Johnson or Corbyn, who is the biggest danger?

The General Election we will be facing in the Autumn will be vital for the future of the UK.

I know, this is said every time we elect a Westminster Parliament but this time, it really is true.

Stopping a majority right wing Tory party under Boris Johnson (and his extremist backers) is paramount  to prevent the UK being dragged out of the EU with no deal and then left to the tender mercy of the vulture capitalists already circling to feast on its carcass, is a priority above all  other considerations.  Not only is this a threat to our economy but to every part of the way we live in the UK.

The Tories will continue to play down the very real dangers of Brexit and play up the potential threat of a Labour government, hoping to frighten people with the idea of a Venezuela or Cuban type “socialist” regime under Corbyn.

Whilst I disagree with much of what Corbyn (and the narrow clique running the Labour Party) stand for, there is little chance of a majority Labour Government at this election.  In addition, many Labour MPs, even after the cull Momentum are trying to impose on those MPs who are not “true believers”, also do not support Corbyn so would block his more extreme ideas.

So, what options are we left with to block Johnson?  Our best hope is that the Liberal Democrats & Greens, working together alongside others in a Unite To Remain Alliance can win enough seats to hold the balance of power, possible even be in power with the moderate parts of both the Labour & Tory parties, in the Commons to block Brexit and hold a People’s Vote on Remain / Leave as we now know the facts of what leaving the EU means.

To achieve this, Lib Dems must be willing to work with others, we must be willing to stand down candidates if need and support other “Unite to Remain” Candidates (yes even those whom we have fought bitterly with over the years) in our Constituencies.   Further, if needed, we must be willing to enter into an agreement with Labour, even under Corbyn, to achieve these ends.

I know this is hard to swallow and will stick in the craw of many Lib Dems.  Indeed, I myself have argued against pacts with other parties before as It will lose us Short Money & broadcast time.

However, under our crazy, antiquated, “Winner Takes All” voting system, we have no choice unless we are willing to allow Johnson (who is a bigger threat to the United Kingdom than Corbyn) & his backers to destroy the country we love.

* Leon Duveen is a Liberal Democrat activist in Worksop, Nottinghamshire

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18 Comments


  • Whilst I disagree with much of what Corbyn (and the narrow clique running the Labour Party) stand for, there is little chance of a majority Labour Government at this election. In addition, many Labour MPs, even after the cull Momentum are trying to impose on those MPs who are not “true believers”, also do not support Corbyn so would block his more extreme ideas.”

    This is dangerous wishful thinking.

    Labour MPs are tribal to the core and when push comes to shove will obey the whip.

  • Spot on, Leon. It’s clear to me that Johnson is a much bigger threat to Liberal values and objectives than the allotmenteer jam making vegan from Islington.

    However much one may question Corbyn’s positions it’s obvious that Johnson’s bull in a china shop nacissistic personal ambition is built on nothing but personal ambition. He will scruple at nothing and trample on anything or anybody to achieve his ends. Such a man is dangerous.

  • Richard O'Neill 14th Aug '19 - 9:19pm

    I know this is crying out against the wind, but any genuine settlement of the Brexit crisis is going to need both Labour and the Conservatives to sign up to it. If one side imposes it on the other it will likely be reversed by the other the next time they take power.

    As to Corbyn and Johnson, I don’t think there is a great difference between them. Both are complex bundles of liberalism and authoritarianism rolled into avuncular cults of personality. Both have advisors (Milne and Cummings) who fit into the popular view of evil geniuses, but may just as easily be bunglers with no specific plan.

  • This is a no brainer, Corbyn is much less dangerous than Johnson, and unlike the latter may even care about the people of the country.

    The problem is, in my experience if Liberal/libdemmery since college in the 80s, it’s much easier for liberals to get along with Tories than with labour, who are cliquish, chippy, clannish and – often – vile to have to deal with.

  • I think it is obvious that Johnson is a much bigger risk. When you look down the list of what Corbyn has said he will do, it is mostly good. A lot of free-market liberals will oppose the public ownership aspects of his agenda, but there are sound arguments both ways for that. Johnson is a far-right, unpredictable quantity who clearly favours leaving the EU with no-deal come what may. His position is insanity! Lib Dems need to get behind the latest Corbyn letter and sign up to a single issue government that brings the options back to the people. That is the only choice left in town. After that we can have a GE and get parliament back into work mode.

    Rather that than accept this no-deal madness.

  • Patrick Coleman 15th Aug '19 - 12:16am

    I do wish we could stop the labelling of Labour’s leadership as dangerously left-wing. I remember a government which was content to run nationalised railways, post offices, telecoms, water, and utilities, with the basic rate of income tax over 40p in the pound*, and the economy grew, and the nation built 300,000 homes in a year. Not dangerous communists but mainstream (arguably patriotic) Tories. Taking just the railways, they now cost the taxpayer around 4 times as much as BR did, with the fares as high in real terms as ever, and the service perhaps 50% better than 1994 when the privatisation mess started. Labour aren’t left wing, they are just short on new ideas, with no coherent ideology, and rather divided (to put it mildly). The best description for them might be Douglas Adams’s famous description from the Guide “mostly harmless”.
    (*8 shillings and threepence)

  • Charles Kennedy was an anti-war, social democrat and he was the most popular leader – certainly in recent times – you’ve had. Nuff said.

  • Paul Barker 15th Aug '19 - 4:05am

    All rather missing the point, the big problem with Corbyns latest plan is that not enough Tory Rebels are likely to vote for it. There is a big question of Trust, if we Vote for a “Purely Temporary” Labour Administration to ask The Eu for an Extension in order to have a General election. How Temporary is Temporary ? All Governments are Temporary after all.

  • It’s good to see the Corbyn crew out in force.

    Corbyn is the more dangerous because he wants the chaos of brexit followed by a Marxist revolution. Disaster Socialism. He* sees brexit as creating the conditions ripe for finally implementing his Marxist programme.

    *- Wykehamist Seumas Milne pulls the strings

  • The devil or the deep blue sea!? (maybe to day the bog or the precipice!) I don’t think we can have any truck with a socialist Labour party and its ideological nationalization plus the lack of confidence from the financial markets – it will only serve to make the lives of ordinary people worse. The fact that it’s that stark choice versus one in which the United Kingdom risks being torn apart plus economic consequences of an abrupt no-deal departure from our largest trading partners, is no choice at all. I’m sure there’s a better way economic illiteracy of the left and the right! This is no time for muddying our message!

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Aug '19 - 9:15am

    Fortunately, many Liberal democrats no longer read The Guardian.

    ‘Loud, obsessive, tribal’ : the radicalisation of remain’, a Guardian Long read. by Daniel Cohen.

    Politicians who oppose a no- deal Brexit, need to decide their primary aim, the stopping of a no- deal Brexit or party advantage.

  • Being a party of opposition, I think one thing Lib Dems have never really got to grips with or accepted is that you are judged by your actions, not your words. I swore off the Lib Dems after the tuition fees and bedroom tax fiasco proved that many are tories at heart.

    I’m just warming up to them again, after all that was nearly a decade ago and I’d like a second referendum. Still lean mostly green. But now’s the time for what the Lib Dems actually believe in more: keeping Corbyn out of office, even temporarily, or adopting the only strategy that could feasibly prevent Brexit?

    (I think similar logic applies to Labour too BTW. Many Labour MPs will have to decide whether they would be comfortable with a caretaker govt without Corbyn in charge.)

  • Patrick Coleman 15th Aug ’19 – 12:16am……………..I do wish we could stop the labelling of Labour’s leadership as dangerously left-wing. I remember a government which was content to run nationalised railways, post offices, telecoms, water, and utilities, with the basic rate of income tax over 40p in the pound*, and the economy grew, and the nation built 300,000 homes in a year. Not dangerous communists but mainstream (arguably patriotic) Tories……………………..

    The same policies that most of our European neighbours have no problem with.

    However, it won’t happen.

    Guardian today..”The Labour leader proposed that he should lead a temporary administration on a “strictly time-limited” basis with the aim of calling a general election.”
    Whilst the SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru agreed to ‘talks’ Jo Swinson called the idea “Nonsense”…

    BTW…May I remind LDV what they posted about Corbyn’s refusal to attend talks with May (when Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry were invited) “So the country is in crisis and he (Corbyn) is not prepared to behave like a grown up. I remember this sort of game playing in student politics days but not when the country is about to crash and burn. It’s unbelievable”…

    How times change!

  • Julian Heather 15th Aug '19 - 11:29am

    Corbyn just wants a General Election, so that a Labour Government can negotiate a “better” Brexit deal, ie to ensure we leave the EU. However everyone in the Remain Alliance, judging by the reactions to Corbyn’s proposal from the Greens, the Nats etc, wants a Referendum. That has to be our primary aim.

    Anyway, as Paul Barker says: “All rather missing the point, the big problem with Corbyns latest plan is that not enough Tory Rebels are likely to vote for it” – and neither are many of the Labour MPs who have left Labour. It’s a clever move by Corbyn and Labour (for once) but they know perfectly well it’s a non-runner.

  • Shaun Whitfield 15th Aug '19 - 11:53am

    @Julian Heather – have you actually read Corbyn’s letter? The last sentence reads: “In that General Election, Labour will be committed to a public vote on the terms of leaving the EU, including an option to remain.”

  • Let’s suppose a general election in the autumn results in a remain alliance of around 100 seats. Will we have left the eu by then? So if we find ourselves our of the eu and with about 60 seats, what do we do? Campaign to rejoin when there are so many other issues. My preference would be to campaign for our values and defer another referendum for at least a parliamentary term.

  • Roy Pounsford 15th Aug '19 - 12:33pm

    Welcome Sarah to the Lib Dem

  • John Littler 17th Aug '19 - 5:41pm

    With Jo Swinson’s virtual dismissal of Corbyn at a Temp. PM, this was being played in the Guardian as proof that the LibDems were a right wing party masquerading as progressives. The paper had been bitterly attacking the LibDems for years until the recent successes allowed them some positive notes, but have now returned to recent form from the Old Manchester Liberal paper.

    I think Vince Cable’s record in the coalition was one of Social Democracy and an Active Industrial Strategy and that this should be built upon. There is no spare political space on the right in Britain, at least under FPTP voting and to try such is to get either squeezed out by the Tories or to have to go in with them and become toxic to most of your natural voters, as happened during and after the coalition.

    The LibDem’s high points were probably under Charles Kennedy, when the LibDems were seen as to the left of New Labour in most respects and more principled.
    Tim Faron once described the LibDems as being close to D66, the left wing liberals, presently in coalition power in the Netherlands. I feel there is a future in this, but not in drifting back into a Tory Lite Centre to centre right area as seemed to happen in too many respects under Nick

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