Opinion: I admit it, I am shocked by Labour’s hatred

Call me naive, but I have been genuinely shocked by the bilious and unbridled hatred that has been pouring out from every Labour orifice you could care to mention.

Not just from the Labour leadership contenders. Not just in the press. But even here in sunny Hastings, Labour is looking to knee-cap a Lib Dem or two.

It’s bewildering. It’s so far removed from the kind of national political culture that I want to be part of.

My sense of the Lib Dems is that we wear our political hearts on our sleeve a bit. We are passionate about social justice, civil liberties, political reform. And maybe that’s why the first 50 days of the Coalition have been so difficult to come to terms with.

Coalition policies are, de facto, not Lib Dem policies, despite our party having influenced (for the better) the policies that are now being brought forward.

Any right-thinking member of the public knows this, but the Labour Party is intent on trying to spin a yarn that the Lib Dems are ‘Orange Tories’, or the small Spitting Image-type puppet in the pocket of the large Tory one. As Vince said to Ed Balls on the BBC’s Question Time a fortnight ago – it’s all so wilfully misleading.

My social work background makes me curious about the unbalanced and invective-laden attack that Labour has collectively unleashed on the Lib Dems over the past weeks.

Is this kind of attack the best form of defence for Labour; against the self-hatred that electoral defeat has brought to them? Is it all smoke and mirrors in respect of their own economic performance? Can they really believe that this is a demonstration of the politics of ‘the good society’?

Surely even Keynes would have baulked at the level of national debt that has been racked up, but still Labour won’t accept any blame for our national situation. Nor will they acknowledge the Coalition’s attempts to avoid the calamities that national bankruptcy would bring to the poorest. It’s politically sociopathic.

How sad for them. How dangerous for us. How much more I must turn my own shock into moderate, concerted, broken-record-rebuttal.

As The Guardian’s Julian Glover so rightly says in his yoghurty offering – must try (however difficult) to keep calm, and carry on.

* Nick Perry is the Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson for
Hastings & Rye.

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311 Comments

  • I wish you wouldn’t characterise your political opponents as being filled with “bilious and unbridled hatred” or “self-hatred”, as “looking to knee-cap a Lib Dem or two”, or as “politically sociopathic”. I find such language bewildering. It’s so far removed from the kind of national political culture that I want to be part of.

  • Gareth Epps 7th Jul '10 - 11:54am

    Mark – it’s accurate.

    In Reading, Labour councillors have been likening us to Nazi collaborators – an approach that isn’t exactly going to encourage any joint working with them, quite the opposite.

    The lies and smears they come out with are desperate and show them up as living in the past. Nick’s description in that context is uncannily accurate.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Jul '10 - 12:04pm

    Nick

    Frankly I find it difficult to believe that a PPC could really be quite so naive as you’re painting yourself about the realities of politics.

    If the situation were reversed, don’t you think the Lib Dems would be making precisely the same kind of attacks on Labour that Labour is making on the Lib Dems now?

  • Derek Young 7th Jul '10 - 12:09pm

    Vehement instinctive vitriolic opposition is all the Labour Party can offer until its new leadership and Shadow Cabinet are elected. Only then might positive alternative policies be floated. But their current stance shows them making no headway in the polls – possibly because it’s still only a few weeks since Labour’s economic view of the world was so roundly trounced by the electorate, and in that context the bleating about the poor and vulnerable from Alan Johnson, Ed Balls et al, who did their level best to crush the poor and vulnerable under an iron boot, is utterly nauseating to everyone else except those who completely buy the Labour view.

  • I was similarly shocked. It is not true of all Labour members though.

    Unfortunately, the reasonable ones may be forced out by the agressive ones. If this happens, it will be the SDP all over again. [I am eternally the optimist.]

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Jul '10 - 12:18pm

    Ah, the good old Labour Party. Every time I get really pissed off the with the Liberal Democrats and start thinking about whether the Labour Party would be a practical and acceptable alternative (being a pragmatist who doesn’t like being told what to think I always accept that membership of any political party is a compromise), the Labour Party manages to behave in away which reminds me why after 30 years, I’m still signed up to the successor to the Liberal Party which I joined as a young undergraduate. I was wavering between Labour and Liberal then, I don’t think there’s a single year between when I haven’t had some wavering, but, good old Labour Party thank you once again for pushing me towards the Liberal side.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Jul '10 - 12:22pm

    “But their current stance shows them making no headway in the polls …”

    It might be an idea to check what the polls are actually saying before making statements like that.

    In fact, the polls are showing Labour and the Tories each up by about 5 points since the election, and the Lib Dems down by rather more than that.
    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/

  • Stephen Almond 7th Jul '10 - 12:27pm

    Personally, I think a lot of Labour supporters feel a deep sense of betrayal from the Lib Dems. There was always a sense that they were just wayward members of a flock of left-leaning politicians, and that one day we’d all be reunited under a happy coalition of the left. That dream has been shattered, as Labour has been forced to recognise that the Lib Dems contain a section of politicians (Clegg, Laws, Alexander), who simply aren’t their natural allies, and who may indeed be closer to the Tories in many respects.

    That recognition has only come now. No-one expected the Lib Dems to form some rainbow coalition of the left after May 7th; the electoral arithmetic simply made it unworkable. But no-one expected that after the leap to move in with the Tories (which was in many respects, the best of a bad set of options for the Lib Dems), that they would hug them so tightly. As Labour party supporters have realised that their long-lost cousins may actually be closer relatives of the Tories, a deep sense of revulsion has hit many.

    And it really hurts. We thought so much more of you, so when we see Vince Cable appearing on Question Time and saying he fully supports free schools and that he thinks that “pushy, middle class parents” should be allowed to create inequalities in the state school system to generate personal privilege (watch the programme, if you missed it), it feels like a very real betrayal. No-one pretends that working in a coalition is easy, and I have a huge amount of admiration for people who are prepared to work outside party lines. But no-one expected the Lib Dems to form such a vocal defence of some wholly indefensible Tory policies.

    This has resulted in a real, personal anger towards some Lib Dems. However, I don’t think it’s true that Labour are out to knee-cap Lib Dems. On the contrary, we recognise that you have some talented, conscientious politicians who are prepared to stand up against inequality (Simon Hughes, Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy). [Personally, I think it’s a real pity that they are not given more weight, particularly as they are often much closer in ethos to many Lib Dem supporters.] But many of us are simply too upset at the moment to differentiate.

    I’d expect the anger to die down, and tactical politics to return later in the summer (no-one can pretend that being relentlessly negative aids Labour). But as a floating Labour/Lib Dem voter who has moved to Labour since May, I would urge you to do so much more to look after your left flank. You don’t have to agree with your partners all the time to show that coalition government works. Defend your values more. You can say all you like in opposition, but people only remember you for what you did in government, and for how you affected them. If you lose this chance to show your progressive, liberal credentials (even if that means the odd scuffle with the Tories to prove a point), you’ll lose an awful lot of the disaffected left who thought you represented something better.

    Good luck.

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 12:43pm

    @ Mark – “I wish you wouldn’t characterise your political opponents as being filled with “bilious and unbridled hatred” or “self-hatred”, as “looking to knee-cap a Lib Dem or two”, or as “politically sociopathic””

    Try ready the comments of Labour leaning papers like The Guardian. There is quite a bit of hatred. Try listening to Labour shadow ministers.

    @ Stephen Almond: “I think a lot of Labour supporters feel a deep sense of betrayal from the Lib Dems.”

    When we’re talking about “betrayal” I think Labour voters, members and supporters should perhaps look at the last 13 years of Labour Government before they point the finger.

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 12:48pm

    Clearly there are things we need to find a way of doing better – getting across the Lib Dem point of view, when it’s distinct from the Coalition, pushing our success and perhaps defending compromise – ie “If there was a majority Lib Dem Government, we wouldn’t have done it quite this way, but it was a good compromise because . . . ”

    Obviously Labour don’t want that to happen – indeed, it’s in both Lab and Tories’ interests for us to be stuck with full responsibility for Coalition policy – Tories because it shares the burden, and also because a weakening of the ability to squeeze Labour hands them a number of Tory/Lib Dem marginals (so they won’t have to compromise next time!). Labour need an enemy to motivate the troops and to avoid having to look at why they lost the election in too much detail. I guess in a way I should be pleased that they’re not learning any lessons . . .

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 12:53pm

    Kehaar, you’re clearly not a Lib Dem supporter, do you expect the people posting here not to respond to your comments?

    As for polls Anthony, yes, they have gone down, but also any poll average is being massively weighted by YouGov at the moment, which almost seems to be doing one a day. All the polling companies have been changing their weighting of the Lib Dems because of how wrong they were just before the GE (on the last two days before the election the Lib Dems were polling 27, 28%) – *if* (and it is an if) YouGov have got their weighting wrong then they are influencing that poll average a lot.

  • My experience isn’t like that, I gently rib my Lib Dem friends in the same way I do my Tory friends and my Labour friends tend to do the same- just treat it as a joke. We don’t get too worked up because you’re entrenched as the opposition now in the same way that the Tories are.

    The only bit of this article that wasn’t a *pure* whinge was this-

    “Surely even Keynes would have baulked at the level of national debt that has been racked up, but still Labour won’t accept any blame for our national situation. Nor will they acknowledge the Coalition’s attempts to avoid the calamities that national bankruptcy would bring to the poorest. It’s politically sociopathic.”

    There’s almost some politics in that. It’s wrong, like, as I’ve posted here before the OBR has calculated that Labour’s plans- without all these extra cuts of your own making- would have met George Osborne’s own targets for reducing the deficit. Will Hutton described Labour’s actions as the “march to sanity”- it’s not Labour’s fault that you’ve decided to walk backwards, watching sanity disappear into the distance with no idea where you’re headed.

    And Labour has acknowledged the effect it will bring on the poorest- http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/06/ifs-budget-was-regressive/

    I’m not angry with the Lib Dems in the same way I’m not angry at cats for eating birds. This is in your nature. You’re the kind of party that talks philanthropy while screwing the poor to help the rich. Your income tax cut being one example, taking away from public services to distribute regressively.

    I understand that this is likely the first time your party has been important enough to warrant opposition, but don’t throw your toys out of the pram when Labour starts pointing out what you’re doing to the most vulnerable people of this country. It’s not trolling, it’s not tribalism. It’s politics.

  • Stephen Almond 7th Jul '10 - 1:01pm

    @ Grammar Police

    I make no attempt to justify Labour’s broken promises. I acknowledge that the party has many flaws, some structural, some only temporary. My point was that left-leaning voters had never experienced betrayal from the Lib Dems before.

    Speaking personally, I’ve come to realise that the ethos of the Lib Dems is not that of the party I want to follow. You can criticise the Labour party all you like, and they made enough mistakes in office to make that easy, but I don’t doubt for a minute that the party has social justice ingrained in its soul. I really doubt whether that can be said about the Lib Dems currently in the coalition cabinet. I am struggling to fathom the enthusiastic defence of some horrific Tory policies that some are performing (not just on cuts – have you seen their plans for education?). I spent the past two months telling myself that they had to make compromises, that they had to prove even more than the Tories that coalition government works. I’m not going to delude myself any longer.

  • Stephen Almond 7th Jul '10 - 1:10pm

    @The Druid

    What’s your point? New Labour ignored its party base and made some horrific decisions, so it’s the Lib Dem’s prerogative to do so too?

    But even New Labour stood up against inequality.

  • @ Grammar Police
    Kehaar may not be a Lib Dem supporter but that does not mean his statement is wrong, I myself feel that same sense of betrayal, and yes I am a Lib Dem supporter.

  • I think Labour has a completely different relationship between the grass-roots and the leadership than the Lib Dems. Ours is almost oppositional, it’s certainly critical, whereas the Lib Dems seem to line up behind whatever the leadership does. Passionately argue one way and when the leadership turns another way persisting in your disagreement with the new position makes you a troll or a tribalist.

    The Labour party isn’t the leadership- it’s a movement stretching back for generations with successes and failures, leading back to the Chartists and the Diggers. The Liberal Democrat party is very “in the moment”, if you don’t agree with the current party line there’s no tradition to help sustain that disagreement as a valid position.

  • Sure 🙂 Hope that bird recovers.

  • (Speaking personally, I’ve come to realise that the ethos of the Lib Dems is not that of the party I want to follow. You can criticise the Labour party all you like, and they made enough mistakes in office to make that easy, but I don’t doubt for a minute that the party has social justice ingrained in its soul. I really doubt whether that can be said about the Lib Dems currently in the coalition cabinet. I am struggling to fathom the enthusiastic defence of some horrific Tory policies that some are performing)

    The Lib Dems have never been a socialist party which is what you’re sort of implying. The real politics will come after the deficit has been reduced and there are real choices of the economic model to follow.

    1. A `germanic` liberal democratic model (electorally would mean a LD/Con coalition
    2. A `swedish` social democratic model (electorally would mean Labour majority) but would mean Labour being brutally honest about the downsides as well as the upsides of this model

    Any other option would mean a Tory win or Tory/LD coalition.

    David Blunkett hit the nail on the head when he said `Labour should stop proposing policies where ordinary people subsidise other ordinary people` or words to that effect. Either have a social democratic `lollipop` social economy (ie have another lollipop – vote Labour) with everything upfront where inequality is deterministically eased by social diktat or one where those who can’t get more and those who can get less in the way of benefits payments.

    Any other model will not be tolerated by the British people whether fascist, hard left socialist or economical fluffiness greenery. The best things these people can do are campaign for AV to get some sort of influence.

  • the debate on the 2nd reading of the Finance Bill last night was quite appalling.. Labour ranting on for hours (they didn’t finish until 2.30am!!), with very little constructive criticism.
    I think Stephen Almond is right in saying Labour considered us as just a branch of their party, but that’s their mistake, not ours.. we’re not, we have our own identity, Labour is just throwing a fit because they took us for granted and we’ve showed them they were wrong
    We’re talking about the problem of not being seen as distinctive enough from the Tories at the next election, but a coalition with Labour would have been far worse in that respect, at least the Tories don’t think we’re one of them!

  • I’d like to say something about my own experience with the Labour Party- in the constituency where I’m involved, the CLP is almost wholly made up of kindly old people, sat round drinking tea out of 70s style cups with a Tolpuddle Martyrs plaque on the wall and good-natured laughter in heavy regional accents frequently heard. I don’t know what kinds of meetings you’ve experienced but don’t think that people sit around insulting other parties- and the idea that the Labour party is full of hatred is so disconnected from my experience as to be laughable. They are people who are concerned for their communities and have seen what right-wing policies can do- they openly disagree with New Labour often but that just gives me the impression that where they support the party, they do so genuinely.

    Plenty of people here seem quick to condemn any dissent or disagreement and that makes me wonder just how much your supporters say this because they feel they have to be loyal rather than because it’s heartfelt.

  • Dave Hennigan 7th Jul '10 - 1:36pm

    Labour Councillors in Manchester have resorted to sending abusive late night emails –

    http://blogs.menmedia.co.uk/politics/2010/07/nick-clegg-horses-and-marriage/

    Here is the email from in full from Cllr Pat Karney:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Councillor Pat Karney
    Sent: 04/07/2010 22:54 GDT
    To: Lib Dem Members
    Cc: Labour Members
    Subject: did you know, did you agree??

    CUTS NOW UP TO 40%

    BUILDING SCHOOLS FOR THE FUTURE FROZEN (TOMORROW)

    35,000 POLICE POSTS TO GO

    CAMERON TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST AV

    25,000 JOIN THE LABOUR PARTY

    PERMISSION TO MARRY A HORSE IN CLEGGS NEW LAWS PROPOSALS

    CALL ME IF YOU DID NOT KNOW ,DID NOT AGREE

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 1:40pm

    @ Mike “This is in your nature. You’re the kind of party that talks philanthropy while screwing the poor to help the rich.”

    Hmmm – someone was criticising generalisations earlier . . . do you actually believe that? Or are you just trying to get a rise. “Oppositional” Labour members certainly achieved loads during the last 13 years didn’t they? At least the Lib Dems are a party where the membership can have a say in policy. As for your assertion; one of the criticisms that people have made of the Lib Dems over the years is that the grass roots have too much of a say and pass “crazy” policies . . .

    @ Kehaar “What a delicious line… why should you justify yourself to anyone else when you’re so clearly right?”

    Simply pointing out that you shouldn’t be surprised that when you post on a party site criticising that party that people will defend it, isn’t actually what you’re trying to read into it.

    You may have been a party supporter in the past, but you are clearly quite antagonistic to it now, eg: “If you want to see hatred from *your Party*, you could look at this blog”.

    @ Nige – to appreciate what Nick Perry is talking about, try looking at the comments section on The Guardian on any story to do with anything vageuly Lib Dem.

    @ Stephen. I’m sorry, I just don’t think that Labour stood up against inequality (eg 10p tax rate, tax credits for welf-off families, tuition/top up fees amongst other things). You are obviously just someone who feels much more comfortable with Labour; well – fair enough, but then again we’ve just had 13 years of Labour with massive majorities, and all of a sudden the Lib Dems are terrible and betrayers because they haven’t got quite as much of a compromise out of the Tories as you’d like, despite having many fewer MPs and coming third in share of the vote . . .

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Jul '10 - 1:41pm

    Grammar Police

    “As for polls Anthony, yes, they have gone down, but [stuff about why the Lib Dem rating may not be right]”

    If you look again at my comment, you’ll see I was responding to someone claiming that Labour was making no headway in the polls. The fact is that all the recent polls show Labour up compared with the election.

  • Paul McKeown 7th Jul '10 - 1:41pm

    @Kehaar

    You DUP troll!

    😉

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 1:48pm

    @ Dave – the night before the special conference I received various rants from non-existent individuals accusing the Lib Dems of betrayal and saying they were going back to Labour, all within the same 15 min time period. They could have been from ordinary people/an ordinary person (ordinary people who set up fake email addresses to do so) or it could have been something else.

    If I were a Lib Dem councillor in Manchester, I’d be tempted to reply with a list of New Labour’s failures in Government.

  • of course you want a national political culture where the opposition says how wise and good you are. all governments want that. you’re part of the government now, get used to being attacked the way you attacked the tories and labour when they were in government.

  • Dave Hennigan 7th Jul '10 - 1:52pm

    Not in Manchester mate, this email apart from being seriously low on facts is insulting and the stuff above the horse is bizarre to say the least. Obviously an attack on the Coalition’s liberalisation on the Civil Partnership laws – Homophobic? Probably.

  • @GrammarPolice: It’s a generalisation, sure, but one that appears to be a good one. The income tax cut was my example and, what, 90% of members said they supported it? Maybe your members haven’t read the figures for how cutting the income tax actually affects different groups in society, maybe they don’t know the exact reasons why cutting the income tax was one of Thatcher’s favourite wheezes, sure. It’s a policy that allows Lib Dems in government to say “we’re taking the poor out of tax” and sound all philanthropic, without mentioning that to do so they are taking far more from public services than necessary and spending more on the richest and the middle to deliver it, such that the IFS could conclude that the poorest would be better off without it and with public services better safeguarded instead.

    Liberal Democrats may have had a say when there was no chance of actually forming policy. It was a small group of people behind closed doors who decided what to keep and what to strip away in government, and they chose to give up the most decent policies.

    One problem with Labour over the last thirteen years was the size of Blair’s majority and how many of them were new careerist Blairites. In the end he didn’t need to ally with the Lib Dems, like he and Mandelson had planned, in order to suffocate the left-wing. Labour have done plenty of good things that wouldn’t have happened under any other government, anyway. Most of the rubbish is where they decided to go mainstream, hamfistedly seeking plaudits from the centre, not where they were Labour.

  • Paul McKeown 7th Jul '10 - 1:54pm

    @Kehaar

    It does seem, without wanting to make this personal, that although you may have always voted LD, you seem now entirely opposed to the party, and indeed on many issues (for example, law & order, defence, drugs, CCTV) seem to take strongly illiberal positions.

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 1:56pm

    @ Anthony – the adjustment to the Lib Dems will affect other ratings – but yes, they have gone up.

  • Nice of you to link an article by Julian Glover, the civil partner of Matthew Parris, as back up for your argument. If you really want to see bile and hatred just turn up at any by election the Lib Dems are contesting. It seem to be the Lib Dems have painted a huge target on their heads and are now surprised other parties are throwing rocks and scoring bullseyes, welcome to government. And, it’ll get much, much worse.

  • “If I were a Lib Dem councillor in Manchester, I’d be tempted to reply with a list of New Labour’s failures in Government.”

    It’s safe to assume they’ve never shut up about ‘this Labour government’ for the past 13 years.

  • “Obviously an attack on the Coalition’s liberalisation on the Civil Partnership laws – Homophobic? Probably.”

    It’s probably obviously an attack on gay marriage? Is is probably or is it obviously? I don’t know about this councillor, he could be an unpleasant type for all I know, I have known unpleasant Labour councillors. With some of the stories on this site about councillors that are your own allies you would be hard-pressed to try and say unpleasant councillors are a Labour party phenomenon.

    But from what I can find on google there’s no hint that he’s homophobic, having been “instrumental” in organising a Gay Pride event in Manchester.

    It could just be a naff joke. Naff jokes are certainly more in character for Labour councillors from my experience!

  • I recently joined the Labour party after considering voting Lib Dem at the last election. In the run up to it I was impressed with Nick Clegg’s talk of change, of creating a new politics. And of fairness. Fairness has always seemed very important to Liberal Democrats. I do not hate Lib Dems. But I am hugely disappointed and let down.
    the first reason is because of the budget. It sets out the decimate public services, cutting the deficit entirely (and unnecessarily) and hitting the poorest hardest. Many Lib Dems seem to be justifying this with the argument that they have introduced the raising of the tax threshold- the logic goes therefore protecting the poorest in society. The fact is that the tiny difference this will make to those on low pay (and my husband is one of those so I know what I’m talking about) is so tiny (around £5 per week with the full £10,000 level we’ve not yet reached) that it is cancelled out several times over by benefit cuts and the VAT rise. This is not a fair budget and Lib Dems are deluding themselves if they really believe it is. It’s a hardcore Tory budget with a little bit of Lib Dem frilling. I know it’s a coalition and compromise is required – but the tiny amount of influence Clegg, Cable & co are having does not make up for the nasty budget announced by Osborne & co.
    Secondly, far from a new politics, there now just seems to be 2 parties ganging up on one party. I have lost patience with the childish name calling and blaming being used by both parties. Far from providing us with new, grown up debate, the Coalition seem unable to open sentences without ‘what we’re doing, unlike the last government’ or ‘We’re having to do this because of the recklessness of the last government.’ and so on ad nauseoum. Far from being new, this feels old and tribal. And the slight change in colour of the tribes doesn’t change that.

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 2:02pm

    @ Kehaar: “That is not what you said. You did not say that I should expect opposition to my comments (why on Earth would I not?). You . . . declared the non-supporters shouldn’t expect even to be acknowledged.”

    I think you’ll find I did say that you should expect opposition to your comments. I’m not sure where the bit about not acknowledging non-supporters came from.

    @ Grammar police, first time: “do you expect the people posting here not to respond to your comments?”

    @ Grammar police, refrain: “Simply pointing out that you shouldn’t be surprised that when you post on a party site criticising that party that people will defend it, isn’t actually what you’re trying to read into it. “

  • Peter Laubach 7th Jul '10 - 2:03pm

    I for one am getting more and more sick of the moaning about a ‘betrayal’. At the age of 58 I have been a Liberal/Libdem all my politically conscious life. I have never voted for any other party, apart from in that EU election in the 80’s when we were all totally cheesed off with ‘the two Davids’ and I voted Green in protest, along with millions of others ( I didn’t appreciate then how crypto-socialist they are and would never vote for them again in any circumstances). I don’t regard us as an adjunct of either of the other two parties and so far as I am concerned they are both equally objectionable, but in different ways.
    We have in the past gone into coalition with Labour in Wales & Scotland and I did not object to that – the arithmetic only pointed in that direction. This time, after 13 years of these awful New Labour people and with the arithmetic again pointing in one direction only, I do not object to a coalition with the Conservatives.
    Coalition obviously involves compromise, so we have to swallow some things we would ideally have preferred not to have to do. From my perspective I don’t see anything wrong with that – by the same token we get things in the programmme that we very much do want and would not get at all if we were not in government.
    A central plank of our agenda always has been proportional representation, the inevitable result of which is coalition, so the voters can hardly complain when we enter into one. Far from ‘betrayal’, I have an overiding sense of achievement. If on some future occasion there were to be a smilar result, but with Labour as the only available partner, I see no reason why I should not feel exactly the same as I do now.

  • Dave Hennigan 7th Jul '10 - 2:10pm

    The problem with Labour is they think they have divine right to rule. Their reaction to the coalition is not surprising. Here’s hoping that Ed Balls will win the Labour Leadership battle. The smears may increase, but they will be out of power for a generation. Their pathetic posturing over AV, is done to try and drive a wedge through the coalition NOTHING more. Labour will soon wake up and realise that politics has left them behind.

  • @Mark Pack: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my tone, is there anything specifically the problem? Compared to the kind of thing people have met me with on this site I have been an angel. Compared to the post I’m writing under I’m a saint.

    “Call me naive, but I have been genuinely shocked by the bilious and unbridled hatred that has been pouring out from every Labour orifice you could care to mention.”

    What kind of tone is that? My orifices are securely Labour, and I can assure you nothing of the kind is pouring out.

  • Mike’s comments are peculiarly ostrich-like. He reminds me of the mind-controlled missionaries of the Militant Tendency who told us that if Labour adopted Militant’s programme (nationalisation of 200 monopolies under workers’ control and management, massive programme of public works, etc) Labour would be elected with a massive majority. How did they know this (apart from Ted Grant telling them)? They had conducted a mass canvass in Bristol South-East in February 1974 and Tony Benn had been reelected with an increased majority. Wow, there’s an example of evidence-based policy-making that would impress even Evan Harris!

    The truth is, the people of this country don’t want socialism. They don’t want to live in the Soviet Union, Mao’s China or Hoxha’s Albania. They didn’t in the 1970s, they don’t now. Socialism is dead. This is a truth that is recognised by almost everyone, but evidently not quite everyone.

    Labour won in 1997 precisely because it was pursuing policies designed to benefit elites (primarily North American elites). Without Blair, and the ditching of what was left of socialism in the Labour Party, the Americans (through the agency of the media they control) would not have allowed Labour to win.

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 2:14pm

    @ Jo Casey – it’s almost certainly a fairer budget than it would have been with the Tories in control. The Sun’s recent YouGov poll showed that 93% thought that a Tory majority gov would have done less to protect the poorest – and that the public generally support the budget.

    I don’t think the budget is a budget the Lib Dems wanted to put forward. As for VAT – all parties refused to rule this out (although our spending plans wouldn’t have involved raising it), and Labour of course, are the party of doubling taxation for the lowest paid by abolising the 10p tax rate. They also spent money on providing benefits for the middle classes – through tax credits – for a number of years. At least this Government is actually putting more money in to child tax credit for the least well off. As for tax credits generally, if you’ve ever tried to apply, you’ll know how bureaucratic it is.

  • @David Hennigan: What makes you think that Labour thinks it has the divine right to rule? To be honest, I’m getting tired of hearing the leadership candidates talk about how they’ve let down ordinary people and must reconnect, etc. If you’d watch the leadership hustings you’d know that the party is securely in self-flagellation mode, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t providing opposition as well.

    Ed Balls probably won’t win, it’ll likely be a Miliband.

    Anyway, over AV, there were many on this very site talking about how AV is actually less proportional than FPTP in many ways and many of us don’t want it as a stepping stone to some kind of proportional representation because of problems with that. Different leadership candidates have different opinions, different Labour members have different opinions. You’ll get the odd “I oppose it because Clegg wants it” but it’s easy to say on message boards and so on, but within the party we’re debating this on its merits. I’ll probably support AV in a referendum, but my mind may change, I don’t know.

  • @Jo Casey

    You joined the Labour Party because it is going to do what, precisely?

    It has left our nation impoverished, got us into pointless wars, has no guiding principles or ideas, is an enemy of personal freedom and it is now lashing out because it is embittered over its election defeat. It is utterly hypocritical about cuts that it too would have been forced to make and will be unelectable for a generation.

    What does it have to offer for the future?

  • As a friend put it “Wow. And you thought they could lie when they were in government….”

  • @Robert C: Yet another Liberal Democrat implying that the Labour party is dishonest when it opposes these extra cuts?

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6080418/osbornes-headache.thtml

    “What jumped out at me was that the OBR says that on current government policy (ie, without Osborne’s recent £5.7bn of cuts, on the Darling trajectory) the structural deficit would be reduced from 8% now to 2.8% in 2014-15. That is to say, Osborne’s manifesto pledge – to eliminate “the bulk” of the structural deficit – would have happened under Darling. So no extra cut, or tax hike, is needed to meet this pledge. ”

    Extra cuts not necessary according to the OBR, set up by the government, in an article by Fraser Nelson in the Spectator- someone who cannot be dismissed as a “Labour hack”.

  • Paul McKeown 7th Jul '10 - 2:30pm

    @Grammar Police

    Regarding VAT, I think people’s memories are far too short.

    It isn’t that long ago that the Labour Party was categorically denying any plans to raise VAT, whilst (stoopid) its Treasury officials had managed to post its plans for taxation on the Internet, including a strong hike on VAT.

    The politically engaged plead endless for the general public to respect politics and to be interested in it. Small wonder they aren’t though and that cynicism is riding high. Humbug to the left of them, humbug to the right of them.

  • I am astonished that ANY Lib Dem politician would have the sheer brass neck to write this article.

    The volume of vicious and vidictive abuse directed at both Labour and Conservative MPs, Councilllors and candidates in electoral literature produced by the Lib Dems is simply astonishing.

    From the original and perhaps most unpleasant nasty campaign of all in Bermondey to the present day you can pretty much guarentee a personal attack in every single Lib Dem publication.

    It is perhaps surprising that the comments directed at the Lib Dems are not more unpleasant.

  • @Matthew Huntbach

    Ah, the good old Labour Party. Every time I get really pissed off the with the Liberal Democrats and start thinking about whether the Labour Party would be a practical and acceptable alternative […] manages to behave in away which reminds me why after 30 years, I’m still signed up to the successor to the Liberal Party which I joined as a young undergraduate.

    Hear, hear. Though I found myself wavering on the fringes of joining the Libdems but helping out as an upaid-up activist, till the election. And now we see what the coalition is like I am unable to continue to support the LibDems nationally…

    The political culture generally is off-putting. The Labour Party locally is running a – to me, highly offensive – “Join the Resistance” campaign, making some analogy between Coalition Britain and Nazi-occupied France. I don’t even want to attempt to talk politely to people that want to argue on that level. I certainly won’t be voting for them.

  • paul barker 7th Jul '10 - 2:56pm

    I was a Labour member for about 8 years, having been raised in a Labour family. The point about Labour that Libdems find hard to get their heads round is that its a different kind of Party. We are based primarily on ideas & values while Labour are based on identification with a social group. By forming the coalition we are seen to be betraying The Working Class; we represent an attack on who they are not just what they think.
    I dont see the hostility fading any time soon, unless they turn in on themselves. We will just have to get used to it.

  • @Kehaar

    “Left our nation impoverished”

    There is such a thing as being found not wearing any swimming trunks when the tide goes out. Other economies have either been faster to spring back from the downturn e.g. Germany, or hardly saw it at all. e.g. Sweden. All in all, Labour were pretty rubbish economic managers and have totally loused up on both public and private debt, while remaining in arrogant denial over both.

    “got us into pointless wars”

    You have failed to mention Iraq, haven’t you. You know, that place in the Middle East we invaded costing billions of pounds and hundreds of our own soldiers’ lives, not to mention those of the Iraqi citizens killed.

    “Half the Labour party opposed the one in 2003”.

    How pathetic! It didn’t stop the other half including the leadership, going ahead anyway, did it?

    Some pretty poor excuses from you, all in all.

  • @Sesenco: I am a socialist. I’ll continue to argue for socialism. Why not? Are we only allowed to argue for positions if we know that it’s already supported by a majority? Do electorates stay the same despite changing circumstances and disappointments?

    Those who opposed slavery didn’t start with a majority did they? Should they have given up their own convictions just because they were a minority? People in 1945 voted for a party that claimed to be socialist. There were times between 1979 and 1983 that Labour was ahead- even after the SDP split off.

  • @Bernard Salmon: Yes. Look around this site- everyone’s suddenly talking about early cuts this year as if it’s necessary, as if you didn’t campaign against them. The leadership turns and people act like it was never any different.

  • Martin Land 7th Jul '10 - 3:11pm

    Thirteen years of Labour?

    The only person I can see who is better off is multi-millionaire Blair. Labour remain the same sanctimonious bunch they have always been. When will they get it? Liberals promote liberalism, we are not there to bail them out when they have managed to piss off two thirds of the electorate.

    I’ve had to filter out endless abusive emails from local Labour worthies. True, from time to time the Tories fire a similar salvo at our websites, but usual with some semi-rational point though.

  • Andrew Kelly 7th Jul '10 - 3:20pm

    Dear god man ! What did you expect ?

    We are in a position of power. With that comes responsibilty, authority and a skin thick enough to be able to take difficult decisions, stand by them – and prepared to become unpopular (amongst certain sections).

    The fact that you are a spokesperson of sorts worries me. If you can’t stand the heat …

  • Grammar Police 7th Jul '10 - 3:23pm

    The Guardian is historically a liberal paper, but it’s supported Labour now for many a year. They reluctantly supported the Lib Dems in 2010 at the last minute, after asking their readers.

    They have since returned to runninf stories with a Labour slant, imo. In any event, there is plenty of bile in the comments on their online version (although ironically, some of it angry at The Guardian for supporting the LDs at all).

  • @Nick Perry: You said that it’s “not just from the leadership contenders”- can I have a link to some bilious and unbridled hatred pouring out of the orifices of the leadership contenders please? I’ll be voting on them, I would like to know how they’ve been spewing unbridled hatred please.

  • Mike,

    You are perfectly entitled to argue for socialism if you believe in it (or even if you don’t). Doubtless, there are still plenty of people in the Labour Party who agree with you, but it is notable that none of the leadership candidates is advocating socialism, or anything close to it.

    Your slavery analogy is way off the mark. Once slavery was abolished, it never returned. No-one, not even the Ku-Klux-Klan, is calling for its reimposition. Yet there are still political movements energised by the belief that the Soviet Union was wonderful.

  • Andrew Kelly 7th Jul '10 - 3:29pm

    @grammar police
    Pretty desperate stuff. There have been comments critical of the liberal conservative government in the comments section of the guardian. But the vast majority of the editorials have been supportive.

    “In any event, there is plenty of bile in the comments on their online version ”
    So now the paper is responsible for the comments left on it’s website ? Ridiculous.

  • @Sesenco: The first part- they all self-describe as socialist, but in a (1950’s “The Future of Socialism” era Tony Crosland way rather than anything else). Like I said, Labour is a movement, it isn’t the leadership. With the possible and happy exception of Caroline Lucas the only socialists in parliament are Labour.

    The second part makes no sense. You said that because socialism isn’t supported by a majority of people in Britain now we should quit or whatever. If those who fought slavery had never let their convictions be known because they weren’t a majority it would never have been abolished.

  • It is not the anger of the labour party that is the issue, it is the anger of the voters

  • Oops, missed out the word “Gaitskellite” from before the brackets.

  • Barry George 7th Jul '10 - 4:04pm

    This article personifies the reason we are so quickly losing support. Accusing your political rivals of ‘bilious and unbridled hatred’ maybe welcomed by the party faithful, but with the undecided and the electorate it is not.

    Having found this site only a few weeks ago and being a disenchanted yet (to date) committed Liberal Democrat voter, I have been both shocked and disappointed by the responses given by members to dissenting voices.

    The Liberals are way down in the polls and the reaction to posters like Keehar is unacceptable.

    Ad hominems , non sequiters and poisoning the well seems to be the order of the day for many of the articles and most of the regular member responses to unhappy posters on this site.

    Now you can scream ‘troll’, you can huddle up in little party member groups whispering ‘they are not really LibDem’s ’, or you can look at the evidence on this site and at the polls and think long and hard about what you are doing.

    Repeatedly attacking the Labour party to defend the ideological polices of the Conservatives is polarising the electorate. The voter isn’t stupid; they can remember our pre-election proposals to deal with the economic crisis.

    I vote liberal because our position and our policies could be argued with logic and reason. I was converted to the party by someone using such logic and reason. Now all I seem to see is a web site and its members rushing frantically to put up the barricades, ensuring first of course that all those inside the wall are fully loyal party members. Then once in a while the same old people will pop their head over the wall and shout ‘Troll !’ before disappearing back into their comfort zone.

    If we want AV, if we don’t want to be single digit % party at the next election then we need to engage the disenchanted, not with insults and accusations but with reason and logic.

    Accept that many loyal voters are unhappy and do something about it. Listen to them, reason with them, and don’t dismiss them as ‘Trolls’.

    The party seems hell bent on a roller coaster ride to electorate humiliation, oblivious of anything that isn’t towing the party line and the party line is “Labour bad” rinse repeat.

    The road to political recovery could start here, on this site. The Conservatives aren’t shy. They are telling the world they won’t support AV so why aren’t we telling them which policies we can’t endorse. I’m not talking about bringing down the government but ‘abstaining’ on certain votes based on principle would show the electorate that we are not ‘Tory light’.

    This site permits dissenting voices. They are opportunities to engage the electorate. Thousands of people read these articles and comments. In replying to one disagreeable comment you are responding to large numbers of people who read this site and you are engaging the electorate.

    Pseudo superiority based on the perceived political motives of others is elitist and unappealing.

    It’s time to wake up , but I am sure others would rather I shut up 😉

  • Mike,

    The point I was making is that slavery was abolished and (almost) no-one is now calling for its return, unlike socialism, which is still advocated by a vociferous minority, despite its extreme unpopularity in those countries where it was imposed (eg, the Soviet Union and China). If the Labour Party went back to calling for the implementation of Clause 4, I don’t think it would do particularly well electorally.

    When you talk about the Labour Party being a movement, not the leadership, you are presumably harking back to the 1970s when the membership wanted something resembling the Soviet Union (83% of constituency parties voted for Tony Benn in the Deputy Leadership contest) while Wilson and Callaghan were pursuing social democratic policies. The actions of the “movement” in undermining the “leadership” resulted in 18 years of Tory government. Fortuntely, the liberals within Labour got out and founded the SDP (along with one or two people we could have done without, like Owen).

    Tony Crosland was hardly any recognisable kind of socialist, when he once famously boasted that he never bothered to talk to anyone who hadn’t been to Oxbridge, and was overheard on the sea front at a Party Conference complaining about “fu**ing proles”.

    You are right that “socialism” is a term that Labour politicians use to describe themselves even when that description is frankly laughable (eg, Cheney’s page boy, Blair).

    My own memory of the Labour Party is of a rather macho culture of class hatred and fear of incurring the displeasure of the people in charge. Those who didn’t go along with the prevailing catechisms, or tried to defend Callaghan, were dismissed as “class traitors” or “bourgeois opportunists”. I was told that socialism required a commitment which only those who have it can recognise, and that people with middle-class accents shouldn’t go canvassing on council estates for their own protection (Simon Hughes please note). When I was hauled before a Labour Party court for dissidence, I pointed out that people where I lived didn’t want Claue 4 implemented. The response: “Guildford??!! What about Welsh miners and Liverpool dockers??!!”

    If that is the kind of atmosphere and culture in which you wish to pursue your politics, then be my guest.

  • @ Barry George

    “reaction to posters like Keehar is unacceptable”

    How so? Have you seen the quality of his arguments? Labour are attacking us in such a hypocritical fashion it is impossible not to be enraged.

    Take for example Keehar’s reply to me:

    “”Other economies have either been faster to spring back from the downturn e.g. Germany, or hardly saw it at all. e.g. Sweden.

    Others haven’t. So what?”

    Keehar had just said it was an international downturn that caused our economic problems, not a Labour government, firmly putting the matter in an international context, only to then turn round and say that the international context doesn’t matter.

    Why should we be forced to deal civilly with these people who have come to our website just to cause trouble and , not to have a genuine debate? So they are allowed to stir things and yet we are supposed not to give them flak about their party and its obvious, fatal flaws and general lack of ideas and purpose?

  • @Sesenco: And the point you were making is nonsense. I’m not saying it would or wouldn’t go over well with the electorate- that’s what we have elections for- but that’s no reason for me to pretend to agree with liberal economics. Abolishing slavery early on wouldn’t have gone over well with the public- it doesn’t mean it wasn’t right for that minority to keep fighting for it.

    And stop talking about the Soviet Union. It’s a straw man. I’ve never seen the Soviet Union as a model to emulate.

    Your whole narrative doesn’t conform to the truth. Apparently Labour let in the Tories by arguing for what they believed in but the Liberals who split off were right to do so? You think it’s okay for Liberals to fight for their beliefs but not socialists?

    I have no idea what your experiences with the Labour party are, but they sound either out of date or of a minority in any case, because I’ve known nothing of the sort. There’s no point you going “if that’s the culture you want to pursue your politics in” when I’m the one who is currently an active member, I know what it’s like and it is nothing like you describe.

  • @Robert C: “Keehar had just said it was an international downturn that caused our economic problems, not a Labour government, firmly putting the matter in an international context, only to then turn round and say that the international context doesn’t matter.”

    It was an international downturn, we were particularly affected because of our reliance on the financial sector. That reliance is not because of Labour, Labour fought against it while it was being instituted and then sought to adapt it to the needs of ordinary people as best they could once it was entrenched.

    It was from the likes of yourselves that Labour won plaudits when they stopped fighting for manufacturing and accepted the new status quo. It’s easy to argue against financialisation after the fact, the only people arguing against it at the time were the Left.

  • @ Mike

    “We were particularly affected because of our reliance on the financial sector. That reliance is not because of Labour, Labour fought against it ”

    No, really? So when Gordon Brown was opening Lehman Brothers’ headquarters in 2004 he was “fighting against” the financial sector, just as he was when he was boasting about its importance to the UK in his 2007 Mansion House Speech:

    “Financial services are now 7 per cent of our economy. Financial and business services as much as 10 per cent. A larger share of our economy than they are in any other major economy, contributing £19 billion of net exports to our balance of payments, a success all the more remarkable because while New York and Tokyo rely for business on their large domestic base, London’s international ranking is founded on a large and expanding global market.

    London now the home and natural location for 20 per cent of all cross border lending: 30 per cent of world foreign exchange turnover, 40 per cent of over-the-counter derivatives trades, 70 per cent of the global secondary bond market.

    London is the favoured location of choice for more international business than ever before, the world’s leading banking centre with more foreign banks than in any other city, the location for 200 foreign law firms – including home for six of the worlds largest ten, and last year new foreign listings not only from China, India and Russia, but also the USA itself.”

    You then say:

    “It was from the likes of yourselves that Labour won plaudits when they stopped fighting for manufacturing and accepted the new status quo.”

    Do you have ANY evidence for this statement AT ALL??

    Mike, this is what enrages me and other Lib Dems about this kind of criticism. It is based on a state of complete denial coupled with outright lies about what Labour did when it was in power. If you don’t like the reality of the past, you just lie about it.

  • Barry George 7th Jul '10 - 4:39pm

    “Why should we be forced to deal civilly with these people who have come to our website just to cause trouble and , not to have a genuine debate?”

    Forced ? I merely implied that civility was a much more endearing quality to show to the reading public. It actually makes you look better believe it or not.

    As for implying that Keehar (or others) come here to ’cause trouble’ that’s an Ad Hominem which has no place in a ‘reasoned’ debate.

  • Mike,

    I was in the Labour Party. I attended meetings and conferences. Most of the activists I encountered, though not universally admirers of Lenin and Stalin, were in favour of implementing Claue 4 and advocated the nationalisation of almost everything. I sat through two entire conferences where speaker after speaker (50% Militant, 50% Tribunite) called for mass nationalisation and spouted hatred of the middle-class. An activist who went on to become a senior adviser to Neil Kinnock called Tories “Members of the German National Socialist Party or Coopted Members of the Human Race”. And when it was all over, everyone repaired to the bar (always plenty of that in the Labour Party) and sang the Internationale. Oh, and as for the literature stall – no, I won’t go there.

    When I was in the Labour Party, people like you told people like me we were bourgeois opportunists and should leave. Then when we did leave, you called us “traitors”. And what did you and your fellow ideological bullies end up doing – acting as the lickspittle for the despised US imperialists and international capitalist bourgeoisie!

  • Robert C: If you’re going to quote me, finish the quote. Don’t take bits and pieces out of context. Labour certainly fought against when it was being instituted as a state affairs in the 80s. Like I said and like you specifically chose to remove from my quote, after that they sought to make it work for ordinary people.Or do you think 2004 was a turning point in the relationship between manufacturing and finance?

    “Do you have ANY evidence for this statement AT ALL??”

    You should know this. Many of the people who are in your party now left Labour because it was anti-private business.

  • @Sesenco: Singing the Internationale! Oh dear, how dare *Labour* sing the anthom of international trade unionism? How dare Labour call for the democratic ownership of industry?

    Things may seem shocking to you that aren’t to me. I am *for* democratic public ownership. I wish the party still called for it. It matters not that some nameless person who went on to advise Neil Kinnock (really up to date, aren’t you?) called the Tories Nazis while they had open Nazis like Alan Clark as ministers.

    I don’t understand why any of this is supposed to put one off the Labour party. Are you shocked that they weren’t all economic liberals? Are you astounded that they could dare disagree with you? Because I don’t care that you don’t agree with public ownership.

  • @ Mike

    Your reply does not give any evidence at all for your arguments. Where is the evidence for your statement: “after that they sought to make it work for ordinary people.”? You are arguing by assertion, not presenting facts. That is not a debate, it is just a shouting match.

    @ Keehar.

    Yet another reinvention of the past. The only reason Labour was re-elected with a measly 36% of the vote is because of our dreadful electoral system, which your party is still determined to keep (Wonder why, eh?). Otherwise it would have been resoundingly defeated in 2005, partly because of the Iraq war. This is yet another party of Labour party members being in denial about their period in government: most of the time they were actually pretty unpopular.

    Keehar, I am saying that your arguments are “pathetic” – not you personally – and you have done nothing to disprove that.

  • @Nick Perry: “Glad to see that this post has generated some discussion. The general response to critics of the piece is that I just don’t accept that posturing, machismo and name-calling is the only way to do politics.”

    Presumably you’ll be making a stance against your own article then.

    Anyway, would you care to justify the statement that the leadership candidates have been indulging in unbridled hatred? Like I said, it would help to know before I choose how I’m voting.

  • @Robert C: “Your reply does not give any evidence at all for your arguments. Where is the evidence for your statement: “after that they sought to make it work for ordinary people.”? You are arguing by assertion, not presenting facts. That is not a debate, it is just a shouting match.”

    Of course it’s not a debate about the whole political philosophy of New Labour’s mixed market “Third Way”! That is not what this article is about. If you want to read the justifications for it and the thinking behind it, read some Giddens, read some academic work on the Third Way. In short, the “New” of New Labour was in dropping any opposition to capitalism and seeking instead to build a capitalist meritocracy (a term coined by Labour) in which life-chances aren’t affected by poverty or ineuality. They made capitalism as progressive as it can be.

    But like I said, if you honestly want to know the reasoning behind the Third Way there is a wealth of literature about it. I don’t support the Third Way, however, but I prefer it to naked Thatcherism.

  • Andrew Suffield 7th Jul '10 - 5:08pm

    Ours is almost oppositional, it’s certainly critical, whereas the Lib Dems seem to line up behind whatever the leadership does.

    The few people here who have actually had some involvement in Lib Dem internal democracy were probably laughing long and hard at that, although by now they will have moved on to crying in a corner.

    And personally, no, I’m not surprised that an authoritarian party, having lost power, has turned to angry ranting and hate-spewing. That’s what powerless power-crazed people usually do.

    (I am amused to see two names talking to each other in this thread when I am 3/4 sure that they are sock puppets of the same entity)

  • @Andrew Suffield: Which two names would those be? Will it be myself and one of the others who don’t agree with the piece? Because Christ, there can’t be more than one can there!

    Mods can trace IP addresses can’t they? Give the names of the two and get the mods to say.

  • @ Mike

    Labour’s Third Way has turned into a dead end and the party is left raging and lashing out at others as a result.

    You say: “They made capitalism as progressive as it can be”. That is the nub of it. As Liberal Democrats we say that is not true. What is progressive about abolishing the 10p tax rate? What is progressive about reducing the rate of capital gains tax for the rich? or what about imposing tuition fees on students? Or in promoting the financial services sector distorting our economy both in regional terms and in terms of social equity.

    Some measures, like the minimum wage, were absolutely right and do credit to Labour. Others were frankly totally at odds with any progressive thinking.

  • Chris Smith 7th Jul '10 - 5:27pm

    The Labour attacks on us seem to me, from their tactical point of view, to be entirely sensible. Politics is a brutal game, a game we have played at times as brutally as anyone, and they are merely doing it at a particularly high volume at the moment. I would think they believe that to attack our soft/tactical vote on the left and, if possible, our membership as well, is to have a real chance of collapsing the coalition and maybe even the Liberal Democrat Party as a force, by creating mutinous internal strife. As has been said above, we have to get used to it.

    Two observations though. 1) An early GE folowing a coalition collapse/AV defeat may not benefit the Labour Party at all. 2) As a junior partner in a coalition we in a more difficult position to defend ourselves than a one party government. Not looking for, or expecting, any sympathy, but we have at least one, if not two, arms tied behind our back in comparative terms.

  • @Nick Perry: I would like specific examples. I can type Ed Miliband into politicshome but I can’t seem to find any bilious and unbridled hatred. Ed Balls on Newsnight was nowhere near “unbridled hatred!” He should have been far more forceful considering Michael Gove was TV saying the treasury had accused Ed Balls of unfunded promises when the treasury has come out and explicitly said that wasn’t true. As far as I could see he let Gove walk all over him by not countering his lies- that the cuts are “unavoidable” and his specific claim about the treasury that had been denied by the treasury. There was nothing unpleasant about Balls’ performance on Newsnight.

  • @Robert C: Labour’s Third Way has turned into a dead end and the party is left raging and lashing out at others as a result.”

    Nonsense. They are the opposition. They are supposed to provide opposition, that isn’t “lashing out”. And they are right in their criticisms of your government.

    “You say: “They made capitalism as progressive as it can be”. That is the nub of it. As Liberal Democrats we say that is not true. What is progressive about abolishing the 10p tax rate? What is progressive about reducing the rate of capital gains tax for the rich? or what about imposing tuition fees on students? Or in promoting the financial services sector distorting our economy both in regional terms and in terms of social equity.

    Some measures, like the minimum wage, were absolutely right and do credit to Labour. Others were frankly totally at odds with any progressive thinking.”

    Those were wrong, sure (except maybe the tuition fees- I’m undecided). But they were insignificant compared to the alternative and the system when taken as a whole, the ideology of the Third Way, is the best that capitalism can be. The Liberal Democrats and the Tories are Third Way- they just lean more heavily towards the private sector and against the public.

  • @Nick Perry: Here is that Gove v Balls interview- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCh8fRvLcwU

    Where is this bilious and unbridled hatred supposed to be?

  • Andrea Gill 7th Jul '10 - 5:51pm

    @Sandra F “We’re talking about the problem of not being seen as distinctive enough from the Tories at the next election, but a coalition with Labour would have been far worse in that respect, at least the Tories don’t think we’re one of them!”

    VERY good point!

  • @Mark Pack: In that thread the comments that someone, I assume it was yourself, deleted were all from Liberal Democrat posters. I don’t think any of my comments got deleted.

    As for “he’s lying of course”- these are my reasons for thinking so, and I posted them in that thread-

    He said he changed his mind because they got into government and found that things were worse.
    1) The Lib Dems were arguing for the position he supposedly changed his mind to *before* entering government in their talks with Labour.
    2) The figures show that the earlier figures were overly pessimistic- rather than things being worse, we found that things were better on pretty much every count.
    3) His earlier position would have meant that bad economic news should be met by delaying the cuts even further. If they’ve said not to cut until the recovery is secure, finding out that the recovery is less secure than thought would mean waiting longer.

    The whole “we got in and things are worse than thought” just sounds preprepared, and doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny.

    This is on top of the political editor of the Financial Times saying that “senior Liberal Democrats” have said the same thing.

  • @ Keehar

    I fail to see how any of my posts could be described as “screaming”. They present evidence, quotes, fact, argument.

    They do not make excessive use of exclamation marks, capital letters etc. and I never used the words “how dare you join Labour!!!”.

    If I had done, I would have cut down on the exclamation marks and actually bothered to use a question mark instead.

    Having failed to win the arguments, you are now complaining about my “tone of voice”. Pretty rich, considering you are an interloper here, after all.

  • Re-reading that thread, I am amazed at how calm I in fact stayed (I would say that though…)

    I mean, I quote from the political editor of the Financial Times and get “Labour hack talking crap shock!”

    I then go out of my way to get only sources that are on record as being against Labour and get called tribalist because “the only thing you ever talk about is the political alignment of the site on which it appears”.

    You cannot disagree on this site without people assuming you are doing so dishonestly. As if we’re born Labour and have no choice but to pretend to prefer it! It reminds me of Descartes argument about God- he assumed that anyone who thought honestly would see that existence of God as self-evident and therefore he didn’t need to try to prove it. That’s what this site is like- if you’re not a Liberal Democrat it’s seen as a moral failure or something.

  • @Mark Pack: I don’t remember making any unpleasant comments, and reading the thread there doesn’t seem to be any holes in what I wanted to say where a comment has been removed. I don’t remember anyone impersonating me, though. I think I quoted someone near the end of that thread who had made a particularly verbose comment which was nothing but insults and saying something like “This is what I’m talking about, no connection with the substance of the issue” or something along those lines, so if comments specifically responding to removed comments also get removed that could explain it.

  • Paul McKeown 7th Jul '10 - 6:54pm

    LDV is a pretty depressing angry place the days, with loads of angry Labourites and former Lib Dems and “former” Lib Dems and Labour liters and Labour mini-mes and “it’s perfidy”. Frankly, you get a better quality of discussion on the Tory and Labour blogs, at the moments. Sadly not the fault of the LDV eds, just angry people desperate to wreck things.

  • The Lib Dems are disliked because of the Coalition’s policies. To suggest that Lib Dem policies are not the same as those of the Coalition is disingenuous, as none of the regressive tax rises, swingeing cuts and monetarist dogma would be possible without their support.

  • Paul McKeown 7th Jul '10 - 8:05pm

    @Bill Jones

    Funnily enough, Labour seems to have forgotten about its planned huge hike in VAT, which appeared on the Treasury website, whilst the Labour front bench were dissembling that there was any such plan. It disappeared, if you recall, as if by magic, and has never been brought up in Labour circles since. Also, if you care to remember, Alistair Darling had to endure the forces of hell, for stating publicly that Labour’s cuts would be deeper than any undertaken by Thatcher’s government.

    Humbug. How convenient, how Labour.

  • Paul McKeown 7th Jul '10 - 8:06pm

    @Kehaar

    Take it up with John Thurso, if you think he has broken his election pledges, or behaved unreasonably.

  • Paul McKeown 7th Jul '10 - 9:02pm

    @Kehaar

    “CCTV ==> I’ll start to see the “liberal” position on this when Nick Clegg agrees to turn off the street-lights in Sheffied Hallam and bring in street-gangs to harass passersby. Like it or not, people, who do live in such areas tend to agree with CCTV. On the wider scale, anyone who supports some degree of State intervention – benefits, NHS, council services – should explain why *potentially* being viewed from afar in the public sphere is different: or agree with Guido that he shouldn’t pay taxes for said services.”

    You’ve come out with rubbish before, challenging all and sundry that wish to see CCTV regulated to come out of their leafy retreats into the real world. It is rather contemptible, as you don’t know in general who most of the posters are, where they live, what the local crime rates are. I hate to stoop, but let me tell you. I live in one of the more deprived outer London constituencies, with high levels of recent immigration, high levels of poverty, social dislocation and high levels of crime, mostly petty, but some very serious, some even with the last couple of years ending up on the national news. I personally on a number of occasions have witnessed and reported crimes, but the truth is that the Met doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anything, except macho posturing, and the response is inevitably rubbish. CCTV is a just a typical example of the high tech, macho rubbish foisted on the citizen. It has never stopped a crime before or during commission, and has, with the exception of a few high profile offences, in the prosecution of which huge resources have been made available, it has rarely solved anything either, as the political will to fund basic plodding doesn’t exist.

    I do know that there are in London several discreet buildings to which large numbers of CCTV feeds are provided, and for which huge amounts of computing resources have been provided. I won’t tell you how I know, but it isn’t any wild conspiracy story, let me tell you. The implications for the liberty of the individual are immense; we depend on our freedom on the goodwill of parliament and little more. The resources provided to these discreet buildings are, sadly, not used for the pursuit of street crime.

    I have to say that I find your tone carping from beginning to end, I wish you better karma.

  • George Kendall 8th Jul '10 - 12:08am

    This thread has provoked a few excellent comments, where people are honestly describing their feelings and situation, and not just attacking their opponents.

    @Stephen Almond
    By acknowledging that the coalition was “the best of a bad set of options for the Lib Dems”, you force us Lib Dems to take your arguments seriously. I wish some of the others commenting on this site would follow your lead.

    I think your comment “You don’t have to agree with your partners all the time to show that coalition government works” hits the key issue here. Is it possible to disagree without undermining the cohesion of the coalition? Frankly, we’re not sure. We’re all in a new situation, and everyone is learning as we go.

    @Mike (at 1.11pm)
    I think you misread the Lib Dems when you say “Lib Dems seem to line up behind whatever the leadership does”. Lib Dems are adjusting to being in government. Many of us are uneasy about, for example, the speed of the rate of cuts, but we know the country is in a mess, and we don’t want to give the media the chance to portray the party as disunited.

    On LDV, I think we Lib Dems have been too defensive, and I include myself in that. Too reluctant to talk about our doubts, because we think that opponents of the coalition will take advantage.

    It’s the nature of the open internet that those who enjoy aggressive argument drive out those who like nuanced argument. I think those of us who want more honest debate just need to ignore the partisan contributors, and only reply to those who appear able to acknowledge other points of view.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 8th Jul '10 - 12:43am

    “Funnily enough, Labour seems to have forgotten about its planned huge hike in VAT, which appeared on the Treasury website, whilst the Labour front bench were dissembling that there was any such plan.”

    I have to say it’s rather revealing how people continually harp on about Labour over the VAT rise. Supposing Labour were being dishonest about their plans? How does that justify the Lib Dems’ dishonesty on this issue?

    Before the election we were told quite clearly that Lib Dem plans would not require a rise in VAT – and it must be remembered how many spending commitments, since dropped, the Lib Dem manifesto contained, from the £10,000 tax allowance, through the abolition of University tuition fees, through additional funding for the Pupil Premium, to a big expansion of the rail network. And naturally there was no mention of across-the-board cuts in public spending of 25%, or 40%, or whatever.

    And of course we were treated to the Tory VAT bombshell posters. Were those really not intended to convey to the man in the street that the Lib Dems were opposed to a rise in VAT? And yet if Vince Cable can be believed (which admittedly is a very big “if” these days), he had decided that a rise in VAT would be necessary all by himself, without any help at all from the Tories.

    So what exactly is the line of defence here? “We lied, but it’s all right because the other parties lied too”? I think anyone peddling that line really does need to think about the likely effect on public opinion – which will only be to strengthen the “plague on all your houses” school of thought.

  • “The volume of vicious and vidictive abuse directed at both Labour and Conservative MPs, Councilllors and candidates in electoral literature produced by the Lib Dems is simply astonishing.”

    Yes,Yes,Yes but “other” parties aren’t meant to attack back.That’s dirty politics.The Lib Dems have the gutter and sanctimony on tap in equal measure.This article gives it away, the writer has probably been bashing other parties all his political life, the moment another party ,quite legitimately , decides to hit back it’s all “bile and hatred”.Get used to it, you’re now the government.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 1:47am

    @Anthony

    No, I think it was all humbug.

    Including plenty of Lib Dem humbug, too. To some degree some LD plans have been shelved by coalition compromises, to some degree some LD plans have been adopted. But some policies have been dropped or ones adopted that the LDs opposed, because the LDs were unaware of the actual situation because of the previous government’s obfustication, or were just wrong through the LDs own bad decision making, or worse still because the LDs took a position for electoral advantage that they didn’t actually believe themselves.

    However, my honest view, is that Labour’s humbug in the run up to the election, during the election, during coalition formation, and since the new government has been formed, has been breathtaking in scope and audacity and much worse than that of the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, or the minor parties, such as the SNP, for example.

    I understand that you have genuine concerns about the taxation and spending policies of this current government and I sympathise with your difficulties and some of your concerns. And there are a notable number of other Liberal Democrat activists and voters who have also expressed difficulties and I sympathise with them, too.

    However, I have no sympathy for much of the synthetic outrage expressed by many who clearly never voted Liberal Democrat nor ever dreamed of it. There is much obvious astroturf.

    My experience of University politics back in the 1980s made it clear to me that there was an undemocratic fringe of activists associated with Labour who would simply attempt to shout down anything their perceived opponents had to say. I would not like to think that that particular kraken has reawakened, nor would I like to think that the Labour leadership (in whatever form that currently takes) would condone a campaign of shouting down a smaller party out of political spite. My instincts tell me that some in Labour want to do that, whilst wiser heads are battling behind the scenes to stop that nonsense.

    I can’t think that it would be in Labour’s long term interest to cause a long term rift in relations between the parties, but the temptation to cut of noses to spite faces might, alas, prove irresistable.

  • For me, Labour’s reaction appeared to begin live on tv with Stuart Bell saying that all chances of Labour co-operation on electoral reform had gone with the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition agreement. It seemed very much like someone taking his bat, his ball, and his stumps home. Very childish and petulant, especially from a senior politician.

  • George Kendall 8th Jul '10 - 8:50am

    My most extreme experience of Labour tribalism was at university, when a Labour member grabbed me by the throat (literally). Another Labour member who witnessed it was appalled, and told me so after. The memory has stayed, but let’s face it, Labour have improved a lot since.

    Thankfully, if a Labour supporter were to suggest knee-capping today, they’d only mean it figuratively. In the eighties, I overheard a far-left Labour supporter saying how wonderful the Militant movement in Liverpool was, then, calmly and matter-of-factly, that it was unfortunate that SDP canvassers were being beaten up, but this was a price worth paying.

    All parties are tribal. I reckon that our own sense of being a tribe has itself strengthened as we’re been put under sustained attack, from the moment the first debate thrust us into the national spotlight. And when tribalism manifests, we don’t always cover ourselves with glory either.

    The Tories are tribal too. At their worst, they can be rude and condescending, but I’ve rarely been the subject of personal rage from a Conservative.

    I think @Paul Barker has a point when describes his experience of being in the Labour party as based on identification with a social group, and the formation of the coalition as a betrayal, “an attack on who they are not just what they think”. It certainly felt like that when I was a member of the SDP, even though I’d never been a member of the Labour party before then.

    But I think there’s more to it than that. I recall a conversation with Tory friend making a similar lament to this article, as to why Labour treated Tories with such anger. I think many in Labour see their position as not just opinions, and not just defending the interests of the working class, but as a morale crusade. A fight for the poor against the rich. They feel that anyone who stands in their way, is immoral, contemptible.

    I fear, with some Labour members, as soon as we start trying to provide logical explanations for the coalition, and for its policies, we’ll get nowhere. And if we bring up the record of the last Labour government, a red mist will descend.

    But this is only true of the minority. We see a lot of them on the internet, but a small minority nonetheless.

    I think most Labour members are, at worst, like David Miliband. He’s being very tribal in his campaign for leadership. But I don’t think his heart is in it. He’s being tribal, because he has to to win the leadership. He’s a clever guy, and he must know that Labour would have had to be nearly as tough, perhaps as tough, in a post-election budget.

    I suspect, once and if he becomes leader, he’ll tone down his rhetoric. Labour must know that raging against cuts, as if the deficit didn’t make cuts necessary, alienates the middle-ground, makes Labour sound like hypocritical ostriches, and will make a Labour victory at the next election very unlikely indeed.

  • The article is more or less correct. The more Labour stomp their feet and shout, the less likely I am to respect their increasingly ridiculous and authoritarian party ever again – we are liberals, not pseudo-socialists who have lost their identity and all purposes for existing. I hope we all remember this behaviour when they come begging to us for a coalitition in the future.

  • Andrea Gill 8th Jul '10 - 10:30am

    ” I hope we all remember this behaviour when they come begging to us for a coalitition in the future.”

    Indeed. It looks like at least one of the leadership hopefuls, Ed Miliband, has realised this and after his disgusting and personal attacks on Simon Hughes – his friend from what I understand – has mentioned somewhere that he would be open for a Lib/Lab coalition in future. Although on a photo with a Lib Dem councillor yesterday, he clearly didn’t look too comfortable 😉 (Well he looked scared actually)

  • nestormakhno 8th Jul '10 - 11:49am

    As a proudly ‘tribal’ labour supporter, what you do not understand is the hatred we hold for the tories. Perhaps you are too young to have lived under Thatcher, to have promised to dance on her grave, to have been beaten by her shock troops at picket lines, to have seen communites demolished, to have witnessed your class described as the enemy within and then decimated. Well now they’re back and people we always thought of as fellow travellers on the left are aiding and abbeting her smug public school educated sons. You wonder why we now hate you too. Because you are collaborators.

  • “Because you are collaborators”

    Hmm. This is all complaints and no solutions. Gone is the party of the Jack Straw Newsnight test, where policies are tested to see whether they will actually work. And when Labour complain about the eighties, perhaps it should take a careful look at its unelectable leader Michael Foot. Did the Tories force you to have him as a leader? Nope.

    But now you complain anyway because it is easier to point finger than suggest solutions.

    Money does not grow on trees. To quote Gordon Brown, get real

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '10 - 12:06pm

    I have asked numerous times in LibDemVoice under various threads in response to comments like Mike’s

    I really think the Labour party has been very restrained you guys have after all done a deal with the devil

    simply “OK, so what was the alternative?”.

    I am yet to have had a reply.

    The facts are that the general election left us in the situation that a Con-LibDem coalition was the only viable government with a realistic majority, and the economic situation meant carrying on with something less stable would have been disastrous.

    We acted in response to what democracy – under the system Labour support but we do not – gave us, and the national interest demanded. We did so knowing it was likely to cause immense damage to our party, but we put democracy and the national interest before that. It did mean our influence was limited, but “supply and confidence” to a minority Conservative government would have meant even less influence and sitting on our hands as even more right-wing stuff goes through. Agreed, it would help a lot if Clegg was less smug about it.

    Accusations that this was some sort of “sell out” only work if those making the accusations can point to a realistic alternative we could have taken which they would not rank as such.

    So, to mike and anyone else, ANSWER THE BLOODY QUESTION!!

  • @nestormakhno – You’re blind to reality. As bad as Thatcher may have been to the people trying to wreck the economy, people were not arrested for taking photographs on the streets or reading out the names of soldiers at the cenotaph, weren’t branded domestic extremists for exercising their democratic rigtht to protest. Her life was directly – DIRECTLY! – threatened by terrorists, yet there was no attempt to detain people for 90 days without trial. New Labour did their best to turn Britain into a police state, made the gap between rich and poor larger, murdered a million people in Iraq, and you want them back, and WE’RE the ones in the wrong? What does that make you, fascists? The sheer bare-faced cheek.

  • Nestor Makhno,

    The reason the Tories came to power in 1979 is because the trade unions and the Labour left stabbed Jim Callaghan in the back. The then Liberal Party spent two years keeping a Labour government in power while people like yourself were doing their level best to destroy it. Chuck the Marxist rhetoric and do what the previous poster advises – get real.

  • David Allen 8th Jul '10 - 12:42pm

    “I have been genuinely shocked by the bilious and unbridled hatred that has been pouring out from every Labour orifice you could care to mention.”

    Get over it.

    Yes, if you are feeling ashamed about all the appalling compromises we have made with Osborne, you can cheer yourself up a bit by going out and looking for nasty behaviour from Labour. You will find some, by dredging up the Militant era or by seeking out individual councillors, as the wishful-thinking brigade have done on this thread. And of course you can comfort yourself remembering Iraq and the undoubtedly serious failings of new Labour. With a bit of effort, you can recall the halcyon days when it was dead easy for us to feel comfortably superior to our opponents. Then you can feel happier. But if that’s your aim, it would be intellectually more justifiable, and probably better for your mental health, just to go out and get p*ssed instead.

    If, instead, you want to think sensibly about our political position, you will recognise that we have simply left Labour some wide open goals. And all that Labour are doing, when they jeer our support for savage cuts and free schools etc, is slotting the ball into place. It is a natural political response, and the level of hypocrisy (as Labour would also be making cuts, but fewer) is only moderate.

    Matthew asks a fair question “what was the alternative”? But Stephen Almond asks an even more pertinent one – why don’t we defend our own values more, fight our corner within the coalition, show that we demand a continuing influence on policy, not a continuing retreat?

  • David Allen,

    “But Stephen Almond asks an even more pertinent one – why don’t we defend our own values more, fight our corner within the coalition, show that we demand a continuing influence on policy, not a continuing retreat?”

    The answer lies in the fact that our leadership is locked into Cabinet collective responsibility. Mike Hancock and Bob Russell, and Andrew George today on this site, have shown that it is still possible for Lib Dem MPs to promote Lib Dem policies and values. Simon Hughes needs to take the lead on this. He has to act as a kind of unofficial Party Chairman, promoting the Party and its own distinct beliefs and programme, for as long as Clegg is forced to prop up Cameron. Once the Coalition is finished, we resume normal service.

    The disappointed socialist loudmouths infesting this site would be far better to direct their rage at the likes of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, who turned their party into the puppet of the US elite. But they can’t and won’t, because they know perfectly well that it was Blair and Mandelson, not the failed Marxist ideologues, who got Labour elected – and while Labour continued to be elected, they were perfectly happy to go along with all the betrayals that Blair and Mandelson threw at them.

  • Mr Allen

    Which specify policy should the Lib Dems in government be fighting for?

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 1:44pm

    Sesenco

    “disappointed socialist loudmouths”

    As apposed to disenchanted centre left Liberals ?

    I hope you can tell the difference. The poll I read yesterday has our support down to 15%, so I would advice caution when choosing to disregard dissent on this site as ‘socialist’ as so many do. I won’t name them, you just have to read this thread to see evidence of potential voters being dismissed as insignificant by elitist members.

    Ironically , none of the respondents on this site are singled out as ‘Tory trolls’ which is strange considering that such an accusation could be easily and equally made by those liberals accused of being socialists.

    As I said before, it is wise to think not just of the person who wrote the comment but of the hundreds of potential voters who will read your reply. Do you think they are ‘turned on’ by Ad Hominem attacks or elitist dismissal? Or do you think that maybe some of them have the very same questions and would like to see reasoned responses from LDV members?

    Mathew

    “simply “OK, so what was the alternative?”.”

    I have argued before, on this site, that fighting for our manifesto policies outside the coalition, with a minority Conservative government would have given us a stronger hand to pursue our mandate. The Conservatives failed to win enough seats to gain control of parliament and who else would they have turned to in order to legislate if not us?

    Concessions would have had to be offered and knowing that the opposition could bring down the Government would have mellowed the policies of such a minority government.

    In fact, I do not believe, for example that a draconian, ideological, right wing budget, would have been presented to parliament if we were in opposition.

    I do believe that many of our manifesto pledges would still have been enacted in concessions by a minority government.

    And as a bonus, we wouldn’t be jumping through rings of fire to justify the changes from our pre-election position and as a consequence our support may not have collapsed in quiet the way it has…

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 2:08pm

    @Barry George

    Outside government not a single one of our manifesto pledges would have been implemented.

  • For all the Labniks accusing the LibDems of being ‘Thatcherite’, your wonderful Blair claimed to be Thatcherite. So sort your own party out first, hypocrites.

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 2:16pm

    @ Paul

    I beg to disagree. The Conservatives would have been unable to bring forth even a single piece of legislation on their own as they only have 307 seats. To achieve anything at all, they would have had to come to us, cap in hand, for support.

    Our hand would have been stronger and we could have insisted on Liberal Democrat concessions on ‘every’ bill, as apposed to the few concessions we have been granted as the baby partner.

  • @ Barry – they’d have called another general election as soon as was convenient, blame us, and more likely than not get a majority. This is exactly why we chose a coalition!

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 2:33pm

    @ Z

    ” they’d have called another general election as soon as was convenient, blame us, and more likely than not get a majority. This is exactly why we chose a coalition! ”

    Interesting argument…

    In simple terms you are saying,..

    We gave the Conservatives the ability to act as a majority government in order to prevent them from potentially winning a hypothetical future election and acting as a majority government !

    Please excuse me if I refrain from joining you in your perspective. I will of course agree to disagree.

  • @Barry – Surely you can see that a coalition is better than a purely conservative government! A minority Tory government making a budget like Osbourne’s minus the libdem parts would have been voted down, if they even got past the queen’s speech. They then would blame everyone else in the ensuing election, ask the public for a mandate, and more than likely get it since we couldn’t afford another election anyways. This is not some new, wacky argument, this is common sense.

  • Andrea Gill 8th Jul '10 - 2:56pm

    @Z – indeed, plus the Tories were the only party that could have afforded another election at this point.

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 3:05pm

    @Z

    ” A minority Tory government making a budget like Osbourne’s minus the libdem parts would have been voted down,”

    Exactly my point…

    It is therefore ‘common sense’ that Osbourne would not have made a budget like the one we empowered him to do. He would have had to tone his budget down to acceptable levels in order to get it through.

    To think that without our support the Tories would have…

    A: Attempted to push through a budget that wouldn’t get the support of parliament

    Or

    B: Called another election straight away, when they are the largest party in parliament and should be able to work with other parties to legislate.

    …Would ne naive

    Both options would make the Tories look bad in the eyes of the electorate. I believe that Cameron would have tried to lead the country the best he could. Being the largest party and then calling for an immediate election would have looked weak. Leaders are supposed to lead and that’s what the tories would have tried to do , regardless of our actions. They had been out of power for 13 years. They certainly were not going to let the need for a few compromises stop them.

  • What,

    the Tories would have gone Social Democrat and forgotten all their talk of harsh cuts if they were in a minority government? Come off it. Even if somehow the LibDems did work with the Tories and produced a cut-delivering budget, they’d still be called traitors by Labour, so what your point is I have no idea.

  • Barry George wrote:

    “Being the largest party and then calling for an immediate election would have looked weak.”

    If only Harold Wilson had known that.

  • @ Kehaar – I’m responding to Labourite nudniks claiming that working with Thatcherites is some kind of horrific betrayal, who are somewhat overlooking their own party. We’re perfectly capable of looking after ourselves, thanks.Besides:

    http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/1721519/section-44-dead-home-office

    The wicked Thatcherite Tories, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, we truly were mad to support this coalition.

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 3:25pm

    @ Z

    “What,

    the Tories would have gone Social Democrat and forgotten all their talk of harsh cuts if they were in a minority government? Come off it.”

    If you want to use a couple of straw man fallicies then by all means go ahead. I didnt mention that the Tories would ‘have gone social Democrat’ or that they would have ‘forgotten all their talk of harsh cuts’

    You are attributing opinions to me that I dont have and then knocking them down so it is of no suprise that you say

    “so what your point is I have no idea.”

    Clearly you dont….

    Shall we agree to disagree for the sake of others reading such a diatribe…

  • @Nick Perry: Still waiting for an example of bilious and unbridled hatred from the Labour leadership candidates.

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 3:28pm

    Sesenco

    “If only Harold Wilson had known that.”

    Hahaha , very true.

  • David Allen 8th Jul '10 - 3:49pm

    Voter,

    “Which specific policy should the Lib Dems in government be fighting for?”

    Good question. The VAT increase has been the main focus, and Andrew George writes today to press the case for looking harder at its effect on the poorest. However, I doubt if we can think to get this reversed. Taxes did have to rise. Increasing VAT is regressive but not exceptionally so. Probably the best we can actually hope is to get some limited concessions, though if we can do that it will be worthwhile.

    I think we should be worried about the attack on incapacity benefit. Granted that there is a big problem with paying 2.5M peple this benefit, I think there is a big risk of withdrawing benefits from people who might in theory be healthy enough to work, but in practice aren’t healthy enough to hold down a job. As usual this govt has given a junior Lib Dem (Lynne Featherstone) the dirty job of applying the cuts in practice. We should insist on a test that withdraws benefit only from real scroungers.

    I think the level of cuts is excessive and threatens to make recession worse. We should pick up on the confusion with the OBR and demand a genuinely independent monitor which is not just looking to justify cuts, but looks to see if we are cutting too fast, so that we can adapt what I think will prove a wrong-headed policy.

    I think we should be spending much more money, whether through tax or privately, to combat climate change. I’d like to see a big programme to knock down energy-inefficient housing and replace it with low carbon buildings. Maybe Chris Huhne can progress this agenda in reasonable agreement with the Tories.

    Would anyone else also like to help answer Voter’s intelligent question?

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 3:59pm

    @David Allen

    I agree with your answer to Voter and would add that we should be questioning the policy of taking away 10 % of an unemployed person’s Housing Benefit, if they fail to find a job within 12 months.

    With hundreds of people applying for almost every available job this proposal is sickening way to punish people who are looking hard for a work.

    Worse still, the changes to Incapacity Benefit will mean huge numbers of people unfit for work, will be forced to look for work, and when the collective sick and disabled can’t find jobs within 12 months they will be subjected to a 10 % punishment in their rent allowance, potentially making the disabled and the mentally ill homeless.

  • David Allen 8th Jul '10 - 4:24pm

    “I’d like to see a big programme to knock down energy-inefficient housing and replace it with low carbon buildings.
    For that you need money!”

    Well, the aim is to reduce public and increase private spending. If we replace spending on roads and hospitals, with spending on HD TVs and air travel, I think we are going backwards. If we can incentivise green industries and get our builders building houses which in twenty years time will not be impossible to heat and live in, then maybe it will be worth some public sector cuts.

  • @Sesenco: Maybe you’re reading my comments in a different tone of voice than I intend. I’m not full of rage, whether at the Liberal Democrats or Blair and Mandelson. I can understand both positions, I can empathise with the Liberal Democrats and the Blairites even if I heavily disagree with both. It was a goal of your party to differentiate yourselves from Labour, make a statement so that we wouldn’t take you for granted as natural Left-wing allies- well you’ve got it, rejoice, those of us that did make that mistake won’t again.

    Anyway, I’ve seen a number of Lib Dem posters on this site self-identify as socialists. Don’t you think your apparent hatred of socialists puts you in the same category as those who didn’t want to share the Labour party with free-marketeers all those years ago? Why not turn your McCarthyism to your own party? It’s none of your business if there are people within Labour who want to try and guide it in a socialist direction, you have two of the three main parties and a majority in the third for your economic liberalism.

    Now can *someone* justify this article with links to where the leadership candidates have been indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred?

  • This could be a useful read- http://clients.squareeye.com/uploads/compass/documents/Compass%20LD%20Journey%20WEB.pdf

    He seems to agree with me that the Lib Dems tend to line up behind the leadership far more than Labour or the Tories.

    And everyone with bad memories of Labour activists at university- every party has those like that, not least the Lib Dems. We had our candidate branded a “rabble-rousing fool” for the sin of hanging around outside a university and daring to speak to students and stealing them from the Lib Dems this year as one example. I have bad memories of Lib Dem activists but I’m not stupid enough to try and extrapolate that to every Lib Dem ever or pretend that overzealous activists who can’t see any other point of view are a solely Lib Dem phenomenon.

    As for the idea that Labour should avoid upsetting the Lib Dems….! We’re not pretending to disagree with you just to disagree- we think your policies are the wrong ones. You want to be differentiated from Labour- and you are, but that works both ways. We owe you nothing either.

  • Mike,

    “Anyway, I’ve seen a number of Lib Dem posters on this site self-identify as socialists.”

    Really? Which ones?

    “your apparent hatred of socialists ”

    It sounds as if you have a persecution complex. Ah, I get it. You assume that other people share your own negative attitudes towards political opponents.

    “your McCarthyism”

    MY McCarthyism? I speak as someone who was hauled before a Labour Party court for defending Jim Callaghan. Oh, I forgot. You are stuck in the 1950s when anyone who thought the Soviet Union was something other than a workers’ paradise was a wicked capitalist stooge. Leftists are quick to complain of intolerance when in a minority. Once in power, anyone with the temerity to voice dissent is shunted off to a labour camp.

    “It’s none of your business if there are people within Labour who want to try and guide it in a socialist direction,”

    By the same token, it is none of YOUR business what Liberal Democrats think and do inside our own party.

  • Which ones? I haven’t kept records, but I know I’ve seen them.

    “It sounds as if you have a persecution complex. Ah, I get it. You assume that other people share your own negative attitudes towards political opponents.”

    Um, no. I was reading your comments- “The disappointed socialist loudmouths infesting this site” etc.

    “MY McCarthyism? I speak as someone who was hauled before a Labour Party court for defending Jim Callaghan. Oh, I forgot. You are stuck in the 1950s when anyone who thought the Soviet Union was something other than a workers’ paradise was a wicked capitalist stooge. Leftists are quick to complain of intolerance when in a minority. Once in power, anyone with the temerity to voice dissent is shunted off to a labour camp.”

    Ludicrous, just ludicrous. People disagreed with you, get over it. Joining a party you don’t have anything in common with is not the fault of the party- I wouldn’t join the Lib Dems and then whinge that they haven’t all joined my position.

    “By the same token, it is none of YOUR business what Liberal Democrats think and do inside our own party.”

    I know. Like I’ve said, you’re my opposition. I don’t consider you natural allies or anything like that. I don’t care where you turn from here any more than I care whether the Tories go Thatcherite or One Nation. It was yourself who has been making comments like this- “Chuck the Marxist rhetoric and do what the previous poster advises – get real.” and several posts trying to lecture me about what you want my politics to be. I’m not going to drop my convictions to please the Liberal Democrats, and I’m not going to drop my opposition to your politics. It’s not “tribalism”- you lot should understand that I’m not in your “tribe” because I think your “tribe” has the wrong politics, and for no other reason.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 5:36pm

    @Mike

    “Ludicrous, just ludicrous. People disagreed with you, get over it. Joining a party you don’t have anything in common with is not the fault of the party”

    If defending Jim Callaghan, a Labour Prime Minister long before the days of the entryist Blair, gets one roistered from Labour, then Sesenco has a perfect right to distrust Labour’s comrades.

  • @Paul McKeown: Should those Labour people have pretended to like Callaghan? The fact is that Sesenco joined a party, found that there were people who didn’t agree with him, and left. He was entitled to leave, to join, to stay- equally, others were entitled to support clause 4 and democratic ownership.

    Apart from anything else, I have no idea why he keeps bringing it up. I honestly don’t care- we’re talking vague stories from decades ago about people I don’t know who happened to dislike Callaghan. Who gives a monkey’s.

    Now please, someone, justify the statement that the leadership candidates are indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred. It’s odd that you’re all so offended by something you can’t provide a link to or justify.

  • So why post on a Lib Dem site? Oh, right, to troll. If we’re not allowed to comment on your party, why should you be allowed to comment on ours?

    People have said several times to check Comment Is Free at the Guardian, and read the comments for examples of Lab hatred – not JUST from the leadership candidates, as the article says at the top.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 5:59pm

    @Mike

    He didn’t just “leave”, he was hauled before a disciplinary committee for supporting the Labour Party’s own Prime Minister. Examples of Labour bigotry are well known, but that is monstrous, and your soft soaping comments here are the equivalent of knitting by the guillotine.

  • @Z: Was that at me? Hard to tell with the way it was formatted.

    I wasn’t saying you can’t comment on the Labour party at all. I would like to see comments justified (still waiting on those links). I do think it’s ridiculous for Sesenco to try and lecture me about the Labour party, however- saying that thirty years he knew people who *actually believed* in clause 4 and democratic ownership! I’m supposed to be shocked and appalled by that?

    I argue against the Lib Dems as they are, because I think their approach is wrong, I think their ideology is unjust. I don’t, however, make an issue of the fact that you all don’t share my convictions- my issue was with the fact that Sesenco, a Lib Dem, was talking about people in the Labour party wanting to promote a socialist stance as if they had no right to do so.

  • @Paul McKeown: Like I said, vague anecdotes from decades ago. People weren’t hauled in front of disciplinary committees for supporting Callaghan, I think Sesenco might be misremembering the distant past in his favour, but in any case I don’t care.

  • Sorry Mike, hurried typing + poor tag use = chaotic posts. I would just point out that if you’re going to demonise Thatcher, don’t be amazed when people demonise socialism. And check the Guardian comments on just about any topic for LibDem hatred.

  • @Z: Post a link to where the leadership candidates have been posting hateful messages at the Guardian. I’m sure that there are many people making hateful comments about all parties on every newspaper website. And there’s a bit of a difference between me disliking Thatcher for what she did and Sesenco disliking socialists because of what the Soviet Union did, when many of its victims were the explicitly socialist and I don’t know of a single socialist who wants to follow the Soviet Union model of state capitalism called socialism.

    I get very sick indeed of people thinking I have to apologise for Stalin when I’ve never supported him and he died before I was born, especially when you lot don’t feel like you have to apologise for Pinochet (and why should you? I doubt you supported him just because he was a liberal.)

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 6:20pm

    @Mike

    Wasn’t it Jack Straw who was very kind to that elderly gentleman, Pinochet?

    Can you tell me which Liberal Democrat was?

  • @Paul McKeown: I know that Jack Straw had his reasons, even if I heavily disagree. That’s not the point at all. The point is that to demonise socialists because of the actions of a few dictators who called themselves socialist you would also need to treat liberals in the same way because of a few who called themselves liberals. And it is also miles away from my supposed demonising of Thatcher, when I dislike her because of her own actions and not because she shared a label with someone unpleasant.

  • Pinochet =! liberal.

    “You, however, are saying that others cannot comment on yours until they’ve past never-ending hurdles of verification on theirs.”

    Erm, no. I, responding to Labourites calling LibDems hypocrites because we failed to act up to their idea of the Lib Dems as a Labour-lite party, called them hypocrites because their own party is Thatcherite. Comment on mine all you like, just don’t expect not be called out on it.

    And what do you mean by the liberal position on defence? Of what?

  • Stalin =! socialist. Easy. If the rules are that I have to sit here and take the likes of Sesenco bringing up the Soviet Union despite my own clear statements that I have never supported it- which I shouldn’t have to make anyway- you all have to apologise for everyone’s favourite free market liberal Pinochet.

    I recognise, however, that it is idiotic to judge people responsible for things that they haven’t said they support, so I’m not asking for you all to justify Pinochet. Do me the same courtesy.

    This is by the by anyway. Still not a single person has provided any evidence of bilious and unbridled hatred from the Labour leadership figures or the press.

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 7:14pm

    Just wondering what would be left of this thread if the ‘on topic’ comment policy was enforced upon regular members and others alike…

    It seems we would be left with Mike’s request for someone to justify the statement that the leadership candidates are indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred.

    I’m not suggesting comment moderation; it’s been a fascinating read. I am just wondering why a Liberal article on a Liberal site is so difficult for people to defend…

    I wouldn’t be so concerned if it was just this article and comment thread, but the site is riddled with a pandemic of un-defendable opinions to justify Conservative policies, in my opinion…

    That’s fine for the so called ‘Orange Tories’ but I wasn’t aware that they speak for the whole spectrum of the party… It seems to me that a significant number are muted by the right and by the ‘party first, country second brigade’ and that can’t be healthy for the future of the party.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 7:35pm

    @Barry George

    I beg to disagree. The Conservatives would have been unable to bring forth even a single piece of legislation on their own as they only have 307 seats. To achieve anything at all, they would have had to come to us, cap in hand, for support.

    Our hand would have been stronger and we could have insisted on Liberal Democrat concessions on ‘every’ bill, as apposed to the few concessions we have been granted as the baby partner.

    Barry,

    I see it very differently to you. All I see is the misery of a minority government, where the Lib Dems would have not been able to vote down the Conservative budget, as the budget is effectively a confidence motion, which would have precipitated a fresh election. Not having voted down the budget I can’t see why the Conservatives would have supported a single Liberal Democrat Bill. That would have been a truly horrendous experience. Whatever pain the Liberal Democrats might now be suffering would have been as nothing compared to their utter impotence in a minority parliament. Labour and Conservatives would both have portrayed the Liberal Democrats as being pointless and an obstacle in the General Election that would soon have followed. Even if the LDs were in the future to suffer electoral wipeout due to preceived “treachery”, they will at least have achieved many valuable reforms in this current government. And I say, “Huzzah,” to that. Milk our current position for all it is worth. Get behind it, and you strengthen the hand of our ministers and MPs.

  • Mike wrote:

    “I don’t know of a single socialist who wants to follow the Soviet Union model of state capitalism called socialism. ”

    Dennis Skinner, Arthur Scargill, Norman Atkinson, Dame Judith Hart, Frank Allaun, Joan Maynard, Stan Newens, Jack Jones, Clive Jenkins, Phil Dixon, etc, etc, etc. All these, and many, many more, have made public statements in praise of the Soviet Union.

    If Mike wants to believe in Clause 4, or whatever else takes his fancy, then I have no problem with that. What I do find odd, to say the least, is that he spends his time promoting those views on a Lib Dem site. For goodness sake, why?

    Oh, and here’s another anecdote. At university, I tried to put a picture of Jim Callaghan on a Labour Party stall, but was firmly rebuked by the local Labour boss, who said: “We’re not having that right-wing idiot on our stall” (even though he was the current leader of the party!) The boss in question, who was also an unrepentant admirer of the Soviet Union, is now the boss of a primary care trust (earning – £250k per annum?).

    (Around the same time, a Labour activist who was bullied mercilessly by activists because he had attended a major public school, told me that he had joined the International Marxist Group in protest at Jim Callaghan “talking down to ordinary people”. Out of the frying pan and into the fire!)

  • Kehaar wrote,

    “Paul, Jack Straw was in university when Pinochet came to power. That was in his Commie days, so he would have protested against him.”

    As much as a wince with horror at the sight of Jack Straw, I can’t let you get away with calling him a “commie”, because he wasn’t, stricto senso. He was always in the Labour Party. In those days, the NUS was run by an outfit known as the “Broad Left”, which was an alliance of Communists, Labour and “unaligned socialists” (whoever they were). Interestingly, the NUS Communists were very much on the Euro-Communist wing of the CP, and were well to the right of Labour on most issues. Yes, I vividly recall Sue Slipman claiming to be both a Zionist and a supporter of the PLO in the course of a single speech!

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 8:08pm

    And for those who delight in the (unlikely) prospect of electoral wipeout for the Liberal Democrats, I would remind them of the last time that the Liberal party had any influence on government, the Lib/Lab pact of 1977-78. The Liberals caught some of the blame for Callaghans’s government, and also had to deal with the backwash from the Jeremy Thorpe affair, yet over all, their national share of the vote fell from 5.3 million to 4.3 million, which was a long way from wipeout.

    The thesis that the Liberal Democrats may lose votes is, in itself, an unproven proposition, but the idea of wipeout is actually rather ridiculous. I suspect that the Liberal Democrats may actually increase their share of the vote in the 2015 General Election, based on a record in government, by which the party can demonstrate its values and relevance.

    For those that cannot stomach the economic policies of the current coalition, I ask, why bother voting for a third party at all, if you cannot abide compromise?

    Indeed why vote at all, if you disagree with Labour and the Conservatives and cannot accept that the Liberal Democrats should be in government, unless they can fully implement their own platform, or except as a conscience (or prop) for a Labour government?

    @Mike

    The Liberal Democratic party (and its parent party, the Liberal Party) has never espoused “socialism”. Anyone who thought that it did, has never attempted to inform themself properly.

  • @Sesenco: “Dennis Skinner, Arthur Scargill, Norman Atkinson, Dame Judith Hart, Frank Allaun, Joan Maynard, Stan Newens, Jack Jones, Clive Jenkins, Phil Dixon, etc, etc, etc. All these, and many, many more, have made public statements in praise of the Soviet Union.”

    And? To pretend that the Soviet Union was 100% evil is fanciful. You can say nice things about the US without automatically being complicit in its various crimes. Will Hutton has said positive things about the Soviet Union (saying that it’s influence forced Western countries to moderate their behaviour against the working class). What I said was that no one wants to implement the Soviet model, which is true. Certainly no one I know. And certainly not myself.

    “If Mike wants to believe in Clause 4, or whatever else takes his fancy, then I have no problem with that. What I do find odd, to say the least, is that he spends his time promoting those views on a Lib Dem site. For goodness sake, why?”

    1) This is a thread about the party I belong to, and the people I will be voting on, apparently engaging in bilious and unbridled hatred. I want that justified or retracted.
    2) You brought up socialism before I did, as I recall. Far from coming here to promote my socialist views I have been replying to your own nonsense.

    “Oh, and here’s another anecdote. At university, I tried to put a picture of Jim Callaghan on a Labour Party stall, but was firmly rebuked by the local Labour boss, who said: “We’re not having that right-wing idiot on our stall” (even though he was the current leader of the party!) The boss in question, who was also an unrepentant admirer of the Soviet Union, is now the boss of a primary care trust (earning – £250k per annum?).”

    Who cares? This does not matter. Your decades old anecdotes about completely minor incidents that may or may not be true interest me not one bit. You will find unpleasantness in all parties- Lib Dems at the last election took to calling our candidate a “rabble rousing fool” as a matter of course. You don’t have to support everything a party does and all of its leaders to believe in it as a vehicle for good politics.

  • @Paul McKeown: “The Liberal Democratic party (and its parent party, the Liberal Party) has never espoused “socialism”. Anyone who thought that it did, has never attempted to inform themself properly.”

    First of all- doesn’t change the fact that you have members who do, and the the SDP contained many with at least socialist leanings. I don’t know what this was supposed to be in reply to, though.

    In any case, please justify the article’s assertions that the Labour leadership candidates and press have been indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred.

  • @Sesenco: https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-i-admit-it-i-am-shocked-by-labours-hatred-20197.html#comment-131436

    That was the first instance of “socialism” that I can find in this thread, and it’s from yourself where you tenuously likened me to a “mind-controlled missionary of the Militant Tendency” as a pretext to launch off into some uninteresting spiel about how you don’t like socialism.

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 8:30pm

    [email protected]

    I see it very differently to you. All I see is the misery of a minority government, where the Lib Dems would have not been able to vote down the Conservative budget, as the budget is effectively a confidence motion, which would have precipitated a fresh election.

    I hear you, alas I don’t agree. The situation you describe is reminiscent of a game of dare. I agree that it wouldn’t have been wise to vote down a Conservative budget, so dissent is a risk strategy. However the Conservatives would have been playing the same game and would certainly have watered down their budget and tried to get it through parliament, because failure to do so would look bad in the eyes of the electorate.

    In simple terms it would have been about tough negotiations , not dissimilar to those that took place to cement the coalition. However our hand would have been stronger and it would have come down to who blinks first. I believe that the Tories would have started making considerable concessions because they had more to lose then we did… Potentially the Government and control of No 10 was at stake.

    Now I believe that we have more to lose then they do. The polls are testament to that. I believe we gave up a very good poker hand for a poor one. The Conservatives would not have risked another election when they have waited 13 years for a chance at power. They may have tried to call our bluff but they would never have gone through with it…

    Saying that, I respect your position and the need to work with the hand we now have. I am just disappointed how easy a ride we seem to be giving them.

    Criticism of Labour is fair and just, but it is Tory Ideology and policy that is making public sector workers, the sick, the poor, the unemployed and disabled etc scared of this government. Surely these people shouldn’t be scared when there are true Liberals in the government to defend social justice and human rights.

    But they are scared and they are looking to us. Labour is merely the opposition, they are powerless to stop this tirade, so continuously attacking them is pointless.

    We seem scared to direct dissent at Tory policy and only to attack a party that isn’t in power. As I have said before, the Conservatives are not shy about telling the world they won’t support AV, so why on earth are we too scared to call them on their ideological crusade.

    Being in a coalition doesn’t mean you have to agree with your partner. In fact I would expect our support to rocket if we spoke out against some of Cameron’s ideas. Its like somehow, at the MP level and above, criticism of Conservative policy is forbidden as it might crack the coalition. So we are left in rather shallow water, free to attack the opposition as much as we like, but not, god forbid, the largest party of the Government.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 8:31pm

    “the SDP contained many with at least socialist leanings” is an interesting statement! If they had “socialist leanings” they would not have left Labour which at the time was “leaning” at the time very strongly towards Clause 4 Socialism. The SDP left Labour because they could no longer stand its intolerant pursuit of the one true secular religion.

  • “Labour is merely the opposition, they are powerless to stop this tirade, so continuously attacking them is pointless.”

    We’re not continuously attacking them, Labour’s attacking us, and that’s what this thread is all about.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 8:36pm

    @Barry George
    “The polls are testament to that.”

    They are nothing of the sort in my view. In the polls that actually count, the LDs have gained councillors, etc., and generally advanced. And even if they should at some point lose representation, your point is still moot.

    “However the Conservatives would have been playing the same game and would certainly have watered down their budget and tried to get it through parliament, because failure to do so would look bad in the eyes of the electorate.”

    No. The Conservatives would just have used the position to reinforce the point to the electorate that a vote for the LDs was a vote for Labour. The Conservatives would have attempted to ram through whatever they wanted and, if we opposed them, have presented us in the worst possible light, given the economic position.

  • @Paul McKeown: Yet many still had socialist leanings, just Gaitskellite rather than left-wing. Like I said- I don’t know what this line of discussion is supposed to be relevant to anyway?

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 8:39pm

    @Barry George

    But for the rest of what you say, it is interesting. We have to wait to see what the departmental plans are, when they are released to see the true effect. We should also start from the £50B Labour cuts baseline to judge the departmental plans.

  • @Z: “We’re not continuously attacking them, Labour’s attacking us, and that’s what this thread is all about.”

    /facepalm

    First of all- Labour is the opposition and you are the government. It is Labour’s role to provide opposition. You can oppose Labour too- that’s fine, that’s politics, if we agreed we wouldn’t be two different parties, whatever.

    Now please, for Christ’s sake, give an *example* of this bilious and inbridled hatred that the Labour leadership candidates and press are supposed to have engaged in.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 8:41pm

    @Mike

    Like I said- I don’t know what this line of discussion is supposed to be relevant to anyway?

    The whole thread concerns Labour’s hypocrisy. See the title for a clue.

  • @Paul McKeown: That makes no sense. How does you saying that there aren’t any socialists in the Lib Dems related to Labour hypocrisy?

    And I have seen the title. I want it justified please.

    “all me naive, but I have been genuinely shocked by the bilious and unbridled hatred that has been pouring out from every Labour orifice you could care to mention.

    Not just from the Labour leadership contenders. Not just in the press.”

    Where from the Labour leadership contenders? Where from the press? Anonymous people on the internet will be hateful about anything, it’s silly to get worked up about it because every party gets attacked by supporters from every party. I want to know where the leadership contenders have been pouring hatred from their every orifice.

  • Z – “As bad as Thatcher may have been to the people trying to wreck the economy”
    Do you have any comprehension of what the last bout of Neo Liberalism was like? It wasn’t just Marxist agitators who suffered, it was whole industries and entire swathes of the country, many of which have never recovered from her slash and burn economics, it was the schoolkids whose buildings crumbled, those who rely on public transport who saw the infrastructure rot away, it was anybody in hospital where wards decayed and festered. It was people who supported free speech, people who supported miners, people who supported Nelson Mandela (a terrorist remember) , people who supported gays, (clause 28), people who were black, poor, disabled, unlucky.

    Why do you think they were called the nasty party? Because they were more than nasty, they were vindictive, sectarian and gleeful in carrying out acts of revenge upon the classes and the races they have always despised. And now it is happening again with the help of a supposedly progressive party. Have no doubts Osbourne and Cameron are her children, they joined the party in the 80’s while swanning around in their tailcoats, and they are doing her work now, with your acquiescence.

    Why do we hate you? Does that even need answering

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 8:55pm

    @N Makhno

    “Why do we hate you? Does that even need answering”

    I’m starting to get amused; I bet you hated Labour when it was in government, too!

  • George Kendall 8th Jul '10 - 9:03pm

    @Barry George
    @Paul McKeown

    I take a different position to both of you.

    I agree with Barry that the Tories would have been heavily constrained in a minority government with a loose arrangment with the Lib Dems.

    But I can’t see that minority government surviving for more than a few months.

    There’s no way they’d have lived with a situation where they were living a hand-to-mouth existence.

    They’d have bided their time, then picked the moment we were at our weakest to put forward a populist proposal they knew we’d vote down. Then they’d have called a second election.

    I think we’d have fallen back in support, and the Tories would have had a majority.

    If you have a look at Conservative blogs, some of them wish Cameron had gone down that route. But Cameron could see its risks, including the risk to the British economy, and chose a coalition.

    Another alternative would have been a much tighter arrangement with the Lib Dems. But I fear that would have constrained us just as much as we are constrained now. For me, the biggest advantage of having Lib Dem ministers is that many important decisions are made by ministers, without needing legislation. And having a number of Lib Dem ministers means that, in small and unreported ways, they can introduce changes for the better.

    But, as both of you say, all the options for the Lib Dems were pretty awful.

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 9:06pm

    @paul

    No. The Conservatives would just have used the position to reinforce the point to the electorate that a vote for the LDs was a vote for Labour

    Rather than the situation now in which the electorate believes that a vote for us is a vote for the Conservatives ?

    So you get the same effect regardless…

    However you seem to gloss over our perceived ‘poodle’ like compliance to right wing Conservative ideology…

    I have been here for weeks and I rarely see anyone standing up for the victims of the Conservative policies of this government. They are almost off limits and those that do are accused of being Labour trolls.

    Getting a few Liberal policies through does not excuse our deliberate tolerance and silence in the face of Conservative polices that we would never truly support as a party and certainly wouldn’t be silent about in opposition.

    Instead we turn our attention to attacking Labour… Like that’s going to do anyone in the country any good during this economic crisis. Pointless…

    Labour are the opposition, they can’t do anything. It is Conservative policy that is driving public fear.

    Feel free to hide behind your perception of the polls but it seems to me that attacking Labour may be a great moral booster but it’s clearly not having the same effect on the voting public.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 9:10pm

    @Kehaar
    You are Alec MacPherson, Labour activist in Thurso, contributor to Harry’s Place, efrafandays, @melancholy_man, and I claim my $100!

    Labour Astroturf? Who’d a thunk it?

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 9:12pm

    @ Georgne

    Interesting thoughts, Of course we will never know what might have been.. I just wish we were playing the hand we have now a little wiser.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 9:14pm

    @Barry George

    I am utterly unconvinced by the idea that there was much choice fiscally. A £150B deficit demands strong measures; one should not forget what Alistair Darling said, which is that cuts under a Labour government would be deeper than any undertaken by Thatcher. Nor should one forget Liam Byrne’s moment of honesty. Tell me what you would have done differently than what the current government is doing? Actually tell the government…

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 9:15pm

    @ George

    Mea Culpa for spelling your name wrong..

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 9:17pm

    @Kehaar
    You are Alec MacPherson, Labour activist in Thurso, contributor to Harry’s Place, efrafandays, @melancholy_man, and I claim my $100!

    No doubt will resurface under a different trollname; I hope the mods keep a track.

  • @Paul McKeown: “I am utterly unconvinced by the idea that there was much choice fiscally.”

    That’ll be because that’s the line your party has taken to justify what it’s doing. The OBR (you know that thing currently undergoing a scandal because of how willing it is to change its procedure to favour the government?) has calculated that Osborne’s own targets on reducing the deficit would have been hit by Darling’s budget. Different potential leaders have different priorities for cuts, so we can’t spell anything out until that’s sorted, and the government hasn’t spelled out the cuts yet. Labour would have likely cut whatever various reviews said to cut, just to a lesser extent than this government.

    That’s not the issue of this thread, though.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 9:22pm

    @Mike

    “That’ll be because that’s the line your party has taken to justify what it’s doing. ”

    No, that’ll be because I was asking the LDs to come out before the election publicly for deeper cuts than they were presenting, because I genuinely think we’re in danger of going down the plughole. If Labour wish to portray some fanciful alternative reality, they may, but they will struggle to convince anyone outside of their own party.

  • We’re over 200 comments and still not a sausage.

    Please justify the original post with links to leadership contenders and Labour press, so the Mirror I guess, indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred signifying self-hatred and sociopathic politics and whatever else it says up top.

    What was the “my social work background” bit trying to imply in this comment anyway?

    “My social work background makes me curious about the unbalanced and invective-laden attack that Labour has collectively unleashed on the Lib Dems over the past weeks.”

  • Barry George 8th Jul '10 - 9:27pm

    @Paul

    Tell me what you would have done differently than what the current government is doing?

    I would have gone after the Banks, I would have scrapped Trident , I would have… oh lets do it the easy way… I would have done this

    http://network.libdems.org.uk/manifesto2010/libdem_manifesto_2010.pdf

    Well you did ask 😉

    In simple terms the party should stand for its principles and being in a coalition does not negate our responsibilities to those principles.

    If the Tory’s are putting forward policies that are against our principles then we should say so… Loud and clear…

    We don’t even have to vote against it. Just abstain, At least then Joe public will know that we are not the Conservatives and that we fight for what we believe in without compromising our values.

  • @Paul McKeown: “No, that’ll be because I was asking the LDs to come out before the election publicly for deeper cuts than they were presenting, because I genuinely think we’re in danger of going down the plughole. If Labour wish to portray some fanciful alternative reality, they may, but they will struggle to convince anyone outside of their own party.”

    Labour’s alternative was described by Will Hutton as the march to sanity, and like I said Osborne’s own targets for reducing the deficit would have been met by Labour- and that is according to the OBR. It is yourself who is indulging in fantasy if you think your party has no choice but to cut that deep, when plenty of the best economists like David Blanchflower, Will Hutton and Joseph Stiglitz have been warning about how cutting deeper than necessary is harmful.

    But that isn’t this thread. Link to where the leadership have been indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 9:37pm

    @Andrew Tennant

    Which thread did you reveal McPherson’s astroturfing in?

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 9:42pm

    @Mike

    “Link to where the leadership have been indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred.”

    Oh, try reading anything on LabourList or in the Grudgeon or in Hansard said recently by the Labour frontbench motormouths. It has been pretty blatant. But I think it has stopped having much of an effect, certainly for me. It has merely hardened my identity as an LD voter, and I’m sure it will have been having the same effect on many others.

    I found Jerry Hayes two post on the Labour party amusing (and true): http://thinkpolitics.co.uk/tpblogs/jerryhayes/2010/06/27/labour-the-marie-celeste-of-british-politics-has-hoisted-the-skull-and-crossbones-with-a-whiff-of-cordite-and-plunder-in-the-air/

    Frankly any more abuse, will just make me shrug my shoulders. I couldn’t even be bothered giving the fingers back. Over my head. Water of a duck’s back. Spent ammunition.

  • George Kendall 8th Jul '10 - 9:44pm

    @Voter 1.44pm
    @David Allen 3.49pm
    @Barry George 3.59pm
    @Paul McKeown 9:14 pm

    Great to read some thoughtful comments about what the Lib Dems should be doing in the coalition.

    I submitted a post to act as a hook for just the sort of comments you’ve been making.
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-suggestions-for-the-spending-review-20184.html

    Would be interested to hear what you have to say.

  • @Paul McKeown: If there are articles by the leadership candidates on LabourList spouting bilious and unbridled hatred link to them. I follow LabourList and have seen no such thing. If there is bilious and unbridled hatred on Hansard quote it.

    Because all you’ve tried to do so far is fob me off. I’m sure Nick Pery only gave the interview between Balls and Gove a mention because he thought I hadn’t seen it, because there is absolutely nothing in it that is unpleasant from Balls and he doesn’t even mention the Liberal Democrats- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCh8fRvLcwU

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 9:51pm

    @Mike

    There are none so blind as will not see.

  • @Paul McKeown: It’s simple. Provide a link to one of these articles on LabourList, the Guardian, anywhere, in which one of the leadership contenders can be said to have spouted bilious and unbridled hatred. Simply link to it. Simply quote from Hansard.

  • I’m off for tonight, but I have this bookmarked and will be expecting justification for the nonsense in this article.

  • Paul McKeown 8th Jul '10 - 10:05pm

    @Mike

    Do your own research, mate, don’t waste other people’s time.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '10 - 10:22pm

    In reply to me, Tony says the alternative for the Lib Dems to coalition with the Tories were:.

    1) allow the Con to form a minorty gov and support them or not on a bill by bill basis.
    2) form a coalittion of the rainbow type.

    No, neither were realistic. Both fall on the grounds that the economic situation demanded stable government and neither of these would have given it. The economy would have collapsed because it would be said “government is paralysed” and we would get the blame.

    With 1), quite obviously the Tories would wait a few months and call another general election on the grounds “the LibDems are the problem, vote them out to get back to stable single-party government”.

    With 2), every vote would be dependent on a few rebels and oddities – another field day for the NI parties, maybe, who knows what would have to be thrown at them to keep them on side. But Labour weren’t willing anyway, they wanted a Tory government with LibDem support for obvious partisan reasons – wipe out the LibDems, let the Tories take the blame for what has to be done to clear up the mess left by Labour, get back into power in the next election.

    If we’d had a better general election campign and ended it on the up, we’d have been in a much better negotiating position. But we had a rubbish national campaign run by useless, useless people who hadn’t a clue about our real strengths (Stunnel excepted) and who therefore threw away our chances, ending on a down. And now the lead useless person has been invited to run the yes campaign for AV. Oh, dear.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 8th Jul '10 - 11:29pm

    Andrew

    I think the point you’re missing is that there’s a difference between strong criticism of the party for betraying the principles on which it fought the elecftion, and “bilious and unbridled hatred”.

    To be fair, I’m not sure what else die-hard party loyalists can do to defend this behaviour, other than going on the offensive as a diversionary tactic.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 8th Jul '10 - 11:56pm

    When I see Lib Dems accusing people in other parties of cynical opportunism, the words “glass houses” and “stones” spring irresistibly to mind!

  • David Allen 9th Jul '10 - 12:21am

    At last, a reasonably good example from Andrew Tennant showing Labour (Ed Miliband) in “bilious and unbridled hatred” mode:

    “[Mr Clegg] has totally sold out to the Tories – he’s revealed himself to be a crypto-Tory. This is exactly what happened in the 1980s under Mrs Thatcher, but this time you have a Liberal Democrat party and a Liberal Democrat leadership which is frankly in cahoots with this agenda.

    “If the smoke signals are right about the kind of unfair Budget it is going to be… it will be a total betrayal of Liberal Democrat principles. They will have sold their own party down the river just for the sake of power, and I think people will feel very betrayed by that.”

    Yes, a one-sided and partial account, which you might call a little bilious. But with a strong backbone of truth, which makes it all too credible. Just the sort of thing we were quite rightly saying every day, when it was New Labour who were making the appalling mistakes over Iraq, detention, ID cards and bankers’ bonuses. Now we are being fed the same medicine. Drink up, Nick!

  • Paul McKeown 9th Jul '10 - 12:29am

    @Andrew Tennant

    Thanks for your research. I hope the mods take note.

    Of course, this is just Labour shooting itself in the foot again with age old, well rehearsed, undemocratic practises. Great propaganda material, that. Labour activist pretends to be supporter of John Thurso, yada, yada, yada. Guess they might sit on him for a while, doubt they will discipline him, after all it’s probably in the campaign manual.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 9th Jul '10 - 12:54am

    Andrew

    If the tax and benefit changes announced in the budget had in any sense protected the poorest, then I might have given the party the benefit of the doubt. They didn’t. On whatever definition you like, the poorest were among the hardest hit. And that’s only the tax and benefit changes. The effects of the general cuts in public spending are yet to come.

    I understood that high-minded stuff about protecting the poor to be a fundamental principle of the party. One on which it would not compromise just in order to put bums on ministerial seats. Obviously not. Please don’t try to tell me this isn’t cynical opportunism.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 9th Jul '10 - 10:09am

    Andrew

    Have you actually read that page you linked to?

    On it, Alec Macpherson wrote, the day after the election:
    “Yes, habit of having a personable and captivated MP! I dearly wanted to vote Labour, and in any other constituency I would have (and definitely wouldn’t have voted for a Party run for an Islington-set who believes the rest of the country is there to entertain it).”

    That’s virtually identical with what he’s been saying here, isn’t it? That he had voted for John Thurso, but wouldn’t have voted Lib Dem elsewhere.

  • @Andrew Tennant: That is not bilious and unbridled hatred at all. His opposition as absolutely correct.

  • @Nick Perry: You did not give me any examples. You first told me to search on the internet. That is not an example. Your second was to Balls vs Gove on Newsnight, which I have linked to and in which he doesn’t mention the Lib Dems or come anything close to unpleasant. I’m sure you just mentioned that because you thought I hadn’t seen it and wouldn’t know that there is absolutely nothing about the Lib Dems in it.

    Examples, please. “Deficit headbangers” is not bilious and unbridled hatred or politically sociopathic. That is a ridiculous thing to try and use as an example.

  • Andrew Wimble 9th Jul '10 - 12:42pm

    Some of the reactions from labour make me glad that we ended up in a coilition with the Tories, even though that would not have been my first choice a few weeks ago. Just just come across as too tribal to be able to make the kind of compromises that are needed to form a stable coilition. Certainly I think any government formed round a very fragile alliance of Labour plus a few small parties would hot have had a change of survival.

  • Paul McKeown 9th Jul '10 - 1:08pm

    @Kehaar

    I think this thread has lost any purpose

    which presumably has been your sole purpose in posting, reductio ab absurdum ad nauseum

  • It has a purpose-

    “Call me naive, but I have been genuinely shocked by the bilious and unbridled hatred that has been pouring out from every Labour orifice you could care to mention.

    Not just from the Labour leadership contenders. Not just in the press.”

    The original post hasn’t been justified in the slightest.

  • For the Lib Dem views on defence, read the election manifesto.

    As for taxes vs CCTV – we all benefit from taxes, that pay for the police, fire service, road maintenance, etc, things that are better performed by the state than not – CCTV is an intrusion on privacy and is a completely different issue.

  • I think police shouldn’t be allowed to look at people on the street. Privacy you know.

    Anyway, come on- justify the article.

  • At the election I voted Lib Dem, having sone so at most elections for 20 years. The day coalition was announced I donated £50 to Labour, the first time I ever gave money to a political party. A week later I decided I would vote ‘NO’ in the AV referendum, having concluded that it was a pointless non-reform and little more than Lib Dem gerrymander. I now think what we really have – and what really need – is a two party system. My fondest hope is that your party will be wiped out at the next election – permanently.

  • Why on earth did you vote LibDem all this time, then? Why have Labour suddenly become so heroic in your eyes after years of failure?

  • Paul McKeown 9th Jul '10 - 7:01pm

    @Mike Fibsy

    “fibsy” telling porkies?

  • LordEmsworth 9th Jul '10 - 7:15pm

    I will copy you in to an e mail to a Lib Dem friend. It is about the betrayal many of us who voted Lib Dem feel. We voted against Cameron and are now seeing the worst possibole result. Cameron has cannon fodeer for what he wanted to do anyway. How can you lib dems be so stupid

    Dear XXX

    Have you seen the IMF report reducing projections of economic growth in UK because of govt cuts. This tallies with the OBR assessment and the OECD. The recovery is being harmed by what the coalition is doing. This is exactly what Labour and Lib Dens said before the election and why we shouldnt support the Tories. When are the lib dem activists and MPs going to say enough is enough. This is economic and social madness. The only sense it makes is the Tory and right wing Lib Dem sense of small govt.

    The cuts havent started yet. If it is half as bad as it looks it will hit the poor, the homeless, women escaling DV and many others who dont deserve it. Meanwhile bankers are doing fine with their bonuses back in place and paying less because of reductions in corporation tax than they are having to pay in levys

    This is not your view as I understand it. How can you support it.

  • Although naturally a Labour supporter, because of where I live I have voted Lib Dem many times more than I have ever voted for Labour. Many of my friends and family are in the same position. I am afraid none of us will vote Lib Dem again, at least as long as Clegg is leader and some of those around him remain at the head of the party. We accept that being part of a coalition requires compromise and can almost accept many (though not all) of the compromises made, including the VAT rise. What we abhor is the continued argument from Lib Dems in defence of these policies. The number of times I have heard ‘we had no choice but to raise VAT’ is astounding. If you had come out and said, “We felt we had no choice but to increase taxes. We believe it would have been better to fully implement the bank tax, the mansion tax and the increases in capital gains tax we campaigned for and not have to raise VAT in this way, but we have had to sacrifice this in order to gain other concessions,” I for one would have had much more sympathy. It is the pretence that things you recently attacked are suddenly ‘right’ that angers us so much.

  • Nigel, I think you’re generalising a bit, I’ve not heard that VAT is suddenly a progressive tax from anyone, just that there was no choice – raise VAT or cut more public services. Your two examples there are pretty much the same.

  • Still waiting for some bile and hatred from the leadership contenders, Mr Perry.

  • Z – but that is exactly my point. The choice was not ‘raise VAT or cut more public services’, the choice was ‘raise VAT, raise other, fairer taxes, or cut more public services’. Maybe I just want to believe that Lib Dems would have preferred to raise the other taxes rather than one they have argued for so long is regressive and, if they do believe it, to say so.

  • I think it’s really sad that as a party we are sacrificing ourselves. It’s about time the membership challenged the leadership. What the hell are we going to fight the next election on?

    If the government is popular, the Tories will reap the rewards; if it’s unpopular, the protest vote will go to Labour.

    Compromise is one thing, but our leadership speaking up in support of Thatcherite policies (rather than just going with them as a junior partner) is at best self-defeating, and at worst indicates our party isn’t the one we thought it was.

  • Would still like a quote and a link of where my potential leadership have been indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred.

  • Jonathan in Oz 10th Jul '10 - 4:52pm

    Read most of the comments with interest. As a lifelong ( well, since I was 12-am now 53) supporter of the Libs, now LDs, I feel the party really is in a ‘damned if we do, damned if we don’t’ unenviable position. Point-for-point, I think we took the correct decision in entering the only coalition on offer. Labour cynically showed they really had no appetite for a broad coalition, but an appetite simply for entering the next election with two major parties to vigorously attack at the national level. When the chips were down, they settled for playing the waiting game. Except of course, the vile and hypocritical attacks have already started and will no doubt continue unabated until the next GE. For the very first time in my life, I have more respect for today’s Conservative leadership than for its Labour counterpart. I never thought I would live to see that. Still, I can’t actually imagine I’ll ever vote Tory….BTW, well done to Paul McKeown for the majority of his reasoned and thoughtful comments. The LDs may be weaker at the next election (with or without AV) but on the whole, we’ve a lot to be proud of in restraining Tory potential excesses and showing courage to put the country first unlike the Labour party, most of whose supporters on here should hang their heads in shame given the absurdity of much of their commentary .

  • @Jonathon in Oz: Point out what is absurd, please. “Labour cynically showed they really had no appetite for a broad coalition” – nonsense. Brown offered his own head on a platter, the Lib Dem narrative that the rainbow coalition fell through because David Miliband didn’t bow to Clegg on command is wrong and betrays the sheer arrogance of your leadership- as if it’s your place to anoint David Miliband leader!

    You haven’t tempered the Tories. Your own contributions are among the most regressive.

    But none of that is the point of this thread. I would like Nick Perry to either justify his accusations against the leadership contenders or openly withdraw them. “Do a search” isn’t enough, I’ve searched and found nothing even close to bilious and unbridled hatred. Your other supposed example, Balls v Gove on Newsnight, I have linked to- there is absolutely nothing unpleasant from Balls and it’s not even about the Lib Dems.

    If you’re going to make such a vile accusatory post as this, you should be able to justify it.

  • George Kendall

    Thanks for the very detailed response – I had to think about this.

    Firstly, having read the various arguments and without going over ground you have already covered again, I accept the theoretical low income / high expenditure examples, but I don’t recognise them as real people (or likely scenarios). Consequently, I believe that its effect on people on low incomes is the best measure and, therefore, I still believe VAT is regressive.

    I agree that raising income tax would be both the fairest approach, but also the most difficult in coalition. However, I would argue that there is a strong case for bringing the 50% threshold down to £100,000. While I accept the difficulty of raising additional taxation from the super rich, I don’t think that applies to this group.

    As I said in my original post, I would have supported a ‘mansion tax’, but would agree that a review of council tax with additional, higher bands would be a huge improvement. In my LA, a property worth £1.6 million is taxed only 25% higher than a property worth a tenth of its value.

    I am not sure whether green taxes will end up being regressive. Labour has made some progress with making car tax less regressive than it was. However, the reform and increases to air passenger duty (with the additional tax for some domestic flights) which was part of your manifesto and which was intended to raise £3.3 billion would be a good place to start.

    While I accept that this is not a good time to impose additional tax on business, for exactly the reasons you give, nor is it a time to be cutting corporation tax. This is costing £4 billion a year, or a third of the VAT rise. Was Britain really not “open for business” in 1997 when the rate was 33%.

    If the corporation tax cut has to stand, however, the additional bank tax should have been doubled to to offset the fact that the corporation tax wiped out its effect (and actually left many banks better off) to actually raise the £2.2 billion you campaigned for.

    Although I am a higher rate tax payer, I was happy to support your policy of restricting tax relief on pension contributions to the basic rate.

    You then have the ‘anti-avoidance and anti-evasion measures’ which were, again, part of your manifesto. Though I doubt you’d ever really raise £4.6 billion.

    Easily enough here to avoid the VAT rise. As I said, I’m not at all sure you would have got these through the tories, but making it clear how you would have preferred to raise the tax and that you felt you had no choice to do something you didn’t want to do as part of the coalition compromse – rather than defending it – would have helped to avoid the public coming to the same kind of conclusions as Neil (above).

  • George Kendall 10th Jul '10 - 8:17pm

    @Nigel
    Thanks. Excellent comment. I dearly wish more people on this forum were prepared to be as honest. I’ll respond in more detail later.

  • Oh good greif ok heres a non affiliated progressive’s view ,well its unusual to detest the lib Dems more than the Torys who are at least what you would expect them to be like.The coalition has so far hit the poorest and neediest to pay for the crimes of the richest and most powerful at every turn.This includes my disabled children their heroicley struggling schools and my loyal and hard working colligues in the public services.
    Wake up its not the Labour party who detest you its the people you have betrayed in your struggle for power which you could never achieve alone.I am only grateful that you lack the Torys well honed killer instinct which will sooner or later consign you to well earned oblivion.SHAME ON YOU ALL.

  • @Nick Perry: 290 comments and you still refuse to provide a link or quote where the Labour leadership contenders have been indulging in bilious and unbridled hatred. Why is that?

  • Andrea Gill 11th Jul '10 - 2:37pm

    Anyone wanting to know where Labour Leadership hopefuls are spewing bile on the Lib Dems, check their twitter feeds. Nobody who writes such vile rubbish should ever lead a country, and the way they are behaving it will be a cold day in hell before Labour ever get a chance at that again.

  • Give me an example, Andrea Gill. Quote some bilious and unbridled hatred.

  • @Andrea Gill:

    Here are those twitters, spam filter stops me from posting so many direct links-

    twitter.com/dianeforleader
    twitter.com/ed_miliband
    twitter.com/dmiliband
    twitter.com/edballsmp
    twitter.com/andyburnhammp

    Quote me some bilious and unbridled hatred.

  • Andrea Gill 11th Jul '10 - 4:01pm

    http://twitter.com/DMiliband and http://twitter.com/edballsmp are the most prolific tweeters

    I’m not wading through their ramblings again, if you want to then feel free

  • I follow all the leadership contenders. I’ve seen no bilious and unbridled hatred. You have apparently seen it so surely you can point out just exactly what they ‘ve been saying that constitutes bilious and unbridled hatred.

  • Jonathan in Oz 12th Jul '10 - 5:17am

    Mike, apologies for the delay in replying! My criticism should have been expressed differently. I certainly don’t blame Gordon Brown (although his late conversion to AV is just another example of the pervasive self-interest displayed by so many politicians in all parties everywhere). What I’m getting at is the deliberate and calculated attempts by many Labour members to make known their opposition to any coalition deal with eyes firmly fixed on the bigger prize: the next election and a Labour majority following an unpopular government. I like to think that the LDs were realistic enough in agreeing to the deal with Cameron et al. in accepting that it could cost the party dear, but was the right thing to do for the country at this time. Perhaps I’m being naive; I’m quite sure you would think that I am.

    BTW, have to say I quite like the Australian AV system coupled with compulsory voting (one is free of course, to spoil one’s ballot paper).

  • @Jonathon in Oz: Cheers for replying, from the tone of the second post I heavily misread the first, sorry for being so pointed. I agree with those who didn’t want to go into coalition- or sometimes I did anyway, I changed my mind a lot those few days- but in retrospect I think the Lib Dem conditions- of more heavy cuts and cuts this year- would have negated much of what I voted Labour to protect. It would have been a sight to see Labour and Plaid and the SNP having to pretend to want the extra early cuts. I don’t know how that could have been carried off.

    @Nick Perry/Andrea Gill/Anyone: I’m still waiting for an actual example of bilious and unbridled hatred from the leadership contenders.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 12th Jul '10 - 6:32pm

    “Surely even Keynes would have baulked at the level of national debt that has been racked up. ”

    No he probably wouldn’t have – perhaps you should go an look up what the level of National Debt was in relation to GDPs in the 20s and 30s. And Keynes would certainly not have recommended cutting spending at the bottom of the downswing before recovery was well established and underway. Accepting blame or otherwise for the current situation is actually of little relevance to improving the situation going forward.

  • Paul McKeown 12th Jul '10 - 11:18pm

    @labourboysdontknowsquataboutkeynes

    Keynes thought one quarter of national product was a sensible level of indebtedness in a recession

  • toryboysnevergrowup 13th Jul '10 - 9:45am

    Paul McKeown

    Look at the graph in the article linked by Tony – and then think about what Keynes was saying pre WW2 e.g when the General Theory was published. GDP was well over 100% of GDP when Keynes was arguing for an increase in the deficit. BTW what is your source for your quotation about Keynee view????

  • toryboysnevergrowup 13th Jul '10 - 6:38pm

    Come on Paul where did you get quote on Keynes’s views from – you are not usally so reticent in coming forward.

  • Still waiting for a scrap of justification for this nonsense Mr Perry. Where have the leadership contenders being spewing bilious and unbridled hatred? A link, a quote. Anything. Just don’t try to fob me off again with a TV discussion that had absolutely nothing about the Lib Dems in it and certainly no bile.

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