New Liberal Democrat campaign video: Powerful stuff, but we need Part 2 – why you should vote Liberal Democrat

This is the latest campaign video released today by the Liberal Democrats. It’s certainly powerful stuff. It’s heavy on the horrors of UKIP, so much so that I wanted to have a shower after I’d watched it. It’s not nice watching a man say that a husband has the right to rape his wife. It doesn’t do much to make me feel like he thinks I’m his equal. Yesterday’s revelations that one UKIP candidate thinks that the Great Reform Act of 1832 was a step too far came too late for inclusion, but it’s a pretty comprehensive roundup of fruitcakery, complete with royal icing and marzipan.

For me the answer to the question is obvious. Of course I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make sure that they don’t win. The values they espouse are the opposite of mine. Heavens, their leader thinks that mothers aren’t as useful in the workplace. Their MEPs either abstained or voted against equal pay for men and women. For me, you don’t need to go any further, but there is so much more, from their scaremongering on immigration to their lack of commitment to LGBT rights.

If I were an undecided voter, though, I think that video would leave me a bit hungry. I’d know I didn’t want to vote for THEM, but why would I want to vote Lib Dem. Ok, so they’re the party of IN and they want to save British jobs, fair enough. But who are they? What makes them tick?

I want to see a Part 2 that gives us a bit of hope. I want to see people  like Antony Hook, Catherine Bearder, Alec Dauncey, Giles Goodall, Sarah Ludford, Edward McMilan-Scott, Bill Newton-Dunn, George Lyon, Angelika Schneider and Graham Watson in the European Parliament because they will stand up for civil liberties, freedom, human rights, internationalism and common sense. They’re the kind of people who will sort out the EU’s problems but are committed to the ideals of peace and free trade upon which it is founded.

I’ve seen these people in action. I’ve watched Antony Hook speak up against illiberal use of anti social behaviour laws, I’ve seen Sarah Ludford fight against indiscriminate use of Schedule 7, the law that was used to detain David Miranda, Edward McMillan-Scott only stops talking about human rights for long enough to campaign against the ridiculous charade of the monthly trek to Strasbourg. George Lyon’s skills at working together with European partners to secure a budget cut and his relentless standing up for Scotland’s farmers are needed in the next Parliament as is Giles Goodall’s championing of LGBT rights on a continent where they are far from assured. Catherine’s work on crime, the environment and stopping trafficking has to go on. Alec Dauncey wants Wales to lead the world in terms of green jobs and technologies.  These are good people whose presence in the Parliament would benefit our nation.

In Part 2, I want to see these people tell us who they are and what they stand for, what being an MEP means for them. Ok, so it’s a list election and you don’t vote for individuals. It’s individuals who get elected and sit in the Parliament, though, and we need to know who they are. It doesn’t matter  that you don’t put a cross to their name. You don’t need to remember it. The good news is that you can get all these lovely people by voting for the Liberal Democrats or Scottish or Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Yes, the prospect of UKIP winning a national election is deeply unpleasant, but we need to do more than state that fact to win people over. We know that Liberal Democrat MEPs are hard-working and effective. Don’t take my word for it. Read this Policy Network analysis of the 4 main UK parties.

 the Lib Dems come across as a successful and reliable partners in making deals and influencing policy; Labour appears more ambivalent towards working with their allies; the Conservatives, after stepping out of the EPP group, have traded home comforts for a loss of influence in Brussels; and finally, UKIP simply dismisses EU legislation.

In the last 8 days, let’s showcase our fabulous candidates so people realise what good they do.

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

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  • Helen Dudden 14th May '14 - 4:43pm

    I could tell the reason why not to vote Lib Dem. You have little to do with international, children who need protection under our laws miss your MP’s. I did ask your head office why? It is because you simply don’t have the man power. No good to those like me, who need support and help.

    Housing is another. My housing was awful. Again, your MP in Bath does not do housing, I moved from the area nearer to Bristol and this one does.

  • Helen Dudden 14th May '14 - 4:44pm

    It should have read, international law, Brussels 11a and the Hague Convention.

    Yet you wish to be in Europe.

  • Richard Dean 14th May '14 - 4:59pm

    I agree that Part 2 is needed. This Part1 defines LibDems as “Not UKIP”, which doesn’t seem a good enough definition.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th May '14 - 5:28pm

    I’m a fan of “not being soft on UKIP”, but attack ads can go too far if they are “too bad to be true”. It’s sounds like scaremongering, which we know from the likes of the EU debates that the public don’t like it. Yes that man said a horrible thing, but he is not representative of UKIP as a whole.

    Secondly, I’m surprised that the party is still going with the Anti-UKIP campaign. We’ve seen this has possibly helped push UKIP up and Lib Dems down. Ed Miliband in particular is ripe for the taking at the moment and the Tories still aren’t trusted on the NHS and are still a bit toxic too.


  • “Yes, the prospect of UKIP winning a national election is deeply unpleasant, but we need to do more than state that fact to win people over.”

    On the contrary, you’d better not state that fact, because people voting Lib Dem rather than Labour or Conservative will make it more likely, not less!

  • Charles Rothwell 14th May '14 - 6:02pm

    Heart and head.
    My heart is fully behind this and the video really goes for what much of UKIP’s support is really based on in many cases beneathe the veneer and paper-thin gloss (as their former Youth Leader who has just quit has found to her cost: (Mind you, I should think anyone, even at 18, joining them would have a fair idea of what is actually below the blokey bonhomie of the Farage mask to begin with, surely?) On the other hand, I agree with Eddie Salmon and think Labour should be the prime target (and not just in revenge for their recent abysmal PPB!) I really cannot imagine there are that many potential UKIP voters who might waver and turn to Lib Dems instead (apart from local tactical voting considerations), but I DO believe there are lots of ex-Lib Dems who may have turned to, or be tempted by, Labour and are sick and tired of their Trappist silence over Europe and UKIP, pretending they are not there and, instead, droning on and on about the so-called “standard of living crisis”. (News from my region (Yorkshire and the Humber) today is that unemployment is down from last month by 10,000!) German sweets maker Haribo is building a huge second plant in Castleford (to match the one it already has in Pontefract) (at least 400 new jobs) plus there is, of course, the huge new Siemens investment in Hull. What needs ramming home is that Labour is doing virtually nothing to trumpet these successes whereas the Lib Dems need to shout them from the rafters PLUS link them with why we are the “Party of IN” (unlike the Tories who (as usual) area all over the place over Europe! I am coming ever more to share Kenneth Clarke’s view that UKIP are ‘froth’ (albeit potentially very dangerous in the short term and led by a very charismatic performer who is currently on a roll and whose ‘number’ no-one has yet managed to get (certainly not Cameron not, despite two valiant attempts, Nick Clegg)). We should practise real politics with real ideas rather than getting too deeply involved in exposing/co,bating the lies, half-truths and bigotry of many Kippers desperately searching for a better tomorrow in some long-lost pre-EU/globalisation sceptred isle paradise of fond imagined memory.

  • With the polls now showing the Tories and Labour approximately at par, the possibility arises that the Liberal Democrats could be once more in the driver’s seat in 2015 — and yet nobody seems to have any idea which way the leadership wants to steer. Saying “we’ll go with the largest party” is obviously not a decision, and moreover is ambiguous given that an election held today could very well produce a Labour plurality of MPs, with a minority of votes cast.
    We know now that, whatever happens, Liberal Democrat ministers will have minimal influence in the government that takes power after 2015: so their only real power will be to pick one party or another (whether that means coalition or confidence and supply) and hope for the best. Voters will be wanting to know which party they are more inclined to pick.

  • Simon McGrath 14th May '14 - 7:00pm

    how will this translate into more votes for us ?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 14th May '14 - 7:07pm

    How will what translate into more votes for us?

  • Frank Booth 14th May '14 - 7:25pm

    If you want to stp Ukip winning the Euros you need to vote Tory or Labour. Lib Dems don’t have a chance of winning. And so what if Ukip win anyway? The trouble is they’re not going into power. It’ll just be a few more windbags carping from the sidelines in Brussels. Admittedly havng MEPs from other parties may be more useful to us as a nation but the earth will hardly cave in if Ukip top the vote. The local elections are much more significant in this regard. If Ukip start running councils that’s a much bigger deal.

  • Frank Booth 14th May '14 - 7:40pm

    David-1. It’s a bit of a myth that the Lib Dems get to choose. There’ll be 18 MPs from NI and maybe 10 nationalists from Scotland and Wales, although the SNP could do considerably better. I’d be very interested to see what the SNP do if they don’t get independence (what’s their preference for a balanced parliament?). So we could be looking at 30+ other MPs though the Sinn Fein no show complicates things. It may well be that a majority coalition with either party is not possible. More than that the nationalists are unlikely to support a Tory led government. LDs would have to deal with Labour if it was that tight.

  • Latest MORI poll has Lib Dems at 9 and the Greens 8. This national not just Euro. Next week looks like Apocalypse for our party, irrespective of what we think should be in a video or not.

  • Simon McGrath 14th May '14 - 9:31pm

    @Caron – how will this broadcast translate into mores votes for us ? I simply dont see the political logic

  • Eddie Sammon 14th May '14 - 9:59pm

    I agree with Simon. The aim appears to be to “fire up the base” by pandering to naivety that UKIP are evil and want to attack women and minorities. We need sensible and honourable politics, not scaremongering.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th May '14 - 10:14pm

    This is also the type of thing that leads to physical attacks on UKIP members. Irresponsible politics.

  • “@Caron – how will this broadcast translate into mores votes for us ?”

    Logically, it will translate to less, if it leaves people feeling as Caron did – “I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make sure that they [UKIP] don’t win”!

  • Eddie Sammon 14th May '14 - 10:41pm

    After calming down I am sure the intention wasn’t to be irresponsible, but it is still important to seek to understand, rather than demonise.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 14th May '14 - 11:17pm

    I think highlighting UKIP’s flaws is fine. It just needs balance. We have so much to offer in our excellent candidates. Let’s celebrate them.

  • “I think highlighting UKIP’s flaws is fine.”

    But why do you think it should encourage people to vote Lib Dem rather than Con or Lab? Particularly if it’s coupled with an exhortation not to let UKIP win the election – which can be avoided only if either the Tories or Labour beat them?

  • Jenny Barnes 15th May '14 - 8:44am

    I read a Green party election leaflet. It was all about green party policies. I know, that’s a bit strange, isn’t it. Why LD literature is all about UKIP puzzles me. I’ve seen nothing to suggest why anyone should vote LD. Maybe it’s a deep laid plan, Too deep for me.

  • Dear Charles Rothwell, I am an ex-Lib Dem voter/supporter who has turned to Labour because I recognise them as the only party who can kick the Tories out of government. I read wtih interest your comments about the ‘so-called living standards crisis’ – I can assure you that anyone who a) now supports Labour over the Lib Dems and b) gives two hoots about the millions of people in this country on extremely low wages and/or zero-hours contracts will NOT be coming anywhere near the Lib Dems while the perception persists that their ideology is driven by people like you. Your comment is pure Tory – all that matters is growth and low unemployment figures. Well, there are any number of countries in the world who are achieving that – China, Indonesia, Nigeria – they are achieving it precisely because of the exploitation of millions of people, who do not get to share in the wealth created and who are expected to be grateful just for having a job. Well I don’t want our country to be like that.

    For that reason I’ll be voting Lib Dem in my Tory/Lib Dem marginal set next year – anything to get the Tories out. But I’ll be voting Labour next week, as should anyone who doesn’t want to see UKIP win next week, thus increasing their ridiculously inflated media exposure and forcing the national debate to be even more xenophobic and unpleasant.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 15th May '14 - 1:47pm

    Tom, the Liberal Democrats have seen a narrowing of the gap in income inequality, which Labour let rise and rise when in power. Labour are not standing up to UKIP, certainly not over immigration and Europe. They have pandered to them.

    There are very clear reasons why anyone who is committed to equality and internationalism should vote Liberal Democrat to counter UKIP. I think the Lib Dems need to make that point in a much more resonant fashion over the next week. The Party of IN line needs to develop, to tell its story. But Labour is not the answer here.

  • Caron Lindsay, once you control for the effects of the recession, which Liberal Democrat policy enacted in government is responsible for the change in income inequality?

    How can you say Labour are not standing up to UKIP when this was published today?

  • Eddie Sammon 15th May '14 - 2:26pm

    If you are a self-employed white working class man then Labour doesn’t care about you. Apparently you are already privileged and should find a trade unionised job instead or wallow with the pride of being on benefits.

  • the Liberal Democrats have seen a narrowing of the gap in income inequality, which Labour let rise and rise when in power

    Income inequality always rises when the economy is growing, and falls when it shrinks. It has nothing to do with which party is in power. This is like taking credit for the weather.

  • (Politicians, of course, would take credit for the weather if they thought they could get away with it, which is why nobody trusts them.)

  • Eddie Sammon 15th May '14 - 2:58pm

    Also, you don’t get benefits if you are childless and looking for “work”, rather than a “job”. I don’t see how people door-knocking, phoning and emailing deserve less support than people looking on job-centre plus. The coalition’s response hasn’t been great either by saying “wallow in the pride of being in poverty instead”. There should have been much more help for the self-employed by the government getting out of their way, not saying “here’s some more debt” so the government can again do a bit of nannying.

  • Tom H,

    there is one thing and one thing only that has brought hundreds of million people on this planet – including in China, Indonesia, Nigeria – out of abject poverty and that is economic growth. No amount of wishful thinking, overseas aid or social engineering has ever been able to or ever will deliver the same outcome.

    Thomas Piketty’s recent book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ argues that the underlying mechanisms of capitalism tend towards massive inequality. He argues that the era between 1930 and 1975 — often hailed for the way in which wealth was broadly shared — was actually a departure from the norm. That period of economic growth, he says, was the result of unusual circumstances like World War II, a global depression and the government’s actions in the aftermath of those events: strong policies raising taxes and increasing regulation. But now, with many of those policies rolled back, societies are reverting back to extreme inequality.

    Piketty shows that today income from capital, not earnings, predominates at the top of the income distribution. In Britain, capital’s share of income—whether in the form of corporate profits, dividends, rents, or sales of property, for example—fell from around 40 percent before World War I to barely 20 percent circa 1970, and has since bounced roughly halfway back. These trends have continued unabated whether a Tory or Labour government has held the reins of powers.

    Labour has shown no comprehension of or any serious desire to tackle the causes of inequality and continues to rely on the same failed class warfare and tax and spend approach without tackling the underlying issues. Labour will never be able to address equality of outcomes without a long-tern focus on the equality of opportunities that Liberal Democrats emphasise – particularly early years education, apprenticeships and vocational training, industrial strategy and wealth taxation.

  • “There are very clear reasons why anyone who is committed to equality and internationalism should vote Liberal Democrat to counter UKIP.”

    But the broadcast was presented in terms of preventing UKIP from winning the national election, wasn’t it? Do you agree that voting Lib Dem rather than Labour or Tory will actually make it more likely that UKIP will win the national election?

  • Piketty is wrong, however, because he doesn’t take into account risk. Yes, if you invest capital you could make a far better rate of return than you could by earning; on the other hand you could lose it all, and once you balance out the investments that pay and the ones that tank (by hedging, for example), then the rate of return doesn’t look so huge compared to earnings.

  • @ Caron

    “I think highlighting UKIP’s flaws is fine.”

    Good for you, but you do realise that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

    UKIP candidates and members may have said some things you don’t approve of. Some of your guys, have, ahem, broken the law and behaved despicably.

  • Chris Manners 15th May '14 - 8:15pm

    “Tom, the Liberal Democrats have seen a narrowing of the gap in income inequality, which Labour let rise and rise when in power.”

    Here you go.

    Figures only up to 2012. Likely to rise in the recovery again.

    The rise under Labour was much smaller than under Mrs Thatcher- who was some way to the left of the Coalition on economics.

  • Chris Manners 15th May '14 - 8:17pm

    @ Simon

    You’re UKIPper. Why are you so bad at vetting candidates? It’s one thing for people to go bad after they’ve been elected, but UKIP don’t seem to be able to do basic googling- which the Tories are more than happy to do.

  • Chris Manners 15th May '14 - 8:19pm

    “Eddie Sammon 15th May ’14 – 2:26pm
    If you are a self-employed white working class man then Labour doesn’t care about you. Apparently you are already privileged and should find a trade unionised job instead or wallow with the pride of being on benefits.”

    Man in the pub.

    Labour cut out of work benefits considerably in real terms- from the less than stratosperic levels under John Major.

    Any evidence the self-employed did badly under Labour?

  • Eddie Sammon 15th May '14 - 8:49pm

    Hi Chris, OK I was over-simplifying, but personally this government and the last government decided to up financial services regulatory fees to fund a state owned “money” advice service, which left minded people keep trying to expand. Trying to fund a state provided quango through regulatory fees on firms that they are putting out of business is like standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself up. Thankfully I think it is Jon Cruddas who has recognised this and is looking to provide relief for small firms in the next Labour manifesto. The Quango is also working in partnership with the big banks, so it is not always Conservatives led governments who look after small businesses either.

  • Bob,

    Piketty has spent 700 pages carefully developing and supporting his thesis and discusses the risk reward ratio of capital versus income at some length. His argument about the average rate of return on capital is that historically (with the exception of the period 1930-1975), it has consistently outstripped the rate of growth in the economy hence ever squeezing the relative proportion of economic reward attributable to wages/earned income. The effect we have seen in many developed economies across the world over the past three decades, and the effect that was prevalent prior to the 1930’s depression. It bears some resemblance and perhaps builds on Karl Mark’s analysis in Das Kapital.

    The change since the 19th century is that in a few small fields you can become relatively wealthy through earnings – as a senior executive of a multi-national, successful trader in financial services or highly prized entertainer/sportsman. In the 19th century your best option to improve your lot was to marry into inherited wealth.

  • @ Tim – “Income inequality always rises when the economy is growing, and falls when it shrinks. It has nothing to do with which party is in power.”

    This is interesting. Please can you post the evidence this is based on.

    @ Joe Bourke – Assuming that what you quoted from Thomas Piketty’s book is correct, then surely the answer must be the distribution or use of capital as well as taxation policy and regulation. This seems to be an argument for higher taxes on profit and capital. Also between 1945 and 1975 the state had control of more capital and I wonder if this is a reason as well. With more public capital generating a low return, private capital to compete had to reduce its return. Therefore education, training, apprenticeships and “industrial strategy” will not reverse the situation, maybe a return to full employment policies would help as these would increase wages for the poor and get people off benefit into jobs that pay a living wage and may even reduce the return on capital.

  • Almaric,

    I see Piketty’s analysis as an argument for a rebalancing of the tax base between income and capital and in particular a shift of emphasis from tax on incomes to Land Value Taxation.

    As regards a return to an economic policy of full employment, I would agree. However, to maintain full employment and increase wages requires a commitment to long-term public investment in the skills, technology and infrastructure needed to improve competitiveness, productivity and the comparative advantage of the UK workforce.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th May '14 - 10:13am

    Frank Booth

    If you want to stop Ukip winning the Euros you need to vote Tory or Labour. Lib Dems don’t have a chance of winning.

    What do you mean “don’t have a chance of winning”? Winning what?

    The elections are not to elect a government, there is no special winning prize for those with the most MEPs elected. Obviously you don’t mean the most MEPs across the whole of the EU, otherwise you would be saying you need to vote Labour or LibDem since the LibDems are part of the third biggest party in the European Parliament, and the Conservatives are part of the fifth biggest party.

    Given that elections to the European Parliament in this country are by a proportional representation system, there is not the “got to vote X to stop Y winning” issue as there is for UK Parliamentary elections. So there is not the issue of having to vote Tory or Labour to stop “splitting the vote” to the benefit of UKIP.

    So Frank, please clarify exactly what you meant. I await your reply.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    “What do you mean “don’t have a chance of winning”? Winning what? …
    So Frank, please clarify exactly what you meant. I await your reply.”

    I presume you haven’t watched the video which is the subject of this thread. It opens with:
    “Ask yourself a question
    Are you going to let these people win the election next week?”

    That’s the whole point of it.

    Your question should be directed at whoever made the video, not at Frank.

  • @ Joe Bourke

    Yes Land Value Taxation seems a good idea even if I don’t completely understand it. I am not sure there is much public investment in skills, rather than education. I am not convinced that the government would be very good at investing in technology. Infrastructure is contentious – should we invest in more roads or more airports? There are environmental (and therefore liberal arguments) that we shouldn’t. However the state investing in wave power stations or off shore wind power stations would be a good idea and the government might even get a continuous return on the investment if it didn’t sell of its investment.

    Isn’t it the task of private business to improve its own productivity? The government shouldn’t get involved in this unless it owns the business. Next there will be a demand for the government to subsidise private business and the wages they pay.

  • Alex Macfie 18th May '14 - 5:24pm

    The only meaningful sense of “winning” the European election is winning the most seats EU-wide. In this sense, the likely “winner” is a party that most people in the UK will have no opportunity to vote for, namely the EPP. [There is a UK party affiliated to EPP (Dirk Hazell’s Four Freedoms party), but it is only standing in London.] UKIP’s group will probably come 5th or 6th.

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th May '14 - 6:21pm


    Your question should be directed at whoever made the video, not at Frank.

    Well, this is an indication of how utterly useless is the current leadership and the assorted spads and ad-men who it relies on for promoting the party’s national image, but I think we can take that for granted – I’ve been pointing it out for the past four year. This is the first election since the 1970s where I will not be out there delivering leaflets and canvassing – for this election I will be sitting on my bum doing nothing, both the Euro and London Borogh election. Nothing, zilch. Blame Clegg and the Cleggies for that, for how what they have done to the party has put off the dedicated campaigner that used to be me.

    However, the question still stands and I note Frank hasn’t answered it. So I’m still waiting.

  • Nick Collins 18th May '14 - 7:57pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach. Please do not be disingenuous. You are bright enough to know that “winning”, in this context, means receiving a bigger share of the vote than any other party which, by the way, also means getting more of your candidates elected than any other party. The big prize, for a party such as UKIP, would come from the media coverage following such a victory. I do not wish them to receive that prize which is one reason why I have voted Labour.

    @ Jenny Barnes. Have you actually seen a LibDem leaflet for this election? All I’ve seen is a letter (addressed to me; the other members of my household have received nothing) from Catherine Bearder. If the libDems send anything now it will be too late; I returned my postal vote last week.

  • Alex Macfie 18th May '14 - 8:33pm

    @Nick Collins: But this is an EU-wide election, so what matters is who wins the most seats EU-wide. And, barring an unexpected upset, the European party group to which UKIP is affiliated is very unlikely to win that prize. And the election is held under a system of proportional representation, so if you want to help stop MEPs from EFD (UKIP’s European Parliamentary group) from being elected, you just have to vote for any party other than UKIP. Although it’s perhaps best to avoid the Tories as well, as their European Parliamentary allies are just as bad as UKIP’s. But the Tories’ group is also likely to finish 5th or 6th, anyway certainly behind ALDE.

  • Nick Collins 18th May '14 - 10:04pm

    @ Ale Macafie. I very much doubt whether more than a few people outside of the Brussels and, possibly, Westminster bubbles will know, or care, which grouping wins most seats EU-wide. Have you been canvassing in these elections? If so, how many electors have you met for whom that is a factor in their in their choice of whether and, if so, for whom to vote?

    In the context of British politics what matters is who wins, (yes, why not use that term?) in the UK because that will be the story in the media here. And that story will be part of the background in the run-up to the general election which is now less than a year away.

  • Nick Collins 18th May '14 - 10:08pm

    Alex Macafie. My apologies for the typo which omitted your x. I guess that’s a small problem compared with the number of LibDem “X”s which will be missing next week.

  • Alex Macfie 19th May '14 - 2:23am

    @Nick Collins: Whether or not people care about the EU-wide distribution of seats among the European party groups, the fact is that it DOES matter. The European Parliament has equal decision-making power with the Council, so the number of seats each party group has EU-wide will affect the flavour of EU legislation. Accordingly, I don’t want UKIP to do well in this election in the UK, but only because I would rather not have a lot of MEPs from right-wing populist Eurosceptical parties in the European Parliament from any country. I don’t particularly care which party finishes first or second in the UK; I know that I don’t want UKIP or the Tories to do well, because I don’t want EFD or ECR to do well, but as it is a proportional system, it is clear that a vote for any of the other main parties will do for the purpose of minimising the success of the raving right.
    I think that the media in this country have a lot to answer for in terms of cultivating public ignorance over what the European Parliament is for and what it does. And I also think that my party has basically played along with this conspiracy of silence and over-emphasising Farage. There is little attempt to explain what it does; how the parties work there; how it can stand up to the Commission and Council. And why is the Lib Dem Euro campaign being effectively led by Clegg? It should be being led by our MEPs; we should be making a lot more of the fact that the European Parliament is a “Coalition-free Zone” and the independence of our MEPs from what goes on at Westminster. [Incidentally, I don’t think the “Westminster bubble” cares about what happens in the European Parliament; they tend to think that only Westminster matters at all, and that is part of the problem.] I may be in a minority but I’m certainly not going to play along with the fashion for downplaying the significance of the European Parliament and just letting it be used as a proxy for what people think of the parties at Westminster.

  • Anyone could make a video like that about any of the main political parties – the LibDems certainly have plenty of skeletons in their cupboards. They really do look bitter and out for revenge, all because Clegg was hopeless in the debates with Farage. I’m not sure why they seem to be concentrating so much on UKIP, it’s Labour, the Tories and the Greens who are attracting their voters.

  • Alex Macfie 19th May '14 - 9:11pm


    “Do you consider the ECR to be ‘raving’ right”

    yes I do, and NOT just because of its view on Europe. Remember how Nick Clegg described it in 2009; I shall not repeat that here as out of risk that this message will go into the moderation queue but his words begin with N, A and H.
    There’s the Dutch party that thinks women shouldn’t have the vote; the Kaczynski twins’ party; the Latvian far-right For Fatherland and Freedom. I think this is important because the European Parliamentary group a national party belongs to determines how its MEPs are likely to be whipped, and while party discipline is much weaker in the European Parliament than in most national parliaments, it still counts for something, so UK Conservative MEPs voted against making rape within marriage a crime across the EU, and against climate change targets, as that is how they were whipped by ECR. It also reflects the political ethos of their MEPs that they were willing to ally themselves with such a group.

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