So what happens after the next general election?

Even now with just weeks before the next general election it is impossible to know where we will be with Brexit. For the sake of simplicity, I would like to put Brexit to one side for now. The Tories might find a way to implement hard Brexit by the 31st October and before the next General Election, we shall see. Discuss it elsewhere. There are plenty of other considerations we need to think about.

I can see 3 plausible scenarios for the next general election;

  1. The Tories squeeze the Brexit Party vote and get an overall majority, or;
  2. We have a hang Parliament and a Labour/SNP majority government, or;
  3. A hung Parliament where we have a choice of joining up either with the Tories or with Labour/SNP.

In the first two scenarios, we are in opposition and do not have to make any difficult decisions. We might of course win an overall majority, but that’s an article in its own right. The third scenario gives us an opportunity to exercise power and in theory this is what we want. But noone talks about it. How should we handle this third scenario?

I know we demand that Corbyn resigns as Labour leader. I think there is a hope that we can do a deal with Tom Watson’s faction of the Labour party. But the number of Corbynite MPs will increase after the next general election, so the numbers will probably not add up. We might get Corbyn to resign anyway, but he is likely to be replaced by Emily Thornbury who is not much better. I can’t see the Labour membership electing a moderate leader just for our benefit, in fact it will be a selling point not to be a “sell out” candidate. Of course there will no longer be any “moderates” in the Tory party so a moderate GNU involving the Tories after the next general election is out of the question.

So we need to be clear what we want whilst the other parties sort themselves out.

I would say we would have the following priorities;

  1. Introduce proportional representation (i.e. STV),
  2. We need a positive relationship with the EU, and in particular sort out trade and the Northern Ireland Peace Process (we should be saying a lot more about Northern Ireland in my opinion),
  3. Implement a Green New Deal and other radical measures to tackle the climate emergency,
  4. Invest heavily in regional development funded by wealth taxes to tackle the causes of Brexit,
  5. Emergency funding of the NHS, Social Care and Education as the government now recognises is needed,
  6. Have a written constitution appropriate for multi party politics where the balance of power favours Parliament over the executive
  7. Devolve powers to local government and home rule in Scotland.
  8. Reverse the benefit cuts that have led people to be homeless and destitute.

I have no doubt you can add to the list, this is not a manifesto. The key point is that political stability is not entirely our responsibility. We should be clear what we want and whether we work with other political parties depends on how much their priorities matches ours.

* Geoff Payne is the former events organiser for Hackney Liberal Democrats

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  • At least some grown up politics in the UK.
    I hope you can make this come true.

    Marc Dumont, living in Flanders, Belgium, but following close UK politics, as you are and will be one of our Neighbours.

  • To be honest, that sounds like a fantastic wish-list.
    Get all of that through and you’ll make me very happy indeed!

  • Except that there will probably be no election until May 2020 at the earliest, more likely 2021. Looks like an alternative government will take over probably led by Jazz loving Clarke. “Play us a tune Ken”

  • Ross McLean 10th Sep '19 - 1:58pm

    Jo has said she won’t join a coalition led by either Johnson or Corbyn. She said this throughout the leadership campaign. She has also said she won’t sign up to any agreement with the SNP that involves another independence referendum, and this will have been one of our main policies in the election just fought in Scotland.
    These 2 facts pretty much mean we will be on the opposition benches whatever happens (short of us winning). In scenario 3 we would presumably offer a confidence and supply arrangement to the Lab/SNP government.

  • We’ve finally managed to detoxify ourselves form the “Labour’s little helpers” tag sufficiently to see centre-right Tories vote and join us. Any move to form a formal coalition with Labour would just see what happened with the 2010 coalition happen in reverse.

    Consequently we just let Labour get on with it and vote for their programme on its merits (or not), or see if they can form a coalition with Tories.

    Sole exception – legislate for STV and dissolve and fiht a new eleciton on that basis.

  • Agree with most of these priorities, though not convinced that inequality was the root cause of Brexit or even among the main causes. I know it is the received wisdom and sounds plausible at a superficial level, alongside assertions about angry left-behind voters etc. But the main cause was a 30 year dripfeed of propaganda against the EU by the right wing press, much more dominant in Britain than other EU countries. They still are dominant of course, even more so now, which is what we are up against in the fight against Brexit.

  • Geoffrey Dron 10th Sep '19 - 3:16pm

    Third scenario
    I suspect BoJo is aiming for an NI backstop (with all-Ireland input as to implementation to appease DUP) and a Canada-style or modified May-Robbins WA. If it looks like this is on the cards, I suspect he’ll go for readmitting the dissidents. That might make a Tory-LD government possible.

    Priority 6
    Constitutions must last and be acceptable over a wide and changing political base. I like the flexibility of the unwritten UK constitution, but it may be possible to draft a fairly flexible written one. What is essential is a constitutional convention.

  • John Marriott 10th Sep '19 - 3:34pm

    What a mess, epitomised by the Leader of the House last week lolling languidly in semi slumber across the front bench. The unspeakable in charge of the uncontrollable?

    A parliament run by ‘conventions’ (in other words, ‘make it up as you go along’) with most of its members ‘elected’ by well under 50% of their constituents. Then there’s an Upper Chamber stuffed to the gills with cronies, with a membership on a par with the Chinese ‘parliament. I could go on.

    We all know it needs dragging kicking and screaming out of the 18th Century, through the 19th and 20th centuries into the 21st Century. Let’s start with setting up a Speaker’s Conference coupled with a People’s Assembly to start to draw up a Written Constitution. Then we could look at updating our Bill of Rights to include all the nations of the UK. Introduce a voting system that reflects the pluralism that is now a factor that cannot be ignore. If this means regular coalition government, so be it. Finally, devolve real power away from Westminster to the nations of the U.K. and the English Regions, together with a streamlining of local government in England and a reform of local government finance.

    That will do for starters!

  • This wishlist is full of aphorisms and light on substance.

    For example, what does “sort out trade and the Northern Ireland Peace Process (we should be saying a lot more about Northern Ireland in my opinion)” mean? The Northern Ireland peace process ended either with the Good Friday Agreement 20 years ago or with the St Andrew’s Agreement 13 years ago, so I’m not sure what peace process is being referred to. The problem in Northern Ireland is that the terms of the devolved arrangements require that a majority of both nationalist identifying MLAs and unionist identifying MLAs support an executive (government) in order for it to take power and this double majority requirement is blocking any such executive because Sinn Fein and the DUP cannot agree.

    Mr Payne doesn’t tell us how he would propose to “sort out” this situation and I haven’t heard any ideas from any LibDem elected representatives either. Frankly, I doubt any of them have any idea whatsoever. From her past statements and votes, it seems that Jo Swinson’s view for Northern Ireland (and indeed for Scotland) is that Westminster should impose its views regardless of the opinions of the electorate of those places.

    The unfortunate reality is that the 1.8 million population of Northern Ireland is a luxury that the British taxpayer can no longer afford to subsidise. Official figures show that the annual net cost to the UK being in the European Union is £8.1 billion. Whereas the size of the annual subvention to Northern Ireland is a whopping £9.2 billion. It costs more for Northern Ireland to be within the UK than for the UK to be in the EU and there are none of the significant non-monetary benefits that the UK gets from its EU membership. The public sector in Northern Ireland accounts for 30.8% of the total workforce compared with the overall UK figure of 19.5%

  • The reality is Northern Ireland is a failed state and is failing increasingly badly. The population of Northern Ireland have been indulged like small children by the British and Irish governments, gorging on a never-ending diet of UK taxpayer and EU subsidies. Meanwhile poor communities in England – in Cornwall, in south Yorkshire, in the Potteries – get a pittance. The solution for Northern Ireland is to tell the 90 (!) elected MLAs that the UK mainland subsidy is going to be reduced by 5% a year over 10 years and that if they don’t sort out electing an executive it is going to be reduced by 10% a year instead. The time for indulgence is over.

  • Bobby Copper 10th Sep '19 - 3:42pm

    Tom Watson is lucky still to be an MP following his disgraceful role in the Carl Beech affair. If it wasn’t for everything else happening at present he could well have been forced to resign from Parliament. Other parties should refuse to have any dealings with him. Hilary Benn or Yvette Cooper would be much preferable.

  • Bobby Copper 10th Sep ’19 – 3:42pm……………….Tom Watson is lucky still to be an MP following his disgraceful role in the Carl Beech affair…………

    Yes, Watson turned out to be wrong; it happens. However, it’s not as if this is the only case that has led to problems for innocents accused of such things.
    However, wouldn’t it have been great if the same emphasis had been forthcoming over the claims made by victims in other high profile allegations that urned out to be true?

  • Mark Seaman 10th Sep '19 - 4:40pm

    As it requires 2/3rds of the House of Commons to approve a general election , its pretty clear that there will not be one before the last possible date. Quite what the state of the UK will be after that duration of Labour and Lib-Dem MPs dodging the electorate is perhaps not best imagined 🙁

  • If Boris sticks to his word and refuses to go to brussels to seek an extension there I imagine that that leaves 2 options.
    Either, the opposition feels it has no choice but to table a vote of no confidence
    Boris Resigns the Tory Government.

    If it is the 1st, Corbyn will insist that he heads the Unity Government, there is no way that he will agree to step aside to allow anyone else and will argue it is his right as leader of the opposition.
    If it is the 2nd, then Boris will have to make a recommendation to the queen on who should be prime minister based on whether they can command a majority in the house. If no such person can have confidence of the house, then an election must be called.
    Either way, opposition parties AND all conservative MP’s who have had the whip removed would have to get behind Corbyn.
    Something that I cannot see happening.
    And dont forget Parliament does not sit again until the 14th October, giving just 17 days until the UK leaves the EU.
    One can safely assume that Boris will play a game of chicken with the time, to see who blinks first, how long do opposition parties sit by until they cave and call a VONC?
    Then consider the amount of time that the opposition parties are negotiating back and forth on what they want out of a unity Government or coalition, whatever the case maybe, all the time tick tock tick tock
    Boris would remain as Prime Minister during this period as the UK cannot be without a Government.

  • Ross McLean 10th Sep '19 - 6:21pm

    Sorry Geoffrey I didn’t mean to ‘deflate!’ I suppose my manner can seem a bit off-hand, but that’s not deliberate. In any case, it was remiss of me not to begin my comment by complimenting your article – which I do think is very interesting and important.
    I do stand by my conclusions (above), but I suppose what I would say is that ‘confidence and supply’ need not be seen as a bad place to be. I’ve never believed that the only worthwhile place to be in politics is in government. If the next parliament is going to be hung, with 3 or 4 sizeable blocs, we could exert a lot of influence from the opposition benches. Plus, I think a Corbynite/SNP government would not be a good thing and it wouldn’t do us any favours in the long run to be part of it.

  • Andrew McCaig 10th Sep '19 - 6:47pm

    As far as I can see the Law now insists that either Porkpie gets a deal through Parliament or asks for an extension by 19th Oct. There could be some legal wrangling about that date, but I assume that either he will call an election which will be accepted or Corbyn will call a VONC. If that is passed, 14 days later the government will fall.
    There is of course the possibility that a deal will go through through the efforts of Kinnock Jr. and our own Norman Lamb. Even after that there will be an election.

    I don’t see how an election this autumn can be avoided, but we do live in uncertain times.

    Post election i appreciate the constructive attitude in this piece, but until a Bill for PR has got the Royal Assent I dont want any coalition. Confidence and Supply is the maximum we offer. (I dont think we should insist on STV though, it is just unrealistic since it has little support in Labour)

  • John Minard 10th Sep '19 - 6:54pm

    On your first point – proportional representation i.e. STV – it must be STV! STV is far more than getting a good ratio between seats and votes, it is the best way to update our democracy! I wonder how many parliamentary constituencies most people move through in one day between home, work, shopping, school, social events etc. it’s likely to be more than one for a majority of people. Multi-member constituencies retain the link between MP’s and constituents but they also provide an opportunity for MP’s, even from different parties, to work closely together, to lobby, to build links between business, local government, social enterprises and services that serve these sub-regions where we live and work!

    And I would add a truly transformative, if radical, measure of decentralising government! Moving a number of government department to other UK cities would change the centre of gravity of the UK on so many levels that will generate enhanced regional growth and, yes, confidence, and sense of inclusiveness. Move the Department of Business to either Manchester or Leeds, or maybe split between the two. The Department of Health relocated to Birmingham. The Department of Work & Pensions to Glasgow. I know that means more video conferencing, possibly even in the cabinet but why not!? And perhaps it will also serve to improve transport links too with the appropriate level of priority on a North / South spending basis.

  • I think it is worth pointing out that there have been two written Constitutions in England – in Oliver Cromwells day – and neither of them lasted five years, or saved the country from military dictatorship. A written Constitution would be a new Constitution, and a new Constitution is bound to be less respected than an old one.

    What matters more is the changes to be made to the existing one. Requiring Parliaments agreement to its own suspension, for example. More generally, reducing the stakes of politics reduces the virulence with which it is fought.

    Imagine a Parliament electing the PM by AV, and the cabinet by PR, for example.

  • A good list of priorities but an urgent and comprehensive rethink of the legislation around election rules and funding should be added to it.

    Since the dawn of time insurgents have devised new technologies, tactics etc to blindside and defeat entrenched and complacent establishments and that’s exactly what the advent of the Internet enabled in the referendum. In the C4 film, ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings is clear that “they won’t see it coming” and indeed they, the Remain campaign, didn’t.

    I suggest there are four important responses.

    Firstly, revise campaign funding laws. Obviously, this can’t be done before a GE but it might be possible before a second referendum as I’m sure non-Tory parties could agree a common plan. Corporate donations to political campaigns and anything that looks or smells like one should be made illegal with lengthy prison sentences for offenders – not just a wrist slap. Democracy cannot be for sale and the super-rich should contribute from taxed income like the rest of us and not via their companies. Similarly, funding from overseas sources and dark money should be banned with an obligation on campaign directors to disclose all sources – or else.

    Secondly, imprints on election material are there for a reason. The Internet has driven a coach and horses through this long-standing rule which should be updated. Perhaps, all campaign-originated material should be listed on a public website within 12 hours of first deployment.

    Thirdly, before any GE or referendum get savvy about the use of the Internet in campaigning and learn the lessons from both Momentum in the last GE and Vote Leave in the referendum. The next campaigns will assuredly be very nasty indeed with allegations of Parliament against the people, standing up to EU bullying and worse.

    Fourthly, improve messaging. Leave has consistently made the running yet every Leave promise I can think of that’s been tested by reality has been falsified by that reality (easiest deal ever, a great FTA with the EU27, 40 FTAs ready to sign at midnight, German car makers would tell Merkel to give UK a great deal etc). No doubt LDV’s resident Leavers can give some counterexamples but I can’t think of any important ones).

  • David Allen 10th Sep '19 - 7:33pm

    The next thing to happen will be a dead cat, thrown by Johnson and Cummings, landing on the table. The Ulster-Only-Backstop might be the makings of that cat. Watch this space.

    Cage fighters never stop trying to bite off their enemy’s tender bits just because they’re losing. One intriguing option Johnson has given himself is the chance to call off the election, and to ridicule his opposition for turning down the chance when it was offered to them. A garbled Deal, followed by two years of breaking promises to the EU during a chaotic “transition” period, sounds like a Plan. A Plan for out-Trumping Trump, that is.

  • For the most part that sounds like a great list of things to get done but i really doubt the SNP would go into government with labour. Confidence and supply if anything.

  • Ian Patterson 10th Sep '19 - 8:35pm

    Re Corbyn at Palace for PM. It does pre suppose Johnson will recommend him to Queen. What if he does not. Queen may demure at that point and require vote for dissolution. Discuss!

  • Geoffrey Dron 10th Sep '19 - 8:54pm

    Realism is breaking through

    Bertie Ahern has said that any deal on the backstop must have the approval of the DUP, but that shouldn’t preclude considerable arm-twisting (threat of border poll) to get them to accept a NI backstop with, say, an all Ireland mechanism to supervise its operation. Yes, it’ll involve a breach of the Articles of Union (as would the backstop as currently proposed) and therefore of the GFA but that will have to be accepted.

    If we can resolve the backstop issue, then the WA with modifications to cover the most difficult issues inherent therein might just get through, but the EU will have to back off its ‘no changes’ stance.

    As it stands, the WA contains a series of features which are detrimental to the UK – see Lawyers for Britain site:

    Obviously the UK will have to make some concessions to reach agreement (e.g. acceptance of ECJ jurisdiction) and some of the backstop-related issues might drop away.

    With the fractious parliament out of the way for the moment, it might be possible to explore the avenues to a workable deal which the vast majority of the UK population can live with even if ERG-otists and absolute remainers can’t.

  • Richard O'Neill 10th Sep '19 - 9:22pm

    The party can’t be a movement that demands electoral reform but refuses the reality of perpetual coalitions that will follow that.

    On the other hand, as a party which may well potentially be in the position of kingmakers, it is perfectly justifiable to demand that the bigger party it supports changes its leader as a condition. Hence, no Corbyn and no Johnson if they want Lib Dem support.

  • I think the Green Party has not been mentioned once, and wonder why. I find the thread so far profoundly depressing– especially for one who has voted Liberal for quite a time. All the points would be germane and interesting in a series of tutorials, but is that appropriate now? Are we all satisfied that the current motions at the coming conference are still on the swiftly moving ball?

    Surely, win or lose on Brexit, life will go on, and we shall have to help shape its recovery, and the healing of the breaches in families and constituencies. Social healing is progressive, not a brisk matter of welding broken pipes and carrying on as before. Whatever happens on Brexit day, half the kingdom is going to be very disgruntled indeed, and very likely, if parties survive, to choose anew. So the first thing we should do, it seems to me, is to look ahead to spot the growing and newer problems — Climate, environment, equality, perhaps? — and ask ourselves where voters on such matters are to be found. It is the young, who have grown up as Europeans, and now find themselves refugees in their own offshore corner: the cohort whose future has furthest to go and to enjoy, or to endure.


  • [resuming]

    We are going to have to look for radical policies, not to repair but to replace today’s world. I don’t know enough history to understand why the Lib Dems are so timid in their aspirations. Perhaps it is a deep-seated depression at how little progress in any direction they seem to make. That would be wrong, for two reasons: First Past the Post; and a population kept in subjection by the Austerity cast of government mind, tricked time after time by Conservative dishonesty, and dubious money.

    I’ll be brief, obviously. Why do we seem so reluctant to engage with the most liberal of our rivals, the Greens? And why do we seem so slow to look closely at the coming thing, the Universal Basic Income (UBI). It appears in the Green Manifesto; Labour are looking at it seriously: those are good reasons why we ought to also. The recent Report by Guy Standing for the Shadow Chancellor looks to me more liberal than socialist in tone and content, and the author describes it as Transformative. I believe he is right, and we must consider it closely. It may sound like Economists’ stuff, but the report is much more Liberal and humane in tone and in purpose, I consider: it is not about money, but about how a nation lives its life. We shall be left behind if we do not seize the lead in this.

    I can hear groans “Oh, not him again!”, and I apologise. Try to forget my bleating, and give the thing itself a chance. “UBI”– ok?

  • We should vote from Opposition as we see fit. No more Coalition. A coalition with Corbyn would be a reverse situation of 2011-2015.

    Go for the low-risk option: vote in opposition as we see fit.

    Geoffrey Dron – A coaltion with the Tories will be even worse since we have cemented ourselves as the arch-Remain party. Sorry Geoffrey Dron, such coalition will make our tuition fee promise breaking looks like a child play. At least Corbyn has promised a second Referendum, but Bojo has not.

  • Geoffrey Payne, Your article, like many others on here you seem to ignore the fact that we are still on the ‘Titanic’.
    Instead of arguing about ‘who sits where’ and ‘what happens next’ the priority is to remain organised and man the lkifeboats.
    Boris Johnson, together with his ERG cabinet, wants to be remembered for ‘going down with the ship’ (and taking the passengers with him) whist the Labour, SNP, LibDem, Greens, etc, have a common goal in no hard Brexit.
    The decision to either to remain or leave with a deal should not (must not) be taken without a new referendum. Not having one will permanently alienate those 17+ who voted ‘blind-leave’ in the first place (BTW… Jo Swinsonson’s first choice leader, Ken Clarke, is against another refendum).
    Labour, including Jeremy Corbyn, are in favour of ‘Remain’ on any new referendum so why not welcome his campaigning for ‘a Labour deal’. Tom Watson has already come out in favour of remain so a divided Labour message should suit this party in it’s unequivicable ‘Remain’ message.

    What’s the problem?

  • Mick Taylor 11th Sep '19 - 9:35am

    Thomas is right that we should be ‘once bitten, twice shy’ about coalition. It is worth remembering that whilst we might dream of going from 17 MPs into government, it is more likely that along the way we might have to share power with another party. If we ever get proportional representation, then power sharing will become the norm.
    Our sister parties in Europe know very well that our political opponents today may be our partners in government tomorrow. So they take care not to lay down impossible positions for partnership like refusing to work with one individual or another.
    I happen to think that in this case our role should probably be one of confidence and supply rather than any formal coalition, but one should never say never in politics.

  • Mick Taylor 11th Sep '19 - 1:35pm

    Mick Taylor – I think the Libdem should definitely take a look at the late Jack Layton’s playbook before he died. I mention Jack Layton because Canada is also a FPTP country. His playbook was exactly the same as what I proposed above, and that’s why I disagree with Clegg’s choice of going into Coalition. Without the taint of the Coalition, our party would have been polling at mid-20% by now.

    Jack Layton is the leader of the NDP who managed to displaced the Liberals as Leader of the Opposition in 2011, shortly before his death. The fact that he managed to become Leader of the Opposition was the proof that his strategy worked.

  • Mick Taylor – sorry Mick, if you see a comment under your name that attempts to respond to you, it’s mine. I mistakenly pasted your name into the name section.

  • Geoffrey Dron 11th Sep '19 - 9:50pm

    @Thomas – if the Supreme Court finds as fact, irrespective of its decision on the legality of prorogation under Scots and English Law (may be different), BoJo lied in his reasons for asking HRH to prorogue, he’ll have to resign. The Tory Party will be in disarray and the situation may change radically and the LibDems may be able to dictate better terms than in 2010.

  • Overcoming my usual objection to liberals who believe in self determination for everyone but Scotland (and presumably Wales) why not focus on say 5 things that any post election agreement would have to deliver to receive LD support, ie: revoke Art 50, overhaul the electoral system/abolish lords, push new and green industries and agree further ideas as support for genuinely liberal proposals.

  • Geoffrey Dron 11th Sep ’19 – 9:50pm…………… The Tory Party will be in disarray and the situation may change radically and the LibDems may be able to dictate better terms than in 2010……………….

    So that’s the future of this party; a Tory-tail?

    Thank heaven I’m out!

  • @ Geoffrey Dron ” the LibDems may be able to dictate better terms than in 2010.”

    Geoffrey, even the most moderate student of history knows that every time the Liberal Party/Lib Dems entered into Coalition with the Tories (1915, 1916, 1918, 1931, 2010) they were sitting down to dine with a carniverous cannibal. If they managed to escape it was usually minus several limbs. The current 2019 version of the animal seems to be an extreme and ruthless version with or without the devious Mr Johnson.

  • Geoffrey Payne 12th Sep ’19 – 9:41am………….@expats – I can’t think of anything less likely than the Lib Dems teaming up with the Tories right now. They have lost what some describe as their “moderate” wing, I do not think there is anyone there we can talk to. We want a radical overhaul of the constitution precisely to stop them from behaving in such an irresponsible manner as they are now……………..

    IMO, Quite the opposite. The fact that the Conservatives are now almost two parties and that this party has welcomed, at the expense of long standing LGBT members, a Tory MP who, in the pre-Johnson era would be considered ‘on the right’, there is a stronger than ever chance of a LibDem/Tory alignment.

  • Richard Underhill 12th Sep '19 - 10:58am

    Geoffrey Payne | Tue 10th September 2019
    The timing of the next general election is closely tied to the Brexit issue, so you simply cannot ignore it yet. Boris made promises during the Tory leadership election from which even he would have difficulty maneuvering away from. His appointment of his principal adviser makes this clear, as does his inclusion of the ex-chairman of the ERG in his cabinet. A combination of your three options may happen, but the future is uncertain.
    Please believe in the uncertainty principle.

  • Alex Macfie 12th Sep '19 - 1:24pm

    expats: And we have also welcomed 3 MPs (indirectly) from Labour. You cannot read very much into one single defection. It certainlhy does not change the character of the Party overnight. Whether Phillip Lee, or any other recent high-profile defector, will fit in with our party is something that we can only find out over time.
    Welcoming ex-Tories into our fold is a completely different thing from making deals with the present Tory leadership. And anyway, the 3:1 ratio of ex-Labour to ex-Tory MPs coming over to the Lib Dems in the recent weeks would suggest that a Lib Dem-Labour realignment (David Steel’s dream) is more likely than a Lib Dem-Tory reallignment.

  • I am shocked once again, to find that there are Lib Dems who would contemplate supporting a Conservative party in a coalition. Some Conservatives do understand Economics; and they dishonestly collaborate in bamboozling the other conservatives into believing such homespun errors as ‘There’s no Magic Money Tree’, and “You don’t get out of debt by borrowing more”.

    And then they have the sly impudence to beguile us Liberals by calling their (now discredited) Conservative economic orthodoxy “neoliberalism”. And then, after inflicting a heartless Austerity on the innocent hapless, they suddenly find bags of dosh to splash around in grand gestures of electioneering largesse, for restoring police and schools and hospitals. This is not new with Johnson, it perhaps began with Thatcher — or at any rate then emerged to prosper brazenly. Is it not time for us to concentrate our attention briefly but intensively on the dangers latent but visible in all the contradictions implicit in our chameleon-skin label? I would say “for good and all”; but of course language doesn’t work like that.

  • Mick Taylor 12th Sep '19 - 5:18pm

    Roger Lake. There are people who write on LDV who might want a deal with the Tories, but out in the real world I doubt you could find any active Liberal Democrats who do, nor any MPs.
    There are also people who write on LDV who don’t want a deal with Labour at any price. They are also not representative of the party at large.
    Most of us don’t want a formal deal with either Labour or Tory, given how we fared last time. A confidence and supply arrangement where we support revoke and/or a 3rd EU referendum followed by a General Election, but where we would judge other issues on their merits would be the preferred option for many of us.

  • @Geoffrey Payne 10th Sep ’19 – 11:18pm

    “@RogerLake –
    1. Yes I like the Greens as well. Currently opinion polls put them on <5% and not really making any progress, but that could change very quickly if either the Labour or Lib Dem campaigns falter. Caroline Lucas is by far and away their best asset and I think would be the best choice for prime minister in a Government of National Unity (GNU). . . . "
    RL I agree : everyone respects her, and with so small a party behind her she looks an ideally fair Chairman or Moderator for a cabinet from several parties which ordinarily contend.

    2. " The problem for the Greens is that they need to be on about 18% in order to start winning seats . . . . Increasing support for the Green Party would I hope encourage the political parties to be more radical in tackling climate breakdown and other environmental issues . . . ."

    RL Might not the younger generations feel by now fed up with all the old parties, and increasingly keen to support a party looking to preserve a physically tolerable world of climate and water and nutrition and clean air; or another party working alongside them?

    3. " Yes UBI is very important and during the hustings recently Jo has indicated she is in favour of it and there is a lot of support for it in the party. It is a very complicated policy to get right . . . . I am not sure there is enough time to put the policy in the manifesto because it needs more consideration than the party has given it so far."

    RL I believe the Lib Dem tweaking mindset overestimates the difficulties, and that we should gain more than we lost by being seen to be taking a serious and creative look at the merits of UBI and how to achieve them.

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    Kit, I sad to have to contradict you, but there is evidence. You seem to be choosing to ignore it and that is a concern. All the best, David...
  • Katharine Pindar
    Correction: Michael BG's important article on how deep poverty could be ended by 2029 was of course posted here in October 2023, not 2013; the reference I gave ...