LibLink: Hughes – Liberal Democrat party stronger than ever

Simon Hughes has an upbeat piece in the Independent today. On the left of the party, is Simon worried at a coalition with the Conservatives? Not a bit of it.

Whatever the difficulties of leading Britain out of the recession, reducing the deficit, growing our economy and reversing our headstrong irresponsibility as stewards of our planet, our philosophy, traditions, principles and values remain rock solid. Political parties do not exist to debate or advise; they exist to implement, to deliver and to change. Thirteen years of Labour and 65 years of red/blue politics has left Britain with too few liberties, reduced equality and frustrated opportunity. Our ambition is nothing less than a more equal and free society, where the poor are protected and supported and the better off much more generously shoulder our responsibilities.

Read the rest here.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • I only hope that Simon gets a good position in the government because he is one we can trust to stick to principle and keep the tories honest.

  • Keith Browning 13th May '10 - 4:12pm

    I have always had great respect for Simon’s views and yet again speaks more sense than most. Would the party activists prefer to be holding placards or shouting abuse at the gates of Downing Street or making day to day decisions, inside Number 10, about the government of the country. Already after 24 hours the country seems a much fairer place – at least there will soon be a lot less laws I can break.

  • The Liberal Dems derive their strength from their Philosophy not from their policies.
    If we remember that, as Simon does, we will continue to progress.

  • “Our negotiators reported that Tory negotiators displayed a “can-do” and “will-do” attitude in contrast to Labour’s “can’t”. “

    Well said Simon, the only problem is that Nick had already said “I will work with Gordon Brown, I cannot prop up Labour with Gordon as PM…” so who was he supposed to make any deals with? Some unknown future PM, this is Simon trying to justify the choice of Liberal Democrat leader and advisors…

    Please Simon, you are supposed to be accepting responsibility, you know grown up stuff, not the big boys made me do it… stuff that children use…

    Just accept the fact it was the Choice of the Liberal Democrat party leaders, advisors and MPs to accept this agreement with the Tory party…

    I wonder, just how long it will be before a Liberal Democrat MP decides to cross the floor of the house

  • sorry missed *not* out of previous post
    Well said Simon, the only problem is that Nick had already said “I will *not* work with Gordon Brown, I cannot prop up Labour with Gordon as PM…” so who was he supposed to make any deals with? Some unknown future PM, this is Simon trying to justify the choice of Liberal Democrat leader and advisors…

  • David Pollard 13th May '10 - 6:54pm

    Simon has shown tremendous Statesmanship throughout the negotiations. ‘Stuff” happens and the coalition may go horribly wrong, but the LibDems have done the right thing and Simon has had the courage to support the decisions all the way along the line.

  • I know it’s not exactly the accepted thing around here, but I am slightly less concerned about civil liberties than I am childrens education… still if there’s one place I can be sure people are likely to accept my alternative views it’s amongst other Lib Dem supporters 🙂

    I do believe the party made the right choice. But one area I feel they have really failed on in this coalition is education.

    The conservatives Manifesto frightened me deeply for the future of our education system. ‘Free schools’ whilst a nice idea on paper has the potential to create an even wider gap between the best and worst areas of education in this country. I shall be following this very very closely, and lobbying Mr Huppert significantly to raise a voice within the party and parliament over this issue.

    The other very worrying thing that has recently come to light is the renaming of The Department for Children, Schools and Families back to the Department for education. It reinforces my view that the Conservatives have not yet grasped the link between family health and education standards, especially with comments like ‘get back to our core priorities’. Whatever faults the Labour government had in education, it did make some very substantial steps towards bringing direct support for children who were recognised as ‘challenging’ within the classroom by involving the whole family, and having people responsible for mediating the difficulties that children had at home as it related to their school life.

    This was a very very positive step, and was widely welcomed and applauded by the teachers who experienced it, saying that it made a significant difference to the childrens behaviour and ability to learn.

    I really fear we will be taking a step back with this government, that the important link between school, child and family life will go by unrecognised, despite all the significant research that has gone in to this field by psychologits and education experts.

    Please please please get involved in this, please at least get a holistic view of education back on the agenda, it is so so so important for young children, and the benefits it offers far outstrips anything else you can do to help flagging schools and falling standards amongst younger pupils. We cannot fall back on the antiquated victorian ideas of education, that you learn best by being disciplined (Camerons own words during the debates which again scared the hell out of me). We need the Lib Dems to be a voice for progressive education methods here, and we need it desperatey, because the Conservatives really do not understand it, or care for it.

    It’s a cliche, but won’t somebody please think of the children.

  • I’ve always had great respect for Simon Hughes as an MP, but he has now lost all credibility in my mind. Vince Cable just described your unnatural coupling with the party of Mr Cash and Mr Tebitt as collaboration. For once one of your lot is being honest about what you are doing. Collaborators indeed. And the argument that Cameron is some sort of “new tory” will not wash. He joined the party in the 1980’s while Thatcher was busy assaulting the ordinary people of this country with the full force of state violence and dismantling our economy. Leopards and spots.

  • Oh, and the former Department for children, schools and families tackled issues such as bullying, if the conservatives don’t feel this is a real issue that affects childrens school performance, and leads to the very undisciplined behaviour they want to stop, really really need to catch up with the last 20 years of research.

    As a promoter of liberties, I hope the Lib Dems take a strong stance on this aspect of government. Someone needs to.

  • @ N Makhno

    it’s ok, I don’t think he’ll miss the tiny amount of credibility you’d have been able to store in such a small place.

  • Alex

    I thought we were arguing politics not personal insult, but then clearly you don’t like politics, which you have just given up in favour of corporatism and carving up the country with your supposed enemies. I will stick to lambasting your spineless party and assume that you’re ok. After all you’re not a tory

  • Liberal Democrats, as both avidly optimistic and democratic are used to in-depth policy debate amongst party activists and members and used to taking really hard decisions on priorities as if somehow we might actually be in a position to implement them.

    So now we have a chance to implement policy albeit as a junior partner in a coalition and at a time of severe economic distress – but we are used to taking those hard decisions in realtime and not wafty, wishful thinking.

    I think we will be in fine fettle as a party.

    I do think however that we do need to go out of our way to highlight our distinctiveness and colours as an organisation and keep attracting people to our cause, especially the young. I hope to see a very colourful, confident and exuberant conference. Lots of flag flying!

  • @ Alex: I’m in full agreement with you on the need for problem pupils to have help both in and outside of the school environment. On the other hand, I also believe that discipline is deeply important for child development, but again this is a process that must take place both inside and outside the school environment. It’s a balance, certainly, and I acknowledge that I may be biased due to my fairly traditional upbringing, but I think there’s room- and a need- for a combination of both methods in the education system. On the plus side, this sort of thing was IDS’s baby for quite a while I believe, so we’ll see what they come up with on the subject.

  • Cllr Patrick Smith 13th May '10 - 8:15pm

    The new `Coalition Government’ can herald a new era in progressive policies in the UK and capable of as Simon Hughes points out ` to create a more equal and free society where the poorest are helped and supported..’. I am a founder member Lib.Dem. and care much about the principles of practical Liberalism that Simon Hughes has written large for his constituents over 30 years..

    Now there is a real golden opportunity to implement in Government albeit sitting with Tories but now joined on a national purpose to pass law on Faire Taxes,A Fair Star for our Children,To reform and break up the unfair Banking system and to establish a new Green and sustainable economic growth .

    When you add the pledge to clean up politics,democratise the H of L`s and debate the referendum on AV it if all done will signally augur a massive progressive change that works for you in the UK. All worth supporting to the hilt.

  • I guess some members might not be happy with the coalition and will not renew, some might join the Greens, others decide to put all their efforts into pressure groups, but very few will join the pro-war/City free-for-all/ end the 10% tax rate party – Labour.

    Many more will join the Lib Dems because the old idea that we will never win, never have power are finally laid to rest. A democratic powerhouse of real-time policy based upon truly and permanently relevant ideals will attract many especially the younger generation.

  • Well I don’t know how many have joined the Lib Dems over the last week, but yesterday morning the reports were 8400 new members since polling finished, reports today are saying that yesterday in a 24hr period the new register of labour members was over 4000 which was probably why the server failed, so I presume those numbers seem to be climbing each day… they have got to be coming from somewhere.

  • ref Les Moss

    but they won’t be Liberals joining them! The fear of being dragged out of a conference by police for disagreeing alone would stop Liberals joining the Labour.

  • despite all the significant research that has gone in to this field by psychologits and education experts.

    It’s childish I know but I lol’d at “psychologits”.
    However, I do agree with you. The education policy that’s emerged so far has been the only major worry for me.

    What is going to happen about SATs, incidentally? As I recall, the Conservatives planned to make them “more rigorous”. I’d much prefer they were rigorously removed.

  • Matthew Huntbach 13th May '10 - 11:17pm

    N Makhno

    Vince Cable just described your unnatural coupling with the party of Mr Cash and Mr Tebitt as collaboration. For once one of your lot is being honest about what you are doing. Collaborators indeed.

    So, what else could have been done? There were just not enough non-Tories to make any sort of deal the other way viable. If we had just said “can’t deal with anyone”, we’d have been saying we’re the problem and the country should never have voted enough if us in to cause the problem. Labour and the Tories would together go to a new election saying that, and we’d be ended just as much as we would be for siding with either of them.

    Personally I’d have preferred a deal where we had less influence but more independence. I’ve heard all these lines about how much we’ve got out of this, but I just can’t see it. I’m afraid the smugness of Clegg and other right-wingers in the party over this really isn’t helping make it swallowable.

    Clegg has made it quite clear, the “conversation on the plane” showed it, but the nature of those he chose to bring along to negotiate with theTories also shows it, that he has no care at all for maintaining the balance in our party. He’ll shamelessly promote the right and leave the left behind. He’s never shown any wish at all to mix with or hear the point of view of people in the party who aren’t part of his Orange Book wing. A decent leader would accept our party has many different strands and try to be fair to them all.

    Poor Simon Hughes, I rather suspect, has been left feeling he has to say what he has said here in the vain hope that doing it might leave him with just about something thrown to him by the leader.

Post a Comment

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

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

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

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


Recent Comments

  • Tim Rogers
    Good speech from the heart. He should be given all he asks for including aircraft . Where are our Tornado aircraft now....
  • Cassie
    If only there was 'sewage in (the) Commons,' more might be done! Another 'Big Stink' and all that....
  • Cassie
    Well I don't think we need an extra 36 members of the Senedd, so that would save a few quid – may be wrong, but Tories are putting the cost of that at £75m o...
  • Mel Borthwaite
    So, spend more on dentistry, spend more on insulation, No mention of what budgets the Liberal Democrats would will cut to to enable the extra spending in the...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Might attempts at negotiation help to increase the chances of peace?...