Jo Swinson joins Judicial Review of prorogation launched by Gina Miller, with Sir John Major and Tom Watson

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Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has added her name to the legal challenge from Gina Miller aimed to prevent Boris Johnson from suspending Parliament. This follows yesterday’s High Court announcement that the case would be considered.

Jo Swinson said:

The attempt to shut down Parliament is an anti-democratic, authoritarian power grab by Boris Johnson, who wants to silence the people and their representatives.

The Liberal Democrats are doing all we can, both in the courts and in Parliament, to prevent both the shut down of our democracy and a No Deal Brexit. That’s why I’ll be joining the High Court Judicial Review launched by Gina Miller.

The Judicial Review was launched in the High Court by Gina Miller earlier this week.

The legal team assisting Gina Miller comprises City law firm Mishcon de Reya and Blackstone Chambers, including Blackstone silk Tom Hickman, and David Pannick QC.

It was announced yesterday that Sir John Major has also signed the legal challenge following warnings in July that he would be prepared to seek a judicial review if Boris Johnson attempted to suspend Parliament.

Later in the day Tom Watson tweeted that he is joining the same review effort:

In a separate legal move, Jo Swinson is one of 75 MPs challenging Johnson’s prorogation in Scotland:

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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113 Comments

  • I can’t believe the hypocrisy of these people. Calling Boris undemocratic? You remoaners are the most soppy undemocratic hypocrites that not only I’ve ever seen but that I think anybody has ever seen. Not only that, but are you thick? Do you not want a better deal from the eu? Oh, sorry, you don’t do you? You want to go against the democratic will of the people and remoan. Well I think it’s time to put the tissues away and accept what the majority want and not what the lib dems want. Don’t you? Or is this just a ploy to get more votes than labour next gen election? If so then good plan, but you’re still traitors commiting treason. Adios losers

  • Peter Sinclair 31st Aug '19 - 11:48am

    How does this power grab compare with the one plotted by Remain politicians earlier in the week? I refer to the one that seeks to install Corbyn or Clarke as PM. How does John Major compare the loss of four days of the House sitting (in addition to normal recess) with his prorogation of parliament to suppress a report on cash for questions?

    How does this shutting down of democracy, i.e. preventing the blocking of a no deal Brexit compare with the policy to overturn the outcome of the Brexit referendum?

    Parliament approved A50 which will result in the UK leaving the EU with or without a deal. That is delivering democracy. Blocking it is denying democracy.

    The hypocrisy throughout this matter is breathtaking. Now there are multiple attempts to drag the judiciary into what is purely a political argument. History will regard current parliamentarians as unfit to represent the people.

  • Geoffrey Dron 31st Aug '19 - 1:35pm

    I agree with Jo’s decision even though I think the claim will fail. The exercise of the prerogative is normally not justiciable. This principle was reaffirmed in the Miller case, where interference with statutory rights allowed the courts to act.

    However, appeals in the English and Scottish cases will go to the Supreme Court which will put in place temporary injunctions/interdicts to prevent BoJo-Cummings preempting the final decision. This might force a GE in early October.

  • John Marriott 31st Aug '19 - 2:11pm

    What worries me – and ought to worry those, who think that our parliamentary democracy is the greatest thing since sliced bread – is how many people just couldn’t care less about parliament being shut down.

  • I agree that the curtailing of parliamentary time by Boris Johnson is a “democratic outrage”. However, the same could be said of the EU Referendum which resulted in a majority for an outcome which has not been enacted. So we have come to a point that half the country (well, England, perhaps) are outraged because of one denial of democracy and the other half are outraged because of a different denial of democracy.

    How have we come to this? Two reasons in my view . Firstly, contempt for politicians (Iraq War lies in 2003 and Expenses claims in 2009 for example) ) which will only be reinforced as long as (no decision on) Brexit dominates the agenda. Secondly, a woeful lack of leadership and statesmanship from the official Opposition during and since the Referendum.

    I look forward to a GE as soon as possible in which I hope the Lib Dems are rewarded for their clarity on the Brexit issue over the past 3 years. They have been honest enough all along to say they want to Remain in the EU, not cobble together some deal. The thought of the Con and Lab duopoly continuing is profoundly depressing.

  • Dennis Wake 31st Aug '19 - 3:02pm

    John Marriott: Most people are tired of this matter dragging on and many of them seem to feel that shutting down Parliament for 5 weeks will enable Mr Johnson and his pals to just get on with it to bring this nightmare to a conclusion which is exactly why our Boris and his Dominic knew they would get away with it and only a minority would protest. To be honest the House of Commons have not had their finest hour and endless squabbles have thoroughly disillusioned an already cynical public but it might discover there are a lot nastier things awaiting them.
    There are always large numbers of people who do not care tuppence about Parliament and cannot be bothered to vote or take any interest in public affairs but apparently large numbers of them turned out on 23rd June 2016. So much for the secret ballot.

    It is a bit like Mussolini’s March on Rome in 1922 when after years of a fractious Italian Parliament people were fed up and King Victor Emmanuel felt he had no choice but to give way – sounds familiar ?

  • Who’s paying for the legal costs, or are m’learned friends acting out of a charitable disposition ?

  • John Peters 31st Aug '19 - 3:23pm

    So a few tens of thousands demonstrate out of an adult population of say 50 million.

    Perhaps the public don’t share the view that this is “an anti-democratic, authoritarian power grab by Boris Johnson, who wants to silence the people and their representatives.”

  • @Dennis Wake – You have to ask why has it dragged on, because Parliament and the majority of MP’s have only had bit parts in what is fundamentally a battle between fractions in the Conservative party.

    Remember Parliament had little involvement in the negotiation and drafting of the WA.
    May expected MP’s would simply rubberstamp her work, but ran the clock down thinking it would help win them over.

    This summer BoJo has caused further delay by firstly ignoring the requests of MP’s to recall Parliament and secondly using his power (not Parliaments) to prorogate Parliament.

    Yes, I don’t doubt people are tired of Brexit, but don’t let that obfuscate the real causes of the problem. Remember there is no guarantee that the ERG will vote with whatever BoJo and Mogg cobble together.

    Personally, I would like Parliament to take the opportunity in the few days it is back before Boris can prorogate it, to declare it is sovereign and hence does not recognise the Executives power of prorogation – then we will have a real Constitutional crisis…

  • Andrew McCaig 31st Aug '19 - 4:26pm

    John Peters.

    Polls do not agree with you

  • Bob, so kind of you to give up your very important time to come on here to trot out tired insults and lecture us on your (wrong) definition of ‘democracy’.
    Could you give us one single practical example of how you personally will be better off out of the EU?

    John Peters – there were counter-demos today by Brexit supporters. How many of the 50 million adults showed their support for Boris’ power grab? By your logic, does that mean only a few hundred are in favour?

  • jayne mansfield 31st Aug '19 - 6:15pm

    @ Andrew McCaig,

    Unfortunately those who don’t are concentrated amongst Remain voters. A fact that is hardly likely to worry, deter or even give pause for thought to Johnson and his hardline supporters.

  • Richard Underhill 31st Aug '19 - 7:53pm

    jayne mansfield 31st Aug ’19 – 6:15pm
    I have deduced that you are not a Tory, neither am I, but we need to bring across Tory MPs and Tory voters, which means understanding their thinking and acting accordingly. For instance the Fixed Term Parliament Act was required to be implemented immediately, according to the DPM, to prevent the PM abusing power, as previous PMs had done, or tried to do, when there was a moment of popularity.
    Ref. Politics between the extremes, chapter 5, Taking power from the powerful

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Aug '19 - 8:44pm

    @ Richard Underhill,
    I am sorry Richard , but a book by Nick Clegg will as would a book by any of us tend to put a gloss on our actions.

    I would recommend that you read an article in the Guardian by Vernon Bogdanor, one of our foremost constitutional experts where the fixed term parliament is referred to as ‘wretched’ with good reason in my opinion, given what has transpired.

    ‘Parliament had failed on Brexit long before this prorogation’. The Guardian 29th August.

    The tories that I mix with, ( obviously not the Boris Johnson and Priti Patel type), need no persuasion. They are decent, honourable people who remain dyed in the wool tories despite the abuse they receive for their remainer views from other so called tories. They are, like me, concerned about our democracy if this winner takes all attitude persists.

    It is those who voted leave that were in need of persuasion, not remainers of all parties.
    Supercilious contempt for leavers who had genuine concerns about the EU seems to have been the order of the day, a recipe for hardening and entrenching attitudes in those who would have been open to argument but have have now settled for bl–dy mindedness.

  • Johnson is still peddling his lies about ‘ample time for parliamentary discussion of any Brexit deal/no deal’…

    Parliament is prorogued until 14th October, the EU summit is on 17th October and any new UK proposal will have to be presented to the EU several days before that summit…

    Where is this ‘ample time’?

  • John Marriott 31st Aug '19 - 10:03pm

    He might be an expert in constitutional matters: but I have to disagree with Vernon Bogdanor. I like the concept of a Fixed term Parliament. After all, we have always had fixed term councils and most countries I know have fixed term parliaments. The idea behind it is that it largely takes away the advantage a PM enjoys to call a GE when he or she chooses. I say ‘largely’ because May got round it in 2017 because Labour played ball. Mind you, it didn’t do her much good, did it.

    We need more firm rules, which a Written Constitution, for example, could provide. The present set up may please the Professor; but it’s hardly fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

  • @Richard Underhill unfortunately there are a group of people who comment on this board who are anti Tory above everything else. They don’t actually judge people as individuals, or understand the political reality that the only way we will defeat the extremes of the Conservative party is by cleaving away it’s moderates to form a party that straddles the centre from the centre left to centre right. I think their motivation is that they are primarily left wing rather than Liberal.

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Aug '19 - 10:43pm

    @ john Marriot,
    The present set up does not please the professor. He has, in every statement that I have read, argued that semi-codification, a lack of a definitive constitution, is unsatisfactory.

    I think that we should think carefully about what he says will be the case when we leave the EU. That is, we lose the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, the rights to equality, to healthcare and education etc., and our rights in future will rely on Parliament. He points out that most democracies do entrench rights and does not believe that our MPs can be trusted with this issue.

    I can’t disagree with him or indeed you. As with both of you, I hope that Brexit becomes a constitutional moment leading to a codified constitution. The Prof. isn’t optimistic, are you?

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Aug '19 - 10:54pm

    @ TCO,
    One can like, admire, love even, individual liberal minded tories, but oppose Conservative political and social philosophy as essentially illiberal.

  • Geoffrey Dron 1st Sep '19 - 3:57am

    @Jayne Mansfield

    Written constitutions tend to inflexibility and amendment provisions, quite properly, are stringent.

    Consider 2nd Amendment in US Bill of Rights and the electoral college and two senators per state provisions in the Constitution itself. All call for amendment but this is vulnerable to vested interests.

    However, certainly one of the issues for a constitutional convention.

  • Geoffrey Dron 1st Sep '19 - 4:11am

    @Jayne Mansfield/John Marriott – I question the need for the Charter rights when the HR Convention will remain effective.

  • I’m pleased to see Jo supporting both of these cross-party (and beyond) movements. It’s really not acceptable to remove our supposed voices in parliament (MPs) in a bid to ‘take back control’. It seems when Johnson said ‘take back control’, he meant take it from the British people and concentrate it in the PMs office.

    @Peter, the choice of PM has always been up to parliamentarians. Johnson is only there because of the support of the Tories and DUP, but anyone else could become PM if they get the support of over 50% of MPs. The public didn’t vote for Johnson to become PM.

    Democracy is not being served by pushing for a form of Brexit explicitly ruled out by the “winning” side. Most votes at the 2017 general election was for parties that had ruled out a no deal Brexit. The only people to benefit from a No Deal Brexit are the disaster capitalists and newspaper columnists who love a bit of drama.

    We do want a ‘better deal’ than that agreed by May, but removing the backstop doesn’t make it a better deal. The backstop protects our interest. If we want a better deal then we need to move at least some of our red lines. But no Brexit deal is going to be as good as the current deal we have with the EU.

  • John Marriott 1st Sep '19 - 8:37am

    @Geoffrey Dron
    You cite the US Constitution. If ever a relic of the 18th Century was is need of reform it’s that one. It was designed for a different age, when the new republic was under threat. Hence the right to carry a gun, for example. It borrowed heavily from the conventions of the time. The presidency is surely a kind of elected monarchy, with some checks and balances. The two senator rule is a farce when California, with a population of around 40 million has the same representation as, say, Wyoming, with around half a million. It is no more fit for purpose than our ‘smoke and mirrors’ version.

    If we ever do get a Written Constitution – and it’s a big IF – we had a) better get it right first time and b) make it legally subject to review from time to time.

  • jayne mansfioeld 1st Sep '19 - 9:05am

    @ Geoffrey Dron,
    As an Oxford educated lawyer, I must admit, I am no way equal to arguing with you about the law and the constitution, but I have never let that sort of inequality restrict me in the past!’ I can only quote my understanding of what Professor Bogdanor has said, that the Charter for Fundamental Rights entrenches a wider range of rights.

    I do have to disagree with Mick Taylor that you should not join the Liberal Democrats.Today’s headlines on the front of the Sunday Times.

    ‘Boris Tells Tory rebels- its me or the Corbyn chaos”

    As Dr Taylor points suggests, one can get rid of a government in five years, whereas if we leave the EU the decision will be far more long lasting and damaging.

    I believe that Jeremy Corbyn, who is undoubtably a eurosceptic has had a difficult journey to make given the Labour Party split between remainers and leavers, but I believe that his desire to bring disparate groups together and prevent no deal is sincere. The Liberal Democrat Party has done its best to bolster Boris Johnson and the Tory Rights view as expressed in the Sunday Times Headline. I call it doing the leavers work for them. And it has worked.

  • @John Marriott we could just take and modify the German constitution. I believe it was drafted by British constitutional lawyers and designed to mitigate against extremism and electoral dictatorship and is if course federal.

  • Michael Hall 1st Sep '19 - 9:34am

    I believe the judicial reviews of the advice given by the Privy Council to the Queen which led to her proroguing Parliament have a good chance of success but an appeal to the Supreme Court may be necessary to achieve this. The Queen was exercising a statutory power given to her by the Prorogation Act 1867 which says that she can only do this on the advice of the Privy Council. So she was not exercising the Royal Prerogative. The Royal Prerogative refers to the residual power of the Crown to take decisions on matters not dealt with by statute. This law does not say that only three members of the Privy Council are required or that they have to be members of the Cabinet. However in practice the Cabinet which is a committee of the Privy Council takes the decisions and the three members who are summoned to the meeting with the Queen are acting as delegates of the Cabinet and of the other 700 members of the Privy Council. This is clear from reading the Cabinet Manual https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-manual
    However the Cabinet Manual does not have the force of law, and the Act says that the advice must be given by the Privy Council, so unless the Government can produce evidence that the Privy Council has delegated its functions to the Cabinet for all time, in such a manner as to bind new members of the Privy Council, the Court must decide on the basis that every member of the Privy Council is entitled to be summoned and to take part in the debate and vote. This may not be reasonable or necessary in general for the routine rubber stamping decisions of the Privy Council, but where it is a matter of grave constitutional importance that is highly controversial it should not have been a rubber stamping process and it is strongly arguable that Her Majesty should have been advised to call a full meeting of the Privy Council in order for there to be a proper debate before any advice was given to her.

  • We need to get back to the real issues. The agreement on the withdrawal of the U.K. from the EU was not a terrible deal. The U.K. Government accepted that there was a problem concerning the Irish border and a temporary solution was agreed. As far as I can find out by listening to the debates, especially in Parliament, there was strong objection to this agreement.
    The issue has been obscured by the shouting and insults mainly, in my opinion, because no-one wants to talk about Ireland.
    There is also in the agreement, all of which is temporary, the provision that things will continue as normal until a final agreement is reached, except that the democratic element is removed for the U.K.
    The Government’s plan appears to be to stop the membership of the EU at the end of October but keep things as they are, they are calling this the deal, so that no-one will see any difference and then they can call a general election. After that they can see what they can get away with in terms of moving further to a low wage high profit economy.

  • Philip Moss 1st Sep '19 - 10:44am

    We must continually reinterate that VoteLeave only commanded 38% of the population.
    All MPs let us down by not inserting into the bill that no action would be taken unless over 50% voted to leave. Undoubtedly there are reforms needed within the EU which means we work with others to acheive this, We should have made the Minister for Europe a very senior position in Cabinet to make certain that we were serious about our involvement.
    Hopefully we will have a chance to do this.

  • CO 31st Aug ’19 – 10:23pm……………[email protected] Underhill unfortunately there are a group of people who comment on this board who are anti Tory above everything else. They don’t actually judge people as individuals, or understand the political reality that the only way we will defeat the extremes of the Conservative party is by cleaving away it’s moderates to form a party that straddles the centre from the centre left to centre right. I think their motivation is that they are primarily left wing rather than Liberal……………

    And many, like yourself, who are anti Labour above everything else. Forget personalities and look at Labour’s manifesto priorities; what’s to rage against?
    This party enabled austerity until 2015 and the Tories took it on from there; debt, both national and personal, have worsened and vast swathes of the population see no future for themaselves (a major reason for ‘Brexit’)
    Under Clegg this party tried wooing ‘soft’ Tories and the answer to that approach was seen in 2015…
    Einstein’s definition of insanity comes to mind.

  • @expats “And many, like yourself, who are anti Labour above everything else. ”

    I am anti Labour Party, especially in it’s current barely-hidden Marxist guise. I am not against several individual Labour politicians (though I wish many of them would grow a backbone and leave – Sir Keir Starmer springs to mind who seems a fundamentally decent man, albeit one who is content to have his every proclamation overturned by his leader). I even voted Labour in 1997 mainly on their manifesto promise of PR. Unfortunately they reneged on that commitment.

    This is in contrast to the “all Tories are evil!” mindset we see from several posters here.

    “Look at Labour’s manifesto priorities; what’s to rage against?”

    All the un-costed wish-lists, the desire to implement Brexit, the regressive desire to end tuition fees … I could go on. But fundamentally it’s a rage against the sinister cabal manipulating Corbyn and what they want – disaster socialism and revolution enabled by Brexit.

    “This party enabled austerity until 2015 and the Tories took it on from there; debt, both national and personal, have worsened and vast swathes of the population see no future for themaselves [sic] (a major reason for ‘Brexit’).”

    This party stabilised the country and prevented much greater austerity.

    Brexit was voted for by the older, less educated, and more comfortably off. Those looking for protectionism against international competition, those insulated against exile from our European markets and supply chains, those with a rosy view of a past that never was, and those with frankly unpalatable views about foreigners.

    “Under Clegg this party tried wooing ‘soft’ Tories and the answer to that approach was seen in 2015…”

    The 2015 result was due to the failure to woo soft Tories in the years prior to 2010, and the fear of soft Tories of a Labour government potentially enabled by left wing Lib Dems.

    If the Tories get 40% of the vote, they win a landslide. If they get 30%, they don’t win at all. We need to be harvesting that difference to vote for us.

    “Einstein’s definition of insanity comes to mind.”

    Indeed. We tried going back to what we’d always done (looking leftwards) with Tim Farron. The result was fewer votes than even Clegg got. You should follow your own advice.

    To misquote Gandhi, “we can’t form a judgement on wooing soft Tories, because it hasn’t been tried yet”.

  • John Marriott 1st Sep '19 - 12:42pm

    @Philip Moss
    I’m 100% behind you. Here’s an even more revealing statistic. As of yesterday, according to the latest UN estimates, the population of the U.K. stood at 67,589,485, of which around 46 million are eligible to vote. In the 2016 Referendum around 33,551,983 people chose to vote, a turnout of around 72%. Of the total eligible electorate around 38% voted to leave, while around 36% voted to remain. You do the maths. So, what IS ‘the will of the people’ and at what age do they start being ‘people’? To base such a momentous decision on such a relatively small demographic is NOT the sign of a mature democracy and to think that, compared with many countries, we’ve had centuries to work that out!

    @TCO
    Interesting that you refer to the “German constitution(sic)” as thereby hangs a tail. When it was devised after WW2 the founding fathers of West Germany borrowed heavily on the pre 1933 model. However, it was always referred to as ‘das Grundgesetzt’ (Basic Law) and not as a ‘Verfassung’ (Constitution), because they hoped eventually that their divided nation would one day be reunified. The important thing to remember when drawing up such a written and legal document is to make sure that it allows for regular amendment, when necessary. The last thing it needs to be is a tablet of stone.

  • Paul Barker 1st Sep '19 - 1:07pm

    I am utterly opposed to The Labour Party as an Institution but wouldn’t it be useful at this point for The LibDems to offer Labour an Electoral Alliance ?
    There isn’t much point delaying Brexit if The New “Johnsonite” Tories win a subsequent Election. Current Polling suggests that The Conservative party is around 32% with Labour on about 23% & Libdems between 18 & 19%.
    Electoral Calculus gives a Tory Majority of 70 on those figures.
    If Labour reject our offer that would look good for us & would draw attention to how badly they are doing.
    If they accept then we would stop Brexit, get a lot more MPs & shift British Politics onto talking about The Climate Crisis.
    What do you all think ?

  • Peter Hirst 1st Sep '19 - 1:08pm

    If not illegal, it’s an abhorrent misuse of parliamentary procedure to prevent parliament sitting on these days so vital to deciding on the most important issue facing the country this generation.

  • @Paul Barker

    “What do you all think ?”

    I think it is nonsense, thats what I think. Why should a prospective parliamentary candidate stand aside for another party in an election when that person has probably given years of campaigning, pounding the streets, sacrificed time with families and possibly even employment promotions, spent their own resources over the years and even spent years and money on furthering their education and chances in order to getting into politics and parliament.
    Why should after that much dedication should a person step aside and put aside all their ambitions over a single issue? especially if its an issue that they also feel passionate about and want to deliver in parliament.
    What you are asking is selfish.
    Would you give up your career willingly to another person? I think not, so why ask a politician to do so

  • TCO
    “Brexit was voted for by the older, less educated, and more comfortably off.”

    I tick all those boxes but voted Remain. Making generalisations and assumptions is unhelpful. Those of us who can see the benefits of the EU need to reach out to those who don’t at present, not insult them. However, I agree that, in the same way, we should not condemn all Tories and Socialists because they have dubious leaderships.

  • Geoffrey Dron 1st Sep '19 - 2:09pm

    @John Marriott/TCO – there’s a wealth of experience in the Anglosphere on drafting constitutions and BORs, but, along with a whole shedload of other issues, it’s really for a constitutional convention.

    @Jayne Mansfield – yes, VB is right, but, if UK out of EU, again a matter for a convention as to possibly supplementing HR Convention.

    Constitutions and BoRs need to a) have cross-party acceptance, b) last but be capable of amendment.

    In my view an interim government should also formally propose a constitutional convention, session 1 to deal with English Question and specify matters for consideration in session 2

    LibDems need to go beyond merely proposing federalism (difficult because of relative size of England) or regionalism (currently unpopular)

    https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-lib-dems-failings-on-the-english-question-are-a-damning-indictment-for-a-party-which-claims-to-believe-in-a-federal-future-for-the-uk/

  • Paul Barker 1st Sep '19 - 2:25pm

    @Matt
    You express very well what a lot of activists in both Parties would feel but this is bigger than individuals. Imagine what England would look like after 5 Years of untrammelled Tory Rule, (we could say goodbye to The UK).
    This is Britains biggest Crisis since 1939, its time for everything to be questioned.
    So is it time for Us to make a “Bold, Generous Offer ” ?

  • Alex Macfie 1st Sep '19 - 2:27pm

    Both expats and TCO are wrong about the reasons for our failures in 2015 and 2017. In 2015 we lost votes to the Tories because we didn’t give soft Tory voters any reason to vote for us instead of the Tories. Voters who liked the Coalition thought that if they voted Tory it would continue. Wooing soft Tory voters means clearly differentiating ourselves from the Tories, and we failed to do that in 2015.
    In 2017 our poll ratings were rising at the start of the campaign. Our poor national showing on election day was mainly due to Tim’s blunders on gay sex and “sin”, as well as the Jezmania bubble (now long burst). We were saved in 2017 by strong local campaigns in specific seats.

  • @ John Marriott……… “So, what IS ‘the will of the people’ and at what age do they start being ‘people’? ” Good question, John. These days the will of the people is whatever a particular group of politicians happen to choose to say it is if it suits their purposes.

    That includes minor players on LDV such as Frankie and Glenn….. and sadly, many others who don’t regard older folk as people. Thank goodness for Jayne Mansfield, Katharine Pindar and Michael BG who live in the real world and still have liberal values…. even you, old chap.

    Talking about which, it would be more encouraging if the 2019 Liberal Democrats decided exactly what and who they are. Judging by LDV, the party is all over the place with kneejerk personalised anti-Corbyn themes dominating things wrapped up in a one trick pony policy on the EU.

    The transparent and elitist nature of the Johnson Regime kowtowing to right wing hedge funds and interest groups is far more dangerous to our society and culture. Oberlieutenant Dominic Cummings makes Thomas Cromwell look cosy…. and Fred Karno’s army would have more chance of operating a competent radical government if LDV is anything to go by.

    For starters a bit more analysis on the state of this country would be welcome, especially on climate change, poverty and inequality, properly funded social care and NHS, transport, housing, education wrapped up in an unthinking tinsel of ‘celebrity culture’which dominates all forms of the media.

    The power of interest groups is far more sinister in subverting democracy and individual autonomy than are TCO and Co’s reds under the beds. The fate of poor old Bury football club and the grossness of a narcissistic Premier League dominated by the power of a gambling culture is a mere symptom of a wider society in decline.

    End of rant, The garden beckons. I’ll take it out on the weeds.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Sep '19 - 3:01pm

    @Philip Moss: The referendum was advisory. So any clause in the referendum legislation to the effect that “no action would be taken unless over 50% voted to leave” would have been meaningless, as the legislation did not specify any action that was to be taken as a result of the vote.

  • Geoffrey Dron 1st Sep '19 - 3:04pm

    @Jayne Mansfield

    I’m not saying that the issue or rights covered by Charter after Brexit isn’t a live one – it is
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3280234

    However, I think Convention rights will carry us over till we can address the general issue of a BoR in the constitutional convention.

  • @Geoffrey Dron “LibDems need to go beyond merely proposing federalism (difficult because of relative size of England) or regionalism (currently unpopular)”

    In Germany, the problem of Prussia being much larger than all the other states was got round by breaking it up (regionalism). The German population of 1945-8 weren’t in a position to argue the point, though.

    @matt Paul Barker’s point won’t work for the simple reason that voters are not automatons, and many Lib Dem voters would rather gouge their eyes out with a rusty scalpel than ever vote Labour (and vice versa).

    @Paul Barker your hypothesis doesn’t hold. There is not sufficient overlap with Corbyn’s party for it to make any electoral sense. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Left

  • Jayne Mansfield 1st Sep '19 - 4:28pm

    @ John Marriott,
    I am sorry to disagree with you but I do believe that we ned a constitution written in stone. The political events since the 2016 referendum convince me of that. Democracy is being subverted.

    The argument is well put I believe by Professor Patrick Dunleavy in the following, very readable , article.

    ‘After the prorogation coup, whats left of the British Constitution?’

    II believe that it was written even before Michael Gove’s shocking comment regarding the possible response of the Johnson government to any legislation passed to stop a no-deal Brexit.

  • Perhaps it might have added credibility if Swinson had offered to cancel our Cinferenece?

  • TCO 1st Sep ’19 – 11:38am….
    I have read some OTT hyperbole in my time but your post just about takes the biscuit…
    Did you even consider how ridiculous your “the sinister cabal manipulating Corbyn and what they want – disaster socialism and revolution enabled by Brexit.” sounds?

    As for,,’The 2015 result was due to the failure to woo soft Tories in the years prior to 2010????
    Have you not heard of the Orange Book?……………….Did you miss Clegg, in an interview with Andrew Marr ( January 2011) calling Andrew Lansley’s NHS ‘reforms’ “a fusion of the best thinking of the Lib Dems and the Tories”?…………..
    When writing in the ‘New Statesman, in September 2012 Clegg said “There is a new political market for the Liberal Democrats; the party just needs to seek it out rather than looking wistfully at the old customers who have turned away. The leftwing votes borrowed from Labour in 2010 will not be available in 2015. New ones must be found.”..Who do you think he meant?

    There are more such examples than one could ‘shake a stick at’ but I’ll not waste my time.

    Finally, regarding your, “looking leftwards with Tim Farron.” Would this be the same Tim Farron who, in January 2017, ruled out any kind of Lib Dem-Labour pact whilst Labour were under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn? A real ‘leftie looker”

  • Mick Taylor 1st Sep '19 - 5:51pm

    Brian D. Cancelling the conference is not something the Leader can do. It is, rightly, a decision that would be made by the elected Federal Conference Committee. Swinson could only ask, not dictate.
    In any event, why would it be in the party’s interest to cancel its most important policy making body, when there are issues to be debated and positions struck, not only on Brexit, but also a whole range of issues that have given rise the Brexit in the first place, most notably poverty? Bournemouth isn’t far from London and MPs (and peers) could soon be back there for any important votes if they happen.

  • @expats “Did you even consider how ridiculous your “the sinister cabal manipulating Corbyn and what they want – disaster socialism and revolution enabled by Brexit.” sounds?”

    It didn’t sound ridiculous to a respected left-wing journalist: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/16/why-are-labour-party-leaders-so-quiet-on-europe—maybe-it-is-the-lure-of-disaster

    “When writing in the ‘New Statesman, in September 2012 Clegg said “There is a new political market for the Liberal Democrats; the party just needs to seek it out rather than looking wistfully at the old customers who have turned away. The leftwing votes borrowed from Labour in 2010 will not be available in 2015. New ones must be found.”..Who do you think he meant?”

    I think what he meant is exactly what he said, which supports my statement “The 2015 result was due to the failure to woo soft Tories in the years prior to 2010″. Failure to steer a middle course in the two decades prior to 2010 meant that our vote relied too heavily on what he called “the left wing votes borrowed from Labour”. Inevitably they melted away on us entering the coalition. It we’d built a vote on equidistance that vote would have stuck with us. It wasn’t, and it didn’t.

    This would be the same Tim Farron who was the SLF’s preferred candidate for the party, who cheered the loudest when he won the leadership. Would that have happened if he was out of the Orange Book mould?

  • Bill le Breton 1st Sep '19 - 6:28pm

    Very important to keep hammering Corbyn as not a fit and proper person.

    In many of the possible outcomes of the next two or three months there will be a General Election in which we gain more seats than Labour provided we have discredited Corbyn.

    Looks like Tories and TBP will compete for circa 300 seats, the split depending on whether or not we leave the EU on 31st October 2019. Leave on 31/10/19 and Tories take all of them. Not leave and TBP take the majority of those 300.

    Scotland aside the starting point for the rest of the seats are the number of votes we gained in each of those constituencies in 2005 and 2010 + our success in discrediting Corbyn.

    It is essential we gain more seats than Labour.

    This is because if we are out of the EU on 31st October we are probably competing with Labour for second largest party status. If we are still ‘in’ on 1st November then we are competing at the next GE for leader of the largest Party in the House of Commons.

    The stakes could not be higher nor the opportunities greater.

  • Richard Underhill 1st Sep '19 - 6:59pm

    Jayne Mansfield 31st Aug ’19 – 8:44pm
    Shirley Williams said that “This is an important book: a revealing analysis of British politics today and why it urgently needs reform”.
    David Marquand wanted her to be Leader, so did I.
    He has returned to the Labour party.
    Gordon Brown as PM wanted a constitution, but his timing was all wrong. It was easy for David Cameron to oppose him.
    The Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the GLA were all set up as fixed term, as are the existing arrangements for the frequency of elections to parish councils, borough councils, county councils, unitary authorities, the European Parliament, the new rash of mayors and the police and crime commissioners. The House of Commons can be considered an outlier, in frequency of elections, excepting the House of Lords which contains hereditary peers which New Labour promised to abolish in the 1997 manifesto, failed, promised again, and failed again.
    The ‘stone in the shoe’ inserted by a Cecil, persists, despite David Steel’s attempt at reform through a private member’s bill.
    When faced with a bill designed to attract their support, the Labour parliamentary party under Ed Milliband acted against their own stated interest. The outcome is farcical, shameful and undemocratic: bye-elections in which only Peers can vote.

  • John Marriott 1st Sep '19 - 7:03pm

    @Jayne Mansfield
    Perhaps my use of “stone” was not quite what I meant. I wanted to suggest that any Written Constitution should be possible to amend if circumstances change. However to do this would require a procedure, which could not be the victim of abuse. It’s a bit like the current ‘reaction’ to the Fixed Term Parliament Act. The moment it becomes ‘difficult’ some people want to repeal it. Any piece of legislation, unless it is patently unfair or unworkable, like, for example the Poll Tax in the form in which it was launched turned out to be, deserves a significant period of time to bed in.

    @Bill le Breton
    Seeking political advantage, in this case over Labour, might go down well with some of the more dedicated ‘Liberals’ on LDV or later this month in Bournemouth, but is that really ALL you are bothered about? Don’t you know there’s a war on? Yet again, please allow me to quote the (translated) words of Kaiser Wilhelm to the Reichstag at the start of WW1 ; “I do not know any parties any more, only Germans”. Whatever you or I may think of the Labour Party, they and the Lib Dems- and the SNP for that matter – might just need each other in the next few months. Trying to knock five bells out of each other at the moment is surely the last thing the Lib Dems, Labour or the SNP should be doing.

    On the subject of Corbyn, you know, given what the current PM is doing, poor old JC runs the risk of coming over now as the epitome of democracy. Now I never thought I would be saying that!

  • @Bill le Breton “Very important to keep hammering Corbyn as not a fit and proper person”.

    Most revealing. Are you wanting to do the same to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Bill ? He ‘s seems to be a most disreputable, unreliable and mendacious character to me. Not particularly fit and most certainly not very proper…

  • @ Bill le Breton “Very important to keep hammering Corbyn as not a fit and proper person”.

    Really ? Most revealing. Are you wanting to do the same to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Bill ? He ‘s seems to me to be a most disreputable, unreliable and mendacious character to me. Not particularly fit and certainly not very proper……

    If not, why not, or is it a case of the closet Tories on LDV finally coming out into the open ?

  • Please, can someone update me on current LD policy. Is it still to press for a second referendum, but if the result is still to leave the EU, that result will be rejected by Jo Swinson?

    Sorry to be a pain but our views on anti democratic behaviour change so quickly I have trouble keeping up.

  • It’s not often I agree with @Bill Le Breton, but I agree with him here. “Very important to keep hammering Corbyn as not a fit and proper person”

    This is absolutely crucial to gin both Labour and Tory remainers. The latter will not vote for us if they think we see Corbyn as fit and proper.

  • @ TCO entirely predictable.

  • Jayne Mansfield 1st Sep '19 - 9:21pm

    @ TCO,
    You seem not to have noticed that it is the political Right and the extreme Right at that, that is sweeping across the Europe, America and other parts of the world.

    Those who fail to notice that are in my opinion, not fit and proper persons.

  • Mick Taylor 1st Sep '19 - 9:25pm

    Let’s be clear, neither Johnson nor Corbyn are fit and proper persons to be Prime Minister and as far as I know, neither our leader or any senior person in our party is suggesting that they are. Indeed, we are on record as saying we will neither support a government led by Johnson nor one led by Corbyn, not that we won’t support a different government.
    What is more important, stopping Brexit or keeping Corbyn out of no 10. If we want to stop Brexit and nothing is more important – and that is what our leader is saying – then we have our answer.
    David Raw and others on this thread know full well that we oppose Johnson and must recognise the very real problems in supporting Corbyn.
    Luckily, it’s not just our decision. In order for a new person to be installed in No 10, that individual needs a VOC. There is currently no evidence that Corbyn can get that VOC, even if Lib Dem MPs vote for it. To get a VOC within 14 days of a VONC in the Johnson Government will be touch and go and will only happen if either the DUP abandon Johnson (probably by abstaining) or a number of Tory MPs are prepared to end their careers in the Tory Party by voting for a VONC and then a VOC in another person.
    Some people on this thread have been taken in by Labour trolls who argue that Corbyn is the only choice and we are wicked Tories for saying he isn’t. Others like Bill Le Bretton are trying to fight old battles and putting the party before the country.
    My view is that we should vote for a VONC and then parliament should take a series of indicative votes to see which person could gain a VOC for a short lived government to put back the leaving date and have either a GE or referendum or both. I wouldn’t personally have LibDem ministers but would prefer a confidence and supply arrangement, to keep the bastards honest, as they say in the US.
    Others may disagree, but surely this is what we should be discussing at conference rather than endlessly arguing about Corbyn’s competence.

  • Mick Taylor 1st Sep '19 - 9:33pm

    Peter, you do not, with great respect, understand democracy. If there were another referendum and leave won then we would have no choice but to leave the EU. This would not stop the Liberal Democrats arguing that this was a mistake and campaigning to rejoin. This isn’t refusing to accept the decision, it’s campaigning to change it in the future. Democracy is not an event, but a process. Todays popular policy can become tomorrows worst idea ever. 2015’s Tory victory wasn’t something we had to accept for ever. Those of us who didn’t want a Tory government were still free to try and persuade the electorate to change their minds. Democracy is about the people being able to change their minds if they want to. No decision is set in stone and it really doesn’t help if people pretend it is.

  • @mick
    “This would not stop the Liberal Democrats arguing that this was a mistake and campaigning to rejoin”

    Thats all well and good but what would Liberal Democrats do if they found themselves in government and having to actually sign off on Brexit.

    What I mean is, it is possible that parliament agrees to another referendum and before that referendum a general election was held which returned a Government that Included in Liberal Democrats, what would then happen if the subsequent Referendum then returned a result to leave the EU?
    I cannot see a Liberal Democrat Government voting for any kind of Brexit be it with a deal or without a deal. I cannot see a Liberal Democrat party agreeing to be part of coalition that was going to complete any kind of brexit.
    Therefore I feel it is dishonest to call for a 2nd referendum and I think it should just be party policy to revoke.

  • Richard Underhill 1st Sep '19 - 9:44pm

    TCO 1st Sep ’19 – 7:41pm
    It is absolutely crucial to gain Tory dissidents and a maximum number of Labour MPs.
    We also need all Change UK MPs, all the Independent Group, etc. There may be timing issues around Sheffield Hallam. The SNP are very disciplined.
    Lady Sylvia Hermon is an independent unionist who stated she is not a Conservative.
    There are seven Sinn Fein MPs who have been elected but do not take their seats at Westminster. There is no Alliance MP at the moment. Frank Field has been an independent since 2018. The deputy speakers do not vote.
    There may be an MP in suspension from Labour but eligible to vote.
    Have I forgotten anybody?

  • If I were Boris Johnson, on Tuesday I would introduce legislation for the repeal of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. It is quite obvious that under the Act the requirement for two thirds of MPs to vote for a General Election will not be met, because most of the MPs opposed to Britain’s independence are terrified of losing their seats. For, in the event of a General Election, they almost certainly will. Respecting the outcome of the 2016 plebiscite, which was a vote for Britain’s independence, is the overarching, first order priority of the electorate, who are dismayed by the contempt for democracy shown by the anti-independence MPs.

  • John Marriott 1st Sep '19 - 11:00pm

    @matt
    The Lib Dems in Government? You cannot be serious? Joking aside, let’s not get carried away. Let’s start by seeing how many Tory ‘rebels’ are not out off by threats of deselection. We should know a bit more by the end of the week. Let’s take it one step at a time. I tend to agree with ‘Martin’ on his assessment of Corbyn.

  • @John Marriott

    I am deadly serious.
    When a party is calling for a new “unity government” a new general election and another referendum, it is only right that they should set and be honest about what they would do should they find themselves in government and then later having to carry out the results of a referendum.
    We keep hearing all these wails from remainers about democracy. Well I want to hear what the party would do should it find itself in power and having to enact the result of a referendum result it neither agrees with or campaigned for.
    It is a perfectly valid question.

    It is one thing to fudge and say in opposition, if we get a 2nd referendum and it is for leave we will have to accept the result believing you are safe to say so from the opposition benches, but what do you do when you make such a pledge but all of a sudden find yourself in government and having to carry out the will of the people?

  • Bless the poor Brexiteers don’t seem to like parliamentary democracy or understand it for that matter. “If I were Boris Johnson, on Tuesday I would introduce legislation for the repeal of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. ” and how long do you think that would take to get through Parliament Mack, not a scubbie doo have you, be more than a few days though even if he could find the votes for it. As to having a second referendum I’m afraid I’ve long ago given up on pandering to the Brexi’s and Lexi’s. I’d revoke and take the back lash, I suspect it would be much less than our Brexi’s and Lexi’s imagine a few squeals on the Daily Mail a couple of half arsed marches and it’s over.

  • Bill le Breton,

    I am very surprised by your post of yesterday at 6.28pm.

    Historically we do better when there is a Conservative government and the Labour Party is seen as an alternative government, rather than when attacking Labour when there is a Conservative government. I think such examples of us doing well are 1964, 1974 and 1997.

    I think you have over-estimated the support for the Brexit Party in a general election while we are still in the EU. You have also over-estimated the number of seats we could win in such an election as well. I wish it was not true. I wish we would be able to win over 158 MPs in such an election but I see no reason to believe we are working towards achieving this.

    If we are out of the EU when a general election comes we will does less well than if it is held before we leave the EU.

    TCO,

    In Germany, the problem of Prussia being much larger than all the other states was got round by breaking it up (regionalism).

    When I think of Prussia I think of the core areas – Brandenburg, East and West Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia, rather than the lands gained in the nineteenth century. This might be because of my interest in history.

    In 1945 all the land east of the Oder Neisse were lost to Germany, that is East and West Prussia, East Pomerania and Silesia. Then of course when West Germany was being formed Brandenburg was in East Germany.

  • David Evans 2nd Sep '19 - 6:55am

    Bill (le Breton), When you say

    “It is essential we gain more seats than Labour.

    This is because if we are out of the EU on 31st October we are probably competing with Labour for second largest party status. If we are still ‘in’ on 1st November then we are competing at the next GE for leader of the largest Party in the House of Commons.”
    I like your optimism. but it is beyond the bounds of any possible reality.

    The chance of us being bigger than Labour disappeared between 2010 and 2015, and will not re-emerge until we accept that fact and plan our recovery on that basis.

    A general election would give us a chance to take a step on the way to that recovery, but we have to accept facts. Firstly, the remain vote in each constituency is clearly coalescing around the best placed Remain party/candidate, be it Lib Dem, Green, Nationalist, Change, Dominic Grieve or Labour. Despite what you and the party say, our attempts to paint Jeremy Corbyn as a Leaver have almost totally failed to gain any traction in the media, and we will not be able to change that to any significant extent in the next couple of months.

    Hence, most Remainers regard Labour as pro-Remain and where they are First or Second, Labour will get the votes. In contrast, we have a chance in the 50 or so seats we were in first or second place in 2017. No more and possibly less.

    I’m sorry but our coming out of a general election in second place or even more ridiculously as the largest party is mere fancy, and if we try it we will spread our resources far too thinly and will lose seats in the same way as we lost seats in 2010.

    Having a dream is one thing, but what we need a realistic plan. Otherwise we will simply fail yet again.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Sep '19 - 7:43am

    David, I am not so sure you are right. Our present position in the polls puts us where we were in 2005 and 2010 – the reset button has been pushed.

    Michael BG, there are two Labour Parties. The present Labour Party as it is controlled, is more akin to 1983. We did very well against them in 1983 – and we shall be fighting them not from where we were in 1979 but from where we were in 2005.

    On the issue that matters, Labour is lead by A Great Pretender. Very few people will trust Corbyn on ‘Europe’ especially if he is battered ceaselessly on his record on this issue.

    On the possible legislation that could be put forward this week there is a unique Liberal Democrat position. Labour will seek an extension of Art 50. But crucially will not want to go further. Why, because they want to run an administration that negotiates a Labour deal with EU27. Certainly they don’t want to revoke and I don’t think they want a referendum if one could be avoided.

    So our standard is pitched, as I understand it, for an extension + a referendum + revocation. That splits Labour.

    The race then if we do not leave on 31st October 2019, has to be to be largest Party overall. It has to be our minority administration to which others belong not a minority government led by Corbyn to which we belong.

    And that is why Mick is wrong that I am fighting an old battle. Joining a Labour minority administration and we would be duped and led by the nose by Corbyn and MacDonald just as we were by Cameron and Osborne in 2010/15.

    The civil service must know that it is we who are the political masters in such an administration. And they will help us navigate towards the Liberal Democrat home port. It must be our leader visiting Berlin and Paris not Labour’s. Our leader to whom Barnier replies.

    Anyone who rallies to Jo Swinson’s side is welcome. They can keep their affiliation if they insist but they have to see her as the leader and their spokesperson. Chuka is a model here. Though that leadership would be Swinsonesque in its inclusivity.

    Those who doubt what we can do need to look at all those seats we held and those in which we came second or very near second in 2005 and 2010. And the tactical votes that will come to our position and we have 200 seats.

    We can do it. If we want it.

  • John Marriott 2nd Sep '19 - 7:57am

    @matt
    You obviously don’t get irony, do you? The ‘serious’ quote pays homage to one John McEnroe! Or are you too young to remember him?

    So, let’s BE serious. The chances of the Lib Dems gaining an absolute majority are pretty slim (and, as Boxing promotor, Don King, famously said; “Slim is out of town”). The chances of their being part of a coalition government are not out of the question, however.

    So, having studied my crystal ball and mindful of the fact, come hell or high water, Lib Dem policy will remain ‘remain’, the first thing to negotiate would be either a General Election followed by another referendum or possibly vice versa. Now, in the first scenario, assuming that there is an attritional battle between the Tory and Brexit parties, the Lib Dems could indeed pick up quite a few seats, which might make the chances of another referendum more likely.

    So, let’s assume for the sake of argument that we DO get another referendum, hopefully not a binary one. It’s quite possible that many people on either side, but particularly Leavers, will just say “b……s to the lot of you” and not vote at all. So, with a possible low turnout and a result either way as indecisive as before, even if this time it favours remain what will it tell us? So, let’s do it again! You ask Canadians about ‘neverendums’!

    You can probably guess that I am getting mightily cheesed off (not my first choice of verb) with the whole charade. What most people could live with is a deal whereby we stay IN for trade (and that means single market/customs union) and OUT for further political integration ( no USE or army etc.). Sounds a bit like Norway to me. OK, ‘frankie’, call me a ‘tagalong’ or something even worse if you like. As for the Lib Dems sticking with Remain, that’s up to them. However, if they continue to trumpet the Cleggian refrain of “About the same” they are unlikely to gain significantly more followers.

  • @John Marriott

    It is entirely irrelevant whether in reality the Liberal Democrats would either win a majority outright or enough seats to form a coalition.
    When a party is calling for a policy, General Election, Referendum etc, they are setting out what they would do were they to form a government, a manifesto if you will. So this situation is no different.
    Liberal Democrats should be absolutely clear about what it is they are calling for with this new referendum and what they would do should they find themselves in some form of government with a following referendum that voted to leave.
    If it is the case that a Liberal Democrat would not support and enact leave in any circumstances, then in my opinion it is wrong to be calling for another referendum as they will clearly not respect the result and therefore they should be honest and only be campaigning for revoke.

    “What most people could live with is a deal whereby we stay IN for trade (and that means single market/customs union)”
    I disagree entirely with your assertions, what most leavers voted for was to put an end to free movement of people and to be able to strike our own free trade agreements, which is impossible outside the single market / customs union.

  • Alex Macfie 2nd Sep '19 - 8:28am

    John Marriott: Lib Dems are not “trumpet[ing]” any “Cleggian refrain of “About the same”” for the simple reason that how the EU will look in 5 or 10 years time isn’t really something that’s on the political radar at the moment. What’s important is this country’s relationship with the EU now and in the immediate future. Clegg showed a lot of political naivety when he answered the question the way he did (as he did in a lot of ways) but he’s left the building. I trust Jo and other senior Lib Dems will answer questions on what the EU will be like in the long term with more care.

  • I find myself once again agreeing with Bill le Breton.

    “On the issue that matters, Labour is lead by A Great Pretender. Very few people will trust Corbyn on ‘Europe’ especially if he is battered ceaselessly on his record on this issue.”

    It’s is obvious that that is the way to ensure our success in the way he outlines. That is the strategy that gets us Labour remainers and nullifies the reason we wouldn’t get Conservative remainers. That is the way we build our broad centrist coalition to become the largest party.

    I’m concerned that those who disagree with attacking Corbyn either have a lack of imagination, a poverty of ambition, or a different agenda to a Liberal Democrat victory.

  • John Marriott 2nd Sep '19 - 9:03am

    @Matt
    How can you honestly and with any certainty say what was in people’s minds when they cast their vote over three years ago? As for ‘trade deals’, who is going to deal with us if we refuse to honour our current commitments if we leave the EU without a deal? Even the mythical ‘WTO rules’ are not a given, as we have to apply to join the club in the first place. What if we get rejected? As for being a vassal State, quite frankly, I’d rather be a vassal State of the EU than potentially a vassal State of a Trump led USA. Norway doesn’t seem very bothered. What makes us so superior?

    @Alex Macfie
    It’s not enough to say that you trust Ms Swinson and co to set out their stall if asked ‘the Clegg question’. They haven’t so far. One of the major reasons that remain lost, besides the geopolitics of living on an island, was an inability to say anything very critical about the direction of political travel of the present organisation..

  • Nonconformistradical 2nd Sep '19 - 9:23am

    @Jayne Mansfield re. 1st Sep ’19 – 9:21pm

    “@ TCO,
    You seem not to have noticed that it is the political Right and the extreme Right at that, that is sweeping across the Europe, America and other parts of the world.

    Those who fail to notice that are in my opinion, not fit and proper persons.”

    Jayne – What bothers me is that you appear willing to contemplate in preference a totalitarian Marxist regime run by Corbyn (or rather by the people running him). A Marxist ideology which has been proven not to work – demonstrated amply through the rush to escape from Russia’s totalitarian Marxist clutches undertaken by the satellite communist countries of eastern Europe during the late 1980s.

    Marxists are not interested in democracy – they are interested in power. Just like the extreme right. There’s nothing to choose between them on that point.

  • @nonconformistradical “What bothers me is that you appear willing to contemplate in preference a totalitarian Marxist regime run by Corbyn (or rather by the people running him).”

    N-CR if we apply Occam’s Razor here, what do we get?

    @Michael BG of course Germany lost all of its territories esstbif the Oder-Neisse line, but the citizens of those eastern territories were displaced westwards and it’s them, being Prussians, who would influence.

    The lawyers were drafting with the future in mind and, in historical terms, they only had to wait forty years, a relatively short time.

  • @ Frankie
    The Fixed Term Parliament Act is a constitutional outrage. It was designed to ensure that small parties such as the Lib Dems cannot be easily ejected from power when in Coalition. If the Fixed Term Parliament Act did not apply there would have been a simple vote requiring a majority of one MP and the government would have fallen. There would then have automatically been a General Election. I am sorry to tell you that you are the one who is completely misinformed and in need of enlightenment. By the way it is perfectly possible to rush emergency legislation through both the Commons and the Lords in a single day. How do you think the anti-Independence MPs managed to delay Brexit on the 29th March via the Cooper/Letwin Bill? Bless.

  • @John
    Here is my problem.
    I am thinking ahead, not just to the next election, but to the following election.
    I have been a flip flop voter between Labour and Liberal Democrats. I am more inclined to vote Liberal Democrat in the future, apart from the issues with Brexit.
    So I find myself in the odd position of probably having to vote Tory for the first time, in order to get brexit over the line and then will want to subsequently vote Liberal Democrat in future elections.
    I am fine with the idea of Liberal Democrats then campaigning to rejoin the EU and I will voice objections to that, however, I could not put my trust in Liberal Democrats if they campaigned for a 2nd referendum and then still continued to thwart the result for a 2nd time by refusing to vote for the legislation to be enacted in parliament. That would leave me truly politically homeless for the next decade.
    There is no way that I could trust a Labour Government whilst the likes of Corbyn and Mcdonnald are holding the reigns.
    Although I believe in renationalising the railways and utilities, I believe that all care homes should be in the public sector, there should be formal qualifications and a register for all carers, especially those working with vulnerable adults with mental health… I believe there should be a ban on buy to let mortgages to deal with the housing crisis. I am fine with people owning second homes as an investment as long as they are owned outright, however, I think that any property should be required to be offered first to be leased to the local council and only after the council has refused a property, should it be able to be leased on the open market. Some drastic measures are needed to address the housing shortage but there needs to be compromises between landlords and local governments.
    I am against the privatisation of prisons and probation services and I think that all disability assessments should be brought in house.
    However, a Labour Government would take things to far, like their latest silly idea of giving tenants the right to buy from private landlords with a right to buy discount, just one example of how extreme a labour government would take things and a danger to the economy and housing market.

  • After brexit, I want to be able to trust the Liberal Democrats with my vote and feel there are many areas with which I identify with the party, however, that trust would never be restored if they thwarted a 2nd referendum result after campaigning so long for a 2nd vote, at the moment I just do not trust the party to honour the result, even if it is far reached hypothetical situation which finds the party in Government. As I said, it’s all about trust and honesty and because I do not believe a Liberal Democrat Government would ever enact any kind of brexit, they should be campaigning for revoke.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Sep '19 - 10:10am

    @ Michael BG @ Martin

    “If we are out of the EU when a general election comes we will do less well than if it is held before we leave the EU.”

    This is probably true. For the simple reason that Labour will do better, but only if the EU is effectively off the agenda, as it was in 2017. The Labour Party’s policy of trying for a better deal than the Tories but then campaigning to Remain in the EU afterwards makes little sense. It’s going to appeal to neither Remainers nor Leavers. It will be an electoral disaster. Everyone in the Labour Party must know this so there’s no reason to expect them to push for an early election.

    Having said this, it does depend on whether the leaving of the EU will remove Brexit from the political agenda in the same way as the 2016 Referendum result did, albeit temporarily. My expectation is it will. Most people will want to move on, and the electorate will then have an opportunity to say to the political right that they may have achieved what they want with Brexit but they can’t then expect to have everything else their own way too.

  • Bill Le Breton, TCO, Nonconformistradical 2nd Sep ’19 – 9:23am…What bothers me is that you appear willing to contemplate in preference a totalitarian Marxist regime run by Corbyn (or rather by the people running him)…

    It is due to such thinking that I’m no longer a LibDem voter; mind you, with such thinking I’m surprised how you have ever been.
    Reading your posts on Corbyn’s marxism makes me long for those far off days of the communist UK I grew up in.
    In that marxist state I didn’t leave university owing tens of thosands of pounds, I travelled on publicly owned railways, used water/electricity/gas from publicly owned utilities, was treated in a largely state controlled NHS and communicated on publicly run communication systems.
    It must have been a marxist dictatorship because there was no serious opposition to such control by any party.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Sep '19 - 10:41am

    expats – that is a bizarre conclusion to take from what I am advocating

  • David Evans 2nd Sep '19 - 10:50am

    Bill (le Breton) – I’m sorry but you are totally misguiding yourself.

    We are not where we were in 2005 or 2010 in so many ways. Indeed the only sense we are back there is that, due to one issue, and one issue only and at a stage in the electoral cycle where a General Election campaign hasn’t really started, we are at 15% to 21% in opinion polls.

    We do not have the infrastructure that 59 MPs can generate – we don’t get over a million in short money for head office staff; we don’t have paid constituency staff (six for each MP); we no longer have over 4,000 councillors who campaign regularly and are respected widely for doing a good job over many years.

    All we are is at 15% to 21% in the opinion polls. Reset has not been pressed.

    If anything we are back to where we in the early 1980s. The damage has been done. it has to be repaired. But like last time, that is not done easily or quickly, just ask David Raw, or John Marriott.

    A generation younger than you and I will have to do it. Sadly most of the legacy our generation has been squandered.

  • @ Nonconformist Radical (?) Your comment to the ever sensible and thoughtful Jayne,

    “What bothers me is that you appear willing to contemplate in preference a totalitarian Marxist regime run by Corbyn (or rather by the people running him). A Marxist ideology which has been proven not to work – demonstrated amply through the rush to escape from Russia’s totalitarian Marxist clutches undertaken by the satellite communist countries of eastern Europe during the late 1980s.”

    A quick question….., When is the train leaving Windsor Castle with closed blinds on the way to Ekaterinburg ?

  • Nonconformistradical 2nd Sep '19 - 11:00am

    @expats
    “In that marxist state I didn’t leave university owing tens of thosands of pounds”

    Now please tell us what percentage of young people even had an opportunity to attend university at all in those days. Very small proportion compared to today.

    If more people are to have the opportunity of further or higher education it has to be paid for. Tuition fees are in effect a graduate tax (and should have been marketed as such). The abolition of maintenance grants and their replacement by loans is a disgrace – precisely because it disadvantages the less well-off and has no effect on the well-to-do.

    “I travelled on publicly owned railways, used water/electricity/gas from publicly owned utilities,”
    You must have forgotten all those strikes and the 3-day working week….

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/6729683.stm

    I’m happy to accept that the process of privatisation of the railways has been appalling.

    “It must have been a marxist dictatorship because there was no serious opposition to such control by any party.”
    The 1966 Labour government had a fat majority.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Kingdom_general_elections

    Actually I have quite a lot of time for Harold Wilson – in respect of the social reforms enacted during the 1960s but centrally planned and controlled economies don’t work.

    I do wonder to what extent history might have turned out differently if Harold MacMillan hadn’t been beset by the Profumo Affair.

  • @expats “Reading your posts on Corbyn’s marxism makes me long for those far off days of the communist UK I grew up in.”

    It is of course a well known phenomenon that people look back through rose (pink?)-tinted spectacles at their youthful days. The corollary of this is the ability of the mind to filter out all the less appetizing bits (which to be fair you may not have experienced yourself) … the casual sexism and racism prevalent in every day life, the lack of choice, the grey monotony of the cuisine, the disruption to every day life caused by industrial unrest, etc etc. So yes, life was better different in the 1960s/70s.

    @David Raw “A quick question….., When is the train leaving Windsor Castle with closed blinds on the way to Ekaterinburg ?”

    @David Evans “A generation younger than you and I will have to do it. Sadly most of the legacy our generation has been squandered.”

    Absolutely. Young(er) people aren’t proper Liberals; they don’t know anything about how to fight or win election campaigns, and things have gone steadily to the dogs since the luminaries of the 1970s have stepped away from an active role and resigned themselves only to commenting about how things have gone to the dogs and were better when they were running things.
    I hadn’t realised that Elizabeth II was a divine-right autocrat who’d taken personal responsibility for running a world war military campaign.

  • John Marriott 2nd Sep '19 - 12:11pm

    @Nonconformistradical
    Yes, we can all look back on our lives with rose tinted spectacles. I remember the 1950s, when some today would have you believe that you could leave your front door unlocked all day and night as there was always a bobby on every street corner ready to clip your ear if you sneezed inappropriately. When we still made things and were still believing our own propaganda that we could mix it with the big boys on the world stage. “The Common Market? That’s for foreigners, isn’t it?”

    I prefer to remember the three young mums, who died on our new housing estate in Leicester from TB and the lady down the road who, it was commonly alleged, provided certain services to young girls with a problem! Then there was the polio, or infantile paralysis as we called it, and the dreaded ‘iron lung’. On the brighter side, however, I remember how we used to wait on Saturday afternoon for Whirligig to come on our HP purchased Phillips 12 inch, with H L, Mr Turnip and Hank the Cowboy. Then there was ‘What’s my LIne?’ at 8 pm on Sunday evening on the only channel available. Oh, and going to the pictures on Friday nights armed with three Woodbines, paying for the 7d seats and creeping back to the 1/3’s when the lights went down and home on the last bus with a bag of chips and possibly a pickled pig’s trotter. Mind you, I was around eleven at the time. What were my parents thinking of, letting me run around at all hours? Yes, they were happy days and that’s what some of us want to return to, it would seem. But we can’t. Life has moved on.

    I’ve nearly had my life and, as they say, “Je ne regrette rien”, except possibly falling off that roof in 1968, which ended my rugby playing career. What really worries me is what sort of a life my sons and their families are going to have. You know, despite all the improvements in medical science and standards of living, in many ways, this world of ours is in a more precarious state both politically and certainly environmentally than it was back in the 1950s when at least you thought you knew who the enemy was. Some of us are unfortunately still basing our prospects on an illusion; but is anyone listening?

    So, don’t blame ‘Super Mac’ or even Harold Wilson. If you want to indulge in ‘What if?’ how about starting with ‘What if Hugh Gaitskell hadn’t died prematurely?’ or John Smith, for that matter?

  • Billle Breton 2nd Sep '19 - 12:11pm

    David, you may be right. But I think it is worth one almighty go! Ad astra.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Sep '19 - 12:16pm

    John Marriott 2nd Sep ’19 – 9:03am
    Former leader Vince Cable made a speech in the Commons recently about WTO rules, not very long and not a recommendation.

  • jayne mansfield 2nd Sep '19 - 12:24pm

    @ Nonconformistradical,

    I contemplate nothing of the sort. The Labour Party is still a broad church as evidenced by the friends and acquaintances of mine who are still members and its remaining MPs.

    I have enough experience of life to know that to achieve one’s aim or that which comes closest to it, one has to deal with people that one disagrees with, sometimes fundamentally.

    I was brought up in a working class family and I know from experience that working people in this country tend to be socially conservative. Unfortunately when they have snake oil salesmen like man of the people Farage, or man of the people Johnson, they can be too easily taken in.

    I spend my days speaking to people, intervening in conversations etc., explaining to people that when they blame the usual scapegoats for their lack of housing, welfare, NHS facilities, and educational opportunities, they are barking up the wrong tree and giving those politicians who have given them their sense of victimhood, a ‘Get out of Jail free card’.

    Most, I am afraid to say, claiming to have been ‘a Labour man all my life’, or’ Labour don’t care about the working class anymore’ former Labour supporters, are not transferring their hopes to the Liberal Democrats but to Brexit, and now Johnson who they don’t like or trust but think is the man needed at the moment to get things done.

    TCO focuses on the ‘unfunded Labour policies, I see little focus on the ‘unfunded’ promises now being made by Johnson.

    I really do think you need to ask yourself whether you want to stop a no deal Brexit or gain political advantage by moving the deckchairs on the Titanic ie. attracting those who are already ‘remainers ‘to your boat.

    The country is still hopelessly split and so, I am afraid , are those who if they really mean what they say, will do whatever it takes as a short term measure, in the short time left , and stop arguing about things that in the current scheme of things, are less important than the immediate threat of a no-deal Brexit.

    I don’t hold out much hope on past evidence, , but hope springs eternal that we will see more statesmanship ( I put great store by Kei Starmer), and less Violet Elizabeth Bott – (if I don’t get my way, I’ll squeem and squeem and squeem until I’m sthick. I can you know’.)

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd Sep '19 - 12:40pm

    @ John Marriott,
    Your penultimate paragraph, sums up my fears.

    I thought that I could die relatively free of fear, knowing that the world was becoming a better place, but now my fear for my children and grandchildren is increasingly consuming my thoughts. How quickly progress can unravel.

    I am just going to have to be selfish and be an ageing burden on society for even longer, so that I can take up the fight again for their future wellbeing.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Sep '19 - 12:52pm

    We should be open to comment from others.
    Ptofessor John Curtice said that there is substantial “churning” between Brexit and Conservative supporters, hence the rise in the Conservative support in opinion polls.
    (This was before the resignation of Ruth Davidson MSP as leader of the Scottish Tories).
    John Curtice also said there was very little change among those who voted Leave in 2016.
    GoD was interviewed on Sunday 1/9/19 on Radio 4.
    He sounded serious when he said he would be bringing (a) mattress into the House of Lords for use in late sittings. He also commented on parts of the (Uncodified) constitution which he had written when he was a (top) civil servant.
    The current circumstances are different from what a predecessor (Armstrong) said in 2010, relying on what happened in February 1974.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gus_O%27Donnell

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Curtice

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Sep '19 - 1:04pm

    jayne mansfield 2nd Sep ’19 – 12:24pm
    We are close to agreeing on something, although please spell his name right.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keir_Starmer
    His persistence and progress is impressive. There may be more to come.

  • David Evans 2nd Sep '19 - 1:06pm

    TCO – “Young(er) people aren’t proper Liberals; they don’t know anything about how to fight or win election campaigns, ” You said it. Not me.

    Or are you putting words into other people’s mouths again? Do tell

  • David Evans 2nd Sep '19 - 1:33pm

    Bill. It is sad but has been proven true that when in difficulties most Lib Dems look for a single good statistic and cling to it for support. That was what happened while the legacy generations of Liberals and Lib Dems had built up in the decades up to 2010 was steadily flushed down the toilet. Our leader bet the party’s future in government on getting away with what he did in coalition and lost. Secret Courts, Austerity, Hostile environment for Immigrants etc. etc. etc. – he and all our Cabinet Ministers supported them all. But so many clung to one or two bits of good news and ignored all the evidence to the contrary

    Forgive me for worrying, but equally another old stager thinking it is worth betting the bit Nick left behind on one almighty go, based on a single reassuring statistic! That’s not how ALDC helped local parties build up and ultimately take control of hundreds of councils over the years.

    It’s not “Ad astra,” but much more “Ad lutum” or maybe at best “Ad Trabant”.

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd Sep '19 - 1:42pm

    @ Richard Underhill,

    OK Richard, it’s a deal. I will spell Keir Starmer’s name correctly if you spell Professor John Curtice’s title correctly.

    I was a bit taken aback to read that GoD was interviewed on radio 4. I am sorry that I missed that. I would have liked to hear his opinion on all this.

  • @Jayne Mansfield “TCO focuses on the ‘unfunded Labour policies, I see little focus on the ‘unfunded’ promises now being made by Johnson.”

    You seem to want to replace Johnson with a Labour-dominated government. I want to replace Johnson with a Lib Dem (dominated, but that’s the low end of my ambition – I want it to be a majority) government. That requires ruthlessly dealing with all of our political opponents. Johnson is a Brexiteer; we are Remainers. Our opposition is nailed on.

    Corbyn? Brexiteer. Marxist (controlled). So … he needs to be opposed ruthlessly. I presume you agree with that?

  • Bill le Breton,

    In the 1983 general election 23 Alliance MPs were elected and the Conservatives had a majority of 144. If we end up with 60 MPs and the Conservatives have a majority of 50 or more it would be terrible for the country.

    I wish we were starting from the 2005 position, but we are starting from the 2017 position where we were second in only 38 seats. I wrote, “I see no reason to believe we are working towards achieving this (more than 158 MPs)”. Are you aware of us having plans to fight full target seat campaigns in more than 200 seats?

    Martin,
    Can you explain your thinking?

    If we experience a recession following a no deal Brexit (BoE I think say a 33% chance), then Labour will pick up votes with a promise to get a deal and a customs union which will protect jobs and the economy. We are likely to have the policy of re-entry which is not as popular as staying in (because we lose all our opt-outs).

    TCO,

    The historical Prussia was outside of Germany after 1945. The rest of the heartland of the seventeenth century Brandenburg-Prussia was in East Germany. I am not sure that refugees would have a strong influence on the names of the “Lander”.

  • TCO, I’m not looking back thru your rose coloured spectacles; my comments were just about the policies of that era and how not even the bluest Tory would’ve called that mixed economy ‘Marxist’.
    Jeremy Corbyn’s policies are no more Marxist than those despite your seeing reds under every bed.

    John Marriott , Yes, there were those who died of TB and I remember friends who walked with calipers, due to the scourge that was Polio. However, the vaccines and medical care developed THEN almost eliminated such diseases. However, what do you say now when measles is increasing due, not to a lack of know how, but to the stupidity of those who refuse vaccination.
    Yes, there was casual racism but, again, what about Islamophobia (deliberate and casual) mouthed by some of our leaders. The Windrush generation was distrusted by those who knew no better but what about their deliberate targeting by government in today’s enlightened age?

    I’m not basing my life on any illusion but I agree with most of your penultimate paragraph. I’m far nearer the grave than the cradle and, all in all, I’ve had a good life. I, too, fear for the world that my grand and great grandchildren are inheriting.

    We can’t go back; life and especially technology has moved on. There is little point in ‘what-ifs’ but, given the choice I’d pick my era.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Sep '19 - 5:45pm

    Michael, in 1983 we were a few percentage points short of a chunk more seats.

    We are not at 2017 – we a 10 points higher in the polls and the competition could, just could, if we haven’t left by 31st Oct 2019 , be on or around the same percentages.

    There is everything to play for.

  • John Marriott 2nd Sep '19 - 5:47pm

    @expats
    Sorry if I got carried away a bit in my last post. The point that I was trying to make was that, all in all, life wasn’t that great in the 1950s and was, in many ways, probably even worse in the 1930s. Life is so much better in so many ways today and yet we don’t appear to be any happier. Our angst appears to have got more intense. You know what they used to say? We could do with a war to sort things out. Well, we look like getting the next best thing over the next couple of months the way things are shaping up in Westminster.

    You are right about some politicians playing the racial card. You can blame social media for a lot of the stuff going on. Despite all the professions of tolerance, scrape the surface and prejudice soon shows through. After all, people might tell you one thing; but you really don’t know what many of them are thinking deep down. The secret ballot is as much their licence to express their true thoughts as is the nom de plume on Twitter or even LDV.

    By the way, my name’s John. What’s yours?

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Sep '19 - 5:49pm

    Michael, “Are you aware of us having plans to fight full target seat campaigns in more than 200 seats?”

    Yes.

  • jayne mansfield 2nd Sep '19 - 8:01pm

    @ TCO,
    Although I disagree with you on much, an insurance based NHS for example, you are clearly not a bad sort, you appear to be sound on such issues as race for example.

    Your last post encapsulates the difference between us. You are 50% correct. You want to see a Liberal majority or a Liberal government. However, iIon the other hand want, in the immediate term, to stop a no deal Brexit. `In the longer term, when that has been achieved, I want to see a radical approach to rectifying, the social and economic injustices that scar our society, and indeed the world.

    I don’t wish to be brutal, but if one takes for example, the immediate aim of stopping a no deal `brexit, the reality is that you have 14 MPs , three of whom were not elected as Liberal Democrats as compared with the much larger number of Labour MPs.

    Unlike you, I am prepared to switch my support to the political vehicle that is most likely to achieve the aims that I hope for. Unlike you, I do not have a ‘my party right or wrong’ loyalty to any party.

  • @Michael BG

    “Are you aware of us having plans to fight full target seat campaigns in more than 200 seats?”

    You’re fighting the last war.

    This election is between 5 or 6 parties (Con, Lab, LD, BXP, Grn, Nat where appropriate). That makes the winning post potentially much closer.

    This in turn makes an air war more influential. It will be won on social media as much as by stuffing pieces of paper through letterboxes.

    “The historical Prussia was outside of Germany after 1945. The rest of the heartland of the seventeenth century Brandenburg-Prussia was in East Germany. I am not sure that refugees would have a strong influence on the names of the “Lander”.”

    The “Prussia” to which the legal minds were turning to in 1945 was the “recent” one as shown in this map https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussia#/media/File:Map-DR-Prussia.svg , not the tiny Grand Duchy centred on Konisgburg of 500 years earlier. That’s like trying to argue that the “real” England is just Yorkshire, or the Palatine of the Prince Bishops, or Mercia.

    The point I was making was that the post 1871 Prussia exerted a disproportionate influence due to it’s size, as England as currently constituted would do in any UK Federal state. And that they got round that problem by creating new Lande including the Soviet-occupied territories (5 IIRC).

    Lastly – German refugees from East of the Oder-Neisse line had to go somewhere, and many of them (and their Prussian attitudes and heritage) ended up in the Bundesrepublik or, like the grandparents of a friend of mine, in West Berlin. They told me about how when they were born the eastern border of Germany was 800km from their flat, but now it was only 80km (this was in 1993).

  • @expats “Jeremy Corbyn’s policies are no more Marxist than those despite your seeing reds under every bed.”

    You show a charming naievty about how revolutionary socialists operate, expats. Do you really expect them to advertise exactly what they will do once they’ve got control of the levers of power?

    It looks like you haven’t actually read Nick Cohen’s article in the Guardian on Disaster Socialism, that I referenced above. I suggest you do so. Cohen is no right wing commentator himself. He’s on the left of Labour, a democratic socialist. But his diagnosis is spot on:

    whatever other qualities Corbyn possesses, he is not overburdened by the weight of his intellect. The brains behind the operation are John McDonnell, Milne and Murray. And “they absolutely believe that if Brexit brings chaos the voters will turn to the radical left”. To put it in Marxist language, a crisis in capitalism will allow the left intelligentsia to lead the proletariat to victory. Corbyn and McDonnell hardly dare talk about their hopes for fear of alienating pro-European supporters. But it’s clear that they want a Brexit that allows them to deliver socialism in one country, free from EU rules.

    @Jayne Mansfield “Unlike you, I am prepared to switch my support to the political vehicle that is most likely to achieve the aims that I hope for. Unlike you, I do not have a ‘my party right or wrong’ loyalty to any party.”

    I am a party member; you are not. But if you think I believe in “my party right or wrong”, you are much mistaken. There are members of the party with whom I disagree profoundly and with whom I have next to nothing in common. There are members of other parties (deliberate plural) with whom I have a great deal in common.

    However, my overbearing loyalty is to Liberalism, and were the Liberal Democrat party to cease to be the best vehicle for furthering its aims, I would leave it (in much the way that the Conservative Party has become erratically revolutionary and the Labour party has abandoned social democracy).

    Ultimately I do not believe that either the Conservative Party of Johnson or the Labour Party of Corbyn will further those aims, although individual MPs from both parties would.

    That is why I cannot support Corbyn. For the reasons shown to expats above.

  • Bill le Breton,

    I recall you writing about how badly things were handled by the party in the 2015 general election, so it surprises to me that you have confidence in a plan which most members know nothing about to fight target seat campaigns in more than 200 seats. Do you know if all the new target seats have been informed of their new status?

    TCO,

    I do not have faith that we can win 200 seats relying on the air war alone. How did we do in the air war in the European elections and how much was our result due to hard work on the ground. I think there were about 41 areas where we topped the poll. I don’t think that results in 200 seats, but it might be more than 60. We fought a good ground war in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election recently. I don’t think we would have won without all those leaflets going through all those letterboxes.

    For someone who stated they had studied history I am surprised by your comments. You should know in which century the Duchy of Prussia (please get the name correct) and Brandenburg were united. This map of Prussia in 1786 gives a better idea https://www.zum.de/whkmla/histatlas/germany/prfrederick.gif. The people who lived in Silesia called themselves Silesians not Prussians. The people who lived in the lands gained in 1815 or 1866 didn’t see themselves as Prussian, just like the Scots, of Scotland which was united with England and Wales in 1603, don’t see themselves as English, or the Irish, of Ireland whose country was conquered finally in the seventeenth century after centuries of part of it being ruled by the English, don’t see themselves as English. So that part of the kingdom of Prussia which was Prussia is very much like Yorkshire but only united in the eighteenth century and not back to the dark ages like Yorkshire.

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Sep '19 - 7:39am

    Michael, I don’t know the details.

    My criticism of the 2015 campaign is that the Party didn’t know our political frontier – ie the seats we would win or lose by less than 500 votes. Events proved they didn’t.

    This time the danger was that we set our sights so low that all our targets would come in and scores of very good prospects would fail by a few hundred votes because of that strick targeting.

    I think both the Centre and the incoming Swinson Team get the fact that we need a very different approach to virtually every election national or regional or local that we have fought.

    So TCO is right – much of our messagein the coming election is going to be carried by others ie the media and by our opponents.

    Our job is to be seen as the Main Candidate in This Constituency Fighting Brexit (MCFB)

    Do you know the Tories are going to be our main message carrier? They are going to fight the Brexit Party and Labour by sending out scores of messages to their target electors which indirectly identify us as the MCFB in 520 constituencies.

    Where for years we have talked of rifle shots we now need a shotgun approach.

    This is our great chance. If the Tories can’t do a deal with the Brexit Party or haven’t achieved exit from the EU by the election … then our ultimate target is being the largest Party in the next Parliament. If the Tories fight an election on the 14th or 17th October, then, our main target is having more seats than Labour in the next Parliament.

    And remember we are starting from 19%, in many many seats we can seize the mantle of MCFB. What we did the the Euros just four months ago, we can do in an October GE.

    So if you think you can be the MCFB in your constituency go for it. And the Party will range its message delivery at you. You may even get money but don’t wait for that – just bang that drum, raise the standard in your Town Sq physically and virtually.

  • TCO 2nd Sep ’19 – 9:19pm,,,,,,,,You show a charming naievty about how revolutionary socialists operate, expats. Do you really expect them to advertise exactly what they will do once they’ve got control of the levers of power?………………

    Perhaps, form the lofty heights of your Phd you’d care to explain HOW, in modern Britain, Corbyn, et al, could create a totalitarian Marxist state?

    As for Cohen, he hates Corbyn and McDonell with a passion that clouds his judgement. In 2016, prior to Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, he wrote article, after article, in the Spectator (his true home) and even made a video re-hashing every smear and rumour against Corbyn.

    To stop a hard Brexit needs co-operation with Corbyn. I listened to Rabb this morning avoiding every question but throwing the word Corbyn into every sentencen (a slight exaggeration).
    Sadly, you and thoae like you are enabling the hard Brexit (you’d prefer to even a temporary government led by Corbyn). Why should Tories come to the LibDem party when their ‘work’ is already being done here?

  • Jayne Mansfield 3rd Sep '19 - 10:16am

    @TCO,

    Have you read Nick Cohen’s book, ‘ If not, I recommend that you do.

    ‘How the left lost it’s way: How Liberals lost their way’.

    On the matter of revolutionary socialism, I have cautioned Peter Martin on here, that he is playing with fire, any swing to the extremes will be to the extreme Right.

    This is no time for hysteria. We have a ruthless government headed by a character that needs challenging, and given his behaviour, preferable removing from office.

    In my opinion, success requires that is no room for differences amongst those who oppose him and what he is doing. The honourable Tories who oppose him are in favour of a deal, the Liberal Democrats want to stop Brexit completely and Labour at the moment want a better deal and a referendum on it. There really is a need to concentrate on the one area of agreement, the stopping of no deal. Fragmentation will lead to failure.

  • @expats “s for Cohen, he hates Corbyn and McDonell with a passion that clouds his judgement. In 2016, prior to Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, he wrote article, after article, in the Spectator (his true home) and even made a video re-hashing every smear and rumour against Corbyn.”

    What perspective do you think Nick Cohen might be coming from when he addresses the Corbyn issue?

  • TCO 3rd Sep ’19 – 11:49am………………..What perspective do you think Nick Cohen might be coming from when he addresses the Corbyn issue?……………….

    Thank you, TCO, you’ve just made my point.

  • Bill le Breton,

    I am surprised that you think we can win many seats on the air war. I thought it was proven in the 1980s that we couldn’t.

    The Conservative campaign will include their strong attacks on Corbyn saying he is unsuitable to be PM and that a vote for us or the Nats is a vote to put Corbyn in Downing Street. If we were top of the poll in 60 constituencies in the European elections then they are where we need to win. In the rest of the English seats it was the Brexit Party which came top and the Conservative will need to try to get those who voted for the Brexit Party to vote for them. Labour will be using the 2017 election result locally to point out that they are the challengers to the Conservatives.

    So I would only like us to identify 200 seats as target seats if we can put out enough leaflets during the campaign. Can we use commercial deliverers so we can put out one leaflet across the whole constituency every week in these seats? What is more important getting our members to deliver a polling day leaflet across all 200 seats or doing a knock-up operation in 60 seats?

  • John Littler 5th Sep '19 - 7:31pm

    Boris Johnson Being Bitten on the back side by His Own Tactics

    Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings have tried a number of tactics to stop Parliament blocking their no deal Brexit. It’s not just that these tactics have failed, but they have done enormous damage to Johnson and his own government.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj1_pZ7vmxnhy5clIcMVJtg

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