LibLink: Mark Pack – 2011 was a year of treading water

Yesterday The Times ran a set of op-eds looking at how the parties did in 2011, featuring ConHome’s Tim Montgomerie, Ed Miliband biographer Mehdi Hasan and The Voice’s own Mark Pack.

Here is a flavour of what Mark had to say:

This year has certainly not been short of Harold Macmillan’s “events, dear boy, events”.  Political and economic turmoil disrupted even the usually quiet periods deep in August and the final shopping days before Christmas.

Yet at the end of the year the political rollercoaster has left all three main parties in remarkably similar situations to those in which they found themselves at the start of the year. Politically, it has been a year of treading water…

Nick Clegg has started to flesh out a clearer overall message for the party which brings the different positive threads together. The Budget will provide the big showcase test for that: can the Liberal Democrats ensure the Budget is not just one of austerity but also one of fairness? Even without big giveaways our taxes can be made fairer in ways a solo Conservative government would not wish. Get that right and 2012 won’t be a matter of simply treading water.

You can read Mark’s piece in full here [£].

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7 Comments

  • Tony Dawson 28th Dec '11 - 7:48pm

    @Mark Pack:

    “Nick Clegg has started to flesh out a clearer overall message for the party which brings the different positive threads together.”

    While I think that Nick is clearly trying in this respect, I am rather more concerned at what message he is getting over to the unconverted and deconverted rather to the (more or less) faithful.

  • I was worried and disappionted to read the recent report in the Independent claiming that, despite the tax threshold changes removing circa 1 million out of tax, the poor will be worse off next year when Osborne’s benefit changes kick in. Have I got it wrong?!

  • Until we start rebalancing away from benefit and service cuts generally and towards higher taxes on the better off, or at least making it clear that is what we want to achieve, we will not start winning back support. Clegg’s political positioning has alwaysbeen naive and wrong, ie, we will “move to the centre right to capture more voters”. Surely Mark’s “year of treading water” has shown decisively how wrong this strategy was, and still is. What we need is to be strong in our Liberal and Democrat arguments – not giving in to tabloid populism, but reiterating arguments for Peace, Lowering Resource (not just carbon) footprint, and against unrestrained Thatcherite capitalism, gross and widening inequality, heavy handed criminal and immigration policies. I could go on, but, that seems to me a much stronger New Year message in difficult times than the tepid, half hearted and many times reheated stuff we hear from Nick.

    Of course the Tories won’t like it, but these are the ideals many of us have been in business to work towards over these many years. Nick, we believe in a new politics, not more kowtowing to powerful vested interests – we have enough politicians prepared to do that.

  • Don Lawrence 29th Dec '11 - 9:53am

    “Yet at the end of the year the political rollercoaster has left all three main parties in remarkably similar situations to those in which they found themselves at the start of the year.”

    How many councillors did we lose in May Mark?

  • We will, of course, continue with those losses in May 2012, as the inevitable consequence of our position in the opinion polls (not greatly different from that at 1.1.11, which I assume is Mark’s “treading water” point). I imagine our losses will be rather nasty, as this year a number of urban Unitaries will be “up”, where many leftish supporters will have abandoned us for Labour, the Greens, or sympathetic Independents

  • We will continue with the losses if local parties and members continue to wallow in self pity. Local parties can buck national trends. We all know the threat, if you choose to do nothing about it then its your own fault not Nicks.

  • Don Lawrence 2nd Jan '12 - 9:41pm

    But if you do what you have always done, and a bit more, but this time you lose (Just as lots of good councillors did last May) then it’s Nick’s fault. Next time there won’t be as many people to do it with in many areas.

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