Stephen Tall’s Diary: liberal jottings on the week’s big events

Labour pains

“Ten-word answers can kill you in political campaigns.” So said every liberal’s fantasy US president, Jed Bartlett – surely someone in Team Corbyn is a West Wing fan? Clearly not, or they might have advised the Labour leader not to think-out-loud in TV interviews this past week, especially when the thoughts which frothed forth were so, well, thoughtless. Of course it would have been “far better” if Mohammed Emwazi (“Jihadi John”) had been tried in a court of law. It’s just that the absence of an extradition treaty with Isis makes that a bit of a challenge (unless Jezza’s up for a bit of cheeky rendition). And of course no-one is “happy” with the idea of a shoot-to-kill policy being operated by the UK police or security services — but, then, that isn’t the actual policy.

What the last week has revealed is that Corbyn is incapable of moving beyond the glib agitprop sloganeering of hard-left oppositionalism. That’s probably not surprising after 32 years as a backbencher never having (or wanting) to take responsibility for a tough decision. But it remains disastrous for the Labour party, which needs a plausible prime minister as its leader, and disastrous for the country, which needs a plausible alternative government. I’ll confess a sliver of me is enjoying the schadenfreude of watching Labour self-immolate as a result of the self-indulgent stupidity of its membership in handing the leadership to someone painfully obviously unfit for the office. But the responsible part of me knows that, for all our sakes, Labour needs to get real again, and quickly.

Time for Tim

“Lib Dem Tim Farron’s first ‘big speech’ on Thurs. By default he’s becoming leader of the Opposition” – so said The Sun’s (yes, really) Steve Hawkes this week. It’s a mystery to me why Corbyn hasn’t tried to map out his policy agenda in any set-piece speeches yet, and has instead left a void which the Tory press has gleefully filled — has Labour learned nothing from Ed Miliband’s early failure to define himself as leader? But that’s not our problem, and Tim did a good job of setting out liberal economic principles: invest now in infrastructure, back enterprise, and take the long view. Now that’s how you do ten-word answers. There was little that was new, but that’s not a criticism — one of Tim’s strengths is talking up what the Lib Dems argued for in coalition in a way which puts the party at ease. As Edward Docx notes for The Guardian, “There were two oppositions in the last parliament. Now we don’t have any.”

Best line of Tim’s speech? Denouncing George Osborne’s dogmatic obsession with generating a surplus within the next five years: “… the fiscal charter is nothing to do with eliminating the deficit – it goes well beyond that. The fiscal charter is simply a trap for the Labour party. And you really don’t have to set Labour traps these days.”

We don’t need no education?

There was, however, one notable omission in Tim Farron’s speech. It’s one I’ve highlighted before and will continue to nag on about: what does the party have to say about education? For years, the Lib Dems defined ourselves as the party of learning. And yes, I know, “but tuition fees” blah-blah, etc. But, at some point — I’d say now — we need to get beyond torturing ourselves about that cock-up. For a start, the Lib Dems have a record worth defending: the under-appreciated Pupil Premium was one of the most progressive policies implemented in the last decade. Secondly, I’d be amazed if education didn’t shoot up the political agenda over the next five years. Schools are facing real-term funding cuts of eight per cent; we’re going to have to find ways to cope with an extra 630,000 pupils; and schools are struggling to recruit, following a 17% drop in teacher training entries over the past five years. Lib Dems should be ahead of the game in developing a programme to tackle these issues. There are no quick fixes or easy solutions — we will need to take the long view — but we won’t reach the liberal nirvana of opportunity for all, let alone create a growing economy, unless we put education at the heart of our policy development.

Beyond my Ken

It was odd watching Ken Livingstone’s lacklustre interview on Channel 4 News in which he tetchily and vainly (in every sense) defended his stigmatising jibes against Labour MP Kevan Jones, who’d accused him of lacking the experience to co-chair Labour’s Trident policy review. Here was a man who as Mayor of London in 2005 earned deserved plaudits for his astute and defiant response to the 7th July terrorist atrocities. Yet instead he waved the credentials of “my five years as GLC leader responsible for civil defence”. It was almost as if he was air-brushing from his own history his two terms operating as a pragmatic, reformist politician in favour of the impetuous, confrontational radicalism of his past. As I say, curious.

Lib Dem boat rocked

On Monday, the New Statesman got in touch to ask me to contribute a piece “on the special conference on Rennard that has just been triggered”. My heart sank a little. At the time it felt like the party was about to tear itself apart in public on an issue on which closure is impossible. I started writing it that evening, but couldn’t think how to end it. The only conclusion I could come to was that “no-one knows how this ends, except badly”. Thankfully, the following morning some common sense re-asserted itself: Chris Rennard resigned from the Federal Executive and the crisis was averted. The conclusion I did end up with in the published piece was little more optimistic, though: “Rennardites feel a man who’s never been found guilty of any wrongdoing has been shabbily treated by the party that’s been his life. The Rock the Boaters feel that Rennard is symbolic of an entitled bullying culture in politics that for too long has gone unchecked. Both sides are resolute – which means resolution is a distant hope.” I hope I can be proven wrong.

Zoo-time’s over

I didn’t shed a tear at the news this week that lad-mags FHM and Zoo are gone to join Nuts and Loaded on the top-shelf in the sky. On the occasions I read them (at the barbers, to be clear) I was faintly embarrassed to realise their staple of tits-and-bantz was targeted at blokes like me. Or, more accurately, blokes nothing like me. But then I find most gender-defined magazines pretty baffling. What is it about what I have in my pants which supposedly defines my preferences? My ideal read would, I guess, be a mix of The Economist, Radio Times, Private Eye, Heat, Four Four Two, History Today, the LRB, BBC Good Food, and Homes and Gardens. In short: a weekend newspaper.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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  • Your link in the next-to-last paragraph goes to a Helen Lewis piece about Daesh..

  • I’m getting tired of knee jerk anti Corbyn rhetoric by some on LDV. It simply mirrors the non-dom Tory press. I gather he was going to make a major speech last weekend but the Paris tragedy overtook it. Don’t rule out the possibility that we might , just might, have to contemplate coalition with the said Jeremy one day.

    In The Independent today folk might wish to ponder the latest poll : viz…”Voters are happier with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership than they are with David Cameron’s recent record, the latest polling evidence reveals. The Labour leader has the highest net satisfaction ratings of all the main party leaders in the latest Ipsos Mori poll, and even Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and Ukip leader Nigel Farage have better net ratings than the Prime Minister”.

    On our own internal problem, the matter was successfully nipped in the bud by Tim………….. BUT you don’t have to belong to either of the two militant tendencies to think that the unaccountable unelected HOL group got it wrong.

  • Dave Orbison 20th Nov '15 - 1:03pm

    Stephen Tall – “after 32 years as a backbencher never having (or wanting) to take responsibility for tough decisions…. “self-indulgent stupidity of its membership”.
    “By default he [Tim Farron] is becoming the leader of the Opposition” – so said the Sun (yes really)”.
    You have made quite a personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn you must know him very well. You say so much but where to start. Since you are happy to rely on The Sun let me start by saying I live on Merseyside. We don’t tend to read The Sun around here. We do not regard The Sun as a source of journalistic integrity. Balance, accuracy, honestly and a reporting the truth are not the traits I recognise in The Sun ‘stories’. Having said that I do think your piece on Corbyn would bring a smile to its editor.
    I have no idea why you are so vitriolic towards Corbyn – the Leader of the Opposition vs the Government who are presiding over cuts driving people to suicide and seem to be causing real harm. To me Corbyn is an honest, thoughtful politician who answers questions based on what he believes whether you agree with it or not. We have had far too many politicians who lie to the public and that does a grave disservice to democracy and the UK.
    You imply that Corbyn shirks responsibility. I disagree unless you think Blair and Brown were falling over themselves offering him Cabinet positions. Rather than reiterate attacks worthy of The Sun, perhaps it would be more liberal to consider his voting record in the Commons – I think you would see his voting record is much closer to many LibDem policies over the years.
    By the way he was Chair of “Stop the War Coalition” in the face of Blair and the gung-ho shoot-first ask questions later brigade. I think speaks volumes as to his integrity.
    As for the ‘stupidity of the membership’ which I think has doubled to some 300,000 since he was elected, it strikes me that your dismissal of him is just a touch arrogant and certainly ironic given the collapse in support for the LibDems. But then what do I know I’m just a stupid voter who was daft enough to believe what Clegg promised in 2010.

  • Richard Easter 20th Nov '15 - 1:15pm

    I’d sooner have a coalition with Corbyn than Gideon or the Blairities. I could get behind his plans to nationalise the railways, and taking public services back in house, his commitment to mental health, and raising tax on the biggest corporations and well off (remember Corbyn is only proposing a modest Corporation Tax increase – Britain will still have much lower tax than the vast majority of Western countries, including the US and Germany). He also appears to be supportive of small business, which appears to chime with what Farron has been saying.

    The Lib Dems were at their best under Charles Kennedy, a social democrat who I suspect could work with a left leaning Labour Party (remember New Labour were not a left wing party). They have been at their worst under Nick Clegg, as a right wing economic party.

  • I think the Oldham by-election will show us the true effect Corbyn is having on the Labour Party, not the Independent’s polls. It’s a seat that’s almost impossible to lose, a 30-40% ethnic minority vote so difficult for UKIP, an area where Tories are despised and after 5-years of coalition the 20% LibDem vote has all but disappeared. However, like Stephen Tall says he is disastrous for the Labour Party and my monies on UKIP at 8/1 – price now 7/2 and falling – to win the seat.

  • Dave Orbison 20th Nov '15 - 1:35pm

    Malc – and if course we all know what a reliable indicator by-elections are? By the way wasn’t there a time when LibDems hoped to win by-elections. Seems they are more content to be sneering from the sidelines these days yet these same people want to lecture other parties on how to be an electoral success. Oh dear.

  • Richard Easter – I agree that Charles Kennedy could have worked with a left leaning Labour Party, I’m sure Tim Farron could to. However, Kennedy was far to clever to have gone anywhere near Corbyn. Kennedy was a first class party leader and he would have known Corbyn was a disaster best avoided.

  • A Social Liberal 20th Nov '15 - 2:21pm

    I have to take exception to what you say on Emwazis murder (because that is what it is – murder).

    As the Thatcher government asserted in the 1980s, terrorists are criminals, not combatents in a war, and this country punishes its criminals by locking them up, not by killing them – either judicially or extrajudicially. There is a ton of evidence which shows that using the rule of law to lock terrorists up deters others from joining ‘the cause’. Indeed, this is EXACTLY why PIRA surrendered, they could not attract new recruits to carry on their fight.

    Now, to address this rubbish about not being able to extradite Emwazi. Do you think that this a new thing, that all we had to do was lift a finger and murdering scumbags were returned to us so we could give them their day in court. Not at all, various countries considered ‘The Struggle’ to be political and so the terrorists deemed asylum seekers. Now, we didn’t send inthe SAS to rendition them, we didn’t have MI5 use polonium or stick a brolly full of ricin into the legs of runaway terrorists AND WE DIDN’T DROP HELLFIRE MISSILES ON THEIR HEADS. I find the idea of extrajudicial killings disgusting, lowering ourselves to the standards of such enlightened countries as Russia, and deeply illiberal. That liberals seek to justify such murders is beyond me.

  • Dave Orbison 20th Nov '15 - 3:29pm

    Malc and A Social Liberal – I totally agree with you. I always admired the stand that Charles Kennedy was prepared to make even in the face of rabid right-wing causes championed by the likes of The Sun and the rest. He was a leader and that’s when I started listening to the LibDems – well, Charles Kennedy and a couple of others at least. Looking at some of the contributions on LDV I lament just how far into decline the LibDem party has descended. I get no satisfaction from saying so as I would welcome a left of centre alliance in the UK and would hope the LibDems would be an essential player. Stephen you are welcome to the Blairites and all who to undermine Corbyn. If you think the bomb dropping, pro-austerity, authoritarian Blairites would help the LibDems, please take them.
    Let’s have a realignment in UK politics. You may say there is no chance of electoral success following a genuine Corbyn agenda but at least we’d have a choice. That said it strikes me as rather odd for a LibDem to be positioning themselves based on what is likely to win an election rather than argue from a point of principle based on liberal values.

    Let’s have a realignment in UK politics. Stephen may say there is no chance of electoral success following a genuine Corbyn agenda but at least we’d have a choice,though it strikes me as odd for a LibDem to be positioning themselves based on what is likely to win an election rather than argue from a point of principle based on liberal values.

  • Matt (Bristol) 20th Nov '15 - 3:41pm

    Simon Shaw, but even if it is incumbent on LibDems to attack Corbyn, would you agree that it is essential that they do so in a distinctive way to the Tories, using different arguments and on different issues?

  • Simon Shaw 20th Nov ’15 – 3:32pm……..Maybe because Stephen knows that virtually every time that Corbyn opens his mouth he boosts the Conservative Party. That’s one of the reasons why I have consistently said, ever since Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader, that the Lib Dems MUST NOT leave the attacks on Corbyn to the Conservative Party and the Right Wing media….

    Er, No! Most of your posts are telling us all how Corbyn should STAY AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, as labour leader.

  • @ Stephen Tall : I’m surprised that someone with pretensions to be a serious analytical journalist can equate Messrs Corbyn and Bone,

    Corbyn is courteous and discusses issues. Bone play the man not the ball. In their personal lives , Corbyn is careful with public expenditure, Bone is not (though he votes for austerity and cracking down on scroungers).

    During the 2009 expenses scandal, Corbyn submitted the smallest amount in expenses of any British Member of Parliament, as he did again in 2010. Quote : “I am a parsimonious MP. I think we should claim what we need to run our offices a but be careful because it’s obviously public money”.

    No hobnobs, trouser presses, rocking chairs or gardening there then.

    Bone pays his wife £ 40,000 per annum (the maximum) to be his secretary. He was reported to the police by Northamptonshire County Council about claims for his mother-in-law’s care needs. The case went to the crown prosecutors who issued a statement :

    “Having carefully considered all of the available evidence, in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors, we have decided there is insufficient evidence to charge any criminal offence”. That has a familiar ring on this site.

    Now Stephen, before you inadvertently subject us all to another bout of bare faced cheek read today’s ‘Independent’.

    @ Simon Shaw “Maybe because Stephen knows that virtually every time that Corbyn opens his mouth he boosts the Conservative Party.”

    Not according to the latest Ipsos poll. Maybe we’ll see you in your skimpies too, Mr Shaw ?

  • Stephen Tall…”By default he’s becoming leader of the Opposition” ….

    Oh, come on! Lord Snooty’s ( of Beano fame) gang , , had more members than we have MPs…

  • Stephen Tall…”By default he’s becoming leader of the Opposition” …

    In your dreams maybe, seriously what evidence do you have that Farron is being viewed as that? Oh, I know,the same evidence that claims that the Lib Dems, according to their bar chart, are the main challenger in OW&R – lets ignore the 3.7% they got last May. It’s dishonest and it’s a joke and I doubt many people are taken in by it. If the Lib Dems want to recover peoples trust after the disastrous last few years they might want to try not treating people like idiots.

  • We are stuck at 7%. Only positive is that UKIP are at the same level (IPSOS MORI yesterday). Does suggest that the Conservatives may be the main challenger to Labour at Oldham West.

  • Dave Orbison 20th Nov '15 - 5:08pm

    Simon Shaw – “Maybe because Stephen knows that virtually every time that Corbyn opens his mouth he boosts the Conservative Party” Really? But I thought you both supported the Coalition – er wasn’t that with the Tories? So now we are led to believe that the last thing we want is a Tory Govt. and we best do this, not by attacking the Tory Govt. by pointing out where the LibDems disagree with the Tories, how dreadful the Tories are etc, etc, but instead by adopting the indirect method of ensuring the Tories lose by Labour having a supposedly more electable leader than Corbyn?

    As for ”virtually every time he [Corbyn] opens his mouth” presumably you are referring to issues of substance i.e. his polices as opposed drip-drip-drip of the current hate campaign aimed at vilifying Corbyn the man. If so, do you mean to say that there are no LibDems who are against bombing Syria; prefer a court of law than summary execution; prefer a UN resolution to govern international intervention; support investment in infrastructure; build houses; support small business and the self-employed; stopping the dismantlement of the NHS; borrowing to invest in infrastructure; getting rid of Trident and nuclear weapons; democratising policy making in the party; bringing rail and utilities into public ownership? I find the personal attacks on Corbyn to be varyingly childish, petty and nasty. I expect little else from Tories or rather from a Tory propaganda unit managed by Lynton Crosby and stuffed full of Bullingdon bully boys. I hoped for better from LibDems.

  • Matt (Bristol) 20th Nov '15 - 5:20pm

    Simon Shaw – thanks for honesty.

    What would you say to the point I have made before that who attacks Labour from the LibDems is also important for how Labour voters perceive the LibDems (ie we’re more credible with Labour waverers if perceivedly ‘left’ LibDems attack Corbyn rather, say, than Nick Clegg or David Laws)?

  • @ Simon Shaw Oh, dear. ………just because some minor celebrity comedian – one Robert Webb who I’d never heard of before you dug him up – has resigned from the Labour Party (having resigned before and then rejoined two years ago) – and who veered from atheism to religion and back again in two years – I’m supposed to “get it”. And this is supposedly more compelling than a poll of 1,021 ordinary folk by IPSOS.

    Obviously a deep thinking well balanced chap to have as your political guru, Mr Shaw . A latter day Mill, Green, Keynes, Beveridge and Russell – with more than a hint of Pilgrim’s Progress – all rolled into one. Personally, I’m on the side of the 1,021.

  • Ed Shepherd 20th Nov '15 - 7:05pm

    Gordon Brown lost the election in 2010 with his New Labour policies.
    Ed Milliband lost the election in 2015 with his New Labour policies.
    If Jeremy Corbyn loses in 2020 with his Old Labour policies, he won’t be doing any worse than his two predecessors.

  • Ed Shepherd – it’s not whether he loses or not, it’s what’s left of the Labour party after the next GE. I don’t think Corbyn will last two years, once they start losing badly in elections – and they will – the party will get rid of him. Look what happened to the LibDems under Clegg, losing election after election and kidding themselves that as soon as they got their message across things would change. Labour won’t let that happen, he is hopeless as a leader and they will soon be shot of him. Not saying he isn’t a nice man, but never in a million years will he ever be even an average leader.

  • Ed Shepherd 20th Nov '15 - 8:25pm

    I’m not sure who the Labour Party have who will do any better than Jeremy Corbyn. His three opponents for the role of leader seemed to be repeating the same New Labour message that has failed at the previous two general elections and doesn’t offer anything different to the more mild strains of Conservatism. For starters, any credible future Labour leader would have to be someone who either voted against the invasion of Iraq or wasn’t an MP at the time. It was obvious at the time that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and it’s imposssible to take seriously any politician who voted for it. Maybe the Labour Party is just ungovernable. Perhaps it just tries to bring together too broad a spectrum of viewpoints.

  • imon Shaw 20th Nov ’15 – 8:55pm………………David, of course you could always look beyond the Independent. Here, for example, is what a former senior Labour speechwriter says in today’s Times:……..

    Quoting “a former senior Labour speechwriter” as a source? Considering that you spend most of your time explaining how Labour can’t be trusted I’d say that shows your desperation…

  • Simon Shaw 20th Nov ’15 – 11:18pm…expats.“Quoting “a former senior Labour speechwriter” as a source? Considering that you spend most of your time explaining how Labour can’t be trusted I’d say that shows your desperation…”…………..Really, is that what I spend most of my time doing? For all I know you may be a fan of Labour, which I’m not, but that doesn’t mean I don’t listen to what Labour MPs, members and ex-members are all saying about Corbyn. If you want to convince yourself that Corbyn is a winner, then please feel to do and preferably try to persuade the Labour Party to hang onto him for as long as possible…………….

    I suggest you read your past posts….I am a fan of Corbyn’s honesty ( if not all his policies); a rare thing in today’s politicians. However, these Labour politicians you now seem so eager to use as ‘sources’ are the same one’s you constantly criticised when we were in coalition with the Tories…

    I find YOUR motives strange when, in one post, you trumpet that “Corbyn’s leadership strengthens the Tories” and in another call for him to stay…A closet Tory fan, perhaps?

  • @Simon Shaw
    Those “foolish” views of Corbyn you gleefully quote (on the causes of terrorism and how we should respond to attacks) are identical to the views held by many Lib Dems if the frequent debates here on LDV are anything to go by.

    “I think he is really bad for the Labour Party and good for the Lib Dems.”

    Right on the first count, wrong on the second. If the last election is any guide, fear of the left has only one effect for the Lib Dems: it drives many of their voters to the safety of the Tories.

    “A closet Tory fan, perhaps?”

    Don’t be silly. Simon said a few months back that he is opposed equally to the Tories and Labour. Why should you disbelieve him? I’m sure if you go back through the archives you will find LOADS of threads where he goes on and on and on about the Tories in the same way he does about Labour.

  • Stuart 21st Nov ’15 – 11:25am…..@expats…“A closet Tory fan, perhaps?”….Don’t be silly. Simon said a few months back that he is opposed equally to the Tories and Labour. Why should you disbelieve him? I’m sure if you go back through the archives you will find LOADS of threads where he goes on and on and on about the Tories in the same way he does about Labour…..

    Perhaps you could find some ‘these’ posts; “Rocking Horse Droppings” springs to mind….We have the most right wing government I can remember (and I’m 71). Cameron/Osborne/Hunt, et al, are hell bent on destroying the very values on which the LD party was founded and yet the majority of LDV posters (not just Simon) still, overwhelmingly, criticise Corbyn/Labour….
    BTW my mention of ‘closet Tory fan’ was a tongue in cheek response to Simon’s assertion that I’m a Labour supporter..

  • @expats
    Just to be clear on this, I was of course being entirely sarcastic.

  • @Simon
    “But you are! I said to you earlier ‘For all I know you may be a fan of Labour, which I’m not, …’ and you subsequently said that you are a fan of Corbyn’s honesty and a fan of some but not all of his policies.”

    Good grief. For the avoidance of doubt, are you really saying that anybody who admires some of Corbyn’s personality traits, and/or agrees with “some” of his policies, is necessarily a “Labour supporter”?

  • Simon Shaw 21st Nov ’15 – 11:54am…………………Earlier you said “Considering that you spend most of your time explaining how Labour can’t be trusted I’d say that shows your desperation” now you say “However, these Labour politicians you now seem so eager to use as ‘sources’ are the same one’s you constantly criticised when we were in coalition with the Tories………..Could I ask you to provide some justification for what you keep saying about me or stop saying it…………………………………

    Simon, you seem to have a selective memory…I went back, at random, to 2014….The first thread I looked at had no comments from you. The second thread I found was ‘Nick Clegg at PMQs, with added Elvis”…..

    Simon Shaw 12th Mar ’14 – 11:13pm…………)….You seem to fail to realise that most active Lib Dems have seen enough of the way that “grass roots Labour members” operate not to be especially bothered with what they think…….

    Simon Shaw 13th Mar ’14 – 10:26am….What have the views of the Labour grass roots got to do with whether the Labour Party leadership enter or don’t enter a coalition in 2015?……For myself, the least desirable outcome I would like to see in 2015 is a Labour/Lib Dem coalition………

    If a random look at your first two posts (what odds would Ladbrooks offer)are anti Labour…I’d suggest my assertions have foundation…

  • @ Simon Shaw Would it be fair to call you a Tory fan, Simon ? If not, why not ?

    Or do you prefer to be – as WSC once said, a riddle wrapped up in an enigma – always asking questions and never giving answers.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • PS My first grandson (Freddie) was born today (honest) – and the first thing he said was who’s that Simon bloke who’s always asking questions ????

    At least that’s what it sounded like.

  • Simon Shaw 21st Nov ’15 – 6:46pm..expats.It might have helped if you had given the posts that I was responding to..

    So, if you make anti-Labour comments, in response to a Labour supporter, they don’t count as anti-Labour….

    Your reasoning is as selective as your memory

  • imon Shaw 21st Nov ’15 – 9:38pm…………………What you actually said was that I spend “most of my time explaining how Labour can’t be trusted ” and that I “constantly criticised” Labour politicians that I “now seem so eager to use as ‘sources’…I just don’t see how the “evidence” you have produced supports either assertion…..

    I looked in LDV at a 2014 date completely at random and the first postings I found from you were anti-Labour….I’m not going to look through your whole history…

    As for…”I think it shows that I don’t like Labour tr-lls coming on LDV and spouting anti-Lib Dem rhetoric. You, presumably, have no problem with that”….

    No! I don’t have any problem with that….If the alternative is a repeat of so many posts, in the latter days of coalition, explaining how “It would be all right on the night” and ignoring our polls, loss of councillors and MEPs, then I thank heaven for ANY post questioning our strategy.

    Anyway, I’ve found entering into any debate with you akin to wrestling fog. You make no attempt to’ answer any question; except with another question..

    This is my last poston the subject….

  • @ Simon Shaw

    The employment of the Socratic method of asking dialectical questions without providing answers has its dangers, Mr Shaw. Remember what happened to Socrates in the end.

    At the moment I’m currently a fan of my day old grandson from whom I tend to get a bit more sense. End of.

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