The 12 Op-Eds of Xmas (Day 6)

Throughout the festive season, LDV is offering our readers a load of repeats another chance to read the 12 most popular opinion articles which have appeared on the blog since 1st January, 20109. The seventh most-read LDV op-ed of 2010 was by Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Nick Perry, and originally appeared on 7th July …

Opinion: I admit it, I am shocked by Labour’s hatred

Call me naive, but I have been genuinely shocked by the bilious and unbridled hatred that has been pouring out from every Labour orifice you could care to mention.

Not just from the Labour leadership contenders. Not just in the press. But even here in sunny Hastings, Labour is looking to knee-cap a Lib Dem or two.

It’s bewildering. It’s so far removed from the kind of national political culture that I want to be part of.

My sense of the Lib Dems is that we wear our political hearts on our sleeve a bit. We are passionate about social justice, civil liberties, political reform. And maybe that’s why the first 50 days of the Coalition have been so difficult to come to terms with.

Coalition policies are, de facto, not Lib Dem policies, despite our party having influenced (for the better) the policies that are now being brought forward.

Any right-thinking member of the public knows this, but the Labour Party is intent on trying to spin a yarn that the Lib Dems are ‘Orange Tories’, or the small Spitting Image-type puppet in the pocket of the large Tory one. As Vince said to Ed Balls on the BBC’s Question Time a fortnight ago – it’s all so wilfully misleading.

My social work background makes me curious about the unbalanced and invective-laden attack that Labour has collectively unleashed on the Lib Dems over the past weeks.

Is this kind of attack the best form of defence for Labour; against the self-hatred that electoral defeat has brought to them? Is it all smoke and mirrors in respect of their own economic performance? Can they really believe that this is a demonstration of the politics of ‘the good society’?

Surely even Keynes would have baulked at the level of national debt that has been racked up, but still Labour won’t accept any blame for our national situation. Nor will they acknowledge the Coalition’s attempts to avoid the calamities that national bankruptcy would bring to the poorest. It’s politically sociopathic.

How sad for them. How dangerous for us. How much more I must turn my own shock into moderate, concerted, broken-record-rebuttal.

As The Guardian’s Julian Glover so rightly says in his yoghurty offering – must try (however difficult) to keep calm, and carry on.

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12 Comments

  • Well Mr Perry, may I express an opinion based on many many years as a close observer of government and politics (the first general election I followed closely was in 1964), since then I have voted variously Labour, Liberal and Liberal Democrat, LibDem last May. In the light my past observations, I have not a shred of doubt that this last general election was by far the most disgraceful piece of non-democracy that I have witnessed. The Liberal Democrat leader garnered thousands if not millions of votes for policies he himself disagreed with, but, undaunted, he used them go gain votes nonetheless. The Conservative leader never campaigned on a big “cuts’ and “roll back the state” platform, but that is patently what he (and Mr Clegg) had in mind. Neither the Tories nor the LibDems have a shred of a mandate for these cuts, with their inevitably bigger effect on the poorer amongst us. If Clegg and Cameron are sure of their support, then they should call a “cuts” general election. I would suggest neither of them have the simple courage to do that. There are many fair-minded voters who voted for ‘new politics’ for ‘honesty’ and for ‘an end to broken promises’, who are angry, and yet the LibDem persist in a sort of “surprised hurt”. When an individual or political party is less than honest with people, those people are likely to become annoyed. Please drop the “Innocent guy” act, you LibDems know precisely how you have upset many many people.

  • If you examine the “achievements” of the Lb Dems over the period of the coalition it seems to me that The Orange Book Lib Dems will be very well pleased with their progress. The Labour label of Orange Tory is obvious and of course not entirely unjustified and I have a feeling that a lot of members will be questioning why that deal was made and why was so much sacrificed to put an essentially Thatcherite economic policy into being. I have seen rafts of posts on hear and in other places saying “It’s all Labours fault etc etc.” and I am mindful that isn’t going to sustain electoral support when the redundancy notices and the letters informing people that services will be cut start hitting the doorsmats. All I can hear is a grisly echo of Maggie’s “There Is No Alternative.” and in that the Lib Dems should take no pride. You can have George Osborne’s economic vision but the reality is that the electorate will make their decision as to whether they wantedv a Liberal Democrat Party to endorse half a million + job losses and the savaging of the public sector.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 31st Dec '10 - 12:11am

    I remember Mr. Perry failing to provide one single solitary example of ‘bilious and unbridled hatred’ from the leadership contenders as alleged in a comment section that was over 100 comments long.

  • I am so surprised that you are surprised at the Labour reaction.

    I think the opposition we get from the dying dregs of New Labour only show how well we are doing.

    Since I joined the LibDems 6 months ago I have learned that for most people British politics is all about tribalism and wishful thinking. I work as a journalist in a far from brain dead environment and the bottom line amongst many of my colleagues is that Labour is and always will be virtuous and the Tories are and will always will be evil. I try and explain the nuts and bolts of Blair’s signing us up to the war in Iraq, and Brown’s cancellation of helicopter and armoured vehicle procurement programmes despite his support for two ongoing wars and it just doesn’t register. Hundreds of thousand of people are dead because of the crap decisions of our two previous NuLab prime ministers.

    Against that background I think the coalition is doing quite well. It’s just a real shame that our MPs don’t spend more time reminding everyone just how deeply useless the previous government was.

  • Ed The Snapper 31st Dec '10 - 9:59am

    So did Blair “sign us up” to the Iraq War then? I thought that it was voted through by a parliamentary majority. The Tories mostly supported it and a large number of Labour MPs voted against it. If we had had a Tory government, then we would have gone to war in Iraq, anyway. A narrow majority of the public supported the war according to the opinion polls and David Cameron certainly supported it. Personally, I opposed it. I am confident that Nick Clegg never mentions the Iraq War at cabinet meetings. Imagine the bad feeling that would cause…

  • No, you are wrong, Mr Perry, it’s not hatred Labour people (and many others) feel for the Liberal Democrats — it’s contempt. And everything that your party has done since you wrote the above piece back in July has only strengthened the conviction that you are orange Tories.

  • No, you are wrong, Mr Perry, it’s not hatred Labour people (and many others) feel for the Liberal Democrats — it’s contempt. And everything that your party has done since you wrote the above piece back in July has only strengthened our view.

  • Many Lib Dems in areas where they have fought the Tories for decades ARE surprised at Labour’s hatred towards us, but it will come as no surprise to those of us who have challenged them in their strongholds!
    In places like Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Hull, Burnley, Chesterfield etc the Tories were either virtually non-existent or never in a position to threaten Labour dominance. Yet Liberal Democrats have been able to break through and break the classic class divide in politics. Here in Bristol we represent one of the poorest wards in the country and some quite wealthy areas, and I expect this is true in other places where we’ve made a breakthrough.

    Labour hate the fact that we’ve broken their grip on power, they consider it as their birthright! They see the coalition as their opportunity to win back dominance in their former strongholds. This just shows how important it is for us to do well next May.

  • @Steve Comer; “Labour hate the fact that we’ve broken their grip on power”

    This is completely true however I should expect them to be delighted that we have decided to hand it back.

  • paul barker 31st Dec '10 - 2:46pm

    Part of the explanation for Labours bile must be that it forms a distraction from their worst ever performance & the Libdems best. The last time Labour got such a low proportion of the vote was before The War, then, they were a new Party on the way up. Now they are an old Party on the way down.
    Most Labour members must be aware on some level that their Party faces crippling debts & a long term history of falling membership. Their leadership have made a lot of rising membership since may but that rise has only taken them back to where they were 4 years ago.
    Deep in their hearts many Labour supporters know their “Movement” is a left-over from the 19th Century & is slowly dying.

  • Paul Barker –

    Under Nick Clegg’s leadership, with all the soft-soap media coverage he could ask for, the Lib Dems returned FEWER MPs to Westminster than they did under the leadership of Charles Kennedy. At the time, Kennedy was being portrayed in the media as a violent drunk.

    I think that this stuff about best performance ever needs some perspective.

  • @Paul Barker

    Just wait till May 2011 and you will understand the words “worst performance” and “dying movement” means, unfortunately they are not not for Labour.

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