Opinion: One good reason to vote Lib Dem

With the looming by-election in Oldham East & Saddleworth and each candidate eager to win, with each of their respective parties hoping to be able to boast about the win for years to come, I’d imagine the people of OE&S are probably scratching their heads. A Labour party that endorsed the Phil Woolas who combined pretty much everything we hate about politicians in his lies intended to stir racial tensions? A Liberal Democrat party that, let’s be honest, is not the most glamorous of groups at the moment, still reeling from scandals and broken pledges? A Conservative party barely even endorsed by their leader, the Prime Minister? One of the other parties, certain to lose? I say they have every right to be scratching their heads and wouldn’t be surprised at a low turnout.

For those that voted Conservative in 2010, the dilemma may be whether to vote again for Kashif Ali, or whether to take the obvious implication and vote Lib Dem, to secure an MP who, may not be their first choice, but will deliver on Coalition policies that are in large part Conservative. For these people, who has a suggestion for you but Lord Tebbit?

It seems Norman Tebbit is at it again, apparently encouraging Conservative voters to vote UKIP in an effort to beat the Lib Dems into fourth place. He says that a Lib Dem win would push Coalition policy even further to the left, even further away from Conservative policy!

He then goes on to suggest that, “A Labour win would give the wild men of the TUC great encouragement to launch a campaign to ursurp the government by a campaign of industrial action”, which is something many of us can believe. A Labour win would give Ed Miliband more ammunition to fling at the government, the Unions more cause to strike and perhaps destabilise things further. It would certainly be bad news for both Clegg and Cameron.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m having a senior moment. With the absence of campaigning from the Conservatives, Oldham East and Saddleworth has become a two way marginal between Lib Dems and Labour, and bookies confirm this. By suggesting that Conservative voters vote UKIP, Tebbit suggests that the best result would be the Lib Dems being pushed into fourth place. Assuming he doesn’t think the Conservative candidate can win despite most of their voters switching to UKIP, that means Tebbit has supported a Labour victory over a crumbled vote of both Lib Dems and Conservatives. A result that could destabilise the government and would give Labour bragging rights that they seem to think they already have.

The decision really is that simple for OE&S Conservatives. Vote Conservative, UKIP or just stay at home to cause chaos and give Labour and the Trade Unions a blank cheque for mayhem, or vote Lib Dem to send Parliament an MP that will sit beside Conservatives and vote for Conservative Policies along with Lib Dem policies and Coalition policies.

Ironically, he leaves a great advertisement for the Lib Dems to the progressive community, stating that a Lib Dem win would shift the coalition further to the left and further from Conservative policy. Not sure whether to vote Green, Lib Dem or Labour? A vote for Lib Dem is a vote to make the Coalition government just that much more progressive. A vote for Labour is a vote for Miliband’s blank piece of paper.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections.


  • Your assumption that the unions want to ’cause mayhem’ shows how far the Liberal Democrats have moved to the right since the election.
    And is another reason why ordinary working class voters will NEVER EVER trust your party again.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 9th Jan '11 - 1:09pm

    Anti-union bile as always, Lib Dems. Working people should be seen and not heard.

    Also, as always, trying to look both ways.

    ‘vote Lib Dem to send Parliament an MP that will sit beside Conservatives and vote for Conservative Policies’

    ‘A vote for Lib Dem is a vote to make the Coalition government just that much more progressive.’

    Make up your mind. Are you trying to get people to vote for the Lib Dems because it will have ‘progressive’ ramifications or because it will shore up the reactionary?

  • “vote Lib Dem to send Parliament an MP that will sit beside Conservatives and vote for Conservative Policies”

    I’m Shirley Williams and I approve this message.

  • I give up

  • “vote Lib Dem to send Parliament an MP that will sit beside Conservatives and vote for Conservative Policies”

    I’m Shirley Williams and I approve this message.

    Yeah, taken out of context, that’s quite the statement, isn’t it?

  • And Kevin, it wasn’t my assumption that “the unions want to cause mayhem”, it was Lord Tebbit’s. I was simply quoting him.

  • I love the comments here lecturing the Lib Dems about their attitudes towards the working class. Especially from anyone who publicly supports labour, that’s bloody rich.

  • Rich

    I think your last post was not quite correct. You did quote him and then say that ‘it is a thing many of us can believe’.

    Is there any one left speaking for the LD who can come across as being totally straight in what they say?

  • Dave Warren 9th Jan '11 - 1:53pm

    I am working class i and i think its New Labour that betrayed us.

    Thirteen years of worker bashing, cuddling up to the rich, destroying
    civil liberties and privatisations.

    If you look to Miliband as some sort of Socialist messiah you are

  • Tom

    Criticising the LD does not necessarily mean we like Labour .

    The last time I looked though this is a LD forum and we are trying to understand how the party is justifying its current support of Tory policies.

    Let Labour speak for themselves.

    Unfortunately for you, the fact is that a number of ex-LD voters are defecting to Labour at the moment according to the polls. That is probably a reality you will have to accept and if you want to get these people back that you need to have policies that attract them back. Just slagging off Labour will no longer work when you are in Government and your decisions touch their everyday lives.

  • “Criticising the LD does not necessarily mean we like Labour .”

    It was more directed towards “Mike (The Labour One)”. Do you suppose that he might like Labour?

    Oh wait, yes. He can speak for himself.

  • Tom

    I will let him speak for himself

    What I would say is that the Liberals in the early 20th C did things for the poor as the Labour did since. What is clear is that both have done more for them than the Tories and as the piece above states a vote for the LD is a vote for the Tories

    I do hope the unions create some mayhem – perhaps it is time that the establishment realise that the working man still has a voice

  • “What I would say is that the Liberals in the early 20th C did things for the poor as the Labour did since. What is clear is that both have done more for them than the Tories and as the piece above states a vote for the LD is a vote for the Tories”

    As the Liberals are doing now, with, for example, Income Tax and Tuition Fees. But regardless of that there is no denying that the Tories and Liberals are working together now – it shouldn’t be in the least bit surprising to anybody here that if a Lib Dem is elected, they’ll be part of a governing party…

  • Just going for an anyone but Labour approach doesn’t cut it for thinking voters. There should more than 1 reason to vote Lib Dem. Unfortunately, the damaging approach to the coalition taken by Clegg et al has reduced the effectiveness of such arguments to virtually zero.

    Being able to demonstrate how effectively Lib dem ministers had affected Tory policy would help, as would publically accepting blatant Tory moves such as the rise in VAT and Tuition fees as ugly but unavoidable compromise rather than the best thing since sliced bread.

    The love in is the achilles heel along with tuition fees, without that this should have been a shoe in with Labours behaviour the defining issue. Labour should be make no mistake, their rise in popularity is due to clever positioning by the Tories and inept management and the blatant tuition fees betrayal by Clegg and not because of Milliband or his blank piece of paper.

  • Tom

    Income tax increases offset by VAT increase, tuition fees are there to make up for a drastic cut to HE funding. If this is the best you can do with all the other policies that have been enacted then best of luck. All the estimations (apart from the fiddled one’s by Osborne) show the spending review is regressive and would be worse if we omit Darling’s March budget

    Anyway, whether you are right or wrong your poll ratings are low and I am intrigued to know how you think you will get back the voters

  • “Anyway, whether you are right or wrong your poll ratings are low and I am intrigued to know how you think you will get back the voters”

    I just hope we do not fall into the trap of promising all things to all people again. I’d rather be a small party with 10-15 MPs than a larger party without principles.

  • Nice to see some honesty!

  • I realise that historically you have been put in an unusual position but anyone working class and especially northern working class voting Lib Dem in a national election ( as opposed to local ) is really and turkey and christmas job. What is really intriguing is the way you have all swallowed the King/ Osborne cuts agenda while there are plenty of eminent economics Stiglitz, Krugman, Koo saying that this is bollocks.,Aren’t you even curious ? Labour are a bunch of neoliberal no marks as well, but this business about it being all Labour’s fault, did you miss the greatest economic crisis since 1929 ???

  • George potter. i find highly hilarious that a political party can accuse the Unions of being undemocratic. Union policy is voted on and if changes are made those changes go out for a vote by the representatives or membership. Anyone paying the political levy has the right to opt out and all representatives are voted in. That seems quite democratic to me.

    Now look at ALL political parties, they draw up a manifesto and make pledges to voters but then decide to rip those pledges and manifestos up after people have voted for them and i would call that undemocratic.

  • Oh and George did Clegg ballot your party before ripping up the pledge on tuition fees ?.

  • George, just like the Lib Dems this is decided at conference. Now back to Nick Clegg , did he go back to conference to change the Lib Dems position on tuition fees because he certainly would of had to if he was a Union leader.

  • One other thing , Unions are not allowed to spend the political levy money (which is where the AV campaign money comes from )on anything industrial such as strike funds. Mrs Thatcher saw to that in the 80’s.

  • George, you miss the point, the change was not the MP’S to make on Tuition fees. That is the responsibility of your annual conference , that is where policy is made. The Unions made their decision on AV at their annual conference where their policy is made, what is undemocratic about that ?, would you be saying the same if that conference had decided to support AV ?. Any Union member that does not agree with their Unions stance on AV can do a simple thing and that is opt of paying the political levy, meaning none of their money goes to the campaign. What can you do about your MP’S ignoring the wishes of their own conference ?.

  • George, they give their consent by electing representatives to vote on their behalf at conference which i presume is no different to what happens in the Lib Dems unless your telling me every Lib Dem member has the right to attend and vote on every policy at your annual conference.

  • I think it’s worth stating that less than half of the Lib Dem MP’s voted for the Tuition Fee reform. Admittedly that means little, since it was enough, but most of our MP’s either abstained or voted against. You could consider Clegg, Cable and co “rebels”.

  • @”…..I’d rather be a small party with 10-15 MPs than a larger party without principles.” Principles, what principles? I voted for your “principles”…I am still waiting. The LibDems are the most unprincipled political party I have seen in 50 years of politics-watching. What happened to the New Politics, to “doing in government what you promised out of government”? What happened to ‘principles’ re. higher education, to gradually reducing the deficit? what about “an end to spin” – the LibDems have done little else the last eight months but attempt to spin their way out of their self-inflicted mess. You LibDems choose not to “get it”, so let me spell it out. A very large minority of people who voted for you at the election no longer trust a word you say (I include me in this); from what they have seen of the LibDems in government, these voters now believe you are without principles and are simply not to be trusted. You will have a hell of a job rebuilding trust and your reputation with thousands if not millions of voters. Just give it some thought.

    To the moderator, I realise that you will not like these comments. All that I can say is that I did vote LibDem last time and that gives me some sort of right to make a comment.

  • George, firstly that decision will be ratified at annual conference and as i have already stated the membership can have a say by opting out of the political levy and hence paying no money towards the campaign. But anyway where is there any difference between the GMB’S executive making a decision on behalf of its members and your own executive making a decision on behalf of not only its members but its voters as well, to enter into a coalition government ?.

    I applaud you for the stance youve taken towards those MPS but the fact still remains your members of parliament chose to ignore your own conference policy which is a damn sight more undemocratic than anything the Trade union movement has done in recent years.

  • George but your conference voted to vote against tuition fees not abstain. Who runs your party your MP’S or the membership ?.

    As for your executive decision being endorsed at a special conference, again that is no different to the Unions decision being endorsed at their annual conference is it ?. Unless you believe every time the Unions executive makes a decision they should call a special conference to endorse it.

    I daresay there will be other Unions that support AV, i wonder whether you’ll be calling them undemocratic of they suggest their members vote for it.

  • Oh and 28 mps voting for the increase plus 8 abstaining means 36 of your 57 mps having no respect for the decisions taken at your own conference. I really think you need to get your own house in order before you call other organisations undemocratic.

  • Does anyone – regardless of their politics – take any notice of what Tebbit says nowadays? The Skinhead of Chingford is yesterday’s man and Cameron must wish he would follow Harold Macmillan’s advice about quietly leaving the stage.

    One thing in Tebbit’s favour – he never tries to disguise his real views unlike so many of today’s politicians whose chief skill is PR (as in public relations, not proportional representation).

  • Vote Conservative, UKIP or just stay at home to cause chaos and give Labour and the Trade Unions a blank cheque for mayhem,

    Hmmm. I thought this was a by-election.

    Are you actually saying that if Labour win they seize control of the state?


  • George Potter, i am listening but i am not understanding how you have the cheek to call the Trade Union movement undemocratic when the majority of lib dem members of parliament chose to ignore your own conference and either vote for or abstain on the issue of tuition fees. As i say the Unions executive will be held accountable at their annual conferences when the delegates have the opportunity to overturn the executives decision. When will your members have the chance to overturn what your MP’S have done ?.

    And by the way because someone doesnt agree with you , it doesnt mean they’re not listening, it means they don’t agree.
    I will ask you again, would you be shouting that the trade union movement are undemocratic if they decided to back AV ?. You may or may not know that not every Union is campaigning against AV so i find it a little strange youve singled out two that are opposed.

  • Oh and if you want to put it in big letters feel free. It still doesnt change my opinion that the Trade Union movement is a lot more democratic than any of the three major parties.

  • VT
    You have your opinion but I have my experience.Trade Unions may have formal
    democratic structures but in practice manipulate those structures and in fact
    are no more democratic than any political party.

  • Manfarang, so even in your experience they are as democratic as the three political parties which makes it a bit rich for a lib dem to call them undemocratic does it not ?.

  • Right wing Tories are better off voting for UKIP, rather than propping up the LibDem’s… the by-election only matters to Labour and the LibDem’s… better to vote for what you believe in.

    Since Vince Cable and others indulged in little outbursts to undercover journalists being disloyal to the Coalition, I wouldn’t get your hopes up of this being repaid in goodwill from Tory voters. At least Labour insult people to their face, the LibDem’s have been shown to be particularly backstabbing, and voters don’t like that – it undermines trust.

  • ” vote for Lib Dem is a vote to make the Coalition government just that much more progressive. A vote for Labour is a vote for Miliband’s blank piece of paper.”

    Well..it’s a point of view. You might equally argue however that only a thumping defeat for the LD’s has the capacity to bring you to your senses. Much as I oppose what the LD’s have done entering the Coalition, and in the time since, I’d actually prefer it if they didn’t self-destruct, or wither to a rump of centrist, or centre-right hangers on to the Tory party.

    The weaker the LD’s become, the more identified you are with the Tories (particularly if you were to decide on a 2 term Coalition or some formal electoral pact), the more likely Labour are to pick up support from disaffected left of centre LD voters, and the more likely they are to rule out any deals with you (or at least with the Cleggite cabal who appear to have hi-jacked your party) at the next GE.

    You don’t deserve to win in O&S, tho’ Labour are no better. In the event you do win the seat however, I wouldn’t take it as too ringing an endorsement of the Coalition or your policies within it!

  • Oranjepans comments are the funniest- progressive policies with the Lib dems -what planet are you on mate

    What progress have we really seen in the last 8 months on the economic front from the coalition- an out and out attack on the public sector with some of the deepest and pernicious cuts imaginable – some morally ( you do remember that word) indefensible – and what shouldnt be overlooked is that the local authorities who got the biggest cuts in grants are mostly in areas where the both coalition parties have few if any parliamentary seats to lose- we’re not blind

    oh sorry must acknowledge the 1000 pounds increase in the tax allowance – thats 54p per day for me – and as for taking people out of taxation completely – – 7475 per year is either a short hours part time job or poverty wages – dont big the coalition up for that

    anyway- alternative – get after the rich who are illegally evading tax – action please not some warm words from Mr Alexander – i see the Govt Tax office were suggesting they might get £3 billion from monies in Liechtenstein – but only after theyve offered a minimum penalty to those agreeing to an amnesty – the same percentage punishment an ordinary tax payer gets if they make a small honest mistake in their tax return- theres billions salted away and you attack the poorest in society –

    and as for the unions causing mayhem – youre too young to know what industrial action on a massive scale was like
    so a quote from Thomas Grays Elegy on a long distance view of Eton for you to consider ” Where ignorance is bliss tis folly to be wise”

    Alan Johnson might not agree with Ed M On how the opposition should solve some of the economys problems but He came out with the best attack line of the year in the commons during the budget speeches- looking at the Coalition benches he said ” Its in everyone of you lots DNA to reduce the state so that in 4 years time you can Tax cuts to the rich – he was addressing both parties and you know deep in your soul lib dems that he was absolutely spot on

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