Tag Archives: labour party

Julian Huppert MP writes…..The Preamble, 25 years on

25 years ago, our party agreed its new constitution – and the preamble to that constitution, setting out our core values and vision.

Many of us will know some of it – ‘The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, … in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity’.

This extract – the bit that appears on membership cards – is in my view truly poetic, and captures brilliantly what we are trying to do. We are concerned about people, and empowering them to do what they can and want to do. …

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Opinion: Against liberalism

Statue of David Lloyd George - Some rights reserved  by GabludlowI am a liberal. I believe in standing up for people and communities against over-powerful vested interests – in business, the State, the media, or the unions. However, I also believe that liberalism alone is an inadequate political philosophy, and an insufficient foundation for this Party.

The problem centres on our determination to play down the significance of Left and Right. We sneer that the concepts are simplistic. We seek to defuse or ignore left-right conflict. The inconvenient truth we deny is that Left and Right do matter, often enough to split our party.

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Opinion: We’ve got our strategy the wrong way round

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKLast Friday Lib Dem HQ sent out an email to parliamentarians, PPCs, council group leaders and other office holders about our party’s new message script. The full email, if anyone is interested, can be found herehere, courtesy of the Liberator.

Aside from the immensely catchy wordy message of “the Lib Dems are working to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life” (complete with an incredible 16 sub messages), a key point was this:

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Launch of Labour for Democracy

Today, an influential group of Labour members are launching a new movement within their party: Labour for Democracy.

Its aim is to reach out to Lib Dems (and possibly Greens as well) in order to prepare a pluralist agenda around progressive issues. Although it does not explicitly say so, it is presumably also preparing the ground for a possible Labour-led coalition after 2015. Their position is based on polling evidence:

On all the major issues  Labour and Lib Dem voters tend to give similar levels of support to broadly  ‘progressive’ value statements, with Labour voters giving slightly stronger levels

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Manchester Labour’s “crazy” decision to spend £425k on pop concert

The decision of Manchester’s Labour-run Council to spend almost half a million pounds on a pop concert starring Alicia Keys has been branded “crazy” by Lib Dems in the city. Manchester City Council is currently in the process of making £296m of cuts to its budget over a two year period – cuts condemned as “ideological” by the Labour Council Leader Sir Richard Leese.

Here’s what the Lib Dem group leader on Manchester City Council, Simon Wheale, had to say about this use of scarce public money:

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Opinion: Make a clean break – You shouldn’t flirt behind your partner’s back

On Saturday evening at Brighton, I attended a meeting organised by the Social Liberal Forum (SLF) with the controversial title ‘Disengaging with the Tories before 2015’. A number of equally controversial speakers were featured, including Neal Lawson (Chair of Compass), Stuart Weir (former Director of Democratic Audit) and Green MP, Caroline Lucas.

Between them, they suggested essentially that we break up the coalition as soon as possible and form a progressive leftist coalition. (Lord Renard and Tim Farron were also there and

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

Time now to prepare for a progressive centre-left coalition in 2015

Compass chair Neal Lawson has a must-read letter to the Lib Dems in this week’s New Statesman. In it, he argues that the centre left bungled a governmental opportunity in 2010 due to unpreparedness. He encourages us to start the ground work now for a potential centre left progressive coalition in 2015, rather than leaving it to the likes of David Laws and Michael Gove to “stitch it up again”.

That’s why we have to build relationships now – through policy, ideas debates and campaigns. We

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 43 Comments

Opinion: Moderates vs Radicals: the battle for the Liberal Democrat soul

Why did you join the third party? The party with no hope of winning the election? The party who now linger at 10% in the polls, under constant attack on all sides?

Many commentators openly wonder why there is a Liberal Democrat party at all. In an unforgiving two-party system these doubts are not so easily dismissed: how is it that as a small, stubborn party polling just a core vote barely in double digits we are able to sustain our existence, and why do we?

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Clegg: ‘I’d form a new coalition with Ed Miliband’

There was an interesting interview with Nick Clegg in yesterday’s Sunday People:

Nick Clegg would form a coalition with Ed Miliband in the next government, he told The People.

The Lib Dem leader could even stay on as Deputy PM if a general election ­replaced one governing party with another.

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Opinion: Lords reform – how Labour could learn from the Germans

Labour clears the way. So says the century-old Labour campaign poster depicting working men smashing down the door to the House of Lords. Oh dear. Given the opportunity earlier this month to live up to that proud boast they sided instead with rebel, anti-reform Conservatives and together succeeded in forcing the Government to abandon a vote on its proposed timetable for the bill.

Without the timetable, those who, for whatever bizarre reason, don’t believe that the governed should elect those who govern them could talk until the cows come home, ensuring the reform bill is killed off.

Labour could easily have sided with the Government. The …

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Lords reform: did we really expect any better of either the Tories or Labour?

All three main political parties fought the 2010 election promising the electorate that, if elected, they would reform the House of Lords. All three promised the same in 2005, too. And 2001. Yet in 2012 only one party is staying true to that promise: the Lib Dems. The Tories and Labour, in contrast, are happily indulging in party politics to block progress in advancing legislative democracy.

The Conservatives living up to their anti-reform name…

The Conservative Party has fought the last three elections promising to introduce a mainly/wholly elected second chamber to replace the current House of Patronage. They signed up …

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Revealed: The document that explains how Unite intends to take over the Labour party

That’s the headline on a post over on Labour Uncut, and they have the full internal Unite strategy document to corroborate those claims:

The strategy is a powerful statement of intent. It’s clear that Unite intend to fundamentally change Labour…

In one passage, plans are set out to recruit 5000 new members from Unite into the Labour party. But this is no altruistic membership drive; the purpose of this influx of activists is to control local constituency parties…

The document goes on to outline how these new activists will be marshalled by Unite’s political structures to act as a bloc within CLPs. There

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Labour councillor apologises for using hose pipe during ban

GetReading reports:

One of Reading’s newest councillors has been spotted using a hosepipe to clean his car – despite the ban.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Opinion: What would Labour do?

“What would Jesus do?” ran the famous ‘90s slogan, often with little agreement on the answer. But that question seems positively trivial alongside the far more problematic “What would Labour do?”

As the Coalition is finding to its cost, Labour is often very effective at attacking Government plans but rather less forthcoming on what its alternative might be. And I imagine it must be a little galling for Government ministers when Labour decides to attack policies that they trumpeted in their own 2010 manifesto.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 32 Comments

Labour’s legacy: £1 million every month on unused fire stations

We are used to stories of how Labour in Government wasted stacks of cash during their 13 years in office. From aircraft carriers to PFI projects to centralised ID databases and other IT projects, billions were needlessly thrown away. Those billions burnt the gaping hole in our public finances that the Coalition is trying, in difficult circumstances, to fix.

Another example of Labour profligacy came to light this week in the Times (£). Apparently, £1 million a month of our hard earned taxes is going to pay costs on unoccupied state of the art fire service control rooms built by …

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Professor John Curtice: ‘Labour cannot afford simply to ignore the Liberal Democrats’

On Juncture, the website of the Institute of for Public Policy Research, psephologist Professor John Curtice provides some very interesting data which suggests Labour would do well to keep talking to the Liberal Democrats:

…the hung parliament brought about by the 2010 election was no accident. It was a consequence of long-term changes in pattern of party support that mean it is now persistently more difficult for either Labour or the Conservatives to win an overall majority. Meanwhile, although the current review of parliamentary boundaries will not deliver the Conservatives quite the

Posted in Polls | Also tagged | 43 Comments

Police investigate Labour in Leeds over fake poll card allegations

The Leeds Labour Party is being investigated by the police for over claims it has broken the law against issuing imitation poll cards. Parties and candidates are not allowed to issue leaflets which look like official poll cards, but this is what Labour has been distributing in the Otley and Yeadon ward:

After the legality of the leaflets was raised with them, the Labour Party has said they stopped delivering the leaflets.

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Cardiff Labour candidate faces police investigation over their home address

Following a referral by Cardiff Council’s Electoral Registration Officer, the police are investigating one of the city’s Labour council candidates over allegations that he provided a false home address for use on the ballot papers.

Luke Holland gave as his address a property that he moved out of last year. However that old address is in the ward where he is standing and his current address is outside the ward. Mr Holland does not deny the crux of the allegations, having told the media:

It is true that I currently rent a flat in a neighbouring ward – a fact that

Posted in Election law, Local government, News and Wales | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Labour candidate suspended over ‘kill Justin Bieber’ jibe

Via @suttonnick:

Western Mail front page -

Posted in News and Wales | Leave a comment

The Tories’ and Labour’s collective tax omnishambles

Labour is against reducing the 50p top-rate tax to 45p for those earning more than £150,000. What could be clearer? As it happens, quite a lot could be clearer.

First, the omnishambles…

Given how widely predicted George Osborne’s decision to reduce the top-rate was you would have thought Labour would have anticipated it and worked out their line. They failed to — as Mark Pack noted here, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna contradicted himself within 24 hours, while Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls declined to declare his hand.

When Labour did …

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Labour put down tax amendment that would have given Tories tax cut they want – which Lib Dems stopped

I realise that Parliamentary shenanigans and point scoring isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s worth pointing out that Labour today squandered a relatively good position going into the first PMQs of the new Parliamentary term. Ed Miliband had an open goal ahead of him given controversy over the pensioners’ tax allowance,  “pasty tax” and charity tax relief yet he and his strategists still managed to misunderstand parliamentary procedure to a ludicrous extent. He’s just lucky that more excitable members of the Tory benches didn’t take their chance to have some fun.

Miliband looked not to Labour big hitters of the …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Labour pulp election leaflets over Welsh language comments

From WalesOnline:

Labour has pulped 5,000 copies of a Cardiff council election leaflet because it contains a resident’s comment that they “can’t apply for most jobs in Wales because you need to speak Welsh”…

A Welsh Labour spokesman said: “Following external production of a leaflet for the Ely ward in Cardiff, the local party identified a small paragraph which contained words from a local resident that clearly ran contrary to Welsh Labour’s policy position and core beliefs…

“The leaflet in question – leaked to the South Wales Echo with the claim that it was being distributed – was stolen from a storage

Posted in News and Wales | 11 Comments

Labour’s not-so-very-local election broadcast shows how unimportant local decision-making is to Ed Miliband’s party

Tonight’s Labour local election broadcast, starring telly’s very own Lord (Robert) Winston, climaxes with the rallying cry:

On Thursday May 3rd, vote NHS, vote Labour

Exactly how voting Labour then will help the NHS isn’t explored — not surprisingly, because it won’t. There’s a reason these elections are called local elections, after all.

Before highlighting Labour’s misleading tactics I thought I should first check out the Lib Dem record on fighting local elections. I have to say I was expecting to find comparable examples, times when the party leadership had called …

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Opinion: Ed Miliband is out of touch

On Monday, Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition, launched the Labour Party’s local election campaign.

Ed proclaimed that the government is “out of touch”, and challenged us on growth, fairer taxes and a stronger society.

On growth, he claimed that we need to deal with the deficit otherwise we won’t have growth in the future.

On fairer taxes, Ed said we “are raising taxes for pensioners but cutting them for millionaires”.

Actually, this month has seen the personal tax allowance for pensioners increase, and from next year they are frozen until the personal tax allowance catches up. Or does Ed believe that pensioners …

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Opinion: It wasn’t in anybody’s manifesto, was it?

I haven’t read the Health and Social Care Bill (soon to be Act). More pages than a Harry Potter novel, and qualified by a thousand amendments, I’m not sure reading it would throw much light on my darkness. However, there are aspects of the bill I am aware of.

I know, for instance, that the NHS Bill was in no one’s manifesto, and I know there wasn’t the slightest hint of its major elements in the coalition agreement. The government has absolutely no mandate for NHS reform at all. It all seemed so clear … and then I made a foolish …

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Tax controversy and flash cars – that’s life in the modern Labour Party

We’ve heard lots about Labour mayoral candidate “Red Ken” Livingstone’s tax affairs recently, as this Telegraph article reports.

Then we have Labour leader Ed Miliband turn up in a Rolls Royce to a football match. Leaving aside the clear communications ineptitude about his diary for that day, it’s not the best look for the leader of a party which claims to be all about social justice.

Especially when he has such a strong record of standing up to rich and powerful media moguls whose operations are under investigation at the moment. 

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The Labour Party. Remember them?

There’s an excellent must-read post on the New Statesman site by Rafael Behr highlighting how Coalition politics is not only eclipsing the Labour party from the media spotlight, but also paralysing its leadership from engaging with internal debate.

First, he notes how both the Lib Dems and Tories are being given the freedom to differentiate their party’s policies from the Coalition’s programme:

The Conservative party does not like the 50p tax rate. That much is clear. It is just as clear that government policy is, for the time being, to retain the rate. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats support a “Mansion

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Opinion: Liberal Left have short memories

Liberal Left want to be careful what they wish for. In 1977 Liberal Leader David Steel struck a one-year deal with Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan that the 13 Liberal MPs would support the Labour Government in votes of confidence and supply. In return a number of Liberal Policies, most notably PR for European elections, would be enacted. After the pact, the Liberals eventually voted for a motion of no confidence that brought down the government. In the subsequent general election we got 13% and 11 seats.

As an exercise in achieving our policies the results were mixed at …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 67 Comments

10 things you might not have known about party political funding over the last decade

The Electoral Commission website is a data-mine of information for those interested in all aspects of party political funding.

For those who’d rather not get their hands dirty doing the mining themselves, below you’ll find 10 interesting (in my opinion) facts I discovered there.

But for those of you interested in excavating further, I’ve uploaded Google spreadsheets of the three main parties’ donations received between 2001 and 2011 (incl.):

And here are those 10 interesting facts I promised you…

1) In total, the Lib Dems raised £33,742,984 in donations from 2001-11. This compares with £173,742,956 for the Labour Party, and £182,418,146 for the Conservatives.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 15 Comments

Labour’s new approach to education: ‘Evidence, evidence, evidence’. What can the Lib Dems learn from this?

I’m going to do something now I haven’t had cause to do in a good few months: praise a Labour policy. Here’s why.

On Tuesday night, I went along to listen to Stephen Twigg, Labour’s shadow education secretary, deliver a speech to a ProgressOnline debate on raising standards in education. (The event was in parliament’s Grimond Room, so I felt reasonably at home.) The theme was ‘Evidence, not dogma’, and Mr Twigg stayed true to the spirit of it, announcing a heavily-trailed proposal that Labour will establish an Office for Educational Improvement. You can read his speech here, and …

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