Sal Brinton and Willie Rennie respond to Jeremy Corbyn’s election

So, that was emphatic. Corbyn wins Labour leadership election with 60% of the vote and a massive lead in all three categories of the vote. The first Liberal Democrat reaction has come from Party President Sal Brinton:

The Corbyn style of politics may generate a lot of noise but only one thing keeps Government in check – credible opposition.

As Labour abdicates its responsibilities, the Liberal Democrats will offer the serious, responsible and economically-literate alternative this country badly needs.

We will find common cause with the millions of people who do not support this Government and need a party to represent them.”

She added:

Liberal Democrats want to build a society where people are given back control of their own lives.

A society where they can rely on decent public services that are properly funded – without bankrupting the country.

We are the only party which can stand up to the Tory assault on the welfare state without resorting to pie-in-the-sky economics.

Our priority is giving people power to control their own lives, free from poverty, where government is focussed on helping people build and fulfil their potential.

If you want to be part of a party which is – and always has been – the party of the centre ground, then join us.

Willie Rennie’s said:

Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership signals a return to the damaging see saw politics of the past. With a Conservative Party in Government screeching further to the right and a Labour opposition returning to the extreme left wing politics politics of the 1970’s, Britain needs a serious, responsible alternative now more than ever.

Only Liberal Democrats offer a radical, centre ground alternative which delivers economic competence and social justice.

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  • It’s interesting that all the political parties in Britain are now led by leaders who are ever so typical of their membership, character and outlook. We live in interesting times. The next general election could even be for Prime Minister of England – a ‘new’ and quite isolated country needing to find its way in an ever complex and interconnected world. I wouldn’t predict any outcome of the next election any more than what county it will be for!!

  • Baroness Brintons statement will garner the party lots of votes from the young the progressive and disenfranchised.

  • David Allen 12th Sep '15 - 1:06pm

    “Labour abdicates its responsibilities” – Sal Brinton

    Labour abdicated its responsibilities long ago – by allowing the running fight between Blair and Brown, and by allowing an incompetent leader in Ed Miliband to stay for five years and then lose the election. Choosing a flipflopper like Burnham or an opportunist like Cooper, with no real alternative to offer, would have been another abdication of responsibility. That’s why Corbyn, for all his faults, was the best choice Labour had. That’s why Brinton is now hitting a duff note.

  • Michelle Iles 12th Sep '15 - 1:06pm

    I’m actually very excited at the prospect of this new leadership and I wish Mr Corbyn good luck. It is clear that he has re-energised politics and has reached out to a lot of new voters, especially the young. I believe he will stand up to Cameron – and why not get behind him instead of resorting to this tedious sniping that shames politics? I am a party member but may consider switching to the Labour Party if things go well under Corbyn’s leadership – I for one am prepared to give him a chance. Nick Clegg was happy to stand in coalition with the Tories so why not just wait and see what actually happens once the cabinet has been formed?

  • Ruth Bright 12th Sep '15 - 1:16pm

    What a thoroughly curmudgeonly response from someone as lovely, positive, clever and inclusive as Sal. Disappointing.

  • Stephen Hesketh 12th Sep '15 - 1:16pm

    tony dawson 12th Sep ’15 – 12:46pm
    “Did Tim ask Sal to comment at this juncture? Surely, this is his job at the moment?”

    An excellent question Tony!

    In the meantime, it is great to see the Liberal Democrats being led by a mainstream Liberal Democrat and the Labour Party being led by a Socialist. Fantastic!

    At last the electorate will once again have a proper political choice as opposed to having to choose between shades of managerial centrism and right wing empowered unfettered free market capitalism.

    Vive la difference, vive democracy.

  • paul barker 12th Sep '15 - 1:19pm

    On Corbyns mandate, he actually got the 1st preferences of just under half of the actual Labour members, his victory was entirely based on the votes of the £3 sign-ups. Half the members voted for someone else.
    Perhaps more important is the complete collapse of Trade Union participation, from 200,000 in 2010 to 70,000 this time – about 1 in every 40 members of affiliated Unions. The far Left control of The Major Unions is based on tiny numbers of activists & a layer of Senior Staff.
    Labour Centrists are completely split over how to oppose Corbyn with The Common Good group opting to wait for him to fail while others want to begin the fight straight away. We will just have to wait & see.

  • @Ruth Bright
    “What a thoroughly curmudgeonly response from someone as lovely, positive, clever and inclusive as Sal. Disappointing.”

    I’m glad you said that. I’m a Labour voter and don’t expect Lib Dems to be saying nice things about Corbyn, but I thought it was just basic manners to be polite and respectful to opponents when they’ve either just (a) won an election, or (b) resigned. At least for half an hour, anyway!

  • “The Corbyn style of politics may generate a lot of noise but only one thing keeps Government in check – credible opposition.” – And the Lib Dems are that?

  • George Lund 12th Sep '15 - 1:33pm

    To John Marriott’s point about leaving a period of silence. Well we had to say something, and a statement by Sal, with all due respect, is not going to get much attention today. So I think maybe you have your wish!

    This election is fascinating not just for the space in politics it opens for our party, but because there’s now a chance for a wider range of policy ideas to be heard in general debate. The years of tedious focus group managerialism have stifled politics generally, not just the Labour Party.

  • I am hugely disappointed by Sal and Willie’s comments. There is a large section of the public thoroughly disengaged with party politics, and regardless of Corbyn’s credibility on many issues, he has suceeded in capturing the imagination of the young and the poor. I would hope for a much more positive constructive engagement with progressive forces in the weeks and months to come.

  • John Tilley 12th Sep '15 - 1:41pm

    As president of The Liberal Democrats Sal ought to represent the views of the members of our party.

    Putting out a statement of her very personal take on the Labour leadership election within minutes of the result being announced when she has not a clue how the majority of members of our party have reacted is not that helpful.
    What will the average potential Liberal Democrat voter think of what Ruth Bright correctly describes as a “curmudgeonly” reaction by the President of The Liberal Democrats?

    This premature Presidential statement in the immediate wake of Corbyn’s astonishing landslide victory is, to say the very least, “Ill-advised”.
    I am trying to be polite.

  • @John Marriott 12th Sep ’15 – 12:52pm
    “Just seen Mr Rennie’s comments. Let’s see how that goes down with Scottish voters next year.” – I think I know the answer to that, I think Mid Scotland and Fife gonna have a Green MSP instead of a Lib Dem.

  • Stephen Hesketh 12th Sep '15 - 1:59pm

    George Lund 12th Sep ’15 – 1:33pm
    “This election is fascinating not just for the space in politics it opens for our party, but because there’s now a chance for a wider range of policy ideas to be heard in general debate. The years of tedious focus group managerialism have stifled politics generally, not just the Labour Party.”

    Totally agree George – not to mention it placing far too much power in the hands of party leaders and their inner circles. As you suggest, this is not just a problem which has afflicted Labour.

    If this does represent the demise of focus group managerialism, democracy, the entire body politic, ordinary party members and citizens will all be the beneficiaries.

  • Dave Orbison 12th Sep '15 - 2:30pm

    I think Corbyn has stolen a march, not just on his political opponents within the Labour Party, but also other political parties. He is making the Labour Party more relevant and in tune with modern day politics. Michael Fallon’s appalling reaction to this is to say the Labour Party is a threat to national security. Nasty and offensive but I expect little from the Tories. This is another MacMillan v Wilson equivalent in UK politics.
    The response to this based on this piece is disappointing though not surprising. Given the trouncing in the GE I had hoped that LibDems would take stock and realign themselves. Sadly it appears not to be the case. In which case I think you should prepare yourselves to be seen as increasingly irrelevant by younger voters.

    If you think LibDems fortunes will improve by courting some disaffected and sulky Labour MP’s who are demonstrably out of touch with the membership of their Party and willing to turn their noses up to a democratic choice, then you are welcome to them. In the long run it will not serve the LibDems or those egotistical MP’s interests.

  • Denis Mollison 12th Sep '15 - 2:34pm

    Dear Sal and Willie

    Please don’t take this attitude!

    I’ve just reminded myself of Corbyn’s 10-point manifesto

    Most of these are clear policies I’d like to see in our next manifesto:
    – Growth not austerity [we MUST get away from neoliberal economics]
    – Action on climate change, a big house-building programme and controlling rents,
    – A foreign policy that prioritises justice and assistance,
    – Fully-funded NHS, integrated with social care, with an end to privatisation in health.
    – A life-long national education service for decent skills and opportunities, universal childcare, the abolition of student fees, restoring grants, and funding adult skills training.

    I’m sure there are points where we differ, e.g. I’d like to see a Green Investment Bank rather than the wider government takeover of banking Corbyn may be thinking of, and selective reform of railways and the energy sector rather than full renationalisation.

    But we should be taking a far more positive line, looking for issues on which we can work with Corbyn rather thatn joining the right-wing press in demonising him.

  • John Barrett 12th Sep '15 - 2:45pm

    sorry…after themselves, it should have said, I was amazed that they could not have come up with something much better.

  • Mick Taylor 12th Sep '15 - 3:01pm

    As a party we should not be wasting time talking about Labour and its new leader. It’s much more important to rebuild our party into a winning brand again. Nothing we do will change the direction of the Labour Party or its policies. A period of silence about the Labour leadership will be of far more use than crowing – very prematurely as it happens – or fooling ourselves into believing that Labour is finished. Mr Corbyn may well turn out to be poacher turned gamekeeper and a lot of the commenters on LDV risk being made to look very foolish.

  • Sal’s statement seems surprising and will be ignored, alas, because it will be seen – if at all – as an example of stale old soundbite attack politics, light on policy and heavy on invective. Especially unfortunate as Corbyn is getting attention today for saying he will turn that style inside out.

    By tbe way, please, where is our leader?

  • paul barker 12th Sep '15 - 3:13pm

    At some point we should make an open offer to Labour Centrists/Liberals to come & join us but not yet. Timing is going to be very tricky because right now most of the Labour moderates are still in denial – they think that as soon as Labour loses some Elections they will get their Party back. They are failing to grasp that The Left has shifted the ground on which debate takes place – winning Elections is going to be downgraded to a secondary aim, after building the mass movement.

    While the Labour Left are united behind Corbyn the moderates are divided & demoralised, we should be making friend but away from the headlines.

  • What I would have said (perhaps others can do better!):

    “I would like to congratulate Jeremy Corbyn in his victory in the Labour leadership contest. Jeremy is a respected parliamentarian who has stuck to his principles even when they were deeply unfashionable. His election shows the despair of the people at the bottom of society who have been left behind both by New Labour and the Tories. Liberal Democrats joined the coalition with the Tories at a time of deep economic crisis, when stable government was essential above all else. We did our best to protect the poor and disadvantaged, but it was not enough. Now we are seeing the true, unrestrained colours of the Tories: benefit cuts for children, cutting of environmental initiatives, erosion of human rights, half-hearted support for refugees and axing of vital economic development in the north of England. A strong opposition to these Tory ideas is essential, and we hope Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party will now join with us in opposition rather than abstaining on key votes.

    There are many areas of policy where we disagree with Jeremy Corbyn. A return to the command economy and Labour paternalism is not the answer. But where we agree with his policies, we will work with him, not against him.”

  • John Tilley 12th Sep '15 - 3:30pm

    Paul barker
    Your statement — “his victory was entirely based on the votes of the £3 sign-ups.
    Half the members voted for someone else.”
    is simply misleading.

    BBC News is presenting the facts of the actual breakdown of voting for Corbyn rather differently from you —

    Are you suggesting they have got it wrong?

    How can these figures represent anything other than an impressive mandate for the new Labour Leader?

    How can you not understand that Corbyn got. — 49.6% of the votes of longtime members; 83.8% of the votes of registered supporters; 57.6% of the votes of affiliated supporters?

    To get 49.6 % of first preferences in an election is not to lose as you seem to be suggesting. If you do not understand the counting of votes preferential voting systems there are lots of Liberal Democrats who would happily explain it to you.

    Trying to “spin” this result as anything other than a stunning victory for Corbyn is not going to fool any Labour supporters into defecting and joining the Liberal Democrats.

    My guess is one of the reasons Corbyn won by a landslide is that he represented an end to the age of Blairism and Spin.

  • Well said AndrewMcC.. My thoughts exactly.

    As Dave Orbison has commented above, the reaction of Michael Fallon (and Priti Patel’s) to the democratic decision of over half a million labour supporters was appalling. That is to be expected from Tory ministers, but Liberal Democrat spokespersons should not be stooping to the kind of nonsense that just alienates anyone with half-a-brain.

  • Denis Mollison 12th Sep '15 - 3:42pm

    Paul Barker / Simon Shaw

    Jeremy Corbyn is in many respects closer to Lib Dem values than the so-called “Labour moderates”

  • Denis Mollison 12th Sep '15 - 3:50pm

    Simon Shaw – what is it in Corbyn’s 10-point manifesto that you disagree with? I agree that he would very likely implement these points in too much of a big government / socialist way, but what else is wrong with them?

  • Eddie Sammon 12th Sep '15 - 4:07pm

    Conservative attack lines are stronger. They are making defence as much a part of the attack lines, if not more so, than economics. It is why they wheeled out Michael Fallon to give the first official Tory verdict.

    Tories are still weak on public services and public sector jobs and wages though.

  • Denis Mollison 12th Sep '15 - 4:22pm

    Simon Shaw

    Oh, for goodness sake! That `describes genocidal terrorist movements as his “friends”’ is a ridiculous smear, referring as I understand it to his being polite to Hamas delegates at a a meeting. I strongly disapprove of Hamas’s methods, but then I strongly disapprove of Netanyahu’s government too. You have to talk to both sides if you want any hope of middle east peace.

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th Sep '15 - 4:54pm

    Oh dear. Looks like we as a party (or at least our leaders) are now in round 2 of demonstrating “What not to do”.

  • Simon McGrath 12th Sep '15 - 5:06pm

    Glad to see Sal and Tim see the huge opportunity which has opened up. Tim said on Twitter “libdems will stand in the liberal space in British politics. Compassionate & socially just but also economically competent & pro business”

  • Conor McGovern 12th Sep '15 - 5:11pm

    If we carry on with triangulating attacks like this, we’ll become (remain?) completely irrelevant to political conversation in Britain. As some have posted above, Jeremy Corbyn’s stances on austerity, green investment, civil liberties etc are popular and in tune with many Lib Dems’ views. I’m also sick of hearing the media call him ‘left-wing’ in a disparaging sense when a) Labour are meant to be left-wing and b) his proposals are fairly moderate (e.g. addressing tax evasion and poverty) and would’ve been widely seen as moderate only a generation ago. No wonder people voted for him when they see a series of slick politicians like Blair and Cameron – they want someone who means what they say and has some actual beliefs rather than meaningless platitudes.

  • Peter Hayes 12th Sep '15 - 5:12pm

    Well said AndrewMcC.. My thoughts exactly.

    In the SW we need to get back the Con/LibDem marginals and that means attracting those that left us between 2010 and 2015 going to Labour or Green (not certain about UKIP, how many were none of the above?) working with them on common values might just mean we can again campaign on ‘only the LibDems can beat the Tories here’ with hope it might work. My fear is Corbyn has a mix of policies that might increase the Labour vote whilst still letting the Tories in.

  • Conor McGovern 12th Sep '15 - 5:14pm

    Simon McGrath – yes we need to highlight our belief in social justice and economic credibility, but the main issue here is attacking a moderate socialist who wants a fairer Britain when the real enemy is the extreme austerity of George Osborne, is it not?

  • Dave Orbison 12th Sep '15 - 5:28pm

    Simon Shaw “I’m really not interested in what he says in a manifesto (which I assume is intended to gain, rather than lose, votes).

    You say you worked in Liverpool in the 1980’s. My family are from Liverpool and I grew up close by. I saw a council (broader than represented in the Media) actually build houses that were needed until shamelessly outlawed by a vindictive Thatcher Govt. Councillors (not all Militant by any means) barred from holding office for simply trying to meet a social need. No crime in my book. As for “I’m not interested in what he [Corbyn] says”. How grown up is that? I profoundly disagree with everything the Tory MP’s stand for but supported David Davies in his stance against erosion of civil liberties. I did not care that he was a Tory – surely it’s policy that matters. The rest of the slur against Corbyn the man, is frankly rather pathetic. If you think attacking the person rather than examining the policies is the ‘right way forward fro LibDem’s sobeit’. I prefer adult politics PS I did vote LIBDEm in 2010 – seems like a universe in distance to where the rump of the LibDems are heading. Presumably the Greens will fill the vacuum you seem so determined to create..

  • Completely agree with Denis Mollison and John Barrett. Disappointed with the comments of Sal Brinton and Willie Rennie. I’m sorry, because I have a great regard for both of them. A more reflective approach would have been better.

    Denis Mollison makes the important point about looking directly at Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto – instead of believing all the demonising coming from the Tories and their parrot chums in the Tory press..

    Many Liberal Democrats will agree with much of what Corbyn says. The only nationalisation is the railways and the big six energy companies – which is supported by 68% of the public in YouGov polls. Quantitive Easing for industrial development has echoes of Lloyd George’s yellow book and not spending £ 100 billion to replace Trident would make a big dent in the deficit (Tory profligacy with public funds when it suits) . The Trident debate and vote at Bournemouth will be interesting.

    @ Simon Shaw says, “I’m really not interested in what he (Corbyn) says in a manifesto”.

    I wonder if Simon, as an accountant, could research the ownership of the railway and big six energy companies ? He could then tell us what percentage are already nationalised – not in the UK – but in France, Holland, Denmark and Germany (to which they export profits based on subsidies by the British taxpayer).

  • David Pollard 12th Sep '15 - 5:38pm

    Under no circumstances must the LibDems be influenced by the Media and the Westminster bubble. Corbyn has struck a chord by being himself. His views are left wing but there has been a need for Labour not to be some pale imitation of the Tories. Now that the ‘bird of liberty’ has a left wing and a right wing, instead of two right wings, the opportunity to fly is there. The first objective has to be to deprive Cameron of his majority (its only 12) by endless opposition. LibDems can support Labour on the ‘fair society’ agenda, which is where Cameron is weakest. How we deal with the economy can come later, and there we will diverge from Labour.

  • I note that those, who for 5 years urged us to “stick with Nick”, are still unable to move from an isolationist “LibDems alone” doctrine even if, apart from ‘Mom and apple pie” generalisations, they have no real idea of how to engage with the electorate…

  • Little Jackie Paper 12th Sep '15 - 6:20pm

    Shaw – ‘But Corbyn isn’t a moderate anything. He displays all the attributes of the extremist Hard Left.’

    Can you elaborate on this? Not getting at you. Serious question.

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th Sep '15 - 6:24pm

    David Pollard

    Under no circumstances must the LibDems be influenced by the Media and the Westminster bubble. Corbyn has struck a chord by being himself. His views are left wing but there has been a need for Labour not to be some pale imitation of the Tories.

    Indeed. Corbyn has demonstrated that by people getting together and voting they CAN change things, they CAN turn politics in a different direction, it isn’t necessarily the case that the establishment always wins. That is what we used to be about. Now we are seen as part of the political establishment, joining in with the outrage with our noses stuck in the air, “How DARE people disagree with us, who do they think they are”.

    There are a lot of things Corbyn says and has said that I disagree with, but I welcome his rise as re-balancing politics so that there is a wider spectrum of opinions being expressed, and some ideas which we had hardly heard for years are now being suggested again. Doesn’t mean I agree with them, but isn’t that part of what being a liberal is about – welcoming free speech and political debate?

    The establishment attacks on Corbyn just assume he is so wrong that you don’t have to challenge his actual arguments, just issue general abuse at him. Well, that seem to have been helpful in his rise. As with the SNP previously, the more the political establishment combined to condemn them, the better they did in making it an “us against the establishment” fight.

    I think we should welcome him with courtesy, and criticise his policies civilly, when he comes up with firm ones, as most of what he is doing is just hand-waving, making suggestions, which need debating, even of that debate in the end shows why they will not work.

    It is said his sort of policies were rejected in the 1980s, but if we go back to what people thought then, what the Conservatives stand for now would then be considered as lunatic right-wing. It looks very bad that we could work with them civilly, but cannot extend the same to their opposite balancing force.

  • Little Jackie Paper 12th Sep '15 - 6:27pm

    John Marriott – an important point. It is far from theoretical that we will have a Corbyn+Cameron platform on the EU within 12 months.

    The EU referendum will be a real test for all parties. For CON, they will have to walk the line between one-nation conservatives and corporatist conservatives. For Labour the whole social EU vs ‘bankers EU’ will be a painful split. The LDP may yet need to reconcile itself to the idea that starry-eyed pro-EU thinking really doesn’t resonate. That won’t come easily

    Indeed, it is one of the oddities at the moment. Corbyn is probably as close to a Eurosceptic as LAB would elect, and Cameron is probably as pro-EU as a Con leader can be.

  • paul barker 12th Sep '15 - 6:29pm

    Can I suggest that people who think Corbyn is a moderate do some basic research ? They could look up the idea of Transitional Demands for example. Putting it crudely, you make demands which look reasonable on the surface but which would lead to explosive consequences which can then be blamed on the enemy. Nationalisation either means spending lots of money or breaking the Law by not paying any compensation. What starts out looking reasonable ends in confrontation.
    People could also look at the groups backing Corbyn like Socialist Action or The Alliance for Workers Liberty. Or you could just go on some Labour sites & look at the comment threads. In fact I would reccomend hanging out on Labour sites anyway, its educational.

  • Little Jackie Paper 12th Sep '15 - 6:31pm

    Huntbach – I don’t disagree with anything you say there. But I just find it very hard to avoid seeing in Corbyn what the LDP saw with, ‘Cleggmania.’ Corbyn has marched a lot of troops to the top of the hill and my feeling is that they won’t stand for much in the way of any perceived climb-down.

    Time will tell of course.

  • So let me get this straight, the Lib Dems who are moderate and not at all radical, but like to claim they are radical, are having a go at someone for actually being what they like to pretend they are?

  • @John Tilley

    I think Labour supporters were very tired of the “Labour Party” no longer sticking up for the working class! The clue is in the name of the party.

    And of course you are correct – in a 4-way contest 49.6% is a stunning victory and only Tim Farron amongst our MP’s did better (in his constituency). There is no doubt that had transfers been necessary, Corbyn would have won the vote amongst members…

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th Sep '15 - 6:58pm

    Little Jackie Shaw

    Can you elaborate on this? Not getting at you. Serious question.

    There is every reason to get at him. The line “Corbyn’s politics are so bad, we don’t need to go onto details, just denounce him” is so arrogant.

    Those acting like this sound like the Communists in the old USSR and other such countries, when they had become the comfortable establishment decades after the revolution, still fighting the old battles, still denouncing those who disagreed with them as “counter-revolutionaries”, in effect saying “the political choice that was made when we came to power can never be reversed”.

    So, sure there was a shift to the political right in the 1980s and a certain sort of economic assumption, re-affirmed by the Blairites in the 1990s. But just as people ought to have had the right to say “No, we don’t want communism any more”, shouldn’t people have the right to say “No, we don’t want Thatcherite economics any more”?

    Corbyn is simplistic yes, but he’s got in because he was the first to speak out against the acceptance of the Thatcherite revolution as permanent and un-reversible. The Liberal Democrats gave the indication of having fully accepted that revolution with the Coalition and some of what the leadership said at that time – and what the two leading figures quoted here are saying. Maybe we as a party could have done a better job than Corbyn at proposing a path to reverse that revolution, now its shortcomings are so apparent. But we’ve left it too late, unless we very smartly reverse the image that those two quoted were putting across: sad moderate collaborators with the old revolutionaries who went along with them when they became the establishment for the sake of a quiet life in a minor supporting role. Mostly that sort are wiped out when the counter-revolution happens.

  • @David Hayes “we can again campaign on ‘only the LibDems can beat the Tories here’ with hope it might work. ”

    Never again should we use that failed strategy, which was shown up do badly when we went into coalition

  • @DavidW
    “So let me get this straight, the Lib Dems who are moderate and not at all radical, but like to claim they are radical, are having a go at someone for actually being what they like to pretend they are?”

    Well quite – after years of criticising Labour for having bland leaders who don’t believe in much… you can fill in the rest.

    Tim Farron’s tweeted response to Corbyn’s victory is exactly the same kind of thing Clegg was saying again and again and again during the election campaign – vote for us, we’re the wishy-washy central position between the other two. And that worked so well, didn’t it?

    What I find particularly interesting, as a Labour voter who has read LDV with interest for five years, is that so many of Corbyn’s views chime with the main preoccupations of many Lib Dems who write here – things like Iraq, immigration, equality issues, social inequality. Yet many Lib Dems seem to have convinced themselves that there is going to be a one-way flow of voter traffic from Corbyn to Farron from this point on. They haven’t even considered the possibility that some may go the other way. I think these people are in for a surprise, because Lib Dem voters at large are probably not nearly as interested in labels like “authoritarian” and (funny and quaint this one) “socialist” as the activists here are. Back when the Lib Dems were campaigning in election after election for a bigger state than the one Labour were offering, voters flocked to your party in droves compared to now.

  • Harry Perkins 12th Sep '15 - 7:09pm

    Oh dear, I thought Ms Brinton’s response shows her party has now faced up to losing the young, radical, student and protest vote. This is ground that the Lib Dems once stole a march on but the line taken today shows you won’t be getting that crowd back anytime soon. Still in coalition mode? Pleased to see others agree with me that it was a poor response.

  • re. the EU referendum:

    I think the pro-EU campaign (whatever the latest question is… Remain??) will be very depressing, like the “better together” campaign, centering on economic arguments and fear of the unknown.

    Personally I think the Liberal Democrats should occupy a position on the more idealistic and perhaps “emotional” side of the EU debate. A counterpoint to UKIP at the opposite end of the spectrum, with their “we just don’t like foreigners” approach. This did not work when Nick Clegg tried it in his debates with Farage, but no-one was prepared to listen to him. And we have to remember that despite this, Clegg managed to get 36% and 31% approval in the two debates. I think Tim Farron will do much better than Nick Clegg on this, but he has to keep away from Cameron… I do not see Cameron and Corbyn sharing a platform and we need to be sure that if so, Cameron and Farron do not do so!

    I think if we can be seen as pro-European for positive rather than negative reasons, we should get some benefit. It is perfectly possible to say “we really believe in the EU but the British government should be engaging in Europe to change the CAP” of course.

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th Sep '15 - 7:11pm

    Little Jackie Paper

    Huntbach – I don’t disagree with anything you say there. But I just find it very hard to avoid seeing in Corbyn what the LDP saw with, ‘Cleggmania.’ Corbyn has marched a lot of troops to the top of the hill and my feeling is that they won’t stand for much in the way of any perceived climb-down.

    Yes, perhaps. But if that’s so, we just need to sit back and wait until his weaknesses become evident.

    I do think the people of this country want a big change in the way politics and economics works. Right now, Corbyn seems to be offering it, and the more he is denounced by those seen as “the establishment”, the better he will look.

    Argue with him civilly, talk about his ideas, ask him searching questions, but don’t take the approach that he is so extreme that you don’t need to argue with him, all you need is to abuse him. Remember what happened to the Green Party in the 2015 general election? They weren’t denounced as extremists, but I think they really fell flat when it became clear their leader had no real answers to a few obvious searching questions. To some extent, also Clegg in 2010. If Labour and the Conservatives had joined together to denounce him as so wrong he was unacceptable, he was a danger, it would probably have done him good. It was the civil arguments in the second and third televised debates which revealed him to be not quite the superstar with all the solutions that he seemed at first.

  • John Tilley 12th Sep '15 - 7:13pm

    Simon Shaw
    If you spend your time reading what Conservative Home says about Jeremy Corbyn it is not surprising that you are repeating some of their less enlightened stuff.

    I don’t know who you worked with in Liverpool in the 1980s but I think you will find that the age analysis of Labour members/supporters voting for Corbyn indicates that a large number were not even born in the 1980s.

    I have criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn, he has never pretended to be a Liberal Democrat, but the evidence of the political causes that he has supported over the years indicates that there countless areas of overlap with Liberal Democrats.

    Within 3 hours of becoming Labour Leader he was speaking to the thousands of people who had marched through London saying REFUGEES WELCOME.
    A clear indication if you wanted one of his priorities and entirely in line with what Tim Farron and Paddy Ashdown have been saying in recent weeks.

  • @John Tilley Paul is correct. Over 50%, ie half, of the members voted for someone else. £3 Affiliates and Trades Unionists voted overwhelmingly for Corbyn.

  • Little Jackie Paper 12th Sep '15 - 7:18pm

    AndrewMcC – But this is almost the precise problem. There really isn’t much by way of a working class nowadays. At least not in any sense of that term that my grandparents (coal miners and cotton workers) would have understood. It may well be comfortable to think of ourselves as the moral, political and ideological descendants of some over-romanticised salt-of-the-earth working classes. Frankly to my mind much of it is prolier-than-thou internet guff. If you are owning property/paying a mortgage, driving a car, taking foreign holidays and so on then you are not working class in any classic sense. I make no value judgment here on these social trends – I simply observe here that ever more, to my mind, the idea of a working class is little more than an hangover from days gone by.

    How many of the, ‘working class,’ that you have in mind have joined an active trade union?

    Think what you like about Blair, he at least understood that the idea of a Labour Party in the modern age can not rest on what the working class was like decades ago. Arguably Cameron’s attempts to pitch the Conservatives as working class are him using old terminology to describe new trends. There are now other, emerging divides in society and it’s not clear to me that the mainstream parties are well placed to adapt.

    ‘Sticking up for the working class,’ might enthuse a lot of people at meetings but we’re in a much more complex society now, for good or for ill. It’s not that straightforward any more.

    I wish Corbyn well, but ultimately he is now in the game of government, not politics. The two are not the same. It has to stack up electorally and I just don’t see it.

  • Simon,

    Ah! thread migration!

    BTW do you agree or disagree that funding for HMRC should be increased by £1 billion not decreased, in order to raise £20 billion minimum in evaded or avoided taxes?

    I agree that Corbyn makes wild assumptions but the Tories are being really half-hearted on this as well (probably because of donations from their “friends”)

    BTW the party that should be REALLY worried about Corbyn is the Green Party. This business of funding huge giveaways using this £120 billion was the entirety of their manifesto. I expect Corbyn to win over quite a few UKIP votes as well… So my short-term prediction is that in the polls Labour will go up to 40% and the Greens and UKIP will both go down… We may or may go up slightly but I don’t think many of our remaining supporters are Corbynistas, so I don’t expect we will go down. That could put us back in a clear third place in England and in an improved position in Scotland relative to the Greens…

  • Little Jackie Paper 12th Sep '15 - 7:29pm

    Huntbach – ‘Yes, perhaps. But if that’s so, we just need to sit back and wait until his weaknesses become evident.’

    My guess is that that is what Cameron will be doing. Corbyn will get himself in a tangle. People often forget that IDS as CON leader actually went along quite nicely for a good length of time. He just got himself into a tangle on a number of issues.

    ‘I do think the people of this country want a big change in the way politics and economics works.’

    That might well be true. But as I suspect Corbyn will demonstrate, wanting change is one thing. Agreeing on what that change is is quite another.

  • Little Jackie Paper 12th Sep '15 - 7:31pm

    AndrewMcC – ‘ I expect Corbyn to win over quite a few UKIP votes as well…’


  • LJP

    I was pointing out what had enthused Labour party members and strong supporters – the people who just voted…

    Perhaps there is no longer a working class, but there is very much a “disadvantaged class”. These are the zero-hours contract workers, the unemployed, the millions in the public sector whose wages have been squeezed, the council tenants AND the private tenants with no hope of ever buying their house and no hope of a pension big enough to carry on paying the rent when they retire.

    This is still a very significant part of the electorate – the problem for Labour is that they are far too concentrated in the safe Labour seats in the northern half of England, Wales and Scotland, and in parts of London… I am sure the Labour Party electorate is dominated by these places where people see every day the real consequences of Tory policies…. Our vote in these places is now derisory, where in many cases it used to be strong…

  • @Simon Shaw
    “You’ll find a more detailed explanation on both of these on another of todays’s threads:

    That thread is certainly worth reading for Simon’s amusing insistence that rail subsidies are not really subsidies – and that’s just one of many peaches to be found there.

  • @Simon Shaw
    “Tell me, Stuart, as a Labour supporter yourself, do you agree with Corbyn’s plan to increase rail fares and air fares by cutting what he calls ‘subsidies and tax breaks’?”

    I’m happy to engage with you on this one Simon. Just give me a link to the Corbyn plan you refer to, and I’ll respond to it.

  • I don’t get how Corbyn’s election shows somehow a rejection of liberalism. Surely Corbyn’s voting record on traditional “liberal” voting issues such as detention without trial, ID cards is not that dissimilar to Lib Dems in past?

  • Simon,

    It is just as important to get avoided taxes as evaded taxes, although getting avoided taxes requires changes in the law to close loopholes. A better funded HMRC would allow these loopholes to be closed.. We need a big simplification in the tax system to close these loopholes… I would start with Import duties, where “peaked caps, woollen, felted” could easily have a different rate from “peaked caps, knitted, woollen” and the the rules run to hundreds of pages. Replacing that by one rate of import duty for everything would close thousands of loopholes and save loads of time and money for freight companies, importers and HMRC.

    Anyway, I would increase funding to HMRC by £1 billion to see what happens, and cut it again if it did not work.. In the realm of risks it is nothing compared with what banks and pension funds are doing…

  • LJP

    Yes, many UKIP voters used to vote Labour (just one example of many pieces on this…)

    Quite a few used to vote Liberal Democrat… It is a protest vote

  • Stephen Hesketh 12th Sep '15 - 8:20pm

    Simon McGrath 12th Sep ’15 – 5:06pm
    [[Glad to see Sal and Tim see the huge opportunity which has opened up. Tim said on Twitter “libdems will stand in the liberal space in British politics. Compassionate & socially just but also economically competent & pro business]]

    Yes, I was pleased Tim mentioned the Liberal space and not some make believe centre ground so beloved of Blair and Clegg and, of course with very best interests of the British people at heart, the Tory-supporting media.

    The Liberal Democrat approach to being pro-business should include support for businesses built on ethical and socially, environmentally and economically sustainable values and practices.

    Ultimately a full bodied dog eat dog unfettered free market model is unlikely to be worker, consumer, community, nation or competition friendly. As a Liberal Democrat I see absolutely no reason to support such businesses.

  • David Allen 12th Sep '15 - 8:24pm

    The BBC reports just about all the party leaders congratulating Corbyn on his election – including even Cameron – but not the Liberal Democrats, who win the prize for curmudgeonly behaviour!

  • Stuart,

    I think Tim’s tweet was fine – no mention of Corbyn. I daresay he is keeping his powder dry for his conference speech

    I was very pleased to see he was at the “refugees welcome” march today as well, along with Corbyn and Bennett. That is a good signal to send in my opinion. What do you think?

  • George Kendall 12th Sep '15 - 8:41pm

    Matthew Huntbach
    “I think we should welcome him with courtesy, and criticise his policies civilly”


    There are still two threads open where we’ve been trying to do just that.

    And now I’m going to do a shameless plug…

    On ending austerity:

    And on the minimum wage and funding capital spending by printing money:

    These discussions are still ongoing, if anyone wants to join us.

  • @TCO Over 50%, ie half, of the members voted for someone else. £3 Affiliates and Trades Unionists voted overwhelmingly for Corbyn.

    50% on the first round in an AV election with 4 candidates is pretty solid victory itself. If it had just been a head to head vs any one of the other 3 with only the full members voting he could probably have beaten 56% of the vote.

  • This is DREADFUL. “Party of the centre-ground”? How thoroughly depressing. “Pie in the Sky economics”? After being Little Boy Echo on austerity? This is why nobody likes us and we got killed at the last election….

  • @Simon Shaw
    QED? In your first point you claim that Corbyn is going to invest more money in transport, then in point 4 you, er, say he’s going to take money away from transport. How am I supposed to comment on that?

    When Corbyn actually does come up with a plan, let me know.

    “I was very pleased to see he was at the ‘refugees welcome’ march today as well, along with Corbyn and Bennett. That is a good signal to send in my opinion. What do you think?”

    I totally agree. I’ll put my cards on the table – my main concern is to see the Tories out of power, and if the other parties could find more common ground, I’d be very happy. As I mentioned earlier, there are many key issues where Corbyn’s views are very much in line with Lib Dems (if LDV writers are anything to go by) – in a few cases, arguably more so than Tim Farron. Obviously there are massive differences as well, but on those key issues at least, it would be downright odd if Farron did not work constructively with Corbyn – much to the annoyance of people like Simon and Joe Otten no doubt.

  • Dave Orbison 12th Sep '15 - 9:30pm

    Earlier today I heard the prepared Tory lines of Corbyn wanting to destroy national security of the UK. On Monday they introduce the Trade Union Bill requiring ‘leaders to wear armbands and give their details to the police’. Presumably the armbands will have red triangles as the Nazi handed out to trade unionists 60 years ago.

    But some of the stuff on here the comments are not that much different. Using the terms ‘Hard Left, bonkers and all the ‘reds under the beds stuff’ is so ill judged in my opinion. There are many areas of policy where LibDems and a Corbyn-led Labour Party will have common ground. Almost half a million people voted and by any measure Corbyn, despite the most hostile and one-sided press coverage, won a virtual landslide. Rather than relying on selective comments from newspapers re what’s attributable to Corbyn wouldn’t it be better to keep your powder dry and wait and see what he actually comes out with now he has been elected. I wish the LibDems well. I think a third party is healthy but I’m happy to say I have rejoined the Labour Party this evening. I do have faith in Corbyn. I believe him to be honest and to have integrity. Given the reaction of some LibDems, I do not not see a future for the party as it seems the reality of political events is beyond them. It must be the height of irony that the LibDem leadership is taking pot shots at Corbyn for being ‘radical’ and dare I say not a clone of the plastic, professional politician that we have seen ‘rise to the top’ of all parties in the last twenty years or so. Good luck, you’ll need it. Or, and here’s a thought, rather than arguing with the Orange-bookers for the next five years, those who remain in denial and are philosophically ‘warmer’ to the Tories,simply jump ship and join Labour. I know many will recoil at the suggestion but just imagine if Corbyn could change the party so that members, not endless Conferences who’s decisions’ are overlooked at the whim of the Leader, decide policy. You could vote in a party led by a Leader who is actually radical and who clearly listens to ordinary members. Maybe it would be a gamble but lets face it there is greater chance there is achieving something than working for the next five years hoping the LibDems may win what, five or en more MP’s at the next election? Just a thought.

  • John Tilley 12th Sep '15 - 9:40pm

    Jeremy Corbyn has just pulled  off a double victory for his party.  
    He has boosted the number of members and registered supporters to more than 500,000. 
    He has won the first ever one person one vote leadership election in the Labour Party.

    251,417 first preference votes were cast for Corbyn.

    Just to provide some context – 
    the result of the election for our party president in November of last year —

    First preference votes – SAL BRINON ———- 7,865
    Final  result — SAL BRINTON elected with — 10,188 votes.


  • nvelope2003 12th Sep '15 - 9:50pm

    The party leaders should have confined themselves to congratulating Jeremy Corbyn on his splendid victory – anything else just sounds petty. His supporters do seem very middle class though and those people from more working class backgrounds who were interviewed by the media seemed rather hostile to him, considering him a relic from the distant past. No doubt they are like the workers who abandoned the Co-op when Tesco came along as it seemed more up to date. I suppose this just shows how middle class our society has become. As regards the £3 supporters I wonder how long they will stick around after giving Jeremy 93% support ? Polly Toynbee has already commented that none of the new supporters actually showed up at the first meeting of their local party despite phone calls and other invitations.

    It all sounds a bit like the Clegg mania of 2010 and what happened to that ? People might be having a trying time but none looked as though they were actually struggling. It all seemed like a jolly jape to ease a guilty conscience for those who already have quite a lot. This has certainly shaken things up and a good thing too, but sadly I do not think it will help the Liberal Democrats much as long as Corbyn mania can be sustained and it might last quite a while yet. Those on here who were so dismissive of his chances have shown themselves rather out of touch with the nation’s current almost revolutionary mood. Maybe people are just bored like France in 1848 ? Tired of the same thing and craving fun and excitement. They might not feel quite the same if it all goes badly wrong.

    The Corbyn brothers do not believe in climate change according to Jeremy’s meteorologist brother interviewed on Sky News. This no doubt explains his wish to re-open the coal mines.

  • I am very disappointed in Sal Brinton’s reaction. I think it reflects very badly on her and shows that the Party lacks leaders who are statesmanlike when the occasion demands it. Charlie Kennedy would have instinctively found the right words.

  • I’ve no idea whether Jeremy agrees with any of his brother Piers’s oddball beliefs on climate change, but one thing does seem to unite them. They are serial rebels, happier opposing the status quo than proposing any meaningful alternative.. I’ve followed Piers’s career for many years. He has evolved from a mildly madcap amateur meteorologist with some interesting ideas to a swivel-eyed apologist for fossil fuels whose meteorological ramblings become ever more bonkers. His forecast record, it goes without saying, is laughable. This is what worries me about the otherwise quite likeable Jeremy. He’s never showed any evidence he can compromise or hold a team together. And policies like reopening the coal mines are almost piers-esque. He seems to love nothing more than being the Lone Ranger. It’s not a good approach for someone who could / should be making a case to be the next prime minister.

    By contrast the conservatives seem to manage to keep their more bonkers side under wraps most of the time, and use it in policy rather than discourse. More damaging to the country but less to their electoral chances. It’s going to be a disaster, and the biggest beneficiaries (alongside, of course, the invincible SNP who would somehow have benefited even if Labour had elected Jesus) will be the Tories.

  • Andrew McC

    “I think Tim’s tweet was fine – no mention of Corbyn. I daresay he is keeping his powder dry..”

    Perhaps. There was an earlier JC who had an apposite remark to make:

    “He who is not with us, is against us”

    If we are not willing to stand to the left, we shall assuredly be identified as staying where Clegg located us – Embedded on the Right.

  • Well, on a quiet sunday morning I’ve read through the thread…Rather depressing that some have so much time on their hands to hunt back years to find ‘sticks’ to beat Corbyn…. It’s so gratifying to find posters willing, even eager to go so far as to directly quote from Conservative Home on the subject….
    Corbyn has won an astounding victory; like it or not he leads the biggest party opposing the Tories. Now it’s up to us.

    Will we support him on opposing the Tory trade union bill; on Tax Credits; on opposing military action in Syria; on Trident, etc…..tor will we continue to, I’ll unashamedly use Mr. Huntbach’s, “Na, etc”….

  • The Labour Party, and not just Corbyn, have given us some space which we should not fill with superficial sloganising. While Labour set up their own distractions (again) we should welcome that as a helpful backdrop to sorting out our own priorities. Hopefully we can do this while understanding our own constitution better than many of those who voted for Labour’s latest version!

  • Stephen Hesketh 13th Sep '15 - 8:45am

    AndrewMcC 12th Sep ’15 – 7:21pm
    “BTW the party that should be REALLY worried about Corbyn is the Green Party. This business of funding huge giveaways using this £120 billion was the entirety of their manifesto. ”

    I agree Andrew, in my experience and that of others I have spoken to, many Green members are/were radical green socialists. It will be interesting to see what has happened to them. Corbyn’s plans to reopen coal mines will not sit comfortably with the greener ones but it might just also result in the more liberal greens being in a stronger position. With green and sustainable values being high on Tim’s stated personal values, this could lead to some interesting collaborations.

    I welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s victory. Not only is it an amazing achievement for him personally but it also offers all the non-Conservative parties an opportunity to more clearly and honestly define themselves in the new political landscape instead of the bankrupt response of the progressive parties variously ‘positioning’ themselves on an ever-rightward shifting patch of ‘centre ground’.

    For our party this represents a genuine opportunity to set out a mainstream Liberal Democrat agenda and to find common cause with others where these collaborations are likely to result in Liberal and Democratic outcomes.

  • @Simon Shaw
    “In your first point you claim that Corbyn is going to invest more money in transport, then in point 4 you, er, say he’s going to take money away from transport. How am I supposed to comment on that?”

    Well he’s your Leader.

    If you think that he cannot be trusted on fiscal matters, and will say whatever he thinks will pander to special interest groups, then I’d agree with you.

    I was thinking more along the lines that you’d made the whole thing up – apparently the only way you can prove that Corbyn is “dishonest” is by inventing things he hasn’t actually said, which is entertaining if nothing else.

  • @Simon Shaw
    “The way I see it it’s as if the Conservative party elected Peter Bone as their next Leader. Would we have the same people coming on here and saying ‘You mustn’t criticise him, it’s a democratic process with X hundred thousand people taking part.'”

    For one thing, Tory leadership elections are much less of a democratic process.

    But really, there’s no similarity between Bone and Corbyn. Try naming a couple of substantive issues, of the type most Lib Dems really care about, where Bone thinks the same as the Lib Dems.

    Regarding the Rob Marchant article you quote – I actually agree with the gist of it, though I think he’s exaggerating a little. Corbyn will be an electoral disaster for Labour – looking at it from a purely Labour/Tory perspective. What I still don’t get, however, is why you or anybody else thinks this represents an “opportunity” for the Lib Dems, when the strong electoral evidence from a few months ago indicates the opposite. Corbyn’s victory could turn out to be just as bad for the Lib Dems as it is for Labour, and is only good news for those who are comfortable with untouchable Tory rule for a generation. Are you in that category?

  • @Simon
    “What I’ve actually done is demonstrate that Corbyn is politically dishonest”

    Which you’ve done by blatantly making stuff up. I thought it was only Americans who were supposed to have no sense of irony.

    “Corbyn is politically dishonest – and more so than any other politician I can think of”

    He hasn’t done anything remotely dishonest. Whether you agree with the Murphy and Farnsworth’s research or not, they are respected men in their fields and their research is highly detailed and in the public domain. Disagreeing with somebody’s conclusions does not make them “dishonest”. You are showing really poor form here.

  • I am closer to Simon on a lot of this than I often am.

    Firstly, this is not a democratic election. It is a perverse mixture between an electoral college and a ‘buy-a-vote-cheap’ rentacrowd. The Daily Mail today has maybe 6 different articles, a lot from Labour bigwigs (code for ‘has-beens) pulling JC to bits. The Labour Party will perform that self-immolatory task very well itself. Just remind yourselves that some of the people doing this hatchet job may be apparently closer politically to the Lib Dems than JC & co are but they are also very nasty people indeed. All I will say is that if we are at all tempted to join in this screaming mob ‘assassinating’ JC & co then we should make sure that any criticism is properly considered rather than ‘Yah boo’ and that it is also balanced the other way. Remember that the reason why so many people have coughed up a few quid to vote for JC is not because of any support for his detailed platform but because of the utter despair of a country where disparity of power and income is ever-increasing. for each hundred of these people there are thousands who feel broadly similar but less strongly.

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 11:22am

    @ Simon ” What I’ve actually done is demonstrate that Corbyn is politically dishonest – and more so than any other politician I can think of” Really?

    More dishonest than politicians that took cash for questions? More dishonest than those MP’s who committed perjury or perverted the course of justice? Or those that took cash for questions or for access? Or wait for it, signed a pledge about student grants and then committed an historic U-turn that contributed to the Party being decimated in terms of MP’s? Really?

    I get that you don’t like Corbyn – you clearly have issues with him. But the point I and others here have tried to make, is that perhaps we should just take one issue at a time and decide what the party position should be. Simply lambasting Corbyn ahead of any Parliamentary debate makes no sense at all. As it I accept it doesn’t for the Tories by the way. As for all the glee about Labour being unelectable… unlike others I do not profess to have a crystal ball. But let’s face it such comments are at best wishful thinking expressed by those who are just anti Corbyn. They may be right but they may be wrong – none of us know. That said, these same people were confident that Corbyn stood no chance he would come close to winning the Leadership vote. You would think that given the result, it may be time for a little humble pie.

  • @tony dawson
    “this is not a democratic election. It is a perverse mixture between an electoral college and a ‘buy-a-vote-cheap’ rentacrowd”

    No, it’s true one-person-one-vote: in what sense is it not?

    As for “buy-a-vote-cheap”: you’re not entirely wrong there, but you could say much the same about the Lib Dems, where memberships can be had for as little as £1 (for students), or a measly £6 for standard concessions.

    Are you arguing it is better to have these kinds of decisions made by a small number of people who can afford a large membership fee?

  • Dave Orbison 13th Sep '15 - 12:27pm

    @ Simon Wow I thought criminal dishonesty, you know with a trial and a jury and all that, as opposed to your differnce of opinion re policy may have caused you to doubt yourself just a bit. But I can see now that you are so right and anyone who voted to Corbyn have all been tricked and duped. Gosh he’s clever or could it be you are wrong? Go on admit it, you could be wrong could’t you? I am not saying you are but it’s a possibility no?

  • @Simon Shaw
    “I think it’s totally dishonest to claim there is this really easy way of paying off the deficit (which is what he does), and that it’s to use this claimed £120 billion from a ‘a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion’ and this claimed £93 billion from ‘tackling ‘corporate welfare’ and tax breaks for companies’.”

    Incorrect on all counts. Where does he say it’s “really easy”? Have you actually read the speech we;ve been discussing since yesterday?

    Why would Corbyn even NEED to find £213bn to eliminate the deficit, when the deficit at present is only around £70bn, and George Osborne assures us it will be zero by the time of the next election? What you are suggesting makes no sense – which is why Corbyn never said it.

    In fact, the tax gap is not even mentioned in the lengthy section of the speech where he talks about the deficit; he refers to it only when discussing “tax justice”, which I thought was a topic most Lib Dems were themselves interested in, but you appear not to be. (Incidentally, you can’t “pay off” a deficit; you pay off a debt.)

    “in what way is Farnsworth a ‘respected man in his field’?”

    “To be honest I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more criticism so far”

    Is the penny about to drop?

  • @Simon Shaw? Are you predicting that Corbyn will cost Labour votes at the General Election? If you’re predicting that, then I predict the opposite 😉

  • DavidW:

    I would not speak for Simon, but my prediction is that Corbyn will no longer be Labour leader by the next General Election so the question is academic (though if he were leader he certainly would lose votes)..

  • Peter Watson 13th Sep '15 - 2:46pm

    @Simon Shaw
    Most of the economic debate is over my head, but perhaps you could tell us about your qualifications, publications, experience, etc. that allow you to dismiss this Farnsworth chap in such an offhand manner.

  • I hope we can make common cause with Corbyn where a Lib/Lab joint front against the Tories is long overdue.

  • Meral Hussein-Ece 13th Sep '15 - 7:39pm

    I hesitate to contribute, but as someone who has known Jeremy for some 25 years, as my local MP, and while serving as an Islington councillor, the unedifying smears by the right wing media simply served to bolster his support, and his ability to recruit thousands of volunteers. He is a well respected & diligent constituency MP . I think a simple congratulations on his remarkable landslide victory would have been appropriate. Maybe the huge numbers joined the Labour Party to voted for him, because he is unspun, genuine, and what you see is what you get. He’s never deviated from his views. I don’t want to be labeled as ‘centre ground’ – whatever that is. If we are to be relevant, and appeal to a wider section of society., we have to be radical and distinctive. Perhaps we can wait and see what his priories and policies will be, before we respond. One thing is for sure, the UKs political landscape, will not be the same. Conviction politics is what more people seem to want.

  • So far I’ve heard that he is not going to play the yah boo of the HoC and give lots of people the chance to do PMQ. I’m liking his approach.

  • Simon
    I am very surprised you say you don’t know what LinkedIn is? It is a “social media” site focusing on professional networking. People are encouraged to post details of their cv / professional background, and share best practice.

  • @Meral Hussein-Ece
    Whilst I’m sure many people will see him as you describe, and I would not doubt his sincerity, I can only talk for myself. I am someone who has previously voted Labour (but not recently) and Lib Dem, but my options are now Lib Dem or abstain and will remain so as long as Corbyn is leader. It is not just his policies, as someone who is left of centre some of them, with tweaking, could be OK. For me it is about his past which he does not attempt to distance himself from.

    To expand, in the late 1980’s I lost a number of colleagues to the Terrorist organisation PIRA. I can totally accept that a negotiated end was required and have no real difficulty with the fact that Republican’s, including those with active terrorist histories are now part of the establishment of Northern Ireland and (if they were willing to take their seats) the UK.

    Clearly though with my past were I to live in Northern Ireland I would never be likely to vote Sinn Fein. Likewise, I will never vote for a party where the leader once took part in a minute’s silence for terrorists killed whilst attempting to murder civilians. Dealing with Terrorists is pragmatism, honouring them is not. He didn’t take part in one for my friends, 10 killed in a single day with a further lasting a month on life support before succumbing. He has recently refused to condemn IRA attacks against civilians during the “troubles”. He equates the actions of British Service Personnel to those of the PIRA, that will always be insulting to those who have served and those (including a large number of civilians) who were deliberately attacked by PIRA, their families and the families of those who have died.

    He will, in November, be expected to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, a service I took part in several times when a serviceman. He is not, in my opinion, fit to be there, his very presence is an insult to those who have given their lives for this country. If the reaction amongst my serving and former serving friends is typical (and I believe it will be), I am not alone in these thoughts.

  • David Mortensen 13th Sep '15 - 9:16pm

    @ Steve Way

    A very good post that sums up many of my own thoughts about Corbyn and why he’s unfit to be Leader of the Opposition let alone PM.

    We’ve heard a lot of nonsense from his apologists about how meeting with the likes of Hamas and Sinn Fein were sincere, genuine attempts to bring about some kind of peace settlement. First of all, any such agreement that doesn’t have high-level diplomatic or political involvement is worthless. Secondly, Corbyn didn’t break bread with these terrorists because they were his enemies and he wanted to reach some kind of accommodation with them; on the contrary, he met them precisely because they were his friends and he wanted to show solidarity with them. To the likes of Corbyn, terrorist groups such as Hamas and PIRA are legitimate resistance movements.

    No, Corbyn’s true enemies were (and remain) the British and Israeli governments, whom he and all others on the hard Left regard as imperialist occupiers.

  • David Mortensen 13th Sep '15 - 9:24pm

    @Phyllis This is simply adolescent gesture politics from Corbyn. We’ll doubtless be seeing more of this over the months and years to come. This will include his stupid, pig-headed refusal to join the Privy Council, which means, among other things, that he’ll be excluded from security briefings. That’s not a breath a fresh air; it’s the kind of thing I’d expect from a student union.

  • David Mortensen,

    That may be so. Or it may not. Let’s give the man a chance. Surely we cannot continue with Yah-Boo politics in the HoC? Nick Clegg said he would stop it but he didn’t. Let’s see if Corbyn will succeed. A more reasoned form of debate would be very welcome rather than pointless ‘pointscoring’.

  • John Broggio 13th Sep '15 - 9:41pm

    I do admire someone (hopefully) pretending people are awarded professorships of any kind without being remotely respected by his peers.

  • John Broggio 13th Sep '15 - 9:45pm

    Has any political leader of the relatively recent past not spoken with senior SF politicians?

  • David Mortensen 13th Sep '15 - 9:55pm

    @John Broggio There’s a difference between meeting with Sinn Fein as part of a formal peace process and doing so weeks after their terrorist wing tried to assassinate the sitting Prime Minister. Corbyn didn’t meet with Sinn Fein because they were his enemies; he did so because he saw them as the legitimate resistance to British imperialism.

  • I have taken the trouble to look Dr Kevin Farnsworth up in the Social Science database of Web of Knowledge and Simon Shaw will be delighted to hear that he is not exactly setting the academic world alight in terms of citations to his work…

  • Isn’t the important thing what Jeremy Corbyn believes now and not what he believed a few decades ago? It’s not as though people can’t mature with the times and as the zeitgeist changes.

  • Simon Shaw,

    In that case shall we all start banging on about what Nick Clegg said to students five years ago?

    I’m sure Meral hasn’t discussed every single thing with Jeremy in recent years.

  • People do change their views. Tim Farron recently said he’d changed his views on SSM. I have no idea what Corbyn thinks now but I do remember that Thatcher called Mandela a terrorist. The 70s and 800s were a lifetime ago. Let’s just see what Corbyn thinks now shall we instead of damning him outright. I know what he has said recently on lots if issues has been completely twisted by the papers. James O Brien actually went through these reports and how misleading and downright false they were.

    Meral says he is a very genuine and decent person, well respected by his constituents over several decades. To me, that indicates we should give the man a chance.

  • George Kendall 14th Sep '15 - 1:44am

    @Steve Way

    Good post.

    I agree some of his policies, with tweaking, could be okay. However, in my view, policies taken in isolation aren’t the most important thing about a politician. It’s the expectations they deliberately stir up that are key, along with the emphasis they place on particular policies.

    He has emphatically said there must be an end to cuts. He has said the deficit can be cut by tax increases to the rich and business, closing loopholes, and using funding from printing money.

    If he were ever in power, I’ve no doubt that he would find these approaches would either not work, or, if taken too far, would reduce tax revenue. If not taken too far, they wouldn’t be anything like enough.

    So although he has claimed that he would bring the deficit down, I don’t believe he would.

  • When SNP and Corbyn vote to oppose the Tories on welfare cuts, House of Lords and Trident will the Lib Dems vote with the SNP and Corbyn or will they vote to support the Tories.

  • I agree that there has been an undue emphasis on Corbyn as a person rather than on his policies, though I think that emphasis comes from his opponents (whose analysis sometimes does not go much deeper than making cheap remarks about Michael Foot) as much as from his supporters (who vote for him just because he sounds like a very nice guy and not a “machine politician”).

    However, as a Liberal-minded person who lives in an SNP/Labour marginal and has sometimes contemplated supporting Labour for the sake of Scotland’s place in the UK and the EU, I don’t think I could continue to see that as an option so long as Mr Corbyn remains leader. The notion that he can cut the deficit by taxing the rich more by an unspecified amount, tackling £120bn of tax evasion, making more than £90bn in unspecified cuts to “corporate welfare”, and filling any gaps with quantitative easing, reminds me of the Green Party’s approach to economics: plucking figures from estimates that they believe can be translated into policy just because it feels right.

    All the UK’s mainstream parties make exaggerated claims about their spending figures to some extent, even the Liberal Democrats, but they are rarely so extraordinary, and there is usually at least some plausibility to them, and they don’t create the sort of expectations that Mr Corbyn is creating. One should be even more cautious when one is leading a parliamentary party in which one has so few allies (and therefore considerable difficulty to implement radical policies), unless he is already planning to organise a de-selection of his dissenting colleagues despite his assurances that he wants to lead an inclusive party.

    While “anti-austerity” politics undoubtedly has a lot of emotional appeal, particularly at a time when the Tories are scapegoating the disabled, unemployed and working poor for the size of the deficit, I am still not convinced that “anti-austerity” proponents have come up with something coherent and understandable that I can get behind. To students it appears that “anti-austerity” means scrapping tuition fees, to welfare claimants it means increasing their jobseekers allowance, to teachers it means protecting the education budget, etc.; if being “anti-austerity” means saying yes to all those things as opposed to setting out priorities, then it is hard for me to believe the newly-appointed Shadow Chancellor’s assurances that the deficit will be tackled.

  • Last but not least, even though I’m sure there are many Lib Dems who might take the opposite view, I think his stances on Nato, and Trident are completely misguided. Having nuclear weapons and a strong alliance with countries with big militaries does not mean that we are eager to use them, but if we are ever put in a position where we have to use them, then we should be prepared. The US is unlikely to agree to be the only country that Nato can call upon to use its nuclear weapons if another Nato country is attacked (considering the French nuclear deterrent is independent). Defence is not something that we should gamble with. Jeremy’s view that there is no armed conflict in the world in the last 3 decades that would have warranted British intervention (including the Falklands, Kosovo, Rwanda, etc.) also reveals his poor judgment on these issues.

    If in 2020 the Lib Dems were again in the position to play kingmaker (regardless of whether it is through coalition or confidence-and-supply), I hope they won’t help Jeremy become PM, even though I genuinely think he is a nice guy who believes in the things he says.

  • Graham Evans 14th Sep '15 - 9:57am

    To some extent arguments about policy are irrelevant when it comes to electoral success. People’s attitude to specific policies seen in isolation often change as soon as they become associated with a specific political party. It is the overall image of the Party and its leader which is most important. Moreover both Labour and the Conservatives have a sufficiently core vote, at least in England and Wales, to suggest that whoever is Labour leader in 2020 can expect to win most of the seats the Party currently holds (give or take impact of constituency changes). For LDs the issue therefore in 2020 whether in LD/Tory marginals, Labour inclined floating voters dismayed by Corbyn wil back the LDs, or whether Tory inclined LD voters will harden in their support for the Tories out of fear of a Labour government under Corbyn. Fear triumphed in 2015, and I fear will again triumph in 2020.

  • Jeremy Corbyn has been elected and we should applaud that. He has stirred up emotions and got people thinking, we should congratulate him on that. And as someone else has said he is known for sticking to his beliefs, there is so much to admire in that too. These are things that we all want to see in politics. The Lib Dems could learn a thing or to from the membership of the Labour Party. Agree with so many very intelligent comments here that the official line from Sal Brinton and Willie Rennie shows no sense of understanding of why people have given him respect in the Labour Leadership election and voted in their numbers. Just think of a 60% vote in a general election. When was the last time this country saw that type of vote?

  • David Evershed 14th Sep '15 - 5:28pm

    Sal Brinton correctly sets out our liberal values.

    We need to avoid the socialist temptation to cenrally control people’s lives and businesses.

  • @Simon Shaw
    I take it as self-evident that a man who is doing reasonably well as an academic (senior post at good university, long list of publications, called as witness to parliamentary committees etc) must be pretty well respected by his peers, but of course your nose tells you that he seems a bit of a lefty and is hence deserving of no respect whatsoever. That says a lot more about you than him.

    If we’re all sharing our CVs here, I might as well mention that I have an economics degree, that’s how I know what the word “subsidy” means!

  • Nick Cotter 14th Sep '15 - 9:27pm

    Stuart, I also have an Economics Degree (M’ch Uni), but work as a legal aid criminal defence lawyer (no fat cat) !!

    An incredibly poor response from Sal Brinton and Willie Rennie to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. I am sure that we have not yet heard from Tim Farron, because he will engage his brain before engaging his mouth ??

    Nick Cotter, Bicester, Oxon.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Sep '15 - 9:53pm

    i had hoped that the Labour elections would demonstrate preferential voting. Labour is obviously partisan, but they got it right.The BBC is obviously impartial or biased towards news values, but their main presenter got it wrong on Saturday on TV.
    The simple point is the number of jobs available:
    ONE leader
    ONE deputy leader
    ONE candidate for Mayor of London
    therefore all three elections were using the Alternative Vote, preferential but not proportionate.
    Labour was not using STV for these elections, please BBC, try to get it right.

  • Simon Arnold 17th Sep '15 - 4:12am

    Willie Rennie, is,the voice of reason, in Scotland. As, he rightly points out, the dangers ahead from, three parties. Labour, SNP and Tories. I think that the time is right, for all Liberal Democrats, to stop cheering on Corbyn, he will, use a bloated, authoritarian state, to make you jump onboard and accept his ideas. Don’t be fooled by the calm reasonable mask. I worry about this forum, because support for left wing, authoritarians is misguided. I joined Liberal Democrats, in Scotland. Because we need a party, that sits firmly in the middle. A party, that will stand-up, to SNP authoritarians, in a big state. Now we have Labour, that are like SNP, and are trying to use one another, to create poverty, strikes and authoritarian ideology.

    Members, of the Liberal Democrats, need to get behind, and support Willie, Tim and Baroness.

    Because, this isn’t just about Us, it’s about saving Scotland, England and Wales and whole UK, from dangerous ideology of Left/Right Authoritarian, Nationalism. We have until May, next year to save Scotland. There may even be another general election this very year, too, if people keep cheering Corbyn and Sturgeon. The UK, is in great danger.

  • Simon Arnold 17th Sep '15 - 4:16am

    It is rather sad, to see support for a party, that is rotten to its very core. Even, those in Labour disagree, with their leader.

    Maybe, members of Liberal democrats, should get behind, our Party. If not, join another party.

  • Simon Arnold 17th Sep '15 - 4:21am

    This forum, seems to be so Pro – Labour. It should just remove the name, LibDemVoice. It is a disgrace!

    The Leaders’ and President, have my full support, regarding their comments about Labour and Corbyn.

  • Simon, I agree with your comments. There may seem to be similarities, but we are not the same.

    I could not vote until 1963 and at the first opportunity I voted Labour. I hope to move forwards with the LibDems not back to old,old Labour. Let us try to be patient.

    I also agree that Tim is being ignored by the press (as commented on in another thread) so we are not hearing about what he is doing. Would a daily/twice weekly/weekly/ or even monthly update be possible for those of us who do not tweet, and incidentally still use a cheque book.

    ??? Fossil. Have you recently cycled 26 miles in one day?

  • Simon Arnold 17th Sep '15 - 5:22pm

    Most sensible people should be able to see through Corbyn. “Look at me, I’m a harmless man, simple, and your friend. I am just like you’ Well, that’s the image, he would like us to believe.

    But, people of my mindset, look back in history, to USSR, Berlin and ‘Iron Curtain, between 1915 and 1989, then the Wall of truth, appears.

    It all looks good on paper, everything, always looks good on paper.

    Then we see that he rubs shoulders, with undesireable people, that wish to harm us.

    Then, he wants to turn back the clock, to 1970s, State ownership of most things, while allowing the Unions, to blackmail us all, with strikes and disruption. NUPE/UNITE same mindset, same dangers.

    Leon T, must be looking down, Corbyn, with a smile.

    He isn’t fascinating, isn’t anything to discover. the tired, old, Hard Left, is at it again, as they were up until around 1986, or, a few years either way.

    Corbyn, will cripple, the UK. He’s very clever using the public as a shield, asking the public to ask questions.

    Remember, his ideology, is same as Leon T. ‘The ongoing, neverending, revolution, that must never stop’ . So, before you all start rubbing your chins, wondering and thinking, don’t bother. The answer is with Leon T.

  • Simon Arnold 20th Sep '15 - 7:27pm

    Tim Farron, On Marr, earlier is 100% correct.

    I believe, Corbyn, isn’t a Liberal, he’s an authoritarian. His economics, are to the left. You cannot have a big state, that owns everything, then suggest he is a Liberal.
    Joining, Labour, will only make things worse. We need to stand our groud, and take on Labour and SNP authoritarian, illiberal Left. Especially republican, nationalist.

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