Tag Archives: Change UK

Why we don’t need a “remain alliance”

As somebody who joined the Liberal Democrats primarily to fight Brexit, I have since come to appreciate even greater the importance of fighting for liberal democratic values. What’s more, it is evidently how important this is for the entirety of the United Kingdom.

I used to be more sympathetic towards electoral pacts, in fact, at one time I was well on board with it. I’m still desperate to stop Brexit and so disappointed at what the leave campaigns achieved; especially as my wife is a EU citizen with only EU treaty rights currently protecting her status in the U.K. This really hurt us both and fuelled me to do what I could to stop Brexit. I am also thinking of my twin brother, Eddie (some here may know him), who is now living in France.

However, an article Mark Pack published titled “Standing for election isn’t just about winning”, encouraged me to stand as a paper candidate in the local elections and removed any doubt from me that electoral pacts are a bad idea. It drove home to me the importance of standing in every seat we can. This way we can build our core vote, keep track of potential target areas and give voters the choice they need for the good of democracy.

After all, if people cannot vote Lib Dem, what is the chance they will join? Or simply just lose the habit of voting for us? It could destroy our local bases for a long time.

I am aware that people have pointed towards past success for electoral pacts but is this a viable long term plan for a party of government? I am sceptical. Given our recent electoral successes; we are clearly the party for remaining in the EU, for the environment, for the economy and for liberal values.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

+++Change UK loses six of its 11 MPs – defections to Lib Dems “expected”

From The Guardian:

Six of Change UK’s 11 MPs, including its spokesman, Chuka Umunna, and interim leader Heidi Allen, have abandoned the fledgling party after its dire performance at the European elections.

Change UK issued a press release saying it now had just five MPs, who will be led by the former Conservative business minister and anti-Brexit campaigner Anna Soubry.

Posted in News | 37 Comments

Change UK – the big question is for the Liberal Democrats

Like many Lib Dems I have been more than a little disappointed with Change UK. Their launch was poorly executed; their decision to fight the EU elections ill thought out; their battle bus so badly designed that even I could have done better.

Perhaps most wounding of all was their leaked memo which showed that their number one priority was to get rid of us by pinching our members; PPCs; councillors; donors and votes. That was so naïve. It was never likely to happen and certainly will never happen give our surge in members; MEPs and votes.

The response from most Lib …

Posted in Op-eds | 120 Comments

Time for us to be generous to Change UK

Yes, it is only one opinion poll

putting the Liberal Democrats in first place on 24% and Change UK in nth on 1%. But it is astounding, exciting, and further evidence of a real shift in public opinion. The political tide that swept us away in 2015 has turned again. Partly this is our doing, partly it is the weather.

So what next? I’ve long argued – even when Change UK seemed to be fighting against us more than anyone – that we would inevitably end up working together, and Chuk’s strategy was all about doing that from a position of strength. Well they failed, and we can crow. But perhaps we shouldn’t.

It wasn’t obvious 2 months ago that we would end up being the voice of remain and Chuk would be relegated to 1%, and it might have happened the other way round. What I think really worked for us is that the remain public understood that we were open to working with other remainers, and they saw that Chuk just wanted to fight us.

Posted in Op-eds | 79 Comments

Why the Lib Dems should extend an olive branch to Change UK

One of the next big questions the Lib Dems need to answer is what to do about Change UK. After a disastrous result in the European elections, the fledging group are facing an existential crisis. A new party needs early success to fuel its momentum. They got the opposite – 3% of the vote.

Given this, it should come as no surprise that Change want to be friends again, with the interim leader Heidi Allen openly stating that she’d like to see Change and the Lib Dems run as one entity from now on. I understand that for some, the natural impulse might be to tell them to F – off. They wanted to be separate, they tried their best to win votes directly from the Lib Dems. Now they come crawling back to us? No sir. Enjoy electoral oblivion.

It’s a tempting way to think, but it’s an urge we all need to fight. A centre-left Remain alliance would be a good thing for our cause, and a good thing for our country. If MPs want to join the Lib Dems let’s bring them into the fold. And I don’t just mean grudgingly accepting them but viewing them with scorn, I mean knocking on doors in the rain for Gavin Shuker, giving a Cabinet position to Heidi Allen, and getting Chuka in to speak to enthusiastic supporters at the next ‘Lib Dem Pint’.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 60 Comments

Heidi Allen reveals she offered to quit as Change UK Leader over tactical voting row

Heidi Allen gave an extraordinary interview to Channel 4 news tonight. 

You normally use your eve of poll interviews to talk up your own party. Instead, she told of a split within the group over recommending tactical voting to maximise Remain support. Allen wanted the party to endorse the Liberal Democrats outside London and the South East.

You have to wonder if the majority who were against it were the same people who blocked a Remain alliance in the European election.

From the New Statesman:

Allen believes the party should encourage Remain voters to back the Liberal Democrats outside of London and South East, where Change UK are polling strongest and thus stand the best chance of picking up MEPs.

Her fear, shared by Sarah Wollaston, is that Change lacks the requisite support to win seats elsewhere and could instead act as a spoiler. She warns: “Putting all the votes in one direction doesn’t always necessarily create the result that you want. If the next party further down in the polls isn’t still big enough to win a seat, you can end up, if you’re not careful, giving more votes to the Brexit parties.”

In private, she has always been clear that her strong preference is for cooperation with the Lib Dems. Earlier this week she even admitted that there was every chance that Change might not exist in its current form by the time of the next election. On the basis of current polling it is difficult to disagree. The party will be lucky to return a single MEP to Brussels and, faced with a Liberal Democrat revival none of its leading lights had anticipated, has failed to make serious electoral headway. As Allen herself says, it is a “really, really difficult time”.

Allen’s mother grew up in Germany as Hitler rose to power. She had stories about how people revered him because he promised all sorts and she clearly sees parallels with populist parties and people today. She clearly feels a sense of duty to stand up to the populists with what she called calm and moderate politics.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 29 Comments

Why I returned to the Liberal Democrats

At the age of 49 and being of a naturally cynical disposition, you would think that I would be immune to unreservedly believing in exciting shiny new things. Well, reader, I have a confession to make – I signed up as a supporter of Change UK. Yes, I believed that they were the future of British politics and yes, I actually believed that they would transform the political landscape, kill off tribalism and usher in a new age of cooperation and consensus. Truly this was the glorious bright new dawn…

However, as we seen the bright new dawn is more like a rainy November morning in West Bromwich. 

I joined the Party in November after leaving the Labour Party in a mixture of disgust, guilt and embarrassment. The Liberal Democrats seemed ideal for a centre Left socially liberal person like me, I really liked the policies and every one was so nice (if you want to see not nice, attend the average CLP meeting and criticise Jeremy Corbyn). Great, here was my new political home. But then came TIG. 

TIG looked wonderful; a happy gang of pragmatic modernists drawn from all parties and none. They hung out at Nandos and seemed like regular guys.  So I wrote to Lib Dem membership to cancel my membership, signed up to Change UK, became a group admin and started spreading the word on social media. 

Then reality intruded into my centrist idyll. It became apparent that Change UK seemed to mean radically different things to different people. This non-party (no members, no structure and no policies) was simply a blank canvas on which anyone could project their ideal political party. CHUK had all the solidity and depth of one of those old 2D Hollywood film sets. The groups I was in were full of well-meaning, enthusiastic, idealistic people campaigning for ‘change’ but with no clear idea of what that ‘change’ actually might be and no direction from CHUK high command. I could not fault their commitment to the cause but I did not actually know what the cause was and, truth be told, neither did they.  I had made a mistake. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Katy Brand and Emma Kennedy back Lib Dems for European elections

Celebrity endorsement for the Lib Dems in the European elections:

And Emma Kennedy joined in:

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15 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Brexit vote shows Tory and Labour talks are pointless

Responding to the announcement from Downing Street that MPs will vote on Brexit legislation in June, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is now clear that nothing whatsoever has come of the Tory and Labour Brexit talks. These negotiations are yet another example of pointless and irresponsible time-wasting by both the government and the official opposition.

The Liberal Democrats have been fighting Brexit for nearly three years and are the strongest party who support remaining in the EU.

To get our country out of this mess, orchestrated by Theresa May

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Change UK peacocking threatens to let jingoists and the far right run amok

As a lifelong active member of the Dutch party “Democrats 66” (D66), I know how difficult constitutional, structural and cultural improvements of state (and European) democracy can be. My party had both improving national democracy (example: direct election of the prime minister who would lead the formation of the post-election coalition government) and direct European elections in its 1966 founding manifesto,

As anybody consulting Wikipedia can read, D66 was founded by a coalition of both members of existing parties (including an orthodox Marxist one) and unaffiliated, new citizens who’d become concerned that Dutch politics was stagnating and becoming oligarchic. (From 1963 until 1967, there were three different coalition governments on the basis of the 1963 general election results).

So, I can sympathise with the pride of Chuka Umunna over assembling a similar British party (wanting to renew the existing party democracy, solidly pro-EU feeling; assembled from active party members and concerned unaffiliated citizens) in Change UK.

We entered the Dutch parliament in 1967 with a spectacular 7 seats (of 150) thanks to proportional voting, but struggled to be heard for years.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Change UK plan to grab the Lib Dems’ money, members and policies – leaked memo

The Mail has published a leaked memo from Change UK which sets out its current strategy in relation to the Lib Dems.

It is a bit of a shock.

We were hoping that there would be co-operation between Change UK and our party.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 69 Comments

Change for change’s sake wouldn’t be worthwhile

Change UK reports that among 3,700 applicants to be their candidates in the Euro elections are 105 former Lib Dems, along with 895 former Labour activists and dozens of former Tories.

Why would former Lib Dems join Change? Did they leave our party in the rout of the Coalition and haven’t been won back since? Do they think they have a better chance of getting elected now with Change? Or do they simply feel that in the current British political crisis some real change is essential to unstick it?

The trouble with the last argument is that it isn’t the Lib Dems …

Posted in Op-eds | 94 Comments
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