Liberal Democrats need to oppose this government with more passion and rage

Thank heaven we have had no major crises while our Government is weak and split. The lordly predecessors of the present set must have turned in their graves when Cabinet responsibility was temporarily abandoned, in defiance of historic practice. The ghosts should then have howled when leading Tories began to spit insults at each other and denounce the supposed lies of their colleagues.

Yet we are stuck with this Tory Government, in or out of the EU. This collection of sophisticated predators, who systematically promote the interests of their own kind and seek the further enrichment of the moneyed classes despite the deep inequalities in Britain, know how to survive.

Where was Iain Duncan Smith’s consciousness of his Government’s preferring tax cuts for the wealthy when poor and disabled people, hit by his benefit cuts, were struggling to survive? Those were the days when David Cameron’s response to Nick Clegg’s attempts to adjust the balance of taxation in favour of the poor was ‘But our donors wouldn’t like it’, and the reply to requests for more public housing was ‘It would only create more Labour voters’. Yet, only this year did Duncan Smith apparently find his conscience and notice that the parrot-cry of ‘We are all in this together’ was false.

We do not have a Government that can be trusted with the welfare of all its people. So it isn’t  strange to see that many, vaguely aware of the falsity of care and uneasy at the obvious Government divisions, project their unconscious fears on to the Other – immigrants: be they East Europeans doing useful jobs here and paying taxes, or hapless refugees. But our job is to keep demanding that government looks out for everyone, and insisting that fellow Europeans coming here is usually of benefit to us, and refugees have a right to come.

If the Remain campaign succeeds in fighting the folly of the Outers and winning, Liberal Democrats will of course gain no credit despite our whole-hearted efforts. The Government will claim victory, and thank their wealthy friends. Even if Cameron fell, who would succeed him? Failed Osborne, hard-hearted May or self-serving Boris? Is this the leadership we can look forward to in 2020, given the disastrous divisions in Labour?

Liberal Democrats must expect far more battles with this Government, which is no longer restrained by us and will not be much longer restrained by the divisive Referendum campaign. The prospect of further welfare cuts in pursuit of Osborne’s deficit-denouncing dream still savagely threatens poor working families and must be fiercely resisted. We have a Government prepared blatantly to protect and further the interests of the few at the expense of the mass of the people. Insidiously, they are subverting democracy.

It is oligarchy which is being quietly spread throughout Britain. Heads of schools must have more power than elected LEAs, ultimately subject to the Education Secretary. Mayors must have more power than elected local authorities. Police and Crime Commissioners must have more power than police authorities. Local services will continue to be diminished, because they are out of control of the ruling classes that this Government represents. As Democrats, as Tim shows the way, we have to communicate to all our people that we will fight as passionately as the Corbynistas, but more effectively, against these existential threats.

* Katharine Pindar is a long-standing member of the Lib Dems and an activist in the West Cumbrian constituency of Cumberland.

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  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '16 - 6:06pm

    I don’t agree and actually I’m beginning to regret voting Lib Dem in May if the strategy is simply outrage and demonisation.

    Net-immigration at 333,000 this year, housebuilding in England only at 140,000, yet when Tim Farron is asked about immigration he mainly just says how good it is. No credibility in his plans on housing.

    The UK is the world-leader of international aid as a % of GDP, yet this article just demonises the Conservatives.

    A controversial leak of Whatsapp data has revealed that the BMA wanted Hunt to impose the contract and the “only real red line is weekend pay”, not safety, yet pretty much all Lib Dem spokespeople have said on the doctor’s strike is that it is Jeremy Hunt’s fault.

    Things need to change. Regards

  • Stephen Howse 26th May '16 - 6:39pm

    I agree with Eddie, actually.

    We have one explicitly anti Tory party which is happy to just blanket oppose everything it does and say absolutely nothing useful about the issues that matter.

    That party is the Labour Party. We really should not be seeking to become a pale imitation of the Labour Party.

    Instead, we should be mature – where we agree with government we should take the credit (as you can bet the policy was a Coalition one originally) and where we disagree we should suggest workable plans which clearly differentiate us from both Labour and Tory alike.

    Because ultimately, people whose primary motivation in politics is to be anti Tory will just keep voting Labour – why wouldn’t they? We need to offer something more.

  • We are a world leader on aid thanks to..Mike Moore not the Tories.As for the Tories – well said Katharine.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '16 - 9:09pm

    Eddie, we need to build more houses. We should build more houses. The Tories aren’t bothered about doing that, which would create jobs and give people somewhere to.

    Net migration is a silly measure as you can’t control the number of people leaving the country.

    Immigration is a positive because immigrants are generally either wealth creators and employers or taxpayers.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th May '16 - 9:29pm

    The day this party wants head teachers to have less power than education authorities is the day I join the bright blue tories , it and the idea of me having to do that ,are not going to happen !We are a party of power at the most local and individual level, which is teachers and parents and , where appropriate , pupils.Local councils are not educationalists , what is the point of denying the enthusiasm of unqualified teachers even if talented, at the same time embracing the meddling of unqualified authorities !

    I agree with Eddie , negative for the sake of it no, strong disagreement when often appropriate , yes.

    The sort of idea I allude to seemingly advocated is wrong , and though David Raw is well to the left of me , as a former head teacher , would he have wanted less power to decide things for his school , than the so called elected educational authority ?

    The antidote to absurd illiberal forced academisation is not illiberal draconian authoritarianism, elected, educational or other !

  • Stephen Howse 26th May '16 - 10:18pm

    I fully agree with Lorenzo too.

    The liberal thing to do would be to argue for effective and robust local oversight of schools so there is accountability when things go wrong, perhaps from local education boards.

    But I’d far rather trust headteachers to do right by their pupils, to innovate, to meet parental need and to run their schools than politicians at any level.

    Sadly it seems that in education, as in many other policy areas nowadays, supposed liberals are all too happy to defend the status quo as if any change would be detrimental, and to put producer interests before those of the public at large, the end user of the services they provide (and the people whose taxes party for them). Why aren’t we bring bold and calling for greater school freedoms so heads and teachers are truly free to innovate (remember the old minimum curriculum entitlement policy?), plus a massive expansion of the Pupil Premium so schools are really incentivised to reach out to the less well off? Where is the genuinely interesting thinking?

    See also health – where’s the Lib Dem outrage at the revelations about the BMA’s strategy today, and why aren’t we speaking up for the patients whose safety they were happy to compromise in pursuit of their financial red line?

    A little original thinking please, and less reflexive rushing to decry everything we can.

  • Eddie is obviously right. It’s untenable for the Lib Dems to keep saying “we have a housing crisis!” and “net immigration of 300,000 per year is not a problem!” as if there is no contradiction. There is a massive contradiction and something needs to be done – that is, more houses need to be built and/or net immigration needs to be brought down. Failure to do either of those things just plays in to the hands of the extreme right-wingers who are making frightening political ground all over Europe.

    The typical Lib Dem response to this is “sure, we just need to build more houses”. But it isn’t happening. If you have a boat, and more people want to use it than the boat can safely carry, then of course the ideal solution would be to get a bigger boat; but you let the extra people on AFTER you’ve got the bigger boat, not before.

  • nigel hunter 26th May '16 - 11:09pm

    Since Thatcher no Government has built enough houses leading to the present problems. The party should come out with a CLEAR policy and push it. If these migrants are coming here to work , which is mostly the about using hotels and facilities FIRST to house them. If the political will to solve a problem that has been going on for decades is there I am sure this suggestion could have some headway.

  • nigel hunter 26th May '16 - 11:29pm

    Referendums have to have a 50% plus result to be valid. However in a general election you can take power with around 35% ‘pass mark’ where a few control the many ,not democratic, To me a referendum is more legal and democratic. I believe we should be fighting for PR where the ,at least 2 parties can get over that 50% mark to rule legally for the majority not the minority. I know it is an old call but should be howled from the rooftops to stop this creeping oligarchy One small example of this Wales where Labour has solved the problem of who rules by bringing in another party, just the beginning.

  • although in wales, labour took just shy of 50% of the assembly seats with about 33% of the votes cast – sligjtly over 10% of the electorate!

  • Matt (Bristol) 26th May '16 - 11:36pm

    Katharine Pindar is being misheard with regard to her point about headteachers, in particular.

    Her point was about democracy.

    Oversight by locally elected persons has been a part of the education system since the creation of school boards in 1870.

    It provides scrutiny, in the way that a jury does. The ‘give power to the specialists’ argument so many people tout these days is an argument against the public having a stake in public services, other than as consumers of them.

    The government’s proposals do not give significantly more power to head teachers — they give it to the leaders of academy chains, to the unelected regional education commissioners and ultimately to the secretary of state. It is centralisation of power, and a process of de-democratisation.

    Elected LEAs and councils and the other bodies referred to in the later part of the article are not infallible, but for years they have offered a check and balance, a brake (of variable effectiveness, I admit) on the speed with which a government can impose its own whims and U-turns on the nation. This is being stripped away. I am amazed that people on here seem not to see that.

    I often chastise people on here for not being reasonable, but I do think rage is a reasonable reaction to the state of the Tory party at present, and the way it is playing around with public policy.

    I agree however, that rage alone will not convince the rest of the country, and unless it is articulated extremely well in fact it may alienate large chunks of it who do not see what the fuss is about. But there is much to be angry about.

  • Peter Watson 26th May '16 - 11:41pm

    @Lorenzo Cherin “We are a party of power at the most local and individual level”
    Surely we want “power” (authority and accountability?) to be at the most appropriate level, which, depending upon the decisions that are being made, could be the teacher within the classroom, the head teacher within the school, the LEA for the schools within a district/town/county/etc., and the Department for Education for national issues.

  • Decisions made in anger are invariably bad ones.

    If you want to “rage (ineffectually) against the Tories”, Corbyn’s Nu Trot party is the place to be.

    How about proposing some positive Liberal initiatives?

  • Matt (Bristol) 27th May '16 - 12:11am

    TCO, I agree that there is incoherent anger and rage. There is also focused, rational, well-articulated anger. And that should go hand-in-hand with clear policy-making.

    I’d also like to make the point that the final period of the last Labour government was not an experience of unalloyed joy for many and there was a reasonable anger to be articulated as it blundered around, flailing its arms at ‘new’ policy initiatives, bleating about ‘Britishness’ in a way that suggested even its own spokespeople weren’t sure what they meant.

  • Phil Wainewright 27th May '16 - 12:12am

    Thank you Katherine for a bit of honest passion. It’s a welcome antidote to the evidence-based pragmatism that LibDems feel obliged to practise. For goodness sake, it is possible to be reasonable and yet be angry at the same time. If we showed some more impatience to correct injustice and prejudice, we might even persuade others to rally to the cause.

  • Somewhere between negativity for negativity’s sake and avoiding being negative for fear of appearing a shadow of the Labour party is appropriate criticism based on facts best to our knowledge.

  • Peter Watson 27th May '16 - 7:57am

    This article starts from the presupposition that Lib Dems disagree with much that the Conservative government is doing, but is that correct?
    Much of what this government does is a logical extension of coalition policies, and many problems we see are the result of 5-6 years of government (or more), not just the last 12 months. Perhaps Conservatives were previously moderated in secret by Lib Dems (but how could we be sure?), but even that suggests relatively mild disagreement rather than outright opposition.
    Besides which, who knows what Lib Dems do stand for now? The party cannot simply define itself as an opposition to whoever it is not in Coalition with; Lib Dems need to communicate a clear and consistent message about what they are for, not just snipe at what some (but not all) of them are against.

  • Stephen Howse 27th May '16 - 9:29am

    Re: Caracatus – we’re on what, 5-6% in the national polls, and you actually want to tell people who might be inclined to vote Lib Dem that you don’t want their votes.


    Eddie, Lorenzo – there are people in this party with views and approaches like yours, and there are people in this party who will fight to make sure a genuinely liberal, devolutionary, end user-centred approach is taken to policy making.

    I’m keeping the faith and I really hope you both will too – if liberalism is worth fighting for then surely it’s worth fighting for with the party on the ropes and knee-jerk oppositionalism once again returning to the fore.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '16 - 9:56am

    Well said Stephen! Thanks to others who have been polite too. I might put Stuart’s first four words on my CV. :p

  • There seems to be some confusion about the role of Headteachers and local authorities from the usual suspects who place themselves ‘to the right’ of me. I suspect they don’t know much about it.

    In my time as a Head of three schools I enjoyed a very happy relationship and partnership with my local authority. At no time was I “told” what to do, but I did receive encouragement and support for initiatives. There was a great deal of support available for staff development for both existing staff and new entrants to the profession. There was a sense of partnership with other schools and we worked and co-operated together. There was also support for parent/teacher co-operation.

    On a personal leveI I have fond memories of inspiration from the late great Glynn Harris the Senior Adviser (not Inspector) in my Westmorland days….. and from Bernard Wates as Deputy Director of Education for Westmorland. Bernard later contested Westmorland and Workington as a Liberal post retirement. They were good thoughtful civilised people who understood local communities.

    That began to change with interference from the Conservative Party using top down control starting with Sir Keith Joseph and Kenneth Baker in the eighties – and recently the hapless opinionated Gove and his cipher Nikki Morgan.

    Frankly, I would not want to take orders from some corporate Academy board operating on a commercial agenda on a dog eat dog basis paying absurd £ 300,000 salaries to a ‘Chief Executive’ and closing rural schools.

    What also struck me about the Gove regime was the shallowness of it in pushing a right wing agenda, and in my own subject area modern history pushing an uncritical imperialist view of Britain – and in faith school academies a creationist agenda.

    There’s nothing benign or charitable about the move to Academies. It is a determined agenda to get into the minds of children and to change society. It’s not just theTories ,it started with the Blairites who didn’t understand or care about local communities, local government and local democracy.

    Again, good luck Katharine.

  • Stephen Howse 27th May '16 - 11:12am

    “There’s nothing benign or charitable about the move to Academies. It is a determined agenda to get into the minds of children and to change society. It’s not just theTories ,it started with the Blairites who didn’t understand or care about local communities, local government and local democracy.”

    Why must it be a binary choice – why is it either ‘we have LEA control or we have academy chains’? Again – where is the fresh thinking? Where are the new ideas? Where are the genuinely liberal policies developed from first liberal principles with the interests of young people and parents in mind?

  • @David Raw – I’m someone to the right of you, and I’d like to point out that top down control of education did not begin with Sir Keith Joseph. I seem to recall one Anthony Crosland promising to “destroy every last ****** grammar school in England” some time in the 1960s, which was followed by a great bonfire of all that was good that had gone before.

  • Simon Hebditch 27th May '16 - 11:44am

    I do not see any clear direction in which the Lib Dems are moving from a policy/programmatic point of view. Surely, we have to develop and then publicise a practical programme for public investment and renewal. We should be working on plans for transforming the UK into a federation of four nations, developing a radical economic investment programme which moves us away from the austerity policies which have not worked, coming up with practical proposals for addressing the housing crisis and working with others, after the referendum on the EU, to build a centre left alliance which can reform the institutions of the EU and introduce genuine democracy.

    Is the work on these themes actually going on somewhere? Is anyone talking to other centre left parties and campaigning movements to see where we could work together to ensure that the Tories are confronted during the next four years and at the next general election?

  • @Simon Hebditch there aren’t any (other?) centre left parties in British politics at present. There are Liberals in our party, the Tories and Labour; there are Social Democrats in our party and Labour, but the Labour Party (and the Greens and a few Lib Dems) are hard left.

  • Simon Hebditch 27th May '16 - 11:49am

    On the EU front, the sentiments that I expressed above illustrate why I am going to attend a major national conference tomorrow in London being addressed by Yanis Varoufakis, John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas and Owen Jones. No Tim Farron! I wonder if he was not invited, if he was but declined the suggestion or whether he wasn’t invited and illustrates that the Lib Dems are currently seen as irrelevant on the centre left.

  • @Simon Shaw. Indeed. Tim was very astute to eschew appearing with what is to all intents and purposes a hard left gathering. Unless he set him self up very much as opposite to their points of view. But the risk would be too great as the picture would tell 1000 words.

  • @ TCO ” I’m someone to the right of you”….. I had noticed.

    When I swung my telescope to the far right of the horizon I did see a small speck in the far distance. Let’s just leave it at that….

  • @David Raw “When I swung my telescope to the far right of the horizon I did see a small speck in the far distance. Let’s just leave it at that….”

    Are you going to address the serious point I made about political interference in education coming from both sides of the spectrum and for a long time prior to the 1980s Conservative Government?

    Are you going to engage in the debate about what constitutes a Liberal response to centralising control be it from Corporations, Central, or Local Government?

    I’m happy to debate the issues – are you?

  • Matt (Bristol) 27th May '16 - 3:07pm

    “Why must it be a binary choice – why is it either ‘we have LEA control or we have academy chains’? Again – where is the fresh thinking? Where are the new ideas? Where are the genuinely liberal policies developed from first liberal principles with the interests of young people and parents in mind?”

    These are entirely fair questions.

    But can I put in a plea for a democratic model of community oversight to be part of whatever fresh-thinking is done – schools (and hospitals, and all kinds of other things) are community resources, and local and regional decisions need to be open to local and regional accountability.

    Self-appointed or central-government-appointed oversight is not enough. But, of course, that’s necessarily not giving sanction to the continued existence of LEAs in their current or previous form.

    But I don’t hear this article as saying LEAs are perfect and not in need of some reform — to me, this article states that what is wrong with the Tory reforms is the absence of local, democratic oversight.

  • @Matt (Bristol) schools are very different to hospitals. Everyone will use, or has the potential to use, a hospital. Schools, however, are limited to their pupils (and by extension their parents), so the primary accountability should be to them.

  • Simon Banks 27th May '16 - 3:22pm

    As far as I can see, not a few immigrants become building workers, and that’s not just the traditional Irish. Cut immigration and you cut the workforce. We have the resources to build far more affordable houses, though to be fair, the problem goes back through the Coalition, which made a culpably slow start on preventing the collapse of housebuilding, to Labour governments determined to build houses in corridors of growth rather than where people needed them and, of course, Margaret Thatcher and council house sales without allowing local authorities to build with the receipts.

    While obviously if we think the government’s doing something well we should say so, and opposition to government measures should be thought out, not knee-jerk, the idea of equidistance between Conservatives and Labour has led us to decline and disaster more than once, especially during Conservative-led governments. Katharine is quite right that the government is undermining democracy and community on several levels and as Liberal Democrats we can fight that more convincingly than can Labour with its Blairite, top-down, managerial recent past and its we-know-best attitude to public participation in local government.

  • Stephen Howse 27th May '16 - 3:47pm

    “But can I put in a plea for a democratic model of community oversight to be part of whatever fresh-thinking is done – schools (and hospitals, and all kinds of other things) are community resources, and local and regional decisions need to be open to local and regional accountability.”

    I agree wholeheartedly with that. Perhaps we could have local education boards, with representation from councils, business, parents’ groups and other local interest groups? And retain the need for parent governors in individual schools.

    I want schools to be free to innovate in their curricula (with a minimum entitlement supplemented by the school’s specialist teaching) , to be incentivised to open their doors to every young person (through the carrot of increased financial means), and to be able to attract the top teachers they need to engage the young people in their care (whether financially, by offering a fast-track to promotion for the brightest, or by something else – I want schools to be free to set their own pay).

    First and foremost, my interest is in the life chances of the young people going to school. I care far more about them than I do about the vested interests of politicians, big business and, indeed, the teaching unions. Their interests must be at the heart of everything we say about education – it must always be linked back to equality of opportunity and to ensuring no young person should ever have to settle for second best.

  • David Allen 27th May '16 - 4:17pm

    What a lot of depressing, evasive comments!

    TCO: “If you want to “rage (ineffectually) against the Tories”, Corbyn’s Nu Trot party is the place to be. How about proposing some positive Liberal initiatives?”

    Well, LDV sets a 500-word limit, so you can’t develop two good arguments in one article. Katharine has written plenty of positive material in the past, here she shows us what we should be furious about. TCO thinks that only Trotskyists could dislike what the Tories are doing. Says it all. About TCO, that is.

    Stephen Howse, “Where’s the Lib Dem outrage at the revelations about the BMA’s strategy today?” So presumably we should be saying “Now that we have found out that the trade union side was less than totally honest, we should exonerate Jeremy Hunt for all his arrogant and incompetent negotiations. Sorry Jeremy, all is forgiven, may we lick your boots now?”

    Others have carefully searched Katharine’s article for weak points to attack. Katharine mentioned house building in passing, so the mockers parlay that into an immigration issue they can sound forth upon. Katharine lucidly explains how the Tories are stripping power from elected bodies and passing it to their stooges, so the mockers misrepresent the argument and pretend that academisation is nothing to do with control by Tory stooges.

    Rage is necessary, and appropriate.

  • Stephen Howse 27th May '16 - 5:08pm

    No, David. That’s not what I think we should be doing.

    Why are some Lib Dems so keen to play the binary politics game that ultimately only strengthens the two big parties at our expense?

    I’d use it to repeat our 2010 manifesto call to spin the NHS’s day to day control out to an independent board.

    If that’s licking Jeremy Hunt’s boots, then… well I don’t even know how to end that sentence, to be honest.

    Seriously, this party…

  • This ‘…collection of sophisticated predators’,.. i.e. Tory government, has a majority of about 12 MP’s. That seems far too thin to be the Tory steamroller that is being suggested here. What is astonishing is that the Tories had only 308 MP’s in 2010, but with Lib Dem support (57), the Tories curiously seemed far more powerful (and predatory), back then.? Was not your time for passion and rage back then in 2010-2015. when you had massive leverage to make liberal passion work.? But bizarrely, there was no evident LD passion and rage back then in Coalition years,… Why was that?
    Consequently, the real question still not fully answered, is why many of the 57 Lib Dem MP’s were so supine, when they had a majority ‘headroom’ advantage of about 38MP’s, with which to crush (passionately and with rage ?), any and all, distasteful Tory policy formulated during coalition years? In that light,.. calling for passion and rage now is a bit,… ‘stable door’,.. is it not?’.
    Might I suggest, that there is one, and only one, viable conclusion to draw from the absence of liberal rage during the Coalition years.? And that was because a huge number within your cohort 57, were not in fact liberals at all, but easily seduced soft Tories?
    And I guess the definitive question is, …when will Tim find the passion and rage to rid his Liberal party of those (soft Orange) Tories that clearly still wield the real base power.? If I’m mistaken, then why do we still see more Clegg than Farron on TV?

  • J Dunn: “And I guess the definitive question is, …when will Tim find the passion and rage to rid his Liberal party of those (soft Orange) Tories that clearly still wield the real base power.?”

    Don’t you think that calling for purges of right wingers is a little, y’know, Stalinist? It doesn’t fit any definition of liberal that I’m aware of

  • Stephen Howse: “Why are some Lib Dems so keen to play the binary politics game? ….I’d … repeat our 2010 manifesto call to spin the NHS’s day to day control out to an independent board.”

    We’re dealing (Katharine’s words) with a Tory government which is “a collection of sophisticated predators who systematically promote the interests of their own kind and seek the further enrichment of the moneyed classes despite the deep inequalities in Britain”. Digested version “The thugs are now running the prison.” Now, how should Liberal Democrats respond to this state of affairs?

    Well, first time around, you had a go at the BMA. That amounts to saying “Well, the victims did fight back against the thugs, so let’s just blame both sides and sit airily on the fence in the middle.”

    Second time around, you’ve instead expressed the pious hope that political hot potatoes can get wished away and dumped upon some all-wise independent authority. So this now amounts to “Let’s offer no real solutions and sit airily on the fence in the middle”.

    If that’s the alternative to “binary politics”, I’m amazed it can still get as high as 5% in the polls!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th May '16 - 3:48am

    Katharine Pindar

    You make regularly constructive contributions , this is one of them I agree with a lot of and disagree as explained, you show your reasonableness by not getting into the tiswas that some are because some of us are a little to the right of Ho Chi Min !

    Stephen Howse

    Thank you for your terrifically welcome comments , not least one or two directly to me and my fellow common sense enthusiast , Eddie Sammon! Believe me , Stephen, if only the left wing members of centre and centre left parties would realise that it is not right wing to be in a centre or centre left party , they have Corbyn and co and are frequently adoring him , we have nowhere else to go ! Those of us advocating for a better today and tommorrow for all, rather than the same or better yesterday , are often called right wing , but how advocating free at the point of use , targetting help to the most in need and putting power in the hands of people rather than authorities , is right wing , bring back Jo Grimond , leader , before I was born and shall we ask him ?!

    David Raw

    Address us by name , we are not “usual suspects ” unless being in favour of Liberal and Democratic ideas in a party of the name is now a crime in your brave new , world , politics is one , in which case , “guilty as charged “!!!

  • David Allen. If you want to pick a side and back it, you have two you choose from: Corbyn or Cameron. Given your stated anti Cameronism I presume that will be corbyn and maybe David Raw will join you.

    Meanwhile Stephen, Lorenzo, Eddie, Simon Shaw, me and all the other moderates will look to find sensible Liberal alternative’s.

  • Katharine Pindar 28th May '16 - 11:19am

    Thanks to all responders, it has been a revealing debate. I am grateful to Matt (Bristol) for explaining what I really meant on the local education democracy front, and for your support, as also for that of Phil Wainewright, David Allen and Simon Banks. We certainly do need to fight for community oversight at local level.
    I was surprised at the suggestion, late on, that there was no passion or rage back in the Coalition years. Even in the straitjacket of government Nick Clegg and co. fought a good fight for fairness and liberal values, while the rest of our beloved Party raged outside. It was a combination of the revelations of David Laws’s book and the publishing of details of the devastation caused to poor and disabled people by benefit cuts that set me writing this; then a realisation of how democracy is being subverted.
    Now we indeed need practical proposals and policies to be further developed to continue the fight, while we stay alert to the creeping ills that will yet afflict us.

  • Peter Watson 28th May '16 - 4:21pm

    @TCO “”Meanwhile Stephen, Lorenzo, Eddie, Simon Shaw, me and all the other moderates will look to find sensible Liberal alternative’s.”
    Self-declaring as “moderate” is as unreliable as self-declaring as “centrist” : it merely seeks to imply that alternative views are inherently wrong, i.e. biased or immoderate.
    What makes your approach more moderate than that of Davids Allen and Raw? Do you think a “moderate” approach is what the Lib Dems need to reverse their fortunes? Actually, the impression I have from your older posts is that you generally take a fairly radical stance, albeit one that points in a different direction from some Lib Dems.
    I think that is the nub of the Lib Dems’ problems: it looks to be full of people with principles, ideas and passion who want to make the world a better place but in order to achieve that there seems to be very profound and often bitter disagreement about how much the state (or other authorities) should help or get out of the way.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th May '16 - 6:05pm

    Peter Watson

    You are making a very good point. As does Katharine prior to it .TCO , above , was the object of sarcasm from David Raw , nothing wrong , I guess , with that , apart from when it , which it does at times , covers for bitterness and contempt. You offer a respectful assessment of tendencies and wings of our movement. You are correct on TCO , he is often radical , but , and please understand this is not to judge others , he is as such , within the mainstream of moderate Liberal and Democratic thought, ie going back years in our party and country. As am I and the others mentioned.

    I do not like it that some much older and more left wing members put out the view that this was a left wing party , hijacked by rightwingers .That was what happened in Labour as an appraisal , and its simplistic view is what has led it to be the new arm of the workers proletariat !

    We can find much common ground if we get on and stop pretending we must agree or disagree on everything.Look at the irony , herein , Katharine above makes very positive comments on Nick Clegg , something David Raw always does the opposite of , but it is David Raw , who most supports the one aspect of this thread , the staunchness of the anti Tory approach and the return to the apparent perfect days of local authority control !

    I am not feeling disgruntled about anything in our party but the anger and bitterness shown towards many of us in the centre , in my case , or centre right in other s , of what is a centre and centre left party . Not a right wing one , or a far left one.

    Left wing members , very welcome to express whatever point they have , should stop attacking the moderate , yes , it is that often , or radical , centre, view ,of many of us within the tradition , of Jo Grimond , Roy Jenkins , or one of my heroes who I share my birthday with , the late , great , Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman !

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