Labour Leadership: Who should liberal democrats be cheering?

Nominations have closed in the Labour leadership contest, and for £3 (probably in breach of our rules and theirs) you might even have a vote. The options are, Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist from another era, Andy Burnham, a good looking Ed Miliband, Yvette Cooper, an experienced minister of 11 years, and Liz Kendall, the Blairite.

I’m writing this post to give space for a debate on who we Liberal Democrats should be cheering on in this contest. Who, for £3 paid to the enemy, might it even be worth supporting? (No, I haven’t read the rules; this does not constitute advice of any kind.)

The psephological tea leaves are still out, but it is pretty clear that while we were expecting, and saw, a loss of vote share to Labour, what we didn’t see coming was the extent to which the fear of Labour, or Labour + SNP, cost us swing voters direct to the Conservatives. We can argue over which factor was greater, but that’s not really the point. One happened in 2010, and the other is a consequence of soft Conservative voters impressions of Labour.

As a consequence we now have more MPs in the North of England than the South. To win back the south, we need to deal with “the fear” and that means having a Labour leader, Liz Kendall, who doesn’t frighten soft Conservatives quite so much.

This also means a Labour leader who might actually win elections for Labour. Naively, we should expect this to be bad for us, but remember when Blair won in 1997, the Liberal Democrats increased our seats from 28 to 46.

There will be those who argue that the right won the election because we and/or Labour were not left wing enough. This seems to be pure wishful thinking. Elections are won in the centre, and Liberal Democrats prosper when the choice between Labour and Conservatives is a less polarised one.

This won’t deal with the larger part of “the fear” that a minority Labour government would be propped up by the SNP. I don’t see this going away until the Scottish people realise that Conservative government is a consequence of their supporting the SNP in such large numbers (though they have every right to do it.) That may well take another parliament or two, unless anyone has a bright idea.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

84 Comments

  • Jeremy Corbyn

    Don’t just just think about seats think about total vote share. Getting from 8 up is differnt to getting from 28 up. Rather than reference ’97 think ’83.

  • I think Scotland will be out of the equation in less than a decade.

  • Hmmm. Remember, as a union member, voting Benn/Heffer when last given a chance! So on the same logic: Corbyn. A wasted vote though as was my last one. My Union cast my vote for Kinnock. Of the others it’s hard to tell. None of them seem very inspiring. Burnham will be labeled ‘the unions’ leader’ if he wins and it may stick but it is hard to see who will do the most good or bad, for Labour or us.

  • (Matt Bristol) 16th Jun '15 - 3:37pm

    If elections are won in the centre, why did Cameron win?

    I still don’t really find any Labour leadership candidates I like, but Liz Kendall is nominally nearest to my politics, although too agressive and London-centric for me. However, in the unlikely event that she wins, I predict a massive internal civil war. She will not be allowed by the centreground of the party, let alone what remains of the old ‘hard’ left, to have a complete free hand. Burnham and Cooper whiff heavily of old compromises and do not seem able to communicate a coherent national vision of where Labour want the country to go. To be honest, I don’t think they know.

    This is depressing, for the reasons Joe Otten outlines – a positive centre-left narrative contributing to a mood of optimism in the country about the possibilities for the future (something the Tories under ex-‘Sunshine Dave’ seem now to have little interest in) may help us.

  • Corbyn was against:
    * Iraq war
    * detention without charge
    * trident renewal
    * ID cards

    In some ways he’s the most liberal candidate; he just happens to be socialist as well. (Yes, I know liberalism and socialism aren’t compatible…but if we focus on policies, those he espouses tend to be at the liberal end of the liberal-authoritarian axis…)

    I’m hoping he does well, as I am a liberal first and a Lib Dem second. A Labour party with a more liberal viewpoint is a good thing.

    That said, some of his views on economics do scare me.

  • Oh, and I’ve also heard that Corbyn’s in favour of PR (though not been shown any evidence). A real debate over electoral reform in the Labour party would be fantastic – especially if they sign up to campaign for PR in the coming years.

  • I don’t know much about the other candidates, but Liz Kendall is indicative of Labour’s problems. She owes most of her vote to the Braunstone and New Parks area of Leicester, which has high unemployment and low wages in a region already known for much lower than national average disposable incomes. To me she’s one of those Blairite leeches who lost them Scotland by offering to clobber her own voters so they can look better on the Andrew Marr show. I don’t think Labour failed in the South because they are too Left wing or even really because of the SNP. I think it was a poor and confused campaign mixing with a more general dislike of Labour inherited from 1997 to 2010. Blaire is at least as much of a divisive figure as Thatcher and playing up his legacy will cause them further declines in support. Really, what happens next is dependent on how the next few years pans out

  • Simon McGrath 16th Jun '15 - 3:58pm

    Corbyn is a supporter of anti semites as well as Hamas and Hezbollah.

    We need people to feel its safe to vote LD, so Kendall is the best candidate for us.

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jun '15 - 4:11pm

    Good article. I prefer the Lib Dem membership base to Labour’s, but I think it is in the national interest for Yvette Cooper to win the Lab leadership, so I’ve been helping her campaign out a bit on Twitter.

    The shattering result the Lib Dems received in May has put me off a Kendall candidacy. It’s taught me that you need to look after your base a bit.

    I might become an immigrant one day, so I might look like a bit of a hypocrite supporting tougher immigration rules, but the current numbers coming in has even started to worry me. We can have tougher rules without cutting it off entirely.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '15 - 4:11pm

    Joe Otten

    To win back the south, we need to deal with “the fear” and that means having a Labour leader, Liz Kendall, who doesn’t frighten soft Conservatives quite so much.

    But (Matt Bristol) tells us she’s too aggressive and London-centric. That sounds like just the sort of thing that people in the south outside London don’t like about Labour.

    The first local election I ever fought was in Sussex and I was dropped in at the last minute to defend a Liberal-held seat where it turned out the local party had collapsed, so I did it almost single-handed, only time I was ever free to do it just as I liked. Well, I thought I’d gone too far left and probably handed it to the Tories, but it actually went to Labour and the Tories came third. See, it’s not as simple as you think, people actually don’t fall so neatly on a left-right spectrum as your line suggests.

    This was in Hove constituency, then thought of as true blue. However, what was happening was that Labour and the Liberal-SDP Alliance had spent most of their effort fighting each other to be the main challenger to the Tories. My losing that seat was possibly the key factor that led to Labour pushing ahead, and now it’s the one constituency in the south-east outside London they hold.

    Sure, the south has more of the super-wealthy type who vote Conservative because that’s obviously in their interests. However, ordinary people in the south are nowhere near as right-wing as people often think from looking at their voting patterns. They don’t much like Labour, but it’s more a cultural thing than a left-right thing. Labour just seems to them to be too urban, too northern, too out of touch with the lives they lead. So they drift around politically because no-one seems to be interested in them. Sometimes that drifting leads them to the Conservatives, but you are quite wrong to suppose that means they support the sort of right-wing economic policies which you and people like Liz Kendall say are how to win in the south. Some of the Conservative vote is a socially-conservative thing, but that does not necessarily imply a belief in extreme free market policies, in fact sometimes it means the opposite.

    The Liberals used to do well as a sort of party of the people of the south. But the Cleggies wanted to put a metropolitan elite image on the party, and that sunk it. Also the drift to seeming irrelevant as people who used to vote LibDem supposed in 2015 it was just another way of voting for the Conservative-led government. UKIP, of course, also works on the feeling in the south of no-one being interested in them. The place I grew up in was just on the Hove side of the border, but go the other way and you get into Adur district – for years run quietly by the Liberals, but now a place where UKIP do well.

  • Glenn Andrews 16th Jun '15 - 4:18pm

    To win back the south west uniting the anti-tory vote would be a tremendous boon…. a Labour leader who’s as scarily reactionary as the tories is what we need to attract both soft tories (who let us not forget are tories – as opposed to the people in the south who vote against tories) and tghe anti-tory vote (who are anti-tory whether they wear a blue or red rosette); Liz Kendal is the obviously choice to help rebuild our support.

  • They won’t be cheering our election, so why should we be cheering theirs?

    All in all, a very strange article.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 16th Jun '15 - 4:32pm

    “If elections are won in the centre, why did Cameron win?”

    Cameron did win from the centre… or more accurately by appealing to the centre.

    Lots of people here will have a different view on the man, but many in the public see him as a fairly affable fellow who is nicer than his somewhat nasty party. He argued that the Coalition had turned the economic corner, and anything other than Tory MPs would risk massive instability and/or a weak Labour PM at the mercy of cleverer, tougher, more left wing Scots. There were also some shiny things for potential Kippers, certainly (e.g. EU referendum). But really the core of what he was setting out was designed to be, and was, centre friendly.

    I’m not saying he portrayed himself and his party wholly accurately. But that was the stall he set out, and I can see how that appealed to moderate people.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 16th Jun '15 - 4:41pm

    I tend to agree with those who’ve said Kendall would be best for us.

    Fear of Miliband (and an SNP deal) was lethal for us in May. The Tory message that only a Tory MP would guarantee people avoided that was, I’m afraid, catnip in the 57 by-elections we were supposedly fighting – a devestatingly effective message.

    Kendall lessens that fear materially. That doesn’t mean she’d be great for Labour – there is a bit of the metropolitan elite about her, and something aggressive in her style. Indeed, we could well win both ways – less fear amongst Tories, but Labour supporters not convinced.

    I don’t agree with the view that we want a weak and/or extreme Labour leader. Yes, it weakens the opponent on one flank, but it gives us no chance of getting back those losses to the Tories.

  • My observations since the 70s have been that in general we have done better when there has been a swing towards Labour and lost out when the swing has been away from Labour. Some of this is caused by the inconsistencies of FPTP, but there are more seats, particularly in the south west where we are the challengers to Conservatives, and Labour has no chance than seats where the opposite is true.

    To some extent we are constrained by the electability of Labour. We are also constrained by Labour because of the effectiveness of their attacks on us. While hardly denting the Tories, Labour’s castigation of the last government as “the most right wing government in living memory” even though the government basically abandoned Tory Targets for Labour’s 2010 targets, was particularly damaging to us. Whether it is Burnham, Cooper or Kendall, what matters is that they adopt a more constructive line rather than the knee jerk opposition of the last five years. Perhaps it is wrong to apportion guilt by association, but I cannot help wonder if Cooper might be influenced by husband Balls who was one of the worst offenders when it came to tribal antics. Having said that Burnham was not too far behind.

  • (Matt Bristol) 16th Jun '15 - 5:03pm

    I think, to be honest that the issues Matthew Huntbach picks over go beyond the South, and suggest that all the ‘big’ English parties (including us, if you’ll suspend disbelief about that language) have splits, inconsistencies and instabilities in their voter base.

    The Tories found a way to manage that risk and hide the illogic of their position. Can they do it again? No idea. But if Labour and LibdDems can’t hold together their fragmenting voters (either by finding one message that unites, or by somehow persuading each faction of their support that the others don’t exist or can be ignored), and UKIP still can’t break through, the Tories will be more likely to manage their risks in a way that would see them scrape through again.

    Not sure about the Greens.

  • @Matt (Bristol) the Greens will e found out if they ever gain critical mass. Brighton Council is a good example of that
    .

  • “what we didn’t see coming was the extent to which the fear of Labour, or Labour + SNP, cost us swing voters direct to the Conservatives”

    Assuming this is true, why do you think it would be the case, given that Nick Clegg effectively ruled out cooperating with Labour or the SNP and all but openly stated his support for Con-Dem Coalition 2.0? Maybe you think he should have made it clearer that the Lib Dems were supposed to be Tory-light?

    Or it could be that people who wanted a Tory government voted Tory, and the Lib Dems suffered not from not being close enough to the Tories, but from having lost the confidence of their natural voters.

  • I was always certain the Labour wouldn’t win the 2015 election because five years is not long enough to recover from the intellectual entropy that is an inevitable consequence of 13 years in government (or five years, in our case). I’m not sure about the next five years: none of the candidates for the Labour leadership seem to have the ability to reinvent and reinvigorate the party in the way that Blair and Mandelson did, and which is what is necessary again, but on the other hand the EU referendum and the Scottish question have the potential to be massively disruptive factors in British politics.

  • Should we not be worrying about ourselves and not others, we certainly have enough to worry about.

  • Alex Macfie 16th Jun '15 - 7:08pm

    Jeremy Corbyn is a cheerleader for the Cuban regime. He was also a Sinn Fein supporter back when the IRA was bombing mainland Britain. So he is certainly NOT “the most liberal candidate”: he is not a liberal at all.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jun '15 - 7:24pm

    This is entertaining, but probably ineffective because they will do what they like anyway, as they should, and as we should. It is too early to be talking about any form of co-operation with Labour because we have not elected our own leader yet, we only have eight MPs at present, Labour is trying to decide whether it wants to decide on policy first or their leadership (and deputy leadership) first.

    In Tory-facing seats we should be thinking about what the Cameron-Osborne governemt will do. If it looks like splitting on the EU referendum they want we should stick to the principles espoused since our six MPs divided the House of Commons in (about) 1957, It would be tempting to be opportunistic, but we should not.

  • “it is pretty clear that while we were expecting, and saw, a loss of vote share to Labour, what we didn’t see coming was the extent to which the fear of Labour, or Labour + SNP, cost us swing voters direct to the Conservatives”

    Hardly – the Lib Dem vote did not collapse in any way at the end, it was exactly what people had been expecting since 2010. So any effect of the kind you describe was small, but Nick Clegg certainly did his best to maximise it by stoking up the “fear” himself, as many posters here (myself included) pointed out before the election. Or did you seriously think Clegg’s anti-SNP rhetoric might attract more votes to your party?

  • Jedi,
    I’m not sure what your point is. Labours vote went up, but was weakened. It lost Scotland and failed to make up for the collapse of the Lib Dems in Tory facing seats. In case you didn’t notice we have 8 MPs left. Now I’ve read lots of your posts over the years, most of them espousing centre right to right wing views, yet you consistently argue that the Lib Dems should be fighting on the left! I don’t get the impression that you even actually vote Lib Dem. To be honest I get the impression that you are a basically a right of centre Euro sceptic Conservative, so I’m far from certain you even want a serious opposition to the Conservatives and are more interested in side-lining opposition parties than contributing to their revival.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jun '15 - 8:06pm

    Apparently the Tory pollster said “You do not fatten a pig on market day”.
    He is probably right and not just about the Tory campaign.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '15 - 8:15pm

    Stuart

    Or did you seriously think Clegg’s anti-SNP rhetoric might attract more votes to your party?

    It was yet another example of Clegg’s utter incompetence.

    The message the Liberal Democrats needed to get across in order to defend their position against the attacks being made against them and their voters deserting them in disgust at their support for Tory policies was that a small party in a no-majority situation is actually not nearly so powerful as is often supposed, and that although it might not seem much, what the Liberal Democrats achieved in tempering the Tories was about as much as could be done.

    So what did Clegg do here? Put across the opposite message, tell people that a party with some 50 MPs in a no majority situation is in a hugely powerful position and can hold the governing party to ransom. Er, duh …

  • paul barker 16th Jun '15 - 9:03pm

    Slightly off topic, the new Labour Electoral system means that Union dont get a vote as such. Members of affiliated unions can get a vote for a measly £3. Officials of Unite & The G&M are claiming that about 1% have signed up, suggesting about 25,000 Union members across the board. Labour Head office claim only a tenth of that number have completed the process & got their vote. Of course theres another couple of months to go but neither set of figures suggests any great enthusiasm for the Labour/Union link among the rank & file or even the activists. That makes the breaking of the Union link seem inevitable.

  • Kevin Manley 16th Jun '15 - 9:58pm

    It does seem right that Labour and Lib Dems do better when not pointing thier guns at each other, and recognise that the Tories are the common enemy of what both parties are supposed to stand for. The Lib Dems are supposed to be rooted in both liberalism and social democracy, which is effectively socialism by another name. Thats what the “Democrat” in the title is shorthand for; for a brief period it was called the Social and Liberal Democrats. This is not the Liberal Party. That seems to be where most past LD voters are pitched and who unsurprisngly deserted when LDs did the unthinkable – without much of a choice admitedly – and propped up the Tories. Those voters / ex-members are only now starting to come back. I am married to a Labour member so as a household we have a finger in each pie and we both feel a strong Labour party helps sustain a strong Lib Dem party, and vice versa, with a common interest in keeping the Tories out and marginalised. I think we were quite liking Mary Creagh but sadly she couldn’t get on the ballot. My wife’s going to the Manchester hustings and will prob make her mind up after that, but none of them seem particularly inspiring. Would be good to see a woman win it; Yvette probably a bit tarnished by new labour era so that leads to Liz Kendall.

  • Aren ‘t we missing the point? Labour has lost Scotland. There is to be a boundary review that will help the Tories. We will have English votes for English laws.
    Labour has a huge mountain to climb.
    As do we.
    Perhaps the question to ask is ‘ which Labour Leader will recognise the situation and be prepared to do something about it?’

  • Corbyn obviously. Let Labour implode as the illiberal unionised dinosaurs stage a last hurrah for ideologically pure socialism, and the democratic centre-left will realign . Be ready to welcome them, with a little good fortune it.will coincide with the electorate realising that this administration is the nasty party with the brakes off.
    Be radical, look beyond compromising with Labourand aim to supplant them!

  • Joe says “the fear of Labour, or Labour + SNP, cost us swing voters direct to the Conservatives” – but did it?
    I’ve not analysed every individual seat, but in my region (Western Counties) there were huge variations in terms of our loss in votes, nothing like a uniform movement. Nationally the Tory vote went up by a mere 0.8% on their 2010 showing, ours collapsed to 7.8%. we shed votes to UKIP and the Green Party, and in some places Labour.

    (Of course I realise that any comparison of the raw figures masks trends within eg. Lib Dems switching to Labour, Labour switching to UKIP, UKIP switching to Tory etc), but the key point I’m making is that the Tories gaining an overall majority on virtually the same percentage poll as that which delivered a ‘hung’ parliament in 2010 is in large part vown to the vagaries of FPTP.

    And as for the Labour Leadership, well for me the nighthmare ticket is Andy Burnham and Tom Watson, two old style northern Labour blokes who are hostile to Proportional Respresentation, and probably any reform of the UK’s outdated constitution.

  • Pay Three pounds? Better to waste the money on a lottery ticket
    Jeremy Corbyn is the only one who may have had a job outside of politics. All will have limited knowledge of the outside world. Not good in a globalised world.

  • Jedi
    I don’t buy it and I don’t think your argument about positive liberty comes close. Why don’t you just say “I am not a Lib Dem, I vote X” instead of hiding behind verbose exchanges. The labour supporters who comment on here do it as do the UKIPPERS and Greens. But you use ” we need to do this” and so fourth when you plainly aren’t actually a Liberal supporter, Dude, I don’t get it. And what does Kumbya liberalism actually mean. It just sounds like covert contempt to me. Given your last line it really does come across that you are much more in favour of slaying Labour than in reviving the Lib Dems? In which case why not just say so. Coz here’s what I think, The Right has dominated the political debate presenting arguments they don’t believe in to pull the wool over peoples eyes because if they didn’t everyone one would see that they actually believe inequality is awesome and there should be more of it, that they are an elite who should be taken more seriously than a Tesco’s shelf stacker and that their special pleading for more for money for the military or whatever bee in the bonnet they have should carry more gravitas than the campaign to keep village post boxes a traditional colour . To me it comes across as a con trick, flim flam, patter, Nothing more, To quote Se7en, Just because you have a library ticket, it doesn’t make you Yoda.

  • Steve Comer 17th Jun ’15 – 12:11am
    “….Joe says “the fear of Labour, or Labour + SNP, cost us swing voters direct to the Conservatives” – but did it?
    I’ve not analysed every individual seat, but in my region (Western Counties) there were huge variations in terms of our loss in votes, nothing like a uniform movement. ”

    Steve, you are absolutely right. I hope LDV will devote some space to proper and thorough analysis of the election result. Informed discussion on that subject would help us all.
    Study of what happened in the Western Counties ought to be a high priority for anyone serious about rebuilding our party after this year’s disaster.
    Forget about watching Labour from the sidelines, why did Liberal Democrats lose every single seat in the Western Counties?
    We had been told repeatedly that “incumbency” would save the day and our existing MPs would hang on in “areas of strength”. So what happened in Paddy Ashdown’s old seat which we had held since 1983 where we saw a slump in our support as massive as 22% ?
    Perhaps someone at the top of that Region’s organisation has some explanations? If so – now is the time to share the information with the rest of the membership before people start repeating mistakes that can be avoided.

  • Andrew Purches 17th Jun '15 - 9:18am

    To what extent we should be taking an interest in who might be the next leader of the Labour Party is rather immaterial; Whoever wins will have an almost impossible job of bringing this party back to life, and the four candidates to date have no star quality whatsoever. It will not be until Cameron srews up ( an unlikely p[ossibility at present

  • David Warren 17th Jun '15 - 10:24am

    If I had a vote it would go to Corbyn but he will finish in a very poor fourth place.

    That is why he is on the ballot.

    The Blairites and Brownites want to publicly demonstrate how little support there is left for old fashioned socialism.

  • John,
    The main reason we lost so many seats was that we had lost so much support nationally. On uniform swing the norm was for our vote to go down by 16%, but because some seats were already at 16% or less in 2010, bigger swings (more like “proportional swing”) had to occur in seats where we had a big vote. I did some rough calculations and reckoned we would need at least 10% of the vote nationally to get the 20-30 seats predicted by the Ashcroft polls. There was some sign that might happen in the polls, but it proved illusory.

    The other unexpected factor was that far from the Tory vote dropping by 2% nationally, as predicted by the average of the opinion polls, it went up by 1%, and the increase was much greater in many of the Tory marginal seats (not just against us, but also Labour). The Tories managed to produce a successful campaign message and then a very effective campaign to put it across where it mattered. In Labour heartlands the Tory vote often went down and Labour up, as predicted by the opinion polls. That successful Tory campaign undoubtedly lost us a few more seats. Think of the norm as +1% for the Tories and look at where it was more than that.

    My conclusion is that we should be looking at seats where our vote went down by 16% or less and concluding that the local campaign was reasonably effective. We really did do quite well in Eastbourne, for example, although I appreciate it will not feel like that.. We also did much better where we were fighting Labour than fighting the Tories, partly because the Tories left those seats alone, and partly because there was definitely Tory tactical voting for us in some cases. And there was an incumbency effect, but all the stats show this generally only lasts one election, and after that it is embedded. We should not blame local parties or Paddy Ashdown for failing to defy gravity. And I don’t blame them for believing Party polling which was backed up so emphatically by Ashcroft. There was an ICM poll which predicted what happened in the SW but everyone ignored that (not just Lib Dems).

  • I should add that “loss of incumbency” was clearly a big effect (in Bath, for example). And in the specific case of Yeovil we should not forget the expenses controversy that afflicted David Laws. You cannot be suspended from Parliament for seven days and expect no effect on the electorate…

  • Andrew 17th Jun ’15 – 10:46am …………………I should add that “loss of incumbency” was clearly a big effect (in Bath, for example). And in the specific case of Yeovil we should not forget the expenses controversy that afflicted David Laws. You cannot be suspended from Parliament for seven days and expect no effect on the electorate………….

    Except that the ‘controversy’ was quickly ‘airbrushed’ out of LibDem history and then, and now, Laws continues to be considered a great asset…

  • (Matt Bristol) 17th Jun '15 - 11:29am

    David Warren – ‘The Blairites and Brownites want to publicly demonstrate how little support there is left for old fashioned socialism.’

    And in particular, the Blairties want to split the left.

  • Kevin Manley 17th Jun '15 - 12:17pm

    @ Steve Comer – Bit anti northern there aren’t you (and isn’t Tom Watson a Londoner?). Isn’t Tim Farron a northern bloke, being from the sunlit uplands of Preston?

  • (Matt Bristol) 17th Jun '15 - 12:24pm

    Kevin, I think the point is being made against the style of Labour politics that Steve believes predominates in the Northern cities, not against northerners.

  • The only reason a liberal might want Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would be to provoke an SDP-type split in Labour. Corbyn is the sort of left-winger who would protest loudly against inhumane right-wing regimes such as Apartheid but whose silence is conspicuous whenever left-wing tyranny is put under the spotlight. As previously mentioned in this thread he is pro-IRA, pro-Cuba, pro-Palestinian-militants. This is classic London trendy lefty positioning, and as a liberal I have no truck with it. Michael Foot never took such positions; he was very left-wing but had no illusions about the evils of communism and did not take anti-British positions for the sake of it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jun '15 - 1:56pm

    Alex Macfie

    The only reason a liberal might want Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would be to provoke an SDP-type split in Labour. Corbyn is the sort of left-winger who would protest loudly against inhumane right-wing regimes such as Apartheid but whose silence is conspicuous whenever left-wing tyranny is put under the spotlight.

    Well, yes, the hypocrisy of such trendy lefties always turned me off, and was one of the things motivating be to join and stay in the Liberal Party and its successor rather than Labour. Still, I think we need diversity in politics, and it truly worries me that what once would have been commonplace left-wing opinions now go almost unmentioned, with people like Corbyn just about the only ones remaining who express them.

    When I see Labour leadership candidates whose reaction to some of the ridiculous Tory propaganda lines in the last election is to kow-tow to the political right and accept them rather than challenge their nonsense, I wonder if I am still in a free democratic country. Actually, I don’t feel I am now. I feel I am in one of those countries which is nominally democratic, but the control of the media and politics in general by one ruling group, in our case the fat cat financiers, means it is in effect a one-party state.

  • Tony Dawson 17th Jun '15 - 2:18pm

    @JohnTilley

    “Forget about watching Labour from the sidelines, why did Liberal Democrats lose every single seat in the Western Counties?”

    The answer to that question appears to me to be the same as the answer to why Lib Dems lost almost all the rest of the Tory-facing seats (and a few Labour-facing ones) – and nearly lost several others. The incumbency factor was going fine two weeks out from the election as long as the electorate largely thought our national Party had some relevance as something with a clear entity so that backing a local Lib Dem the voter was also voting for something tangible. There failed to be any such thing. The idea that the ‘fear’ of Labour-SNP, as postulated by Joe Otten had a significant effect on its own is given the lie by people in middle class constituencies like Chester, Wirral South, Sefton Central and West Lancashire who actually swung TOWARDS Labour. Politics is full of such ‘fear’ attacks and they by and large only work when there is nothing much positive going the other way.

    Look at Joe Otten’s article again. You will see that the bulk of it is tangential at best tothe title subject. Paragraph after paragraph is mainly about Joe’s notion about why we lost so many seats. The idea that having a centrist Labour Leader (or one to the Right of Atillla the Hun) will make a blind bit of difference to Lib Dem votes in the South of England – especially where we might win is totally baseless and disturbing. What willbe required for Lib Dems to prosper in such areas is the performance of local teams which people can trust projecting a coherent theme with which the people can identify. Something which, unfortunately, has not happened, other than in a very few areas of the country, for a number of years.

  • David Allen 17th Jun '15 - 3:07pm

    The SNP fear story obviously did Labour a lot of harm. To suggest it did anything similar to the Lib Dems is quite baseless. The Lib Dems polled at 8% before the campaign, during the campaign, and at the election.

    What the Lib Dems poll is all about what the Lib Dems have to offer, not what anyone else has to offer.

  • Tony Dawson 17th Jun '15 - 4:14pm

    @Andrew

    “My conclusion is that we should be looking at seats where our vote went down by 16% or less and concluding that the local campaign was reasonably effective. ”

    By such reasoning, I am sure you think that the corn harvests in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years were “reasonably effective” in feeding the local farmers. We can all put ‘false origins’ on graphs to make the figures look good when they are rubbish.

    I cannot blame Paddy Ashdown for anything because I do not know of any obvious input which he was making to the campaign anywhere we had a slight chance of winning. To most people in the country, for the past four years, our national party has been damaged goods with nothing to say and no one worth trusting to say it.

    Cameron’s national performance against Labour was mixed – his greatest effectiveness was in winning over voters who had drifted out in previous years to UKIP, who significantly under-performed their Ashcroft polls from earlier in the year. He did this through measures like Teresa May’s much-vaunted promise of asylum clampdown which anyone who knew anything knew was (a) going to be found, in the courts, to be an unlawful empty gesture and (b) was not going to be determined such until after the general election was over.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jun '15 - 4:49pm

    “Flo Clucas
    Aren ‘t we missing the point? Labour has lost Scotland. There is to be a boundary review that will help the Tories. We will have English votes for English laws.”
    Flo, good to hear from you, are you in a Labour-facing or Tory facing seat?
    This is not an ordinary boundary review, because of the legislation, a sort of Tory half-answer to proportional representation. Expect opposition from Tory MPs with small majorities, especially if their neighbour/s are not Tories. They only have a majority of twelve, compared to the 21 which John Major had, and lost.
    This is an issue on which MPs from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have a common cause.

  • Christopher Haigh 17th Jun '15 - 5:15pm

    @Kevin Manley, Hi Kevin I agree with your comments-I’ve always supported liberals (was in Richard Wainwrights constituency) but was absolutely ashamed of leading liberals attacking the labour party over the last five years. The financial crisis was a neo-liberal thatcherite disaster and the labour party in government were trying to deal with the social and economic mess created by thatcherism. To equate social democracy with socialism however is not fair. The labour party in its constitution is Democratic Socialist which means it believes in the free market tempered by government to try and produce a humane society. I think socialism means a belief in the community ownership of consumption and the means of production, which is no way modern labour party policy. ‘Socialust’ seems to have become an American word to discredit any political party left of far right !

  • Simon Banks 17th Jun '15 - 5:44pm

    Jeremy Corbyn is a feel-good candidate for a socialist protest against everything from Gaitskell on. He’s interesting and independent enough that I think the House of Commons is better for his presence. Besides, I was once mistaken for him. But he has no chance whatsoever of winning.

    Andy Burnham is not Ed Miliband mark 2. He’s less geeky but also shallower. Whereas Ed as a minister at least fought his corner for climate-change-fighting measures, Andy spent his time at Health enthusiastically promoting the sort of things he now calls privatisation. That could hurt him as leader. Liz Kendall’s inexperience probably would not hurt her, but one aspect of inexperience is that you really don’t have much idea how the person will perform, especially in difficult situations. An outright Blairite would divide Labour and we had enough experience of Blairism to know, as the media struggled to understand, that Blairism is not Liberalism dressed up for Labour. The most attractive candidate for people wanting Labour to win ought to be Yvette Cooper – sharp, female, experienced, able to seem authoritative (important when swing voters consider who might be up to the job of Prime Minister). I’ve heard her speak when she was a junior minister and she was impressive. I don’t know much about how she’s performed in the last few years.

    Probably all of them would be more illiberal on civil liberties, given a majority, than Ed would have been.

    Finally, while I agree Labour did not fail through not seeming left-wing enough, it wasn’t from seeming too left-wing either. It was through failing to articulate how a Labour government would be truly different from the coalition, through having a talented leader who came across as geeky, weak and unsuited to Number 10 and through the cannibal Scots rule Westminster scare. As for us, the left-right language is unhelpful here and the preaching of the centre ground more unhelpful too. We were crushed because people who had thought they understood roughly what we stood for, no longer felt that despite holding mainly Liberal values and because through the student finance fiasco and the emphasis of our campaign in the later stages, we conveyed the impression of caring more about being in power than about issues or principles. Oh, and as in 2010 our campaign techniques were fighting the last war against Tories fighting this war.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jun '15 - 5:52pm

    During the referendum in Scotland I noted the following

    “A candidate should be wise and mature in behaviour, sober and not an excessive eater, not proud, nor apt to give offence, nor inclined to cause trouble, not unpunctual, nor wasteful.

    Rule of Benedict
    http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
    Therefore there is no requiement to be good-looking, although the taller candidates do tend to win US Presidential elections.

  • John Tilley 17th Jun '15 - 6:29pm

    Tony Dawson 17th Jun ’15 – 2:18pm
    “… The idea that the ‘fear’ of Labour-SNP, as postulated by Joe Otten had a significant effect on its own is given the lie by people in middle class constituencies like Chester, Wirral South, Sefton Central and West Lancashire who actually swung TOWARDS Labour. ”

    Tony,
    You make an excellent point.

    To add to your point it is worth noting that —
    The Labour Party in England won every seat from those Liberal Democrat MPs who had Labour in 2nd place in 2010.
    The Labour Party in England made net gains from the Conservatives.
    The Conservatives south of Birmingham took every Liberal Democrat seat except for Wallington. I have not checked the vote in every one but it is probably true to say that the Labour vote went up in most if not all of those seats in the same way that the Labour vote had increased throughout the South of England at every May election since 2011. it would have been remarkable if the voters had got wind of “The 2015 Fear” in May 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

    The “experts” in charge of the Liberal Democrat campaign thought these facts could be ignored and their answer was to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on opinion polling. They promised to turn lead into gold.
    The questions in that opinion polling must have been something along the lines of — “You do agree that The Emperor has nice new clothes, don’t you?”.

  • jedibeeftrix 17th Jun '15 - 7:21pm

    just watching the beeb labour leadership debate. surprising conclusion thus far:

    i was expecting to like liz kendal the most and she is good, but i am surprised at how impressed i am by yvette cooper.

    she gets it, she knows that labour needs to appeal across the common ground, and not a narrow factional interest regardless of whether that is left or right. i’m sure she’d be delighted to have the support of the lib-dem’s, are you happy to enable her or do you want to replace her?

    on a totally superficial note i think i have a crush on yvette; great legs and a fascinating pixie prettyness.

    #yvettefor leader

  • Kevin Manley 17th Jun '15 - 7:31pm

    @christopher haigh I agree with you, socialism is probably too strong a term (although the definition of European style social democracy does use that term), but I suppose I meant “of the left” in the sense of a vision of the state as a force for good in its own right, of the state having a redistributive role in addressing the rampant inequality that an unestrained capitalist free market would give rise to, and of properly funded public services (preferably delivered by public bodies!). I didnt mean quasi-Marxist socialism in the sense of moving towards public ownership of the means of production. Bynthe time I’d reconsidered it I’d posted it!

  • Kevin Manley 17th Jun '15 - 7:33pm

    Although, reading it again, the definition of democratic socialism you give is what I was thkning of

  • @David – the SNP fear certainly did have an effect on the Lib Dems. In certain seats – NE Fife, Gordon, & Charles Kennedy’s seat – it almost certainly did affect our ability to win, not just because it attracted votes from us to the SNP but because it stopped voters switching from Labour to us in enough numbers (they went to the SNP instead.) There is also a degree of voters voting SNP without considering the potential consequences – see numerous comments from voters in Fort William after Charles’ death, where people were saying “I voted SNP but expected him to win.”

  • Kevin Manley 17th Jun '15 - 8:15pm

    @matt bristol havent seen much evidence of Andy Burnham being old style northern Labour – seems more like a Blarite with an accent to me. Dont know enough about Tom Watson to comment

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jun '15 - 10:35pm

    Liz Kendall said in the Newsnight debate that she wants “a strong economy and a fair society.” That sounds familiar. Does she want an alliance with us or merely to attract voters from us? She also said that she thought that she is the Labour candidate that the Tories most fear.
    Liz Kendall gave a definite YES to the proposal that the next Labour leader should be willing to face re-election in the Labour party in 2017 or 2018. Yvette Cooper was against a re-election process.
    Andy Burnham is the NHS candidate, important as that is it only applies to England, elsewhere it is devolved.

  • @John Tilley :

    “it is worth noting that —
    The Labour Party in England won every seat from those Liberal Democrat MPs who had Labour in 2nd place in 2010.
    The Labour Party in England made net gains from the Conservatives.
    The Conservatives south of Birmingham took every Liberal Democrat seat except for Wallington. I have not checked the vote in every one but it is probably true to say that the Labour vote went up in most if not all of those seats in the same way that the Labour vote had increased throughout the South of England at every May election since 2011.”

    Yes, while there are some people in the former Lib Dem leadership who would possibly like to lick their woulds and blame Labour for the Tory victory, the truth is that there were only about three seats where the increase in the Labour vote made the difference to enable a Tory to beat a Lib Dem MP. The present Tory majority is there ENTIRELY due to the failures of the Liberal Democrats in government over five years to persuade people that the monkey was better than the organ grinder and to ‘vote monkey’ in over 20 key seats. You cannot blame this failure on the campaign.

  • Neil Sandison 18th Jun '15 - 7:35am

    If you want Liz Kendall to lose the Labour leadership race then let it be known the Liberal Democrats favour her .The Labour machine will turn against her and back one of her weaker rivals. She also poses a threat to a liberal revival which I hope we are all working for .This Blairite could superficially seem attractive to our voters so be careful of what you wish for.
    We should like the SNP have done in Scotland be looking to replace Labour in large parts of England and Wales we will only do that by having the confidence, conviction and principle to stand by our own party and its policies .No pacts or deals until we are strong enough and trusted enough by weather a general election and can be assured we will retain our share of the vote.

  • It doesnt really matter what we wish for as the Unions will decide.

  • Personally, In the debates I was most impressed by Yvette Cooper. Re, my earlier post, The other thing about Liz Kendall is that with boundary changes her seat may become more vulnerable because that area of the city of Leicester borders with Conservative county council strongholds in the constituency of Blaby. So some of Labour’s vote could be absorbed by a larger block of suburban and rural seats. Of course it could do the opposite and give Labour a foot up in those county seats, but this is highly unlikely.

  • Alistair 18th Jun ’15 – 8:03am……..It doesnt really matter what we wish for as the Unions will decide……..

    Oh dear, more of “Labour is controlled by leftie unions” shortly followed by “labour has forgotten its core voters and become too right wing”……

    I just wish that we would stop being fixated on Labour/Tory (and trying to be “THEM, but a bit nicer” ) and concentrate on the values that made us what we were…….

  • @expats did you listen to the Labour Leadership hustings last night? Very illuminating ….

  • Reading The Guardian’s account of Labour’s hustings in Nuneaton, the last sentence stood out the most:

    “Liberal Democrat vote fell from 6,846 to 816”

    This sort of statistic is very frightening. It goes beyond specific policies. It is a demonstration of how meagre is our core vote. It suggests that people not only have not known what we stand for, but have not done so for a very long time. Alternatively, they simply reject Liberalism and follow the overtly anti-Liberal stance often seen in the tabloids.

    What we need are leaders who can articulate and communicate fundamental Liberal principles in action in order to establish a stronger base of support.

  • @Martin what is required is a detailed analysis of vote flows between 2010 and 2015. One thing that too many commentators do is assume that voters swing from one party to another, whilst forgetting the very large pool roughly a third of the electorate) who don’t vote at recent elections. It is quite possible that a sizeable chunk of Lib Dem support has not switched anywhere but went into the pool of non-voters, whilst previous non-voters switched out to Labour, UKIP, the Greens or wherever. If we don’t understand this we could be wasting our time trying to win Labour/Green/UKIP voters when actually “our” vote is none of these, but needs persuading to vote again.

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th Jun '15 - 10:55am

    Neil Sandison

    We should like the SNP have done in Scotland be looking to replace Labour in large parts of England and Wales

    Well, we did just that up till 2010. There were a great many parts where the main political action was between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, and Labour was an also-ran in a poor third place. In many of these we established that position back in 1974 and held it since then – until Clegg and the Cleggies wrecked our party.

    See, for example

    Mid Sussex
    Horsham
    Chichester
    Arundel

    in my home county of Sussex. We had actually won and held Lewes and Eastbourne, once considered safe Tory. But all that was thrown away, and now I see Liberal Democrat Voice flooded by people who want to go along with throwing it away using their usual code words like “not a party of protest”, “economic liberal”, and so on.

  • Martin 18th Jun ’15 – 9:35am ………………Reading The Guardian’s account of Labour’s hustings in Nuneaton, the last sentence stood out the most:…“Liberal Democrat vote fell from 6,846 to 816″.
    This sort of statistic is very frightening. It goes beyond specific policies. It is a demonstration of how meagre is our core vote. It suggests that people not only have not known what we stand for, but have not done so for a very long time. Alternatively, they simply reject Liberalism and follow the overtly anti-Liberal stance often seen in the tabloids……….

    Very frightening… We went into 2010 with a ‘pledge’ and a ‘promise’, both of which were binned within months, and we never recovered…..
    The Tories were elected on a ‘scare ticket’ (having given no details of ‘cuts and promises’). I seriously believe that when the ‘cuts’ start hitting the ‘strivers’, as well as the’ skivers’, disenchantment will kick in and there will be an opportunity to offer an alternative….. I also believe that this will start ‘locally’ as more ‘duties’ will be passed from central to local government….Local councils were our ‘bedrock’; let’s start from there….

  • Expats and Martin.
    I’m not so sure that the results show that the core vote was meagre. I think it was more that where voters wanted the Tories out the vote switched to Labour and where people where happier with the government they switched to the Conservatives because it was basically a Tory government anyway. To me the failure was not seeing the Conservatives as an opposition party and to fight on the middle ground. As Matthew Huntbach says “the Cleggies” fundamentally misunderstood the nature of people who voted Lib Dem in the past. This meant the vote got squeezed which tipped the balance according to the biggest second placed party by making the Lib Dems seem neither here nor there. Personally. I always felt the coalition was a huge mistake, but having entered it there were probably better ways of conducting the Lib Dem input than acting like equal partners in a unified program. There’s still enough people who would go for a more traditionally focused liberal vision, but really people need to learn from the mistakes rather than pretending those mistakes were being made by voters, who ” failed to understand the message”. The other thing is to remember is this is a government with a very slim majority and is really only a handful of seats from serious instability.

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th Jun '15 - 3:47pm

    Glenn

    As Matthew Huntbach says “the Cleggies” fundamentally misunderstood the nature of people who voted Lib Dem in the past.

    Indeed. The Cleggies’ line was essentially “Throw away all we have ever achieved in the past and start again. Instead of being a party which gets support from those who feel that Labour and the Conservatives are out of touch, let’s be a party which takes pride in being out-of-touch as well, having the elitist right-wing economics of the Conservative Party and the elitist urban intellectual attitudes of the Labour Party. There are millions of people who rejected us in the past as a non-serious ‘protest’ party who will then come flocking to us as a serious ‘party of government'”.

    And now I find there are several on-going threads in Liberal Democrat Voice saying we should carry on doing this because sure those millions never showed up, but they are just round the corner if we stick to it and kick out all those old-timers in the party who used to win us those votes we don’t want any more.

  • David Faggiani 18th Jun '15 - 5:41pm

    I’m starting to think Labour should either pick Corbyn or Kendall. Two massive risks in two opposite directions. I’d say either though beats ‘steady as she goes’ with Burnham or Cooper.

  • Expats, I never said Unions control Labour, clearly they dont. But they have a massive say in who is elected leader which is how Ed Miliband won last time.

  • paul barker 18th Jun '15 - 7:20pm

    @Alistair. Unions used to control Labour but under the new system their influence depends on how many sign up for the £3 Affiliate vote, so far the number is either tiny, according to the Unions or microscopic if you beleive Labour Head Office. Even the unions are only estimating a turnout of around 1% , the official Party figure is a tenth of that. If, when the results are declared, Union influence turns out to have been insignificant there will be increasing pressure for them to drop the link altogether.
    Thats important to us, both because it means Labour will have less resources to attack us & because it will probably lead to a more serious split in the Labour vote as Unions back some new “Workers Party.”

  • Richard Underhill 18th Jun '15 - 8:21pm

    Matthew Huntbach said above “We had actually won and held Lewes and Eastbourne, once considered safe Tory.”

    Yes,
    David Belotti’s Tory predecessor was given the privilege of speaking first in the Commons on the Queen’s Speech while Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. He boasted to cheering Tory MPs that Eastbourne had been held in the Conservative interest for over 100 years.

    That was not true because a Liberal had won ithe seat in the 1930s.
    Despite being PPS to a female PM he was boasting about elections held before the wider franchise, including most women and more men, voted for in 1917 (when David Lloyd George was PM) used in 1918, improved in 1928 for the 1929 general election.
    Because of the huge losses of male soldiers in the the Great War there was a majority of female adults in 1918. To revel in the unenfranchised status of such a large portion of the population was wildly undemocratic.

  • Matthew Huntbach 19th Jun '15 - 1:27pm

    Richard Underhill

    He boasted to cheering Tory MPs that Eastbourne had been held in the Conservative interest for over 100 years.

    Eastbourne played a key part in the Liberal revival, it, along with Adur in West Sussex went Liberal in the 1973 local elections, so indicating that the stranglehold of the Tories over supposedly true-blue places could be broken by the Liberals. Ian Gow’s remark here would have been in response to that challenge.

    The Liberals built up their support by working on the poorer places in these areas first. While Brighton and just about Hove had a strong enough Labour presence to fight back, Eastbourne, Adur and other parts of Sussex had none. Working class voters flocked to the Liberals because Labour had abandoned them, and never seemed to be interested much in them in the first place as they weren’t heavy industrial workers or urban intelligentsia. The Tories didn’t need to bother with them in the first place. So all you needed was a few enthusiasts to start up a reasonable campaign in a council estate ward, and bang it went Liberal.

    Nowadays we are told we don’t want that sort of voter, because it’s just a “protest vote”, and (subconsciously) we don’t want nasty white working class people supporting us because they are not People Like Us.

  • Tomas Howard-Jones 19th Jun '15 - 3:27pm

    Agree with Matthew Huntbach’s concern that contemporary Lib Dem campaigning tools which target ‘Educated’ sectors of the electorate and skip other categories of ‘White Van man’ or ‘Golden Sunsets’ quite evidently didn’t stop the party’s crash in support.

    The party may burst with pride at ‘Saying No to FGM’ or ‘being really helpful in pushing Cameron towards equal marriage’, as liberalism in motion. However, these issues tend not to be ones that reach out beyond “People like Us”.

    Alex Macfie: ” the only reason a liberal might want Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would be to provoke an SDP-type split in Labour. Corbyn is the sort of left-winger who would protest loudly against inhumane right-wing regimes such as Apartheid but whose silence is conspicuous whenever left-wing tyranny is put under the spotlight. As previously mentioned in this thread he is pro-IRA, pro-Cuba, pro-Palestinian-militants. This is classic London trendy lefty positioning, and as a liberal I have no truck with it.”

    Are you sure you’re a liberal, Alex? Left wing sloganeering of such causes tends to only make reactionary right-wing types with no interest in international issues crudely dismiss those causes altogether, like you appear to do.

    All 3 causes have flaws, but all belie injustices that weren’t/aren’t being fairly addressed:
    -Sectarian discrimination in 1970s Northern Ireland,
    -The large neglected poor of 1950s Cuba with an elite that looked only to itself and the US, or
    – The sectarian nature of the Israeli state and its direct or indirect rule over millions who have little or no say in how their lives are governed.

    I’d say that those 3 injustices (of which the first 2 have been largely addressed)are as fundamental concerns to anyone calling themselves a liberal as equal marriage and ‘Saying no to FGM’.

  • Alex Macfie 19th Jun '15 - 6:21pm

    Tomas Howard-Jones: I do not “dismiss” the concerns, I’m just opposed to the traditional trendy-lefty responses to them, which I regard as infantile and fundamentally illiberal.
    On Northern Ireland, the likes of Corbyn and Ken Livingstone giving uncritical hospitality to Sinn Féin representatives while the IRA was bombing the British mainland stuck in the throats of most people because it gave the impression that the IRA bombing campaign was justifiable, and that all the blame for the conflict lay on one side, namely the UK government and the Unionists, when actually there is wrong on both sides. This one-sided view of conflicts is rather typical of trendy lefties, as is their tendency to take a knee-jerk anti-British or anti-Western stance on everything. Ken Livingstone, as Mayor of London, honouring the Islamist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi and shouting down any criticism of this man is another case in point.
    On Cuba, well essentially a right-fascist regime was replaced by a left-fascist regime. And as a liberal I care for neither sort. I certainly do not think that injustices in Cuba’s past are any excuse for turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Cuba’s present, as trendy lefties are wont to do.
    On Israel, well again both sides are bad, and for me it is inappropriate to behave as if all the fault is on one side. Besides Israel itself is not a sectarian state — the Occupied Territories are another matter, but in Israel proper ethnic Palestinians have the right to vote and have the same rights as anyone else living there. It is not, as some claim, an “Apartheid state”.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '15 - 6:49pm

    Anno Domini is affecting Fidel Castro.
    The US President is making some progress.
    Cuba has an above average health service, but below average human rights.
    Imagine being HIV positive in Cuba, arriving in the UK and seeking asylum.
    If recognised in the UK as a Convention refugee, perhaps on appeal, would a partner be allowed to come?

  • Tomas Howard-Jones 23rd Jun '15 - 3:26am

    Alex Macfie: Sorry, I read your reply much later but think it warrants a reply.
    Broadly speaking I don’t take issue with what you say on N. Ireland or Cuba, though the human rights abuses in 1970s & 80s Cuba don’t appear to be on the same scale as in the Soviet Union or Pinochet’s Chile during the same period.

  • Tomas Howard-Jones 23rd Jun '15 - 3:34am

    But I take issue with you on your comment: “Besides Israel itself is not a sectarian state — the Occupied Territories are another matter, but in Israel proper ethnic Palestinians have the right to vote and have the same rights as anyone else living there. It is not, as some claim, an “Apartheid state”.

    1. Half the population (700k) of 1947 British Palestine fled their homes as sectarian war between the Irgun/ Stern/ Haganah , and Arab militia/countries (barely off colonial rule) on the other. Those of Arab culture couldn’t return home in the new ‘Jewish’ state of Israel. (Sectarian partition proposed by UN was rejected by Arabs)
    This was sectarianism.
    2. Those refugees of Arab culture were denied the right of return by the newly declared state, which welcomed exclusively Jewish immigration. This was sectarianism.
    3. Israel today still offers automatic citizenship to anyone claiming Jewish decent (a grandparent). Israeli leaders exhort European jewish people to leave dangerous, terrible Europe for Israel and its new, heavily subsidised settlements. Those with real, as opposed to spiritual or mythic connection with what is now Israel (Palestinian diaspora from 1948 & 1967) are explicitly repelled. This is sectarianism.
    4. Non-jewish Arabs count as 20% of Israelis, but will be forever excluded from the government as all jewish parties by definition won’t work with them (except for the tiny Meretz party). This is sectarianism.

    5. The Netanyahu govt in 2010 passed a law requiring all new citizens to swear an oath that Israel is a Jewish (and democratic) state, and in 2014 sought to extend to all Israeli citizens to swear or lose their voting rights…..which partly led to the 2015 election. The new Netanyahu government is now no less sectarian, and the world waits to see if this oath extension will be resurrected.
    This strips away any vestige of Israel being democratic rather than a sectarian nationalist society that discriminates some in Israeli society to be formally favoured above others. But already Israel has effectively a way to rule over 11 million people with 5 million jewish citizens over 6 million rebellious Arab ones and pretend it is like our society rather than a form of Apartheid. These unpalatable facts will not deter a loud minority from picking at them and deflecting with clearly worse sectarian regimes like our “friends” in the House of Saud.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • David Evans
    Max, there are so many cases of economy with the actualité in your article it is difficult to know where to begin. So let's start with "Ed Davey’s inter...
  • William Francis
    Somehow pro-EU stances are not credited for the party's successes in the local and EU elections of 2019. Yet they are at the same time to blame for Tim Farro...
  • Marco
    “Ed Davey’s interview on Marr may not have fully captured the nuance of our position“ What is the point of nuance at this time The raison d’etre f...
  • Christopher Curtis
    The saddest thing is that putting political expediency ahead of principle (and party policy) is showing not the slightest sign of working. The party is pretty m...
  • John King
    John Probert: It's undeniably a pretty flag and has proliferated everywhere amid the new nationalism. However if Scotland departed, followed by Northern Irelan...