Jo Swinson gives Jeremy Corbyn a lesson in opposing a terrible Government

Jo Swinson has had a very effective first six days as Lib Dem Leader. She’s been popping up all over the media and the fact that both Labour and SNP supporters alike have gone for her big time shows that they know she is a massive threat to them.

This morning, viewers of Sophy Ridge on Sunday will have seen Jeremy Corbyn offer his usual tired and hand-wringing approach to Brexit and his less than robust approach to anti-semitism in his party.

Immediately afterwards, they had Jo on. She was clear, engaging and she answered the questions put to her.

Here are some of the highlights:

Labour campaigning for Remain when the other alternative is No Deal contrasts with Liberal Democrats campaigning for Remain against any form of Brexit.  Trying not to upset anyone usually means you upset everyone – and that is the lesson that Labour is showing no sign of learning.

It was one of our biggest mistakes during the coalition years, but we have now learned that you need to be clear in your offer and if that means that some people won’t vote for you as a result, then that’s fine. However, you actually gain those voters who appreciate the clarity of your message. The fact that our opinion poll rating is not that far behind Labour’s bears that out.

Jo is doing exactly what she needs to do. She’s talking about the need to stop Brexit. She’s calling out the most terrifying Government we’ve had in my lifetime and she’s offering that vision of hope, about creating that economy that, in her words, puts people and planet first.

She also tackled the misrepresentation of her position that is being peddled on social media by Brexiteers. If there was a People’s Vote that voted to leave on a specific version of Brexit, it wouldn’t just change her mind. She’d still think that we were better off in the EU. However, she would “absolutely” accept the result of that referendum. Of course she would still continue to fight for what she believed in. I mean, can you actually imagine Farage and Co shutting up if we voted to Remain?

Jo gave a strong, confident performance. She came across as honest, authentic and clear. Corbyn cannot come close to competing with that.

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

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84 Comments

  • We have now seen 6 Polls since Jo was elected Leader, we are up a bit, The Tories are up a lot but not as much as The Papers claim while Labour & Brexit continue to drift down.
    The Brexit Party are around 15%.
    The Libdems are around 19%.
    Labour are around 24% &
    The Tories are between 28% & 29%.
    There will probably be no more Polls till September.
    We have to use August to get in The News.
    A Cross-Party Alliance ?

  • Michael Cole 28th Jul '19 - 12:56pm

    Labour supporters are still trying to blame us for ‘austerity’.

    They need to be reminded over and over again that the prime cause of ‘austerity’ was Labour’s financial recklessness and lack of fiscal responsibility.

    We should constantly remind them of Liam Byrne’s statement in 2010: “I’m afraid there is no money”.

  • Michael Cole
    Not that nonsense again. Labour did not cause the collapse of the banking system or mal practice in the American housing market or a world wide recession. Austerity was a choice made mainly made by the Conservative Party. The Lib Dems problem was that despite not advocating any such policies in 2010, they made coalition stability the number 1 priority.

  • I constantly get Labour Party friends telling me how they held their noses and voted for us in the Euros but still can’t get over some of the things we did in coalition. I find the quickest way to get them to change the subject is to say that I can never forgive Labour for taking us into the Iraq war with all the consequences for so many millions that have followed that disastrous action.
    I have only recently discovered Sophy Ridge on Sunday and strongly recommend her incisive questioning to the invariably insipid and ill-briefed approach of Andrew Marr. i

  • Glenn. Not that old nonsense again. Every party went into the 2010 election promising cuts. Coalition cuts were less than Labour’s proposals. The Lib Dems were clear about prioritising stability and coalition before the election. Labour ran a structural deficit during the boom and failed to prepare for the inevitable recession. Post 2010 government spending was higher than pre 2008.

  • William Fowler 28th Jul '19 - 2:29pm

    Gordon Brown based govn spending on the concept that the boom/bust cycle no longer existed and overspent during the good years when it was not necessary and did not have a clue about how to roll it back when the bust came. Debt servicing going forward is twice what if should be, eating up funds that could be used elsewhere. Labour trying to rewrite history so they can have another chance to destroy wealth in this country.

  • @ Michael Cole “They need to be reminded over and over again that the prime cause of ‘austerity’ was Labour’s financial recklessness and lack of fiscal responsibility.”

    Great to have your specialist economic analysis, Michael. Dead right, and in particular putting your finger on those screaming Marxist left wingers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (as you imply, prominent members of the Brown Cabinet) who were both placed into the conservatorship of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) by the U.S. Treasury in September 2008.

    They were very very naughty people and Brown should have despatched them to the back benches toot sweet.

  • David Becket 28th Jul '19 - 3:26pm

    Gove is now going to spend £1bn (and the rest) on No Deal. £1bn that could be spent on the NHS. Go for him Jo.

  • Glenn for goodness sake, does it really matter any more it was nearly 10 years ago. That is going from 1945 to 1955, the world moves on and changes. Carping on about the past is great if we have the time, otherwise a bore. We do not have the luxury of such time, it is moving on for the future that matters.

  • Malcolm Todd 28th Jul '19 - 4:33pm

    William Fowler 28th Jul ’19 – 2:29pm
    “Debt servicing going forward is twice what if should be, eating up funds that could be used elsewhere.”

    It’s not doing anything of the sort. It’s paying for people’s pensions, it’s paying out on savings, and it’s enabling investment. And of course some of it isn’t being paid at all, because the government (in the form of the BoE) bought up 23% of the national debt with new money and sensibly stopped pretending to pay interest to itself.

    The total national debt was lower as a share of GDP in 2008 than it was in 1997. The massive increase since then was rather obviously in reaction to the massive financial crisis (mostly incurred after Labour left office, of course, but that’s not the coalition’s fault either). This idea that Labour mismanagement bankrupted the nation is wrong in every single one of its parts.

  • I think it’s disingenuous to blame Labour for all of the economic woes inherited in 2010, and the bit about there being no money left was a (bad) joke. That said, so long as Labour want to be disingenuous about our record, there’s no harm in reminding them that many people blame Labour for it, and they’d expect a fair hearing, so they should extend that to others.

    I’m amazed at Jo’s energy. After weeks of campaigning in the leadership election, she’s done so much since the announcement, and at all times of day and night and showing no signs of weariness. I thought Jo got the balance right in challenging Johnson and Corbyn on their Brexit records, and later suitable honesty regarding things we maybe didn’t get right during coalition. It is very hard to get the tone on that right and Jo manages to sound sincere without grovelling. My one quibble would be that it might have been worth mentioning how much worse things got when the Tories were left at the controls on their own, and that there isn’t an issue with Universal Credit as a concept, it’s more the details of implementation, especially if you substantially reduce the funding available for claimants. When asked about what we do stand for it would be helpful to include a couple of specifics, and not just general concepts. It’s all very well to say we stand for introducing a fairer economy, but is there an example of what that means? Any detail that could have been included on the environment would have made our plan to prioritise it carry more weight.

    But it’s very easy to make these suggestions from the home when I’m struggling to decide what to put on my toast.

  • Labour did not cause the banking crisis but did run a budget deficit for each of the last 5 boom years (2003-2007). I imagine the Iraq war of early 2003 was one of the reasons 2002 was the last year we had a budget surplus.

  • All parties going into the 2010 election had an agenda to cut and cut hard the government spend. They all paniced and all set out a cause to effectively punish the poor. You could claim the Lib Dems policy was the least worst, it was certainly a break on the Tories and arguably less than Labour had promised to do. Having said that, they where wrong, they should have resisted the urge to panic, rather they should have using the crises to change our economy, they failed at that and that is the lesson we should learn. Sometimes stepping back, taking a breath and resisting the urge to run round like headless chickens is the right thing to do, unfortunately Clegg and Co decided being a chicken, and a very headless one at that, was the best thing to do. I hope we have learned don’t be rushed into bad decsions.

  • Just a little question
    GDP debt most recent 84.7%
    GDP debt 2010 64.3%

    So how can I claim in reality it’s actually well below 70%.
    And that is 66.8% of UK GDP, which is the same level as we had in 2010 and, to put it in context is below the level for most of the time since the national debt began in 1692:

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2017/07/02/the-uk-national-debt-is-not-89-of-gdp-its-only-67-of-gdp-and-its-time-the-government-and-media-stopped-lying-about-this/

    As I said in my previous post, panic is s useful tool.

  • On the “Who do you want as PM ? ” question, Jo gets 12%, only 3% behind Corbyn, in spite of very low recognition figures as yet. This is the 1st time Our Leader has been included I think.

  • TCO,

    Please can you provide the figures for Labour’s deficit reduction plan? I recall Labour being attacked in 2010 for being vague about these plans. Were any comparisons carried out at the time? (If so please provide the link?) I believe the Conservatives plan in 2010 was the most drastic in terms of deficit reduction planning on doing it over five years. It was this stupid plan which we agreed to in 2010 and which nearly led to a double dip recession at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 (it being reported at the time as being a double dip recession).

    I know it is often claimed that the coalition government reduced the deficit as planned by Labour. This is wrong. However, if you can provide a link to the figures I would be interested in seeing them.

    In the recent past the myth of structural deficits was widely accepted but now they are not considered something to consider seriously. How can you consider structural deficits seriously when in 2008 the IMF stated Spain had a structural surplus of 0.5% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and then in 2012 stated that it had a structural deficit of 1.2% of GDP over the same period? It is clear talking about structural deficits is not helpful for economic planning.

    “Chris Dillow has questioned the distinction between cyclical and structural deficits, and this has received support from other leading economists. He contends that there are too many variables involved to allow a clear distinction to be made, especially when dealing with current circumstances rather than retrospectively, and suggests that the concept of structural deficits may be used more for political purposes than analytical purposes.”

    “Martin Wolf, in his book “The Shifts and the Shocks”, argues that nobody knows what the ‘structural’ or cyclically adjusted balance is and that it is least knowable precisely when such knowledge is most essential, namely, when the economy is experiencing a boom.”

  • Mike Read,

    There was no boom between 2003 and 2007. We need to stop supporting the Conservative myth that the Labour government had too high government expenditure before 2008. Looking at the years after 2002. Economic growth was 3.3% (2003), 2.3%, 3.1%, 2.5% and 2.5% (2007). If the deficit had been smaller in any of these years economic growth would have been less. It is only in 2003 and 2005 that I would support a smaller deficit by only 0.25% in 2003 and 0.083% in 2005.

    Unemployment in the UK was above 5% for 2001, 2002 and the start of 2003 and fell at the end of 2003 reaching 4.7% at the end of 2004 and beginning of 2005 and I don’t consider this full employment and the time to reduce government spending. It rose to 5.1% in the last quarter of 2005 rising to a high of 5.5% for most of 2006 and the beginning of 2007.

    The CRI rates for inflation were 2003 – 1.4%, 2004 – 1.3% 2005 – 2.1%, 2006 – 2.3%, 2007 – 2.3%. Therefore in 2003 it seems that the size of the government deficit was not causing a problem, while in 2005 inflation was above the 2% target. However, the inflation figures were not high enough for a responsible government to have to reduce its spending as unemployment was rising.

  • Economics thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies says that The IFS said that no party had gone “anywhere near identifying” the cuts they will need to meet their various deficit reduction timetables. In an attack on the “vague” plans sketched out by Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the Institute for Fiscal Studies also claimed the Tories were planning the sharpest spending cuts since the second world war, while the Labour and Lib Dem spending slowdowns amounted to the biggest retrenchment since the IMF crises in the mid-1970’s………
    Liberal Democrats have not chosen to protect spending in areas such as the NHS or education, which means that the larger cuts in spending as a share of national income that they would need to deliver could, at least in principle, be shared more widely..

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/apr/28/general-election-2010-spending-cuts-ifs
    If you look at the chart on the link, you’ll see Labour cuts are slightly more than suggested by the Lib Dems. I’d be interested to see what was actually achieved against what was suggested.

  • Michael Cole 29th Jul '19 - 9:17am

    Glenn,1.25 pm:

    I did say “PRIME cause of austerity.” My point is that you Labour people, in desperation, are still trying to pin this ‘austerity’ on us, whereas it was Labour in office which was the prime cause of it.

    David Raw 3.00pm: Thanks for your kind words. I don’t claim to dispense ‘specialist economic analysis’ and you probably have a greater grasp of the detail regarding Labour’s mismanagement .

    Fiona 6.58pm: Liam Byrne’s note can not simply dismissed as a joke; to his credit, it was honest. But I agree with you when you say “… how much worse things got when the Tories were left at the controls on their own”.

  • Somewhat worried about the latest Welsh polls, today has Cons in the lead up 7 to 24, we are up 4 to 16, but am getting tetchy about Brecon on Thursday. Hopefully plenty of postal votes were submitted before the Con surge started?
    We just cannot afford to miss this one.

  • Michael BG writes “believe the Conservatives plan in 2010 was the most drastic in terms of deficit reduction planning on doing it over five years. It was this stupid plan which we agreed to in 2010.”

    30 seconds on Google finds me “Labour’s then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling predicted that “two parliaments of pain” would be necessary to address the UK’s budget deficit. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that Labour’s plans implied a cumulative decline of 11.9% in public spending over four years. This would reduce public expenditure by a total of £46 billion in inflation-adjusted terms, taking it from over 27% of the economy to below 21%, back to its level in the late-1990s. The IFS also said that there appeared to be only a modest difference between the plans put forward by the two main political parties.” (From Wikipedia)

    I’m guessing you’re a Labour member, given your desire to defend Labour’s record and attack the lib Dems?

  • Michael BG once again writes “Chris Dillow has questioned the distinction between cyclical and structural deficits, and this has received support from other leading economists. He contends that there are too many variables involved to allow a clear distinction to be made, especially when dealing with current circumstances rather than retrospectively, and suggests that the concept of structural deficits may be used more for political purposes than analytical purposes”.

    And he once again omits the crucial next paragraph from his WIkipedia quote “The piece largely centred on the UK Labour government 1997-2010 of which Chris Dillow was a strong supporter, and criticism that they ran a large structural deficit. Economic representatives of that government acknowledge that, unbeknownst to them at the time, they were running a structural deficit.”

    Given how much of a fan Michael BG is of Chris Dillow, I’m beginning to suspect he too is “a strong supporter” of the 1997-2010 Labour government.

  • Peter Martin 29th Jul '19 - 10:38am

    “Economics thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies says that The IFS said that no party had gone “anywhere near identifying” the cuts they will need to meet their various deficit reduction timetables.”

    The IFS are full of neoliberal **** ! Not to put too fine a point on it!

    The government’s deficit was getting on for £90 billion last year. That’s the difference between what it spent and what it received in taxation. Which sounds like a lot of money. So, why do Governments borrow so much?

    We know the answer to that, don’t we? We are all spending more than we earn and are burdening future generations with debt due to our fiscal profligacy.We are all living above our means! That deficit is added to the National debt of some £1.6 trillion which we’ll never be able to repay and we’ll end up bankrupt! Except if we think that we’ve swallowed not just the neo-liberal line but the hook and the sinker too.

    Let’s just look at the way things work from another angle. The Government is the currency issuer. If it didn’t issue currency we wouldn’t have any assets in that currency. So pound for pound, our assets are the government’s debts or liabilities. In other words, the governments liabilities are owned by anyone who wishes to hold pounds in either cash, treasury bonds or other government securities like National Savings certificates or even Premium bonds..

    So, starting from scratch, the government kick-starts the economy by spending currency into it. The government can do that because all it’s doing is issuing IOUs which it can never run out of. To make that currency worth something it demands we pay taxes in it. There’s no gold backing needed to do that. But it can never get back more than it creates in the first instance. That’s physically and arithmetically impossible and the difference is entirely accountable by what we all hang on to. There’s no other possibility. Either the government gets back its issued money in tax or some of us save it for a rainy day. The government’s deficit is just our savings.

    “Our” does include our overseas trading partners who, on average, choose to sell us more stuff than they buy back. They save the rest by buying govt securities. Is it a bad thing that we all save so much? If not, then neither are government deficits a bad thing. Reducing the government’s deficit means reducing our savings. Penny for penny.

  • Peter Martin 29th Jul '19 - 10:38am

    So the correct answer to the initial question is that the government ‘borrows’ a lot of money because the rest of us want to save a lot of money. As tempting as it is to blame anyone, Lib Dem, Labour or Tory, for not being able to reduce their deficits as they promise, we shouldn’t really do that. It’s not really their ‘fault’. It is their fault if they don’t understand how their own system works though. If they don’t, what on earth are they doing in the job in the first place?

  • Michael Cole
    I’m a Lib Dem voter. in other words I am not “you labour people”. It is simply untrue to say Labour were the cause of austerity. The reality it was a small Conservative government using gimmick like “emergency budgets” to shrink the state and a policy that actually curtailed a recovery that was already happening before it took office. No one in the Lib Dems was advocating “swingeing cuts” or austerity in the run up to 2010 election”.

  • Glenn writes: “No one in the Lib Dems was advocating “swingeing cuts” or austerity in the run up to 2010 election”

    This is demonstrably untrue:

    Tax credits, winter fuel payments to pensioners, child trust funds would all be reduced under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to cut the Government deficit.

    ID cards, RAF fighter jets and surveillance systems used by MI5 would also be cut.

    Nick Clegg said the party was being honest with voters about the need for savings to reduce the deficit, which reached £167 billion this year.

    “We have to come clean with people. There is this big black hole in the public finances,” Mr Clegg said.

    Other parties were “kidding people” and “failing to show candour” about the need to make cuts, Mr Clegg said.

    Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman said the cuts would have to be even bigger than the £10 billion a year in the manifesto.

    He said: “There is more to be done. I fully appreciate this isn’t enough. We have to go beyond that.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7588956/Liberal-Democrats-pledge-10bn-a-year-of-spending-cuts.html

  • Glenn,
    All parties where advocating swinging cuts
    “the Institute for Fiscal Studies also claimed the Tories were planning the sharpest spending cuts since the second world war, while the Labour and Lib Dem spending slowdowns amounted to the biggest retrenchment since the IMF crises in the mid-1970’s”
    But the Tories saw them as a way to the small state, the Lib Dems and Labour had just been paniced into signing up to them. A diffrence between ideology and “a pragmatic approach”. I’d argue both where wrong but the preceived wisdom at the time was cuts have to be made and everyone signed up ( well at least everyone that mattered). The problem the Lib Dems had was firstly Labour conviently forgot the cuts they had suggested and under Clegg and Alexander it looked like we enjoyed cutting, rather than trying to amelioate the damage they where doing.

  • @ Michael Cole “you Labour people, in desperation, are still trying to pin this ‘austerity’ on us”

    Given I’ve paid a Liberal/Lib Dem sub since 1961, been employed by the party, been a councillor and a parliamentary candidate my advice, Mr Cole, would be to stick to the facts instead of parroting Tory propaganda. There’s a thing called intellectual integrity. If you really believe what you’ve said then maybe a b it more research is called for.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th Jul '19 - 12:34pm

    This is a thread derailed.

    It is about the excellent Sky appearance of our excellent new leader.

    Would LDV please unless unable due to copyright permission, if you are able, post entire interviews rather than clips!

    Bickering re coalition is nonsense. Move on!

    And as someone with knowledge of this whole area, tax credits should have remained for those working or trying to work eg part time , self employed, universal credit should have been for all benefits, not those working yet, if ever, ie unemployed, disabilities etc. It was neither good in theory or practice to unify both. HMRC administer taxcredits and this gives those attempting work, a feeling of being part of that world, as well as being a far more competent organisation. DWP administer universal credit. None of these descriptions apply! You can have one size fits some, not, one size fits all. As Liberals especially, more than conservatives or socialists, we should have realised, and ever should, know this!

  • @ Lorenzo Cherin “DWP administer universal credit. You can have one size fits some, not, one size fits all. As Liberals especially, more than conservatives or socialists, we should have realised, and ever should, know this!.”

    Isn’t universal credit something that originated in the Coalition, Lorenzo ? I thought this thread was supposed to be “about the excellent Sky appearance of our excellent new leader.” Instead of talking about tax credits or bickering re coalition…. shouldn’t you take the advice of the contributor who said ‘this is nonsense. Move on!’

  • Thanks Frankie,

    Nothing about these IFS figures is simple except that all three parties had an aim by 2017-18 to reduce the deficit to 1.1% of GDP, a reduction of £71 billion from 2010-11. Labour seems to have 4% of GDP as the aim for the deficit in 2014-15 as do the Liberal Democrats (but we were less clear about this) and the Conservatives less than this (figure not given) and 0.6% of GDP less than Labour in 2015-16. As austerity was a foolish policy which couldn’t deliver what it promised it is no good looking at what the deficit was actually reduced to (4.8% in 2014-15 and 2.1% in 2017-18). We need to look at what net tax increases and net government expenditure cuts were made over the period to know if these were more than Labour “planned”.

    Michael Cole,

    Did you read my post of 2.15am today? There was no Labour mismanagement of the economy. There was a lack of proper regulation for the banks which is quite different. There was no need for austerity, it was a political choice. Most economists accept it was the wrong policy choice.

    TCO,

    Please see above and Frankie’s post and the IFS report (https://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn99.pdf). If the £46 billion by 2014-15 is correct this still has to been seen against the Conservatives larger figure. From the same Wikipedia article, the Coalition’s austerity plans were “to be achieved by a combination of public spending reductions and tax increases amounting to £110 billion. The end of the forecast period was 2015–16” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_government_austerity_programme).

    I am a party member and I think we should base our arguments on the facts and not Conservative myths. Are you a party member? Is the reason you attack me as not being a party member because you don’t have a valid argument against the facts?

    Chris Dillow is not alone in his view; see my reference to Martin Wolf. And my example of how useless it is talk about structural deficits when the IMF can turn a structural surplus of 0.5% of GDP into a structural deficit of 1.2% for the same period for Spain (see my earlier comment).

  • Michael Cole 29th Jul '19 - 7:06pm

    Glenn: “I’m a Lib Dem voter. in other words I am not “you labour people”. I’m glad you are a Lib Dem voter but surprised that you do not accept the facts. There is no doubt in my mind that the Labour government was the (prime) cause of austerity. Their profligacy was fuelled by inflated property prices and credit card borrowing, their failure to regulate the banks effectively and huge deficit spending. If you look at Labour party websites you will see that, in desperation, they are still trying to pin ‘austerity’ on us.

    David Raw: You are not the only one who has a long history of Liberal/Lib Dem membership and service. Your statement “parroting Tory propaganda” is unworthy, to say the least.

  • I’ve worked for an advice charity for the last 11 years, and I can tell you that welfare cuts did not start in 2010. It wasn’t called ‘austerity’ then, it was called ‘welfare reform.’ But it was essentially the same thing. I started this job in 2008, and everyone was already talking about this awful thing called ‘Employment Support Allowance’ and these terrible people called ATOS who were tearing huge lumps from the welfare budget and leaving vulnerable people destitute. OK, the coalition did follow an austerity policy, and much of that was very wrong. But don’t let anyone tell you the Brown government was a friend to the poor and those on benefits, James Purnell was Labour’s DWP Secretary, and he was unashamed that his mission was to cut the welfare budget, and the way he did it was to squeeze the poorest and most vulnerable.

  • @Michael BG I am a party member of longstanding with victories against Conservative opponents to my name. Inredibly, I also manage to write posts criticising the Labour Party and supporting our own .

    @Michael Cole you should be aware that people who joined before the early 1970s and were members of the Red Guard have a unique insight into the party.

  • @ Michael Cole “Your statement “parroting Tory propaganda” is unworthy, to say the least.” Unfortunately, it happens to be true, Michael, though in mitigation you’re not the only one..

    @ TCO “you should be aware that people who joined before the early 1970s and were members of the Red Guard have a unique insight into the party.”

    Again, I daresay they might do, but unfortunately for me, I joined the party in 1961…. well before the so called ‘Red Guard’.

  • TCO,

    I am happy to criticise Labour, say for in 2017 allocating less money to reverse the benefit cuts than us, or as TonyH points out for introducing Work Capability Assessments in 2008, or that they kept to Tory spending plans in 1997-99. However, I think it is vital we only criticise our opponents for what they actually did and we don’t support the myths created by another party. We pride ourselves as being an evidenced based party and so therefore we should get the evidence correct and not use myths as evidence.

  • Michael BG writes “I think it is vital … we don’t support the myths created by another party.”

    I absolutely agree, and I look forward to a swathe of comments from him busting the myths created by Labour about our leader Jo Swinson on the topic of “austerity”.

  • Michael Cole 30th Jul '19 - 5:11pm

    Re the causes of ‘austerity’: David Raw accuses me of “parroting Tory propaganda” and goes on to say “Unfortunately, it happens to be true, Michael, though in mitigation you’re not the only one..” Yes, Vince Cable for one.

  • @ Michael Cole, only up to a point. He also admitted there was an international dimension – “There was, of course, a global financial crisis” – which you unfastidiously fail to do.

    The said Sir Vincent also rather enjoyably said, “he would not work with the Conservatives either, comparing a coalition with the Conservatives to “mating with a praying mantis” where “You get eaten at the end of it.”

  • David Raw writes “The said Sir Vincent also rather enjoyably said, “he would not work with the Conservatives either, comparing a coalition with the Conservatives to “mating with a praying mantis” where “You get eaten at the end of it.””

    That comment aged well, didn’t it.

    Fortunately, unlike others in this thread, Sir Vince clearly subscribes to the dictum that “when the facts change, I change my mind”.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Jul '19 - 7:21pm

    @ Michael Cole,
    Ah yes. Vince Cable.In my opinion a decent man, but perhaps you should check:
    “Is Vince Cable’s economic reputation fully deserved?

    Please don’t make me be more brutal by providing more facts, including admissions made by him. Vince Cable as an Orange Booker, has made many predictions during his political career, but failed to note what was happening in America, the trigger for the financial meltdown.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Jul '19 - 8:18pm

    Jo Swinson should be judged on her voting record, economic, social and environmental.

  • Tony Hutson 30th Jul '19 - 9:10pm

    Jayne – OK if we are judging her on her voting record, make it her entire voting record. From 2005-15, and 2017-19. Not just selected votes from 2010-15.

  • Criticising Jo Swinson’s voting record whilst bound by government collective responsibility is a typical Labour attack line.

    Although of course Corbyn voted with the conservatives around 500 times during his parliamentary career – and wasn’t even required to.

  • @ TCO Well, given that he said it just two years ago it’s more a matter of learning from his mistakes than ‘ageing well’ …. which to be fair, Sir Vincent himself certainly has.

    But please don’t let me discourage you from fraternising with the praying mantises in your natural home. It might have a transforming effect on you.

  • jayne mansfield 31st Jul '19 - 9:00am

    @ TCO,

    As the man in the Royal family comedy might say, Government Collective responsibility my ….

    It is quite clear from the justifications given at the time, for example on employment tribunal fees, and I don’t even want to mention Danny Alexander’s role as puppet to George Osborne, to realise that there wasn’t a great deal to separate politically the Liberal Democrats from the so called ‘liberal tory members of the coalition. In fact I have friends that would have been described as ‘wets’ who were horrified at what was enabled.

    The Liberal Democrats might want to ‘move on. but the disabled, the parents who go without so they can feed their children during the school holidays etc., can’t. The question of trust in politicians who say one thing to gain power and then demonstrate their lack of empathy for those they claimed to care for remains. A, we made a few mistakes but let’s move on just doesn’t cut it. I see no genuine regret for what the party enabled in government, just feeble excuses.

    I have spent my adult life opposing Tory philosophy, the underpinning values and beliefs, and if that is a typical Labour attack mode, that is who I and others who think like me should vote for.

  • Jayne Mansfield writes “I have spent my adult life opposing Tory philosophy, the underpinning values and beliefs, and if that is a typical Labour attack mode, that is who I and others who think like me should vote for.”

    The current incarnation of the Labour Party is pro-Brexit (the ramifications of which will make life considerably worse for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society), run by a Marxist cabal, and has an antisemitism problem.

    You’re entitled to your view that such a party is more worthy of your support than mine, but I doubt many here would agree.

  • TCO 30th Jul ’19 – 10:35pm…………..Although of course Corbyn voted with the conservatives around 500 times during his parliamentary career – and wasn’t even required to………………

    Really? I’d love to know where you got that figure….SKWAKBOX couldn’t find a single one and FACTCHECK found just 7…BTW, Ilooked at those 7 and, guess what, LibDems voted with Corbyn…

  • @ Jayne Mansfield Thank goodness you’re around to remind me there are some good decent people out there, Jayne, people who don’t rush around saying my party right or wrong. There are social Liberals who don’t subscribe to the Gradgrind school of utilitarian economics and society which overwhelmed so many of the naive Lib Dem ministers who woke up, blinked, and suddenly found themselves in government back in 2010.

    There were, of course, a few exceptions, such as Sarah Teather who resigned and Andrew George who spoke out – and Tim and Charlie who rumbled occasionally. Many of the rest, I’m afraid, woke up in 2015 to the political equivalent of a 40% tariff on lamb which they had brought on themselves. Lambs to the slaughter.

    To those who object to any apology let me offer a formula. All Jo Swinson has to say (and deliver) is the formula, “Lessons have been learned”. For some people, though, they clearly haven’t.

  • expats 31st Jul ’19 – 9:31am
    Really? I’d love to know where you got that figure….SKWAKBOX couldn’t find a single one and FACTCHECK found just 7…BTW, Ilooked at those 7 and, guess what, LibDems voted with Corbyn…

    According to this website he voted against his own whip (and thereby in the same lobby as the Tories) on 617 occasions http://revolts.co.uk/?p=932

  • Alex Macfie 31st Jul '19 - 9:47am

    David Raw: Actually she has said that, or the equivalent. The trouble is that Coalition-obsessives like you and Jayne Mansfield are never going to listen.

  • Alex Macfie 31st Jul '19 - 9:59am

    David Raw: Vince made his comment comparing a coalition with the Conservatives to “mating with a praying mantis” after the 2017 general election — one in which the Lib Dems had ruled out coalition with anyone, a commitment the party stuck to after the result unexpectedly made a Coalition 2.0 feasible. Hence the Tories having to rely on the DUP to prop them up. There can be absolutely no doubt that the Tories would have preferred to be propped up by the Lib Dems. They would have absolutely jumped on the chance to finish the job of 2015, but Lib Dems decided we were not going to give them the pleasure. They cannot shaft the DUP due to its detachment from mainland British politics.

  • @ Alex Macfie If you’d bothered to read my earlier post you’d notice I said his
    comment was made two years ago.

    I’m certainly not obsessive about Coalition per se. My difficulty is with some of the outcomes of the last one. If you were to give a cool considered and thoughtful look at some of those outcomes I would hope you might be too. Do you approve, for example, of virtually wiping out legal aid – or the massive increase in food banks in this country as a result of austerity ?

    There are lessons to be learned, and as someone who campaigned heart and soul for this party and the Liberal Party for over fifty years I think I’m in a position to judge. If you don’t take account of the comments by people like Jayne and myself you’ll end up in the same mess again. ‘My party right or wrong’ is not a very mature stance.

  • David Raw: No I don’t, which is not surprising, as they were not Lib Dem policy.

  • David Raw: The Coalition was 5/6 Tory, 1/6 Lib Dem. Of course Lib Dem MPs had to vote for things that they did not themselves support, and Tory MPs likewise. That’s how coalitions work. Therefore, it does not follow that what Lib Dem MPs supported in coalition was what Lib Dems wanted to happen. Quite the opposite; they were voting for it as Coalition policy, not Lib Dem policy. As an ordinary party member, I was never bound by Coalition collective responsibility, so never “approved” of anything that happened in Coalition that was not Lib Dem policy, and or did I ever have to.

    At the time, I was one of the critics of how the Lib Dem leadership conducted the Coalition, from the Rose Garden press conference onwards. But that leadership has left the building. None of the principle Coalition architects on the Lib Dem side are active in UK politics anymore. We *have* been learning the lessons of that time. This should be obvious from Jo’s recent comments about the Coalition time. We have continually and consistently ruled out any sort of coalition or similar arrangement with the Tories since 2017; and we have continually criticised the Tories. Yes, we have done the same for Labour, but it does not follow (as you seem to think it does) that this means we support the Tories. That’s two-party thinking, that we have to be on one side or the other, which I thought as liberals we were supposed to be against.
    And most voters have moved on from the Coalition. Current issues, particularly Brexit, are much more salient, and are how we finally got out of the polling rut that were in earlier. The minority of people who still make an issue of it are very vocal, particularly on social media, but they are not representative and are unlikely to ever vote Lib Dem anyway.

  • @ Alex Macfie “but it does not follow (as you seem to think it does) that this means we support the Tories.”

    Don’t put words in my mouth, Alex. My comments were originally addressed to the few Orange Bookers who still survive on LDV and who still have a pale blue hue about them. It might help if the party addressed and responded to the Alston UN Report on Poverty in the UK . They are unique as the only party not to do so and the party’s DWP spokesperson didn’t even bother to turn up for the debate in the House.

  • I wonder how many Labour members go onto their party discussion sites and constantly carp about how terrible there party was a decade ago? Seems like a really good strategy, “vote for us, we were terrible ten years ago”

  • Hey David Raw, does this list of principles get it right mon ami?

    Optimism about human potential.
    All individuals, no matter their background or identity, can flourish in life with the right support.

    Evidence not ideology.
    We should be open-minded to new thinking, applying solutions to public policy problems on the basis of good ideas rather than tired ideology.

    Pro-market not free-market.
    Markets are the best way of allocating resources, but they can be inefficient and inequitable, so government and social institutions can help correct market problems.

    Social justice.
    Politicians and policymakers should focus attention and resources on supporting and empowering the most vulnerable, here and abroad.

    Rewarding contribution.
    Supporting the vulnerable should always be the priority, but hard work and both economic and social contribution should be praised and rewarded.

    Individual success and communal responsibility.
    Free and flourishing individuals and businesses also need to be environmentally, socially and economically responsible.

    Open and integrated societies.
    People should be free to be themselves and pursue their dreams, but we also need to build a society where there are opportunities to relate to and support others.

    The importance of institutions.
    Individuals learn from and are supported and protected by enduring democratic and social institutions, which need defending and modernising.

    Positive about politics.
    Democratic politics and government has been and is fundamental for reducing conflict and injustice.

    Powerful citizens.
    We need to create and revive routes for citizens to take greater control of the politics that affects their lives, locally and nationally.

  • David Raw 31st Jul ’19 – 10:57am……… Do you approve, for example, of virtually wiping out legal aid – or the massive increase in food banks in this country as a result of austerity ?………………………
    Alex Macfie 31st Jul ’19 – 11:04am…………………………David Raw: No I don’t, which is not surprising, as they were not Lib Dem policy………………….

    Alex, Vince Cable, as business secretary, was a prime mover in removing legal aid,,,,Danny Alexander, as treasury minister avidly supported the reduction in welfare that was the major factor in the explosion in foodbank use…

    However, they were not LibDem policy so this party holds no responsibility for them?
    I’m interested in the reasoning that believes that the leaders of a party can ‘do as they please’ without it reflecting on the integrity of the party.

  • Hey expats do you know the difference between correlation and causation dude?

  • Alex Macfie 31st Jul '19 - 7:24pm

    expats: You’re twisting my words. I did not say that the party “holds no responsibility”. My point is that what Lib Dems did in the Coalition government has to be considered in the context that it was a coalition government, of which the government benches comprised 5/6 Conservative and 1/6 Lib Dems. Compromises were therefore inevitable, and likely to be mostly in favour of Conservative proposals. You really need to stop holding up Coalition policy as if it were pure Lib Dem policy, and as if the Lib Dems would do the same thing if they were in government on their own. Because we would not.

  • Alex Macfie 31st Jul ’19 – 7:24pm…………….expats: You’re twisting my words. I did not say that the party “holds no responsibility”. My point is that what Lib Dems did in the Coalition government has to be considered in the context that it was a coalition government, of which the government benches comprised 5/6 Conservative and 1/6 Lib Dems. ………..

    Do you mean that the LDV article about “75% of coalition policies are LibDem” wasn’t true; surely not ?

    Lawsman 31st Jul ’19 – 3:13pm…………..Hey expats do you know the difference between correlation and causation dude?………

    Yes! Next question?

    BTW, what’s with the ‘dude’ bit; are you Boris Johnson?

  • Alex Macfie 31st Jul '19 - 9:20pm

    expats: I never thought that the “75% of coalition policies are LibDem”, or whatever it was, was a good campaigning line. But that’s the fault of the previous leadership. They were too keen to promote the idea that the Coalition government got the Lib Dems exactly where we wanted to be, and did not do enough to differentiate between coalition policy and undiluted Lib Dem policy. I hope and expect that next time we find ourselves in coalition we will do things differently.

  • Hey expats, thats cool, so why are you trying to say that we caused austerity?

  • jayne mansfield 31st Jul '19 - 10:12pm

    @ Alex Macfie,

    I am a here and now obsessive. Those who were disproportionately disadvantaged during the coalition years the disabled, women etc., are still living with the consequences of the policies you enabled. I feel guilty for voting for you in 2010. Some of us really do struggle when we realise we have made a terrible mistake and really do feel genuinely ashamed for having played any part in pushing those already living precarious lives closer to the edge.

    Contributors on here relish the (crass) Liam Byrne note as enthusiastically as the Cameron and Co. ‘I’m afraid there is no money’, but when it comes to the microphone gaffe of Nick Clegg’s explanation of his unguarded comment picked up on microphone, ‘If we keep doing this we won’t find anything to bl–dy disagree on in the bl–dy TV debate’, as banter.

    I am in the unenviable position of many voters who must vote tactically .As someone who voted Green in the EU election to help Majid Majid deprive the Brexit Party of a final MEP for Yorkshire and Humberside. In Brecon, it would be Liberal Democrat to remove an expenses fraudster and also reduce the Tory majority to one. But basically, I don’t believe that the priorities of the Liberal Democrats are mine and that the party will ever have the will and the courage to radically improve the appalling economic and social injustices that we see in our society.

  • Hey Jayne Mansfield, perhaps you can help me, not sure why you’re here if you so dislike the lib dems, dude? All you ever do is whinge about them. Has someone in Labour pur you up to it? Seems to me you’re one of these people who wants a perfect world, not sure what you expect from the Labour party hehe. Let’s face it they’re the opposite of perfect!

  • Hey Lawsman. What a cocky little dude you are, but given you’re anonymous and very new on here, why don’t you show a bit more respect for your elders and betters who have a much longer track record on LDV, such as our much respected Jayne.

    Maybe you could also add English language usage to your extra curricular studies. Don’t bother to reply because you won’t get me to bite again to such a dude, dude. Nuff said, End of dude.

  • Hey Rawsy, lighten up dude 🙂 I thought you were into equality, not sure where calling yourself better figures on that he he.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Aug '19 - 1:29pm

    jayne mansfield: “I feel guilty for voting for [Lib Dems] in 2010.”
    well that’s your choice, but really it is based on the assumption that everything that was enacted in the Coaliton was what the Lib Dems wanted. The reality is that it was 5/6 Tory and 1/6 Lib Dem, so Coalition policy was mostly Tory policy tempered slightly by Lib Dem policy. The great majority of Lib Dem seats at the time were Tory-facing, so the effect of the Lib Dem presence was probably to deny the Tories a majority. And we saw, after 2015 ,what a tory government untempered by Lib Dems is like. The Lib Dems did not “enable” Tory policy, we mitigated its effects, to the extent that we could have done given that we had 1/6 of the total seats on the government benches.
    Voters seem to have learnt the wrong lesson from the Coalition and as a result delivered a Tory majority government in 2015, mostly at the expense of the Lib Dems. So I ask you, since you “feel guilty” about voting Lib Dem in 2010, would you have preferred a Tory majority government, which is what we would have got if people had NOT voted Lib Dem in 2010? Ot, another question, given the 2010 result, what do you think the Lib Dems should have done instead of forming a coalition with the Tories? This should preferably be a solution that would not have resulted in an early election which the Tories would almost certainly have won outright.

    As I’ve said before, I’ have always been critical of how the coalition was conducted by the Lib Dem leadership of the time. Clegg’s off-the-cuff comment to Cameron that you quote, banter or now, was an example of how Clegg & co were portraying the Coalition in totally the wrong way, as a “meeting of minds” rather than as a business arrangement, which is how it should have been conducted. There was a complete failure to emphasise the differences between Coalition policy and undiluted Lib Dem
    and Tory policies. In particular, we failed to point to the work of our MEPs, who were unbound by Coalition collective responsibility, as examples of the undiluted Lib Dem line on issues that affect the UK as a whole.
    So you will not hear, or read, from me, any defence of how Clegg & co conducted the Coalition, as distinct from the decision to go into Coalition originally.

  • Alex Macfie,

    The reality is that it was 5/6 Tory and 1/6 Lib Dem, so Coalition policy was mostly Tory policy tempered slightly by Lib Dem policy”.

    This is a defence of how the coalition was conducted.

    This is not the way it should have worked. The Tories could not get anything passed without our support or at least abstention. Therefore for every Tory policy there should have been a Lib Dem one. Then there would be the policies we agreed on – pupil premium, scrapping ID cards.

    There should have been no way that our MPs could have supported the Conservative economic policy of 2010-11, the welfare cuts of 2012, the paying to go to an employment tribunal or the cuts to legal aid to name just a few.

    What Lib Dem policy was of equal worth to any of these?

  • expats: I don’t believe anyone has ever said “75% of coalition policy was LibDem.” What we have said is that 75% of the LibDem 2010 manifesto made it into the coalition agreement. These are very different claims.

  • jayne mansfield 1st Aug '19 - 5:06pm

    @ Lawsman,

    I think that any politically impartial person reading your supposedly pro Liberal Democrat posts, would assume that you are hostile to the Liberal Democrats and that you are doing your best to damage their reputation.

    Please address me as Ms with no full stop, Jayne Mansfield.

  • Hey Ms with no full stop, Jayne Mansfield!

    It’s an odd conclusion to draw that it’s me trying to damage the party, when I’m not the one calling out how terrible they think it is. But hey, I’m just a cocky little dude with no respect for his elders and betters. Pax xx

  • @ Michael BG Like you, I’m a bit bemused by the statement : “The reality is that it was 5/6 Tory and 1/6 Lib Dem, so Coalition policy was mostly Tory policy tempered slightly by Lib Dem policy”.

    It’s a slightly more sophisticated way of saying, “It wosn’t me, Miss, it wos a big boy wot dun it”.

    In fact, compare it with the success of the much smaller DUP in getting a billion pound plus out of the Tories for their favourite schemes and effectively being a road block on Brexit to Mrs May (and in the end effectively bringing down a Prime Minister.

    Is Alex saying that fifty plus Lib Dems weren’t as crafty or as competent as the ten DUP M.P.’s, or was it that Clegg and his coterie weren’t that much different philosophically to the Tories ?

    Nick Clegg leaves on microphone but can’t ‘bloody disagree’ – YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcVcS_8fsk8
    Video for Clegg Cameron not much to disagree on▶ 0:49
    24 Mar 2011 – Uploaded by Channel 4 News
    After appearing with David Cameron at an event in Nottingham Nick Clegg left his microphone on

  • jayne mansfield 1st Aug '19 - 6:07pm

    @ Andrew Macfie,
    I appreciate from reading your posts and those of others that there was disquiet about how the coalition was conducted. But if you say that it was simply the portrayal of the coalition by Nick Clegg that was wrong. We all see the same events from different perspectives, but from the perspective of many who supported your party for many years, the portrayal was taken at face value because it chimed with the substance.

    Feeling guilty is not a choice, it is a very uncomfortable sensation when one knows that one has been instrumental, even in a small way, of doing something morally wrong. I like others were complicit in creating an environment that has harmed those one should have supported and enabled, people who had no part to play in the global financial crisis.

    The party could have negotiated and confidence and supply arrangement. I never cease to be shocked that some Liberal Democrats think that any gains during the coalition compensate in the slightest for the terrible things that were inflicted on those with the least broad shoulders.

    Cameron won the election in 2015 because your party , thanks to your part in the passing of policies were not in a strong position to criticise because your party, as I have already said were complicit.

    Your party is still criticising Labour administrations for things they were not responsible for. Gordon Brown did not cause the global recession. George Osborne and Danny Alexander inherited a recovering recovering growth and improved public finances.

    Austerity was a choice and some less cynical than I would also argue that the economic policies pursued by the coalition government were a cover to shrink the state. Who are most reliant on the State? Who would suffer most? Did anyone consider that? Has it really been a surprise that those most in need were those who suffered most?

    Mistakes were made – I’ll say.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Aug '19 - 7:32pm

    David Raw: The fundamental difference between us and the DUP is that the DUP is not in competition with the Tories. It doesn’t even organise, let alone put up candidates, outside Northern Ireland. And while the Tories do organise in Northern Ireland, they support candidates of a sister party that has little electoral success nowadays.
    Also the DUP voter base is extremely tribal. DUP voters basically don’t give two hoots about what happens outside their own backyard. Therefore, the DUP’s price, although steep, was quite easy for the Tories to pay. All they had to do was deliver a big bung to Northern Ireland, and the DUP MPs were absolutely happy to vote with the government, for measures that mostly do not affect Northern Ireland.
    So whatever the relative success of the Lib Dems and the DUP in coalition negotiation, you have to accept that the DUP has an inherent advantage due to its detachment from mainland British politics.

  • Jayne Mansfield – Lawsman doesn’t make a particularly good first impression and I personally wish he would moderate his style a bit. However, he is making some interesting points, one of which is his question to you, which I have at times wondered myself. Namely, if you have turned so much against the LibDems, why do you spend so much time on this site? The coalition ended more than 4 years ago. You’re entitled to your opinion of it, of course, and entitled to do what you like with your time. But I do wonder, why is it so important to keep coming on here and re-stating it and getting into the same old arguments with the same people? I’m not meaning to be disrespectful. It just baffles me.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Aug '19 - 9:01pm

    Confidence and supply in 2010 would have been given the Lib Dems all the disadvantages of coalition with none of the advantages. We would have got little if anything of our manifesto passed, and we would have been tainted by the association with the Tories in the exact same way as in coalition. Not to mention the fact that Cameron could have called an election at any time (as there would have been no FTPA).
    I have already explained in another post why the DUP experience of C&S is irrelevant to the Lib Dems. If the Lib Dems had entered into any sort of arrangement (coalition or C&S) with the Tories after the 2017 election, it would have been the end of the Lib Dems as an independent force in UK politics. For the DUP this is not a problem, due to its detachment from mainland British politics. Lib Dems and DUP are apples & Oranges.

  • Can anyone now actually remember what this thread was originally about ? As usual, it has been used as a vehicle for posters to restate their previously stated positions on a number of issues, but mainly on the coalition. The always sensible @Lorenzo Cherin said as much at 12.34, 29/7, but many just find it impossible to resist their compulsions.
    Some have even declared their intent to drive “Orange bookers” from the party, and presumably all those voters who are sympathetic to that particular strain of thought as well. Jealous of the internal warfare in the Conservative and Labour parties they wish to instill a bit of ideological purity in their own.
    Above all, we should try to remain civil when addressing others on this site. If you actually go around saying things such as “please address me as….” in the real world, then, well……..
    So, how do we think Jo is doing ? And was her suggestion to Jeremy that he calls a confidence motion well judged ?

  • jayne mansfield 1st Aug '19 - 9:42pm

    @ Tom Mclean,
    I read all the political opinions on here, Labour list, New Statesman, Left foot Forward etc., I can’t quite stomach ConservativeHome.

    I use only one form of social media, Facebook, which allows me to stay in contact with those colleagues who are still working abroad, and obtain information from on the ground sources.

    I never intend to comment on here, but I find some of the posts so outrageous, I can’t overcome my natural inclination to question what I see as false information, hypocrisy or double standards.

    The coalition may have ended four years ago, but the suffering of those who were so deeply affected in a negative way has not. However, reading many of the posts on here it seems that the Liberal Democrat Party feels that it is the party that is deserving of the mantle of victimhood for any blame attributed to callous policies that were enacted in the coalition years , and the callous attitudes that ensued , rather than, in my opinion, those groups and individuals who are the true victims.

    You want a second chance, what second chance are to going to give to those people ? If I seem more critical of the Liberal Democrats than the Tories, well I expected no better of the Conservative party.

  • @ Chris Cory “So, how do we think Jo is doing ? And was her suggestion to Jeremy that he calls a confidence motion well judged ?”

    1. Quite well so far. Has the advantage of being fresh, young, energetic and female.

    2. Not particularly well judged. Most people recognise a stunt when they see it.

    Overall, and you won’t like this, still a bit of Coalition legacy hanging over her head. Will be difficult when the Andrew Neils of this world get her in the interview hot seat. “Lessons have been learned” could deal with it – especially if it’s true.

    I’m afraid having worked my socks off for over fifty years for this party, and of a radical questioning disposition, I still think the 2010-15 legacy of hurting the most vulnerable (I see the outcome first hand in other activities) means I understand the stance of posters such as Jayne Mansfield. No amount of glossing over or political amnesia and denial can wipe it out. Ignoring the UN Report on Poverty is a huge mistake – it’s uncomfortable but it’s true.

    Anyway, sweet dreams….. hoping for a gain in Brecon to put a boot into Boris.

  • Jayne, as you say, we’ve been out of government for four years. And at the end of it, the British public were so angry with the effect of ‘our’ policies they… gave the Tories a working majority to do as they liked.

    Now if you like, we can beat ourselves up endlessly about the past, wear hair shirts, whatever. For however many more years you think we have to atone for past decisions by ministers who in many cases are no longer MPs.
    Won’t undo anything.

    Labour were responsible for the Iraq War: tens of thousands of deaths, millions displaced from their homes. It would be nice if they said sorry, but that wouldn’t undo the damage.
    No one can change the past. Best any of us can do is learn from it, and move on.

    And you know what? Being criticised from a position of moral superiority gets a bit wearing, even if you do feel bad about what happened. So yeah, people get defensive instead. That’s human nature.

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