The Liberal Democrats: on your side and fighting for you

The Liberal Democrat vote fell in June because too few voters believed we were the party on their side and fighting for them on the issues they cared about.

That wasn’t the only reason of course, but it was the main one.

So what next?

Forget talk of a progressive alliance. Labour will use it to beat us up. Caroline Lucas championed a progressive alliance and for her troubles the Green vote more than halved. Labour are always happy to take Lib Dem votes lent to them in the cause of beating the Tories, but in Lib Dem/Conservative marginals Labour actively campaigned against the Lib Dems. Had they not done so, May probably wouldn’t be Prime Minister. But Labour prefers to stop the Lib Dems and Greens even if it means a Tory government and that’s not going to change.

No. The Lib Dems will only survive and prosper by carving out a space for ourselves. Not some theoretical slot on the left-right spectrum. Not simply “we’re not the Tories/Labour and we can win here”. But a space where a substantial proportion of the British public see the party as fighting for them and on their side.

The political space we fashion for ourselves must build on our core beliefs and our history, but it cannot be so narrow that it stops us winning seats. Any political platform must have the ability to bring on board 40%+ of voters across tens or hundreds of constituencies and 20%+ of voters across all constituencies.

That space should include Liberal Democrat concerns about freedom, equality and individuality. It should encompass our pro-European and internationalist beliefs too.

For me, the Liberal Democrats’ natural place is the party of aspiration and business. The party that understands that a strong, wealthy, inclusive country needs a strong, healthy economy and that relies on business – especially small and medium sized businesses – being able to set up, grow and succeed. The party of the entrepreneur, the self-employed and the regular person working 9-5 to improve the lot of themselves and their family.

Faced with a heartless, incompetent and anti-business Conservative party, intent on running down our economy by taking us out of the European Union, and a Labour Party selling fantasy economics, our nation needs a liberal party dedicated to economic growth that benefits all, to protecting our freedoms and playing our full part in the world.

Of course I am not for a moment claiming that a few speeches by our new leader, will be sufficient. Many challenges will remain if we are to succeed in taking ownership of this political space and getting our message across to voters both in volume and over time.

But I am absolutely certain that, unless we create that space and persuade a substantial proportion of the electorate that we are the ones who are on their side and will do the best for them, all our efforts will be for nought.

* Iain Roberts is the former leader of Stockport Liberal Democrats and Lib Dem Campaign Manager in Greater Manchester Mayoral election and for Cheadle constituency in the General Election

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36 Comments

  • You see, this is what annoys me.
    Thread after thread over days and days saying what we should concentrate on (which basically appears to amount to reflect the author’s own drum that they wish to bang). Apologies if this isn’t always true. But right leaning Lib Dem’s bang on about their beliefs, left leaning one, about theirs.
    To what end? – divisions within the party, proving you are right and other sections of the party aren’t?

    You see, what are these assertions based on?
    Hard evidence from experienced campaigners? rigorous market research, millions of doorstep surveys? piece by piece jigsaw built up from real life interviews over hundreds of target voters?

    We appear to be determined to keep trying to reinvent the party from within.
    But we have no idea whether these ‘drums’ will resonate with there electorate or form a coherent offering that will illicit a favourable emotional response which will lead to a vote.

    Before responding to any more of these “I’ve got the solution articles”, maybe everyone would be wise to read this first – then respond!

    http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2017/06/richard-holden-how-and-why-the-libdems-went-backwards-in-every-seat-they-were-defending-last-month.html

  • Jenny Barnes 26th Jun '17 - 11:44am

    I also recommend the article above – scorpions and frogs come to mind. Particularly the last sentence:
    ” With seven of the nine Lib Dem seats in England now held with majorities of less than eight per cent of the vote, the next election offers a chance to take the Lib Dems out for good.”
    Payback for 5 years of support for the Tories.

  • Paul Pettinger 26th Jun '17 - 11:48am

    ‘Forget talk of a progressive alliance.’

    We haven’t tried a Progressive Alliance, at least not recently. 2017 was the work of a rebel alliance – of many Greens and individuals in different parties. The concept has been shown to work, with a noticeably bigger swing away from the Conservatives achieved in the seats targeted by Progressive Alliance campaigners.

    In term of the Lib Dems, campaigners Progressive Alliance have helped us win the Richmond by-election (we gained the vote of many fomer Green voters and our Labour squeeze message was more effective thanks to a PA endorsement), and this month OXWAB and Westmorland and Lonsdale. That’s three seats in 6 months.

    Richmond helped change the whole media narrative about the Party and its fortunes. Just imagine how the media would have treated us if we hadn’t won Richmond, and both Clegg and Farron had just lost their seats.

    I strongly agree we should be distinct. We need to think about what works, and what to leave behind. The split the difference approach is disastrous. The Progressive Alliance however has helped towards keeping us relevant and in the mainstream of public debate. Had there been more time, more positive results could have been achieved for Lib Dem candidates.

  • Nick Collins 26th Jun '17 - 12:02pm

    I don’t know about scorpions and frogs, but i thought that Vince’s analogy about mating with a praying (or should that be preying?) mantis was very apposite

  • Iain Roberts 26th Jun '17 - 12:10pm

    Mike – the key party of my thesis is not the detail of what we campaign on, it’s the need for a substantial chunk of voters to see us as the party that’s on their side – they don’t at the moment.

    It’s about finding a path that is both in line with the party’s history and ethos and appeals to enough people to win elections. That’s far more important than my personal go-to issues. Appealing just to me is not going to win the Lib Dems many MPs!

  • Donald Smith 26th Jun '17 - 12:32pm

    A good article. Yes – forget the mirage of a progressive alliance. Labour will never believe in such a thing and will do their best to destroy us. We need to put forward our core beliefs – an open, tolerant society that champions diversity – a fair society in which we stick up for the marginalised (we have a good record on children’s welfare and the elderly, and mental health – a free society where the power of the state over individuals is held in check. What we need is a better articulated economic policy – where is our core economic constituency (what about the fishing industry in the south west for example, or small business)? And let’s revive our environmental credentials and be proud of them. We should be attacking the Tories for backtracking on the coalitions green actions for example. We need to articulate our strengths instead of triangulating ourselves with reference to the other parties.

  • Iain Roberts 26th Jun '17 - 12:37pm

    Ciaran – both important issues that I care about deeply, but not issues that enough people care enough about to allow us to win more seats.

    For myself, I would say that something is very wrong if the party’s key message is based on issues that I care most about: like most party activists I am not a typical voter and I care about a whole range of niche issues that are never going to get MPs elected.

  • Russell Kent 26th Jun '17 - 12:38pm

    @Mike S.
    I read before responding. I agree with the thrust of the article, particularly regarding Tim. I thought he had an awful campgaign, bogged down, like it or not, by his Christian beliefs.

    We need to be organised and have a clear message for the electorate. And, although I have no research to fall back on, I cannot believe that as a centralist, liberal party we should be offering voters the choice of a party determined to balance both left and right extremes, by agreeing to be a coalition partner.

    As I have said on other threads, I do not live in the UK, I have lived in either Germany or the Netherlands fro 40 years: both countries with some form of proportional representation voting system, resulting in coalition governments for decades. And it has not done either country any harm, politically or regarding the economy.

  • Russell Kent 26th Jun '17 - 12:39pm

    Sorry above should be * Cannot believe not believe* Fat fingers.

  • Tristan Ward 26th Jun '17 - 12:49pm

    I suggest every single communication with/to the public should include the following:

    “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance and promote the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.”

  • Phil Beesley 26th Jun '17 - 2:03pm

    Iain Roberts: “For me, the Liberal Democrats’ natural place is the party of aspiration and business. The party that understands that a strong, wealthy, inclusive country needs a strong, healthy economy and that relies on business – especially small and medium sized businesses – being able to set up, grow and succeed. The party of the entrepreneur, the self-employed and the regular person working 9-5 to improve the lot of themselves and their family.”

    That was the personal economic message of the Liberal Party in the 1970s, the Alliance years and Lib Dems in the 1990s. I don’t think the party has said much about it recently.

    The concept of aspiration needs clarification. Aspiration needs to be expressed as “building up” with no asides about the “undeserving”.

  • @ Mike S
    Thanks for the link. Interesting and with an uncomfortable ring of truth. But in the main I think it supports the thrust of the article.
    My own experience.
    First third of the campaign pushing and focusing on the Brexit Issue. Watch Tim’s manifesto launch speech, 95% Brexit. Damp squib on the doorstep. What do we do now?
    Second third, Squeezing the labour vote. Please vote for us so we don’t get a Tory. Going quite well and good feeling.
    Last third. Labour vote slipping through fingers and hardened Tory vote fighting for dear life at the thought of a Labour surge.
    Result: Massive effort just to hold ground but long way off success.
    Problem: No unique and attractive vision to sell.
    Recommendation:
    Every constituency to complete a well designed questionnaire with comments section.
    Design a good questionnaire for the doorstep and get some raw feedback.
    @Tristan Ward
    Philosophy doesn’t get you votes. Policy does. Tell people what you are going to do.
    There is no time to waste, good chance of a GE in the next two years.

  • @tristan ward
    Fine we would all agree.
    However, is this speaking the language of the target audience.
    So maybe we should read this very long sentence to a good sample size in various constituencies up and down the land and ask – what does this mean to you.
    Because the next logical step after the why? Is the “which means that”

  • Joseph Bourke 26th Jun '17 - 3:05pm

    P.J.

    if you want to know why people vote Libdem there is already plenty of feedback around and multiple different reasons (sometimes its values, more often its policies) like this ttps://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/02/vote-liberal-democrat-first-time2017-general-election

    We have over 100,000 members now. more than 60,000 joining in the last two years. This membership is what will drive the development of policy in the years ahead and is more than a sufficient cross-section of public views to give a good steer on what is important to different elements of society.

  • Peter Watson 26th Jun '17 - 3:06pm

    @Tristan Ward “I suggest every single communication with/to the public should include …”
    @P. J. “Philosophy doesn’t get you votes. Policy does. Tell people what you are going to do.”
    @Mike S “Because the next logical step after the why? Is the “which means that””

    I think Tristan Ward makes a very good point but I’m biased as I have regularly made a similar one!
    P.J. & Mike.S are also correct that the quote from the Preamble is not enough in itself to communicate anything, and policies are vital.

    Rather than simply repeat that sentence from the Preamble in every communication until it becomes meaningless (after all, would any other party say they disagree and want some more enslavement?), I believe the party needs needs to make it a tangible, living thing that informs its actions and policies.

    I believe that policies should be measured or scored against the preamble to show how they help to deliver it and why they are better than alternatives.
    And Lib Dems should regularly quote from that sentence when promoting their policies, i.e. we believe in Policy X because we are Lib Dems and we value liberty/equality/community and this will reduce the number of people who are enslaved by poverty/ignorance/conformity [delete as appropriate!!].

    This could help ensure that Lib Dems have a distinct, coherent and consistent political identity rather than look like an oddly-shaped bag of centrist compromises.

  • Phil Beesley 26th Jun '17 - 3:37pm

    Joseph Bourke: “We have over 100,000 members now. more than 60,000 joining in the last two years.”

    That means a lot of liberal people didn’t renew their membership. If new members are more inclined to be remainer (beyond other liberal values), there will be a perceptual skew which inhibits Lib Dems for years. Going on and on about how to win the post-Brexit war.

    Lib Dems are a liberal party, not a remainer party or association of complacent European enthusiasts backing comfortable men in tailor made suits. Where did the radicalism go?

  • @P.J.

    You had me at the second third and lost me at the last.

    The key question for me in the South West, fairly typically among a huge number of anti-Tory voters, was quite simply this – are you against the Tories, or not?

    The solution, the only one at present, is Yes. That’s what the electorate here want to hear. As it stands the party currently appears only capable of two responses. One is to answer another question entirely – which simply leads people like me to suspect the worst. The other is yes, immediately followed by no.

    The Coalition is exactly like Labour’s Iraq to the electorate. Labour has had to come around to making a decision on where it stands on Iraq – and the answer is Corbyn’s – Labour was wrong. And it can move forward – and has.

    The Lib Dems need to make up their mind as a party on the Coalition – moving forward as a centre-left party regretting the Coalition – or moving forward as a centre-right one celebrating that past. There isn’t a justification because the electorate does remembering, forgetting, but not forgiving – not in a society as polarised as this one currently is.

    The party has the core liberal vote. To build it needs more – from the left. Or from the right. To ignore that reality, to just concentrate on core liberal policy is to carry on trying to pick up the voters it already has. The ones who are neither on the left, nor on the right.

  • @Joseph Bourke
    I think we need to hear why people didn’t vote Libdem. Our vote share went down from 7.9% to 7.4%. We can’t afford to live in an echo chamber. As for the increase in membership, I am one of them. We certainly cannot see that as a representative sample of the electorate.

  • Joseph Bourke 26th Jun '17 - 4:59pm

    P.J.

    there are a myriad of reasons as anyone of hundreds of canvassers from the election can tell you. What the reasons do not relate to, for the great majority, are anything to do with being in the coalition government or tuition fees. They reasons are primarily based on:

    1. Perception that Libdems can’t win/tactical voting.to keep out others.
    2. Lack of recognition of or indifference to leader.
    3. Single issue focus on referendum as against alternative approaches/solutions to Brexit problem.
    4. Uninspiring manifesto on key voter issues – NHS, Education, Housing, Low Pay etc.

  • @ Joseph Bourke
    “4. Uninspiring manifesto on key voter issues – NHS, Education, Housing, Low Pay etc”
    @ Peter Watson
    “i.e. we believe in Policy X because we are Lib Dems and we value liberty/equality/community and this will reduce the number of people who are enslaved by poverty/ignorance/conformity [delete as appropriate!!].”

    So, lets take an example, say the 1p for the NHS. How do you communicate this?
    Joseph’s point is that the manifesto is uninspiring.
    Peter suggests linking the what (policy), to our values/beliefs (Why) – a step forward definitely.

    I’m suggesting the actual Policy (the What), should always be communicated last.
    Here’s why?
    At the moment most Lib Dem’s seem to communicate like this:
    The NHS is unaffordable, it’s going to collapse, so we’ll put a penny on income tax to reduce it, so vote for us. All perfectly reasonable but uninspiring.
    Most people can process this cognitively, but communicating the features and benefits of something doesn’t usually drive behaviour/decision making.
    people don’t buy *what* you do, they buy *why* you do it!
    So lets reverse the order, leading with the ‘Why’.
    It might sound something like this:
    Are you the kind of person who wants as much control over your life as possible?
    We believe that everyone should have the same opportunity to succeed and be productive and useful members of their communities.
    For this to happen everyone needs to be in the best health they can be.
    This is why we are passionate about creating the best health service we can have for us all. It’ll cost everyone just 1p on tax.
    Is that something worth voting for – (or a summary of words to that effect).

    All I did was reverse the order. Why, How, What. More inspiring now?
    You are now hitting their Limbic systems, eliciting an emotional response they can relate too – that’s what drive decision making.
    The actual policy itself is just the vehicle, the last thing to mention.

  • Dave Orbison 26th Jun '17 - 6:01pm

    Bolano 2 “The Lib Dems need to make up their mind as a party on the Coalition – moving forward as a centre-left party regretting the Coalition – or moving forward as a centre-right one celebrating that past. ”

    Spot on. For those that say the LibDems believe in civil liberties, human rights and so on, yes of course but these concerns are not exclusively those of the LibDems. When I see how Coalition Governments are made up overseas, I see groups from Communists, Socialists to Conservatives and Nationalists. They don’t change colour or values depending on whether or not they are in a Coalition. Voters know what they stand for and support or reject them accordingly.

    One of the problems with the UK LibDems and their desire for PR and Coalition Government is that they seem to think they can sit exactly in the middle of this spectrum. But I think this is part of the problem. Voters just do not know what they are going to get and suspect the LibDems will jump either way so long as it gets them into power.

    For those long standing LibDems who are happy to reel off the history of the party you may well have convinced yourselves that the LibDems have this balancing act off to a fine art but the problem is the voters, they don’t buy it. Any cursory read through of comments on LDV shows there are two factions within the LibDems (as there are in most parties) left and right. OK the LibDems have their own names but they are still different groups with different priorities within the same party.

    Yes, they broadly have some overlap on some issues but these tend not to be great issues of differentiation with respect to other opponents no matter what the LibDems feel.

    Consequently, voters are moving away from the party as their is no clear and consistent message. Increasingly LibDems are being seen as opportunists, of all things to all people. Shoot the messenger if you like, but the trend in election results over several elections is clear to see.

  • Sorry predictive text – should say:
    The NHS is unaffordable, it’s going to collapse, so we’ll put a penny on income tax to *rescue* (not reduce), so vote for us.

  • Peter Watson 26th Jun '17 - 6:55pm

    @Mike S
    In some ways I think the “penny on tax for …” is the worst sort of policy since it does not say what will be done with the penny and people get hung up on the wrong thing. I think that the biggest improvement in your re-ordering is that it emphasises what the party wants to achieve for the NHS (which should be the point of the policy and what distinguishes one party from another) rather than the penny.
    I think that the notion of referring to the Preamble should be an important part of developing and prioritising policy (e.g. a scorecard) as well as a way to communicate it. After all, if a policy cannot be explained in terms of how it addresses the Lib Dem preamble and helps move towards the vision described therein, perhaps it should not be a Lib Dem policy at all.

  • Agreed Peter.
    Simply used that example as everyone knows it (and really didn’t want to use the “second ref……….” and open up a whole can of worms, such that people missed the key communication point).

    As you say, it’s trying to get over the principle of linking beliefs to policy.

    To build trust again, we need to be clear about what we stand for and the policies have to come out of that, not the other way around

    For me, it’s about thinking Why, How What. and communicating the WHW clearly for each policy, so we hit voters in a way which is more likely to lead to a decision to vote for us (i.e; their Limbic system and not just their cortex).
    The preamble is obviously the main reference point to use as the guide to what those policies should be as you say.

    I guess I was a bit hard on Iain earlier, because to be fair, he is pointing out many of the issues we face.
    I just start to cringe when I see direction being set (in any thread), seemingly coming out of individual beliefs and not linked to a clear overall vision of “Why we even exist” in 2017.

    PS: keep hitting a comment flood wall, so may be blocked for a while now.

  • Pj points out that it is not philosophy that gets votes so we should tell people what we will do…and do you know my heart sank early in the campaign when we told them what we were going to do when the line was given that the Tories were going to have a landslide and so vote for us for a strong opposition. ‘Opposition’ meant we were already thinking defeat and no-one votes for a pre-conceived defeated party, that hasn’t got the vision and confidence to sell itself. I know that was at the time sort of realistic but oh dear if that’s what we are going to do, know wonder people moved away. We should always aim high and campaign as if we are going to win, and I felt that Tim’s punchy deliveries could have carried us better if we were saying it as if we were going to win. So yes tell them what we are going to do but tell them with conviction that we could succeed.

  • The title is good, but Iain Robert’s idea that we should be the party of aspiration and business sounds like the Conservatives of the 1970’s. I have nothing against small or medium business or entrepreneurs or the self-employed but these aren’t those who we need to protect and ensure they have choices. It is the poor and powerless who we need to protect from those with power and ensure they have the choices the wealthiest have. I would like us to be the party which will ensure that everyone who wants a job has one.

    We should not see ourselves as the party of the EU. We should be the party of working with every nation to protect citizens and reduce the power of the wealthy and international businesses.

    Another reason for our poor national share of the vote is the tuition fee student loan issue, which we haven’t solved yet. I think the correct way to do so is to have a policy of having a true graduate tax which is progressive – the more you earn the more you pay.

    I agree with Donald Smith in that we should “stick up for the marginalised” even if I hate the phrase “an open society” as it gives the impression we want everyone in the world to have the right to live and work here.

    @ Phil Beesley

    You are wrong about the message of the Liberal Party in the 1970’s or the Alliance in the 1980’s. In the general elections of 1979 and 1983 both wanted a country with full employment and a prices and incomes policy to control inflation.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Jun '17 - 11:43pm

    Mike S

    Good link, terrible, but in our need for knowledge, necessary, article, read the comments on conservative home, for better analysis.

    Dave Orbison

    You are correct on the range of opinions in this party , but it is more united in many viewpoints than others, by a common decency I do not find elsewhere as much if at all , in its desire to not be mean and nasty to those in disagreement. It is also , mainly in the centre, radical centre , and moderate centre left.

    I suggest Labour are doing well by being in the mainstream on Brexit and immigration, or all things to most people. And because of promising much .

    The Tories are doing badly because they are in the fist category but not the second.

    We promised very little . Except another referendum, not very exciting !

    Lesson .

    Party needs to be mainstream with important and exciting promises.

  • Peter Watson 27th Jun '17 - 8:54am

    Michael BG “the tuition fee student loan issue, which we haven’t solved yet. I think the correct way to do so is to have a policy …”
    Any policy would be better than the apparent Lib Dem position on tuition fees which seems hopelessly confused and inconsistent.

    The current system is regularly defended and it is implied that it is associated with increased numbers of students and university applicants from poorer backgrounds. We are told it is fair and that if you squint it looks just like a graduate tax. Labour are criticised heavily for wanting to scrap tuition fees which would only benefit wealthier families, etc.

    So Lib Dems are fully supportive of the current system and the principles upon which it is based, aren’t they?

    Stop apologising for the broken pledge fiasco and own this system that the party helped to deliver. Simply tell voters the position in 2010 was a mistake and large fees and income-contingent loan repayments are brilliant. Even those MPs who voted against at the time can use Tim Farron’s line that it was more important to keep a promise, implying that they did like the new system really. And stop whinging about Tory measures to drop bursaries for nurses and poorer students, after all, loans are brilliant, remember, they haven’t discouraged students and they will only be repaid when graduates are earning enough money. And don’t imply that fees could be dropped for some subjects: if they work, they work! Similarly, stop making halfhearted comments about an “aspiration” to scrap fees but it’s not a “priority” at the moment.

    Or alternatively, go in the opposite direction! Either way, just pick a single clear position and then communicate it to voters. Lib Dems should stop sending mixed messages about a policy they have had years to address and which has been so damaging to the party.

  • @Joseph Bourke
    ‘What the reasons do not relate to, for the great majority, are anything to do with being in the coalition government or tuition fees.’

    Not my experience. Thousands of leaflets, hundreds of doors.

    But this is the point I was making. We have no end of persons on this and other forums saying ‘this is what happened’, ‘this is what went wrong’, ‘this is what we need to do about it’. Well that is just one persons opinion, just as my earlier comments were just one slice of an experience cut to relate to the article. As you say, we have had hundreds (hope it was thousands but maybe that’s a statistic we could do with) of canvassers out there knocking on doors. That is a wealth of empirical data that needs to be collected, sorted and learned from. That is something on which we can reliably build.
    Can anybody tell me the total number of canvassers we had knocking on doors?

  • P.J.
    Exactly, what channels of communication are in place/being put in place to collate all this insight, ascertain patterns and use it?

  • A few small wins would help. The threat of ID cards seems like one, as is the right to protest. There must be scores of areas in the new political climate where we can secure the public vote if not the HOC one.

  • Christine Narramore 27th Jun '17 - 1:39pm

    Philosophy may not get votes.
    But I believe *a lot of people* are natural Lib Dems but don’t realise it. We need to get that philosophy out there.
    Personally I would b sneaky and have a number of sites subtlety spreading our Philosophy (ideally humorously and attractively) and then when they have a following be ready to reveal “this is what Lib Dems believe”.

  • Jonathan Le Feuvre 27th Jun '17 - 2:26pm

    Iain, I with you one of the things I found whilst on-line campaigning (where people tend to be a bit for forthright with their view behind the anonymity of a computer rather than on their door step) is the complete ignorance of the British public about what we stand for.

    I mean I’ve discussed with people about us and they all see as as intelligencer, with huge trust funds that prevaricate and pontificate a lot. Using lots of big words that confuse them and that makes us “wishy-washy”.

    But when you give them the hard facts in about what we are about, best within 6 words max two syllables, you feel the light come on and get comments back like” I never knew that” or “wow you really are look after the all”. Even with the hardest of hardest left/right wing voters.

    So what I’m seeing is a Party that is current in limbo, whilst we await a new leader with a lot of keen new members who want to scream about the party, especially as they learn more about liberal values.

    Sure there are some radical things we can do like say openly we want to stop brexit (clear and easy to understand – and yes this is my big thing), but also socially, educationally, environmentally, Politically what we are all about to.

    As the saying goes it pointless learning to run before you can walk. We just expect everyone to start of sprinting when the British public is general isn’t even crawling yet, when it comes to an understanding of what are both liberal and democratic views.

    The general tone, I get from the country at the moment is we’re divided.

    Brexit has just been the catalyst that opened many other wounds in our country and people are looking for someone to rally around. Nature hates vacuums and either we fill it with our liberal view or something far nastier than even UKIP will.

    We have an open goal in front of us, as the usual Red/Blue affair we have in this country is too busy congratulating themselves over achieving nothing.

    So what we should be shouting is look for a more united Kingdom come join the liberal revolution. Come join the Lib Dems.

  • In an echo chamber you will never hear the kind of home truths that you need to hear in order to adapt and evolve. As a once active Liberal Democrat I find it deeply unnerving to be directed from LDV to conservativehome in order to find out the truth about the Libdem failure. Is there not an extra lesson to learn when conservativehome has created a better, ‘go to’, option for articles plus their much more open comment policy giving enhanced reality checks for liberals who only seem willing to talk amongst themselves

  • Simon Banks 26th Sep '17 - 7:31pm

    “Aspiration and business”: this sounds like a reworking of “helping people get on in life”, which sounds like “get rich and get promotion” – nothing wrong in those aims, but they’re not particularly Liberal and there is no suggestion of people working together to achieve shared aims or of empowerment.

    Tony Blair claimed New Labour was “the party of business”. Since almost no-one outside North Korea claims to be anti-business, to be meaningfully “the party of business” a party must consistently take the side of the board against the employees and the developers against environmentalists.

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    The £50m 'Remain Bonus' (splendid notion!) will need some rather careful figuring out of how it can be spent on 'public services and tackling inequality'....
  • User AvatarClive Sneddon 12th Nov - 9:44pm
    Gary J- How do you know the victims were not trafficked? The police have kept the lorry driver for questioning for so long because they...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 12th Nov - 9:24pm
    frankie, OK This is your last chance. You probably think my business cards aren't worth very much. You won't have any "faith" in them as...