Layla Moran stands for the leadership of the party

Layla Moran has announced she is running to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

On her website Layla said:

It’s time for our Party to move forwards and build a positive vision for our future. I want to fight to ensure education and equality of opportunity. To properly tackle the climate crisis, and to better engage in cooperative, progressive politics. I’m listening to members and voters, and I want to work with them to build a vision for the future of our party and country. With your support, I can lead this change.

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62 Comments

  • Her performance on the recent any questions was excellent…I was more than impressed with her response to an audience member who dismissed Patel’s history of bullying as, “Just shouting at someone”..Her controlled outrage at such sentiments bodes well for hostile interviewers..

  • Seems that all potential candidates have baggage. Not sure that I will be voting. Being restricted to MPs the field is very limited and at the present time less than awe inspiring..

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 9th Mar '20 - 11:11am

    Peter Wrigley, wouldn’t we look “sillier” if there was no contest because only one candidate could be persuaded to stand? Actually, as far as I know it is still by no means certain that Ed Davey intends to stand again. It is likely that he may, but I think so far he has only said he “certainly hasn’t ruled it out”.
    Wera Hobhouse is definitely standing, and has set up a website listing the policies on which she will campaign.
    I believe Christine Gardine has also indicated that she is likely to stand, and Daisy Cooper has said she is considering it.
    I hope as many candidates as possible will stand, and I also hope that, unlike what happened in the contest last year, the candidates will not be afraid to disagree with each other. This should be an opportunity for a debate on the future direction of the party.
    I am keeping an open mind on which candidate to support, but I will not be voting for Layla Moran

  • We should not have as leader anyone who advocates close cooperation with Labour.

  • @ TCO Is there any reason why you failed to include the words ‘Conservative’ and ‘S.N.P’ in your post, TCO ? Do tell.

  • Johnny McDermott 9th Mar '20 - 3:03pm

    Felt that frustration, Peter, particularly with Wera Hobhouse’s statement that was entirely ignorant of the state of the union. However, the notion we have no contest, or stand one practice candidate, is not tenable. Ed needs to prove himself like any other candidate. I suspect these ones will be harder on his time in the coalition than Jo was, but I suspect he will be able to address those concerns. I’m still for Ed, but we can’t shut down this process. It’s a time to shape the future of the party.

    I do differ from Catharine in one respect, though. Jardine and Cooper are not viable candidates. It’s harsh, but I believe will be borne out in July. It would be a shame to see this contest hijacked by anyone seeking to boost their own image. It’s a time for new ideas, and of course experience. But we need to be realistic. The electorate struggle to identify Sir Ed Davey, let alone the other candidates. If I’m wrong there, should recognition figures come out, I’ll eat my hat.

  • Paul Barker 9th Mar '20 - 3:30pm

    Can we leave this till after The Local Elections, I dont see any enthusiasm for Labours seemingly endless Leader contest, lets keep ours to the planned Timetable.

  • Nonconformistradical 9th Mar '20 - 4:01pm

    @Paul Barker
    Agree – leave it till after the local elections.

    https://richardkemp.wordpress.com/2020/03/09/poor-thinking-from-layla-moran/

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 9th Mar '20 - 4:08pm

    Martin, Wera Hobhouse, on her leadership campaign website, seems keen on the idea of a “progressive alliance”, which probably implies working closely with
    Labour.

    https://werahobhouse.org.uk

  • @David Raw “@ TCO Is there any reason why you failed to include the words ‘Conservative’ and ‘S.N.P’ in your post, TCO ? Do tell.”

    Yes, David. Because no leadership candidate has (as far as I’m aware) called for close cooperation with the Conservatives or SNP. The same is not true with calls for cooperation with Labour, see below.

    @Martin. Catherine Jane Crosland’s comment covers Wera Hobhouse. Layla Moran is covered by this link.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 9th Mar '20 - 5:47pm

    Actually I’m surprised there was no NewsHound article when Wera Hobhouse was the first candidate to announce that she was standing (unless I missed it).

  • David Allen 9th Mar '20 - 7:02pm

    Yes TCO. No decent Liberal Democrat would even conceive of the idea of close co-operation with the Conservatives. Would they?

  • @David Allen “No decent Liberal Democrat would even conceive of the idea of close co-operation with the Conservatives. Would they?”

    The Conservative party has been denuded of it’s internationalist social and economic Liberals. It is now run by nationalist statists. Until and unless they hold power (as they did in 2010) then there is no scope for close co-operation.

    The Labour Party is also run by nationalist statists, and looks as though it will be for the conceivable future given its membership.

  • David Allen 9th Mar '20 - 7:10pm

    “Can we leave this till after The Local Elections, I dont see any enthusiasm for Labours seemingly endless Leader contest, lets keep ours to the planned Timetable.”

    Certainly Labour’s drawn-out timescale is unimpressive, perpetuates their internal divisions, and suggests a reluctance to engage with the Tories. But the Lib Dems’ drawn-out timescale is even worse. With a Government which is plotting to neuter the judges, politicise the Civil Service, shut down the independent BBC, and hoist the Jolly Roger No-Deal Brexit flag, we need an Opposition!

  • David Evans 9th Mar '20 - 7:29pm

    The more I look at what our all our potential candidates are saying, the more worried I become that there is no willingness at all among any of them to accept and address the fundamental problem we face – That our party is in a total mess and we and they need to change before it is too late.

    It is very easy to find small niche issues that affect the liberty of a very small proportion of the population and make grand statements about passing a law to address them. Equally pretending that we can co-operate with parties that have no interest in co-operating with us is mere fantasy. The problem is that these issues have no traction whatsoever with the concerns of the vast majority of the population. Indeed to most people they are simply self centred liberal indulgences, which simply emphsise how out of touch we are with their problems.

    Up to about 2010 we had a proven strategy that worked, we had over 60 MPs and nearly 4,500 councillors. That strategy was abandoned by Nick Clegg and now we have only 11 MPs and just over 2,500 councillors. Until our new generation of MPs (and most of the old ones too) learn that being right is not enough, to do good you have to be successful too, we will continue to decline.

    As many people here are saying, we need a leader who can enable us to to succeed electorally. The first thing the candidates need to do is stop dreaming about another charge towards a glorious future and instead focus on putting right the mistakes of the past.

  • Richard Whelan 9th Mar '20 - 8:09pm

    David,

    To be fair Layla Moran did speak of the need for a more streamlined decision making process to make better strategic decisions within the party and avoid the type of pitfalls you have mentioned in her Sophy Ridge interview yesterday.

  • Neil Sandison 9th Mar '20 - 8:23pm

    Contenders appear to be emerging well before the local elections and that is not such a bad thing .its sad our former leader Jo Swinson was thrust into the limelight of a general election well before she could become established in terms of the public recognition ,but that no reason why we should not vote for another able and gifted woman with leadership skills to drive our party forward with a good grasp of social liberalism ,the new economics of the circular economy and the core values of person liberty ,social justice and equality of oppertunity underpinned by life long learning .We need to throw off the shackles of the co-alition years and show we are a Party the future and not prisoners of the past.

  • Few people in the country are fretting about the Lib Dem leadership election, which is no bad thing. Let’s do it in our own time and on our own terms, which I think is what Paul Barker is implying. Meanwhile throwing our energies into getting good results in May will give a new Leader a measure of credibility.

  • Yeovil Yokel 9th Mar '20 - 9:59pm

    I wonder if Alistair Carmichael could be persuaded to stand for the leadership. I don’t know a lot about him, but he impresses me in interviews and in the HoC, and he’s one of our longest-standing and most experienced MP’s with, I believe, the safest LD seat in the country. He seems to combine a statesmanlike demeanour with human warmth and compassion (like Charles Kennedy), he is as solid and stable as a Lerwick trawler, and he has a wonderful resonating Hebridean brogue.

  • ABC – Anyone but Conservative should be the requirement for the next party leader.

  • Johnny McDermott 10th Mar '20 - 2:06am

    Martin – yes. Ed Davey has. And it makes total sense, even when Labour are, as yet, unsettled. Any other position – full-throated support or outright rejection – is bonkers. Other candidates should follow that lead.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ed-davey-climate-is-right-for-lib-dems-and-labour-to-unite-to-fight-tories-8mwbkwxsn

  • Johnny McDermott 10th Mar '20 - 2:19am

    Sorry, Martin, missed the post you were responding to. My response would be better aimed at TCO, who made that position rather clear in my ‘What Would Paddy Do?’ post. TCO, when you can tell us how you propose we gain a position of influence without assistance, I’m sure we’ll be all ears. Being a permanent opposition is utterly pointless. If you fancy that, join another party. Or sure: stick around. If we maintain the status quo, if we go it alone on this one, we will be the permanent – junior – opposition.

    Agreed David Allen – we could speed this up a deal. We know the 5 candidates. We know Labour are still floundering, though likely to return Starmer and some Blair-Corbyn hybrid (that may be disastrously ineffective). Let’s set out our stall now.

  • Johnny McDermott 10th Mar '20 - 2:25am

    Thing is, TCO’s position is easy to attack, but I think I understand. Labour are not anything we want to approach, yet. Nor the Tories, devoid of ‘one nation’/ centrists. But alone? We cannot pull them in, those disaffected Tories and Labour. Maybe more of the one nation Tories, as they wait and watch in horror as their party departs into the distance. But Labour have proven they will sit anything out. I understand the desire to stand alone, and stand for something unique. I think we can. But as I said in that other post, and I stand by it/ have heard nothing to dissuade me from that dread that we just cannot win alone. The middle ground, reasonable electorate, powered by Liberal values, it just doesn’t exist. Not in enough numbers, or the right places, to make the difference.

    We have to move the goal posts. Electoral reform. We will require help doing that… so, minus Labour… who else will help us to oust the Tories?

  • Johnny McDermott 10th Mar '20 - 2:28am

    Last one tonight – Yeovil makes a good point. But, my own response, as a Scottish Lib Dem, begs a certain question… I had no idea he was still in the business. So… if I didn’t know, do the electorate?

    We need to bite down hard on that reality: barely anyone knows enough to vote for Ed, let alone Wera or Layla or Christine or Daisy.

    We must get real. Fast. There is not much time. Not to be an effective force, again. We can linger on like this for a while, no doubt. But… for what?

  • Johnny McDermott 10th Mar '20 - 2:34am

    Ok, compelled to write one more, to Neil Sandison – bang on! That’s what I’ve been thinking, the idea Jo arrived at the wrong moment. She was the wrong ‘tool for the job’ (apologies, truly an ‘objectifying’ metaphor). Like having a hammer to do something delicate. Was not right. But for Scotland, on the brink? Damn right I want a hammer.

    I think you’ll like this: https://www.libdemvoice.org/jo-swinsonfor-leader-63651.html

    (Also: Geoff is far more optimistic than me. I really don’t believe we have that kind of leisurely time. How many near deaths can anyone survive?)

  • TCO 9th Mar ’20 – 7:09pm………….The Conservative party has been denuded of it’s internationalist social and economic Liberals. It is now run by nationalist statists. Until and unless they hold power (as they did in 2010) then there is no scope for close co-operation…

    So, we’re back to 2010 co-operation..Did you learn nothing from 5 years of such co-operation?
    You have a viscereal hatred of talking to Labour even when our objectives are the same and yet when it comes to a 2010 type Tory party, whose policies on the NHS, welfare, housing, justice were poles apart from ours, you advocate ‘scope for close co-operation’?

    What is it about this party that, considering your support for 2010, that you prefer to those of that Tory party?

  • TCO: “The Conservative party … is now run by nationalist statists. Until and unless they hold power (as they did in 2010) then there is no scope for close co-operation.”

    What a relief! You don’t propose Lib Dems co-operate with the Tories, until and unless the Tories can get into power. Phew! The nightmare that we might hold joint fundraising jumble sales with the Tories, should Starmer occupy Number 10, has been ruled out!

  • @expats and @David Allen. I’m interested in cooperating with Liberals, including those in other parties. I see no evidence of their existence in either of the larger parties at present. Those in the Tories have been culled. Those in Labour sidelines by the 500.000 Momentumites who worship the ground Corbyn walks on.

    When the Liberals* are in power (ie in control) of either party, then there might be the basis of a conversation. Until then, there isn’t.

    *- although we saw what happened to Paddy when that happened in 1997.

  • I don’t aim to comment on individual candidates but I am curious about the process. The website referred to above gives the paragraph that appears on Layla’s website. That is all there is.

    I would have thought that there needs to be an iterative process. Party members and supporters need to debate what has gone wrong and what needs to change. They need to debate the future objectives for the party.

    The candidates need to provide leadership and explain how they wish to take the party forward. They also need to interact with membership and supporters so that the latter can judge which candidate is best placed to deliver what is wanted.

    This site gets a handful of comments on most posts so where does all the necessary communication and debate take place?

    Just wondering.

  • ” wonder if Alistair Carmichael could be persuaded to stand for the leadership. ”

    After what the Judge said in his election petition I don’t think he’s very suitable as leader – “[His} approach to the inquiry was at best disingenuous, at worst evasive and self-serving. We consider that he could and should have been straightforward and candid in his response to the inquiry. That would have been likely to reveal his involvement in the leak at some time prior to the election, so that his constituents, when voting, would have been “in full possession of the facts during the election” (in the third petitioner’s words, transcript 9 November 2015 page 20). It is our opinion that his failure to be straightforward and candid with the inquiry resulted from his hope that he would not be identified as being involved in the leak – preferably not identified at all, but at least not identified until after the election on 7 May 2015, as otherwise his chances of electoral success might be prejudicially affected.”

  • RICHARD UNDERHILL 10th Mar '20 - 3:03pm

    Johnny McDermott 9th Mar ’20 – 3:03pm
    Ed Davey is the one. At PMQ he put Boris on the spot on the bereavement issue, and was promised a meeting which Boris has not yet honoured, despite one reminder at the following PMQ. Are we living in a one-party state?
    I would vote Layla for a greener party and a more detailed manifesto.

  • One party state? Yes we are . ‘Elected dictatorship’ comes to mind (an old Tory grandee,forgot his name said it).That does not mean that the PM should not answer. The election system is no longer fit for a democracy.

  • TCO 10th Mar ’20 – 11:12am…..

    For someone who repeated asks for their questions to be answered you are rather adroit at avoiding answering those posed to you..
    In the Tory party of 2010 what were the policies (liberal) that made them such welcome bedfellows?

  • @expats “In the Tory party of 2010 what were the policies (liberal) that made them such welcome bedfellows?”

    You will recall that the 2010 coalition agreement was a synthesis of two political parties’ manifestos.

    2010 was necessary in order to stabilise the economy and prevent a depression, and the terrible poverty and destitution that would have accompanied it. The only options available were (i) coalition with the Conservatives or (ii) no coalition, minority government, risk of depression and another election at some point in the near future followed by more uncertainty or unfettered Conservative government.

    The path to coalition was smoothed by a Conservative leadership with a generally internationalist, small-l liberal outlook.

    Not to have gone into coalition would have been a huge dereliction of our duty to prevent misfortune upon the people of this country, especially the most vulnerable, who’s lives would have been far worse had there been a depression.

    Is depression, economic catastrophe, and far increased suffering of the most vulnerable something you would have welcomed as a price for walking away from coalition with the “hated” Conservatives, expats?

  • David Becket 10th Mar '20 - 9:29pm

    This is NOT the time for this debate, leave it till after the locals.

    As an aside I am pleased to note the web site has been brought up to date, that has been bugging me for months

  • TCO 10th Mar ’20 – 8:39pm…….You will recall that the 2010 coalition agreement was a synthesis of two political parties’ manifestos…………

    You might recall that; I don’t. The only synthesis I recall was Clegg’s rose garden ‘off the cuff” remark…
    What followed, in everything from NHS ‘reorganisation. tuition fees, disability/welfare cuts, bedroom tax, secret courts, etc., was pure Tory ideology.

    As for your…………….. “Is depression, economic catastrophe, and far increased suffering of the most vulnerable something you would have welcomed as a price for walking away from coalition with the “hated” Conservatives, expats?”……….

    A perfect example of “Have you stopped beating your wife”? The idea that a ‘Confidence and Supply’ agreement would have given the country a worse outcome than politically driven austerity is questionable, to say the least; as for this party, the coalition years culminating in the 2015 election says it all..

  • To be fair, I think TCO has now made his position a lot clearer. He is keen to see government by globalist, internationalist, multinational-business-led politicians who answer to Milton Friedman’s definition of what a “liberal” is. He puts Cameron and Clegg into that category and would like the Lib Dems to stick with Cleggism. He laments that the Tories have not stuck with Cameronism, but have instead plumped for an ersatz Winston Churchill who will “F… Business” and bluster his way to power on the back of bogus patriotism.

    TCO’s is a coherent political standpoint. It provides a good banner, which those whose primary goal is to help the rich and enable inequality to flourish can all rally behind. It virtually killed the Liberal Democrats in 2010-2015. Our next leader needs to drive a stake through its heart.

  • @TCO. – By the time of the 2010 GE the UK was starting to see economic recovery. We fought the election saying that cuts on the scale and speed proposed by the Tories endangered that recovery. Then we signed up to the Coalition and immediately implemented the Tory cuts with Danny Alexander appearing in the media regularly to “own” the cuts.

    Then as the UK moved back towards recession the Coalition started to reverse their investment cuts and slow down on the speed at which they sought to end the deficit. Meanwhile the damage, to Police, NHS, Education, Local Government et al had been done.

  • Peter Martin 11th Mar '20 - 12:11pm

    @ Paul Holmes,

    “We fought the election saying that cuts on the scale and speed proposed by the Tories endangered that recovery.”

    That was sort-of-right. But there was still a lot of neoliberal nonsense in the 2010 LIb Dem manifesto on the need for cuts to “balance the budget” when the economy was in better shape. The message from the Labour Party was just as bad!

    This totally ignored the fact that if the Government cuts its spending it also cuts its income as the economy slows. So the Govts deficit is unlikely to be reduced and could well be increased as a consequence. The only way to reduce the Govt deficit was to increase the private sector’s deficit by reducing interest rates and encouraging more private sector debt and therefore more PS spending. This is what, in fact, happened.

    From a right wing perspective, cuts to government spending could be justified to reduce the size of government but only if there had been large scale reductions in taxation to nullify the macroeconomic effects. The other reason to cut spending and possibly raise taxes such as VAT too, would have been to slow the economy if it was overheating. If that’s what you wanted then you should have said so.

  • Paul Holmes writes “By the time of the 2010 GE the UK was starting to see economic recovery. We fought the election saying that cuts on the scale and speed proposed by the Tories endangered that recovery. Then we signed up to the Coalition and immediately implemented the Tory cuts with Danny Alexander appearing in the media regularly to “own” the cuts.”

    That’s a wonderfully pro Social Liberal statement – except, of course, that it isn’t correct.

    The coalition implemented spending cuts pretty much in line with Labour’s red line on the graph cited. So not as bad as the pure Conservative policy, and having to take account, as the IFS noted, of the reality of the situation.

  • @ Paul Holmes, “By the time of the 2010 GE the UK was starting to see economic recovery. We fought the election saying that cuts on the scale and speed proposed by the Tories endangered that recovery. Then we signed up to the Coalition and immediately implemented the Tory cuts with Danny Alexander appearing in the media regularly to “own” the cuts.”

    Unfortunately, in 2012, it wasn’t just the future Sir Danny. A certain Mr Laws said the public sector’s share of the economy should be cut back to 35%….. and the future Sir Nick couldn’t wait to get said Mr Laws back into government after his suspension following other events.

  • Martin 11th Mar ’20 – 12:28pm….

    The idea that, having failed to win a majority against the most unpopular government/PM in history, the Tories would have risked all in going for another GE a few months later is unsupportable.The rest of your assumptions are equally problematic.

    What is certain is that the coalition almost destroyed this party and that, in 2017, in a far stronger situation, the Tory party again failed to get a majority.

  • This is my response to all pro-Coalition folks here. I am a member of Alternate History Forum, and now let me try to simulate a no-Coalition timeline.

    Assume that the Tories govern with a Supply and Confidence Agreement. Hell, let’s assume that the Tories call a snap election and win a majority.

    So what would have happened?

    The Tories would have imposed their full-blown austerity agenda and would have been extremely unpopular. At the same Labour would have remained tarred by the Recession, because they were the governing party during 2004-2009.

    Millions of people would have been extremely angry at both parties.

    So, during 5 years in Opposition, any sane Libdem leader would have ramped up campaign and grassroot movement buildup, recruiting those angry millions into the Libdem movement and thus creating say, a “Nick Clegg for Britain” Coalition with a radical platform, flanking Labour (still dominated by Blair/Brown wing) from the left. In this timeline, Farage would have had no chance to emerge.

    By 2015, we would have been ready to compete for power.

    But, Clegg and Co jumped straight into the Coalition and became the Tories’ fall man, and the rest is history.

  • Julian Tisi 11th Mar '20 - 3:27pm

    I’ve arrived at the party late on this article and it appears to have descended into a sorry debate between those who believe the Lib Dems need to keep apologising for coalition and those who don’t. Anyway, moving on… Layla…

    There is IMO a huge difference between the way Layla has spoken of cooperation with Labour (in the Independent article linked above) and the way Wera has approached it. Starting with Wera I don’t agree with her approach and I won’t be supporting her, as there is a genuine risk that we could lose a lot of our unique identity and support if we identify too closely with Labour. But Layla comes across as open, willing to work with others, but without promising any pacts. Specifically she proposes:

    1. “to encourage people to switch to support the Liberal Democrats from all sides” (her own approach in OXWAB)… who of us could disagree with that?

    2. “Where cooperation around shared, progressive and internationalist agendas can help make a difference, we should support it.”… probably the most controversial thing in her entire article, aside from the headline which she won’t have written

    3. “The Lib Dems also need to start winning again. That means framing our message, rooted in our liberal values, in a way that persuades many more people to vote for us.” Hear hear!

    All in all a very generous yet nuanced article which set the right tone and which I don’t disagree with. Just the qualities I would be looking for in a potential leader!

  • @Thomas – let me paraphrase your argument.

    “We should have avoided coalition for potential short to medium term political advantage. We would have been relaxed about the potential impact on the poorest and most vulnerable of the political and economic instability we were enabling. Fundamentally the advancement of the Liberal Democrats as a party was far more important.”

  • David Evans 11th Mar '20 - 6:03pm

    TCO – let me paraphrase your argument.

    “It’s OK to nearly totally destroy the future of Liberal Democracy in the UK.”

    It’s OK to give the Conservatives 5 years of unquestioning support to detoxify their appalling record at our expense.”

    “It’s OK that having done the first two OKs, the Conservatives take their chance to destroy us and then impose even worse austerity, Brexit and who cares what else, while we are too weak to stop them.”

    “It’s OK because we are the Liberal Democrats and even when we get it totally and disastrously wrong, we just deny it.”

  • @David Evans. I don’t need to paraphrase your argument, because you’ve been making the same points ad nauseum for a decade.

    Let me ask a different question, though. What would you have done differently in 2010 without (and this is the key point) your hindsight perspective?

  • David Allen 11th Mar '20 - 6:44pm

    TCO’s spoof of the anti-coalition argument: “We should have avoided coalition for potential short to medium term political advantage.”

    It’s funny, isn’t it? On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the pro-coalitionists argue passionately that all alternatives to coalition would have been impracticable and would have hurt the Lib Dems even harder than coalition did. And on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the pro-coalitionists argue passionately that avoiding coalition would have been a despicable manoever to gain Lib Dem party advantage at the expense of dire consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable (cue a welling up of crocodile tears).

    Hypocrisy.

  • @David Allen

    It’s funny, isn’t it? On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the anti-coalitionists ignore the fact that all alternatives to coalition would have been impracticable and would have hurt the Lib Dems even harder than coalition did. And on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the anti-coalitionists ignore the fact that avoiding coalition would have been a despicable manoever to gain Lib Dem party advantage at the expense of dire consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable (cue a welling up of crocodile tears).

    Hypocrisy.

  • There was nothing particularly wrong in going into a Coalition…… with either Tories/Labour or SNP.

    What was wrong….. was what the Lib Dems did and didn’t do when they got into Coalition Tories can’t help being Tories….. it’s a natural affliction…… but the Lib Dems could and should have helped by avoiding being morphed into a pale blue version of said Tories.

  • Thomas.

    “The Tories would have imposed their full-blown austerity agenda and would have been extremely unpopular.”

    The problem with this counter-factual is that the Tories tried to impose their full-blown austerity agenda early on in the coalition despite the warnings from grown-ups like Vince Cable. It was only when the economic recovery stalled that Osborne was forced to reverse course in 2012 and ease off on spending restraint and the pace of deficit cutting. Once this was done the economic recovery resumed. GDP growth was well established by 2015. In 2015, employment was at its highest since records began and GDP growth had become the fastest in the G7 and Europe. George Osborne was no economist. He was a political strategist and a good one in 2010 and 2015.
    The conservatives won the 2015 election because of their austerity policies not in spite off it theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/04/anti-austerity-voters-poll-jeremy-corbyn-labour. Economic recovery was the most important factor in explaining the surprise victory for the Conservatives in 2015. It played a key role in the 2017 general election as well before the impact of the Brexit referendum and uncertainty stalled business investment.
    The same approach cannot work now. Something the Tories understand hence the messaging around the end of austerity and levelling up.

  • Thomas.

    “The Tories would have imposed their full-blown austerity agenda and would have been extremely unpopular.”

    The problem with this counter-factual is that the Tories tried to impose their full-blown austerity agenda early on in the coalition despite the warnings from grown-ups like Vince Cable. It was only when the economic recovery stalled that Osborne was forced to reverse course in 2012 and ease off on spending restraint and the pace of deficit cutting. Once this was done the economic recovery resumed. GDP growth was well established by 2015. In 2015, employment was at its highest since records began and GDP growth had become the fastest in the G7 and Europe. George Osborne was no economist. He was a political strategist and a good one in 2010 and 2015.
    The conservatives won the 2015 election because of their austerity policies not in spite off it theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/04/anti-austerity-voters-poll-jeremy-corbyn-labour. Economic recovery was the most important factor in explaining the surprise victory for the Conservatives in 2015. It played a key role in the 2017 general election as well before the impact of the Brexit referendum and uncertainty stalled business investment.
    The same approach cannot work now. Something the Tories understand hence the messaging around the end of austerity and levelling up.

  • TCO – you know how the Liberal Party of Canada became the natural party of government? Well, by losing the 1930 election, they stayed in Opposition during 1930-1935, changed their party platform and dodged the worst of the Great Depression (while the Tories got flayed by the Depression and Richard Bennett was remembered as one of the worst Canadian PM).

    “Let me ask a different question, though. What would you have done differently in 2010 without (and this is the key point) your hindsight perspective?” – of course rejecting the Coalition. All of our previous coalitions with the Tories did not end well for us (1918-1922, 1931-1935), and the Tories even gained in both occasions. Especially, during 1931-1935, Labour expelled Ramsay Macdonald, retreated to Opposition and rebuilt their party (which also had a lot to do with 1945 landslide victory). Also, even without prior historical knowledge, I could still rationally predict that the Tories with their much larger strength (over 300 seats vs 58) would have forced us to largely go long with their pro-austerity manifesto, so being seen as Tory-lite is unavoidable, and of course they would have made us their fall man if possible. And austerity was basically the gold standard policy for every right-wing party in the West, especially the Tories who already had a strong historical record of doing so, so the chance of Cameron running a lax fiscal policy would have been minimal.

    Hell, the Guardian actually predicted the worst-case scenario that the Orange Bookers would have done the same thing as the Liberal Nationals during the 1930s and become full-blown turncoats.

    Let the Tories govern and see their attempt to “remove the bulk of the deficit within 5 years” blowing up on their face in 2015 would be my approach.

  • Joe Bourke – We know that Clegg did veto things like Osborne’s changes to child tax credits, the trade union act, cutting the top rate of income tax to 40p, scrapping the Human Rights Act, a free vote on fox hunting, and I think also an unlimited top rate of tuition fees. Well, if the Tories passed even half of these things they would not end well. Hell, I can even see them not just beefing up Atos, actually going for scrapping ESA & DLA altogether in this scenario.

    “The problem with this counter-factual is that the Tories tried to impose their full-blown austerity agenda early on in the coalition despite the warnings from grown-ups like Vince Cable. It was only when the economic recovery stalled that Osborne was forced to reverse course in 2012 and ease off on spending restraint and the pace of deficit cutting.” – don’t forget that the Tories wanted to cut even more taxes (specifically tax cuts for the rich) than the Coalition did, and with extra tax cuts it is obvious that austerity would have certainly been worse. Also, I expect that any form of Tory-majority easing would have been “trickle down” tax cuts, which would have most likely failed to boost growth.

    I realistically expect that Clegg would have had a shot to become Leader of the Opposition in 2015 as without a Tory Coalition, he would have had the time of his life in Opposition and his popularity would have continued to rise, especially after the Browne Report on Tuition Fees got to the HoC. Meanwhile, Labour was tarred by the Great Recession and you do remember that the electorate simply did not trust Labour over the economy in 2015.

  • @David Raw on the one hand you write “the Lib Dems could and should have helped by avoiding being morphed into a pale blue version of said Tories.”

    On the other hand “A survey of 850 Tory members found that only one in three (33 per cent) believes Mr Cameron was right to form the Coalition with Nick Clegg in 2010. With hindsight, the Conservative grassroots would have preferred a minority Tory government (41 per cent) or an immediate second general election (24 per cent).”

    In rather the same way that the BBC is attacked from both the left and the right, we can probably adjudge it to be somewhere between those two extremes.

  • @Thomas “Let the Tories govern and see their attempt to “remove the bulk of the deficit within 5 years” blowing up on their face in 2015 would be my approach.”

    So Thomas, you’re still saying, basically, that we should have put Party before Country and, more importantly, all those who would have been deeply affected by a depression.

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