Malcolm Bruce: People will realise the positive impact Lib Dems have made in Government and will want more of us there

Lib Dem Deputy Leader Sir Malcolm Bruce told the Herald recently that Nick Clegg is “strong and resilient” and that the Liberal Democrats have achieved much in government. When people reflected on the last five years, he said, they would want to see us in Government again:

The MP for Gordon said voters would in the next few months have to “think very hard” about what outcome they wanted on May 8.

“At the moment, people are in protest, they don’t like the fact we’ve had a really hard economic time and, therefore, they are not prepared at the moment to reward the Coalition government. But when they consider what the alternatives are and what the outcome might be, they will firm up their support for the Coalition because they will recognise that it has brought about a recovery that the other parties could throw away,” argued Sir Malcolm.

When it was pointed out that the Lib Dems were fourth in Scotland and fourth or sometimes fifth across the UK, the deputy leader insisted people should not prejudge the outcome of the election.

“There are people out there yet to make up their mind and when they reflect the positive things the Liberal Democrats have achieved on tax, pensions, the green agenda and schools, they will want to see more not fewer Liberal Democrats in the next parliament; that’s what our campaign’s going to be about.”

Meanwhile, the woman who wants to succeed him as MP for Gordon, Christine Jardine, outlined her wishes for the area on her own blog:

I have been privileged to watch him work and to have his support in my campaign to succeed him (Malcolm Bruce).

For me that means working for the people in the same way that he has. Listening to their concerns and fighting for the changes that they want.

Yes I also support my party’s policies of lowering taxes for ordinary families, raising pensions and creating jobs.

But that is because I believe it is the way we can build a stronger economy, a fairer society and opportunities for all. Not just in Gordon but across the UK.

Most important for me is to be a representative who will to stand up for those communities across Gordon who have been consistently short changed by the SNP administration at Holyrood.

I don’t want to see that happen at Westminster too, with another SNP backbencher simply using the votes to bang the drum for independence. An independence movement which the people of Gordon roundly reject at the referendum.

Instead I want to speak up on our transport issues press for action to support our health service and work to ensure that we protect the future of our oil industry which now finds itself under threat. I am disappointed that many of these issues have not been solved. I had hoped that by now we would be enjoying the long promised improved transport links in Gordon, or that Aberdeen City Council would have received the funding which the Scottish Government short changed them on. But no.

Still waiting.

And in our NHS the people who provide vital services in our area are stretched to breaking point. The service cannot get the consultants it needs and the cost of accommodation in the North East is putting people off coming here to work.

If we could persuade the SNP Government to put some effort – and cash – into improving the situation for all of us, it would be a huge step forward. We could also do with some help for our schools. The cost of living here is also discouraging a lot of good people from entering the teaching profession. Specific things I’d like to be able to do something about include getting a new swimming pool for Inverurie. I know it was a great facility in its day but that day has passed. A town that can boast a Commonwealth Gold Medallist in Hannah Miley should also have a swimming pool to be proud of and that the next generation are able to enjoy.

That next generation could also benefit from a new school, which would also be a boon to the town. It might even be possible to combine the two, school and pool.
For Kintore I’d like to see that new station we have been promised moved up the agenda. Every time fresh spending plans are announced it seems to be pushed further and further into the future.

And just recently it was driven home to me personally just what the people of Ellon have to put up with when it comes to mobile and broadband coverage.
Living in a smaller community like Newmachar I expected a town like Ellon to have better, faster, connections than we do. But trying to run a recent event in the centre of the town my colleagues and I found we couldn’t rely on the signal. Lack if a reliable signal makes life difficult enough for residents, but for small businesses and those working from home broadband and mobile facilities are vital. The UK government has invested the funds to make the improvements possible but the implementation by agencies in Scotland is taking too long.

We should never lose sight of the fact that our small businesses and farms are the backbone of our local economy they need our support. So too at the moment does the oil industry. With the price sinking close to unprofitable levels its vital that we get the industry the support it needs from the UK government. It’s not just the oil companies but their employees and all of the businesses throughout Gordon and the rest of the North East who depend on a healthy energy industry. I want to work to make sure it gets the help it needs.

 

 

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41 Comments

  • “Resilient”? Again?

  • Excellent message from Christine Jardine — who I hope will be the MP from 8th May.

    Shame it was not just Christine Jardine’s message alone that was used for this article.

    Coupling it with this statement is not helpful to her — “….“There are people out there yet to make up their mind and when they reflect the positive things the Liberal Democrats have achieved on tax, pensions, the green agenda and schools, they will want to see more not fewer Liberal Democrats in the next parliament; that’s what our campaign’s going to be about.”

    Fortunately Christine Jardine in her campaign to work with and for the people in her constituency seems to have a better grip on reality.

    I like her statement — ” …For me that means working for the people …. Listening to their concerns and fighting for the changes that they want.”.

    Listening to people and working with them to make the changes that they want will reap more rewards than telling them how grateful they ought to be for all the wonderful things that have already been done for them.

    In my experience people usually vote with their eyes on the future and hoped for improvements and a better life and community; they do not vote looking over their shoulder out of gratitude for five years of crumbs from the Westminster table.

  • @John Tillley

    “In my experience people usually vote with their eyes on the future and hoped for improvements and a better life and community; they do not vote looking over their shoulder out of gratitude for five years of crumbs from the Westminster table.”

    We may disagree on many things, but you are spot on there: voters don’t do gratitude.

    We need to be setting out clearly our vision of what a Lib Dem UK could be like. People need hope, not another helping of yesterday’s political mashed potato.

  • More want to see UKIP an Farage in Goverment

  • Don’t just think all people are going off Lib Dem’s due to Only the economic hardship, yes that is part but also you in Westminster fail or don’t want to see people are fed up with the creeping power to EU having EU Unelected by the people Administrator’s telling us how to run OUR Country. Along with the erosion of being English UK identity to mass immigration and failed integration into Our society. You still have blinkers on regarding these issues.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Jan '15 - 4:10pm

    Urgent message for Mark Pack. Are you doing some artwork adapting the Tory poster with a dual carriageway?

  • Chris Manners 2nd Jan '15 - 4:12pm

    “There are people out there yet to make up their mind and when they reflect the positive things the Liberal Democrats have achieved on tax, pensions, the green agenda and schools”

    What on earth have they achieved on schools?

    Before anyone says the pupil premium, schools with poorer intakes were already given more money. Not only that, the pupil premium was bungled. Schools had no idea what to do with it. The amounts go up and down every year. There was no proper system of evaluation when it came in either.

    Talking of which, what’s been achieved on pensions that had anything particularly Lib Dem about it? IDS is perfectly capable of spending more on cuddly old pensioners by himself.

    And tax?

  • I agree with RC and (more unusually) with John Tilley. If we spend the election campaign saying “weren’t we good in coalition” we are doomed. Voters don’t do gratitude, and many will just be reminded of letdowns. The Tories spent most of the 2001 election telling the electorate that they were wrong to kick them out in 1997, with predictable results.

    We have to say why a Lib Dem MP in your area is best for the future, and why a Lib Dem presence in Government is best for the future. Anything else is a distraction.

  • matt (Bristol) 2nd Jan '15 - 4:49pm

    We have to perform the difficult balancing act of allowing space in our communication that shows we do not expect people who hate the coalition to believe that everything that happened under the coalition was the best possible thing that could have happened, but yet allows us to say at the same time that it is reasonable for LibDem voters and supporters to differ on this and that some good things have come out of coalition.

    But this is only the preamble – the 2015 election should not be turned into a referendum on whether the 2010 coalition was or was not A Good Thing – it should be turned into a debate about what happens next after the coalition. I don’t know what we are proposing on that score, to be honest, because we spend so long being deliberately vague about the future and appearing rather desparate to defend every last crumb of our actions in coalition.

  • ErnstRemarx 2nd Jan '15 - 4:59pm

    “I like her statement — ” …For me that means working for the people …. Listening to their concerns and fighting for the changes that they want.”. ”

    At the moment, though, I suspect that the change that many people want is a drastic reduction in the number of LibDem MPs in the Commons, and the polls suggest that’s the most likely outcome in May.

    Trust and credibility are the most important facets for a political party – when both are seen as being largely absent, then the electoral game is up.

  • I think some of the optimism I hear about the Lib Dems chances in Gordon sound down right delusional.

    I predict the Lib Dems will come 4th in Gordon, this is my opinion.

    I hope we can get the threads out again after the General Election and see which posters were right and consider what those who were right said.

  • David Evershed 2nd Jan '15 - 5:40pm

    Christine Jardine’s statement is mainly about the NHS and schools which are issues devolved to the Scottish parliament.

    This highlights the problem for voters dealing with a fragmented political system and issues dispersed to the EU, Westminster, devolved parliaments and local governments with up to three further tiers.

    Localism is good for some things but Centralisation is good for other things. There are too many levels though.

  • @ Matt

    “the 2015 election should not be turned into a referendum on whether the 2010 coalition was or was not A Good Thing – it should be turned into a debate about what happens next after the coalition.”

    It will be, because the key question for many is would you/will you do it again? I think the 2010 Coalition has been monstrous – the party will only get my vote if it convinces me it won’t under any circumstances repeat the action of setting out and committing to a moderate agenda only to support the implementation of an extremist Tory one once the election is over. Not one policy commitment will carry any weight at all from Nick Clegg’s lips unless there’s a belief he’ll stick to it after the election. The reason that Clegg is an albatross is not that a political leader can’t exercise the lack of innocence he has in his politicking; the problem is that having done what he did, you can’t go back.

  • People simply do not wear this. We should stop dreaming about what we might like to happen and focus on what is actually happening.

  • Bolano 2nd Jan ’15 – 6:38pm
    “Clegg is an albatross….”

    Are you suggesting a new bird for the party logo ?

  • Little Jackie Paper 2nd Jan '15 - 8:31pm

    matt (Bristol) – With respect, give the voters more credit. The internet carries a hazard that it is, frankly, just a load of blather. Out there in the real world voters understand that Coalition means compromises and they understand the position of the minor party (particularly with a ratio of 1:6 MPs). Ignore the internet bluster – at the 2010 election no one lied, no one was cheated or deceived. But then if the voters feel that they want to read the small-print this time then they are quite entitled to do so.

    The pledge on tuition fees was a grisly error. I don’t think that anyone serious would say otherwise and if those to whom that pledge meant something meaningful wish to express their displeasure at the ballot box then they are quite entitled to do so. But the voters are not dumb.

    As someone else has pointed out the question of what happens in the event of a hung parliament is an entirely reasonable one for voters and if they feel that the result would be a continuation of the present coalition and they wish another outcome then they are quite free to vote accordingly. At some point someone is going to have to say what happens if there is another hung parliament. Looking at the polls such an outcome is rather more than theoretical. I stress here that I would like ALL parties to be a bit more open about how they would approach a hung parliament, and I include in that the prospect of a grand coalition.

    But never forget – by and large the voters are better than the ones that write on the internet and they are not stupid. What happens after the election by definition includes questions about possible future coalitions and what that means. How that fits with the LDP leadership’s thinking we shall see quite soon I expect.

  • Matt (Bristol) 2nd Jan '15 - 9:24pm

    LJP – maybe I haven’t been clear enough. I recognise what you say about the electorate being more intelligent than some give them credit, but I think it would help if our leadership were to say more consistently, ‘the coalition has not gone far enough in X direction’ instead of saying, ‘we stopped the Tories from doing X’. The only one area I am absolutely sure the party is saying this publically about at the mo is Mental Health.

    Right now, the Tory communication line is ‘vote for us to stop Labour – they can’t be trusted’ (this is not a new line for them). The Labour line is ‘vote for us to change things; we won’t say exactly how; let us emphasise how much of a movement we are and that Ed Miliband is not in sole charge as he’s an electoral liability’.

    Our line is still, right now, ‘We have done good stuff in coalition and we must defend the government’s record and by the way, Nick’s a nice guy’. This is seeing 2015 as a re-run of 2010 or even of 2010-2012. The party has clear answers to the question ‘what would you do differently after 2015 if you had power or were near power?’ and it doesn’t seem to be giving them. It’s as if it’s scared to do so.

  • ErnstRemarx 2nd Jan '15 - 9:34pm

    “The pledge on tuition fees was a grisly error. I don’t think that anyone serious would say otherwise and if those to whom that pledge meant something meaningful wish to express their displeasure at the ballot box then they are quite entitled to do so. But the voters are not dumb.”

    And the Bedroom Tax? And cuts to local government – traditionally the LibDem home base? And cuts to social security spending? The puniitive treatment of the poor and unemployed? The privatisation of the NHS?

    You’re right about one thing though; voters aren’t dumb and if you think that the record of the party in government will just be forgotten, then you are in for an extremely rude shock in May. If you think that the travails of the locals since 2011 have been a mere local difficulty to be ignored in the hope of better times, then I suggest that 2015 will be a shock of a far higher magnitude.

    Polls can be wrong, bookies rarely are. If you fancy your chances that much, go and spend some money on the outcome of the 2015 general and local elections at William Hill’s; I’m sure they’ll be glad to take your money, as you are very unlikely to be seeing it again.

  • @JohnTilley

    ‘Are you suggesting a new bird for the party logo ?’

    Not unless you find an Ancient Mariner, too.

  • Little Jackie Paper 2nd Jan '15 - 9:46pm

    Matt (Bristol) – I see your point.

    I suppose that, inevitably, much will emerge with manifestos. It’s also rather complicated too in that none of Cameron, Farage, Ed M or Clegg look entirely secure as party leaders.

    My concern however is rather more about the prospect of coalition and it is here that the 2010 comparison does matter. After all, in 2010 the polling had for about 2 years been suggesting an arithmetic that pointed to a CON/LIB coalition – the outcome seemed to take people by surprise when in fact it was no surprise at all. I have to admit that I had no clear idea what a CON/LIB coalition would look like in 2010. For that matter I can’t say I’m entirely sure what a CON/LIB coalition 2015 on would mean.

    It is not, of course, just the LDP – all parties seem scared to spell out what coalition means post-election. At worst we have got a politics where everyone ends up handing out pension triple locks and NHS ringfences because they are thought to be the only messages that resonate, not helped by a lowest-common-denominator electoral system.

    The stark truth is that the Austerity Party has already won the upcoming election – but the polls are saying Coalition is the probable outcome. Sure, voters do want to know (rightly) what all parties would do post-election. But I think they also want to know what they would do together and it is not at all an unreasonable question.

    [For the record, I think the result will be a small LAB win, but with no majority with LDP seats in the range 35-45.]

  • Little Jackie Paper 2nd Jan '15 - 9:52pm

    ErnstRemarx – Firstly, I am not a member of the LDP. In the past 20 years I have voted for candidates put forward by all three of the current main parties, and one Green.

    Secondly, I use Laddies for my betting.

    ‘And the Bedroom Tax? And cuts to local government – traditionally the LibDem home base? And cuts to social security spending? The puniitive treatment of the poor and unemployed? The privatisation of the NHS?’

    ALL parties would have brought about severe cuts. The only question was where. It should be noted that the, ‘unspoken,’ policy of this coalition – ringfences for the NHS and pensioners is potentially more far-reaching than the cuts and I want my candidates to talk about these. None have done so yet.

    ‘You’re right about one thing though; voters aren’t dumb and if you think that the record of the party in government will just be forgotten, then you are in for an extremely rude shock in May. If you think that the travails of the locals since 2011 have been a mere local difficulty to be ignored in the hope of better times, then I suggest that 2015 will be a shock of a far higher magnitude.’

    I don’t think anyone serious would expect a party of government’s record to be forgotten. I think it is reasonable to judge the LDP in the context of a 6:1 ratio of MPs. I’m critical of some parts, not critical of others.

  • @ Matt

    ‘It’s as if it’s scared to do so.’

    Exactly. Because every single statement of policy from Clegg, designed to differentiate the Lib Dems from the Tories, has tied tightly to it the conditions of the 2010 result – that because of the final decision of the electorate, because of the need for stable government, etc, bloody etc, Clegg may abandon whatever he’s just promised. And he can’t talk his way out of this, without savagely repudiating what he did – and he can’t do that, because pretty much his only hope is pinned to his track record in government.

    In the end, this is why the party should have gotten rid of him. Not because he was right, not because he was wrong. Nearly anybody else (not Alexander, or Laws) could put this behind them just by saying that wasn’t me who made those decisions in 2010 – I’m here to talk to you about tomorrow, not yesterday. But Clegg is the leader the party has cleaved to in this mission across Nomansland – and his track record is a noisy chain of empty tin cans tied to his ankle. And the moment the tins start banging and clattering the enemy will open fire on Lib Dem Lions.

  • Chris Manners 2nd Jan '15 - 10:27pm

    “ALL parties would have brought about severe cuts. The only question was where. It should be noted that the, ‘unspoken,’ policy of this coalition – ringfences for the NHS and pensioners is potentially more far-reaching than the cuts and I want my candidates to talk about these. None have done so yet.”

    Not as severe as the ones you did until 2012, before you had to throttle back. Contradicted the position Clegg ran on too.

    Problem with ringfencing health specifically is that other things affect demand, particularly adult social care. Pickles has gone medieval on the budgets that comes from.

    Pensions too aren’t really a particularly great achievement. Old people vote Tory. IDS would have looked after them anyway.

  • “Polls can be wrong, bookies rarely are. ”

    A statement which has very little basis in actual fact.

    See eg the Scottish Referendum, this post on Political Betting http://www2.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2014/12/31/how-lab-was-completely-under-rated-by-the-betting-markets-as-polls-opened-on-may-6th-2010/ or the large amounts of money won by Lib Dems at the Dunfermline by-election from bets placed after the polls had closed (and in my case at least one after the votes had been substantially counted).

  • ErnstRemarx 2nd Jan '15 - 10:37pm

    “I don’t think anyone serious would expect a party of government’s record to be forgotten. I think it is reasonable to judge the LDP in the context of a 6:1 ratio of MPs. I’m critical of some parts, not critical of others.”

    I’m critical of the big chunks that have impoverished the lives of the vulnerable in the UK. That’s my criteria. I don’t think that helping the Tories to privatise the NHS or victimise the disabled is in any way excusable for a party with “liberal” credentials. We already know that Orange Book liberalism is the current stance, and that, frankly, is a massive turn off for voters since it means neoliberal economic policy, and if the last 4 years – nay, 35 years – haven’t persuaded you that letting markets dictate to governments is a bad idea, then we’ll have to disagree.

    The record of the LibDems since 2010 is not one to be proud of, and, as you said, voters aren’t stupid and that’s what they’ve been – and will – judge the party on. And that judgement is likely to be entirely damning.

  • ErnstRemarx 2nd Jan '15 - 10:43pm

    “See eg the Scottish Referendum, this post on Political Betting http://www2.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2014/12/31/how-lab-was-completely-under-rated-by-the-betting-markets-as-polls-opened-on-may-6th-2010/ or the large amounts of money won by Lib Dems at the Dunfermline by-election from bets placed after the polls had closed (and in my case at least one after the votes had been substantially counted).”

    Fine. You go and put your life’s savings on the LibDems retaining their seats, or, perhaps, if you’re willing to make even more money, on increasing the number of MPs. You can pick out isolated instances. I’ll go with historical trends. Let us know how you get on.

  • I wouldn’t because you’d have to be a monumental idiot to put your life savings on any bet. And where you can make serious money betting on politics is where people are betting with their party allegiance rather than an assessment of the situation.

    But to get back to your claim that “bookies are rarely wrong”. What are these historical trends? How does that fit with the performance in 2010 – and 2005 if you go back to the spread indexes at that election. I’ve given you concrete examples – where are yours?

    I don’t think there will be LIb Dem net gains without a significant improvement in the polls. I would reckon on c.20-22 seats which the LIb Dems are nailed on to hold and something like 15 others where the local campaign and performance of UKIP/Greens etc could swing the result one way or another. None of those are Scottish (which is a whole other ballgame of volatility!). To be honest any predicitions in the current volatile climate beyond that say more about the person making them than anything else!

    What are these historical trends? (given that the bookies – spread betting – were also out by a significant degree on the 2005 results as well) You were the one who made the claim that “bookies are rarely wrong”.

  • Chris Manners 2nd Jan '15 - 11:48pm

    Have any of you said a dicky bird about election spending? Or still doing the Clegg rubbish which treats unions and individual billionaires the same?

    Because the Tories are spending massively. If they’re at all competent, some of those personal votes your MPs built up previously are going to come under a lot of strain.

  • Chris Manners 2nd Jan ’15 – 11:48pm
    ” Have any of you said a dicky bird about election spending? ”

    Well Chris Manners, it depends who you mean by “any of you”. Do you include Liberal Democrat candidates in winnable seats in the 2015 General election. If you do then let me draw your attention to the words of the excellent candidate Robin Meltzer, in the Richmond Park Constituency.

    He has mentioned spending by Conservative candidates on many occasions.

    He is up against a billionaire Conservative MP (inherited wealth of course – he is one of those MPs who has never done a proper job).
    This Old Etonian Conservative playboy was elected for the first time in 2010 and his spending at that general election resulted in a number of official investigations and a very interesting programme screened by Channel 4 News.

    Some of us are rather concerned about spending and over-spending by Conservatives. We have an old fashioned belief that MPs should be elected on the basis of the votes of the people.

    We are concerned that elections are nowadays being “bought” by people who have enough of their daddy’s money salted away in tax havens to make their election expenses rather bigger than most ordinary democratic parties might even dream of.

  • Tony Dawson 3rd Jan '15 - 9:50am

    @Hywel :

    “Polls can be wrong, bookies rarely are. ”
    A statement which has very little basis in actual fact.”

    As one whose political life was kick-started by a small fortune won on the Edge Hill by-election, I concur with Hywel.

    Bookies win by covering the rash beliefs of their punters (whichever way) to give themselves a profit. They do not care about which party is backed the most so long as they have covered the bets on both sides. Their only big problem is if they fail to cover a strong late movement towards the eventual victor fast enough.

    Incidentally, I have placed a bet precisely once since 1974. and have a 100 per cent record.

  • @Little Jackie Paper: “But never forget – by and large the voters are better than the ones that write on the internet and they are not stupid.”

    I think you’re diametrically wrong about this. People who discuss politics on the internet are, by and large, people who are interested and engaged in politics which puts them vastly ahead of the majority of people who are simply mostly disinterested.

  • @Chris Manners
    I don’t understand how Chris can make such a sweeping (and insulting to schools) assertion that the schools don’t know what to do with the money I have spent 24 years on County Education and more than that as a school governor and that isn’t what I have seen. School policies are continuously evolving and increasing in effectiveness.
    Clegg has sacrificed our credibility with the catastrophic Tuition fees judgement and I don’t see a way out of that but give the bloke a bit of credit where it is due!

  • It looks like Christine Jardine is standing for the wrong parliament. Or she doesn’t believe in devolution and wants Westminster rule. Probably the latter. Does she have any views on reserved issues e.g. Trident?

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 3rd Jan '15 - 7:23pm

    So, summing up on money in your pocket:
    Other parties ALSO have tax relief for the very poorest but not for the millions who also need relief; mansion tax on the rich is coming [maybe] but not enacted [because it is a stolen idea and not understood by all parties]; but we all feel this government is FOR tax relief for the rich, FOR bankers getting away with whatever bankers want to do because government needs them to do the stealing of the economy. Why? Looks big and UK is a small state and UK GOVERNMENT cannot face a German take-over of European economic institutions. So that is reason for the status quo -which LDs SHOULD reject!

    Outher than the economy, I don’t sense our schools are better for LD intervention, hospitals are now more privatised, transport costs are now even higher, costs of heatimg are higher even when we read costs are going down for providers. Shall I go on? Suppont is given to those who provide not for the consumer. These things are what voters remember !!! They are noted because they affect the living standards of every LD voter.

    So what has our party really achieved? [If the above perceptions are correct] The gold mines {taxes and avoidance of etc] are run by masters of greed [into their pockets] but never shared with the voters. The new “Normans” [bankers] are doing the same as those who taught them how to do it [the politicians]. We are still being ripped off by the master-class of “Normans” who have held power since the invasion. Yes, they change position but are basically the same people – always – with additions of those who emulate them.

    I have the feeling we were “used” by the master-class. We were duped. Mr Clegg was swept away by a small chance of doing something good for ALL PEOPLE who are Liberal at heart and want fairness for ALL of us [foreign idea to the master-class].

    I understand those who think that the only way to CHANGE this country is to vote SNP, PLAID, Green etc – for the PEOPLE – and not for the greedy political class who have now proved that all parties, once in power, are the same. When LDs show themselves as the party I believe in [not just the slogan of fairness], prove ourselves as the party of ALL PEOPLE – we might TAKE OFF AGAIN. But how to rid us of this image that LDs are another master-class? That is not what I voted for!

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Jan '15 - 8:02pm

    I can only agree with you Tony.

    “We are still being ripped off by the master-class of “Normans” who have held power since the invasion. Yes, they change position but are basically the same people – always – with additions of those who emulate them.”

    And on present trends, a similar percentage of this and other county’s wealth and power will soon be back in the hands of a similar tiny self interested minority as England experienced in 1086. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait 300 years or so for the next Peasant’s Revolt.

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Jan '15 - 8:25pm

    … or even Peasants’ Revolt !!!

  • I am in complete agreement with JohnT: I was really impressed with Christine Jardine’s message, but the other message was outright delusional.

    If the voters are impressed with our record yet, they never will be (and why would they be impressed with a economic strategy developed by George Osborne). If our parliamentary group really is still waiting for these mystical new voters to appear, then we really are doomed! Our old voters left us because they disagreed with our actions, so bigging up the actions that caused them to leave is not going to bring them back. Other voters have not flocked to us during the last 4 years of this Parliament – and there is not evidence anywhere that they suddenly will change their minds, realise ‘the error of their ways’ and come back begging for us to let them voter for us.

  • Max Wilkinson 4th Jan '15 - 11:02am

    Anyone (Chris Manners, others) who says the pupil premium isn’t working need look no further than the narrowing attainment gap between disadvantaged kids and the rest.

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30413263

  • Malcolm Todd 4th Jan '15 - 12:32pm

    Max Wilkinson
    The story you link to doesn’t give any support to the claim that the attainment gap is narrowing. It says that the proportion of FSM children meeting this particular attainment target is up by four percentage points last year; but it also says that the overall proportion of children meeting that target is up by 4pp, which means (if you do the maths) that the proportion of non-FSM children meeting the target is up by the same amount. There is therefore no basis for the claim in the article that this shows the attainment gap “reducing … to 16 percentage points” — if they gave all the figures it would show that the gap last year was also 16pp (or at least within a reasonable margin of error). That’s quite apart from questions like whether one or two years’ figures can sensibly be taken to represent a trend (they can’t) or whether the evidence in any way shows the pupil premium is responsible for any improvement that may exist (it doesn’t — google “post hoc ergo propter hoc” for an explanation of that logical error).

    The pupil premium was a good idea (though not an obviously “liberal” one and not exclusively a Liberal Democrat one); but whether it has actually had an impact on pupil attainment, let alone any longer-term effects, it is simply too early to say.

  • Jane Ann Liston 4th Jan '15 - 12:43pm

    It would be good to see the Scottish party adopting the principle of the pupil premium too, in a form which would fit the different education set-up.

  • @Little Jackie Piper: “The pledge on tuition fees was a grisly error. I don’t think that anyone serious would say otherwise and if those to whom that pledge meant something meaningful wish to express their displeasure at the ballot box then they are quite entitled to do so. But the voters are not dumb.”

    Are you suggesting the voters are dumb punishing the Lib Dems at the polls for the tuition fee pledge?

    I personally think the voters would be dumb not to punish the Lib Dems for this. If every MP that broke their pledge got re-elected that would mean that candidates could promise things that are in their power to do, not keep those promises, and get away with it. There is a difference between a promise, a prediction and a wish.

    “I personally promise you that if you elect me as your MP then I will vote against any rise in tuition fees. Period.” – A personal promise which they have the power to keep, it’s their vote, nobody else’s, no MP can be forced to vote for something if they really don’t want to.

    “I will win this seat and become the MP.” – A prediction.

    “I would like to take everyone earning less than £12,000 a year out of income tax.” – Wish, doing this depends on other MPs, an MP will not be able to make this happen on their own.

    The Lib Dem voter base consisted of a lot of young people, many of whom voted Lib Dem because of those tuition fee pledges. Many of those people will now find themselves with a life time of debt as a result of this promise being broken on mass and (in my opinion) will rightly feel betrayed. If you honestly think most of them will just forget all about it and vote Lib Dem next time anyway I think you’ve lost touch with reality there. And the idea that these voters are dumb for not voting Lib Dem again is something I just can’t articulate in words…

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