What a wonderful day to walk up to a young voter, hug them* and say: “THANK YOU”

I braced myself at 10pm last night. “Oh gawd – here we go again” I thought – along with “goodness how I hate David Dimbleby’s pompous accent and patronising manner”.

There were some distressing losses for us, and some frustrating near-wins, which Caron wrote about earlier.

But I’d like to just think about the wider picture.

As the exit poll appeared, and then the results unraveled, one thing became clear:

This was the election of the young voter. There were reports of queues of young people waiting to vote all over the place. The effect could be seen in result after result.

Thank goodness for that!

We are often told “The young may decide it” and then the young stay in bed. Well this time, they finally turned out in droves.

I was dreading the thought that the results, yet again (as with June 23rd 2016 – a date written down in Saga catalogues) would be the story of boring old farts with pensions (like me) dictating the result and installing the most right wing Mayist government who conduct a handbrake Brexit.

But instead – thank goodness – at long last the young stood up and got counted!

Yes, May hangs on by her finger nails, a broken woman. The Tories face an internal implosion, and good luck to them with that.

But it is clear that this is the election of the young person.

It offers optimism and hope!

The young have got their own back on the old! This is their revenge on the Saga generation for June 23rd 2016!

To paraphrase Ken Dodd:

What a wonderful day! What a wonderful day to walk up to a young voter, give them a hug and say: “Thank you, oh young voter”


*Subject to health and safety and all sensible precautions, post-application of wet wipes, written permission from the young voter etc etc

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

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61 Comments

  • Dave Orbison 9th Jun '17 - 11:36am

    Paul, I wholeheartedly agree. In my teens I became politicised in the 1970’s when political demonstrations were many and often included young people and sometimes were specifically about young people.

    This direct involvement of youth in politics has faded in the last couple of decades. The lower turnouts at General Elections were further evidence of people becoming distanced and disinterested in politics. Well, this election has shown the power of social media in reaching those who not otherwise taken note or bothered and in particular engaging with young voters like never before.

    Labour stunning result with 40% share of the vote provides an emphatic rebuke to those who claimed that winning was all about chasing the middle ground. Corbyn has long since claimed there is another constituency to appeal to – the disaffected and the marginalised. Labour’s vote of ~12.9m is some 4m more than Gordon Brown in 2010 – the highest since 1997. By contrast LibDems have lost ~ 4m since 2010.

    Perhaps it’s time for those that showed contempt for Corbyn and who treated him with derision to lie down in a dark room somewhere and reflect on lessons to be learnt.

  • Bill le Breton 9th Jun '17 - 11:48am

    But is this really the case? Evidence questioned here https://www.buzzfeed.com/ikrd/we-dont-actually-know-how-many-young-people-turned-out-to?utm_term=.ux07bjVV9#.xja0DM88n

    I have two children, both of whom voted but then I think they voted both in 2015 and in 2016. The difference early this morning was that they believed they made a difference and are really energised by it. It is always good to ‘win’ which in this case meant putting one over on that “absolute t*t may”. (That was not a male talking.)

    They would have voted for us if that had been the tactical the way to achieve the above quote, but we would not have been their first preference.

    I’d be happy if we put together a manifesto with young people at the centre, but in this election Corbyn did that. And we’d have to sort ourselves out on the funding of higher education to stand a chance of doing that.

  • Yes it was a vote for optimism, wonderful. Now, please, please we can’t let the Conservatives govern with the DUP !!!!!!

  • But, in England, the young have voted for the unfunded, anti-business chaos that would be a Labour Government rather than the costed reasonableness of the Lib Dem manifesto. And the young have seen to the demise of Nick Clegg, perhaps as the final twist of the Tuition Fee knife…

  • @Bill le Breton
    A Youth centred manifesto is already, no doubt, being written in Conservative Central Office, I hope the same is true of the Lib Dems. The problem is how to achieve it without the abject bribery of Labour.

    I would also not be surprised that having failed to get Corbyn over the line this time the youth turnout (if indeed higher than normal) dips a bit by October when I’m guessing we all go again. Boris Vs Corbyn will be an interesting dual as Boris will at least turn up, and that fact alone surely cost May support…

  • The problem is that we as Liberals have lost the youth vote.

    Unfortunately the tragic decision in relation to tuition fees and a failure to articulate Liberal Democratic values in any sort of coherent manner mean that this election has been another missed opportunity. To be fair to Tim – gambling on being the Remain party was worth doing as strategically Lib Dems clearly need to take bold gambles until they eventually stumble upon something that resonates with the electorate.

    And of course supporting Remain is the right thing to do – but its clearly failed as a political strategy as many Remainers have reluctantly gone back to Labour. So the rhetoric on it needs to be toned down and we need to focus on another idea.

    Personally I would go for wealth/land taxes (but this needs to be combined with a commitment to reducing income taxes across the board – we need to be the low income tax party whilst finding other ways to modestly increase public spending). This should be combined with a commitment to redistribution towards the regions.

    But we really need to tone down some of our other policies – which may be right but don’t help us win votes. The only things that stood out in the media where mental health and letting in large numbers of Syrians. I am frankly surprised we managed to 8%.

  • PS – our national vote share has FALLEN since the disastrous post-Coalition general election.

    I struggle to see how any Liberal can see this as being a “wonderful day”.

    I was very close to joining the party and getting involved this time round. but I wonder what the point is, when its own members consider this disastrous showing to be a “wonderful day”

  • Richard Underhill 9th Jun '17 - 12:10pm

    The economy and Brexit are the same issue, so Vince Cable should be the Brexit spokesman.
    Nigel Farage was wrong about Thanet South. Craig Mackinley has been re-elected despite being charged and awaits trial. If convicted there could be a by-election.
    Paul Nuttall has resigned as UKIP leader.
    The defeat of the SDLP MPs, non-violent nationalists, is bad news for Northern Ireland, although they do of course have elected members in the devolved Assembly.
    Sylvia Hermon “I am not a Conservative” has been re-elected.
    Theresa May has gone to the Palace. “If she has an ounce of self-respect she will resign”, but she is a Tory. Tory politics are about power and she has lost. Tim Farron is right to say that there will be no deal.

  • Tony Dawson 9th Jun '17 - 12:57pm

    The ‘wonderful day’ for Lib Dems was because we did not. suffer total wipeout which was so easily goinf to happen as a round two of the post-coalition fall.out.
    The most striking thing about the Lib Dem vote yesterday was the massive variation in results between fifferent ‘target seat’ teams. Tactical voting against Brexit and Scottish Independence saved us. The youth voted went massively Labour largely because that is what you do in a FPTP two party system when you want to oppose the Tories effectively. 🙁

  • Alex Llewelyn 9th Jun '17 - 3:06pm

    Whilst I agree with land value taxation in principle, it seems to be a rather unwise policy at this time given our reliance on liberal wealthy southwest Londoners

  • Nice to see the coalition of chaos didn’t get in. It’s so much nicer to be ruled by the coalition of terror. Strange the Tories didn’t mention the threat of that.

  • Firstly – a massive congratulations to everybody.
    Gaining 12 MP’s with 4 very near misses is an undeniable step forwards. ~Well Done!!!!
    Secondly – at 5am this morning, my gut feeling from the previous 7 hours was a number of things:
    1. To move forward, ANY party now needs to champion the values that hold us together.
    2. Social media is resulting in a paradigm shift in the way the young especially communicate and influence each other.
    3. There may now be a real opportunity for the Lib Dem voice to be heard over the next few months and years re Brexit. However, that will require repositioning to embrace the Re-leavers (at least) and reconnect with the electorates concerns – as Jez has done so successfully.
    4. Aiming a narrative at the metropolitan elite of London resulted in 3 seats there, but a reduction in the vote share of very many more outside the high remain areas.
    5. The 12 new MP’s give me real hope as a springboard.
    The re- election of Jo, Vince Ed and Norman particularly should give the Lib Dems a few heavyweights who will be listened to and taken seriously both inside and outside the party.
    I agree Nick is a big loss for his insight and expertise (although also feel the party now has a chance to move out of the shadow of the coalition). At the same time I trust they will still find a way of ensuring his EU expertise feeds into the narrative going forward.
    6. Finally, the influence of the right wing press appear to have been silenced by a tidal wave of younger people determined to have their more balanced voices heard. As democrats and Liberals, that must surely be one of the most positive outcomes of the last few hours.
    The Lib Dems now need to find a way of harnessing all that positive energy and hope.

  • Firstly as Bill le Breton says the current figures on the young turn out is questionable. It is perfectly conceivable but better to make the judgement based upon evidence once all the numbers have been crunched.

    Dave Orbison
    “[…] an emphatic rebuke to those who claimed that winning was all about chasing the middle ground. Corbyn has long since claimed there is another constituency to appeal to – the disaffected and the marginalised”

    It is not clear that the disaffected and marginalised out side of the 18-30 group were energised, so let’s wait for the evidence to see who really turned out. It is quite possible the young having not voted the Referendum and seen the vote go with the preferences of the old, learned a lesson. But we don’t have any way of even trying to estimate anything yet.

    As to the attack on the “middle ground” strategy, it is something you are seeing from political commentators but they are presumably talking about their own assumptions. Making wild promises to win people over can work (depending on other circumstances) the issue comes being able to actually deliver on them. There are many interesting economic arguments about spending, borrowing (not using static models for tax revenues), economic policy but none of that was had to expose exactly how McDonnell planned to do anything. This was actually the Tories fault for not having any number for their own manifesto so the media just ignored it. But campaigning on an overly optimistic economic projections is one thing, running a country when they collide with reality is another.

  • I struggle to see how any Liberal can see this as being a “wonderful day”.

    i suppose it depends on what you expected. If you believed the polls we would be lucky to get three or four MP’s so twelve looks good. It’s a bit like a condemned man getting a stay of execution, you feel euphoric at first but that soon wears off. Now as a party we need to find a way out of the prison we are in. We will be helped by the car crash about to take place under the Tories but we can’t rely on that alone and as you said we need radical distinctive policies, not Tory lite or watered down Labour ones.

  • Joseph Bourke 9th Jun '17 - 4:41pm

    James Gee and Michael Kilpatrick are right about the need for a radical economic platform that inspires younger voters, addresses rising income and wealth inequality and attracts the broad centre ground of voters reluctant to go along with the extremes of laissez faire capitalism or socialist dogma.

    To make this happen, Liberal Democrat members and supporters need to join ALTER https://libdemsalter.org.uk/en/page/join-alter and begin campaigning in their local parties for a rejection of managerial tinkering at the edges; and a return to the radical Liberalism of the early 20th century adapted to the globalised world of the 21st century.

  • Psi,

    Everything you say is true, but two points

    1. The number of marginalised and disposed is growing; very few of the young fail to fall at least partially into that category.
    2. Getting free stuff when you don’t have much seems worth a punt. You only have to look at how popular that can be with Chavez’s initial success is Venezuela.

    The Lib Dems could have offered some hope for the young, even if they couldn’t remove tuition fees. They could have set the repayment at the rate of government bonds, saving both past, future and present students a pretty penny.

  • David Becket 9th Jun '17 - 5:10pm

    We ran a terrible campaign. No lib dem vision. Concentrated on a second referendum nobody wants. Tim spent much of his time attacking others and did not come over as serious pm material. We need a rethink and clear out quickly. Tory duplicate coalition will not last as long as ours did.

  • ‘”I struggle to see how any Liberal can see this as being a “wonderful day”.’
    Because it’s not all about us.
    The Tories have lost their majority, when a few weeks ago they were expecting a landslide and ‘mandate’ to do as they please with Brexit. What’s not to enjoy?

  • David Becket 9th Jun '17 - 5:17pm

    Correction. Should read Tory dup Coalition

  • ‘…a second referendum nobody wants.’
    Yet.
    Let’s see how things pan out before tearing it all up, eh?

  • Joseph Bourke 9th Jun '17 - 5:28pm

    Alex Llewelyn,

    Liberal wealthy southwest Londoners are quite prepared to pay their fair share of taxes if used efficiently, assessed equitably, helps their kids get housing and addresses social deprivation. Communication is the key. Good video on LVT here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pYSsME_h7E

  • Lorenzo Cherin 9th Jun '17 - 5:40pm

    Paul, and picked up on in the terrific contribution of Mike S

    The party should learn, good morning leaflets and endless such in areas we cannot necessarily even make a dent, are a waste of time and effort , the party needs to wake up to the young and the isolated , both, that is the disengaged and engaged and be online and in high streets !

    By- election methods are great in by-elections, and work in really possibly winnable target seats, otherwise , where are we ?

    The social media and other online sphere is dominated by Labour activists and young ones often, free publicity , and where are we again ?!

  • Little Jackie Paper 9th Jun '17 - 9:11pm

    In Mrs May’s defence….

    She is really the one that was left holding the timebomb when it went off. It was clear by 2010 that young voters were badly marginalised. By 2015 I was seriously wondering why anyone under the age of about 45 would vote for the Coalition parties. Granted – party strategists are there to win elections not per se steward a party in to the future. But it’s hard for me to avoid the feeling that all Labour have done is walk onto ground that other parties have not bothered with. People in (especially) Conservatives and the LDP should be asking serious questions about their relationship with the young over the past decade

    For years we were told that there was no money and that debt was a threat to the national fabric. But it was OK to load debt onto the young whilst handing out triple locked pensions and fuel payment cheques. If you can’t see why the young might not be well-disposed then take a step back.

    Theresa May’s problem with youth is a legacy of the past decade plus. And she’s not alone in having to face that legacy.

  • There was a feeling don’t bother with the young they don’t vote and therefore don’t count. Looks like they have discovered the power of the ballot box. I suspect a lot of attention will their way now come. Perhaps not a good thing for the over 50’s but hey we have had the easy ride in comparison with them.

  • Maybe you can overplay the youth angle. I think a lot of people are fed up of austerity, stagnant wages, constant attempts to drag us into failed military actions and right wing economic orthodoxy. May talked about unity, but then took money off hard pressed families as Tories are want to do and promised to bring blood sports back, which most people think is hideous.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jun '17 - 3:07am

    Glenn

    I think a lot of people are fed up of austerity, stagnant wages, constant attempts to drag us into failed military actions and right wing economic orthodoxy.

    Yup, and many of them voted “Leave” because they thought Brexit would get us out of that. Which it won’t.

    Yet instead of acknowledging their concerns, and showing how we would deal with them, we just sent out the clear message to those people “We’re the party of the 48%, we aren’t interested in you 52%, go away, we’re not your party”.

  • Matthew
    The message about creating a new economy gets drowned out. One thing for sure each young person needs to be trained and qualified. The days of leaving school to get an unskilled job are over. Older workers need to have access to retraining too.

  • Manafarang.
    There are more people in full time education than ever. In truth the growth areas are actually in unskilled work and zero hour contracts. A lot of the semi-skilled jobs are taken up by cheap imported labour because companies will not train youngsters, also because they hire through agencies who they have longstanding contracts with and it’s just easier to hire and fire. This is the house deregulated capitalism and attacks on workers built. But don’t worry Ponzi scheme asset bubbles and lots and lots of personal debt can look positive on a spread sheet.

  • Young people who are neither employed nor in
    education or training (“NEETs”) risk being left
    permanently behind in the labour market. This risk is
    especially high for the relatively large share of lowskilled
    NEETs (i.e. who have not finished upper
    secondary schooling). Many in this group live in
    households without any employed adults, which
    may put them at risk of poverty. Effective policies
    are needed to reconnect members of this group with
    the labour market.
     In the United Kingdom, the proportion of young
    people who are low-skilled NEETs (4.7%) is below
    the OECD average of 5.6%.
     However, nearly 60% of these NEETs live in jobless
    households, the highest proportion among
    EU countries. The proportion of non-NEET youth
    who live in jobless households is close to the
    EU average, of below 10%.

  • Manafarang,
    Thank for giving the bog standard Daily Mail readers blarney without actually addressing anything.

  • At one level yes it’s good not to be tribal. That is implicit in liberalism. But as someone on the fringes it strikes me that part of the problem for the Lib Dems is that Labour and Tories are very tribal and we are not. If we are to be a national party we need to own a space. This needs two things: one the broadly centre ground between Left and Right. In terms of raw spending issues there seems to be a very big space now between the Tories an Labour (and this will I suspect get wider as Labour rallies to Corbyn and May is replaced); two, we need a new radical idea. Socially and culturally liberalism remains ascendant, although it is under threat. But increasing inequality and globalisation is not working for people in the U.K. And so a new radical idea is needed for the centre. It was worth gambling on remain (and of course we must continue to be the remain party). But that failed – we now need to try something different.

    In my view the new idea is to shift the tax burden from income to wealth. In terms of overall spending we should sit between Left and Right; probably slightly to the left as we need to increase spending at this precise moment, whilst remaining fiscally responsible.

    This should be the Lib Dem space and in my view we should be disappointed when so few of the country vote for it. If we see solace in another party’s success then we should ask why are we not simply a part of that party?

    Also very disappointing to see Corbyn has wrapped up the youth vote. That’s the future lost as well as the past. That should have been the big idea 7-8 years ago. Would have fitted well with property taxation. Instead we threw youth away with tuition fees. Seeing Corbyn success with what we should have proposed is not wonderful in any way at all.

    We now need to aggressively fight for the future: quieten the commitment to EU and open borders, big reductions to income tax at the bottom (whilst freezing rates higher up) – made up for by new taxes on wealth and land.

  • Dave Orbison 10th Jun '17 - 11:47am

    James Gee – seeing Corbyn success with what we should have proposed is not wonderful in any way at all.

    Indeed and nor should it be. But it didn’t have to be like this. Several here consistently urged LibDems and especially the leadership to ditch the negative campaigning and the Corbyn bashing. To focus on positive messages and polices even if this overlapped with those of Corbyn.

    The strategy of equi-distance, attacking both May and Corbyn, made no logical sense and voters can see that. It did not work in 2015 and there was no reason at all to suppose it would work two years later.

    What a tremendous opportunity wasted? What now? There needs to be a radical rethink. The next election may be just around the corner. What then, more of the same? I hope not.

  • It’s all very well bashing Nick Clegg over tuition fees but of course Labour got away with their tuition fee policy for this election by not mentioning their own track record. They afterall introduced fees after saying they wouldn’t and then introduced top up fees after fighting a general election saying they wouldn’t.

    So called ‘free’ university education is likly to end up being a subsidy paid for by poorer people to the better off like, for instance, graduate barristers on £500 per hour! And for people like me who as a youngster went through the education system in the 50/60s it will be back to a situation where university places were rationed and we all know who mainly got those.

  • @Robert
    That was New Labour. This is Old Labour.
    Completely different party.
    Nice trick if you can get away with it, and it seems like they have.

  • Robert,
    I think the problem is really that Universities have expanded like businesses, buying up lots of property, improving their infrastructure and so on. There is simply too much money involved to go back without a major rethink on funding. My old university is unrecognisable from even 5 years ago, let alone from when I was studying there.

    I don’t want to knock academics or anything, but I think in truth it’s more like an industry rather than simply an education system We have an expensive system far removed from the kind of nominal charges that were easily removed in say Germany and part of me suspects there is now possibly a somewhat mercenary model for the finances involved.

  • Sue Sutherland 10th Jun '17 - 2:16pm

    Let’s get a bit of sanity back into analysing what has happened in this election. The Tories lost 13 seats, Labour won 30 and we won 3 and it looks as if young people have returned to politics. Labour are euphoric at this result because they feared a Tory landslide but has anything really changed for them? It may well have got worse because Momentum have increased their influence.
    The Tories have come off much worse because a loss of 13 seats means they no longer have a majority. Their leader has failed them so now they have to get along with the DUP. Their mess is even slimier than Labour’s.
    We have gained seats in spite of our low position in the polls. We could have lost all our MPs but instead we have 3 more and tactical voting has reappeared on the horizon. We also have a much more diverse Parliamentary party than before.
    National politics is in a hugely dynamic situation which we can turn to our advantage if we hold our nerve and keep on campaigning where we can win next time. I know that winnng a seat and persuading people to vote tactically takes several general elections not just one and the same few messages have to be repeated over and over again.
    I would like our policies to address the inequalities and deprivation in our society and that will be easier now that Labour has gone back to being Socialist. Young people aren’t necessarily going to stick with Corbyn once they see he’s trying to take them back to the past and realise what Momentum members are like.
    So let’s learn lessons from this election by all means but they shouldn’t be about trying to blame people for failure. Everyone failed in this election so let’s take advantage of this and start creating policies and campaigning techniques for the next election which won’t be that long in coming and for goodness sake let’s try and save this country from the folly that is Brexit.

  • David Becket 10th Jun '17 - 2:46pm

    As others have said the young vote went to Labour. Until we sort out tuition fees we will not get that vote. I was working in the office of John Leech when a member of the public came in and told us that if unless we sort out Tuition Fees John Leech would lose votes.
    We did not and he did.

    It does not mean a Labour uncosted promise, but the creation of a group involving students and providers to sort out a fair funding system for higher education. We had better get a move on before the next election in a year or so.

    That is not all we need to do, we ran a poor negative campaign, and did not look like a party with a leader ready for power. Still the misplaced congratulations keep coming, the latest in an e mail from Tim Pinkstone.

  • David Evershed 10th Jun '17 - 3:01pm

    The Lib Dems could have a give away budget promising free tuition to young people.

    But as we know, it is unaffordable without reducing the proportion of youngsters going to university from current high levels. (It was 5% in my day not 50%)

    So maybe we should have a policy to reduce the proportion of youngsters going to university, which would then allow us to offer free tuition, at least to Maths, Science and Engineering students.

  • Education isn’t unaffordable. We simply made a decision to prioritise benefits for pensioners and a general tax cut for most earners.

    The Lib Dems need their own Corbyn, someone to shake up the party and re-brand. Trying to wear the coalition and pretending 7-8% of the vote is a success won’t get us anywhere.

  • Dave Orbison 10th Jun '17 - 4:49pm

    Sue Sutherland – things may have got worse [for Labour].

    Wow. Labour took over 40% of the vote and secured a huge proportion of young voters. They have vastly improved their election machine. Even those opposed to Corbyn have openly admitted they were wrong so there is every prospect of Labour being a united against a Tory party in disarray.

    Meanwhile the LibDems ran a poor campaign and still can’t get everyone lined up as to whether or not the Coalition was good or bad and what precisely they should say about student fees.

    Goodness me you must be right the LibDems were spot on, what do Labour know?

  • What do Labour know about the falling pound sterling?

  • Phil Beesley 10th Jun '17 - 5:59pm

    Andrew T: “The Lib Dems need their own Corbyn, someone to shake up the party and re-brand.”

    Liberal Democrats have rebranded under Tim Farron. The party has rejected and ejected a former MP owing to comments which might be viewed as anti-semitic.

    Corbyn smoozed with authoritarians and anti-semites — purely for observation, of course, because you have to spend a long time on the job.

    Shake up? The best shake up is to get rid of people like Corbyn.

  • Dave Orbison 10th Jun '17 - 6:35pm

    Phil Beesley more Corbyn smears. Oh dear no wonder the LibDem vote went down.

  • Phil Beesley 10th Jun '17 - 7:13pm

    Dave Orbison: “Phil Beesley more Corbyn smears. Oh dear no wonder the LibDem vote went down.”

    I wouldn’t want it to up by your rules.

  • To be clear I mean someone who re-engages with the party’s core values, not an old socialist. Most of the political space seems to be on the centre or the centre-right with a Tory party in disarray.

  • Dave Orbison 10th Jun '17 - 7:20pm

    Andrew T – the free space is on the centre right? So is this where the LibDems should now go?

    Is there any wonder that voters don’t know where LibDems stand and are labelled as opportunists.

  • @Dave Orbison

    I think we are a party of the centre. We should believe in social,economic,personal and political liberalism. I do believe there is space around the centre and centre-right. The Conservatives simply aren’t appealing to those on the left of their party and Labour are not economic liberals. It isn’t opportunistic to see that the Tories are failing to offer a modern alternative to Labour’s socialism. They are also increasingly the anti civil liberties party.

    This doesn’t mean we also abandon our social liberalism, but we are being out maneuvered by the Labour party who don’t have the ball and chain of the coalition to hamper them.

  • @ Andrew T & Dave Orbison I’m afraid, Andrew T. that your rather arid view of where the Liberal Democrats should be does not match the most recent research. The Guardian newspaper has conducted in depth surveys of voters views and you should reflect on what happened in Cambridge – a target seat that faded away. To quote :

    “In Cambridge, this feeling seems to have been symbolised by Labour’s manifesto pledges, which voters found very attractive – more so, indeed, than the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto, with its position on Brexit centre stage: “I voted for Labour mainly because of the promise to invest in public services. I didn’t choose Lib Dem in the end because it didn’t feel like they were a real threat to the Conservatives.”

    After sixty years as a party member, that rings true to me. If the Liberal Democrats follow your prognosis it really will be a case of Matthew 18-20 : “where two or the gather together in thy name…………….’

    The Clegg/Alexander axis virtually killed off support from two of the biggest traditional bodies of Lib Dem support post 2010, students and public sector workers. Corbyn has appropriated it for now with an appeal to an idealistic brand of mutualism. ‘Centre right’ will kill it off altogether.

  • @ Joseph Bourke
    “To make this happen, Liberal Democrat members and supporters need to join ALTER”

    ALTER needs a shake-up. It has been party policy to introduce a Land Value Tax, but this doesn’t get it into our manifesto. This is because ALTER does not stand candidates for Policy Committee and lobby all MPs to come out in favour of LVT being implemented across the whole UK without any testing. ALTER has also failed to come up with a national rates for LVT on commercial land, which are easy to understand and explain to voters.

    I read somewhere that one of Lloyd George budgets included LVT. Why hasn’t ALTER published the text of the legislation being proposed back then?

    @ James Gee
    “…freezing rates higher up) – made up for by new taxes on wealth and land.

    We should not be Tory-lite freezing income tax rates for the highest paid. A tax on “wealth” might well be problematic. If you are taxing wealth how does this effect the “wealth-creators”? There is a reason why we tax income and not assets. People can find paying a tax on assets difficult to pay, while at least with income there is money coming in to pay the tax. Inheritance tax is OK, but I think people would dislike the idea that half or more of inheritance being taken in tax. Land Tax is OK if only we could explain how LVT on commercial land would work. We need to consider taxing profits more, because like income tax the money exists to pay the tax.

    @ Robert
    “So called ‘free’ university education is likly (sic) to end up being a subsidy paid for by poorer people to the better off like …
    “where university places were rationed”
    And David Evershed.

    University places are limited even today. Not every person who applies to go to University actually gets a place (in 2016 that number was 183,200 p 14 [718,400-535,00] https://www.ucas.com/file/86541/download?token=PQnaAI5f ).

    We could find about £13.6 billion to fund the £11.2 Billion to scrape tuition fees by adding 2% to corporation tax and increasing income tax (45p over £80k and 50p over £123k). None of the people paying these new rates would be considered by anyone as “poor”.

    @ Andrew T

    I think you have confused being socially liberal with social liberal. Social liberal is the opposite of economic liberal, both are to do with how the economy is run. There is no future for us as an economic liberal party, just like in the 1930’s its time has passed.

  • @Michael BG

    I’m talking about free enterprise and free markets and allowing people to spend their money the way they would like by economic liberalism. By social liberalism I mean where we feel there is a need for the state to play a role like the NHS and our welfare system. Are they opposites? I don’t think so.

    You are right about the problems of a wealth or high inheritance tax, and a land tax that affected homes would be hugely unpopular too.

  • @ Andrew T

    Economic liberalism is often seen as supporting “free markets” where there is no government regulation and reducing what the government provides directly as well as reducing government expenditure. Social liberals are generally not worried by these things and see a greater role for the state in regulating markets and directly providing services and some of them even still believe in Keynesian economics.

    All liberals believe in a mixed economy with somethings provided by the state.

    Some economic liberal believe mistakenly that Gladstone was one. They don’t seem to know about the 1844 Railway Act which made every railway company provide third class carriages stopping at all the stations on the line introduced by Gladstone and even setting the price.

  • Peter Martin 11th Jun '17 - 8:01am

    the costed reasonableness of the Lib Dem manifesto

    But it isn’t reasonable. It is really not even possible to do these kinds of costings:

    http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2017/05/the-fully-costed-fallacy.html

  • Phil Beesley 11th Jun '17 - 1:30pm

    To clarify how I think about “Corbyn smears”.

    I disregard arguments about talking with Sinn Fein and the IRA; talking by others led to the Good Friday Agreement. I suggest reading writers such as Nick Cohen who is no friend of the establishment. It is up to Corbyn about how he conducts himself, but his choice of friends suggests poor judgement.

    When Charles Kennedy campaigned against war in Iraq, he never stood on a platform alongside religious bigots and political extremists. He got on stage as a liberal and left the stage as a liberal.

  • @Michael BG

    Is it not possible to be a mixture of both? Must the party argue for ever more regulation and bureaucracy to be able to claim to be social liberal?

    Free Markets
    No Regulation
    Lower Government Expenditure

    The first two should be the “default” Liberal position, regulation should be minimised but not shunned altogether. Government expenditure is a compromise, not something to be minimised but something to be used cautiously funded by a fair tax system.

  • Andrew,

    Free Markets
    No Regulation
    Lower Government Expenditure

    The first two should be the “default” Liberal position

    no they shouldn’t, I’ll let Mr Keynes tell you why

    The General Theory

    Many others fared far worse in the crash and the resulting depression, however, and this is where Keynes’ economic contributions began. Keynes believed that free market capitalism was inherently unstable and that it needed to be reformulated both to fight off Marxism and the Great Depression. His ideas were summed up in his 1936 book, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”. Among other things, Keynes claimed that classical economics – the invisible hand of Adam Smith – only applied in cases of full employment. In all other cases, his “General Theory” held sway. (Read Can Keynesian Economics Reduce Boom-Bust Cycles? to learn more.)

    i think you may be confusing Libertarianism with Liberalism they are not the same thing; or at least in my version of Liberalism 😉

  • @David Evershed
    “But as we know, it is unaffordable without reducing the proportion of youngsters going to university from current high levels. (It was 5% in my day not 50%)”

    I went to university in 1992 along with around 35% of my age group. Polys had just been renamed as universities, but the proportion of my age group that went on to higher education (both Polys and Unis) had doubled from just four years earlier. It was Thatcher and Major that presided over the largest increase in people going on to higher education, not Blair, who fell short of his 50% target. Thatcher and Major realised that a modern economy demands a better educated work-force and they paid for it from general, progressive taxation, not tuition fees. It was affordable then and it is affordable now.

    The current system is abhorrent – it massively hits middle income groups who will see no net benefit of all their hard work. Those on lower and higher incomes pay a lower proportion of their income over their lifetime. The fees are amongst the highest in the world and the interest rate is extremely punitive. Most 18 years olds don’t have a clue about finance and were mis-sold the fees by people using nonsensical arguments about how they are a ‘graduate tax’ and how they won’t affect mortgage applications. The 2015 graduates have now been out in the work-place for two years and they are only just realising how dreadful the situation is. There will be a further 2 million of these disgruntled graduates by 2022.

    The whole thing was so astonishing – every attempt by the Lib Dems to make the new system less regressive was systematically ignored by your coalition partners without any protest by your ‘leader’. At first, the fees were supposed to be capped at £6000 and only allowed to be £9000 in exceptional circumstances, but then everyone charged £9000. There were going to be charges for early repayment so that those wishing to avoid interest by paying up-front wouldn’t get away with it, but that proposal disappeared. The repayment threshold was going to rise with inflation but has since been frozen. The Tories hate graduates – they vote for all kinds of informed things like the EU and climate-change mitigation. The Tories see educated people as the enemy. Why did the Lib Dems join in?

  • John Probert 12th Jun '17 - 10:58am

    The fairest and simplest way to apply site value taxation to residential property is surely to tax the increase in value (after allowing for inflation) when their property is sold.

    That does mean asking home owners to behave like turkeys voting for Christmas, but of course the same applies equally to other forms of personal taxation.

  • For what it’s worth – I didn’t vote Lib Dem this time, despite reading through the manifestos of all the parties and reaching the conclusion that the Lib Dem’s was the one that most closely matched my beliefs. The reason I couldn’t bring myself to do it was tuition fees – not the betrayal, but the idiocy and unfairness of the system that was introduced and the continued attempts to justify the broken system. It was when I heard a Lib Dem candidate describe free tuition described as a middle class subsidy that I reached my decision. Clegg attacking Corbyn over the issue didn’t exactly help either. I voted Labour with two hands – one holding the pen and the other holding my nose.

  • @ Andrew T
    “Free Markets
    No Regulation
    Lower Government Expenditure
    The first two should be the “default” Liberal position”

    Liberals are not bothered by the size of the state, they are pragmatists as Conrad Russell stated, “Libertarians are for minimum government; Liberals are for minimum oppression, We want to see all power subject to control;”

    The largest free market without any regulation in the UK is probably the market for illegal drugs. I suppose the second-hand market between private individuals is another – Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).

    Even the market for bread is not a free market with no regulation. There are long established laws regarding the quality of bread that can be sold, then there is the Consumer Protection Act, which gives the consumer rights. Therefore no true liberal should be in favour of any unregulated market where the consumer can be taken advantage of by the seller when the seller is a commercial concern.

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