So, what do you make of this journalism?

Journalists from both The Guardian and Independent on Sunday have been trawling the online world explicitly asking Liberal Democrat members who are unhappy with the coalition to get in touch. Not asking for members to let them know their views. But only asking those with one specific view to get in touch. Hmm…

UPDATE: The Independent on Sunday says, “That’s just the viewpoint I was asked to find. Don’t worry, we have plenty of positive voices”.

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  • Matthew Doye 12th May '10 - 7:26pm

    It’s legitimate journalism provided the eventual article is balanced

  • Well, the media does thrive on conflict, and the Guardian pretty much explicitly came out for Labour with its ham handed “endorsment”. As the Independent has been a long time supporter of electoral reform, one would have hoped they would push for the success of a coalition that’s got them closer to that than ever before. Wonder what the Economist thinks?

  • labour mp denis macshane was asked to go on a bbc radio show a few days ago and the bbc researcher wanted to know if he was critical of brown. when he said no he wasn’t invited on. jornos are like that.

  • Andrew Suffield 12th May '10 - 7:52pm

    Yeah, in fairness you probably do have to go out of your way to find actual party members unhappy with this. Most of the crying seems to be coming from Labour supporters.

  • What else do you want? more Pro-Conservative journalism? I think were all a bit sick of it.

  • Not too sure about that Andrew, Labour had 8400 new members sign up in the last few days, I wonder where they came from?

  • Andrew Suffield 12th May '10 - 8:13pm

    Labour had 8400 new members sign up in the last few days, I wonder where they came from?

    From Labour supporters who had not previously joined the party, of course.

  • Surely labour membership should rise, all parties would during a leadership election.

  • Word through the grapevine is most of the new Labour members are Lib Dem deflectors.

  • defectors rather.

  • Anna Hodgetts 12th May '10 - 8:38pm

    Most political journalists only ever want to report bad news. Apart from Steve Richards in the Independent there seems to b e a comon conspiracy to suppress all reports which might indicate that politicians can be honest, can do the right thing, have difficult decisions to make, or can make honest mistakes.

    Only the journalists themselves “never” make errors, because nobody quotes their past words back to them, (and nobody requires their expense claims to be made public).

  • Welcome to government.Expect a shoty honeymoon then the tsunami of negativity to engulf you.I doubt the Lib Dems can survive the battering that is headed their way from the voters and media.

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th May '10 - 9:38pm

    We get a poor election result thanks to Nick Clegg and the right-wingers who surround him running a poor general election campaign, then Nick Clegg and the right-wingers who surround him get us a poor deal from the Tories – silenced for a few scraps, then Nick Clegg and the right-wingers who surround him get all the government posts going. Then it’ll be the rest of us who suffer the hammering in the polls.

    I am supposed to be happy with that? I said early on that supply and confidence to Cameron was the only real option, but going into coalition would be a mistake. I stick with that.

    Mind you I look at the bone-headed anti-pluralists left-wingers in the Labour Party arguing against proportional representation, and the smarmy git right-wing New Labour types jostling to lead it, and I’m not jumping ship to there.

  • Andrew Suffield 12th May '10 - 10:10pm

    Have you not been reading the comments these past days Mark?

    Most of the comments in the past few days have not been from party members. If you were a member, you could take a look at the members-only forum and see what sort of sentiment there is.

    Word through the grapevine is most of the new Labour members are Lib Dem deflectors.

    Nice rumour. Where’d you buy it?

    Reality: party members know that the Lib Dems practice internal democracy. Party members will decide whether or not to accept this coalition. If a party member really dislikes the coalition and has any sense at all, the absolute last thing they will do is to leave the party a few days before the vote on whether to accept the coalition, because that means throwing away their chance to oppose it.

    Now, we might see some members quitting if the vote on Sunday is significantly split and they end up on the opposing side of it. But to quit before the vote? You’d have to be crazy.

  • ranterpasradise….if I hear f*cking centre-left one more time I will explode.

    Sorry people look at what the “Liberal” party was about….NOT centre-left at all…this move to the left happened with the SDP Alliance and then the merging of the parties.

    This may unravel now, but truth be told if members/activist on the left of the party want to go home to the “mother” part of Labour go right ahead, I think you will not find it the rose tinted, progressive, love in you think it is(any of you love through the past 13 years of Labour??)

    Let the true Liberals get on and frankly as a personal view it will be great to get shot of some of you on the left….Christ you know how to whine & bitch….you would rather eternal opposition to anything else, as my boss would say “if you don’t like it, there’s the door”…..I suggest some of you walk through it and let the rest of us get on.

  • …ah the old Freudian slip….that was “live through”….not “love through”!

  • Sensationalism that’s all journalists are ever interested in.

  • instead of leaving the party becos the leadership deceived (Tory mole Clegg) or betrayed (Huhne) us – can we sack the closet Tory leadership or recall MPs? or is the party not so democratic after all – we can only rubberstamp the motion endorsing the agreement, but not amend the agreement itself??? so much for internal party democracy!!!

  • 8400 new members ‘new’ being the operative word. Liberal Democratic voters have every right to feel aggrieved, they voted for the Liberal Democrat manifesto, not to prop up the Conservatives, and adopt most of their policies. I can already see the ‘Tory effect’ on this forum, ordering unhappy members to leave, like they’re some sort of authority.

  • @Niklas Smith: Apologies for the late reply. The Economist has pretty much always been an advocate of liberal social values, and aside from the euro sceptic entrenchment of the Tories, this seems to be the kind of government they may well have wished for. I shall have to check back in my copy of “The World in 2010” to see if they predicted this one!

  • To be honest if Lib Dem supporters move over to Labour, and I expect some will, then I wish them no hard feelings and the best of luck.

    I’m sure there were quite a few people who still subscribe to the single party politics in their own mind, opposed the conservatives, but didn’t want to support labour who decided that the Lib Dem camp was for them. They could whole heartedly get behind the cause of voting reform and proportional representation, and the other ‘moral high ground’ policies of the Lib dems (that’s no slur, I agree with having morally correct principles and policies), knowing that it would mean more power for Lib Dems in the parliament (which is of course what politics is about, but especially so for for single party politics).

    The recent events have been a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, as people realise that supporting democratic, proportional representation, and coalition governments means making compromise, and that the Lib Dem’s commitment to putting the people before the party really did mean just that. This is hard to accept for people who, in their hearts, are wedded to the idea of single party politics, because with that the party doesn’t have to compromise its policies (even though it may well end up doing so.. and certainly no party has policies that everyone who votes for them agrees completely with).

    I hold no resentment to people who decide that they feel it more important to oppose the conservatives than to commit to the realities of co-operative politics. To be honest I’m very surprised to see the Conservatives embrace it to quite the extent they have, even if it has been ‘over the barrel’ as it were.

    But in my heart I still prefer the social ethics of Labour (if not some of it’s specific policies and solutions) than the right wing conservatives, and would have preferred the votes to mean we had a coalition with them instead. But a coalition, some moderation of Conservative policies, and integration of some Lib Dem policies is still a better result for me than having pure conservative policies put forward by the government.

    I would like to think that, regardless of whether you feel you can be in a party that is working with the conservatives, or whether you feel you can’t and move to Labour, that you at least respect the Lib dems for doing that much for the next 5 years, I hope the general public do as well.

    So to those leaving to Labour. I wish them well. I wish them well in lobbying and supporting policies that work towards a fairer society, and opposing ones which benefit only the well off, and I sincerely hope they do so with an open mind to being fair and impartial, rather than tribal and protective. I hope they can afford us the same respect we should afford them.

    I hold my head up having voted Lib Dem; for me, they have lived up to the principles of fair representation and collaberative, reformed and different government that I so much want. I hope this goes some way to healing over the ‘us’ or ‘them’ mentalities which we have slipped in to as a result of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives appalling abuse of the poorer people in the 80’s, of the media’s intrusive and damaging influence in the political arena, and of the political system which has relied for far too long on attacking each other, rather than actually working out what is truly best for the country, in the interest of everyone.

    I know some people won’t agree with me, and that’s the whole point of Democracy and Liberalism, they are entitled to their point of view and stance. So I wish the Labour defectors well, and hope they remain open minded enough that we may one day see a Labour and Lib Dem coalition, and really find out what we can do when the people back a progressive government.

  • @ democrat and Bob (apparently)

    If you voted Lib Dem, you voted for a pro coalition party… that ALWAYS meant negotiation and compromise on policies. You can’t claim to have backed a Lib Dem manifesto which supports reforming government to one which more fairly represents the people by having coalition governments, and at the same time insist that the only type of government you will accept is one with purely Lib Dem policies.. that’s contradictory and hypocritical. Maybe you didn’t quite understand that PR goes hand in hand with coalition, what coalition entailed, or what is actually meant by democratic (a hint, it doesn’t mean ‘we get it all our own way’)? Perhaps you didn’t realise Liberalism means the belief in liberty and equality? How can you claim to be liberal if you believe that your opinion is the only valid one?

    I guess you’ve missed the posts showing which policies have been adopted from the Lib Dem manifesto… you don’t seem to think there are any. I won’t bother repeating them, you can look them up if you really feel like it, but I expect that would require doing something other than blustering baulking because you don’t like the harsh realities of what you voted for.

  • They won’t need to look hard.

    There are millions of people who voted Lib Dem, not Tory.

    Now the merger has made Lib Dem meaningless – a minor wing of the Tory Party.

    I fear for the future.

  • Answer this Alex, Nick Clegg rubbished the Labour Party, said they were finished, rejected by the electorate, had lost the right to govern, yet his party which gained far less seats, and votes than Labour, is now part of a coalition government, and is governing. Doesn’t seem all that morally correct to me, or very democratic.

  • The problem isn’t the coalition.

    It is
    1) the closeness, and sheer jolliness of it. Like this is what Lib Dems wanted all along.
    2) the pathetic ‘concessions’ secured. i.e. hardly anything. No big jobs. No big policies. Every card held by the Tories, to play the Lib Dems as they see fit, when they see fit.

    The Lib Dems haven’t entered into coalition. They have let the Conservative Party assimilate them.

  • It is an outrage, it really is. How can the party throw away 7 million votes with such contempt?

    Could you see this disaster happening under Charles Kennedy? I very much doubt it. And let’s not forget, he is the most successful leader ever.

    Clegg is not fit to clean Kennedy’s shoes, but is a Tory Deputy Prime Minister. It’s a disgrace.

  • @Alex: Eloquently put.

  • I’m beginning to wonder if Bob, Andrew and rantersparadise aren’t in fact writers for the Daily mail…

  • ‘Charles Kennedy is the most successful leader ever’
    By what possible standard?

  • Most of you are what I would call “typical” Lib Dems(or as I have always thought SDP/Socialist just hiding out in the party) who wallow in defeat, you love opposition, you love hating the opposition(especially Tories), yet look at others through rose tinted glasses(Labour)

    You have a choice jump on board and try to make sure things go well from the inside or leave.

    But please do make up your minds quickly….some of us have a country to help run.

  • My best friend, who is centre-left, anti-Tory, joined the Liberal Democrats last night.

    He saw on the one hand mature, real policy and the clipping of the Tory wings, and on the other, David Miliband making cheap remarks and trying to say he was progressive… He isn’t.

    @rantersparadise – I don’t think you joined the wrong party. I am ‘centre-left’. But when Labour refused to even negotiate on the ‘detention of children for immigration purposes’ whilst the Tories caved in, it was clear where we could get most stuff done for you, our party, and every citizen of the UK.

    I joined the Lib Dems to get our policies implemented, and as much as I hate the Tories, I think this is the best way to do it…

  • How is this a problem? If I want to write an article about cancer sufferers, do I have to approach feature as many people who don’t suffer from cancer in my article as those who do?

    And what’s to say they don’t have pro-coalition Lib dem views already anyway?

    Remember, the lib dems benefited MASSIVELY from Guardian backing for the election, and one thing you absolutely can’t say for the 2010 election is that the LDs had unfavourable support from the media, (if they get a bit of stick now its probably a good thing for democracy.) Despite which, they still only managed a 23% vote share…

  • Matthew Huntbach 13th May '10 - 10:12am

    “Big Mak”

    Sorry people look at what the “Liberal” party was about….NOT centre-left at all…this move to the left happened with the SDP Alliance and then the merging of the parties.

    Here we go again with this Orwellian re-write of history.

    Mr Mak, I was a member of the Liberal Party at the time of its merger with the SDP, I suspect you were not. Those of us in the Liberal Party who were unhappiest with the merger, including myself, I was one of those who voted against it, tended to think the problem with the SDP was that it was too right-wing, one of the things that concerned us was David Owen’s developing keenness for naive free-market economics.

  • Matthew Huntbach 13th May '10 - 10:27am


    Remember, the lib dems benefited MASSIVELY from Guardian backing for the election, and one thing you absolutely can’t say for the 2010 election is that the LDs had unfavourable support from the media,

    Oh, come on now, we were attacked relentlessly by the right-wing press. Guardian readers and Independent readers hardly constitute a majority in this country. Even the Guardian etc tended to misreport our party, concentrating on the froth arising from the first leadership debate as if that was all we were, rather than the firm organisation at local level which is what was actually earning us much of our vote.

    I remember watching the 6pm news on the BBC the day before the election with my wife, who unlike me has no interest in politics and no allegiance to any party, she regards my Liberal Democrat activity as just some strange eccentricity. We don’t normally watch television at all, I get all my news from the newspapers, she gets hers from Capital Radio. I asked my wife, after we had switched the news off, what she thought of it. She just assumed the BBC was part of the establishment so naturally in favour of Cameron and naturally hostile to us. Without any bias she could see Cameron covered courteously and positively, and Clegg covered disaparingly, in a very negative way, thrown negative questions, the clip of him shown was not to his favour, while Cameron was given lovingly favourable and much longer clip as if it was meant to be “Look, here’s our next Prime Minister, don’t be silly and do anything else, vote for him”. She was astonished and hardly believed me on the basis of what she saw when I said that actually the BBC is meant to give equal coverage to all three parties at election time.

  • Mr Huntbach….you are wrong I WAS a member, I have been for over 20 years, the SDP right wing….your memory mist be slipping my friend!

    The SDP were never Liberal, and never will be so if they now walk out the party I will shed no tears….and same for those Liberals who can’t shift their 80s perception of how politics has moved on.
    It seems to have become far too much fun to be in opposition and any form of actual power terrifies you….making up every excuse in the book against a coalition is just a back door way out….I suggest some of you use that door.

    As I said its all boring now, very….so get on board or ship out, that I fear is your only choice.

    Good luck.

  • Tony Greaves 13th May '10 - 11:41pm

    This thread seems to be full of a few bitter and twisted people. I don’t see much Liberalism in their comments.

    I suggest people read the agreement in detail and tick off those things which are “Liberal Democat gains” and those which are “Tory gains” There is a long way to go but it’s a brilliant start.

    Tony Greaves

  • Matthew Huntbach 13th May '10 - 11:44pm

    Big Mak

    Mr Huntbach….you are wrong I WAS a member, I have been for over 20 years, the SDP right wing….your memory mist be slipping my friend!

    I tell the truth, I post under my own name, not a pseudonym. My record is there for anyone to see. I still have pamphlets and booklets and writings from that time. It is simply a lie spread by modern simple minded people who have jumped on this free-market fascination, much as in my younger days simple-minded people jumped on socialism as it was going down, that the Liberal Party back in the days when the SDP was around was some sort of Thatcherite gung-ho free-market movement. We were not.

    and same for those Liberals who can’t shift their 80s perception of how politics has moved on.

    Yes, there we go, the fascist mentality that insists there is only one way politics must go, that we are forced to go they way those who are in control of society want it to go because that is “modern”. I am a Liberal Mr Mak, and I am against that sort of thing. In my book, policies and politics should be discussed according to their merits not according to someone who is control deeming some views “modern” and some not, so only those “modern” ones are allowed to be promoted.

    Since the 1980s what have we seen? The most almighty bust and the realisation that much of our economy has been built on froth since then.

    making up every excuse in the book against a coalition is just a back door way out

    If you had bothered reading what I have witten elsewhere, you will see that actually I was one of the first to accept that the situation following the election meant only some sort of deal with the Torieswas realistic.

    Mr Mak, you do not speak the language of Liberal Party members, I have been a member of the party for 32 years and I know even those who aren’t on the same wing as me don’t speak the sort of crude language you are using about fellow party members.

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