Out of Brexit Chaos part 2: Government of National Unity

In the preceding article, on the People’s Vote [link], I argued that the process should be given significantly more time.

However, we also have a real problem: both of the big parties are too fractured either to govern or to face a General Election. The unedifying results create the opposite of the sense of stability needed for such the People’s Vote.

This is the time for a Government of National Unity bringing people together from across Parliament, not as a formal coalition between parties, but as an interim arrangement, which would need a more collaborative way of working. The obvious person to lead this is Kenneth Clark. This is partly because of his considerable depth and experience. Age means he is also likely to stand down at the next General Election, so it would be clear that the Government of National Unity is there to provide stability in an exceptional time without being subsequently returned to power. He is also sufficiently unpopular with the right wing of his party to mean that MPs from across the Commons could support him.

The clear message from forming a Government of National Unity is that we are in exceptional times. Something exceptional needs to happen to enable the People’s Vote to happen fairly. Frustration with politics will have produced a different way of doing politics.

How can a Government of National Unity form?

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, an election happens if the Commons passes a motion that it has no confidence in the government and doesn’t then pass a motion that it does have confidence within a fortnight. With sufficient agreement among MPs in advance, it would be possible for Tory MPs to vote with the Opposition “no confidence” in Theresa May’s government, and then “confidence” in the Government of National Unity.

What would a Government of National Unity do?

It would have three tasks:

People’s Vote

To provide stability to enable the People’s Vote to take place in an orderly way (described in the first part of this article).

Enable government

Get on with the things that have been sidelined in the last two years because of Brexit, such as urgent changes to          Universal Credit. It would also be a good time to begin the overdue cross-party thinking on the future of the NHS. It would have to be doing things that have the broad consensus of parliament so that it would be listening, but this only really rules out things from the political extremes.

Enable political change

There are deep divisions in both the Conservatives and Labour. Both face the question of whether to split or to reunite. As the SDP found, it is very hard in our system to set up the infrastructure of a new party and get it to a point where it can run a General Election campaign. That provides a huge pressure against change because a party dividing would almost certainly precipitate a General Election — if the ruling party splits, it loses its majority, and if the main opposition splits, it tempts the Government to seek an immediate election. However, in the context of a Government of National Unity, there is space for both parties to make an active decision to reunite or divide.

This does mean that the Government of National Unity should remain in office for long enough after the People’s Vote to enable political parties to draw up manifestos in the light of its result and initial repercussions.

The Brexit process did begin as an attempt to settle an internal Tory party squabble. With adequate preparation, overseen by a Government of National Unity, the People’s Vote can become

* Mark Argent was the candidate in Hertford and Stortford in the 2017 General Election

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

33 Comments

  • Britain urgently needs figures who will stand up to the hard nationalism of the Tories and socialism of Labour. Who are socially liberal, internationalist, pro-immigration, pro-globalisation and pro-corporate.

    If this way vanquishes Brexit and the pernicious influence of the ERG, Empire Loyalists trade unions and Momentum once and for all, then bring it on.

  • John Marriott 24th Jan '19 - 11:50am

    Sorry, Mark, pigs still can’t fly. Now, I do not for one minute doubt your sincerity or your dedication. You have been contesting parliamentary seats for some time, previously in Loughborough, I believe, and clearly always put your heart and soul, with a liberl sprinkling of ideology into what you do. But really, do you honestly think that a ‘Government of National Unity’ (how about GNU for short?) stands a snowball’s chance in hell of happening? Mind you, who would have predicted Brexit or Trump? We live in strange times.

    As I said in the previous thread, don’t assume that a ‘People’s Vote’ would deliver Remain. The polls may look good at the moment; but, if it were to happen, just wait until the starting gun goes off and Nigel Farage, backed by a substantial war chest courtesy of Messrs Banks and Tice etc. and not forgetting the reawakened psephological skills of one Messrs Cummings and Elliott, joins the fray (not that he has ever really left).

    I still want to see how things pan out in the next couple of weeks in Parliament. Unless JRM (that’s Jacob Rees-Mogg; but unfortunately also MY initials) gets his way and May does a Trump and, if it can really to done, sends parliamentarians off on holiday, we could have a delay in Article 50 by next week. Mind you, given our unwritten Constitution that experts keep telling us is so wonderful, they seem to be able to make it up as they go on! If not, there’s another piece of my BREXIT jigsaw in place.

    There are, of course, at least two flies in the ointment, namely another series of No Confidence Motions from Labour and the possible May gamble of trying to engineer another General Election (although how people like Anna Soubry and JRM could stand on the same Manifesto beggars belief), something that would really call Labour’s bluff. If the latter were to happen, a ‘one trick pony’ party, to quote my friend David Raw’s cutting assessment of the current Lib Dem thinking, would struggle to gain much, if any, traction amongst all the name calling. But stranger things have happened. So I won’t be offering to eat my hat.

  • Peter Martin 24th Jan '19 - 1:06pm

    @ Stimpson,

    I just wondered if you ever get out and about to talk to ordinary people?

    You may not like what they say but if you’re involved in politics you have to listen. Most voters express a desire for a mixture of socialism and nationalism. We all know what happens when the two are mixed in explosive proportions.

    But that’s the reality and all parties have to deal with it.

  • As Richard says there is no parliamentary cross party unity, so a national government of unity is not going to happen.
    The other problem is that an extension is in no way guaranteed. The easiest way to avoid a hard Brexit would actually be to vote for May’s deal, but Labour mainly want an election and the remain/leave camps can’t bring themselves to compromise. The main issue with a people’s vote is that it is likely to be just as close as the last referendum and will not be the end of anything no matter which side edges a win. Neither side are likely to accept the result graciously.

  • Voters need to be educated that socialism and nationalism are dangerous philosphies which will plunge them into poverty. Just because they may support the monarchy, migration controls and renationalisation, and oppose identity politics or corporate values does not make it correct.

  • Richard O'Neill 24th Jan '19 - 1:39pm

    Personally I wouldn’t object to a government of national unity, but it would need to not take any of the options off the table to begin with. Therefore all possibilities from a Hard Brexit (No Deal) to a Hard Remain (joining the Euro etc.) need to be given fair consideration before being ruled out.

    And Kenneth Clarke, despite being an MP, is semi-retired from front line politics. I’m not sure he’d willingly take on the mantle now and his Europhile views are just a red rag to some. It needs to be someone whose position on Brexit is more middle-of-the-road. Paradoxically, someone more like Theresa May.

  • Peter Martin,

    “Most voters express a desire for a mixture of socialism and nationalism.”

    Much of my misspent youth was idled away playing snooker at weekends in the local Labour club. The MP popped his head in every five years or so to buy everyone a drink at election time. What I learned in these formative years and have confirmed in many a campaign since is that what most ordinary people want from the government is public services run by a competent administration that can be relied upon; and a fair level of taxes that doesn’t leave them with a pittance in their pay packets to live on. Pretty much as has been the case since the poll tax riots of the 14th Century, repeated again under Thatcher in 1990.

  • The thoughts expressed. by Stimpson are the reason the Lib Dems are the fifth most popular party in the country and will continue to nestle around the 6 – 9 % figure in polling. I admire the party’s desperate fight for survival in today’s unsure political waters but oh dear Stimpson so accurately explains why the Lib Dems are finished….at least the Greens will be happy..they will soak up whatever votes you still have left

  • Paul Barker 24th Jan '19 - 2:53pm

    The problem is that under the present conditions of split Parties a Government of National Unity, however brief, would tear both main Parties apart. Those Parties are far more important to their MPs than the threat of possible Economic meltdown so the GoNU won’t happen, yet.
    What will shift those Labour/Tory MPs ? My guess is nothing less than actual Economic disaster, happening before their eyes & that isn’t going to happen until Business/The Markets come to the conclusion that No-Deal Brexit is actually going to happen. This crisis will probably not be resolved until the last possible moment, another Month at least.

  • John Marriott 24th Jan '19 - 3:31pm

    ‘Stimpson’ says; “Voters need to be educated…” (I’ll stop there). Well, with chutzpah like that you can see why the party is treading water. Why doesn’t he change that past participle into an adjective and have done with it? Oh, if only I had his certainty. We appear to be back to the philosophy of ‘one more heave’ again.

    However, I would urge ‘Silvio’ (I wish these characters would have the courage to tell us who they really are) not to write the Lib Dems off completely. As Tim Farron once famously said (in fact, to be honest, it’s the ONLY thing I remember him saying), Lib Dems survive like locusts would survive a nuclear war. You see, being a ‘liberal’ is not really a political philosophy, in my opinion. It’s more a way of life. If you don’t believe me, ask someone like Katharine Pindar.

  • Mark Argent, Ken Clarke does not support referendums and has not stated he is in favour of another referendum.

    Also I am not sure that the Fixed-Term Parliament Act works in the way you describe. I did think it did, but on further reflection I am not convinced it does. When James Callaghan lost the 28th March 1979 vote of no confidence his government continued in office until 4th May. So if Theresa May lost a vote of no confidence she could continue as Prime Minister and her government would be Her Majesty’s Government for the whole 14 days and then during the general election which would follow.

    It is unlikely that Theresa May would resign unless it was already known that a vote of confidence could be won by another grouping. It is unlikely we would have no government from the time of the vote of no confidence until after another general election. In May 2010 Gordon Brown was encouraged not to resign until it was clear that a Coalition government could be formed.

    I am not convinced it would be possible during those 14 days for motions to be debated and voted on regarding the support a particular grouping would have if it were to form the government.

  • Silvio 24th Jan ’19 – 2:29pm….
    I had a post removed for questioning, politely, if Stimpson was as real as Michael Green and Sebastian Fox.

  • @John Marriott

    Several points:

    1. Leavers have had the Brexiteers arguments and are more than aware of them through the effective campaign that Leave fought BUT there has been a swing towards Remain. It is long-lasting. No poll has had Leave ahead since April 2018. Widening. And is quite big at an average of 7%. This would be being reported as a significant lead if it was a Labour v Conservative contest. Of course Leave MIGHT fight a campaign that turns this around – or NOT. And personally I would be surprised if either side won by as much as 7%.
    http://britainelects.com/polling/europe/

    2. There likelihood is that we would do well in an election with EU as the top issue especially if Labour did not support a referendum. See the yougov polls on such a scenario – albeit hypothetical and to be taken with a large pinch of salt but nevertheless more than suggestive of a possible result in such circumstances. There is also more than a likelihood that we would do well in Tory-held seats where we have done well in the past – and which are the first seats for us to win back.

    3. We are NOT a one-trick pony any more than any of the other parties are. We have mounds of policy – arguably rather too much.

    4. BUT we do need bold policies at the next General Election – even if it was to come soon. I would advocate – abolishing tuition fees, axing the council tax, £15 billion for education and training.

    5. There will NOT be a general election soon. (OK I was convinced that May wouldn’t call a General Election in 2017! And I was right in that she shouldn’t have!) But the one thing that Tory MPs can do is read opinion polls and there is a small swing against them to Labour and they are essentially level. If they don’t have to because 4 or 5 years is up, no party is ever going to risk going to the country on the back of such polls.

  • @Michael BG

    I may be wrong (I normally am!) but in Mark Argent’s hypothetical example and I think he may have omitted some details. The Commons passes a vote of no confidence in May’s Government. May resigns. A group of more than about 320 MPs (as Sinn Fein do not take their seats) has decided or decides on X as PM. X goes to the Queen and says I can command a majority/confidence in Parliament and appoints them as PM. Commons passes a vote of confidence in the new Government within 14 days.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixed-term_Parliaments_Act_2011

    Very, very hypothetically all that is needed within the 14 days is that a motion of confidence is passed. So it would be possible for X to be appointed PM. A motion of confidence is called but NOT passed. So X resigns (they wouldn’t HAVE to but their position wouldn’t be tenable – although they would have the advantage of tenure and could sit out the 14 days when there would be a General Election OR a vote of confidence could be passed followed by a vote of no confidence). Y then tries and is appointed PM by the Queen. A vote of confidence is then passed in Y’s Government. Or not….

    I think given the Commons can pass whatever motions it wants it could if there were rivals hold a debate on a (non-binding) motion that the next PM should be X with amendments that it should be Y,Z, A or B. I am not sure that this would exactly be a government of National Unity. But it might minimise the “political” role the Queen has in choosing between rivals.

    I was going to say that this was complete pie in the sky. BUT it could be possible for Tory soft brexiteers and Labour to combine – negotiate a soft Brexit and then for there to be a vote of no confidence in that Government. But I am not sure anyone would want the poisoned chalice of negotiating Brexit in such circumstances….

  • John Marriott 24th Jan '19 - 5:08pm

    @Jenny Barnes
    You know, I reckon you are right. Locusts was probably more biblical, and easier to spell! I suppose it shows how memorable Mr Farron’s quotes actually are! My apologies to you and all LDV facts checkers.

    @Michael 1
    Thanks also for putting me right (I think) in your usual scholarly fashion. I know that you take these things very seriously. At my age, I tend to adopt a more jaundiced view. I only hope that you don’t launch a ‘Michael 2’. That would really blow me away! HOWEVER, i will say one thing. A win by 7% for either side in another referendum would not put the matter to bed. By my uneducated reckoning, nothing short of around 20% would do that and even then the hard core on either side would not go away (look at what happened after 1975).

    In any case, as I have said elsewhere, I don’t want a binary choice if we had to vote again. I want voters to rank in order of preference (or not) three options, with the third least popular dropping out and its second choices applied to the two remaining. In the meantime, let’s get an extension/postponement to Article 50 (length to be decided by debate in Parliament), after a ‘No deal’ Brexit for the purposes of debate has been ruled out next week.

  • Paul Barker 24th Jan '19 - 6:09pm

    Can I just point out the Facts about our place in the Polls. Our results so far this Year range from 6% to 12%, the average is 9.5%. As far as its possible to tell, we are still going up very slowly.
    Obviously, any successful moves to stop or delay a No-Deal Brexit will need us to work together with people from other Parties. We need them & they need us, just like The UK & The Continent.

  • John Marriott, I think you have missed my points.

    My points include that Theresa May would not resign, and it would be a bad thing if she did as we have to have a government and we can’t be without a government for 6 weeks. In May 1839 Melbourne wanted to resign but wasn’t allowed to, a bit like Brown in 2010.

    Also the Queen wouldn’t ask someone to form a government just because they said they could do it, she would need to be advised that they could form a government, hence the idea of testing it in the House of Commons within the 14 days. I believe this would be the only way to do it, but I am not convinced the House of Commons procedures would allow this. It seems you believe it would be possible. Only time will tell which of us is correct.

  • Silvio,
    Stimpson talks for Stimpson. He can push his point ( as we all do) but I detect little support for his views and much pushing back. The Orange bookers in the main are gone, exercised by painful experience, we seem to have tacked left ( now we may tack back, but as you pointed out that would be foolish).

  • @John Marriott

    Thanks for your kind words (and in other threads) – greatly appreciated! I enjoy your posts which also make very valid points and debating with you and others here!

    Clearly a win for either side would not put the issue to bed nor would NOT having a referendum. We had a civil war to get rid of the monarchy but that didn’t put the issue to bed, prevent the restoration of the monarchy and unless I am very much mistaken we still have a Queen! Clearly the issue of a monarchy and their powers remained a very important issue in British politics for hundreds of years after the Restoration.

    I would hope it would be a bit like that if we were to vote Remain in a referendum in a subsequent election it would mean that the issue of the extent of the EU’s competencies and reform would remain an important issue in British politics. In any case any extension requires a referendum and is subject to a British veto.

    Clearly Farage said that 48/52 was “unfinished” business when he thought the referendum had gone against him and he would say it again if there was a Remain result.

    In practice over time there is effectively something of a “triple lock” on having a referendum on a constitutional issue decided on a referendum. Firstly there has to be some popular groundswell of public feeling against it. Political parties have then to put it into their manifesto, get elected and implement it. Finally people have to vote for a change. We see and have seen these factors played out in the referendum on Scottish independence – I am not Scottish but still I believe it is still an important issue in Scottish politics despite the referendum as of course is the EU. But it was possible that there was a quick deal to leave the EU and people thought that it was now the best thing since sliced bread in which case the demand would have gone away and the political parties would be focussing on other issues…

    On a “preferendum” I am supportive. I wouldn’t have “no deal” as an option but I think there is an argument on having Norway type option – although I am personally against it.

  • @Michael BG

    “John Marriott, I think you have missed my points.”

    I think actually you mean me in which case apologies for the misunderstanding!

    There are a number of points.

    “My points include that Theresa May would not resign, and it would be a bad thing if she did as we have to have a government…”

    I deleted one paragraph in my reply I think was closer to the point you were making. We are obviously NEVER (unfortunately) without a PM, a Government or ministers. They continue during a General Election and very briefly after an Election if another party wins an election or longer if the result is not clear cut – as indeed you point out with Brown and would so in the 14 days after a vote of no confidence . And they don’t resign but announce they intention to shortly do so when another is appointed (or a few minutes before when the go and tender their resignation to the monarch) which may be your point as we would have a PM but only one in office and not in power.

    Obviously the coalition talks were concluded quickly but if they had taken longer. Brown would have been PM, the ministers ministers and they could have brought business to the house while talks were on-going. Perhaps most relevantly urgent statutory instruments. I appreciate that there is an aspect that we don’t have a government in that it may be little that it can do or change in that period but actually acts of Parliament do take a long time to go through Parliament so it doesn’t much matter. Perhaps most saliently for this discussion the Government could cancel/delay Brexit.

    “Also the Queen wouldn’t ask someone to form a government just because they said they could do it, she would need to be advised … I believe this would be the only way to do it…”

    This is correct. A new PM (and their Government) have to have a vote of confidence passed in them within 14 days or there is a General Election. And the Queen has a duty not to make her “favourite” PM but take advice. Normally this is a party leader. But suppose we are taking the hypothesis as in the original article that a senior Parliamentarian might become PM to steer through Brexit in some way. There MIGHT be several candidates. This obviously puts the Queen in a difficult political position. While all this is highly unlikely I could see some indicative non-binding vote being taken before the vote of confidence to help guide the monarch.

  • John Marriott 24th Jan '19 - 9:57pm

    @Michael BG
    Why are you mentioning me? I have not addressed any remarks to you. My remarks were to ‘Michael 1’; unless you andnhe are one and the same person. Isn’t it time that people revealed who they really are to avoid confusion? This anonymity is getting ridiculous.

  • Joseph Bourke 25th Jan '19 - 1:24am

    A government of national unity is not totally out of the question but it appears unlikely at present to be formed around a consensus for a 2nd referendum. It would be a rather radical alternative to a referendum as a means of resolving the impasse in parliament. I imagine if it came to pass, it would be a coalition of Conservative and Labour MPs that coalesced around a softer Brexit than Mrs May’s deal.
    The problem for the party is the public perception expressed by Stephen Bush in the New Statesman
    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/09/liberal-democrats-conservatives-labour-extremists-vince-cable
    “The big Liberal Democrat message is that the Conservative Party is in the grip of its fanatical wing and that Labour has been taken over by extremists. Almost everybody agrees with at least one of those, but the problem is that hardly anybody agrees equally with both statements. Most would either rather risk a Corbyn-led Labour government than a Conservative one under Boris Johnson, or vice versa.”

    Adding to that problem is the Liberal Democrats’ self-denying ordinance about going into coalition again. The party’s message, as far as I can tell, is that the two main parties are backwards-looking extremists who can’t be trusted but the Liberal Democrats won’t stop them.
    …by declaring they won’t take office after the next election it invites the inevitable question of “so what are you going to do about it?” whenever they slag the two big parties off. Plenty of people are willing to believe that there are lunatics at the wheel of British politics. Far fewer are going to reward a party whose plan to deal with that is to lock themselves in the car boot.”

  • John Marriott, please accept my apologies, my remarks should have been addressed to Michael 1. That is the second mistake I have made today. I hope it will not happen again. (By the way, my name is Michael Berwick-Gooding but I just prefer a shorter name to be above my comments. This is always made clear when an article written by me is published.)

    Michael 1, thank you for your post and we seem to be agreement accept for the point about is it is possible for the House of Commons to vote on motions of support for different groupings. Maybe it would just depend on what the Speaker wants as he has shown he can make up new procedures when he wants to.

  • David Evans 25th Jan '19 - 9:22am

    A government of National Unity only arises at a time when a national crisis has happened – the break out of war, or the depression, when there is one thing almost everyone can see is catastrophic and can unite around. That will sadly not come until after Brexit has happened.

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Jan '19 - 9:36am

    @Stimpson
    “Voters need to be educated that socialism and nationalism are dangerous philosphies which will plunge them into poverty….”

    I would suggest they do not need to be educated on the dangers or otherwise of such philosophies – it seems to me more the need to ensure our education system enables people to think for themselves rather than to be told by elitists that certain philosophies are dangerous. I do not feel our education system, being extremely focussed as it is on narrow targets of success, goes anywhere near enabling the majority of people to think these issues out for themselves.

    Also Stimpson – hadn’t you noticed that a lot of people in this country are in (relative) poverty already? Finding it difficult to put roof over head and food on the table.

    And, bearing in mind your apparent dislike of unions, it could be argued that the diminishing influence of unions may be a factor in increasing inequality – i.e. due to reduced bargaining power of many workers. Perhaps the level of inequality in the UK and USA in particular does not bother you?

  • John Marriott 25th Jan '19 - 9:45am

    Here’s something for our more cerebral contributors like ‘Michael 1’ and Mr Bourke to consider. In today’s Guardian Timothy Garton Ash wonders what might happen if the U.K. is still in the EU by the time of its next Parliamentary Elections but fails to hold elections to provide MEPs. According to European law, claims Prof Garton Ash, the new Parliament cannot convene on 2 July. If it did without the U.K. it could also, according to him, be “vulnerable to legal challenge”. Perhaps, if we do get a postponement of Article 50, it’s time to compile a few Party Lists.

    Over to you, chaps, but try to keep it short.

  • Peter Martin 25th Jan '19 - 11:49am

    @ Stimpson,

    “Voters need to be educated that socialism and nationalism are dangerous philosophies which will plunge them into poverty….”

    I remember, in my younger days, an uncle of mine cautioned me against going to university because, in his opinion, they were “full of communists”. That’s what happens when the working classes become ‘over educated’ apparently. I naturally took not the slightest bit of notice!

    They were certainly plenty of socialists at the university I attended. Even now, in places like Canterbury, we can see the effect of a left oriented uni vote tipping the scales in what would otherwise be a safe Tory seat.

    So at least with regard to the former of your political creeds, the evidence is very much against what you are hoping for.

  • Joseph Bourke 25th Jan '19 - 12:18pm

    Nonconformistradical,

    “enables people to think for themselves rather than to be told by elitists that certain philosophies are dangerous. I do not feel our education system, being extremely focussed as it is on narrow targets of success, goes anywhere near enabling the majority of people to think these issues out for themselves.”

    Tertiary education today retains a significant focus on developing critical thinking as an essential underpimming of undergraduate courses. However, the marketisation of Universities and the competition for students has shifted the culture of higher education towards meeting paying clients (students) needs. Those expressed needs are clear – a clear focus on career progession and skills development for the job market that represents a return on their investment in tuition fees and costs.

  • @John Marriott

    “Timothy Garton Ash wonders what might happen if the U.K. is still in the EU by the time of its next Parliamentary Elections…”

    See https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-commission-election-idUSKCN1PC1BF

    The European Commission has said that if we are in the EU beyond July 2nd then we have to hold European Elections “But the legal services of the European Parliament itself have a different view. In a legal opinion from 2017, seen by Reuters, European Parliament lawyers said Britain would not have to elect its representatives, even if it were still a member of the EU.”

    The Guardian article is at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/25/brexit-britain-europe-european-article-50

  • Peter Hirst 27th Jan '19 - 2:04pm

    An alternative to a government of national unity is for parliament to vote to withdraw the whip system on anything to do with Brexit until withdrawal day. This would enable MPs to vote according to their instincts of what is best for the country and their constituents. It would probably require the support of all Party leaders.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLaurence Cox 21st Jul - 6:22pm
    @David Evans @Tim13 It is because the Government has over a period of decades (beginning with Thatcher) funded more and more of Local Government spending...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 21st Jul - 5:54pm
    The tone of this thread has got a bit negative which seems odd when we are doing much better than we have for Years, since...
  • User Avatarsiv white 21st Jul - 5:09pm
    Good luck, Jane. I was looking for your donation address. A good campaign is essential, like that of Lee Howgate now Lib Dem councillor in...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 21st Jul - 5:09pm
    @Michael BG It’s KestevEn, by the way. If you were referring to the candidate, who got elected, was a choice made largely out of desperation,...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Jul - 4:52pm
    @ Michael BG I respect your views on the need to tackle poverty Michael, and I'm sorry you didn't make it to the SLF Conference...
  • User AvatarTim13 21st Jul - 4:47pm
    John Marriott Just add: ...and west of Reading to your last sentence! I agree with David Evans and disagree profoundly with Laurence Cox. There MUST...
Sun 21st Jul 2019
Sun 28th Jul 2019
Thu 1st Aug 2019
Sun 4th Aug 2019
Sun 18th Aug 2019