Matthew Parris to leave Conservatives and vote Lib Dem

The extreme hard Brexit Conservatives have lost another moderate voice.

Matthew Parris announced in his Times (£) column that he would be voting Liberal Democrat in the coming election.

When it becomes clear which way the wind is blowing, “count me out” may be all that’s left to you. But if it’s all that’s left to Philip, Anna, Antoinette, Dominic, Guto Bebb, Ken Clarke, Sam Gyimah, Justine Greening, Oliver Letwin, Anne Milton and Rory Stewart, proper Conservatives every one of them … then count me out too and I hope that in their place I would have been as brave. I am a conservative not a Liberal Democrat but will unhesitatingly vote Lib Dem to defeat Tory zealotry over Europe, this time.

He was pretty scathing about the new Conservative leadership.

So here I find myself, unwilling to support a leader who is a stranger to honesty or principle and who surfs a foolish populist wave for the sake of ambition alone, leading a governing party whose centre of gravity has shifted decisively away from the broadly centrist political force Conservatism once was. Johnson has come; Johnson will finally go; but now most likely ambushed from the right. We all have our breaking point, but for me the time has arrived to give up hoping for a return to Tory sanity.

You can feel his pain at leaving his political home of half a century:

I shall miss Jill Ratcliffe’s summer garden party. I shall miss the local association. I shall miss the nice staff in our local Conservative offices. I shall miss being on the same side as Patrick. But the Tory party has crossed their Rubicon. Now I must cross mine.

Matthew is not the only Conservative or Labour party member who is worried at the horror show their party has become. He is one of many who are either joining the Liberal Democrats or choosing to vote for us this time.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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44 Comments

  • As a floating voter the libdems views are closest to my own. Much depends on the leadership Joe Swinson shows. I hope she can rise to the occasion.

  • John Barrett 2nd Nov '19 - 11:27am

    And he points out one clear issue that we should use in our campaigning in this election. That is how to ensure Tory voters, who do not want to leave the EU, feel happy to vote Lib-Dem.

    What we should be saying in our campaign literature to those Conservatives who are not happy leaving the European Union, is that they should follow Matthew Parris’s lead and vote for us , with a clear set of reasons, as in his article, to justify his decision. We should also quote that article and put links to it on our campaign literature and online.

    Many Conservative voters are not stupid, as can be evidenced by the well paid jobs and expensive houses they live in here in Edinburgh, yet we have persisted for many years in trying to convince them in seats like Edinburgh West with the line that “they can’t win here”. The many I have spoken to who might well vote for us, deserve more than that as a reason to change the habits of a lifetime.

    It may have been some years ago, but for over 20 years they did win here with large majorities. In four recent elections since the seat was first won by Lib-Dems, we proved that there was another way and now is the time to capitalise on that fact and harness the votes of Conservative remainers, with a strong and detailed argument, not a tired slogan that may or may not be true, but is lazy and will not work with thoughtful voters.

    The tactical vote exists, but the way to convince people to use it, is to attract them with a well thought out case which is much stronger than saying that otherwise it would be a wasted vote.

    For decades we had to fight against the “wasted vote” line and I have yet to meet a Liberal Democrat who believed that voting for their own party was a vote wasted.

  • Paul Holmes 2nd Nov '19 - 1:26pm

    I have always had a soft spot for Matthew. Apart from his mostly moderate and well thought out views, he was the only journalist who spotted and wrote that I/the Lib Dems might just win Chesterfield in the 2001 General Election.

    Living locally in Derbyshire probably helped in that. I have admired his Llamas several times when passing his house whilst out walking in the Peak District!

    My old friend and colleague John Barrett makes good points as always.

  • Currently, when the Labour Party has been taken over by antisemitist Marxists and the Conservative Party has been taken over by English-nationalist, isolationist Far Right, you’d think that for voters it’s like choosing between the plague and cholera. How to get the voters to realise, that they don’t have to make such choice, and that Liberal Democrats are currently the only voice of reason?

    It’s worth to risk voting for the Lib Dems, because no matter whether the next government is led by Johnson or by Corbyn, it is taking UK over the cliff.

  • John Marriott 3rd Nov '19 - 8:01am

    Just an observation and hardly scientific. Boris Johnson’s attempt to identify himself with the England rugby team prior to Saturday’s final – including wearing a replica shirt – when he thought he was on to a winner, despite being told to “f**k off” by pundit Brian Moore, rather backfired, when the favourites were outthought, outmuscled and generally outplayed by the Rainbow Nation Springboks. Could this be an augury of an impending defeat for Johnson at the polls?

    After all, 49 years ago, the exit of an England soccer team, considered by many to have been stronger than the 1966 version, in the quarter finals of the World Cup, is often put forward as a reason why favourite, PM Harold Wilson, lost to challenger, Ted Heath, in that year’s general election. It’s probably not true and, despite its growing popularity in recent years, the oval ball game is no where near as entrenched in the national psyche as the round ball game. But, you never know!

  • Peter Martin 3rd Nov '19 - 9:02am

    @ Patrick,

    “How to get the voters to realise………. that Liberal Democrats are currently the only voice of reason?”

    It must be very frustrating, for all the superior intellects to be found in the LibDem party, having to deal with all us stupid voters. Not only do we tend to not vote LibDem in sufficient numbers, we’ve also voted against your beloved EU!

    If only we were prepared to debate rationally, and listen to the “voice(s) of reason”!

  • nvelope2003 3rd Nov '19 - 9:12am

    Peter Martin: I agree with the last paragraph of your post, excluding the ” “, but it does not look like it is going to happen does it ?

  • Jayne Mansfield 3rd Nov '19 - 9:34am

    @ Patrick,
    Far from being the voice of reason, the Liberal Democrat Party seems to have been taken over by Daily Mail journalists when it comes to its somewhat hysterical comments about Corbyn and the Labour party.

    In an election campaign, might the party of reason try to put forward positive reasons why one should vote for you, other than to split the Remain vote and put one’s faith in airy fairy undefined and therefore meaningless claims about fighting for us to be ‘an outward looking nation’ etc.?

    What are you going to do for those who despite being working hard, (active members of alarm clock Britain) can’t feed their families so suffer the indignity of visits to food banks? If you don’t tell us, we can only look to past evidence of what your leader and MPs have voted for and the consequences.

    I have no sympathy for those who claim that criticism of the voting record of Liberal Democrat politicians is tantamount to a personal attack. All politicians should have their actions scrutinised and be held to account. Please can you offer evidence, or what you offer are just slurs, not reasoned argument.

  • Jayne’s comment carries some force. It’s time Lib Dems came out with something other than Brexit…. and Jayne’s correct about the use of food banks. My local Food Bank was founded in 2013 as a responses to the welfare ‘reforms’ supported by the party.

    Last year the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (of impeccable Liberal lineage) reported half a million more children had become trapped in poverty over the previous five years as a direct consequence, reaching 4.1 million in 1918. The charity’s report added. It means that in a typical classroom of 30 children, nine would come from a household in poverty. Campbell Robb, chief executive of the JRF, said: “We are seeing a rising tide of child poverty as more parents are unable to make ends meet, despite working. This is unacceptable.

    This week it was announced that in work poverty had increased from 13% of the workforce last year to 18%. What have the Lib Dems got to say about it by way of a constructive policy. I’ve yet to hear anything so far and there was complete silence by the leadership and the party spokesperson on the UN Report on Poverty in the UK.

  • Should be 2018 not 1918….. though there are some historical echoes there.

  • Katharine Pindar 3rd Nov '19 - 5:16pm

    Yes, we must speak out on continuing poverty, as David says – and pour scorn on the latest Government wheeze, announcing an end to the benefits freeze from next April which they instituted and continued in the face of repeated demands from our party for its removal. Jayne, it is our party as well as the Labour party which has condemned the austerity programme, with policies passed at successive Conferences since 2016. I know, I was there, and I participated in and applauded the development and passage of many other progressive policies, which you can check out on our Website, and look up in our successive Manifestos.

    As for Matthew Parris, it is his reasoned writing as well as that of Rachel Sylvester which has kept me buying The Times in addition to The Guardian and Observer for years now, and his welcome statement is no surprise. But he is still a Conservative, and David was right in a previous post to wonder about how the voting for us by liberal Conservatives, with some of their MPs joining our party, may affect our thinking in the future. At the moment, Jo Swinson is right in my opinion to keep us equi-distant from both major parties under their current leaders, and not only because they are both pro-Brexit.

  • There’s a big warning for Lib Dems in the latest opinion poll today (The Sunday Times) – a Jeremy Corbyn Labour boost and a Lib Dem drop to 14%.

    Why ? because Trump’s attack on Mr. Corbyn predictably produced a backlash… and…. J.C. moved the debate onto domestic issues in a wide ranging speech at his election launch. People mentally turn off when Brexit is mentioned, there’s nothing fresh about it……. but they perk up and listen when poverty, homelessness, more equality, working conditions, the NHS, Social Care, Transport and Global warming are raised……. which Mr. Corbyn did in a speech which avoided personal attacks.

    The Lib Dem response ? The same old stuff about Brexit (which is a given), a moan about ITV, a personal attack, and (at 14%) a claim to be a future Prime Minister (?).

    For goodness sake Jo, widen your repertoire. We want an orchestra of policy not a penny whistle playing the same old tune.

  • David Evans 3rd Nov '19 - 8:17pm

    David Raw’s point is very pertinent. We pushed for a General Election, but as David points out, so far all we seem to be talking about is Brexit and the next Prime Minister. I do hope we have a election strategy that includes a series of options and alternatives on many wider issues which we will roll out quite rapidly to respond to changing circumstances.

    Otherwise we will be in great difficulty in this election.

  • Jayne Mansfield 3rd Nov '19 - 9:55pm

    @ Katharine Pindar,

    As an activist, how many of the electorate can tell you what the Liberal Democrat policies are? I have friends who will vote Liberal Democrat but it has been a vote based on a very narrow aim, a further referendum.

    I too am a Times reader. You are quite correct to point out that Matthew Parris, whose columns have always maintained my interest, is honest enough to admit that he is still a conservative and not a Liberal Democrat and that he will be voting for the Liberal Democrat Party for one reason and one reason alone.

    I hope that one day, your voice and that of fellow Liberal Democrats like David Raw, and the values you live by, will return to pre-eminence in your party.

  • Katharine Pindar 3rd Nov '19 - 11:43pm

    Jayne, we are really not far from what you want us as a party to be – thank you for the back-handed compliment, but I defend my party’s soul. I don’t have to go off to start a centre-left grouping, because I believe the majority of us are there. I mean by that, passionately committed to the rights and well-being of all our citizens, and intending to share power, promote the powerless, serve our communities and strengthen them, and fight poverty and inequality everywhere. If your friends don’t know all this, they haven’t been attending to our Conference debates or observing our excellent councillors who demonstrate our commitments all the time. Locally, nationally and internationally, we are a party I am proud to belong to.

    Of course our leader Jo Swinson has gone radical in ways that have taken some of us old-timers by surprise. But she has reason. Have you not noticed how perilously close to Brexit the country has come? Do you not agree that keeping us in the EU is still on a knife-edge? And do you not remember that only a few months ago, before the May elections, the Liberal Democrats were still being written off and even told to join Change UK, that roomful of dissolving mirrors? Just now, we have to shout. There are too many of our fellow citizens who don’t know that we are the only party in England completely committed to staying in the EU, and, crucially, that this is still possible and that our party is powerful enough to help achieve it. Yes, of course we still want to give the people the final voice, the chance to vote between a deal and Remain. But we have to get there first, and that involves at this moment a fierce and vocal independence and distancing ourselves from the two biggest parties.

  • David Allen 3rd Nov '19 - 11:47pm

    The critics above are right. The Lib Dems have started badly. While the Tories and Labour have hit the headlines with some reasonably novel policy statements, the Lib Dems have mostly just retold the Brexit story and complained about unfair treatment by the media.

    Campaign planners should start by reading Andrew Rawnsley

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/13/labour-and-tories-promise-to-lavish-us-with-gifts-who-will-foot-bill

    which shows what the problems are. In 2017, the Lib Dems came up with a small, reasonably honest list of goodies, such as a modest increase in NHS spending. It bombed with the voters. Our opponents outbid us with false promises. Rawnsley demonstrates that they both intend to double down on the bullsh*t this time.

    I would suggest that it’s time to go relentlessly, honestly, negative. Quote the IFS until we are orange in the face, and tell the voters that the Tory and Labour promises are a tissue of lies. Both parties would lead the UK into financial crisis. Brexit will make everything much worse. If we Brexit, we can kiss goodbye to a decent NHS, because Britain won’t earn enough to avoid huge cuts in public spending and mass unemployment. Corbyn has always been spenthrift, but Johnson is totally irresponsible, which is why sensible Tories are abandoning him in droves. It’s not just Brexit we can stop. It’s national bankruptcy as well.

  • David Allen, David Raw – as far as I learned from Canadian federal elections in both 2015 and 2019, ditching balanced budget, focusing on managing debt/GDP and making large-scale public investments and raising social spending are the ways to win the electorate. For all of his big spending talk, Corbyn is still trying to promise to balance the budget within 5 years (LOL), and for a left-wing party this is a major weakness that can be outflanked by us. And by the way, remaining in the EU will leave us with a better economic and fiscal position and thus allow us to actually pursue Trudeau-style lax fiscal policy.

    Look, the British electorate wants more social spending but does not want to pay more tax for it, we should exploit this mindset better (the Canada electorate is also similar and Trudeau has been doing this stuff very well). For now, one thing we must ensure is to make our plan involves more spending than the Tories.

    We can also learn something from Elizabeth Warren’s playbook. She has been stealing thunder from Bernie Sanders lately by basically taking his positions, watering them down somewhat and making them more realistic with more wonkish policy plans (Warren always has a plan).

  • John Marriott 4th Nov '19 - 9:41am

    I have to agree with those contributors who feel that the Lib Dems are in danger of being viewed by the electorate, in the words of David Raw, as a “one trick pony”. I still don’t understand why they and the SNP championed having a General Election to sort things out, when other alternatives, such as a GNU, had not really been fully explored.

    Knowing them as I do, I just get the feeling that campaigning is mainly what gets Lib Dems up in the morning. Forget about actually making tough decisions if you are fortunate enough to win. After all, you may have to consider compromising your beliefs. As for the SNP, they reckon that, as far as Scotland is concerned, they are on to a winner whatever happens in the rest of the country. However, as someone else said elsewhere, with certain ‘events’ about to unfold north of the border, it might be better to get a GE over with first. As for Labour, ‘hoisted by their own petard’ might be an apt description.

    For the life of me I still fail to see at the moment what the GE will end up being about. It ought to be about more than Brexit. The trouble is that very little of the domestic ‘promises’ being made by the two parties currently in the lead, according to the opinion polls, have any chance of becoming reality until we sort Brexit out, one way or another. If we really do crash out without a deal, most, if not all, of the money accrued by our sacrifices over the past ten years will probably have to be spend (I could use the Johnsonian verb; but I know my manners) on bailing out farmers and manufacturers, not forgetting the communities most affected. If we get a deal then we face years of further negotiations before we see the wood from the trees and watch our GDP continue to decline in the process. If we just revoke Article 50 with no intention of invoking it again we face a whole lot of very disgruntled, disillusioned, and possibly very angry people. You see, Brexit will NOT go away. The genie has absolutely no intention of returning to the bottle unless compromise returns to the debate. As the song, expropriated by Mr Trump, goes; “You can’t always get what you want…….sometimes you get what you need”.

    Cameron, what HAVE you done?!

  • @ Thomas Presumably you’re suggesting the old ‘moderate’ Tory playbook which made John Major look exciting…… but, I don’t think playing to “this mindset’ better” is what an honest radical party should be about. ‘Watering down’ hardly sends the pulses racing. Your prescription is mere tepid tokenism and hoping that nobody notices what you’re up to. Come to think of it, it didn’t play that well in the recent Canadian election.

    Liberal Democrats should be looking at and confronting the realities of society – which I see every time I walk down the streets of Edinburgh or visit my local foodbank (of which Edinburgh has a fair few). Frankly what I’ve seen so far from the Lib Dem campaign is repetitive, limited, skin deep and boring with the occasional dash of identity politics thrown in. It’s reflected in the latest opinion polls (down to 14% and dropping).

    You say, “as far as I learned from Canadian federal elections in both 2015 and 2019”. I would reply that from what I learned from the US Presidential Election of 1960, and the Lib Dem campaign of 1964, we need to ‘march our troops to the sound of the gunfire’, and “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. We should confront the real problems of 2019…. inequality, exploitative big business, poverty and collapsing social policies.

    @ David Allen “I would suggest that it’s time to go relentlessly, honestly, negative. Quote the IFS until we are orange in the face”.

    No thanks. I’m old enough to remember the Beveridge inspired founding of the NHS by the Attlee government… which had the courage to create it despite the post war state of the economy.

  • @ David Allen @ Thomas Just as an example of modern inequality, watch out for the exiting settlement figure for the chief executive of McDonalds. McDonalds has been criticised over the amount it pays shop staf…..the Chief Exec Steve Easterbrook got a $15.9m (£12.3m) pay packet in 2018…….. 2,124 times the median employee salary of $7,473.

  • David Allen 4th Nov '19 - 10:33am

    Thomas: “ditching balanced budget, focusing on managing debt/GDP and making large-scale public investments and raising social spending are the ways to win the electorate. For all of his big spending talk, Corbyn is still trying to promise to balance the budget within 5 years (LOL), and for a left-wing party this is a major weakness that can be outflanked by us.”

    I think David Raw has misunderstood you. You are advocating outbidding Corbyn with even more lavish, undeliverable spending promises. That’s not “tepid tokenism”. But I don’t think it is what the Lib Dems will offer, and I don’t think it would work if they tried it. We are seeing a fantasy bidding war between Tories and Labour, each spending magic money that they don’t have and will lose more of if we Brexit.

    David Raw, I too want to see more money for the NHS. I just don’t think we can win the fantasy bidding war. It makes more sense politically to attack the bogus “end of austerity” dishonestly peddled by our Tory opponents.

  • Why not just campaign on a promise of ‘No more broken promises’…It worked in 2010

  • @ David Allen Thank you for the clarification, David.

    But it goes beyond the NHS to the wider societal issues and what sort of country we have become, David.

    It’s about the huge rise in inequality, punitive employment contracts and cruel welfare sanctions, the rise in homelessness, inadequate housing, tax havens, the lack of progress in climate change. It’s called inequality and I see very little evidence that the party either knows about it or cares about it.

    Please prove me wrong.

  • David Raw – “Presumably you’re suggesting the old ‘moderate’ Tory playbook which made John Major look exciting…… but, I don’t think playing to “this mindset’ better” is what an honest radical party should be about. ‘Watering down’ hardly sends the pulses racing. Your prescription is mere tepid tokenism and hoping that nobody notices what you’re up to. Come to think of it, it didn’t play that well in the recent Canadian election” – Watering down is the way to differentiate ourselves from comrade Corbyn. I mean, Warren manages to make her plan very radical (yes, in American context) but still acceptable to moderates, unlike Bernie Sanders, that’s why she is stealing his thunder. For example, a plan to phasing out tuition fees will sell better than eliminating them in one whooping tax/spend move.

    Trudeau is playing the Santa Claus mindset very well, that’s why he won an election that he should have lost after Lavalin and Blackface scandals (unless you somehow believe that those scandals does not matter in election). The Tories: cuts, cuts, cuts; The Socialists: massive taxation; The Liberals: “the budget will balance itself”.
    You know, David Raw, yes, I am actually talking about outbidding Corbyn.

  • @ Thomas “Watering down is the way to differentiate ourselves from comrade Corbyn.”

    The adjective you use about Mr Corbyn is revealing. It tells us what we need to know about the level of campaigning beginning to infect the party. No doubt a career on the editorial staff of the Daily Mail or the Sun may beckon one day.

  • David Raw – you should read the whole comment. I mean, well, I should have clearly explain that, anyone who preaches massive taxation will be bashed as “comrade” by British press, including us. Now, ditching balanced budget will enable us to jack up spending without raising taxes or at least delaying raising taxes. Not to mention that in modern economic system, we can easily run 1-2% deficit for years without problems. If we don’t want to water down spending/investments (you don’t want this, right), we must water down taxation, doing like Justin Trudeau has done (promised deficit spending and flanked the socialists from the left, which is what we should have done in 2010 IMO).

  • Innocent Bystander 5th Nov '19 - 10:36am

    “Comrade” is a perfectly correct adjective for Corbyn. Anyone who disagrees can view countless back issues of the “Morning Star” which, unequivocally, is the journal of the Communist Party of Britain and which he has been a regular columnist over the decades I have been a reader.

  • Martin – “Thomas:
    “For example, a plan to phasing out tuition fees will sell better than eliminating them in one whooping tax/spend move.”
    I am not sure what the party’s position is; my impression is that many prefer not to talk about the topic. Your suggestion would need to be more specific to have credibility. As a start we could propose a sharp increase in the salary (£30 000?) at which payments through the tax system start.” – but it was our problem in 2010, we made ourselves look like we promised to abolish tuition fees in one single term. If, instead, we established a 10-year multi-stage plan to do so, starting with making student debt interest-free, it would have been actually feasible.

  • David Allen 5th Nov '19 - 10:54am

    Thomas,

    The classic description of your proposed high-spending low-taxation economy is “Living beyond our means”.

    Now, I take the point that balancing the budget isn’t the be-all and end-all. Keynes taught us that it’s OK to run a budget deficit in hard times provided you run a surplus and “repair the roof while the sun is shining” in the good times. And yes, since Keynes’s time politicians have tended to be keener on running deficits than on running surpluses, and have therefore built up increasing levels of national debt, albeit often only in line with increasing GDP – and on the whole have tended to get away with it. But:

    We’re competing politically with two other parties who each take their own view on this question. Referencing Rawnsley again:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/13/labour-and-tories-promise-to-lavish-us-with-gifts-who-will-foot-bill

    The Tories have cynically pretended to discard austerity for the campaign duration, and are making a host of spending promises they won’t keep. You can just see it: “we’ve been blown off course by the unexpectedly high costs of Brexit caused by the nasty EU, sorry”. Labour are spending even more, and while they genuflect towards a balanced budget in order to cover their backs against Tory critics, they will in practice have to tax higher and to run a bigger deficit than they claim. We have to compete by offering something different.

    My proposal is – Don’t go for even bigger lies. Go for honesty, and say so.

  • Peter Martin 5th Nov '19 - 12:06pm

    @ David Allen,

    What does “Living beyond our means” mean?

    For you and I means spending more than our income. But our income has to come from someone else’s spending. That’s what they do when they pay us our wages, salaries, and pensions.

    Therefore it should be obvious that the simple relationship of SPENDING=INCOME has to hold in the aggregate. If you and I are spending less than our income, it must follow that someone has to spend more. That can only be the government. Anyone else would go broke!

    Of course the Govt shouldn’t overdo it. That simply creates too much inflation.

  • Jayne Mansfield 5th Nov '19 - 12:26pm

    @ Katharine Pindar,
    I I apologise unreservedly. I intended to compliment you but clearly I did so in a way that was thoughtless.

    You mention old timers, of which I am one. I actually believe that those of us who came of age in the 60’s were the true ‘progessives’, examining and challenging all the received wisdom that we were expected to accept as a matter of course. I know from your previous posts that like me, you were part of the anti-apartheid movement, we were part of the generation that did all the hard lifting that has made this country the still
    liberal democratic country that it is. And may I say that with family members and friends from former communist countries now members of the EU, even though both liberalism and democracy are facing challenges in this country, we are still in a better state on both counts than the countries of their birth.

    Of course I am aware of how perilously close to Brexit we have become. However I blame the Remain camp for the peril. We have graduated from an appalling deal negotiated by Theresa May to an even harder Brexit negotiated by Boris Johnson and his clique. The electorate are angry and more polarised in their views.

    Jo Swinson argued for a referendum in 2008 as did Nick Clegg. I am opposed to referenda but a lesson that most people do not need to learn is, that if you don’t to risk the electorate giving an answer that doesn’t suit, don’t ask the question, stick to the representative democracy that has served us well.

    A GE will answer nothing. What it will do if the Conservatives win a majority is make a no deal Brexit more likely next year. Whatever one’s view on the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party agreed on the need for a a further referendum and the need for a confirmatory vote following further negotiation for a better deal that keeps us as close to the Eu as possible. The promise of a referendum with such a deal on the table and an option to remain , is in my opinion, the best way of preventing us crashing out of the EU. If the vote is for leave, at least we leave with a better and less dangerous deal than that now on offer.

    On this issue, sadly, we have a different view.

  • Peter Martin 5th Nov '19 - 2:11pm

    @ Jayne,

    “The promise of a referendum with such a deal on the table and an option to remain , is in my opinion, the best way of preventing us crashing out of the EU.”

    I wouldn’t use the term “crashing out” but, apart from that, you’re absolutely right. There’s no chance of the LibDems, currently on approx 15% of the vote, gaining 300 seats. You’d have to be totally deluded to think otherwise.

    I don’t think public opinion would allow a future Labour Govt to simply offer the choice of a new “soft” Labour Deal vs Remain. That wouldn’t settle the issue in any case. It would have to be at least BJ’s deal vs Remain. I’d be OK with that. It probably would settle it in a way that the re-election of a Tory Govt wouldn’t.

    In any case, I don’t want 5 years of BJ any more than you do!

  • David Allen – “The classic description of your proposed high-spending low-taxation economy is “Living beyond our means”.” – high-spending, moderate taxation in the short-term. Our tax plan can be similar to our 2017 manifesto (but removing one penny of a pound income tax hike, this will do us no good in elections). However, we can simply ditch our balance budget promise, just simply ignore it, and switch to managing debt-to-GDP ratio and interest payments. After observing Canada, I now believe that running long-term deficit doesn’t really matter if we manage to keep deficit within 1-2% and ensure GDP growth high enough to push debt/GDP downward (which Canada is doing currently).

    “Labour are spending even more, and while they genuflect towards a balanced budget in order to cover their backs against Tory critics” – and this is a bad position for Labour and any leftist party, because defending fiscal conservatism is naturally a right-wing position. I cannot forget how Trudeau accused the Canadian socialists of being pro-austerity 4 years ago. Now, we can adopt the Justin Trudeau playbook in full swing: Step 1: outspend the Tories (this is a pretty low bar even with their new spending promises, and we must do so to avoid being accused of pro-austerity); Step 2: raising taxes on a much lesser extent than Labour; Step 3: ditching balanced budget by not promising to balance the budget (but not saying “we will run deficit” explicitly); Step 4: accusing both parties of being pro-austerity.

    Even if we ignore Canada, our 1928 general election manifesto written by Lloyd George and Keynes already gave us a great precedence of a “big spending and no new tax” platform that made FDR New Deal look like a joke (read “We can conquer unemployment” to know more about that). And 1928 is before, not during the Great Depression btw.

  • A guide to all liberals on how to refrain yourself from cosying up with conservatives a.k.a The Right.
    – Step 1: Read history again to see the bright of records of conservative political parties when it comes to appeasing and cosying up with far-right politics (example, DNVP and NSDAP).
    (To be continued)

  • A guide to all liberals on how to refrain yourself from cosying up with conservatives a.k.a The Right.
    – Step 2: remind yourself that the only good Nazi is a dead Nazi.

  • Innocent Bystander 6th Nov '19 - 4:14am

    @David Allen
    You are quite correct with “living beyond our means”. Ignore the naive ” equals” sign. The planet does not operate under a single economic governance and in a state of tidy balance.
    It is a set of 193 entirely separate entities all fiercely and greedily competing with each other for the biggest slice of that income for themselves.
    This country is economically failing and every individual, family, company, football team, political party, army, nation and down to the smallest plankton know that there are awful consequences of failure that might be temporarily postponed but from which there is no escape.
    We, in the declining West, are in the thrall of “Nonsense-Nomics” which claims there are no consequences of failure because ” it all has to balance”. It is a doctrine snatched at by politicians who don’t want to have to confront the people with harsh reality.

  • Innocent Bystander – let’s be real. The Libdem must win election and gain power if they want change. And talking like you will make this less likely. Also, ranting with zero alternatives is not and will never be productive.

  • Innocent Bystander 6th Nov '19 - 7:56am

    Thomas,
    I wish the party well. Although a non-aligned voter, I see Swinson as by far the best PM material both in intellect and presentation. She needs some “theme” to get her on the news every night. Being honest and realistic isn’t enough to counter the drivel, but attention grabbing drivel, of the other two. Maybe a people focused theme with her visiting places where European influence has made a big difference at a factory or research centre focusing on the benefits of the interchange of people and letting them tell their stories. Something to trigger “Jo Mania”.
    As to zero alternative, that’s what all these other proposals are. They have all been tried multiple times before, they have never worked, they never will, and if they did there would be no poor countries in the world because Prof Keynes’ Magic Elixir would so easily fix it.
    The actual solution is for the British to be forced to confront their own true place in the world and to stop boasting that we are the world’s beacon of democracy, education, law, science, invention, fair play, decency and looking at every one of our cherished institutions and questioning whether it is working for our economic survival or whether it should be re-missioned or just ditched.

  • @ Innocent Bystander,

    ‘Ignore the naive ” equals” sign’

    Are you meaning my earlier comment that ‘income = spending’? I would have thought this was self evident. If I pay you £20 to mow my lawn I’d doing the spending and £20 is your income.

    It’s just a matter of accounting and therefore not a matter of opinion.

    “One of the core concepts in the field of macroeconomics is that income equals spending…….”

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gdi.asp

  • Innocent Bystander – “The actual solution is for the British to be forced to confront their own true place in the world and to stop boasting that we are the world’s beacon of democracy, education, law, science, invention, fair play, decency and looking at every one of our cherished institutions and questioning whether it is working for our economic survival or whether it should be re-missioned or just ditched” – that’s why I support Remain. The EU is not perfect, far from that, but remain protects our sovereignty better than going alone. I am no fantasist imperialist. We can still a beacon of all those stuffs you mention as a group, but not alone.

    “They have all been tried multiple times before, they have never worked, they never will, and if they did there would be no poor countries in the world because Prof Keynes’ Magic Elixir would so easily fix it.” – Keynesian economics can work, depending on how we spend (I and most of us here never call it Magic Elixir). It is clear that there are loads of breakthrough scientific and technological developments are created from government investments. In addition, it always works in depressions (New Deal), because, in depressions, if we do not do Keynesian economics, the illiberal populists will do and democracy is dead. Let me repeat, Keynesianism is no magic bullet, but we must recognize that it always has a role to play. About poor countries, let me tell you that all countries that grew from poor to rich ones all adopted interventionist economic policies. If you discard Keynesianism altogether, and you will see another Hitler, not just Trump. But, perhaps, we may define Keynesianism differently.

    Finally, the other path, trickle-down economics is no Elixir either. In fact, the case of America has proven that it is worse.

  • Richard Underhill. 6th Nov '19 - 6:40pm

    Wikipedia says that Matthew Parris quit as an MP to take a job in journalism.
    His own writings state that he was assaulted. He needed to get his blood off his shirt.
    He also decided that he should tell his local Conservative party something they did not know. Those were less tolerant times.

  • Richard Underhill. 7th Nov '19 - 9:42am

    4th Nov ’19 – 9:58am
    John Major made very few controversial statements before the general election. He was able to show that he was not Mrs Thatcher and that he was previously from Brixton.
    He had persuaded Mrs T. to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism, possibly because she had decided she could not afford the resignation of another Chancellor, which caused Paddy Ashdown to text his comments from a Liberal International event in Finland. They subsequently abandoned their cautious neutrality and joined the EU, but not NATO.

  • Katharine Pindar 7th Nov '19 - 10:02am

    Jayne – thank you, I have just caught up with your last comment. I believe you and I not only share some history, we are actually both on the same side now. I desperately want us to remain in the EU, I believe both that there should be and that there probably needs to be another referendum to allow this, and I hope that a majority government after December 12 will bring it about.

    ‘Revoke’ should ideally be a last resort to save us from leaving, but I think now that Jo Swinson was right to electrify the country as she has done. The Liberal Democrats are not known or recognised yet by large numbers of our citizens, and Jo has made us a force in this Election which can lead to us being beginning to be known at last for our many progressive policies. As for the Election itself, it is proving to be a chance of sweeping out the stables, clarifying the issues, and – God willing! – getting rid of this appalling government, so that, after all, our thoughts that ‘It will prove nothing’ are no longer valid. There are excellent outcomes to be fought for here, let us seek them together.

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