Trump’s awful, but we need to put our own house in order

We expect President Trump to turn our long-held values on their head. Whether it’s banning Muslims or building a wall against Mexican migrants, withdrawing from the world’s agreement on limiting climate change, cosying up to Russia’s President Putin and doubting if NATO is still valuable, Trump’s Presidency seems like a bad dream from which we, and America, will only awake when his term ends.

But that will be years hence, Meantime he will visiting Britain next week. Has America changed so much that this presidency is not an aberration but a consistency?

Britain has to stand strong against that fear with Europe, with the EU and with our NATO allies. Our rocky, deplorable government has to be made by the progressive forces to stand up for our national values and our continued security.

So, when we hear that the government is to give ‘careful consideration’ to calls for a renewed judge-led inquiry into our country’s involvement in human rights abuses after the Iraq invasion, Liberal Democrats must assert the necessity for that enquiry until it is granted.

The necessity arises from the two reports published by Parliament’s intelligence and security committee. They show a shameful slippage of our own intelligence services’ values when assisting American operations in Iraq after the 9/11 attacks. It is reported that the UK had planned, agreed or financed 31 rendition operations. In addition, on 15 occasions, British intelligence consented to or witnessed torture, and there  were 232 occasions when the intelligence agencies supplied questions to be put to detainees whom they knew or suspected were being mistreated.

The reports state that inquiry was needed to examine certain matters in detail, but access to those officers on the ground at the time was mostly denied by the prime minister, The conclusion was reached that ISC could not conduct an authoritative enquiry and produce a comprehensive report.  Its conclusions are stated to be provisional, ‘a fair account of what we have been able to find to date.”

Britain needs a renewed authoritative judicial enquiry, to clear its own conscience before we can properly confront this President who, like George W Bush before him, apparently condones the use of torture. This is a case where the progressives of Parliament must work together to ensure that such an enquiry is rapidly set up.

Our foreign affairs spokesperson, Christine Jardine, demanded that the Government commits to a full torture and rendition enquiry into what British intelligence agencies knew about US kidnap and torture of suspected terrorists after 9.11, She linked the issue to President Trump’s visit next week. In a Commons speech, she said that the President had openly endorsed torture: 

That is abhorrent and these practices are completely unacceptable. The Government must therefore be unequivocal with the President and recommit UK support for the absolute torture ban.

Former home secretary Kenneth Clarke has led calls for it, and Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry backed the call. Andrew Mitchell, a former international development secretary, said that abuses had ‘done considerable damage to Britain’s international reputation as a firm upholder of international law and human rights.’ Britain surely needs no further muddying of its international reputation, and this is a clear instance where clarification of past bad practice will be needed, in addition to forthright speaking to the present holder of the American presidency. 

* Katharine Pindar is a long-standing member of the Lib Dems and an activist in the West Cumbrian constituency of Copeland and Workington.

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40 Comments

  • We must also be wary of Britain’s own Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn. Like Trump he is a protectionist playing the xenophobic card when it comes to public services (renationalisation to avoid “horrible foreign governments” profiting from rail, energy or nuclear power), trade (unaccountable “greedy foreign multinationals” suing us in “shady secret corrupt corporate courts”), horrible views against job offshoring and the posted workers directive and Trumpist calls of “keeping manufacturing British”. He is anti Common Market and liberalisation of public services. His attacks on the outsourcing companies are vile.

    Equally like Trump he is an isolationist who vehemently hates foriegn intervention, supports Putin and is anti NATO. Corbyn’s views on migration are now full on Red UKIP. His supporters spout the same conspiracy theories about the EU Commission, Bilderberg Group, Davos and so on as the alt-right.

  • @stimpson I agree mostly with your assessment. Ideologically there is a cigarette paper between the left and right on a lot of factors, further if you look at some of the ukippers calling them right is not correct; many are very much to the left. Then when it comes to extremist politics dispute how we all say we have learned from history it isn’t true. In the end one side will eat the other and that is when people start to die.

    I know he is the opposition but I wish the lib dems would do more to expose corbyn and new old labour. They operate by thinking a lot and being very quiet publicly. We should shine light on them as the British public will not like the naked truth of corbynism.

  • I agree. UKIP, Front National and the BNP were always hard right when it comes to social conservatism and nationalism.

    On economic issues they are robustly statist, anti-globalisation and in many cases left wing. The far right have always backed a nationalised NHS, renationalisation of the railways and free tuition for maths, nursing and engineering (basically anything where culture and diversity are not present). Paul Nuttall was against Royal Mail privatisation. Gerard Batten their current leader has been referred to as on the left of the party. The alt-right attacks on TTIP/TPP are exactly the same as those by the far left. Private outsourcing companies are routinely referred to as a shadow state by far leftists and alt-rightists.

    Trump voters warmed to Sanders as he offered them the same old protectionism, just from a trade unionist / leftist direction. The two most extreme trade unions in the UK, the RMT and ASLEF are Brexiters who have called for communism. Their French counterparts have been bullying Macron and committing similar extremist disruption over modernisation as ours have been. Bob Crow and Nigel Farage were drinking buddies. Crow was anti freedom of movement in line with the Marxist-Lennist strand of British Communism.

    Grangemouth workers strikes have been xenophobic in nature. Red Labour has supported pitting EU migrants against British workers. Far right London taxi drivers represented by the far left RMT and LTDA now all back Corbyn nominating Sadiq Khan over his blatantly xenophobic attack on Uber.

    The list goes on…

    The far right and far left are the same. Hard protectionists who want to control the country for their own ends.

  • I like titles which tell us what the article is about. This one is “awful”! It is good to read that there is some agreement that there should be a judicial inquiry into our involvement in rendition and torture. I wonder why the government needs 60 days to make a decision and I hope it makes the right one.

    @ DJ Pocock

    History should teach you and the party that if we attack Labour there will be another Conservative government after the next general election. We need to concentrate our attacks on the Conservative government. A minority Labour government would be better for this country than any government which has the Conservatives in it. Hopefully such a Labour minority government would have full employment at the heart of its economic policies and try to find solutions to make the economy work for those who voted for Brexit because they feel it doesn’t work for them.

  • Michael BG – some of us see Labour’s economic direction under Corbyn as a brutally insane option economically than the Conservatives.

    I despise the neo-nationalism and hard right social conservatism of much of the Tory party, but free markets, free trade, globalisation and privatisation are major forces for good. Left wing economics would make it impossible to have any sort of social liberalism, as the country would be bankrupt and hard left thugs would rule the roost. At least with the Conservatives in charge we have a sensible economy and can concentrate on social and identity issues. Under Corbyn, the economy would be run for the benefit of socially right wing and economically extreme left RMT and ASLEF militants.

  • @ Stimpson

    Free markets need to be regulated, as does globalisation (which is difficult to do). If you compare Corbyn’s economic policies with those of Harold Wilson I am not sure there are great differences. Corbyn’s trade union reforms might be problematic, but if it was a minority government, would they get passed? I reject the idea that having 1.5 million people unemployed and 2 million people not working because of disabilities or health conditions is a sensible way to run the economy. Full employment would help these people and give lots of them the freedom the rest of the population has. We as a party need to recognise that lots of people feel that the economy doesn’t work for them and we need to fix this, not think that Conservative economics are better than one which has full employment as one of its aims.

  • OnceALibDem 7th Jul '18 - 9:42pm

    Some may say the LIb Dems had their chance on this:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/coalition-governments-torture-inquiry-keeps-lib-dem-manifesto-pledge-spells-end-to-labours-shameful-legacy-on-human-rights-20196.html

    Human Rights/Civil Liberties are very much back burner issues under the Vince leadership – and have been ever since his leadership manifesto gave them no mention.

  • Katharine Pindar 7th Jul '18 - 11:05pm

    Leaders are not the only generators of party policy, OnceALibDem, certainly not in our party, but our Foreign Affairs spokesperson is here the right MP to state the Lib Dem demand. To use this thread to launch a violent attack on Jeremy Corbyn is disappointing to read, Stimpson, since we join in cross-party demand for the necessary inquiry, and Emily Thornberry leads for Labour on it. To many, I think possibly most, of us Lib Dems, much of what the Labour Party is offering the voters is acceptable, as was explored in a previous article this year, ‘What should we do about Labour?’ published in LDV on February 9. The UNITE union’s majority vote to move forward Labour’s static thinking on Brexit is also a welcome development. I support Michael BG’s comments to you here.

    The theme of this article is contrary to what you and DJ Pocock are discussing: it is about the need for co-operation of the progressives of all parties to oppose Trumpian values, which hopefully are not shared by the American majority, and uphold our standards. The submitted title was ‘Confront slipping standards: Britain needs to reassert values not upheld by current US leadership’ – which Caron thought, understandably, too long for a title.

  • Corbyn is shorthand for the regressive, protectionist, luddite, militant hard left. I make no apology for saying that this party must never ever tolerate the views of hard leftist economics and the thuggery and selfishness of Brexiteer trade unionism, motivated by well paid staff pretending to be the downtrodden working class who are unwilling to grow up and accept deference to globalisation and even resort to a leftist neo-nationalism to defend their power.

  • To add, opposition to Trumpism extends to opposing isolationism, anti trade, anti corporatism and anti job offshoring, just as it equally extends to supporting diversity, gender rights, immigration and open borders and other essential parts of social liberalism. The protectionist / luddite / Brexiteer / militant / socialist left are no better than the rabid right.

  • Katharine Pindar 7th Jul '18 - 11:28pm

    Well, we’ll count you out of the ‘progressives of all parties’, then, Stimpson, and for my part I’ll go on drinking ‘Confusion to the Tories!’ (namely this current government shower) with my Lib Dem friends of a centre-left persuasion. And if we get a Labour government pursuing social justice and greater equality, until our party is strong enough to lead the way ourselves, I’ll wish them Godspeed.

  • `On economic issues they are robustly statist, anti-globalisation and in many cases left wing. The far right have always backed a nationalised NHS, renationalisation of the railways and free tuition for maths, nursing and engineering (basically anything where culture and diversity are not present). Paul Nuttall was against Royal Mail privatisation. Gerard Batten their current leader has been referred to as on the left of the party. The alt-right attacks on TTIP/TPP are exactly the same as those by the far left. Private outsourcing companies are routinely referred to as a shadow state by far leftists and alt-rightists.`

    Sounds good to me. About time people at the bottom of the heap got politicians with backbone – not this hyper-globalist free for all. There is a an anti-democratic deep state that needs tackling `drain the swamp` if you will. They are not anti-globalisation per se they are against the extremist position the Lib Dems perpetuate. They want a global economy that meets the needs of all people rather than people constantly meeting the needs of the global elites.

  • @james – “They are not anti-globalisation per se they are against the extremist position the Lib Dems perpetuate”

    No – that’s the Tories. You got the wrong party.

    “They want a global economy that meets the needs of all people rather than people constantly meeting the needs of the global elites”

    That is Lib Dem policy. Free trade has lifted millions out of poverty. The problem is the bastardised version of capitalism that results when the rich are free to buy influence in Government and tilt the playing field in their favour. The Lib Dems are against the corruption,monopolies, vested interests and concentrations of power that prevent capitalism and free trade from working in everyone’s favour, so let’s tackle that.

  • @Stimpson. “Least with the conservatives in charge we have a sensible economy and can concentrate on social and identity politics”.
    I fear I couldn’t agree less. Economic policy, how we create wealth and how we distribute it, must be central to our politics. In this age of Brexit I don’t trust the Conservatives to do this. I think Vince agrees !!
    @Katherine Pinder. Labour may well offer social justice and equality. They also, potentially, offer national economic decline. We will all share the declining wealth of the U.K. more fairly. That’s comforting.
    And just remind me, as Liberals, do we believe in equality of opportunity (true equality of opportunity, not the faux Tory kind) or are we all out for equality of outcome. It’s not an insignificant difference.

  • @Chris Cory – “And just remind me, as Liberals, do we believe in equality of opportunity (true equality of opportunity, not the faux Tory kind) or are we all out for equality of outcome”

    Equality of outcome is seductive because it’s easier to achieve, but only by holding some people back.

    Liberalism means finding ways to lift everyone without denying others the opportunity to reach their full potential. That is harder, but worth fighting for.

  • Geoffrey Payne 8th Jul '18 - 10:32am

    We believe in reducing inequality of outcome. The whole party agreed with the policy of raising tax thresholds, although some of us were concerned the policy could backfire if it was funded by cutting public spending cuts, and whether there were better ways to achieve the same objectives. Public spending on health and education benefits more those on low incomes.
    i think that as a party we should be more radical on this. Historically the Loyd George “People’s budget” proposed the introduction of pensions, taxing the rich more and LVT. Keynesian economics was a great success in reducing inequality in the post war period and Beverage proposed the welfare society.
    The Spirit Level shows that the less unequal a society is the better it is on many indicators of a good society such as health, crime levels and social mobility. The Liberal case for supporting the reduction of inequality of outcomes is overwhelming.

  • OnceALibDem 8th Jul '18 - 12:25pm

    “Leaders are not the only generators of party policy, OnceALibDem, certainly not in our party, ”

    This isn’t about policy. The party has plenty of policies on such areas.

    What may or may not be party policy isn’t relevant. What the leader chooses to prioritise as their platform is. Vince doesn’t think civil liberty type stuff is important or he would have included it in his platform. That then feeds through to (eg) the near total silence from Ed Davey and Caroline Pidgeon on the use of Facial Recognition by the police and none of the current party campaigns is on what you could call a civil liberties issue.

    It’s almost inconceivable this could be the case pre-2015 – it’s another way in which the party now isn’t the one it was.

  • Katharine, “Confront slipping standards: Britain needs to reassert values not upheld by current US leadership” can be counted as 14 words. The title is 12 so not much of a reduction. Perhaps “Confront slipping standards: Britain needs to reassert values not upheld by Trump” would have been better, or even just “Britain needs to reassert our values on the treatment of people captured abroad”.

    James
    “They want a global economy that meets the needs of all people rather than people constantly meeting the needs of the global elites.”

    I agree the priority for the party is to have economic policies which meet the needs of the people rather than business. If the way the economy is run is leaving people feeling left behind then it isn’t working the way we as liberals want it to.

    Nick Baird,
    Free trade does not really exist. All countries’ regulate all markets. If you had studied economics one of the first conclusions you make is that free markets are only theoretical and in practice do not exist.

    Chris Cory,
    As liberals we want both more of a level playing field with equality of opportunity and more equal outcomes. Out fundamental values include “equality” not just equality of opportunities. We accept that the poorest in society have less freedom than the richest and so we want to equalise it to some extent. We do believe in the redistribution of income by government.

  • Katharine Pindar 8th Jul '18 - 4:14pm

    ‘Liberalism means finding ways to lift everyone without denying others the right to achieve their full potential.’ I agree with the sentiment, Nick Baird, but actually there can’t be ‘others’, logically – they are all part of ‘everyone’. You are right though, we work for the sake of all individuals. ‘We believe in reducing inequality of outcome’ writes Geoffrey Payne, and I think you make excellent points throughout your comment, thank you, Geoffrey (even though you reduce Mr Beveridge to a drink! :))

    Chris Cory, I don’t believe the Labour programme would bring in national economic decline – that is what we are faced with now with the Tory government pursuing Brexit at all costs. Could I ask a small favour – would you please stop spelling my name incorrectly when addressing your points to me?

    IOnceALibDem: ‘This isn’t about policy’. No indeed, I didn’t suggest it was. The focus demanded in comments here was (unfortunately) on leadership, notably Mr Corbyn’s. As for Sir Vince, he has many areas he has to comment on, since often it is only his words that gain national attention, and though I expect he wants to prioritise, the fast-changing political scene fed by 24-hour news coverage makes it difficult for him and his team. Roll on the days when a Lib Dem’s leader’s statement gains as much coverage as that of the fatuous Boris Johnson or the other self-aggrandising preeners of the present government, but the news media will always prefer the dramatic story.

  • Katharine Pindar 8th Jul '18 - 11:13pm

    Hi David, I had to get in fast there because I knew you had pointed out that charming mistake to someone else on another thread some time ago! Ah, the devil drink, well might they want to limit consumption to those working on munitions. I didn’t know that about Beveridge’s past, thank you. When did the decline in standards of probity for MPs begin, I wonder? When did it become widespread for MPs to fiddle their expenses, and for ministers of the Crown to utter falsehoods and stick to them? Well, remembering that there is supposed to be rejoicing in heaven over the one sinner that repenteth, I suppose the fact that Jonathan Aitken has been ordained and is to be a prison chaplain now – of all things! – gives a faint glimmer of hope of better standards. Hmmm. Once we’ve got rid of the present government shower maybe…

  • Peter Martin 8th Jul '18 - 11:48pm

    Trump’s Presidency seems like a bad dream from which we, and America, will only awake when his term ends.

    I’m not sure it will. The alternative to Trump, one Hillary Clinton, was as ‘establishment’ as it is possible to be. So naturally those in the USA who aren’t happy voted for Trump in large numbers. They knew they’d get a bland boring Presidency if she’d been elected.

    What will happen in 4 years time or 8 years time? We’ll probably get Trump MkII Or a possibly, if we’re lucky, a younger version of Bernie Saunders?

    From my conversations on doorsteps (and in the pub!) I do pick up on that voters are now much more inclined to vote for anyone who’ll shake things up than for the more “sensible” middle-of-the-road politicians they previously supported. So if the establishment wants Remain they’ll vote Leave. If the establishment doesn’t like Jeremy Corbyn – well, that’s an argument for voting for him. It’s part of a post GFC trend in the western countries.

    This is also happening in the EU with the rise of the “populist” parties there. It doesn’t much matter if they are of the left or the right – they’ll get the support of those who don’t like the way things are. In France, we could even get Marine le Pen if it all goes sour, which is my prediction, under Macron.

  • Katharine Pindar 9th Jul '18 - 12:40am

    @ Peter: ‘voters are now much more inclined to vote for anyone who’ll shake things up’. While respecting your opinion arising from interaction with real voters, Peter (well done!), don’t you think that exasperation over the delay in enacting Brexit and over the deep divisions in and stuck state of both the major parties might account for that? If so that’s a national problem, not an international one. I don’t see that the rise of populism in the EU is comparable: that seems to be possibly more the result of the problem of the vast immigration surge to the Continent of the last three years.

    As for America, I share your doubt, wondering in the article whether this presidency may not be an aberration but a consistency, and therefore suggesting that Britain must stand strong with her EU and her NATO allies. It’s another good reason to oppose Brexit, the need to stand strong with our EU partners who share our values.

    I think we would all feel safer if Hilary Clinton had been elected, however bland and boring she might have been! But the discontent of the working people with poor conditions under globalisation, and apparent abandonment by the elites, would I suppose have continued, and that may well have been a factor in Britain in the Referendum result.

  • Katherine, my apologies for the misspelling. I will try harder.
    You say that you don’t believe that Labour would bring us economic decline. At the time of the last election, Vince Cable said that it was “very difficult to understand why their (Labour’s) economic proposals are not being torn to shreds. They’ve progressed from Keynesian economics to Venezueian economics”.
    I believe that, which why I am a member of this party and not Labour. I would genuinely like to know why you think Vince is wrong on this point.
    I know I have drifted off the original Trump point, but with a general election within a year becoming more likely by the hour, I can’t think of anything more important to write about this morning.

  • Katharine Pindar 9th Jul '18 - 9:37am

    Chris, the reason why I don’t think the Labour Party if elected to government would pursue ‘Venezuelan economics’ is that to get elected they would have to moderate their policies, from state socialism to moderate socialism. This was all explored in comments on my February 9 article, ‘What should we do about Labour?’ and I remember Michael BG’s comment which went through the list of Labour policies and showed how much we could agree with. Even John McDonnell is speaking moderately and talking to City folk.
    (Sorry to mention, but you are still spelling my name wrongly – my FIRST name also has an ‘a’ in the middle!)

    @ David Raw. Thanks for the history lesson, David. I suppose that decisions in the middle of a war have to be made for military reasons, and hiding information may be necessary. One couldn’t expect the same honesty from politicians in wartime as in peacetime, I suppose. Anyway, getting back to the present, I do think as I’ve written on the live thread that David Davis has shown integrity now, though Boris Johnson is incapable of it.
    Time to get on with the day, tempting though it is to go on debating the interesting new situation!

  • Peter Martin 9th Jul '18 - 10:31am

    @ Katharine,

    Anyone who cites Zimababwe or Venezuela in connection with supposedly ‘state socialism’ economics, especially high levels of inflation, really doesn’t know what they are talking about.

    Neither are particularly socialist. Mugabe disposed the white farmers and replaced them with his own followers who didn’t know how to run them. So if we go back to the phrase of “too much money chasing too few goods” we can understand that even if the amount of money spent is the same, having too few goods to buy will cause high inflation. Even ultra high inflation.

    We’ve always had high levels of inflation in much of South America. Brazil had an inflation rate of around 7000% in 1990. At the same time Brazil had, and still has, a high disparity in levels of wealth between rich and poor. So it’s nothing to do with socialism. But, everything to do with a failure to not run an economy properly and collect taxes that need to be collected. That is the reason that taxes do need to be collected. To create a demand for the currency, to make it worth something, and so guard against the possibility of excessive inflation rates.

  • Peter Martin 9th Jul '18 - 11:08am

    Just in support of what I was saying before about Venezuela and socialism (or lack of):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

    It’s far more unequal than the USA. So if anyone can say that Valenzuela is socialist it must mean they think the USA is Marxist-Leninist 🙂

    PS Should be ‘deposed’ rather than ‘disposed’ in previous post.

  • Peter Martin 9th Jul '18 - 11:10am

    Sorry Not Valenzuela! That’s in the Philippines! I blame my spell checker.

  • David Raw 9th Jul ’18 – 12:07pm……I find some of the extreme rhetoric coming from the right of the political spectrum and the media attacking Labour (including a few on LDV) distasteful and knee jerk. There couldn’t be a bigger shower of pretentious egos than in the present government and the sooner they’re gone the better…………

    I find LDV personal attacks, on Corbyn (even on the most spurious grounds) even more distasteful.
    The latest ‘headline’ linking Corbyn to the harassment of jewish protesters is an example…”
    Pro-Jewish demonstrators harassed at Dutch Labour event hosting Jeremy Corbyn
    By Bernard Aris | Mon 9th July 2018 – 9:04 am.

  • @ Chris Cory

    ‘At the time of the last election, Vince Cable said that it was “very difficult to understand why their (Labour’s) economic proposals are not being torn to shreds. They’ve progressed from Keynesian economics to Venezueian (sic) economics”.’

    He also said, “Price controls, printing money, nationalise everything that moves or doesn’t move”.

    I disagree because it just wasn’t true. I expect better from somebody who has studied economics.

  • Katharine Pindar 9th Jul '18 - 10:00pm

    At least Britain will be able to keep up standards better now that Boris Johnson is no longer foreign secretary. The thought of one so unprincipled representing us to that dangerous wrong-principled US president on Thursday was noxious. Thursday, the day of this White Paper on the latest (soft) Brexit plan, and the day of Trump arriving in Britain. What a day for us all to survive! But just possibly there will have been something to refresh our spirits with, if England win again in the World Cup against Croatia. And personally I’ll have heard Kate Pickett speak on Inequality on Wednesday evening in Keswick. I’ll have to record the football and prevent anyone mentioning the result till I’ve got home to catch up!

  • Peter Martin 10th Jul '18 - 12:21pm

    @ Katharine,

    You might be interested in Prof Mark Byth’s take on ‘Trumpisms.’ Trump, himself, is a nasty piece of work but he’s the product of our times. So MB argues that our ‘Trumpism’ is Brexit, the French ‘Trumpism’ is Marine le Pen etc.

    It ties in with your interest in inequality too.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Jul '18 - 7:57pm

    Sadly, Peter, this video is not coming through – ‘an error occurred’. Let’s hope Trump is an error that the American people will come to acknowledge! Meantime, NATO will have to put up with his swagger tomorrow, and the poor Queen next day.

  • Katharine Pindar 11th Jul '18 - 12:50am

    Noticing David’s comment, I tried again to watch the video just now, Peter, and succeeded. But I’m afraid it made no impact on me. It seemed to be just one of the chattering classes sounding forth about the elites, to which in fact we all belong, and the put-upon working classes, and adding to the general white noise of politics with cleverness rather than conviction. Sorry. Let’s talk to ordinary people and ask what they think; and then suggest gently there are still things that can be done, and have to be attempted by politicians, failing as we all are, to make the world a slightly better place. There was a worthwhile discussion in the House of Commons this past afternoon, I thought, led by our MPs but with contributions from others. And on standards, I am reflecting on the virtues of Lord Carrington, a definite member of an elite but who contributed so much to public life, as a worthwhile model.

  • Peter Martin 11th Jul '18 - 1:56pm

    @ Katharine,

    “It seemed to be just one of the chattering classes sounding forth about the elites, to which in fact we all belong”

    On a world scale we probably aren’t badly off. We are all reasonably well educated, are likely to have fridges, drive cars, can afford to fly abroad for a holiday now and again etc etc. But that doesn’t make us part of the tight inner circle. The 1%, or whatever you want to call the real ‘elites’, where the wealth and power lies.

    At least I’m not in that league. I’m not sure about anyone else on LDV 🙂

    The current political and economic orthodoxy is leading to the enrichment of this small elite and there’s not a lot for anyone else at present. It’s probably more a normal state of affairs. The period after WW2 was unusual. Then the elites were concerned about the rise of communism and had to prove that Capitalism was a better system. Which it can be – if it’s properly managed.

    I don’t believe that it’s just mere co-incidence that, as the ‘Red threat’ diminished, the ‘elites’ drifted back to their bad old ways.

  • Katharine Pindar 12th Jul '18 - 8:43am

    I certainly don’t accept that ‘it’s a normal state of affairs’ for the small elite of the richest in our society to go on grabbing yet more wealth, Peter. There are methods of tackling the gross inequalities of our society, and the Liberal Democrats will agree and publicise some of them and help see they are carried out. The talk on Inequality that I heard last night in Keswick from Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson was one small inspiration that I will be writing about, and that Social Liberal Forum will be hearing too.

    (You might as well state that it’s a normal state of affairs for English football teams to fail miserably at world or European football tournaments! Not any more it is, with Gareth Southgate leading this set of players onward and upward!)

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