Tag Archives: realignment of the left

If Labour splits what do the Liberal Democrats do?

So, some Labour MPs are rumoured to be preparing to leave their Party post Brexit debate. There are talks of six heavily involved and perhaps twenty in total. From my own observations I think that is highly credible but not necessarily guaranteed. There can be no doubt that nationally there are huge fissures in the Labour Party. What precisely those splits are is difficult to discern.

That is replicated in Liverpool. Its only partly a joke when I say that if my seven colleagues and I were in the Labour Party here I would probably be the leader of the largest …

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Paddy Ashdown to endorse new progressive liberal movement

Paddy Ashdown is one of the names behind a new progressive, liberal political movement which will campaign on issues close to many of our hearts. It will set out ideas on political reform, our role in the world and demand a second electoral test of any Brexit settlement.

The Guardian reports:

The initiative is not a political party, nor an attempt to create a new centrist one on the model of the SDP in the 1980s. But if the movement were to succeed in attracting subscribers to a website, it could intervene in politics by recommending specific candidates at the next election.

The proposal is one of many ideas floating on the centre-left in the wake of the EU referendum and will be formally launched within a week. It is likely to support a second endorsement of Britain’s exit from the European Union if circumstances required or permitted, as well as welcoming immigration and globalisation, a green economy, modern democracy that empowers citizens and a fair economy that seeks to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

It is understood a collection of convenors would seek to give the initiative political direction and oversee the gathering of names though to mid-September. Sources involved in setting up the movement stressed it would be a gathering point, and would not seeking to stand candidates at elections, but if as many as 200,000 were prepared to sign up, a new centre-left force could be formed that could endorse a specific existing party candidate at as many as 50 seats at the election.

At the weekend, Tim Farron talked about this sort of realignment to the Independent:

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A Corbyn victory means there’s not much chance of a realignment of the left

It was Paddy Ashdown’s dream, and pre-1997 it looked to be tantalisingly within reach, yet with the imminent coronation of Jeremy Corbyn increasingly likely, the realignment of the anti-Conservative Left looks to be further out of reach than ever. Indeed, Corbyn’s happy band of followers have spent months labelling everyone else involved the contest as a ‘red Tory’, particularly Liz Kendall (whose father, let’s not forget, was a Liberal Democrat councillor) and including such known Conservative sympathisers as Harriet Harman and Neil Kinnock.

As Guido Fawkes has demonstrated, the Conservatives’ plan to deal with Corbyn is to paint him as a threat to Britain’s security, both at home (because of his views on economic policy) and abroad (because of his views on foreign policy). We have a real opportunity, if we want to take it, to own the acres of political space between a far-left Corbyn-led Labour Party and a Conservative government which will not be able to resist nudging further to the right (which would in turn put off that party’s own moderate supporters) – a space in which the majority of the British people have made their political home. We may have only eight MPs, but we are about to be gifted a huge opportunity to position ourselves politically between those two extremes and present ourselves as a moderate, sensible party which rejects both Corbyn’s reflexive ‘daddy knows best’ statism and the Conservatives’ love of taking away from those who have least to give.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 76 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Feb - 11:23am
    @ JoeB, "....fiscal stimulus normally implies increasing deficits for the purposes of expanding demand in the economy." No. It doesn't work like this. Say the...
  • User AvatarIan 18th Feb - 11:07am
    Fairly obviously - from what Chuka said and the stuff on the website - they will be launching a new party. Sensibly (and probably practically)...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 18th Feb - 11:03am
    "Not launching a new political party" should read "Not yet launching a new political party". Why do I think that? They are requesting contact details...
  • User AvatarLawrence Fullick 18th Feb - 10:56am
    Looking at the list of Lib Dem Presidents all at some time parliamentarians have we lost the Liberal tradition that the President as well as...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 18th Feb - 9:50am
    Michael BG, fiscal stimulus normally implies increasing deficits for the purposes of expanding demand in the economy. The costed spending comittments in the Libdem Manifesto...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Feb - 9:30am
    @ Daniel Walker, Well yes they would, wouldn't they? When any business fails the directors will always look for some external reason to divert the...