it, as it was at least a stepping stone towards further electoral reform.

    AV is not proportional representation, but it does end the “got to vote X to stop Y winning line”, and is worthwhile because of that. Had it been introduced, it would have given more chance to smaller parties and independent challengers because the line “don’t vote for them, it will just split the vote and let in the major party candidate you dislike most” would no longer apply – you could safely vote for who you really wanted, but give second preference to the other one in case the gamble didn’t work.

    Where the LibDem leadership got it wrong, as with so much else in the Coalition, was not to be honest about this being a compromise well removed from the party’s ideal, but accepted because it was as far as the Tories would go. By giving the impression that this compromise was the new ideal, the door was opened to the attacks of “betrayal”, and the idea was perpetuated that somehow 57 LibDem MPs could have made 307 Conservative MPs jump to their tune and just decided not to because they never really believed in that tune in the first place.

    On the “bonkers” electoral system, well, what is more bonkers than attacking the Liberal Democrats for “propping up the Tories” and then supporting a disproportional electoral system on the grounds that the way it props up the biggest party (i.e. in 2010 and 2015 the Tories) by giving them a much higher share of seats than their share of votes is the best thing about it? Yet that was and is Labour’s line.

  • I know facts upset some people’s desire to play Little Sir Echo to the Daily Telegraph but the last time I checked both Angela Eagle and Heidi Alexander are women.

    We have been told since 2010 that Secretary of State for Business and junior minister for health were very, very important posts and they were held by Liberal Democrats men.

    Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Shadow Secretary of State for Health appointed by Corbyn are now apparently invisible?

    So how important is that supposed to make Norman Lamb feel?
    Is he not also a shadow health minister as well as a man?

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Sep '15 - 10:24am

    Eddie Sammon

    I agree with Joe Otten. I want the Lib Dems to ditch equidistance and announce that until Labour sort themselves out the party is actually closer to the Conservatives.

    You may want that, but please don’t put across the message that the majority of Liberal Democrats think that way. I think the majority of party members posting here are making it clear they don’t.

    Of course, the press are likely to report it that way because that’s what they always do: decide for themselves what the Liberal Democrats should (which is always the opposite of what they should actually do), find a few tame right-wingers in the party to agree with them, and then write it up as if the whole of the party wants to go that way. It’s obvious why the right-wing press does it, but I’ve often wondered why the Guardian always does it as well. I think because though it likes to give the impression it’s a supporter of the Liberal Democrats, underneath it’s a mixture of a Labour paper, and an elitist paper.

    The Conservative Party is just as mad and damaging right-wing as Corbyn is left-wing, with the difference that the Conservatives have complete control of the country thanks to the Labour Party propping them up by supporting an electoral system which gave them a majority of seats with just 37% of the vote. Under those circumstances, equidistance is at least where we should be, and we need to bend a little the other way to escape the opinion that was built up about us during the Coalition.

    There will be no shortage of attackers on Corbyn outside our party, so I see no benefit in joining in with them. Just be a little cool, and welcome the widening of political debate he has brought about, without suggesting we agree with him on all things. Let policies be put forward and debated honestly, if Corbynism is found wanting in that debate, then people won’t support it.

  • Huntbach

    I remembering hearing for the first time at the time if the AV Referendum that Nick Clegg had called it ” a miserable little compromise” and thinking to myself ” how is anyone supposed to vote for this now that they know even the Lib Dems think it’s rubbish?”

    (I still voted for AV but that’s because I am more an anorak and I believe any PR system is better than FPTP)

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Sep '15 - 10:38am

    Simon Shaw

    Maybe you can see McDonnell telling Corbyn “Sorry Jeremy, but the £120 billion a year you have said is available from “a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion” and the £93 billion a year you have said is available from “tackling ‘corporate welfare. and tax breaks for companies” are a fiction.

    Oh I agree, but I think this is the sort of thing that can be put across in honest debate, rather than trying to subdue such debate by resorting to personal attacks on Corbyn and the suggestion he is so wrong that we don’t even have to go into details about it.

    Yes, it’s a common hand-waving line that all the increased state expenditure one wants can be obtained by “a crackdown on tax avoidance”. Reality is, that there isn’t just a single thing you can do “Oh, make tax avoidance illegal, and that’s it” to stop it. Tax avoidance means keeping to the letter of the law while avoiding the spirit of the law, and anyone who has ever been involved in trying to write firm specifications will know how difficult it is to stop that happening. Block one way the spirit is broken, and the clever lawyers and finance types the rich can afford to pay will always research and find another.

    So, one may hope there are things one can do to reduce tax avoidance, and put more effort into research on the government side as to how to do that. But don’t actually spend the money you hope to raise that way, until you’ve done it.

    The better line to take is not “we’ll pay for it all by cutting out tax avoidance” but “here’s the higher taxes on ordinary people we know we can raise to pay for it – now, if big companies would kindly not put so much effort into tax avoidance, we wouldn’t have to raise taxes so high, so: over to you big companies, YOU are to blame if we have to go ahead with the tax rises”.

  • Stephen Howse 14th Sep '15 - 11:18am

    “I agree with Joe Otten. I want the Lib Dems to ditch equidistance and announce that until Labour sort themselves out the party is actually closer to the Conservatives.”

    I want us to make clear we have absolutely no truck with Corbyn’s socialist economic views and isolationist foreign policy views, and spell out just why a Labour government would be as bad for the country in 2020 as another Conservative one. If class war is back, let us not take sides but make clear that in a globalised world, both Corbyn-style socialism in one country and Tory reactionary tendencies on immigration and the EU present a huge risk to our future prosperity. I want us to present ourselves as a credible, grown-up, forward-looking alternative to both of the two big parties. We need liberalism now more than ever in this country, and we are the liberal party.

  • Matt (Bristol) 14th Sep '15 - 11:30am

    John Tilley – I don’t entirely agree with you – but that is a very well put point.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Sep '15 - 2:07pm

    David Raw, interesting points, I am not sure what the pro Scotland policies that would need to be introduced to counter the Lib Dems working closer with the Conservatives would be (if it were to happen). Ending austerity by 2020, perhaps more infrastructure, investment, devolution, I am not sure. The people in the Scottish Party would be best to answer this.

    Matt, I think the situation is different now. The Miliband Labour Party wasn’t too bad, but this is almost a different party.

    Dave Orbison, I just don’t agree with the current far left at all really. Mostly, I don’t think a non-interventionist defence policy is left wing. I don’t have much sympathy with his other views either, but his views on defence are my biggest concern.

    expats, I do prefer Osborne to McDonnell, but I also have significant differences with him.

    Matthew Huntbach, OK, but I do vote Lib Dem, so I still think it matters if people are wavering towards the Conservatives due to what is happening with Labour.

    John Tilley, as I have now said, I think Jeremy Corbyn is a lot different to Ed Miliband so I don’t think people can just say “working closer to the Conservatives always fails”. During the Labour leadership election I nearly joined Labour to vote for Yvette Cooper (I latterly changed my favourite to Liz Kendall), but if I got to the stage of filling out the application form, before receiving doubts, then I can’t be that much of a Tory.

    Best regards

  • The tories are past bashing Corbyn,- they are into the next phase of branding everything Labour as Corbyn.
    Thus the attack ad is ‘Labour’s new leader’ not JC.

    Labour will be framed in this manner over the next few months before Christmas and it will probably stick like after 2010. Labour MP’s will respect the result of the vote for this period and then start any serious disagreements. This
    will be too late unless it means a change in leadership before 2018 Labour not Corbyn is in a very difficult position.

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Sep '15 - 5:22pm

    Phyllis

    I remembering hearing for the first time at the time if the AV Referendum that Nick Clegg had called it ” a miserable little compromise” and thinking to myself ” how is anyone supposed to vote for this now that they know even the Lib Dems think it’s rubbish?”

    Yes, but even a miserable little compromise is better than nothing at all. Clegg should have been honest from the start and said this, been clear it’s not at all the Liberal Democrat ideal, but as it’s a slight step towards it, it should be taken.

    (I still voted for AV but that’s because I am more an anorak and I believe any PR system is better than FPTP)

    Well, AV isn’t a PR system at all. As I said, its advantage is that it ends the “got to vote for X to stop Y getting in” line, and that’s quite a good thing, but it’s a separate thing from the benefits of PR.

    Some have condemned AV as less proportional than FPTP, as if that would be the case, and used that as an argument to vote against it. They are wrong. Whether it is less or more proportional depends on circumstances. It is possible that the split-vote factor of FPTP balances out the disproportional factor, but just as much, in fact more so, likely for it to be the other way round.

    Despite my asking many times, those who said AV was wrong because it was less proportional than FPTP never got back to me with actual examples of how this could be.

    With constitutional reform, we have so often seen compromise situations turned down due to an alliance between those who want no change and those who claim the proposed change is not enough. That’s why we still have FPTP and the House of Lords.

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Sep '15 - 5:32pm

    Eddie Sammon

    Matthew Huntbach, OK, but I do vote Lib Dem, so I still think it matters if people are wavering towards the Conservatives due to what is happening with Labour

    Sure, but it also matters if decent liberal-minded people are swept away by Corbynmania, and turn against us if all we do is say “us too” to Tory attacks on it, which I think is what is happening right now.

    As I said, we need to be cool on it. Recognise why Corbyn is seeming so attractive to so many right now, but also be ready to point out the naive nature of some of it when the time comes. Then we ourselves must offer a better alternative, but we must recognise why people are fed up with the drift of politics to the right in recent decades and so want something different.

  • @Simon Shaw
    Please share some of your accounting knowledge with us and explain why you think Corbyn will need £213bn to plug a deficit that is currently £70bn and falling.

    The BBC report you quote states that Corbyn wants to eliminate the deficit through “higher taxes for the rich and a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion while tackling ‘corporate welfare’ and tax breaks for companies.”

    All very laudable aims, and in fact you’ll find something very similar in the last Lib Dem manifesto (“we will use taxes on the wealthiest, on banks and big business and on polluters, and we will bear down on tax avoidance”).

    But what the BBC have written there isn’t really a very good summation of the Independent article they give as a source. What Corbyn actually said in that was :-

    But if there is still a deficit in 2020, then I think you don’t set an arbitrary deadline, you have a strategy to grow the economy, increase tax revenues, and – if necessary – ask the most fortunate to contribute a little more. If anyone is in denial it is those who deny the true economic crisis – the crisis of rising poverty and homelessness, and falling productivity.

    All perfectly sensible stuff.

  • @Matthwe Huntbach
    “Despite my asking many times, those who said AV was wrong because it was less proportional than FPTP never got back to me with actual examples of how this could be.”

    You should have tried asking the people running the “Yes to AV” campaign! For it was they (in the guise of the ERS) who used to have a web page in which they claimed AV “can be less proportional than FPTP”. This page was of course removed the moment they took on the job of selling this particular pup to the public…

  • Peter Watson 14th Sep '15 - 7:52pm

    @Eddie Sammon “I want the Lib Dems to ditch equidistance and announce that until Labour sort themselves out the party is actually closer to the Conservatives.”
    Yes .. and no.
    Lib Dems should not declare they are close to anyone. They should not define themselves at all in terms of where they sit between the two main English parties.
    The party should put together a coherent set of policies that represent its views clearly, and then see which other parties it can work with to implement the policies they share. It might mean agreement with different partners on different issues since the world does not split nicely between left and right wing ideas.
    Currently – and for quite a while now – it is very difficult to see what is the point of the Lib Dems. Here on LDV there is plenty of criticism of other parties (though bizarrely, it seems to be more about what the new Labour leader might do in 5 years than what the Tories are doing right now), coupled with criticism of members for having views too close to one or other of those parties. Most of the heat seems to draw attention to the fact that on core issues about the role of the state or how best to run the British economy, Lib Dems are at least as divided as any other party if not more so. And whilst I have some idea about what Labour or Conservative governments would do to me or for me, I really don’t know what a Lib Dem government would mean. Other smaller parties have some sort of distinctive brand or defining policy that gives voters a reason to choose (or reject) them instead of the big two, but I think the Lib Dems’ identity has become far too fuzzy, and that saddens me.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Sep '15 - 11:01pm

    Caron Lindsay | Sun 13th September 2015 – 11:23 am “Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign’s relentless focus on the economy took him from being an outsider to the Oval Office. We could learn something from him and British politics would be all the better for it.”
    Both Bill and Hillary wrote books about this period, hers is more succintly written. When he became President the Democrats controlled both houses. President George Bush senior had pledged that he would not raise taxes. Bill Clinton had matched that pledge. After the election advice was taken from Goldman Sachs. Raising taxes would reduce the federal deficit , reduce the inflationary effect of continued government borrowing, reduce interest rates and allow business to borrow more cheaply and expand, thereby creating more jobs. The pledge was broken and the economic benefits achieved, plus a stock-market boom. Winners all round except for Democratic politiicans who lost their seats two years in.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Sep '15 - 1:27pm

    Stuart

    You should have tried asking the people running the “Yes to AV” campaign! For it was they (in the guise of the ERS) who used to have a web page in which they claimed AV “can be less proportional than FPTP”.

    The words here are “can be”. That was what I said, under some circumstances it can be. However, I have been arguing with people claiming that it is always or usually less proportional, it is they who have been unable to justify that line with concrete examples of how it could work that way.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Sep '15 - 1:38pm

    Ian Sanderson (RM3)

    My view is that Corbyn has many of the right instincts, but that has led him into supporting some wrong, or just over-simplistic stances.

    To me he is very much like Syriza in Greece. I remember the cheering from some here when they got elected. Yet it turned out there were no magic answers. Simply voting for a party that wanted there to be some and so claimed to be the party of what would happen if there were did not work. I actually thought Syriza would pull Greece out of the Euro, because that seemed to be the only way they could get what they said they wanted. Yet in the end, they didn’t do that, because the down-side of it was too big for most Greeks to accept.

    Same with Corbyn – once he finds there is no magic money tree to bring all the government spending he wants, then what? Serious taxation that will hurt a good many more than the super-rich. How many will drop away when that is proposed? But if it isn’t, he’ll be another Tsipras.

  • Matthew Huntbach,

    I think people are pigeon holing Cirbyn I to something he is not. I think he has been seriously underestimated.

    And good on him for not singing ” God save the Queen”.

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