UKIP breakthrough, Labour scrape through

The overnight news is that Douglas Carswell has been elected as a UKIP MP in Clacton with a majority of 12,068 over the Conservatives and 60% of the total vote. Liberal Democrats lost our deposit in 5th place, the 10th lost deposit this parliament.

Meanwhile in Heywood and Middleton, a Labour seat since its creation in 1983, Labour clung on with a majority of 617 votes over UKIP. This time, however, the Liberal Democrats did a little better, coming 4th with 5% and saving our deposit.

Here are the full results:

Clacton
UKIP (Douglas Carswell) – 21,113 (59.7%, N/A)
Conservative (Giles Watling) – 8,709 (24.6%, -28.4)
Labour (Tim Young) – 3,957 (11.2%, -13.8)
Green (Chris Southall) – 688 (1.9%, +0.7)
Liberal Democrat (Andrew Graham) – 483 (1.3%, -11.6)
Majority = 12,404 (35.1%), Turnout = 35,338
UKIP gain from Conservative, Swing +44.1% Con to Ukip

Heywood and Middleton
Labour (Liz McInnes) – 11,633 (40.9%, +0.8)
UKIP (John Bickley) – 11,016 (38.7%, +36.1)
Conservative (Iain Gartside) – 3,496 (12.3%, −14.9)
Liberal Democrat (Anthony Smith) – 1,457 (5.1%, −17.6)
Green (Abi Jackson) – 870 (3.1% N/A)
Majority = 617 (2.2%)
Labour hold, Swing 17.7% Lab to Ukip

To kick off debate, here are some questions:

  • Is this a sign that the UKIP vote will, for once, stay strong for the General Election, and what would this mean?
  • Is UKIP making sufficient inroads among traditional Labour voters to be a real threat to a number of Labour seats?
  • Are ex-Labour voters blind to the far-right nature of UKIP, or is this a sign that the left-right spectrum is useless for analysing party positions?
  • Austerity breeds extremism?
  • Have people who live in safe seats been taken for granted for too long? And can it then be rational to vote for anyone who might beat the incumbent party?
  • Aside from the protest and anyone-but-incumbent votes, what is the threat to the Liberal Democrat vote from UKIP?
  • Might Labour and Tories alike come to regret their opposition to AV? (Though Labour were notionally in favour.)
  • Can Ed Miliband survive?

Over to you…

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257 Comments

  • The narrative on the Heywood result is bizarre. Labour’s share of the vote went UP – how is that UKIP taking votes from them?

    Looks like a fairly straightforward case of UKIP taking protest votes in a safe opposition seat to me. With a general election style turnout it seems likely that Labour will win with a comfortable margin.

  • Isn’t Labours problem more that they are not making progress rather than slipping back? Their vote share was pretty much the same in Heywood and Middleton meaning they have made no inroads since 2010. I’m left wondering, not for the first time, how much better they could be doing had they a different leader. Of course the fact they have Millibland is no bad thing for Lib Dem hopes…

  • ‘austerity breeds extremism’ thread.

    Worth reading book by Benjamin Friedman ‘The Moral Consequences Of Economic Growth’.

    One argument is that societies which support ‘liberal, tolerant’ policies depend on economic growth so that some benefits flow to less prosperous people. Lack of growth brings a sense of contraction and exploitation that cannot be bought off.

    http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/bfriedman/files/the_moral_consequences_of_economic_growth.pdf

    Extract from linked paper :
    We are also increasingly aware that economic development—industrialization in particular, and more recently globalization—often brings undesirable side effects, like damage to the environment or the homogenization of what used to be distinctive cultures, and we have come to regard these matters, too, in moral terms. On both counts, we therefore think of economic growth in terms of material considerations versus moral ones: Do we have the right to burden future generations, or even other species, for our own material advantage? Will the emphasis we place on growth, or the actions we take to achieve it, compromise our moral integrity? We weigh material positives against moral negatives.
    I believe this thinking is seriously, in some circumstances dangerously, incomplete. The value of a rising standard of living lies not just in the concrete improvements it brings to how individuals live but in how it shapes the social, political and, ultimately, the moral character of a people.
    Economic growth—meaning a rising standard of living for the clear majority of citizens—more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, and dedication to democracy. Ever since the Enlightenment, Western thinking has regarded each of these tendencies positively, and in explicitly moral terms.

  • Before everyone starts getting excited about the “sea change” in politics (Nick Robinson, I’m looking at you) let’s calmly look at some facts.

    1. Douglas Carswell was already the MP for Clacton, so had some track record there anyway. By all accounts, he was pretty well regarded locally, and a number of “vox pops” for broadcasters have shown people saying they were voting for him rather than UKIP.
    2. Like it or not, immigration is a perceived problem for many people. UKIP’s simplistic answer of “padlock the gates and swallow the key” appeals as an instant quick-fix for many, even though we know it’s not as straightforward as that. When people feel their jobs are threatened, immigrants feel the sharp end of the stick.
    3. This is an unpopular government, and any opportunity to give the government a kick will be taken.
    4. UKIP’s message appeals in many ways to the same group of people who voted for Thatcher in the 1980s (the C2s, for want of a better description.) For the same reason, it will be harder for them in a General Election to break out of the south-east ghetto which they find themselves in.
    5. Miliband will survive, mainly because there’s no real alternative who will challenge him. It’s too close to the GE now to change a leader (unfortunately) but he’ll have to change tack.
    6. A Conservative / UKIP coalition is likely – but there’s two things to think about. Firstly, it’s unlikely they’ll have more than 1 MP in Scotland in total, and a good possibility of having none at all. How could they possibly be a government for the whole of the UK when they don’t have any representation in one constituent part of it? Secondly, it will be more of the Tories responding to the UKIP dog whistle, rather than a tail wagging the dog. Is that really what people want?

  • Martin Land 10th Oct '14 - 9:15am

    Caracatus, you are being very naive.

    Our leadership have a strategy in place to deal with all of this and we shall hold most of our seats next May as the 94% of people who are not supporting us come to realise that we are right and they were all wrong.

  • Like 90% of election results in the last four years (outside of Scotland) these results indicate that Miliband’s Labour Party are doing enough to get a majority next May because in the seats that they are bothered about their vote is holding up or as Jack points out their share of the vote is going up. Labour are not doing anything spectacular but they are doing enough. FTFP will help them next May. Nothing in last night’s results indicate anything else. If UKIP had won Heywood it ight be a different story. But the fact is that UKIP failed in Heywood.

    Last night may have been a historic breakthrough for UKIP in Clacton or it may have been a high point after which they decline into general election irrelevance. As Liberals – the history of by-election victories followed by general election disappointment is imprinted on our memories.

    Being beaten into fifth place in Clacton by The Green Party (albeit on penny numbers) is maybe more significant for us.
    It repeats a trend of recent years particularly in the south of England where the Green Party has been moving up to take voters and more importantly activists from the Liberal Democrats.

    As Peter Chegwyn writes elsewhere we need to be doing something to rebuild the party starting now. We should not be waiting until Clegg is toast next May. To avoid more Clactons on the road to extinction Liberal Democrats need to start to change now.

  • Rebecca Taylor 10th Oct '14 - 9:31am

    Some attempts at answers:

    (1) Would UKIP have won Clacton if the candidate had not been MP there for almost a decade and (looking at how he increased his majority from 2005 to 2010), a hard working MP? Given that Carswell says he is a supporter of gender equality, I wonder how long it will take for him to work out that he’s joined a party that thinks the very idea of gender equality is ridiculous.

    (2) Yes, but only in a certain kind of Labour seat; UKIP are no threat for example in inner city Labour seats (in London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham etc) as they can’t even elect a single councillor in any of those places.

    But UKIP’s success in the less diverse more deprived Labour seats has been helped by Labour (as a whole; there are notable exceptions) ignoring UKIP thinking that strategically they hurt the Tories more. Ignoring means not challenging UKIP’s narrative (that everything is the fault of foreigners and the EU) and in fact Labour have gone further than that, as many front benchers have expressed views that reinforce UKIP’s narrative.

    (3) Austerity doesn’t always breed extremism, in Spain “Podemos” is a new left wing, anti-austerity, anti-establishment party that blames ruling parties and bankers for the problems Spain has (which are far worse than the UK) not immigrants and the EU. Mind you having had a right wing dictator within the last 40 years, you could understand that Spain is wary of right wing extremism. There are similar left wing parties in Italy (five star movement) and Greece (Syrizia). There are however nasty right wing parties in both those countries too.

    (4) ex-Labour voters probably are blind to the far right nature of UKIP because firstly, not all kippers are far right, although a lot of their supporters are , so just using that line to attack sounds hollow especially when not backed up by anything else (ie seriously challenging the UKIP narrative which only the LibDems have done, Labour have avoided this challenge and in some cases bolstered UKIP narrative). UKIP have also done an about turn on some policies and now say things that *sound* quite reasonable on the surface (they aren’t when you dig deeper, but many voters do not).

    Labour should have been challenging the UKIP narrative, highlighting the fact that UKIP policies (tax the rich less, get rid of employee rights, scrap the NHS etc) offer very little to ordinary working people and then show that their policies do offer something (there is obviously a problem there because I can’t think of a single distinctive Labour policy that fits the bill…). But 7 months before a general election is bit bloody late. Labour know how to do it, Margaret Hodge and Labour in Barking and Dagenham destroyed the BNP who went from having something like 15 councillors and threatening to take the parliamentary seat to no councillors and an increased majority for Hodge.

    (5) Yes both Tory and Labour MPs in safe seats take their electorate for granted; we LibDems should know that, as we have benefited from it (think of Tim Farron’s seat, which now was a safe Tory seat only 15 years ago but is now a last cause for the Tories).

    Anyway, I have to go now as I have a day job that isn’t in politics and I need to get on with it!

  • David Evans 10th Oct '14 - 9:31am

    The great unwashed of politics so derided by Nick and his coterie have struck again. Yes, those protest voters, who used to vote for us because they believed we were on their side and would deliver “a different sort of politics” with “an end to broken promises;” who have been derided by Nick as being unworthy to give us their votes; who will now only vote for us where we have councillors or MPs who do what Nick so clearly does not believe in, have spoken.

    As Jo Grimond so wisely said “liberals should be on the side of the governed, not the governing,” So Nick, I am not on your side – I am on the side of good Lib Dems who don’t think a well crafted speech is an end in itself; who fight for their communities, not just want to run them; and who do not through their incompetence in government drive ever more good people into the hands of UKIP.

    Go Nick and go now.

  • What a night! Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be middle aged was very heaven… 🙂

    Clacton was one of the greatest by election wins in modern electoral history, the swing shaded by Bermondsey but the increase in vote share (from nothing to 60%) was the greatest EVER.. Both major parties were given a seeing to in safe seats, seven months from an election. As for the Tories, wait for Rochester (which we are going to win handily despite the desperate Tory media narrative) for the panic to really set in.

    For some time now, on here, I have been saying that UKIP isn’t a Tory breakaway but something far more profound and interesting. I said that we attracted Labour voters too, that we speak for the deprived, the poor, the desperate. That Labour took their vote for granted and didn’t care. That Labour areas are one party states in which schoolgirls get groomed and raped and nothing is done because the perpetrators are of an ethnicity which makes them untouchable.. Heywood and Middleton is a harbinger of problems for Labour all over the north.

    To answer your questions:

    Yes. It means that no single party will have democratic legitimacy, and we are in for weak government that will CONTINUE to fail to take the hard decisions that need to be taken.

    Yes.

    Yes.

    Looks like it. UKIP speaks to disaffected Labour voters in a way that you clearly still don’t understand. The denial of the political elite continues to be amazing.

    Extremism is a subjective, (pejorative) term. Is 60% of the electorate “extreme”? What did your 483 vote stand for? The silent decent non extremist majority? My friends, the time for insulting UKIP voters by labelling them extreme and insulting them as closet racists is long past.

    Yes. Yes.

    Considerable. You have lost your deposit time after time. You stand at 7% in the polls. Do you think UKIP has had no contribution to that??

    Probably not. AV would have helped UKIP, and FPTP encloses them as it does any insurgent party.

    Yes.

  • Tsar Nicolas 10th Oct '14 - 9:46am

    The more surprising of the two results was that in Heywood & Middleton. I still think that Labour is on course to win with an overall majority in May but the fact that they nearly lost after just a few weeks of campaigning suggests that there is a deep malaise affecting Labour as much as the Tories and Lib Dems.

    Maybe it is dawning on people that the unbridled free flow of capital and labour disproportionately benefits the rentier class and disproportionately punishes the lower orders.

  • Paul in Wokingham 10th Oct '14 - 9:48am

    The only surprise is the scale of the UKIP win in Clacton – which is much larger than most pundits appeared to be predicting and which must affect the expectations for Rochester. The Heywood result shows the extent to which Labour – only 30 weeks before the GE – have failed to make progress after 4 years of opposition.

    All the conclusions from these by-elections are well-rehearsed: UKIP are successfully channelling the anger of middle-England to the perceived unfairness of the “recovery”. Labour are treading water. The Tories are the government. The Lib Dems are on the road to oblivion.

    But watch out for those black swans: The triple-dip recession/depression/deflation in the Eurozone led by some catastrophic data from Germany; Bad economic indicators in Japan indicating a return to recession; And the end of the domestic housing bubble.

    This is shaping up to be a very hard winter for all of us and its effects on voting intentions next Spring are impossible to predict.

  • @Caracatus re: ” Labours total votes compared to 2010 went down, from 18,500, to 11,500. Clearly some of the people who previously voted Labour voted UKIP probably some of the people who previosuly voted Lib Dem voted Labour. ”

    Look at the turnout. It was much lower. The actual voteshare is thus more meaningful than the raw figures and there Labour increased their share slightly. There will, as always, be people who changed their vote but this doesn’t indicate a rush from Labour to UKIP.

  • Peter Watson 10th Oct '14 - 9:55am

    “is this a sign that the left-right spectrum is useless for analysing party positions?”
    I think it is a sign that the left-right spectrum is useless for analysing immigration, and that is the primary issue that UKIP exploits to secure votes.

  • Reasons for UKIP ascendancy, probably all of the above. But two things I think worth emphasising are:

    1. There is widespread disillusionment with the existing political system and any politicians who endorse it when they can clearly stand to gain from it. The fact is that in most constituencies, a minority of the votes cast is sufficient and not only to get elected. It also can sustain a safe seat which means that the majority of the electorate will never see their preference representing them in Parliament. What better reason to turn your back on politics altogether, or to “punish” the incumbent when the opportunity arises? The dangers of course in this are self-evident: self-perpetuating political elites remote from the demos, the rise of extremes parties etc… That is why electoral reform is in my view more important that ever and an essential element of any solution to the perceived political malaise here in the UK.

    2. The rise of UKIP must be based on more than just a protest vote against the big parties, though it has benefitted from this (and Farage has often enough put this forward as a reason for his success). But it also reflects the strong strand of “little Englander” (perhaps they will be successful in Scotland as well in due course, but in the meantime “little Scotlanders” are well enough served by the SNP) and I am afraid that this does reflect a degree of xenophobia and racism that is present in some degree across all parts of the British public. Ignorance and bigotry are not proprietory to left or right and indeed since extreme views are more often held as fundamental beliefs rather than the application of logic and facts, they are more likely to be present at each end of the political spectrum.

    We will not see real change until there is an overhaul of the policital proces that allows a Parliament and a government that can genuinely represent a real majority of the British people. Only then will they see that voting will make a difference. AV is a poor option and I don’t know why LibDems accepted that as a compromise in negotiations with the Tories. Multi-seat STV on the other hand will, but it could mean the ed of the Broad Church Lab-Tory parties so of course they will oppose it.

  • Matt (Bristol) 10th Oct '14 - 10:12am

    Basically, UKIP have rumbled that barely anyone under 50 votes anymore, and have a set of grievances (not necessarily policies) that match with those of many people in that generation.

    It’s nakedly obvious to all that politics as usual at general eelctions involves not seeking the vote of a large part of the coutnry as they can be statistically proven to not be able to affect the vote in a meaningful way. This is yet a nother factor for the ‘I’ll vote for anyone who’ll shake this lot of smug, complacent t*ssers up’ mentality – which of course we used to benefit from all the time.

    We just don’t know whether taking up a system that challenges this tactical ignorance of large chunnks of the country as irrelevant (and I don’t now see that AV is the system that would do that) would benefit any one party, or whether UKIP or ourselves or whoever could adapt, ride that change and still challenge the larger parties.

    However much rhetoric we all spill, it is still likely that the 3rd largest party at the next election will be the LDs, and the 4th will be the SNP. I don’t see UKIP yet getting up into 3rd or 4th, even if that order is reversed.

    Also, I just don’t buy the london-media gabble that Carswell is the next leader of UKIP – he’s just been parachuted in in secret, he’s tied to Farage who is his sponsor, he has no connections with his new party’s grassroots, particularly in the North, if I’d defected from Labour to UKIP I wouldn’t trust the man …. this is bilge.

  • Polls taken after the EU elections showed that the majority of those who voted UKIP planned to support them in May.

    Perhaps these votes are not enough to convince Party members that there is a major shift in British politics – but if Mark Reckless does hold Rochester, as the polls are showing, more Tories are likely to jump ship before the GE.

    What is already very clear is that Cameron’s chances of getting close to Labour and have an opportunity to hold power has rapidly declined – as has the Party’s chance of being in government with the Tories.

    The Party needs to reposition its self as a left of centre party if it wants to survive, because that is where votes are available [if NC were not leader] and remember that ‘Democrats’ is in the Party’s title – which implies ‘the will of the people’.

  • @simon

    I take it from your comment that you are pleased with the result?

    Your thoughts on Labour are apt and I can quite understand your excitement – it must feel wonderful. But, before you get too carried away, consider that you are still in a position where your party has never had to make a single tough decision that affects people’s lives or the country as a whole.

    At the moment you have a clean slate, this won’t last. Blaming Westminster and the ‘elite’ (not that anyone in UKIP comes from an elite background…) only has traction till you actually have to do something. So yes, enjoy your victory – but if UKIP actually wants to enact policies far tougher times await.

  • Tsar Nicolas 10th Oct '14 - 10:32am

    @Tim O’Brien

    I must take issue with you to some extent about your UKIP=Little Englander point.

    Here in Wales, UKIP came second with over 28% of the Euro poll. A number of people I know, previously Lib Dem, had considered voting Plaid Cymru but were incensed at the comments by the Plaid leader to the effect that being concerned about immigration and the EU was anti-Welsh, and so actually voted UKIP. One former Plaid councillor I know did that also.

  • Bill le Breton 10th Oct '14 - 10:32am

    This thread has left me wondering what Rebecca Taylor’s day job is. Would she be interested in a job as General Election Strategist at £100,000? Would her employer be willing to allow her 8 months leave of absence. I am sorry, but I cannot guarantee her longer in post.

    Paul in Wokingham is right that we should be on the look out for Black Swans. In a way, on the economy, nothing has changed in five years. We should be putting in place a Renew Britain – Infrastructure Plan, paid for with commercial bank lending to the public sector. NOT by selling gilts. (No-one else is borrowing in sufficent qty for them to maintain the money supply necessary for any kind of recovery. I wrote that in 2009 to much derision here. No doubt there will be the same reaction today from those who rather like Austerity.

    Finally, I have no doubt that the Leader and his strategists will be taking great comfort from last night’s results. They will be saying to themselves that there are at least 100 seats where a similar UKIP intervention will result in a Lib Dem win. Over their beds will be hung the voting figures from Eastleigh. That is why they sleep so easily.

  • Tim O’Brien – I know many Scottish politicians have tried to link the SNP and UKIP, but I don’t really think that’s a fair comparison for a number of reasons, not least because politically both parties are opposed on so many issues (the EU and immigration being but two.)

    On the turnout, what the referendum showed was that where people genuinely think their vote matters, they will engage and come out to vote (85% did). Combine that with the result in Heywood & Middleton, where everybody expected Labour to win and only got a turnout of around 35%, then what’s more clear is that something needs to be done to encourage people to think that their vote counts. Voting reform would do that – but only to a sensible system.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '14 - 10:38am

    simon

    For some time now, on here, I have been saying that UKIP isn’t a Tory breakaway but something far more profound and interesting. I said that we attracted Labour voters too, that we speak for the deprived, the poor, the desperate.

    So what is UKIP actually going to DO for the deprived, the poor, the desperate? Is your answer that pulling out of the EU will solve all their problems? Would that be accompanied by a mass expulsion of citizens of EU countries, and that would open up jobs and housing for poorer UK citizens? If not, what? How are you going to deal with the problem that people cannot afford houses? How are you going to deal with the problem of people being unable to find jobs? These are keys things, people suffering from these issues look around and see people here who are not UK natives, and think they must be part of what has caused the situation they are in, and then see UKIP putting across this image of being a party which is opposed to immigration unlike all the others, and so vote for UKIP.

    You have managed to get across this image of being different, of being the way to vote if you are not happy with the way politics in this country is. Well, at one time the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Party before them worked on that same sort of image. I think you would say that people got wise to that after the Liberal Democrats got into government and didn’t magically transform the whole situation to solve everyone’s problems, instead they turned out to be politicians just like the rest. I’d say that’s a little unfair, seeing as how the government we have is only a little bit Liberal Democrat and much more Conservative. However, Nick Clegg and those surrounding him have greatly helped people like you make that sort of attack, by going on and on about the Liberal Democrats being “in government” and so giving the impression that we are as responsible for what’s happening now as the Conservative Party is, and so, quite deliberately throwing away all that “we are something different” imagery that was once a strong part of the Liberal Party appeal (I don’t want to get into another argument with David Allen here, but I deliberately wrote “Liberal Party” and not “Liberal Democrats” for a reason here).

    I think you would deride what I say here, and suggest that the Liberal Democrats were just fooling people, when they got into government it showed what should have been obvious before, that they weren’t on the side of the people, that they had nothing different to offer, that they had no real solutions to the problem so many are experiencing, the problems that are making so many poor, deprived and desperate. Well, ok, so show me that the same doesn’t also apply to UKIP. Do it now. Tell me what those policies you have that would solve those problems are and how they would work.

    The rhetoric you have used suggests you think you have all the answers. So give them. Do it now. If you don’t, you are shown up for what I have accused you of all along.

  • Brenda Lana Smith 10th Oct '14 - 10:48am

    As an unapologetic LibDem4Change supporter… I am with David Evans’ 10th Oct ’14 – 9:31am input…thank you David Evans…

  • @ Matthew Huntbach

    Aren’t you overlooking the fact that since Blair successive governments have encouraged immigration with the sole purpose of driving pay rates down – to benefit the multinationals?

    Restricting immigration should push pay rates up for the poorest, which will in turn provide more disposable income that will be spent in the UK [unlike the profits of the multinationals which will be mostly spent in some exotic location].

  • •Is this a sign that the UKIP vote will, for once, stay strong for the General Election, and what would this mean? Depends what you mean by Strong – I reckon 5-10%. Enough for 2 Parliamentary seats, and to cost the Tories a bunch.
    •Is UKIP making sufficient inroads among traditional Labour voters to be a real threat to a number of Labour seats? No.
    •Are ex-Labour voters blind to the far-right nature of UKIP, or is this a sign that the left-right spectrum is useless for analysing party positions? Some are, but not enough to be serious problem at the GE.
    •Austerity breeds extremism? Sure does. Lib Dems should have sought a compromise between the two coalition party’s economic policies, not swallowed the Mervyn King line hook, line and sinker.
    •Have people who live in safe seats been taken for granted for too long? And can it then be rational to vote for anyone who might beat the incumbent party? Yes and yes. But note also that Carswell WAS the incumbent…
    •Aside from the protest and anyone-but-incumbent votes, what is the threat to the Liberal Democrat vote from UKIP? That unthinking people who voted reactively for us as the anti-govt party will no longer do so.
    •Might Labour and Tories alike come to regret their opposition to AV? (Though Labour were notionally in favour.) No, the Tory media will prevent UKIP from winning big under FPTP.
    •Can Ed Miliband survive? I think he will become Prime Minister and will grow into the job, like Major Attlee.

  • Bill le Breton 10th Oct '14 - 10:50am

    A very interesting post on WHO LOST THE 20th CENTURY that helps understand the rise of UKIP http://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/who-lost-the-20th-century/

  • It was not a good night fpr anyone apart from UKIP. The lesson for the Lib Dems and Labour is that abandoning your voters in order to appeal to the media , There have been a lot of people left behind over the last few decades. There is emphasis on politicking rather representing voters. It’s not a failure to get the message across, it’s not a tactical game, and it’s not about “realism” as defined by a self serving elite. The truth is that UKIP are the result of persistent economic and social failure and have been able to hoover up the alleged “protest” vote because people have been marginalised by the parties that are supposed to represent them to the point where anything looks more attractive. There is no such thing as anti-politics a lot of people simply feel ignored unrepresented and dumped on.

  • @Jack:

    “The narrative on the Heywood result is bizarre. Labour’s share of the vote went UP – how is that UKIP taking votes from them?”

    Presumably your kindergarten’s politics module did not include the concept of variable turnout? In this by-election in Heywood & Middleton, roughly one elector in seven voted for Labour and a similar number for UKIP. Almost two out of three electors voted for no one.

    At the last election, roughly one elector in <b fifty voted for UKIP and one elector in four voted for Labour. So there has obviously been a significant swing from Labour to UKIP. Just as there have also been voter transfers to UKIP from both Tory and Lib Dem.

  • Brenda Lana Smith 10th Oct '14 - 11:10am

    @Simon Shaw 10th Oct ’14 – 11:00am…

    smh

  • @ Simon Shaw

    “1. By “left of centre”, do you mean broadly in the same left/right position as Labour? If you do, why is that a good idea?
    ALTERNATIVELY
    2. By “left of centre”, do you mean to the left of Labour? If you do, why is that a good idea?

    In either case, who do you mainly expect the large number of voters who categorise themselves as “centrist” to vote for?”

    The votes that UKIP now are most desperate for are Labour’s – that is why Farage was most excited by the Heywood & Middleton result – it shows the Party to be popular across the whole political spectrum.

    What UKIP has demonstrated is that there are significant votes to be gained from Labour, but as has been pointed out, they do struggle to show how disenchanted Labour voters would benefit from their policies – UKIP voters here are more a protest vote – voters that once voted for the Party.

    With a different leader, the Party could hope to recover a sizable proportion of these votes provided it was prepared to listen to what was wanted. Certainly the offer of a referendum on our membership of the EU – particularly with TTIP quietly being negotiated by the EU – which demonstrates that the Union is now dominated by the multinationals along with the Westminster bubble.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '14 - 11:20am

    Keith Legg

    Tim O’Brien – I know many Scottish politicians have tried to link the SNP and UKIP, but I don’t really think that’s a fair comparison for a number of reasons, not least because politically both parties are opposed on so many issues (the EU and immigration being but two.

    Yes, but I think the point is that people aren’t voting on detailed policy issues. I have got very worked up about the way that UKIP stands for the sort of economic policies in favour of the rich and against the poor that have caused so much misery and anger in this country, and yet people with that misery and anger are voting UKIP supposing UKIP to be on their side. But it’s clear all those UKIP voters don’t see it as I do.

    If the EU is the big oppressive force dominating our lives as UKIP put it, how come the Scots aren’t deriding the SNP as just another part of the establishment selling out their country to “rule by Brussels”? Because it isn’t, the Scots don’t see it that way because they have another imaginary enemy that can be put in front of them instead . UKIP put the EU as the big oppressive force causing all our problems, and so pulling out of it as the easy answer to everything, the SNP put the UK as the big oppressive force causing all our problems, and so pulling out of it as the easy answer to everything. I think they are both doing the same thing, both appealling to lazy and ill-informed sentiment, both whipping up antagonism and making promises, or at least hints of them, that would not possibly be met if they had their way. So I don’t think whether the two parties are pro or anti EU is as much a marker of difference between them as you suppose.

    UKIP are putting across the idea that all the problems caused by the dominance of free market thinking in recent decades will be dealt with by pulling out of the EU, and the SNP are putting across the idea that all the problems caused by the dominance of free market thinking in recent decades will be dealt with by pulling out of the UK. So I really don’t think what they say their actual economic policies are matters much, so I don’t see them as much of a distinguishing factor. I think they are actually getting much the same sort of votes for much the same sort of reason when it comes to economics. Their economic policies beyond “pull out of the union” are just a vague sketch, it’s not what gets them or loses them votes.

    Are the Scots really so much more tolerant of immigration than the English? Are there big estates in Scotland which in recent decades have become largely non-white in population? Are there lots of jobs in Scotland which go to immigrants on a casual “no questions asked” basis because that means those who have those jobs will work at far lower wages and accept poor working conditions? If there are, do these things not cause the resentment that they cause in England? If these things exist in Scotland, are there not people who cannot afford housing and cannot get council housing and cannot get jobs who blame immigration for that? I am open to correction, but I suspect there are reasons why immigration has not been so much an issue in Scotland as in parts of England which are not to do with any supposed Scottish greater tolerance of people from a different cultural background. Or maybe it’s like with the Scots and sport – all the anti-foreigner feeling is exhausted by booing England, and so as an aspect of that, there’s more support for those of other nationalities. Or maybe it’s easier to be supportive of immigrants if your country has a much greater land area per person than England.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '14 - 11:35am

    John Roffey

    Aren’t you overlooking the fact that since Blair successive governments have encouraged immigration with the sole purpose of driving pay rates down – to benefit the multinationals?

    No. On the contrary I have probably said more than almost any other Liberal Democrat contributor to LDV about my feelings that there are genuine reasons for concern over this issue, and we should not dismiss those who express them as just “racist”. I think there is a snobbery element here – it is a mark of being middle class, of having made it, that one takes a relaxed attitude to immigration, and so to show that one makes a big stand about it and pours scorn on those in the class below who aren’t so relaxed. Sure, UKIP plays on that, it’s one of their biggest appeal factors. However, it doesn’t stop the fact that UKIP are mainly funded by City fat cats who are fanatics for extreme free market economics, and so certainly don’t have any real answers to those hit so bad by the consequences of that sort of economics becoming dominant in our country.

    However, when you say “sole purpose” that indicates a typical ridiculous attitude so often used by UKIP and the like. There are a great many reasons why one might be opposed to a big clamp down on immigration other than the one you claim is the “sole purpose” here. Might you not credit some of us with actually thinking, yes, it is part of our concern for real personal freedom that people should have some freedom to move between different countries?

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Oct '14 - 11:48am

    @Alan10th Oct ’14 – 11:05am

    Are you still rabbiting on that the end is nigh for the Liberal Democrats?

    What would you have said about Labour had you been around following Ramsey Macdonald’s or Michael Foot’s eras?

    Liberalism and Socialism are both long-standing philosophies, which the followers of each see as progressive and reforming . Whatever the short-term ups and downs of the parties which seek to represent those lines of political thought, the core values and aims will remain.

    You would be better letting go of some of your anger (real or feigned) toward us and consider how the broad centre left are going to defeat the likes of UKIP who, no matter how bad our results were last night, almost had one of your ‘safe seats’ as well. Apparently we are not the only ones with issues with deserting voters are we!

    Pull yourself together man!

  • @Alan

    “blaming everything and everyone” – you’ve actually come up with a pretty neat slogan for UKIP.

  • @ Matthew Huntbach

    “However, when you say “sole purpose” that indicates a typical ridiculous attitude so often used by UKIP and the like. There are a great many reasons why one might be opposed to a big clamp down on immigration other than the one you claim is the “sole purpose” here. Might you not credit some of us with actually thinking, yes, it is part of our concern for real personal freedom that people should have some freedom to move between different countries?”

    I think if you re-read my post you will see that my ‘sole purpose’ accusation was leveled at successive governments since Blair’s. I have posted on LDV now for long enough to know that liberals are genuinely concerned for the freedom you express. So I think you can accept that the Party was excluded from my remark as the issue would not arise during its coalition with the Tories – both wishing for immigration to continue.

  • Stephen Hesketh

    “Are you still rabbiting on that the end is nigh for the Liberal Democrats?

    What would you have said about Labour had you been around following Ramsey Macdonald’s or Michael Foot’s eras?”

    This is far worse for the LibDems than Michael Foot was for Labour. Even with a leader that was so unsuitable to be PM they were still more or less certain to get at least 200 seats. The Libdems don’t have more than half a dozen like that, last night in Clacton the LibDems got less than 2%, in Heywood – with a very popular candidate – 5%. Labour were never anywhere near the situation the LibDems are in at the moment. LibDems really do need to get their heads out of the sand, you are heading for disaster and doing absolutely nothing about it.

  • A few months ago I thought UKIP would get between 6% & 11% in the GE, now I would say 9% – 13% but it all depends on whether there are more defections. A Labour defection would change everything.
    The real shock of last night was how close they came to taking a safe Labour seat. That Labours vote share held up is probably the result of Tactical Anti-UKIP votes from us & The Tories. A big question now is whether Heywood will be enough to tip Labour into full panic mode ?
    The overall effect is a further weakening of the Labour/Tory duopoly.

  • Charles Rothwell 10th Oct '14 - 12:14pm

    It was interesting to listen to Carswell’s acceptance speech. He is a very clever man (how many times have I heard MPs express themselves as ‘Gladstonian Liberals’ on ‘Newsnight’???!) (although I doubt if his leaflets shared this view much) and his speech (with its appeal to “first and second generation”, “inclusiveness” etc ) shows he knows full well the forces he and Farage are summoning up. The real questions are; 1) will they be able to control them as the ueber-Thatcherite ‘slash all state spending and intervention’/’make the UK the Hong Kong of Europe’ wing under those two and their millionaire backers who have given up on ‘posh boy’ Tory leadership begins to clash with the UKIP National Front wing which will certainly NOT want less state, but infinitely more (toughest border controls imaginable, tariffs on foreign goods/protectionism, letting the government take care of health, education, transportation, banking and energy, such as Mme Le Pen propagates) (possibly paid for by taxes on Prada handbags etc.?); 2) will FARAGE be able to join Carswell (and now possibly also Reckless plus the odd further Tory turncoat?) in the Commons post-General Election? If not, the whole show will probably be over within a year (although the bitterness, anger, hatred and resentment remaining (which have always been the Kippers’ primary recruiting agents) among large swathes of the electorate will be very dangerous indeed (as will the prospect of any possible “illegitimate” coalition of a minority Labour government with a plurality of seats and a minority vote plus LDs with a third of the vote for the Kippers yet retaining half their seats/being able to play King maker. We could really be in for the long game then.

  • That’s right Malc but you know the saying you can’t educate PORK.

  • Mathew,
    The SNP are the result of a long held desire amongst some a lot of Scots for independence. It’s not defined by antipathy for England in the same way UKIP is defined by its antipathy to Europe. Whether you like it or not SNP are basically a centre left progressive part that has connected with a large centre left electorate in Scotland. They have gained members since the referendum. The biggest factor in their success, they are after all the governing party of Scotland, as been the failure of Labour and Lib Dems to stand up for their own voters. The SNP is in no shape or form like UKIP. The number one concern of SNP voters is Scottish independence and this is mostly because a lot of Scots, far more than vote SNP see an independent Scotland as an historic goal. I think Neil Kinnock was against setting up an independent Scottish parliament because he thought that this would make an independent Scotland inevitable, which I suspect is true. Scotland is Scotland not England. UKIP may talk about Europe a lot and anti-EU sentiment is undoubably centeral to it’s ideology, but the fact remains that it is actually pretty low down the list in the Concerns of UKIP voters. In other words most SNP voters want an independent Scotland, whilst most UKIP voters are actually ambivalent about Europe.

    The Truth about you UKIP is that they are an Anti-immigration party in a country where about 70 plus per cent of population is unhappy with mass immigration. . Immigration is consistently in the top three of voter concerns in England and is consistently the number one concern of UKIP voters. Unfortunately, it turns out that the benefits of immigration to the economy are irrelevant to probably the vast majority of English voters who simply do not like the demographic shifts. It’s not racial, but it does appear to be tribal at some level.

  • @ Simon Shaw

    I thought I had demonstrated in my reply that neither of the alternatives you offered fitted the circumstances nor the ‘centrist’ category.

    By specifying Labour voters [who will range from hard left to centrist] as the target for the Party – those UKIP has demonstrated are either dissatisfied with their party or simply protest voters – the next step would be to create a manifesto that would appeal to these. Since UKIP policies are, when fully declared, unlikely to appeal to this group – such a strategy is likely to reap rich rewards [under a different leader who would be viewed as trustworthy].

  • Paul in Wokingham 10th Oct '14 - 12:20pm

    As a neat little observation on the Clacton result, over on the members’ forum Paul Pettinger notes that this (1.3%) is the worst result for the Liberal Party/Liberal Democrats since 1945. Would any of our many experts on this area be able to confirm that?

    Every time you think this party’s electoral fortunes cannot sink lower, you get a poke in the eye to show you that they can:

    Mrs. Slocombe: Just how good is a one-star hotel?
    Captain Peacock : Let me put it this way, Mrs. Slocombe: There is no such thing as a no-star hotel..

  • @Stephen Hesketh
    How many MPs will the Lib Dems have at the next election? If it is 30, then surely the problem lies with the leadership

  • @Charles Rothwell

    Sky showed footage of Carswell’s campaign office, a picture of the GOM was front and centre.

    I’m unsure how these wise words of his square with UKIP support:

    “Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument. The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic.”

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '14 - 12:29pm

    Alan

    We all know what’s going to happen. Your party will carry on blaming everything and everyone instead of looking at yourselves in the mirror and try and understand why the people who voted for you in 2010 have deserted you, as well as the loss of over 20000 members.

    Because the LibDems have “rolled over and abandoned their principles and just given in to the Tories”, yes? This seems to be the line mostly used by people like your wife. The only people who seem to disagree with that line are right-wingers in the Conservative Party, who attack its leadership claiming that the Coalition has gone much too far in the direction of the Liberal Democrats, that it the Cameron Conservatives have “rolled over and abandoned their principles and just given in to the LibDems”. Two of the MPs who say that sort of thing have defected to UKIP and others are threatening to do so.

    So UKIP is gaining support because the LibDems have abandoned their principles and rolled over and joined the Conservatives and the Conservatives have abandoned their principles and rolled over and joined the Liberal Democrats. Can you perhaps give me your thoughts on this?

  • The most interesting thing about H&M is not that Labour won, with a slightly increased vote share (unusual in a byelection to increase or maintain a vote), but that huge number of former Lib Dem voters must have switched to UKIP.

    Give the 2010 LD manifesto is almost the polar opposite of UKIP’s policies now that suggests your voters aren’t your voters, they’ll just vote for anybody perceived as being against the status quo.

    What hope 2015?

  • Preamble Liberal 10th Oct '14 - 12:48pm

    @Simon Shaw10th Oct ’14 – 11:52am

    Simon, I am yet to meet a voter who says they are Centrist … they very well may say they say they are ‘middle of the road’ or something similar but I believe this is very different in meaning to being a Centrist.

    Many of these middle of the road moderates are indeed natural Liberal voters in Liberal-held constituencies but in other seats they may just as easily vote for the party or candidate they consider to be the less extreme or simply most likely to understand their issues.

    A Centrist is likely to believe enthusiastically in something like “stronger economy, fairer society” and see it as an end in itself whereas many people who consider thenselves to be ‘middle of the road’ are going to be mightly miffed about well paid bankers still receiving bonuses when ordinary people are paying the price for their greed and speculative behaviours in the past, about the rich getting richer while ordinary people are lucky to be treading water, about health and education for everyone not just for the few lucky enough to be able to ‘get on in life’. That is a major flaw in a Cleggite Centrist analysis.

    To us Liberals this is not about envy, it is about what should be considered common-place social justice. I see radical action on such things as being natural Lib Dem territory which should unite the broad Libertarian and egalitarian left.

    It is why I reject Alans’s negative, buggins-turn, justice for the working class but no one else Labourism.

  • Bill le Breton 10th Oct '14 - 12:50pm

    Matthew “So UKIP is gaining support because the LibDems have abandoned their principles and rolled over and joined the Conservatives and the Conservatives have abandoned their principles and rolled over and joined the Liberal Democrats. Can you perhaps give me your thoughts on this?”

    The Flip Chart Fairy (I linked to above) has made a good fist of answering this. For UKIPs supporters (or the defectors from Con, Lab LD Parties) the Conservatives have become too socially Liberal and Labour (and the Liberal Democrats) have become too economically liberal.

  • One of the things we find hardest to get about the Big 2 Parties Is the extent to which they hold each other together. Labour define themselves as Anti-Tory & Tories as Anti-Labour. If large numbers of Voters start to think in terms of 4 or 5 Parties then the glue that holds the main Parties together is seriously weakened. Big chunks of Labour are not actually “Left Wing ” at all & are easy pickings for UKIP & The SNP.
    We have greatly weakened both Labour & Tories, in particular through The Coalition & UKIP & The SNP are damaging them further.

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Oct '14 - 12:59pm

    @Bill le Breton10th Oct ’14 – 12:50pm

    “… the Conservatives have become too socially Liberal and Labour (and the Liberal Democrats) have become too economically liberal.”

    I’ll sign up to that as a reasonable place to start a discussion. So actually three ‘aiming to be centrist’ Westminster parties?

    Alan, do you have any non-venomous thoughts on this?

  • Green Voter 10th Oct '14 - 1:02pm

    “because the LibDems have abandoned their principles”

    Well, in the case of NHS reforms, it appears to me that the Lib Dems did exactly that.

    Why not have evidence-led policy?

  • Peter Chegwyn 10th Oct '14 - 1:04pm

    For Paul in Wokingham, yes, Clacton is the worst Liberal / Liberal Democrat by-election performance since WW2 though we did save our deposit in Heywood by 30 votes, probably helped by having a popular local Lib. Dem. Cllr. in one ward there.

    As for UKIP, in my view they have the potential to poll considerably more votes next May than even Paul Barker suggests… and gain seats.

    They have momentum, they have money, they have a rapidly increasing and active membership, they have a sizeable councillor base and in many areas a much improved organisation. They’ve succeeded in tapping into the ‘anti politics’ protest vote that used to be ours but certainly isn’t now.

    Just because parties like UKIP and the Greens have never polled well in General Elections before is no reason for assuming that UKIP won’t poll well next May.

    As Bob Dylan sung, The times they are a-changin’.

    We may well be entering an era of multi-party politics where both the SNP & UKIP could get as many seats as the Lib. Dems. next May and the Greens could get as many votes.

    We are potentially entering a whole new era in which many of the conventional political wisdoms no longer apply.

    Anyway. As I’ve said on another thread…

    Instead of debating the other parties fortunes, surely we should be concentrating on how to improve our own.

    What really concerns me is that all the debate is about how many parliamentary seats we may hold post-May, whether we will continue in government and, if so, with whom?

    Surely the real debate should be about how we re-build our own party after the next election?

    It will need to be from the bottom up rather than the top down yet we hear almost nothing about the need to re-build our own grass-roots organisation and local government base which has been decimated in large swathes of the country over the past five years.

    That is what should really concern us. If we are to effectively re-build our radical, campaigning, grass-roots base and start attracting new members and activists to help us start winning more local council seats again we should start considering how it can be done NOW, rather than wait until after the party has blindly followed its leader over an electoral cliff next May.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    I have just read your comment where you asked —“..Are the Scots really so much more tolerant of immigration than the English?”

    In my experience the answer is yes they are. They are even tolerant of Englih immigrants. Rosemary’s mother lives in Pollokshields which has the biggest “Asian” population in Glasgow, several Sikh Temples, Mosques etc. People dressed as of they come from the Punjab but speaking broad Glaswegian. As a Roman Catholic you are maybe aware that some Scots are delighted that their church and school is now buzzing with the children of Polish parents.

    Maybe it is the wide open spaces of Scotland or maybe it’s the factvthatbover Thelma ast forty years Scotland has developed into a much more self-confident, culturally exciting and diverse country (with the exception of certain well known football grounds). But I think whilst parts of England may have gone in the opposite direction, Scotland is more welcoming to immigrants.

  • Martin Land 10th Oct '14 - 1:11pm

    Peter Chegwyn. We need to focus on our own performance? Or do we need to ask a more fundamental question?

    UKIP and the Tory Right (and that’s most of them , truth be told) are a serious threat to the future of this country as a modern, vibrant and tolerant society.

    How do we respond to that?

  • John Roffey 10th Oct '14 - 1:23pm

    @ Peter Chegwyn

    “What really concerns me is that all the debate is about how many parliamentary seats we may hold post-May, whether we will continue in government and, if so, with whom?

    Surely the real debate should be about how we re-build our own party after the next election?”

    Well said – although I have not given up hope that NC will resign so that this process can begin very soon.

    NC must now realise that his present strategy and his leadership are going to bring the Party to its knees in May – if he does not resign.

    Keep in mind he has promised that he will work as a hospital porter for the remainder of his life if he does destroy the Party – perhaps this specter might make him see sense!

  • Bill le Breton 10th Oct '14 - 1:27pm

    Stephen, I too think this is a very useful way of thinking what has been happenin, really since Blair took charge of Labour. Up until the arrival of our new Leader, we had a distinct position: socially liberal and not economically liberal.

    A lot of voters liked that position and where they gave us the opportunity to represent them in Parliament or on their local authorities we were able to convince some of those who wanted more of an economically liberal position that in many cases that was not wise. 1p on education. Tough on the use of unemployment to control the economy.

    And they were willing to lend an ear to our concerns over monopoly power, whether that was private sector or public sector monopolies. Also, for the older ones, as their children grew up, they began to be more tolerant about social liberties, the lack of which they by then saw disadvantaging their own children and grandchildren.

    Sadly it was also attractive to the younger economic liberals who needed the social liberty campaigned for by the Liberal Democrats who also held out the best chance of providing a political home that they could colonize and convert to economic liberalsim. They encountered a rather naive lot and a lot busy with community politics with little or no time to defend the walls of their own Liberalism.

    These young economic Liberals (Laws was employed by Bruce and then ‘given’ a seat by Paddy, Astle and Browne were first employed by Paddy, Clegg was shown the way through the internal candidate selection maze by Rennrad) genuinely thought that their position would be attractive to others who wanted their combination of economic liberalism and social liberalism – the new core vote of Clegg and Reeves.

    They still cling to the belief that this combination is what Generation Y will want. That they are heroic pioneers if perhaps a little too ahead of the times. Just another five years, they think, and theii’s will be the zeitgeist of the age.

    This shift in control over our values and then of our values themselves (since 2008) was heightened by both the prospect of working with the Tories – who they hoped would in Coaltion become less socially illiberal and by success itself.

    I think this is why we are 6/7% in the polls.

  • John Roffey

    “NC must now realise that his present strategy and his leadership are going to bring the Party to its knees in May – if he does not resign. Keep in mind he has promised that he will work as a hospital porter for the remainder of his life if he does destroy the Party – perhaps this specter might make him see sense!”

    What chance would the NHS have with porters like that, but I won’t lose any sleep over it he’d never get taken on!

  • Is the real question, what future is there for us. How long must we put up with this, we have just witnessed what is probably the worst night in election history for our party since 1955, I am including the awful set of local election results as well, This all follows the party conference and the leaders speech, what does that say. In simple terms the electorate rejects us. The silence from the national party is deafening. Some of us want to rejoin the fray but cannot whilst this ridiculous situation persists.

  • Edis Bevan [9.04 am], writes :
    “One argument is that societies which support ‘liberal, tolerant’ policies depend on economic growth so that some benefits flow to less prosperous people. Lack of growth brings a sense of contraction and exploitation that cannot be bought off.”
    Indeed Edis,.. and thanks for the pdf link.
    I suspect I’m the only one that has bothered to read it, which is a pity, since it pulls together a growing belief that I have had since around 2008, and would be very enlightening for Liberals who are confused as to what is happening around them, and why Liberalism is slipping away.?
    Liberalism has been society’s ‘comfort zone’, which rose hand in hand with decades of strong economic growth and society’s subsequent ‘excess disposable income’, which afforded it. But therein lies the demise of Liberalism as growth shrinks into *permanent* secular stagnation. Many have been fooled by recent manipulated lifting economic numbers, despite the fact that we all know they have no bearing in reality. But, in truth, as economic growth (of the ‘punch bowl’ level we have enjoyed for a century!), is consigned to the history books over the next two decades, so will follow Liberalism. I suspect Liberal Democrats will ‘get it’ eventually, but for many, their understanding will be gleaned from history books, written 15 years from now.?
    Ukip’s ‘breakthrough’, is a manifestation of the growing need for a political rethink, and a kind of ‘Economic Triage’. It is not that voters are ungenerous or illiberal. Nor is it that Liberals are wrong. It is simply that whilst Liberals are raising their voices to solve the worlds ills, they have failed to take time out, and look over their shoulder at the problems being endured by the ‘left behind?

  • BREAKING NEWS

    JEREMY VINE SHOW RADIO 2 – LIBDEMS REFUSE TO GO ON, WHAT A SURPRISE!

  • Neil Sandison 10th Oct '14 - 2:05pm

    I am afraid Keith Legg has hit the nail on the head .A conservative and uionist coalition after the general election is a possability we cannot afford to ignore .A mix of Tories ,UKIP and DUP could return power hungry Cameron back into Number 10 Downing Street he will not need the L

  • Liberals need to stick up for decent values and relie that there is no point in attacking other progressive political forces. The danger is that a weakened Conservative party may get desperate in the last few months of the coalition.

    My gut instinct is that The Conservatives are on their way to being completely replaced in the North in much the same way they are down to fringe levels in Scotland. A lot of people vote UKIP precisely because they are not The Tory party in areas where The Conservative Party are frankly hated. There is going to be no tory revival in 2015, they failed in 2010 because the votes were not there, If UKIP align themselves closely to the Tories the result will not be a grand coalition of the Right. It will be the rapid collapse of UKIP in much the same way that the coalition has caused a collapse in the Lib Dems fortunes.

  • Mike Barnes 10th Oct '14 - 2:31pm

    “Are ex-Labour voters blind to the far-right nature of UKIP, or is this a sign that the left-right spectrum is useless for analysing party positions?”

    What on earth is far right about wanting out of the EU and wanting an end to mass immigration? Is any country that rejects the EU delusion racist? Is any country that uses a skills based immigration system racist place? Was the UK a racist place in 1997 before Labour decided to ‘rub our noses in diversity’?.

  • Sorry bout above post it went wrong somewhere, probably because I was trying to be a libdem. LOL
    Anyway help required.
    Heywood and Middleton by election, LABOUR win with an increase in its percentage vote than in 2010. Now UKIP come a close second meaning all the other parties share of the vote decreases. Now the question is:
    Did LABOUR do bad because they couldn’t increase their share more significantly or….
    Did the other parties do badly because their vote collapsed to UKIP.

  • DAVID CAMERON – If you vote UKIP you get ED MILLIBAND.
    Come on everybody lets get voting UKIP.

  • Jenny Barnes 10th Oct '14 - 3:07pm

    “Let me put it this way, Mrs. Slocombe: There is no such thing as a no-star hotel..”

    I’m thinking of a politician – Johnny no-stars. 🙂

  • “So what is UKIP actually going to DO for the deprived, the poor, the desperate?”

    Sorry Matthew, but that is an absurd question. We now have one MP, will win Rochester, Nige will win South Thanet, we might win the odd Labour seat like Great Grimsby, your seat at Eastleigh, and there could be a few defections.

    Best case scenario we get ten seats, but it will probably be far fewer. We won’t be in any position to do anything even in a hung parliament as neither of the major parties will work with us (not that we would wish to go into coalition with them at this stage). We are a very young party, look at Labour in the days of the LRC. What did they achieve at our stage of development? (Arguably 1906) So get real, Matthew.

    All we can do for the desperate is to give their despair a voice. To try and get their views heard. Will the political class listen? No, because none of you care.

    Modern politics is targeted at a few voters in a few constituencies. Your own party is a prime example of it. You don’t mind that your vote is collapsing, as long as you hold onto thirty or so seats, you will have the balance of power probably, and Nick and Danny get to keep the cars and the red boxes.

    We are fighting against all that. But we have to be realistic, the battle is very hard indeed under FPTP with an unrelentingly hostile media and the whole political class against. us. The amount we can achieve for the poor is very limited in the near term.

    But we are doing our best to speak up for them and shake up the establishment. And we aren’t doing that bad a job so far, are we?

  • There is obvious good sense in comments from Bill le Breton and Peter Chegwyn in this thread.
    Any MPs or senior figures in the party who ghetto read them will I hope take note.
    Something needs to start now to save the party from extinction. And that something is certainly not chasing imaginary Soft Tory voters.

    Anyone who is genuinely interested in a future for the Liberal Democrats has got to stop deluding themselves about a glorious victory for a Centre Party on the backs of Soft Tories. Six or seven years of denial, pretending each year that election disasters are just a passing phase and it will be OK next time , have brought us to Clacton and the worst result since 1945.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th Oct '14 - 3:45pm

    g
    10th Oct ’14 – 12:31pm

    “The most interesting thing about H&M is not that Labour won, with a slightly increased vote share (unusual in a byelection to increase or maintain a vote), but that huge number of former Lib Dem voters must have switched to UKIP.”

    Why must they? You seem to be assuming that because Labour’s vote share didn’t go down, they must have held on to their own voters and all the switching was between other parties, but I see no reason to believe that. Whilst UKIP probably did pick up voters from LDs and Cons, I expect they also picked up votes from Labour, who in turn had their support topped up by defecting Lib Dems (and just possibly, defecting moderate Tories scared by the prospect of a UKIP win). My bet would be that more LD voters have switched to Labour than UKIP.

  • Is that the sound of labour/tory panic at the FTP chickens coming home to roost, I hear?

  • Malcolm Todd,

    Time will tell I suppose. It’s possible that Labour’s loss to UKIP was stemmed by LD defectors.

    Glenn
    My gut instinct is that The Conservatives are on their way to being completely replaced in the North in much the same way they are down to fringe levels in Scotland. A lot of people vote UKIP precisely because they are not The Tory party in areas where The Conservative Party are frankly hated. There is going to be no tory revival in 2015, they failed in 2010 because the votes were not there, If UKIP align themselves closely to the Tories the result will not be a grand coalition of the Right. It will be the rapid collapse of UKIP in much the same way that the coalition has caused a collapse in the Lib Dems fortunes.

    It’s worth remembering the Tories are undergoing somewhat of a recovery in Scotland, and are twice as popular as Lib Dems, in terms of Scottish Parliament seats.

    The anti-Tory vote has worked pretty well to suppress them in various areas, but they’ve always had their support. And now that the anti-Tory vote has fragmented I think we can expect them to do better than last time in Scotland at the expense of the Lib Dems and possibly SNP (whose losses may be covered by gains against Lab).

    UKIP are one hell of a confounder to this in England though, and possible parts of Scotland.

  • http://www.ukpolitical.info/Lib.htm

    Look at the list of Liberal Democrat MPs from 2010 on this link. How many’of these seats will be held on the basis of support somewhere between last night’s 1%in Cacton and our national poll rating of 6% ????

    Looks like Charles Kennedy might be leader again on 8th May.

  • I’m just exploring some of the LD policies that are unpopular with the majority of voters, for example the EU.

    How is membership of the EU compatible with democratic rule?

    Commitment to remain in the EU suggests that the LD would contemplate (a) further ceding of powers (b) political integration (c) eventually join the Euro, since that is the direction of travel of the EU andits raison d’etre. Is this correct?

    These are matters on which the Lib Dems would have to explain, or reassure voters. What are the answers?

  • Allan – you seem like a really calm, pleasant and level headed kind of person. Your command of the English language is second to none. Thanks for coming on here and sharing your thoughts

  • stuart moran 10th Oct '14 - 5:01pm

    I have never read such tosh as I am seeing on here

    These are BY-ELECTIONS which are not predictive of a GE

    The news is that UKIP have an MP – who talks like a Tory, believes in Tory policies and is a Tory who seems to want to be a big fish in a small pond

    In the other seat, UKIP used all the publicity and momentum they have received to take all the non-Labour votes on a small turnout – there is no indication that they have ‘taken’ Labour votes like has been said on here. This will be safe Labour in 2015, and I cannot see anywhere that they will take a Labour seat, or even enough votes to cost them seats.

    The news is that there is no real news but the media is trying to sell it as a Labour disaster because they want a Tory win – and they are helped by the Blairites using it in their final stand against the tide……

    UKIP do not represent the anti-establishment – their members are Tories, or even further to the right, and they are funded by Tories. Their leader is an ex-public schoolboy banker and their policies are those of a typical right-wing populist party. Their supporters may not be racist but there is definitely a xenophobic smell.

    Matthew H is right, immigration has impacted on the poor and that has to be addressed – UKIP offer no answers to this though.

  • Peter 10th Oct ’14 – 4:45pm

    How is membership of NATO compatible with democratic rule?

    We citizens can vote in the EU, when did you last vote for anything in NATO?

    When was the in/out referendum on NATO ???

    Try picking up a Dictionary and checking out the meaning of the word democracy, you might be shocked.

  • jedibeeftrix 10th Oct '14 - 5:02pm

    @ MH – “Are the Scots really so much more tolerant of immigration than the English? Are there big estates in Scotland which in recent decades have become largely non-white in population? Are there lots of jobs in Scotland which go to immigrants on a casual “no questions asked” basis because that means those who have those jobs will work at far lower wages and accept poor working conditions? If there are, do these things not cause the resentment that they cause in England?”

    Maybe it is because immigration to scotland has historically been much lower than that to the rest of the UK (england in particular):

    http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/migobs/Report%20-%20immigration%20and%20independence_0.pdf

  • Stephen Campbell 10th Oct '14 - 5:05pm

    @simon:

    I would be interested to hear from you what a UKIP government would look like. I understand completely your disdain for the three main parties, as I share that disdain, but have gone to the Greens and would never consider voting UKIP myself. The thing about UKIP is that they talk about the “oppression” of the EU, but they seem fine with other sorts of oppression. After all, multinational corporations often wield more power than nation states these days. They hold us to ransom by threatening to take jobs elsewhere if they don’t get what they want. They all use tax havens and ultimately have no allegiance to one particular nation or people. Farage talks about taking power away from “unelected Eurocrats” but he seems to have no problem with giving more power to unelected multinational business. After all, UKIP supports the TTIP which will give corporations even more power including secret arbitration courts and the ability to sue democratically elected governments if they take decisions that will harm future profits. It also contains all kinds of other nastiness such as American style light-tough regulation on the food we eat, for example. Surely there is a disconnect, a cognitive dissonance between wanting to leave the EU but give more power to multinational corporations. Also have you forgotten that one of the reasons immigration was so high under Labour was the fact that big business lobbied, successfully, for more immigration, to keep wages down (of course Labour was in favour of immigration as well, so they agreed on that)? How to you square the supposed desire to give more power to people when your party also wants to give more power to unelected, dictatorial multinationals? The unfettered market can be a tool of oppression as well, in my opinion.

    I am very interested in what you envisage a UKIP government would be like. Say we’re out of the EU under a UKIP administration: would all EU nationals in the UK be deported? What would happen to Brits living in the EU? What are UKIP’s plans for the NHS? For the disabled? For public services (including the fact that the majority of British people now want the trains taken back into public ownership)?

    I simply don’t see any real policies there. I do, however, see contradictions and misdirection. I can understand your disillusionment with the three main parties, after all, I share it. But I don’t see UKIP as the solution. They are, to my mind, more Thatcher than Thatcher. They seem to be against handing more power to the EU but don’t seem to have any problems handing power to big business. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on these questions.

  • Peter Chegwyn 10th Oct '14 - 5:08pm

    LESSONS FROM HISTORY PT.II (For Alan)

    We were also in a pact with Labour from 1976 to 1979 and could have been wiped-out in 1979 if David Alton hadn’t won a brilliant by-election victory on the day after Jim Callaghan lost a vote of confidence in Parliament, thereby giving our GE campaign a huge boost at just the right time.

    Being positive, two years after that General Election we were winning by-elections in Croydon, Crosby & Glasgow with our then SDP partners. We recovered from our 1979 electoral drubbing very quickly. It was Labour who suffered most post-1979, party infighting leaving them in the electoral wilderness for 18 long years.

    The problem for the Lib. Dems. now is what kind of party we’ll still have after next May and whether we’ll still have sufficient members and activists with the determination, the drive, the vision and the campaigning expertise to make a swift recovery possible again.

    We should be planning for post-May, post-Clegg now.

  • “Time will tell I suppose. It’s possible that Labour’s loss to UKIP was stemmed by LD defectors.”

    I think it was. The core Labour vote was remarkably apathetic and unenergised so close to an election. Turnout was 34% so a lot of those few who voted for them last time (in a bad election under Brown) couldn’t be bothered to turn up.

    This is demographically a rock solid safe Labour seat. What we are witnessing is the demise of Labour in their heartlands of the north. Their vote in absolute terms was pitiful.

    And a concomitant Tory decline in their Southern base. And that is the core support of both the so called “major” parties!

    The point that everyone misses is that UKIP is the only truly national party (in England anyway). We are the opposition to the Tories in the South now, and Labour in the north. Look at our rise in vote share in percentage terms, it is staggering in both cases. Almost unbelievable.

    The only exception is London. And of course because the media are so insular and metropolitan they think London IS the nation..

  • @JohnTilley
    I’m not aware of any political parties offering different policies on NATO, so you may have a point, but then I don’t see the dissatisfaction with NATO that I see with the EU.

    We can vote for useless, expensive MEPs but they do not create the legislation. The unelected Commissioners do that.

  • Green Voter 10th Oct '14 - 5:17pm

    “It also contains all kinds of other nastiness such as American style light-tough regulation on the food we eat, for example”

    So we cannot even get Clegg to stand up for food safety

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Oct '14 - 5:21pm

    @Bill le Breton 10th Oct ’14 – 1:27pm

    Thanks for this excellent summary of where were are today and how we got here. Total agreement!

  • How is membership of NATO compatible with democratic rule?

    Because NATO is an association of sovereign countries, not a proto-superstate like the EU.

  • John Roffey 10th Oct '14 - 5:28pm

    @ Stephen Campbell

    “After all, multinational corporations often wield more power than nation states these days. They hold us to ransom by threatening to take jobs elsewhere if they don’t get what they want. They all use tax havens and ultimately have no allegiance to one particular nation or people.”

    “After all, UKIP supports the TTIP which will give corporations even more power including secret arbitration courts and the ability to sue democratically elected governments if they take decisions that will harm future profits. ”

    Yes – it is the multinationals that need to be taken on for it is they that are stifling so many aspects of life in the UK [and globally]. Seems like a good Liberal cause to me – but is there a potential Party leader who has the courage to take them on?

  • matt (Bristol) 10th Oct '14 - 5:36pm

    SImon, regarding your point that UKIP are a national party everywhere except London – Hmm. I noticed how well UKIP swept the board at the Bristol council elections … with their one councillor. OK, that is a breakthrough in this town, but it’s not a groundswell in a place where we have a healthy 4-party situation (labour-tory-LibDem-green) already.

    In fact, I’ll stick my neck out and bet that you won’t take any first or second places in seats in Bristol at the GE.

    Yes, you are proving the naysayers wrong so far, yes, you have a wider support base than maybe we are tempted to believe, but your core vote and your most-likely-to target seats seem to be still so far in the South East and East Coast. I know you’ll love to prove me wrong, but I don’t think you can.

  • Bill le Breton 10th Oct '14 - 5:37pm

    Thank you Stephen.

    The posts throughout today from Peter Chegwyn should remind us what a superb campaigner he is. As usual he is getting us to focus on the central issue; how we re-build our own party!

    It is with some sadness and an equal measure of frustration that the organisation around which people who were trying to do that in 1979, the ALC and its successor ALDC, never gets a mention here.

    Dare I ask if there are any members looking in?

    Dare I ask if there are any members of Standing (or is it called the Executive) Committee now reading any of this? Or any one standing for this Committeee, if indeed there are elections to it this October?

    Could the Chair of the Association write a piece about how the organisation is setting about this task?

  • John Roffey 10th Oct '14 - 5:37pm
  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Oct '14 - 5:40pm

    @JohnTilley 10th Oct ’14 – 3:39pm
    “Anyone who is genuinely interested in a future for the Liberal Democrats has got to stop deluding themselves about a glorious victory for a Centre Party on the backs of Soft Tories.”

    Indeed John! And anyone looking for a Centrist party should go off and found one instead of continuing in their attempt to hijack the Liberal Democrats.

  • jedibeeftrix 10th Oct '14 - 5:40pm

    @ Simon – “The point that everyone misses is that UKIP is the only truly national party (in England anyway). We are the opposition to the Tories in the South now, and Labour in the north.”

    A role that the Lib-Dem’s have traditionally seen as theirs.

  • Tony Dawson 10th Oct '14 - 5:41pm

    @Dav:

    ” NATO is an association of sovereign countries,”

    Presumably facilitated by the tooth fairy? NATO is an executive organisation funded by its members but effectively accountable to no one except the President of the USA. It could never be otherwise. The whole point of such an organisation is to respond to (perceived) threats. You haven’t got time to consult and arrive at consensus. So you do what the POTUS is told to do by his corporate backers.

  • The multinationals strongly support EU membership for several reasons. The deluge of regulations can be influenced by the largest companies to their benefit but small companies have no influence and often struggle to find the resources to meet the demands of the regulation. The multinationals use this as a mechanism for keeping emerging small businesses out of the market.

    The EU permits movement of capital – and profits – allowing multinationals to make their profits in the UK but pay their tax in a country where the rate of taxation is lower.

  • “I know you’ll love to prove me wrong, but I don’t think you can.”

    We’ll see. I am afraid if we DO prove you wrong I am not going to be classy about it. I’ll come on here and remind you of this post. 🙂

  • Peter Chegwyn
    …….,,.,,,,,The problem for the Lib. Dems. now is what kind of party we’ll still have after next May and whether we’ll still have sufficient members and activists with the determination, the drive, the vision and the campaigning expertise to make a swift recovery possible again.

    There is also an age problem. Watching the conference on TV this week I was,struck by the age of people who I respect and admire, people who know how to win elections and who have done so repeatedly but who are even older than me. Speaker after speaker in their late 60s or 70s. I am told there were slightly more than 800 registered delegates for the conference. I would be fascinated to know the average age.

    The younger members who often appear in LDV with their sub-Thatcherite views seem to have nom clue whatsoever about how to win an election. This Jeremy Browne tendency presumably believe that you just keep having to move further and further to the right until Tory votes fall out of the sky and you are then elected on a wave of enthusiasm for globalisation and benefit cuts.

  • Stephen Campbell says :
    “After all, UKIP supports the TTIP….”
    No they don’t. [ start from 14.40 ]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mag2AXT3xyI#t=120
    It’s the unelected megalomaniacs in the EU who are secretly discussing TTIP with the US, despite having *NO* democratic mandate to do so.

  • John Roffey 10th Oct '14 - 5:52pm

    @ peter

    “The multinationals strongly support EU membership for several reasons. The deluge of regulations can be influenced by the largest companies to their benefit but small companies have no influence and often struggle to find the resources to meet the demands of the regulation. The multinationals use this as a mechanism for keeping emerging small businesses out of the market.”

    My understanding is they usually write the regulations.

    In keeping with the trend to quote Bob Dylan:

    “Money doesn’t talk – it swears”

  • Stephen Campbell 10th Oct '14 - 5:53pm

    @John Roffey: “Yes – it is the multinationals that need to be taken on for it is they that are stifling so many aspects of life in the UK [and globally]. Seems like a good Liberal cause to me – but is there a potential Party leader who has the courage to take them on?”

    I agree completely. Unfortunately, I don’t see the leaders of the Liberal Democrats making any moves to tackle multinational corporations (or the TTIP). In fact, Vince Cable the other day was rubbishing peoples’ concerns about the TTIP (in the Guardian I believe). Even what counts as mainstream Lib Dem thought these days sounds pro-globalisation. We have people such as Nick Hornsby proclaiming on this website that globalisation has been a “good thing”. He is obviously comfortable if he thinks it is a good thing and should continue. It’s always those at the top telling the rest of us that, somehow, lower wages and more power for big business is to be welcomed, without having lived through the consequences that those of us on the lower and middle end of society have had to live with. This is why there is such a disconnect between the three main parties and the rest of us: they have all bought into the “whatever is good for business is good for us all” line. All three main parties are, in my mind, completely in hoc to globalisation and multinational corporations.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the Green Party is the only party openly opposing the TTIP and further globalisation.

  • Stephen Campbell 10th Oct '14 - 6:00pm

    One more thought: Liberal Democrats are supposed to challenge and break down concentrations of unrepresentative and undemocratic power. So why, then, has this party seem to have been captured by people who not only defend and describe as a “good thing” the doctrine of globalisation when it has lead to ever increasing concentrations in an ever decreasing pool of people? Why is this party supporting the TTIP when that will lead to even more power in the hands of unelected multinationals whose only loyalty is to profit?

    This party seems to have abandoned the very principles in its preamble, which is a strong and noble statement of intent. This makes me incredibly sad and is one reason I don’t see myself ever supporting this party again.

  • Stephen Campbell 10th Oct '14 - 6:02pm

    @simon, I noticed you’ve posted several comments but have not addressed my points about UKIP. Would you care to do so?

  • Simon.
    UKIP stands for the United Kingdom Independence Party, not the English Independence Party. So far you represent one seat in England and the votes of people who are not reading your manifesto and are not even sold on the core principle of withdrawal from the EU.
    We’ll see what happens when you lot are forced to talk about a policy other than Johnny Foreigner, like when people realise that your education plans will see their kids written off at 11 years old like they were in the good old days and how they will end up poorer because you are peddling a more extreme version of the free market economics that the Tories want to clobber them with. Both results were on lowish turnouts which means that The Peoples army of UKIP is actually riding the same tidal wave of apathy as the other parties. In other words you are in fact competing for a share of the same shrinking pool of voters who can be bothered to go to the poling stations on a rainy Thursday.

  • John Roffey 10th Oct '14 - 6:03pm

    @ Stephen Campbell

    “Correct me if I am wrong, but the Green Party is the only party openly opposing the TTIP and further globalisation.”

    I think Plaid Cymru as well – although I did hear today that Labour have declared opposition to TTIP in the case of the NHS. They have realised that they cannot pretend to be the Party to save the NHS whilst also fully supporting this agreement !

  • “I would be interested to hear from you what a UKIP government would look like. ”

    Your comment is obviously a debating point, you don’t really want me to tell you this, but I will respond seriously all the same.

    UKIP doesn’t really seek to form a government. We aren’t like the other parties and never will be. We are a state of mind. So the irrelevance of your question is not so much that is unanswerable (although it is) as that it continues along the tram lines of thinking that we don’t share.

    Everyone who supports us puts onto UKIP what they want it to be. For some it is a withdrawal from the EU, for others that doesn’t matter so much. Some are fiscally conservative, others are old Labourites, wanting high welfare spending. How could such a disparate, multifarious, contradictory movement ever form a government? It couldn’t. THAT ISN’T THE POINT. We seek to move the centre of political gravity, and I think we are doing this.

    What binds us together is a phrase you often hear. “We want our country back.” For me that means withdrawal from the EU and the restoration of national sovereignty. You don’t agree, I get that. Other Kippers share your view on that, amazingly. But it is far far more than that. It also means the return of political leaders of stature, whose decisions count. It means politicians who tell the truth. Who explain that we can’t pay for Trident AND the NHS, AND the welfare system AND interest on the debt, AND not raise taxes. That choices have to be made.

    NONE OF THE MAJOR PARTIES ADMIT THIS. Political debate is puerile, our leaders need a good shake up, so they start to get serious. Only UKIP offers this shot in the arm to our polity. If you vote for any of the others you deserve what you get although the country doesn’t.

    We seek to change the political culture. To hand power back to the electorate, to reform the FPTP system (hardly unpopular with you guys) but above all to get the major parties to produce leaders of calibre. Not the midgets that are Miliband, Cameron and Clegg.

    Do that, and get us out of Europe and our work is done. For me at least.

  • Alan Stephenson 10th Oct '14 - 6:16pm

    I simply do not understand Libdem logic concerning belonging to the EU, your party name is Liberal DEMOCRAT, where is the democracy in denying the people of the UK their right to a vote on membership of the EU.It is for the people of these islands to decide who makes the laws of this land, not unelected beaurocrats in Brussells.are you, the Libdem Party saying you know better than the people of this country? because that is the way it comes over to us, are you afraid of the result of a referendum? Would you hold another vote if it didn’t go to your wishes?
    You must show that you have the confidence of a vote if you want the confidence of the people!
    I can only see you suffering more in the GE if you persist with this ridiculous stance.
    I was once an LD voter and would be again if I thought you where a truly DEMOCRATIC party.

    NATO do not make laws by unelected people , the EU does , enough said.

    Listen to the people if you want to improve your chances in May, it is them who will make or break you, as is being seen.

  • Stephen Campbell
    Evan Harris (former Oxford MP) made a very good short conference speech against TTIP this week.
    I am not sure if the party has debated the subject and come to a considered opinion, but I may be wrong.
    Certainly not everyone in the party has been lulled into a false sense of security on the issue.

    For myself, I know that there must be something seriously wrong with TTIP because Big Tobacco is lobbying for it.

  • simon 10th Oct ’14 – 6:12pm
    UKIP doesn’t really seek to form a government. We aren’t like the other parties and never will be. We are a state of mind.

    “UKIP is a state of mind”

    How Zen those UKIP chaps are ! Applause for a UKIP election victory will be the sound of one hand clapping.

  • “How Zen those UKIP chaps are ! Applause for a UKIP election victory will be the sound of one hand clapping.”

    If you had been at Clacton yesterday you would have seen what true political enthusiasm looks like.

    Farage and Carswell were treated like rock stars by the voters. So whatever you call it, it seems to be working…

  • Peter Watson 10th Oct '14 - 6:36pm

    @simon “We [UKIP} are the opposition to the Tories in the South now, and Labour in the north”
    As a former Lib Dem supporter, that is probably the most depressing thing I’ve read today.

  • Stephen Campbell 10th Oct '14 - 6:39pm

    @simon: Thank you for engaging with me. But you’ve made an assumption that I’m a Lib Dem! I used to vote Lib Dem but since 2011 I’ve been voting Green. I do agree with wanting conviction politicians, who stand up for what they believe in. Although I disagree with many, many things Farage stands for and believes in, I’d rather have 100 politicians that actually believe in something rather than the identikit politicians in the three main parties we have now, who are all fully signed up to the Thatcherite, globalisation project. I feel as if nobody listens to the people any longer. Politics, for me, revolves entirely around what big business and “the markets” want. You may be fine with the markets and multinationals always getting what they want, I don’t know. Even if we were to leave the EU, we would still be bullied by these corporations unless something is done to keep them in check. And, to me, Farage seems like he is entirely in favour of these companies maintaining their undemocratic power, so long as we leave the EU. I can understand that stance, but I don’t agree with it as I personally see globalisation to be a bigger threat to the West than the EU.

    For the record, I’m somewhat ambivalent about the EU. If there was a referendum tomorrow on leaving the EU I can honestly say I do not know how I would vote. But I don’t believe in it as an end in itself, or think it should remain the same as it is now as many Liberal Democrats do.

    And, yes, I was generally interested in what you thought a UKIP government would look like. Thank you for engaging with me at least, as I often find Kippers reluctant to even talk politely to someone like me who now votes for the Green Party.

  • Stephen Campbell 10th Oct '14 - 6:42pm

    @John Tilley: “Evan Harris (former Oxford MP) made a very good short conference speech against TTIP this week.
    I am not sure if the party has debated the subject and come to a considered opinion, but I may be wrong.
    Certainly not everyone in the party has been lulled into a false sense of security on the issue.

    For myself, I know that there must be something seriously wrong with TTIP because Big Tobacco is lobbying for it.”

    Ahh, thanks for that, I obviously missed that. Well done on Evan Harris, indeed. And whatever is good for Big Tobacco is inevitably bad for almost all of us.

  • THE ONLY WAY TO STOP UKIP!

    Would be to end the coalition now and force a general election and stop UKIP in its tracks.
    If the Tories get in we get a referendum on in/out of EU
    If UKIP get in were definitely out.
    If Labour get in we stay in as well as if the libdems were to get in.

    As you all know I’m RED through and through but the EU is important to me. Why! Because I am at the end of my time on this earth. But I fear for my children and my grandchildren. We must remain in the EU it’s our future it’s our destiny.

  • Simon,
    so true political enthusiasm is to galvanise a percentage of a low turn out vote. And it’s not politics it’s a state of mind! A bit like the force. Well I always thought Nigel Farage looked a little like Yoda if Yoda was the love child. of Ron Atkinson and a Turf accountant.
    Mediated again.

  • simon

    I have to agree with you, I saw the UKIP lot in Doncaster and a more enthusiastic bunch you couldn’t find any where, it really was party time. For those on this board who think it’s all white middle aged men you couldn’t be more wrong. In contrast the LibDem conference – which I only saw bits of on the TV – seemed very subdued with a few professional politicians, some overage hippies and not much else. On this board some of you seem to think the LibDems are still a power, but out in country you are miles behind UKIP and that’s from a ex LibDem voter who now votes Labour.

  • “But I don’t believe in it as an end in itself, or think it should remain the same as it is now as many Liberal Democrats do.”

    Just one point – I would think that there are very few Lib Dem against reforming the EU. Being in support of something is not the same as unconditionally supporting something.

  • When I say the LibDem conference was subdued I don’t include the youngman – I think his name is George Potter -who’s jumper and speech were top notch.

  • malc–
    Unfortunately there are not enough over age hippies in the Liberal Democrats. The party would be much improved by having more.

    BTW — how old do you have to be to be “over age” . Not sure if I qualify.

  • UKIP are the BNP, the English Defence League, the National Front and any other FACIST group there is. Stop them now for our kids and there kids sake or they will suffer unimaginable consequences.

    You’ve had 4 and a half years of power another 7 months is going to do nothing for your party or for this country. Your party was responsible for us having to suffer MARGARET THATCHER . this is your chance to redeem yourselves by doing the decent thing force an election now so we don’t have to suffer UKIP who is 100 times worse than THATCHER.

  • Igor Sagdejev 10th Oct '14 - 7:28pm

    Alan 10th Oct ’14 – 6:43pm
    THE ONLY WAY TO STOP UKIP!
    —————————————-

    The problem is not stopping UKIP in 2015. Because there will be other GEs afterwards.

  • Igor Sagdejev 10th Oct '14 - 7:31pm

    Alan 10th Oct ’14 – 7:27pm “… suffer UKIP who is 100 times worse than THATCHER.”

    That is, to suffer Labour? I’m not sure they are nearly as bad as UKIP, ut, by my book, certainly worse than “THATCHER”

  • John Tilley

    If you have to ask I’m afraid you are most likely in the over age hippy group. The LibDems desperately need more young peope with fresh ideas – perhaps young Mr Potter would grow his hair.

  • Igor Sagdejev

    Sadly I think many of those remaining in the LibDems would secretly agree with you

  • Igor Sagdejev 10th Oct '14 - 7:44pm

    @malc 10th Oct ’14 – 7:37pm
    ——————————————–
    I’m not a remainng one. I joined about a month ago, after some consideration. The party is in doldrums, but I think it is the most salvageable of the lot.

  • You see Igor the reason why you think labour is worse than THATCHER is the very reason why you are languishing In the polls 5.5% why? Because all your support have come home to roost ie back to LABOUR. Ordinarily I don’t suffer fools gladly and I certainly don’t like having my intelligence insulted. But for a libdem to say the current Labour Party is worse than THATCHER ………….DONT GET ME ON!

  • Igor Sagdejev 10th Oct '14 - 8:01pm

    Sorry, if I offneded you, Alan. Today’s Labour is, of course, just a pale shadow of what Labour was (just as the other old parties are). The Labour of Mrs. Thatcher’s times was much worse.

    I don’t fancy breeding and feeding hereditary parasites, or allowing unions to hold the people hostage, as they demand exorbitant pay/benefits for something that does not require extra training or effort. I don’t like the middle class taxed to the hilt. Liberalism != Socialism (although, I understand, a lot of LibDems are Socialists).

    I understand very well why the LibDems are not doing… ahem… very well right now. Now you try to understand what happened in the by-election yesterday to Labour.

  • Stevan Rose 10th Oct '14 - 8:03pm

    1. Where did the 3,200+ BNP votes in Heywood and Middleton go?
    2. Why are we not screaming the answer from the rooftops?
    3. We should not reposition ourselves in the political spectrum. There is only one party firmly in the centre though we seem to be letting the others steal bits and pieces. They would not steal our policies if there were no votes in them. When I see Eric Pickles sounding like a Lib Dem front bencher you can see the Tory strategy is to take our votes to replace lost UKIP ones. And it might just work.

  • Green Voter 10th Oct '14 - 8:08pm

    I agree with this “If I were a betting man, I’d put a sizeable wager that you’ll continue on your current path, and tear your parties apart” from Colin (hope the cactus is well).

    I see no sign that a majority of people on LDV realise that Clegg is hitting the self-destruct button. Where are the people who want a change, a movement towards credible policies and building trust? Where are the people calling for Glass-Steagal reform for the banks? Where are the people who can admit the NHS reform was wrong?

  • @ Igor labour increased its share of the vote yesterday in the by election at Heywood and could not have asked for anything else. It was the collapse of the TORY and libdem vote that let UKIP get anywhere near Labour. Igor do you know the difference between telling a lie and making a promise you can’t keep. When you do then you will be able to REALLY understand why you are as you say not doing very well at the moment.

    @Steven Rose sorry mate nobody is stealing you bits and pieces of policy, you sold them for 30 pieces of silver. Not to a political party…….. No……… you sold them to the DEVIL himself!

  • Igor Sagdejev 10th Oct '14 - 8:48pm

    Alan 10th Oct ’14 – 8:20pm -. “Igor do you know the difference between telling a lie and making a promise you can’t keep. ”
    yes, I do. I don’t think there was a lie upfront, but a promise was broken, and worse, and I don’t understand why some people have not resigned. In fact, I believe that investing in education is the best investment for the West – the Chinese ca use screwdrivers as well as any union workforce here, and a lot cheaper, so if I was an MP I would have never voted for increasing tuition fees.

    Still, i believe, that of all the parties here, this one is the most salvageable. Will take some hard work and fighting though.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 10th Oct '14 - 8:51pm

    A win is a win. Under first past the post it doesn’t matter whether you win by 60, 600 or 6000 and at Heywood the Labour vote held up and the party also increased its share of the vote. The reason why Labour just managed a lead of around 600 was because the anti Labour vote realized that the only way to stop Ed Miliband’s Party was to vote UKIP. The big surprise was that the Lib Dem and Tory vote so spectacularly collapsed when everyone knows that the Coalition is hugely popular, is doing such a wonderful job with the economy; that there is no such thing as a cost of living crisis and that Ed Miliband is such an ineffectual leader. According to our unbiased media these are givens aren’t they? So why did the Tory and Lib Dem voters feel it necessary to vote tactically? Are the Coalition so unpopular?

    So,, despite tactical voting on a massive scale, Labour’s vote held up and even increased. If I were Ed Miliband I’d take huge comfort from that. Will the electorate want to vote in such a tactical fashion at the next General Election, when they have the responsibility of electing a party of government and not just the receptacle of a protest vote? That remains to be seen, but I doubt it, particularly when Carswell and Farage’s policies are scrutinized, As for our impartial media, its anti- Labour narrative is now in overdrive and it goes like this: even though the Tories lost one of their safest seats to a party that hadn’ teven stood in the constituency before, and went from zero to sixty per cent of the vote overnight.; even though the Tory vote completely collapsed in the South and the North, just like the Liberal Democrat vote (another lost deposit, I see): even though the Coalition parties have been humiliatingly wiped out in both Heywood and Clacton, it’s not the Tories or the Liberal Democrats that are really in crisis, it’s Labour. It’s not Cameron and Clegg whose leaderships are threatened: it’s Ed Miliband. Can you believe it? Does the media really think we’re going to be taken in by that? I’ll say it again: Ed Miliband and Labour WON last night at Heywood. The Tory and Lib Dem votes collapsed and went tactically to UKIP. And at both Clacton and Heywood the Coalition parties were humiliated.

    What last night’s results also clearly show as far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned is that their triangulation strategy of characterising the Tories as having moved to the right and Labour as having moved to the left and then waiting for the sensible votes in the middle to fall into the Lib Dems’ lap has backfired spectacularly, just as I predicted last week. . I’m not being paid thousands of pounds as a Lib Dem election strategist, but, as I’m not mercenary, I’ll give you some advice that might help you and the Tories save your bacon. During the next few months while you are still in power you and your coalition partners should get together and organise a snap referendum on withdrawal from the EU. It would put your parties in the ascendant and draw Farage’s sting, just as it did when the Scots electorate got fed up with the SNP justifying why there couldn’t be a referendum and voted for them in such numbers that they had no choice but to have a referendum. Force Farage to put his money where his mouth is and hold the Referendum on Europe on the same day as the General election. That’ll take the smile off Farage’s face. But you won’t do it, of course, will you? Any more than you would leave the Coalition when you started losing your deposits in all those by elections. It’s just too late.

  • Nick Collins 10th Oct '14 - 9:07pm

    Did people compete to be the LibDem candidates for these two by-elections? Are people competing to be LibDem candidates in next year’s general election? Why?

  • Igor Sagdejev 10th Oct '14 - 9:21pm

    BTW, if we talk about Labour’s mistakes…

    – Happily blowing up the property bubble
    – Allowing in East Eropeans BEFORE this was required by the EU rules and before any other major country – this trauma has greatly contributed to the riso tf the UKIP.

  • Stevan Rose 10th Oct '14 - 9:33pm

    And out of the glare of the cameras in the formerly UKIP held Brightlingsea seat on Essex County Council, all tied up with the Clacton by-election and on the same day, the Coalition parties got 56% of the vote. 30% for UKIP (seat lost). 10% for Labour. The Lib Dem element accounted for 22%.

    Hardly a wipeout for the Coalition partners and quite respectable for the Lib Dems. The last time this seat was contested a year ago the Coalition parties were on a combined 51%, UKIP on 30%. Labour on 12%.. So the Coalition has gone up, UKIP stagnated, and Labour have fallen back. Chew those figures over and you come out with some very different conclusions to those suggested by the protest vote by-elections.

    Despite those in Labour who would have you believe this Coalition has been a disaster and the country cannot wait to get rid of the parties involved, the public don’t seem to agree. Polls consistently put the Coalition parties combined ahead of Labour and the latest BBC Poll of Polls has the 7 points ahead. The Government is ahead of the Opposition with 42% support. That is despite the Lib Dems apparently unable to fight their corner effectively. Well over 60% don’t want a left of centre socialist Government and we’d be wise to heed that.

  • Let’s put things in perspective, shall we? When Labour polled 2.9% in the 1993 Newbury byelection, Labour didn’t descend into crisis. Far from it. They went on to win a landslide victory at the 1997 general election. So let’s not get too hung up about our vote in Clacton. UKIP pulled off a very effective stunt. Inexplicably, the Tories decided not to fight a serious campaign. One would have expected them to learn the lesson of Newark, where they did fight a serious campaign and halted the UKIP insurgency. Douglas Carswell is still a Tory. He hasn’t changed his politics, just his party, and will probably go straight back when UKIP falls apart. It will be interesting see see how the less telegenic Mark Reckless fares. Reckless is on record as saying that there hasn’t been enough austerity. I wonder if voters in Rochester & Strood agree with him on that point?

    What I have yet to see from the Lib Dem leadership is an iron-willed determination to achieve the best possible result next May. Mr Clegg may talk about “the fight of our lives”, but I don’t get the impression that our leaders have got their campaigning act together yet. If you look at the “Flock Together” menu on the right, only one “Action Day” is listed, and that is in Reading, which isn’t even a target seat. There will be plenty of activists itching to plaster targets seats with paper. But how do they go about it? I have received numerous emails asking me for money, but none telling me how I can help in target seats. It’s time our leaders go their skates on. The clock is ticking.

  • Mack, referendum aside, I do not see that many Lib Dems on here saying how great our leadership’s electoral strategy is… in fact, every criticism you made about it has been made ten times before by ten different people.

    We are well aware that going after the ‘soft Tory’ vote is not really a very good idea. The problem is that someone upstairs did not get the memo.

  • The bedroom tax was the right policy very badly implemented. It should not have been applied to existing tenants until suitable smaller accommodation became available. It should not have applied to those with disability needs. But in principle what do you say to families crammed into overcrowded temporary accommodation when single people and couples are sitting on spare bedrooms they don’t need. Who hates the bedroom tax in principle? Very few and definitely not families with kids who need houses with more bedrooms.

    What do you say to people using food banks? Don’t vote for the party that squandered money in the good times so that when recession inevitably struck there was nothing in the kitty for a rainy day. Don’t vote for the party whose Chancellor decided there would never be another bust, who borrowed and borrowed and borrowed till a huge amount of Government income is spent just paying down the interest.

    The NHS is a lot better now than it was 4 years ago. Instinctively I’m against the NHS buying in private services but if a private hospital can deliver operations cheaper whilst maintaining standards, by utilising othwise under-utilised resources in their private hospitals, then it saves NHS resources and everyone gains. Longer waiting lists and greater expense for routine procedures or buy in unused spare capacity in the private sector. I know which strategy is best for patients. The NHS today is not perfect but it is incredible at what it does despite Gordon Brown bankrupting some trusts by promoting PFI agreements. Shame on those who would leave elderly patients in agony waiting longer than they need to for a hip replacement because their political ideology comes ahead of common sense.

    With a few exceptions of poor implementation and/or communication I’m very proud of what the party I voted for has achieved despite the despicable mess left by Labour. Shame on Labour for creating the mess, for spending what they didn’t have, for failing to regulate the City properly, for promoting PFI arrangements, for failing to build council houses of the right size in the right locations. Shame on Labour for attempting to shift the blame onto those trying to fix their failures. Shame on you!

  • I loathe UKIP but they are not the BNP/NF etc. Ask yourself, if you saw a bunch of UKIP supporters coming down the street, would you run away ? I spent a lot of my younger life running from the NF, or getting roughed up if I didnt run fast enough. UKIP have 2 contradictory effects, they make it easier to hold racist views but they also drain life from real Faschist groups. The BNP have become a joke & thats a good thing.

  • Peter Chegwyn 10th Oct '14 - 10:31pm

    Well… I’ve waited all day for a message to the troops from our Leader but so far… nothing!

    Farage has spoken. Cameron has spoken. Miliband has spoken. Even the woman who leads the Greens has spoken.

    Yet from Nick…. nothing!

    Anyone know if he’s gone away?

  • Igor Sagdejev 10th Oct '14 - 10:42pm

    Too much pathos, Alan.

    There is a lot of idiotic things going on when making laws. For instance, when making money laundering legislation, our elected servants made up a “sample list” of documents to prove residence – the banks adhere to this, as if it was the Bible. As a result, I stashed my pay checks on the mantlepiece for 3 months before I could open a bank account and cash them. Same with the abolition of the child benefit for someone who was in the higher tax bracket, but not for a family with a higher combined income. Same with what you misnomer as bedroom “tax”. The scroungers who let their spare bedrooms on the sly is one thing, the sick are a different thing. But the politicians don’t care, whether Labour, LibDem, or Tory (or even the new champions of the people – the UKIP).

    We have to get involved to deal with this, but don’t expect any party to be always right. Even yours.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th Oct '14 - 11:00pm

    Alan,

    Fascinating, really, because Nick has never owned an eight-bedroom house in Sheffield, as a quick search on Google demonstrates;

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13129854

    And given that, to be a billionaire, you need to have a thousand million pounds, your credibility as an accurate witness is slightly undermined.

    And yes, the bedroom tax was shockingly poor in its introduction, as virtually anyone with a local government background might have predicted, but you coming here and massively exaggerating its impact hardly helps to win the argument over changing it. It has harmed lives yes, and poverty generally does, but what would you do to cut the deficit down to an acceptable and affordable level? And you need to come up with numbers, not slogans.

    When Labour shadow ministers complain that the Government is spending £8 billion too much on disability benefits, and boast that they will be tougher on benefits generally, there’s not a lot of hope about for the poor and the vulnerable. Some of us want to minimise the harm done, and partisan, fact free attacks don’t do an awful lot to build the sort of coalition of interest that might achieve that.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th Oct '14 - 11:07pm

    Alan,

    We gave you Margaret Thatcher? How on Earth did we do that?

    And why don’t you answer my question?

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 10th Oct '14 - 11:28pm

    @ Paul Barker
    “I loathe UKIP but they are not the BNP/NF etc.”

    I am not aware of any one in the media commenting on the fact that the BNP were not represented either at Clacton or at Heywood. Now, I wonder which party was the beneficiary of their votes? I bet it wasn’t Labour or the Lib Dems!

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th Oct '14 - 11:28pm

    Alan,

    And, by the way, the scope for right-wing, racist parties exists because there are people out there who think like that, not because liberals exist.

  • Mark Valladares

    It’s rather unfair to ask ordinary voters to come up wth accurate figures when your own leadership – with all their civil sevice support – just seems to pull figures out of the air. I’m thinking of Clegg on europe and Alexander on Scotland, plus lets not forget how the LibDems had fully costed the tuition fees pledge. However, perhaps they could save money by not giving out free school meals to kids that don’t need it, stop reducing income tax, raise the tax rate to 50% for those earning over £100,000 a year, reduce benefits for wealthy pensioners, increase the rate of inheritance tax, reduce the number of MP’s by 50% etc. That’s just off the top of my head, but there are other ways to reduce our debt that would be fairer than the bedroom tax. Also I’d be happy to see a link on when the Shadow Ministers said we were spending £8 billion too much on disability benefits.

  • I’m pretty sure it was the late great 2nd Viscount Stansgate and his close associates that gave us, via the Winter of Discontent, Margaret Thatcher. And the Labour lurch to the left, orchestrated by the Viscount, that kept her there. I seem to recall that when the Viscount was interviewed in his home it did seem to be a very elegant, perhaps Georgian, London townhouse. The sort of pad that might set you back well over £15 million these days. Despite his personal wealth and his upper class privately educated credentials, nevertheless I don’t recall anyone ever accusing him of being a Tory. Wealth and background are irrelevant to whether someone is genuine and principled.

  • Houses didn’t cost so much in those days and the guy had given up his title well before Maggie was PM. However, I agree a persons wealth shouldn’t matter, if they are genuine and principled they are ok in my book.

  • Alan

    You are beginning to sound like you think pensioners are worse than LibDems!

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Oct '14 - 12:11am

    @Igor Igor Sagdejev “I don’t fancy breeding and feeding hereditary parasites, or allowing unions to hold the people hostage, as they demand exorbitant pay/benefits for something that does not require extra training or effort. I don’t like the middle class taxed to the hilt. Liberalism != Socialism (although, I understand, a lot of LibDems are Socialists). ”

    Yes, we all know that the current mainstream of the Liberal Democrats tend to think like you these days, yet for some reason nobody in any kind of power or influence in your party seems to want to admit this is WHY you’re losing votes. You decry the unions “holding people hostage” while we have multinational corporations holding entire nations and economies hostage. They told the Scots if they did not vote in the “correct” way, they will take their jobs and money elsewhere. They constantly move jobs overseas without a care as to what this will do to the people and communities they’ve left behind. They move all their money offshore and do their utmost to avoid taxes in countries with infrastructures which allowed them to become successful. And yet you decry millions of average men and women (unions) who use their only power (the right to withhold their labour) when there are disputes or, yes, demands for better pay and conditions. Say what you will about the 70s, but at least my family could afford a our housing, food and even a few luxuries on a single wage. I had job security and the community spirit actually existed. Compared to what the Thatcherites and free-market fundamentalists have given us over the past 30 years, it was heaven, even with the 3 day week. And what has this globalisation given us in return for lower living standards and working harder for less? A lot of cheap rubbish made in China.

    I don’t think the middle classes should be taxed to the hilt, either. But I’d rather see those who already have all the basics in life bear more responsibility in times of austerity than the very poorest. I’m a moderate social democrat; my views used to be considered mainstream in this party (which I voted for in every election from 2001-2010). My views haven’t changed, but the party I used to vote for certainly has.

    “The scroungers who let their spare bedrooms on the sly is one thing..”

    So is the word “scrounger” now used by mainstream Liberal Democrats? Fascinating.

  • I would never have released the murderer and would have moved the disabled couple to a smaller specially adapted home, releasing both standard houses for families needing bedrooms and currently having to struggle in overcrowded B&B accommodation. For every policy you will find a scenario that generates an injustice. It does not undermine the validity of the policy provided it is implemented sensibly. You will find few Lib Dems who believe the bedroom tax was implemented sensibly, justly, and with proper safeguards. Yet it remains important that finite public housing stock is utilised in the most effective possible way so families crammed into single room B&B accommodation can escape conditions that are frankly inhumane.

  • I know a lot of pensioners who are very annoyed that their pensions are classified as welfare benefits when they have paid for those pensions via National Insurance for 50 years. I do not know a single millionaire pensioner but I do know some on very modest pensions of around £12,000 a year that still have to pay tax. I know pensioners afraid of winter and the cost of heating their homes.

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Oct '14 - 12:38am

    Oh and to all those who want to mock, sneer, laugh and generally ignore UKIP, well I share your desire, but that’s no way to take on a serious political force who is now winning MPs. As a social democrat, I disagree with almost all of their professed views, but they now represent and are giving a voice to many many people who are sick of the old Westminster parties. About the only thing I agree with UKIP on is the view that the three main parties are unrepresentative, out of touch and by and large stage managed PR exercises first and political parties second. Those who run the three parties are so shockingly out of touch and drawn from the same limited background it hurts.

    I hear you’re paying Ryan Coetzee £100k a year for his work for your party. How’s that working out so far? Tell you what, you could probably find 4 grassroots LibDems, pay them each £25k a year and they’d probably have even greater success.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct '14 - 12:40am

    simon (in response to my “So what is UKIP actually going to DO for the deprived, the poor, the desperate?”)

    Sorry Matthew, but that is an absurd question. We now have one MP, will win Rochester, Nige will win South Thanet, we might win the odd Labour seat like Great Grimsby, your seat at Eastleigh, and there could be a few defections.

    Why is it absurd to ask you what your policies are? You put yourself forward as the voice of the desperate and deprived, so I am asking you what actual policies you would put forward that would solve those people’s problems.

    Best case scenario we get ten seats, but it will probably be far fewer. We won’t be in any position to do anything even in a hung parliament as neither of the major parties will work with us (not that we would wish to go into coalition with them at this stage). We are a very young party, look at Labour in the days of the LRC. What did they achieve at our stage of development? (Arguably 1906) So get real, Matthew.

    Sorry, it is not enough to claim you are the voice of the poor and deprived when you appear to have nothing whatsoever to put forward in terms of practical ideas that would help the poor and deprived.

    All we can do for the desperate is to give their despair a voice.

    But you aren’t doing that. I have asked you what policies you would put forward that would be of deep help to these people, how you would get them housing when house prices are so beyond their reach, how you would get them jobs when so many are desperate for jobs and can’t find them, and you have no answer. You just keep saying how wonderful you are, how you are so much on the side of the people, and that is all you do. That is not enough.

    To try and get their views heard. Will the political class listen? No, because none of you care

    I care passionately. It is what has motivated me all my life to be involved in politics, to give so much of my time and money to it. If you look at what I write in Liberal Democrat Voice you will see I am forever talking about the sort of policies I feel are needed to make life better for the poor and deprived, to end the way the rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting poorer ever since Thatcherism took over this country.

    And now you come along, you and your Thatcherite MPs and your leader who regards himself as the true heir to Thatcher and proclaim yourselves to be the voice of the poor and deprived, but when I ask you to justify that in terms of your policies you have NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO SAY. You have no argument against my point because deep down you know it is true. You and your party are just more extreme Thatcherites, standing for the sort of policies that have made the poor and deprived poor and deprived, only just in an even more extreme form than the other parties. If you were not, you would have told me about policies of yours that were different, that would challenge this, but when I asked you to do so, you were unable to do it.

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Oct '14 - 12:42am

    @Stevan Rose: “I know a lot of pensioners who are very annoyed that their pensions are classified as welfare benefits when they have paid for those pensions via National Insurance for 50 years.”

    I know a few people on disability benefits who worked many many years who are very annoyed (to say the least!) to be called “scroungers” by the Tories and their press (while all too often the Lib Dems sit by and say nothing). You’d think the majority of the welfare budget went to the disabled based on the way this government and the press has treated them, but they’re an easy target, aren’t they? It’s always sad to watch the strong pick on the weak, which this government has done to the disabled for the past 4.5 years. So while I have sympathy with poorer pensioners who are “annoyed” at pensions being classed as welfare, I’ll save my real pain for the sick and disabled who have been treated like utter trash by this government.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 11th Oct '14 - 12:51am

    @ malc,

    Fair enough, I should provide my sources…

    http://press.labour.org.uk/post/99533216077/labours-plan-to-turn-around-8-billion-overspend-on

    And yes, I’m being hard on Alan, although he’s hardly helping himself with the hyperbole he’s posting. The annual deficit is still around £100 billion, we’ll be spending about £70 billion on debt interest alone in the 2017-18 fiscal year – something has to give, and I want him, and everyone else to think about that.

    Labour and Conservatives alike are promising to wipe out the deficit in the next Parliament if elected, and that is going to mean an awful lot of pain for someone. You can raise tax so far before it becomes counterproductive, nobody wants to hurt pensioners, the NHS is ringfenced, so cuts have to come from what’s left of government spending – and there isn’t that much left, if those opposed to the government are to be believed. And, actually, most of those areas of government activity have seen significant cuts already.

    So, I want Alan to stop shouting and start thinking. He might not like that, because he might realise just how difficult this is – shouting is easy and responsibility free.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 11th Oct '14 - 1:37am

    Alan,

    By the way, what probably gave us Margaret Thatcher was an 11% swing from Labour to Conservatives amongst skilled working class voters (C2s) and a 9% swing the same way amongst unskilled working class voters (DEs). In other words, it was working class voters who did for Labour – and a vote of no confidence in a minority administration moved by the Scottish Nationalists after they were screwed on devolution .

    But feel free to blame the Liberal Party if it makes you feel better.

  • @Mark, it sounds to me like Alan is just another person who is very angry with the world and needs someone at whom he can direct that anger.

    The Lib Dems are an easy target.

    It is a shame really because I image that on a purely ideological level, his levels would not be far off what many people who have supported over the years believed in terms of wealth-ware and justice.

    As for the difficult choices that the world faces, well, I only hope that people start getting used to taking them because the planet’s climate and resources are already starting to make them for us.

  • Igor Sagdejev 11th Oct '14 - 7:07am

    @Steph:en Campbell

    I’m not “mainstream”, I’m more to the right of it. I also find many of the things you recall for the 70ies attractive. But these are now disappearing around the world, whatever the governments are. And money does not grow on trees, someone has to work and compete with the Chinese.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct '14 - 7:39am

    Mark Valladares

    By the way, what probably gave us Margaret Thatcher was an 11% swing from Labour to Conservatives amongst skilled working class voters (C2s) and a 9% swing the same way amongst unskilled working class voters (DEs).

    Yes, and then as now I was concerned at how working class voters were bring conned into voting for something which was very much not in their interests, at the way a shallow populist image was being used to win votes for something which was funded by the wealthy in order to push the interests of the wealthy.

    I grew up in a working class area in the south, so I saw this happening. There wasn’t the strong Labour culture there as in the industrial parts of the north, so people didn’t have as much strong emotional attachment to Labour as elsewhere. Also Labour did have something of an alien image, in the south it was already becoming a sort of middle class trendies party although the working class image of Labour was strong – but it was a northern working class image, which also was quite alien to people in the south. There was a resentment at northern trade unions pushing for higher wages for people who were already earning wages which were higher than most working class southerners got.

    As ever, the Conservatives were able to work on those who were socially conservative – that was always one of the big reasons for some working class people voting Conservative. However, as I remember it, the idea that there was big genuine enthusiasm for Margaret Thatcher and her brand of Conservatives amongst the working class in the south is wrong. To quite a large extent the issue was that with the two party system if you were unhappy with Labour you went to the Conservatives. That is why working class people in the south were very open to an alternative alternative to Labour when it was put to them i.e. the Liberal Party.

  • This week’s results indicate a more fluid political situation the 2010 — how will that hit the Liberal Democrat Strategy?

    Around 30 Liberal Democrat MPs had a majority of less than 5,000 in the General Election of 2010.
    http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/mps-maj.htm
    Are these the 30 seats that the terribly sophisticated professionals at the top of the party have written off for next May?
    It would be fascinating to know how they reached the figure of around 30 MPs surviving next time (the number they are using to brief the media apparently).
    It would be equally fascinating to know which MPs the leadership have already consigned to the dustbin.
    Some members will want to go and help in the General Election in a constituency where their efforts might make a difference.
    For some that will mean a journey of more than 150 miles — so we ought by now to have been given some hint of which seats would be worth the journey.

    Lord Ashcroft and the Tory and Labour High Commands probably have this information already.
    So any chance of the poor bloody infantry in the Liberal Democrats being told?

  • Mark
    I agree that “shouting” as you put it is not a very productive way forward – although I think the sort of shouting you get at demos can have a salutary effect on people’s awareness of issues, and possibly on media coverage as well! However, Alan’s shouting is at least directed at people who are nearer to being “the culprits” than those who voted UKIP two days ago.

    Liberal Al is right, the difficult decisions the world has to take boil down to:
    1 Deciding whether democracy is the right road (as we have all believed in this party)
    2 Assuming that people decide (1) above is right, understanding that compromise between peoples, mediated by such democracy, is needed, to conquer the issues we face. That, of course, implies democracy on a transnational level – with all the difficult problems of acceptance that people have found with the EU. If they reject transnational democracy, I fear we lose at first base, and face a future of increasing violent conflict over land and resources and fortress walls everywhere. Such a future looks very bleak.
    3 Accepting that “the sky IS the limit” in terms of material things available. The world will NOT expand to encompass everyone’s material desires.
    4 That there are many in the world who are in desperate situations, and we do have to help.
    5 Finally, that it is going to take big lifestyle changes for all of us to start squaring this circle.

    Increasing inequality, as we have even in developed Britain, is clearly the wrong direction of travel, and our politics need to change to get things going where we need them to.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct '14 - 8:29am

    The thing about Thatcherism was that it was a complete con, in many ways about the opposite of what it claimed to be. This has become more obvious as time goes on and where see where it has led to. Where is that share-holding and home-owning democracy we were promised? Home ownership is now going down, the consequences of Thatcherism is that many are being squeezed out of home ownership, and the council house alternative no longer exists.

    Thatcherism gave the impression, with most of the press happy to push their propaganda, that it was all about reward for hard work. But it wasn’t, it was about the opposite. At the heart of Conservatism, then as now, was reward for non-work. The Conservative Party is the non-workers party. Thatcherism pushed the sale of council housing to get more people into the idea that money is made by owning housing, not by work. It pushed privatization of state owned industry with the “Tell Sid” message, that is the idea that making money comes from wheeler-dealing in shares, being a Sid who is passed inside information and so able to make money without work. It created a “get rich quick” mentality which destroyed the hard work ethic that used to be so strong in the working class. I have seen in so many places how the pride in a good job well done has now gone, now we are all supposed to be dog-eat-dog competitors, and work is farmed out to the lowest bidder, to those who cut corners and don’t care for anything but money, and we are all left so scared that we will lose our jobs if we don’t go along with that.

    Thatcherism was supposedly all about standing up to the Russians who were ready to come marching in over us with snow on their boots. So what has happened? Russian oligarchs HAVE come marching over us with snow on their boots. Privatization and free market mania has handed control of much that we rely in to foreign ownership. Londoners are being pushed out of London as it becomes a home for the world’s wealthy.

    Thatcherism attracted the votes of conservative-minded people, but the free market it pushed has been a huge destructive force, changing so much of what was traditional about Britain. It has left people feeling insecure and alienated.

    So, yes, UKIP is very much an heir to all this, ONE BIG CON!!

  • Mathew Huntbach,
    It’s not popular view here or in the press for some reason, but the reality just benefiting from voter apathy. Only old people vote in large numbers and they appeal to people who want the olden times back. The UKIP voters I saw interviewed were either retired or close to it,, Class as less to do with it than age, In Clacton the turn out was 50% which means that as many people didn’t vote as did in an area with an aging population and in the other seat the turn out was 30% which means the majority of people didn’t vote at all. So basically the issue is in ability to get voters out.

  • …..leadership isn’t something we should expect from others – it’s something we have to create and do ourselves. As ever, we are the people we have been waiting for. We should wait no longer.

    http://www.compassonline.org.uk/the-political-leadership-we-need/

    Interesting perspective from Compass on line

  • stuart moran 11th Oct '14 - 8:44am

    Matthew

    hear hear

  • Tony Dawson 11th Oct '14 - 8:49am

    @Mack (Not a Lib Dem):

    “The reason why Labour just managed a lead of around 600 was because the anti Labour vote realized that the only way to stop Ed Miliband’s Party was to vote UKIP. ”

    You are living in cloud cuckoo land, Mack. Are you really Nick Clegg in disguise?

    Both Ed Miliband and the Labour Party were irrelevant to over half those who voted on Thursday – and even more so to the tens of thousands who refused to vote. I was a good friend of the late Jim Dobbin MP over many years and his spirit will be alternately turning in his grave and chuckling at the pathetic ungrounded spinning antics of the Labour ‘leadership’ at the moment. Even those who went to vote Labour (only one elector in SEVEN) in Heywood and Middleton only did so not because of any enthusiasm for Ed but because of a tribal loyalty and being harried by an army of desperate party workers. Were it not for the pre-signed-up Labour postal votes, UKIP would very likely have won on the day.

    When LizMcEwan started to read out her ‘manufactured in Notting Hill”victory’ speech, eulogisingan alleged endorsement of Miliband by the populus, it was met in the hall and the TV studios by spontaneous derisive laughter all round, including from more than a few Labour supporters. It received this same treatment (though slightly quieter and more incredulous than derisory)when she persisted with the same rubbish the second time.

    It is time that Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative politicians started to face up to their own collective responsibility or the present widespread cultural electoral success of the fatuous populist UKIP rather than burying themselves in three different varieties of denial.

  • Stephen Hesketh 11th Oct '14 - 8:57am

    Alan 11th Oct ’14 – 12:08am
    “Nobody are worse than libdems, ”

    Dear fellow contributors, we regularly indulge each other’s varied and opposing views but the person describing himself merely as ‘Alan’ – and who would give their real name if they intended to write such garbage – is clearly consumed by a completely irrational, twisted and even hateful view of Liberal Democracy.

    His assertions are not even historically accurate.

    Might I suggest there is absolutely nothing to be gained by engaging with him further?

  • Alan 11th Oct ’14 – 9:51am
    “. @ Stephen Hesketh …….I am a long life Labour supporter and at no time been disrespectful or used derogatory language. Unlike you Stephen Hesketh I am neither twisted or hateful. ”

    Alan, did you pause before writing at and think want you were writing? You say you are at no time “disrespectful”. And then you go on to call Stephen “twisted and hateful” in your very next sentence!

    Where is the respect in that?

  • Alan

    “Can any LIBDEM tell me where the LEADERSHIP has gone”

    It certainly seems strange to go into hiding like this, they had better come out soon they have another by-election to fight next month. God even I’m beginning to feel sorry for Clegg, this really is death by a thousand cuts. It’s sad, but the man should have gone after the euros.

  • Paul in Wokingham 11th Oct '14 - 10:14am

    @Liberal Al – @Mark, it sounds to me like Alan is just another person who is very angry with the world and needs someone at whom he can direct that anger.

    An article by Robert Colville in yesterday’s Torygraph make the critical point that the political parties have failed to understand the appeal of UKIP. He says “Yes, Ukip is a one-issue party – but the issue is the modern world.”

    So there is little point in Labour promising to limit immigration, or the Tories promising to hold an in/out referendum because that is to misunderstand the reason for UKIP’s rise. It’s a phenomenon that is also seen in the huge success of the Scottish “yes” campaign, where 45% of Scottish people actively voted to secede from the Union.

    The parties need to be looking at the raft of issues that have led to the alienation of so many people from the political process: a skewed recovery that has disproportionately benefited the wealthy and well-connected; an unease about job security in a world of zero-hours contracts; a professional political class drawn largely from the the upper middle classes; a perception that Parliament is a gravy train for the politicians and their friends – mostly in “The City”; a sense that the world is changing too fast and a nostalgia for old certainties…. The list goes on and on.

    From the perspective of our own party, I had no doubt in May that the critical first step in regaining trust was to have a leader who does not seem to the public – as polls have repeatedly shown – like the epitome of all those things. But Mr. Clegg is still in place. So – as some of the party’s best thinkers have noted above – our task now is to to salvage what we can next May and rebuild the party from whatever base the hard work of committed Liberal Democrats can secure.

  • Alan.
    I’m a Lib Dem voter. Unfortunately these electoral wipeouts have gotten to be a habit and certain people who should resign won’t resign. So no one is speaking about it.

  • @Alan
    Better silence than cooking up schemes to pander to racism. Shame on you as a Labour supporter.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/10/ed-miliband-labour-immigration-policy-ukip-byelection

  • @ RC

    I hope he does not harden his view on immigration. I am a son of an immigrant and believe immigration is good fir our country. It has become in the 21st venture we have to make more controlled checks giving special regard to ISIL and other terrorist organisations, but the article is saying ED is being urged to pander to those schemes. I don’t believe he will, but let me tell you this if the Tories or UKIP get in then that and more will occur, and you libdems are not going to be able to do a thing about it.

  • RC

    “Better silence than cooking up schemes to pander to racism. Shame on you as a Labour supporter”

    Myself I’m all for the EU and open borders, but many aren’t, when did it become racism to talk about immigration control?

  • “Say what you will about the 70s,”

    I recall having to do homework by candlelight several days a week. I remember cars that rusted away, if you could afford one. Very few could afford to holiday abroad – a school trip to the USA was a one off trip if a lifetime. I recall nightly pictures of Vietnam on the B&W TV with 3 channels. I remember crimplene. Both my parents had to work 48 hour weeks. Racism was rampant and open. Women were considered second class in the workplace. People worried about the Soviets starting WW3. Spain, Portugal, Greece, most of Eastern Europe, most of Africa, Latin America, and chunks of Asia all under brutal dictatorships. Every so often someone found a WW2 unexploded bomb and there were still undeveloped bomb sites around London; my primary school had bullet holes in the wall. Towards the end of the decade we had unburied dead bodies piling up, no rubbish collections, incredible levels of inflation. My wages went up 50% in 2 years and I was no better off. Income tax kicked in at a very low point and instantly took a third of your wage. We could afford to put on the hot water for a weekly bath. We must all have stunk to high heaven but then so must everyone. Dental care was prehistoric and medical procedures and drugs we take for granted today didn’t exist. I remember smogs. School blazers cost more in the early 70’s than they do today 40 years on. I remember it being a big issue when the cheapest blazer for my school was £35. Go back to the 70’s? No thank you.

  • Mack (not a Lib Dem) 11th Oct '14 - 11:16am

    @ Mathew Huntbach

    ‘ The thing about That cherish etc.’

    I agree with your analysis in every respect. The challenge for our respective parties is to expose the Thatcheriite deception perpetuated by UKIP . Thatcherism was successful because it exploited populist grievances for which it advocated panaceas that could be reduced to memorable slogans and ideas. It cloaked policies designed to enrich the fat cats in the guise of altruism, and the social and public good, e.g., it appropriated the Warnock proposals ostensibly to integrate children with severe educational needs into mainstream education but in reality it was to save money on special needs education and to close the special schools and sell the land off to the developers. Pace Care in the Community. It lined the pockets of the big city institutions by promising to enrich the little guy with the lure of privatisation. UKIP embodies these Thatcherite dichotomies. It promises withdrawal from Europe as the the solution of all worker’s ills but such a withdrawal would benefit only the deregulators and the spivs and deprive workers of the protection membership of the E. U. Gives them. It is vitally important that Labour and the Liberal Democrats expose UKIP’s. Con and publicise widely that Thatcherism is encoded deep in this party’s DNA.

  • The main problem as far as I can see it is this. The ‘centre ground’ largely appears to be an artificial concept. For example the average working person is broadly economically left and socially right, where as those in power tend to take the opposite line to that. Don’t agree? Well most people want improved workers rights, good pensions, they don’t want privatisation in the NHS, they want the railways, water and energy companies renationalised, the bankers given a kicking, and G4S / ATOS / Serco / A4E stripped off all contracts and and end to corporate welfare. On a mixture of right and left they are concerned about the loss of national sovereignty (both to the EU and US – hence the opposition to TTIP and the EU from both the left and the right), they oppose mass immigration both from the left in the affect it has on wages and conditions, and from the right on identity, culture and tradition, and on the right most people are sick of criminals being able to sue victims, votes for prisoners, soft sentencing, the cuts and lack of respect for our armed forces, lack of discipline in schools, excessive political correctness and so forth.

    The political class tend to take an opposite line, being socially liberal in many ways, but economically right wing. Votes for prisoners, free movement of labour, positive discrimination and so forth, but equally mass privatisation, contracting out to outsourcing companies and foreign governments, austerity and cuts.

    UKIP may have nothing to offer the left wing views of a lot of people, but they do a great job offering a voice for the right wing views of a lot of people. By contrast the Tories are purely an instrument of multinationals, who will sell the country to any foreign state or corporation, so long as nothing is in state hands, and won’t control immigration because it doesn’t suit multinationals not having cheap labour. The Liberal Democrats are in effect tarred by the same brush, and Labour aren’t offering any real socialist left policies to appeal to the left wing views of a lot of people, but offering a weak ‘me too’ stance on immigration, which people just do not believe. We are also seeing increases in support for the Greens because they offer an alternative stance to the mainstream on the left, just as UKIP do on the right.

  • Stevan Rose wrote:

    “I recall having to do homework by candlelight several days a week.”

    That’s because the miners went on strike. But it helped us get rid of a Tory government, so it was worth the inconvenience.

    “I remember cars that rusted away, if you could afford one.”

    Cars made by British Leyland didn’t rust away, because they didn’t last that long. Mass car ownership dates back to the early 1960s.

    “Very few could afford to holiday abroad”

    Really? Foreign travel (at least to Spain) became widely affordable in the early 1960s. I can recall my parents sneering at “ordinary” people going to Benidorm even before the 1970s began.

    “Spain, Portugal, Greece, most of Eastern Europe, most of Africa, Latin America, and chunks of Asia all under brutal dictatorships. ”

    Some of those countries still are.

    “Every so often someone found a WW2 unexploded bomb”

    They are still being found today.

    “there were still undeveloped bomb sites around London”

    There are still undeveloped bomb sites in Dover.

    “We must all have stunk to high heaven but then so must everyone.”

    No, they didn’t. It was common for people aged 50+ to be dirty, because they formed their habits in an era when hot water wasn’t so readily available.

    “I remember smogs.”

    I don’t.

  • malc 11th Oct ’14 – 10:55am
    “……………….. when did it become racism to talk about immigration control?”

    malc—-to answer your question, I don’t remember the exact date but it was some time in 1968. The Commonwealth Immigration Bill was introduced with the express intention of keeping out black, brown and any people of colour from the UK. Up until that point any citizen of The British Empire (Commonwealth) could use their British passport as a subject of Her Majesty and get on a boat or plane and come to the ‘mother country’, just like hundreds of thousands of them did in both world wars. But in 1968 egged on by Enoch Powell and Duncan Sandys and unscruplous press barons, the political elite of the day thought they had to bow to racist pressure because Smethwick or Brixton or Bradford had residents who did not look as though they had stepped out of the pages of an Agatha Christie rural idyll.

    From that moment on “discussing immigration” has been simple code for “hating the blacks”. You must have noticed.

    OK nowadays “hating the Polish” might also have slipped into the code. Coincidentally tens of thousands of them came here to fight on our side in WW2 just like all those black and brown people. In many cases the pilots in The Battle of Britain were Polish — but that is an inconvenient truth which Mr Farage’s People’s Stormtroopers could not cope with.

  • When push comes to shove UKIP will continue to drive forward promoting a consistent range of core issues.

    1. Leave the EU.
    2. Retake control of our borders and immigration.
    3. A Grammar school in every town.
    4. Reduce overseas aid to disaster relief only.
    5. A parliament for England in a fully federal UK.
    6. Repeal the Climate Change Act, end the green lunacy, and bring sanity back to our national energy security.
    7. Put the interests of the British people, culture and values, first second and third, by ending multiculturism. If you can’t speak English, then you shouldn’t be here.

    That is where we are going, unswerving, determined and single mindedly., if you don’t like the policies, then you had better decide what future purpose you have. This is generally what the British people want, and if the Lib/Lab/Con Party want a future , then I would suggest they should start listening and acting, and end their arrogant disdain for the wishes of those who elected them.

    Get on message with the British people, or you will be trampled underfoot, that is the only choice you have.

  • Some of the criticism tat follows applies to Liberal Democrats as well as to Labour —

    Labour’s plight was captured in Glasgow as about 60 Labour MPs were sent to make a final push for the no campaign. There to meet them was one man on a rickshaw, armed with nothing more than a boogie box, a loudhailer, a smartphone and a YouTube account. He followed the hapless MPs around, blasting out the theme from Star Wars, while shouting that Scotland’s “imperial masters” had arrived. The stunt was an allegory for our times.

    Labour is no evil empire – its people have good hearts – but the way they want to “do good” has too many echoes of a Death Star. 

    They see politics as top-down command and control; Labour doing good things for people, who express their gratitude through the ballot box. 

    It’s all about them, in a world that’s increasingly all about us. Citizens’ alliances and flat networks are taking the place of organised labour and political hierarchies. The shift is creating an existential crisis for Labour. The rebel alliance includes all those who know that pulling the levers of the central state no longer works.

    Read more —

    http://www.compassonline.org.uk/labours-top-down-command-has-too-many-echoes-of-the-death-star/

  • @John Tilley

    I agree with you totally. My father was from the former Yugoslavia, and although fought with Tito’s partizans (communists) he was actually fighting with the allies against his fellow country men The Chetniks (royalists) who were fighting along side Hitler and Mussolini. Unfortunately he was captured and put in an Hungarian prisoner of war camp. At the end of the war when he was liberated and he could not go back to his country as the civil war continued between the two factions and it was deemed too dangerous. He came to England who welcomed him gave him a safe haven a job down the mines and a chance to be a productive member of society. That’s why we must not allow UKIP to prevail. I’m not normally so frustrated at a person that makes me feel so much hate, but I am sorry that I have to say I hate that man FARAGE with passion. If Labour goes anywhere near the same route as UKIP I can assure you I will turn my back on my beloved party without a second thought .

  • Will UKIP do well in 2015 yes people are fed upon being told that the three main parties get it when clearly they don’t

    Do people know UKIP is right wing I suspect yes but how do voters say that the million or so party members are not getting what is wanted correct

    Is UKIP a risk to labour yes

    Can UKIP get lots of MPs probably not but it can and will make the election results very odd

    Will parties need to listen more to normal voters yes

    Will the EU get the message it’s not only UKIP and the Conservative party who are less than happy with the status quo

    Should LibDem support a referendum in my opinion yes but fight for staying in

    Final point the English do wish for the other three UK countries not voting on our affairs when it’s England only policy let alone three leaders promising continuation of the Barnet formula without even thinking does England, Wales and Ireland agree that’s more like a ruler making statement than democracy at work

  • paul barker 11th Oct '14 - 2:03pm

    Can I make my usual reccomendation to visit Labour blogs – Labour Uncut & Labour List in particular. Its not yet a full scale panic in Labourland but its getting there. I would particularly reccomend Atuls piece on Labour Uncut, its a brave attempt to look Labours crisis in the face.

  • “From that moment on “discussing immigration” has been simple code for “hating the blacks”. You must have noticed.”

    Oh yes we noticed all right.

    The question is have you, the metropolitan elite, noticed that a decisive proportion of the electorate won’t put up with unlimited immigration any more? And will punish their political parties that refuse to address this question seriously?

    And that we don’t care a tinker’s cuss whether you think we are racist or not? If it is racist to want to curtail immigration I am racist. So what?

    UKIP is a movement against political correctness, it breaks the taboos that the elite have constructed to ensure compliance with their policies. (Or rather lack of them. Mass unrestricted , uncontrolled immigration has been more an accidental than conscious policy).

    Let me tell you that are few things more delicious than breaking a taboo. 🙂

  • Stephen Hesketh 11th Oct '14 - 2:45pm

    @JohnTilley 11th Oct ’14 – 10:03am

    Thank you John.
    Kind regards
    Green, egalitarian Liberal.

  • Stevan rose:-
    “The NHS is a lot better now than it was 4 years ago”

    By no measure at all is it.There’s party loyalty, and there’s outright delusion.

  • Allan.
    UKIP did well on low turn outs, For all the braying from the press they are not getting new voters out. They basically represent late middle aged and old Tories. If you look at Tory vote in these election it actual; corresponds fairly closly to the collapse of the Conservative vote. I’m not a labour voter, but the fact is they gained votes in the last round of local elections and the Euro Elections whilst The Conservatives and Lib Dems lost votes, plus the Coalition was absolutely dependent on Labour to keep Scotland! What we’re getting is the Right Wing press and . The Tories trying to deflect the reality political pluralism They . are in a collective state of denial about it, pretending that their lost votes are really someone else’s. Between 25 and 30 plus per cent of their core older voters went to UKIP yet we are supposed to believe that the real threat is to Labour, because it has deserted the white working classes or something. The truth is the white working class world of factory workers and shop stewards barely exists. Labour’s real core vote is actually women and the mixed population of urban areas. The real problem is low turn outs and getting people out to vote at all.
    UKIP are most likely to score in soft conservative seats, mostly on the south coast and possibly they may take a couple of Northern marginal, , but it really depends on how well mobilised the other parties are and hard they push to get the Vote out.

  • UKIP are 4/1 on to win Rochester and Strood at Skybet.

    Just saying…

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 11th Oct '14 - 3:31pm

    @ Simon,

    Us, the metropolitan elite? I’ll rush out and tell my neighbours, they’ll be highly amused out here in our mid-Suffolk village, population 200 or so. But some of us realise that migration is two way, as our elderly retire in Spain, our young study in Europe, and our social services are increasingly staffed by Indians, Romanians and a host of other nationalities because locals don’t want to do those sorts of jobs. Around here, farmers rely on Eastern Europeans to pick vegetables so that you get cheaper food.

    Life is much more complex than you would like it to be, immigration isn’t unlimited and most migrants come here because they can get a job. If there weren’t any, or they were all being done by British workers, they wouldn’t come – they’d stay at home or go somewhere else.

    And UKIP isn’t a movement against political correctness, it’s a campaign against things that some people don’t like – Europe, immigration, a global economy – but it offers little positive change… yet. Now, that may come, but you might find that you don’t like their offering very much when they tell you what it is.

    Campaigning against things is easy, offering a meaningful alternative more difficult. When UKIP get beyond the slogans, I’ll pay them proper attention but, until them, they’re just as much of the problem as anyone else.

  • paul barker 11th Oct '14 - 4:08pm

    For anyone who thinks that I seem to be obsessed with the decline of the Labour Party that because I am. Everyone should have a hobby/horse. According to Polling averages the Terrible 2 of Labour/Tories take two thirds of the vote between them, they are quite important & the fact that one is splitting & the other seems about to split will change things.
    Thats not to say I dont think about how we are doing, I do . At the moment I would expect us to get 12-18% in May, if nothing exciting happens between now & then; a scenario I think unlikely.

  • “Us, the metropolitan elite?”

    Duh, yes! Your wonderfully charismatic, trusted and popular leader could be its poster boy. When I see him and Call me Dave the famous ending of a book we all read at school comes irresistibly to mind:

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    “immigration isn’t unlimited”

    Since we have free movement of labour (actually free movement of people) within the EU what limits it?

    Could you please let me know the net immigration figures, year by ear over the last fifteen years?

    You position is intellectually absurd.

  • “When UKIP get beyond the slogans, I’ll pay them proper attention”

    Well let’s all of us put British politics on hold till you get round to noticing what going on! 🙂

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Oct '14 - 4:42pm

    @simon: “The question is have you, the metropolitan elite, noticed that a decisive proportion of the electorate won’t put up with unlimited immigration any more?”

    The problem with this line of thinking is that the “metropolitan elite” who encouraged immigration was not just Labour. It was also big business and multinationals who encouraged it all across the Western world in order to keep wages down, further marginalise trade unions and create even more insecure working conditions to keep us all in line. And yet, from all I can tell, Farage and UKIP seem happy to hand more power to unelected multinational corporations. UKIP talk about protecting us from the EU, well what about protecting us from parasitical multinationals who have no allegiance to the British people, our jobs and our standard of living? So there is indeed a cognitive dissonance there: part of this “elite” you think you are railing against are Farage’s friends in the City, many of whom are now backing UKIP. And UKIPs stated policies, so far, are friendlier towards big business than they are towards the working man and woman.

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Oct '14 - 4:48pm

    Also, @simon, I’m still curious about what UKIP will do about all the immigrants from Europe if we left the EU. Would they all be deported (which would break up families all across the nation)? What about Brits married to Europeans who live here? Would they all have to re-apply to stay? What about the millions of British people who live in the EU? Would they all have to come home?

    Thing is, I expect political parties to give us the practicalities of their policies and I still don’t see any practicalities (or concrete policies for that matter) from UKIP.

  • “Around here, farmers rely on Eastern Europeans to pick vegetables so that you get cheaper food.”

    Yeah, we kinda noticed.

    Two thoughts occur from your comment.

    1. So the Lib Dems support millionaire farmers paying poverty wages to migrants to earn obscene profits? Nice!

    2. Personally I’d rather pay more for my fruit, hire locals, and not have the immigration.

  • “Also, @simon, I’m still curious about what UKIP will do about all the immigrants from Europe if we left the EU. Would they all be deported (which would break up families all across the nation)?”

    I have no idea what party policy is, but my view is that they would stay. Nothing else is humane or practicable.

    We are talking here about NEW immigration.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct '14 - 5:25pm

    Stevan Rose

    Towards the end of the decade we had unburied dead bodies piling up, no rubbish collections, incredible levels of inflation.

    If you look at the following web page:

    http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/2647/economics/history-of-inflation-in-uk/

    you will find that inflation peaked in 1974, and then fell, but there was a big rise again, though not to the point reached in 1974, at the end of 1979. So your suggestion that it steadily rose over the 1970s is wrong. Oddly enough, it rose under the Conservative government of the early 1970s, mostly fell under the 1970s Labour government, and rose again after the election of the next Conservative government.

    So if your memory is playing tricks about what really happened with this issue, just perhaps of the bias in the way it tends to have been written up since in the right-wing press, how accurate is the rest of what you wrote?

    Words about “unburied dead bodies piling up” are commonly used, yet my recollection is that this is a gross exaggeration of what were just a few isolated cases, not something that affected the whole country for a prolonged period of time. There was a strike by refuse collectors, it lasted a few weeks, not the whole of the 1970s, I do remember it, but I’m not sure how universal it was.

    Some of what you write is just a matter of historical development. We are now as far away from those times as they were from the end of Word War II. One could, of course, paint a different picture of the 1970s, pointing out the factories and workshops there were then, now all closed down, or the ready availability of council housing for those who could not afford to buy and so on. Plus full student grants …

    On the 1970s inflation, it was a worldwide problem driven by the quadrupling of oil prices following events in the Middle East. Now we have frittered away North Sea Oil, sold off control of our energy supply companies to foreign control, become dependent on Russia for gas, we could be held to ransom in the same way so easily again. Note also, there was a big UK house price boom in the early 1970s, then house prices stayed the same while the price of everything else shot up. This meant that house prices adjusted to wages, making housing affordable again, but without the problems of negative equity. It may be that the current house pice boom will end similarly.

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Oct '14 - 5:33pm

    @Matthew Huntbach: “Thatcherism gave the impression, with most of the press happy to push their propaganda, that it was all about reward for hard work. But it wasn’t, it was about the opposite. At the heart of Conservatism, then as now, was reward for non-work. The Conservative Party is the non-workers party. Thatcherism pushed the sale of council housing to get more people into the idea that money is made by owning housing, not by work. It pushed privatization of state owned industry with the “Tell Sid” message, that is the idea that making money comes from wheeler-dealing in shares, being a Sid who is passed inside information and so able to make money without work. It created a “get rich quick” mentality which destroyed the hard work ethic that used to be so strong in the working class. I have seen in so many places how the pride in a good job well done has now gone, now we are all supposed to be dog-eat-dog competitors, and work is farmed out to the lowest bidder, to those who cut corners and don’t care for anything but money, and we are all left so scared that we will lose our jobs if we don’t go along with that.”

    THIS, THIS, THIS. A thousand times this. It should be required reading for anyone who still thinks Thatcherism-Reaganism free market fundamentalism has been an unbridled success for us all. Thank you Matthew for saying this in a much more eloquent way than I ever could.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 11th Oct '14 - 5:38pm

    @ Tony Dawson

    I think that your remarks would have some credibility if the Labour Vote, like the Tory and LiB Dem vote in Heywood had collapsed,. As it was, Labour held the seat, on a hugely reduced turnout, (36%) and even increased its share of the vote. And I’m living in cloud cuckoo land?

    I’ve already commented on here about the non-appearance of the BNP at both Heywood and Clacton. Those votes went somewhere and they certainly weren’t to Labour or the Liberal Democrats.

    Ukip have made the xenophobic, homophobic, racist agenda respectable again. That’s what they mean when they say that at last people are talking about these issues. Anyone who disagrees with them is immediately branded “A member of the Westminster elite” just as anyone who disagreed with Thatcher was branded as “The enemy within”.

    Are you suggesting that pro European, pluralistic and democratic parties such as Labour and the Lib Dems should adopt a racist and homophobic agenda because eleven thousand people out of a turnout of twenty -eight and a half thousand voted for UKIP?

    UKIP are doing a Thatcher: they pretend to care about working people but they really want to get us out of Europe so that they can benefit the asset stripping, pure free marketeers and spivs who hate the protection and rights that Europe gives to workers. UKIP lost in Heywood because they couldn’t get sufficient people to vote tactically on a hugely reduced turnout. They will prove to be a flash in the pan. Just like the National Front.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct '14 - 5:38pm

    Mark Valladares

    our social services are increasingly staffed by Indians, Romanians and a host of other nationalities because locals don’t want to do those sorts of jobs. Around here, farmers rely on Eastern Europeans to pick vegetables so that you get cheaper food.

    Stop.

    This is where I feel UKIP do have a point, and I find the dismissal of their concern amongst liberal intellectual types snobbish. Sorry Mark, but if you want to drive people towards UKIP, insulting them by calling them lazy slobs who can’t be bothered to work is the way to do it.

    Sure, if one had a choice of whom to employ, and one has clever and skilled people from poor countries to chose, or those who are less intelligent and less skilled from this country to chose, which would you take? Yet the fact is that there just are going to be people at the lower end of the intelligence range, people who just don’t have much natural abilities. Once they would have been able to find casual jobs, now they can’t, because given a choice they aren’t the ones chosen. Then the problem comes that if people get out of the habit and discipline of work, it’s hard to get back in. It also seems very much that employers would rather take on those who have been trained elsewhere at someone else’s expense, than to train people here or pay the taxes for the state to train them. Plus, maybe there are young single people willing to live in hostel type accommodation and so who can work for the pay that can only pay for that. But what about people native to this country who have families, or are older and can’t so easily adapt to that lifestyle? Is it really so fair to write them off as lazy slobs who can’t be bothered to work?

  • Mark Valladares 11th Oct ’14 – 3:31pm
    “…Us, the metropolitan elite? I’ll rush out and tell my neighbours, they’ll be highly amused out here in our mid-Suffolk village, population 200 or so. ..”

    Well said, Mark. I too was amused at being accused of being a member of The Metropolitan Elite. Being born in Wythenshawe in my grandmother’s council house (my parents had left married quarters when my father left the army) is not a typical start for a member of The Metropolitan Elite. Haven’t I gone up in the world!!!

    I imagine “simon”, whoever he is, lives in a cardboard box in the middle of the road and he has to lick the road clean before he attends his UKIP meetings in a pub where they all sit around complaining that the cardboard boxes nowadays are all being taken by immigrants. Or am I letting my imagination run away with me?

    No doubt “simon” will acknowledge the joke as those UKIP folks are just such ordinary blokes. Except of course for the former City Trader and Dulwich public schoolboy Mr Farage. Or and the new MP Mr Carswell, he’s not really an ordinary bloke either is he? Wasn’t his father something terribly impressive in HIV research? There is obviously more to the definition of The Metropolitan Elite than I first thought.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct '14 - 6:03pm

    Stephen Campbell

    Thank you Matthew for saying this in a much more eloquent way than I ever could.

    Thanks for this. This is where I can mention again that I once applied to be a Liberal Democrat approved Parliamentary candidate, but they turned me down in the grounds that I was “poor at communication”.

  • Stephen Hesketh 11th Oct '14 - 7:25pm

    @Matthew Huntbach 11th Oct ’14 – 6:03pm

    “This is where I can mention again that I once applied to be a Liberal Democrat approved Parliamentary candidate, but they turned me down in the grounds that I was “poor at communication”.”

    Judging by the typically radical cut of your well written and insightful comments, I rather suspect you being turned down had very little to do with your communication skills Matthew 😉

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 11th Oct '14 - 11:47pm

    The council by election in Brightlingsea caused by the resignation of the UKIP councillor who had to give up his place as Clacton’s UKIP PPC in order to allow Carswell to stand has been overlooked in all the excitement about the parliamentary by election result.. Interestingly, it seems that the Conservative won this contest that took place on the same day as the parliamentary by-election. UKIP came second and the Liberal democrat came third.
    http://www.tendringdc.gov.uk/council/elections-voting/election-county-councillor-brightlingsea-division-9-october-2014 Some evidence of a trend being bucked here I would suggest.
    For background see
    http://www.coastalscene24.co.uk/news/essex_ukip_county_councillor_roger_lord_resigns_after_being_deselected_as_clacton_election_candidate_1_3755662

  • John Tilley

    Nice to see another ex counci house boy from Wythenshawe posting. I was born in Benchill and lived there for the first twenty years of my life. Long time ago, but some happy memories.

  • @Colin “But is it the voters who are at fault if conditions deteriorate to the point of rioting, or does the fault lie with the institutions and the maintainers of them who have allowed themselves such excesses and myopia that the institutions have become discredited?”

    One of the key problems with many societies / democracies is that the voters / ‘normal’ people are all too willing to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the situations their society finds itself in. All too often, you hear Tory voters moaning about the ills of an extreme Right Wing Government. All too often you hear problem moaning about their useless ‘safe-seat’ labour, only for that person to vote Labour again come the next election. All too often, you hear people say they will not vote as it makes no different, despite the fact that they live in an marginal constituency. All too often hear people moaning about cuts to services, despite them demanding more tax cuts.

    I could go on, but I think the point is made: yes, the system is flawed, but the voters are contributing to those flaws as much as everyone else. The AV vote was a strong example of this.

  • Paul in Wokingham 11th Oct ’14 – 10:14am
    @Liberal Al – @Mark, it sounds to me like Alan is just another person who is very angry with the world and needs someone at whom he can direct that anger.

    An article by Robert Colville in yesterday’s Torygraph make the critical point that the political parties have failed to understand the appeal of UKIP. He says “Yes, Ukip is a one-issue party – but the issue is the modern world.”

    I wholly accept what you are saying, but it should be noted that Alan is a Labour supporter.

    Raddiy 11th Oct ’14 – 12:44pm
    When push comes to shove UKIP will continue to drive forward promoting a consistent range of core issues.

    1. Leave the EU.
    =Yes, let us get rid of all of those evil worker rights, schemes providing funding for our education system and other nefarious EU things.

    2. Retake control of our borders and immigration.
    =Yes, we can have that wonderful Australian model that UKIP always harp on about – the one that Australians always complain about because it is more liberal than the British system… erm!

    3. A Grammar school in every town.
    =Yes, let us introduce more elitist institutions that further entenches the two tier education system of this country that screws over the working classes.

    4. Reduce overseas aid to disaster relief only.
    =Yep, impoverishing the poorest in the world yet further – that sounds great for global stability.

    5. A parliament for England in a fully federal UK.
    =Oh, wonderful, another layer of overly centralised bureaucracy that will derive its legitimacy from an election that the majority of people will not vote in.

    6. Repeal the Climate Change Act, end the green lunacy, and bring sanity back to our national energy security.
    =Yes, fossil fuels from those ever so stable and reliable places such as Iraq and Syria are great. Not like those unreliable wind places in the danger zones of Surry and Scotland.

    7. Put the interests of the British people, culture and values, first second and third, by ending multiculturism. If you can’t speak English, then you shouldn’t be here.
    =I know that my written English is not great, but I do have to point out the irony of someone using some truly atrocious English to bemoan the lack of English ability that others may have. (PS Yes, very British person living Europe learns the language of their host nation, so why does these bloody Euro-trash types not learn our language?)

    Finally, considering the whole of British ‘culture’ (if that is so important to you) is build on the back of immigration and other cultures from around the world, what is so ‘British’ about shutting other countries out? You realise that the English language you hold so dear (despite abusing it so badly) actually uses more ‘foreign’ words than other language in the world. Without immigration, we basically would not have a language.

  • @Mark, as someone from that vast metropolis known as Derby, I, too, must tell my neighbors of their new status as elites. I think they would quite like the title because the people of Derby have never been called part of the elite before.

    “”malc 11th Oct ’14 – 10:55am
    RC

    “Better silence than cooking up schemes to pander to racism. Shame on you as a Labour supporter”

    Myself I’m all for the EU and open borders, but many aren’t, when did it become racism to talk about immigration control?””

    Malc, you, sadly, cannot split the issues of immigration and racism because often ‘immigration’ is used as a way to drive racist agendas.

    Simon says that he is ‘concerned’ about immigration because it will lead to ‘WHITE British children’ becoming a minority in British state schools. Ignoring the irony that his own children are not ‘WHITE British children’, this shows that once all is said and done, the issue is still fundamentally to do with the colour of a person’s skin.

  • malc 12th Oct ’14 – 12:46am
    Nice to see another ex counci house boy from Wythenshawe posting. I was born in Benchill … ….

    Well that is a coincidence. I was born in Orwell Avenue, my parents were married in St Luke’s. Not often I come across anyone nowadays from Wythenshawe. Although in the recently published Graham Nash autobiography it gets a mention, he lived in Salford but The Hollies had a regular spot in the big pub near my grandma’s.

  • jedibeeftrix 12th Oct ’14 – 2:07am
    i wasn’t far off, doing my paper round in the well-green estate and my summer job in wythenshawe hospital.

    How extraordinary. Three people out of maybe a couple of dozen who regularly comment in LDV all with a Wythenshawe connection. What are the odds against that?

  • Brenda Lana Smith 12th Oct '14 - 9:00am

    @JohnTilley 11th Oct ’14 – 5:56pm
    @malc 12th Oct ’14 – 12:46am
    @jedibeeftrix 12th Oct ’14 – 2:07am

    FWIW fellas… my late Baguley Floats Lane market gardner mother gave birth to me on 1933-06-21 at Withington Hospital…

  • Stephen Hesketh 12th Oct '14 - 9:05am

    I may as well publicly admit to having no connection to Wythenshawe but that I do avidly follow the postings of my friends from the light and dark sides 🙂

    But I would hasten to add that I did have a paper round!

  • @Brenda Lana Smith 12th Oct ’14 – 9:00am
    @malc 12th Oct ’14 – 12:46am
    @jedibeeftrix 12th Oct ’14 – 2:07am

    By the time I was starting school my parents had got their own council house in Timoerley – which always seemed a bit posh compared to Wythenshawe even though it is only 3 miles away.

    A bit posh in comparison, but not exactly home to The Metropolitan Elite. 🙂

  • John Tilley

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/raver_mikey/2059754729/in/set-72157606383054117

    Don’t know if your grandparents house is in the picture, but it might refresh a few childhood memories.

  • Brenda Lana Smith 12th Oct '14 - 10:21am

    @JohnTilley 12th Oct ’14 – 9:30am
    @malc 12th Oct ’14 – 12:46am
    @jedibeeftrix 12th Oct ’14 – 2:07am

    I was fortunately adopted by an upward mobile Manchester Guardian reading couple from Birmingham who made their home in the Trafford area… and for a while—during WW2—we lived at 180 Stockport Road, Timperley… where unbeknownst to me I attended a primary school on Thorley Lane next to Christ Church’s churchyard where my maternal grandparents are interred… and… helped deliver The Village Dairy’s milk to my biological mother’s 1 Perry Road home…

  • “I imagine “simon”, whoever he is, lives in a cardboard box in the middle of the road and he has to lick the road clean before he attends his UKIP meetings in a pub where they all sit around complaining that the cardboard boxes nowadays are all being taken by immigrants. Or am I letting my imagination run away with me?”

    No that is extraordinarily close to the reality. Quite spooky really it is almost as if you are here… 🙂

    Earlier in this thread someone predicted that we would get 5-10% at the GE. I am sure you will have clocked today’s Survation poll which puts us on 25%.

    Something which goes beyond any of our political ken’s is happening. It advances at a dizzying pace which surprises even me. I predicted n more than ten MP’s at the election, but if we poll more than 20% we will achieve parliamentary breakthrough. Anything is possible if we win Rochester. It is marvellous, intoxicating, the most exciting political movement of my lifetime.

    It isn’t too late, guys. Come and join the People’s Army. Be n the side of history, not against it. 🙂

  • “The Lib Dems were always going to lose some of their longterm supporters by entering into a coalition with the Conservatives. They have a Left wing which is proud to consider itself to the Left of Labour and which was inevitably going to think that Nick Clegg was leaping into bed with the devil.

    But that doesn’t explain why the Lib Dems’ support, according to the latest YouGov poll, has collapsed to just seven per cent – little more than a quarter of what it achieved in the 2010 general election.

    To foster that sort of decline requires talent. I don’t think it can be done other than by listening carefully to your supporters and then going deliberately out of your way to offend them. It isn’t just that the Lib Dems find themselves on the minority side of several important national debates such as the EU and migration it is that they seem determined to try to make out that everyone on the majority side is beyond the pale. ”

    http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/519558/Liberal-Democrats-alienating-voters

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 12th Oct '14 - 12:04pm

    @simon,

    As a member of the metropolitan elite yourself – you can afford to pay more for food and are happy to do so, and have absolutely no idea about the economics of farming from your comment about millionaire farmers – you might be reminded of the experience of the Alliance in 1983, when 27% of the vote didn’t amount to a hill of beans in terms of elected MPs.

    And when UKIP come up with some policy solutions other than oppositionist slogans, then the prospect of a number of UKIP MPs will become more tangible. In the meantime, if you don’t mind, the non-metropolitan amongst us can get on with espousing what we believe in, rather than what we dislike.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 12th Oct '14 - 12:14pm

    @John Roffey,

    In the nicest possible way, being told by the Daily Express that we’re alienating people might, in the eyes of a lot of people, be seen as not wholly a bad thing, given that their editorial line is somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan – the piece you link to is surrounded by headlines about why we should stop immigration and pull out of Europe. If you’re a UKIP supporter, it must feel very comfortable.

  • simon 12th Oct ’14 – 11:11

    At least we can share a joke. But not a political party — I would be as welcome at a UKIP meeting as a Rabbi at an SS anniversary in a Bavarian Beer Hall.

    As a supporter of UKIP your enthusiasm for recent successes is natural. But do not kid yourself that achieving more than 20% will bring about some major change. Check out the generalmelection support for the Liberal Party (Liberal-SDP Alliance) in the 1970s and 1980s. UKIP could get as much as 24% and still end up with around a dozen seats in the House of Commons. A dozen seats is not a breakthrough, it is a passing fad.

    My guess is that if UKIP really did get any sort of breakthrough the men with the cheque books would re-unite your party with the Conservatives quicker than you could utter the words ” Self Interest of the rich”.

    UKIP is sustained by public schoolboys (Farage, Carswell etc) and the big money backers.
    Those people who are the real power in UKIP do not care about the poor, or the North or anything other than their own self-interest.
    As soon as they have got what they want, or a better offer, they will drop people like you simon.
    It will be back to your cardboard box for you whilst they break out the champagne in rather more salubrious surroundings.

  • Mark Valladares 12th Oct ’14 – 12:14pm

    I think your last comment is most unfair to Genghis Khan.

    Genghis Khan had some redeeming features and was most certainly a success at what he stout to do.
    Whereas Express Newspapers are in a tail spin of decline desperately casting around for a new front page to replace th

  • Brenda Lana Smith 12th Oct '14 - 12:25pm

    @malc 12th Oct ’14 – 10:49am

    Yes… Thank you…

    180 Stockport Road is in the other direction on the left hand side through the village heading towards Altrincham…

    I last visited Timperley in 1986… and while much had changed in forty-six years I was able recognise many commercial building by their upper structures not their store fronts… as I do now courtesy the like of Timperley Appreciation Society:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/2245248652/photos/

  • That should have ended–

    …,,a new front page to replace their obsession with DIana,, the people’s princess.

  • Paul in Wokingham 12th Oct '14 - 12:43pm

    I was brought up in a single-parent household in a council house in the Bogside in Derry in the 1970’s, right at the height of The Troubles. But that was neither here because we were blessed with an indomitable community spirit based on mutual support: it is no coincidence that Derry Credit Union – whose motto is “not for profit, not for charity, but for service” is one of the oldest (1960) and largest (34,000 members in a city of 100,000) in the country.

    I well recall on polling day in the Greenwich by-election telling this to a member of what I think was the SWP who had picked up my accent and he asked why I wasn’t a socialist. And a Conservative councillor once asked me why a “working class boy made good” wasn’t a true blue Tory. But like many Liberal Democrats I am motivated by a desire for social justice, inclusion and peace and struggle to see how I can help make those things happen in either of those parties.

    So I’ll pass on Simon’s kind invitation to join the “people’s army”. The only army I want to belong to is Fulham’s FC’s ” [insert manager’s name] black and white army”.

  • @ Mark

    I will leave your comment on my metropolitan elitism on one side. 🙂 Isn’t it amazing though, quite how successful we have been in making the whole concept, which you think would be a badge of honour (who wouldn’t want to part of the “elite”? isn’t the metropolis where all the action takes place?) into a term of abuse and shame?

    Unconsciously you are entering into our world view, our narrative of what is wrong with this country. The detachment of the political, the media, the business class from the people. Of leadership by the likes of Nick Clegg. A metropolitan elitist to his fingertips. Your leader.

    As for our electoral prospects, I was an active Labour supporter in the early eighties, and fought against the SDP at that time, so I know very well how hard it is for an insurgent party to “break the mould” as they put it.

    But we are going to give it our best shot, and I think if you are honest you will admit that we are doing pretty well with very limited resources, no? The SDP had the Gang of Four, including a Former Foreign Secretary, and arguably the greatest Home Secretary and Chancellor of the last century. We just have the hated and derided Nigel Farage and a bunch of fruitcakes and loonies, and yet have exceeded all their by election victories, in terms of swing. Not that shabby.

    ” In the meantime, if you don’t mind, the non-metropolitan amongst us can get on with espousing what we believe in.”

    That is great, but doesn’t it occur to you to wonder why so few of the electorate SHARE what you believe in? You came fifth and got 355 more votes than Howling Laud Hope (Loony) in Clacton. What is your point?

    I shall make time to go down to Rochester to campaign for Mark Reckless. Will you feel sufficently enthused to do the same for your candidate? Will anyone on this thread?

  • “So I’ll pass on Simon’s kind invitation to join the “people’s army”. The only army I want to belong to is Fulham’s FC’s ” [insert manager’s name] black and white army”.”

    Fair enough. 🙂 Don’t you agree that Farage is a genius at marketing and self promotion, though? What a felicitous phrase that was.

    Compare it to the stale cliches of the other parties. You either have a talent for marketing and brand promotion or you don’t. An awful lot of UKIP’s success is down to Farage himself.

  • @ Mark Valladares

    “being told by the Daily Express that we’re alienating people might, in the eyes of a lot of people, be seen as not wholly a bad thing”

    I have read through most of the papers this morning and, whilst I do not often look at the DE – to dismiss what the writer has to say because he is writing in the Express does seem to be doing exactly what the article accuses the Party of doing.

    The criticisms made are hardly unique – with ‘irrelevant’ and other similar expressions used to describe the Party across the MSM. Also this article was written before the by elections had been held and the Survation poll in the Mail – or should that be ignored too because it is in the DM?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2789512/record-poll-surge-gives-ukip-25-survey-hand-farage-astonishing-128-mps-puts-ed-miliband-new-low.html

  • Stevan Rose 12th Oct '14 - 1:02pm

    “So if your memory is playing tricks about what really happened with this issue, just perhaps of the bias in the way it tends to have been written up since in the right-wing press, how accurate is the rest of what you wrote?”

    Nope, I said nothing about steadily rising inflation, simply that there were incredible rates of inflation that your link confirms. I did forget the IMF bailout though. The rest is accurate from my personal memories and perspective. As to the press my family were exclusively Daily Mirror readers apart from 1 grandfather who bought the Express but, he said, only for its horse racing pages. There was another comment about mass car ownership starting in the 60’s. That would depend on where you lived. We had a car in London but regularly visited family in a village near Barnsley where only one elderly resident owned a car. As children we thought it was really funny to watch the local kids running after it. I also didn’t mention what we all now know was going on in Catholic churches, in children’s homes, and with BBC personalities. And so many other things. History will not report kindly on that homophobic, sexist, racist, economically bankrupt decade.

    Good luck to anyone that has fond memories of that time but I’ll vote against any party that wants to revive it.

  • @Brenda Lana Smith 12th Oct ’14 – 12:25pm
    @malc 12th Oct ’14 – 10:49am

    Many thanks for links to Timperley, photos etc. Brilliant.

  • Paul in Wokingham 12th Oct ’14 – 12:43pm
    I was brought up in a single-parent household in a council house in the Bogside in Derry in the 1970’s, right at the height of The Troubles.

    If you did not see it, I recommend the TV documentary by Peter Taylor entitled ‘Who won the war?” and screened earlier this week on the 20th anniversary of the IRA ceasefire.

    Martin McGuinness has probably forgotten more about making a success of coalition government and power-sharing than Clegg could ever learn in a hundred years of saying “me too” to Cameron and Osborne.

  • @Simon, UKIP did not coin the term Metropolitan Elite: it has existed for decades – and is just a UK adapted form of the US term ‘Liberal Elite’.

    It was made as a joke against media mongrels and other such types. However, these people warped the term to refer to Liberals (most of whom have even lived in a metropolis). These people knew that vast majority of people disliked them, but rather than try to remove the tag, they merely redirected it at those who they knew were the greatest threat to their Right Wing powerbase, aka, community based, Liberals.

    What better way to kill off two birds with one stone than to alienate the liberals than tell everyone they are big-city dwellers – and at the same time give the people an enemy who is not you to hate.

    This is the reason I would never join your ‘people’s army’, I prefer to try and help build communities and strengthen the ties between people than ride the waves of hate drummed up by the Right Wing, whose only objective is to ensure everyone in society hates everyone else, but them.

    The Right Wing knows that if society ever did unit, their only appeal (hate) would be gone.
    I

  • “Ukip have made the xenophobic, homophobic, racist agenda respectable again. That’s what they mean when they say that at last people are talking about these issues. ”

    Yeah, you right, we are all xenophobes, homophobes and racists. In fact better that people like us are kept away from responsibility for children, right?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20474120

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/19/rotherham-director-children-services-quits-abuse-scandal

  • Stevan Rose 12th Oct '14 - 6:12pm

    “Don’t you agree that Farage is a genius at marketing and self promotion, though?”

    In the same way as Michael O’Leary is a marketing genius. O’Leary will sell you a plane ticket to Barcelona and you end up 2 hours away. Farage is selling a different mode of transport though. He’ll only sell you down the river. Of course if Farage gets his way O’Leary will make a fortune repatriating the 2 milion Brits the EU will send home.

  • Green Voter 12th Oct '14 - 6:44pm

    “Farage is a genius at marketing and self promotion”

    Not for marketing to me. I am looking for substance and see a bit of Farage today on television, trying to avoid the question of whether business people should run the NHS. Reminds me of Romney wanting to run the US

  • Did anyone watch the Sunday Politics Show. Not one LIBDEM MP would go on, and still no word from NICK CLEGG.

    what’s going on?

  • “I’m sure you wouldn’t be terribly pleased if I characterized you as a spitefully chippy left-wing person resentful of other peoples success and determined to ignore at all costs the possibility that they got their on their own merits lest it force them to face up to ones own inadequacies…”

    I would not really care to be honest because this is just a long winded way of calling me a metropolitan elitist. Besides, I am left-wing (so using that to be insult me is pointless) and as for the rest, well, Jedi, your comment has a strong subtext that you believe ‘Ring wing = successful’ and ‘left wing = unsuccessful’. It is because of baseless stereotyping such as this that I actively said I do not partake in ‘hate-based’ politics.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 12th Oct '14 - 11:17pm

    @ Simon,

    Limited resources? How much is Paul Sykes giving your lot?

    But it’s a long way from mid-Suffolk to Rochester, and as a non-driver, I’ll pass on your invitation, thanks very much.

    I will, however, respond to your question. Yes, I agree that the alienation of those who govern from those who are governed is a problem, and that’s why I’m a liberal. I believe that power should be wielded as the most appropriate level, that people are basically decent and that a healthy scepticism of authority is good for society.

    Are UKIP really offering anything to me? No, not really, at least little more than an assault on many of the things I hold dear – tolerance, internationalism, evidence-based policy.

    The only certainty that UKIP offers me is the desire that I retire from public life and, for some of your activists, that I leave the country.

    Thanks, but no thanks…

  • “Yes, I agree that the alienation of those who govern from those who are governed is a problem, and that’s why I’m a liberal.”

    So as to get Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander et al the television interviews, the ministerial cars and the red dispatch boxes? While the country goes to hell in a handcart? Is that why you are a liberal?

    Your party don’t speak for the governed. You are our governors. The problem not the solution.

  • jedibeeftrix 13th Oct '14 - 10:50am

    @ liberal Al – ” It is because of baseless stereotyping such as this that I actively said I do not partake in ‘hate-based’ politics.”

    The text I quoted above is a pitch perfect example of baseless stereotyping in hate based politics, which is kind of the point I was making!

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 13th Oct '14 - 7:26pm

    @ Simon,

    So, let me see if I understand you. Being the person who governs is bad. So, what does your party intend to do in Parliament, sit on the Opposition benches? As Mr Farage has said that he’d like to be Minister for Europe, how would that work?

    There is hardly anyone who enters politics who doesn’t want to see the ideas they espouse put into practice. That nearly always means governing, unless someone else steals your ideas. Why on Earth should Liberal Democrats not seize such an opportunity, or is your idea of democracy entirely partial?

  • @Jedi, I know what your point is, but your point is moot because it misses three key issues:

    1 – there is a difference between ‘insulting’ a ‘person’ or ‘people’ (aka, you calling me spiteful and chippy… etc) and criticising a belief system or a person’s / people’s set of actions/narratives (aka, me stating my disapproval of the Right Wing’s narratives based on hate).

    2 – there is a difference between criticising people’s actions (me criticising the Ring Wing’s campaigning methods) and criticising people’s innate characteristics (the Ring Wing criticising people based on race).

    3 – there is a difference between me saying I (myself as an individual) will not join a particular movement and people saying that others should not be allowed to do things based on characteristics over which they have no control (such as their place of birth).

    Also, although I thought it was implicitly clear, I will now make it explicitly so, when I say the Ring Wing, I am clearly referring to those who set down the narratives, campaigning methods and actions of the Ring Wing (aka, the media, political parties, such as the Tories and UKIP), not those who may vote for it.

  • “So, let me see if I understand you. Being the person who governs is bad. ”

    No the person who governs BADLY is bad.

    My take on UKIP is that we don’t really seek to govern. We seek to influence, to bring about a referendum on Europe. To halt immigration, to hold those who DO govern to higher standards of efficacy and ethics.

    If we do assume a role in Gov’t, and sell out like everyone else you won’t see me for dust. Nor most other kippers.

    Of course it could happen, maybe it is more likely than not, who knows. But it isn’t what the movement is about, we have far nobler ideals.

    Nothing less than the restoration of our nation.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 14th Oct '14 - 12:36am

    @ Simon,

    Ah, now I think I understand. The person who governs in a way that you disagree with is bad, whether they had more support than you or not. So, you have an interesting view of democracy and one that I don’t share. You also assume that you have a monopoly on virtue, which is interesting, if slightly troubling.

    You see, I’m willing to place some faith in the public, 23% of whom voted Liberal Democrat in 2010 and 3% voted for UKIP. I assume that this counts for something, although you don’t like it. If that were to be reversed in 2015, and UKIP were in power as part of the coalition, I might not like it much, and I might think that such a coalition were likely to be wrong in terms of their actions, but I wouldn’t describe them in terms of bad or good, more right or wrong.

    However, I might respect the judgement of the people even as I sought to obtain a different verdict next time. Perhaps you might develop a similar level of tolerance…

  • Mark Valladares 14th Oct ’14 – 12:36am

    “….23% …. voted Liberal Democrat in 2010 and 3% voted for UKIP.
    ……If that were to be reversed in 2015, and UKIP were in power as part of the coalition, I might not like it much, and I might think that such a coalition were likely to be wrong in terms of their actions, but I wouldn’t describe them in terms of bad or good, ..”

    Mark, this is an interesting distinction. I am not sure how I feel about it. My experience is that there are good people and bad people in all political parties. But I also think there are political parties which are bybtheir very nature bad, some indeed are rotten to the core. There is a so-called political party in Greece at the moment, which is openly Nazi complete with flags and uniforms and a continuing record of physical violence. I think that party and the people who join it are bad.
    I am not suggesting UKIP are like that. UKIP are golf club Tories who only really exists because of a few Plutocrats with big cheque books and a few media moguls. But UKIP provide a convenient umbrella for bad people who if they were in Greece might support this other party. UKIP are the ‘I’m not racist but…’ people.

    From Michael Rosen’s blog —
    Miliband, UKIP and the ‘I’m not racist but…’ people.
    Am fascinated 
    by these ‘I’m not racist but’ people they show us. 
    They say things like ‘it’s all got too much’ 
    and ‘there’s too many of them’ etc etc 
    So what do they think UKIP is going to do for them? 
    Put people on trains and ship them out? 
    And how will these people be chosen? 
    And who is going to do the choosing? 
    And if the people refuse to go? 
    Will UKIP have special police to do that? 
    And this is not racism? 
    And UKIP isn’t deliberately holding out hopes for people who say those things that that is precisely what they would do? 
    And Labour can’t say that about UKIP? 
    And that Labour should keep saying that ‘people have concerns’ instead of saying what I’m saying here? 
    For f.sake Miliband, it’s what your parents fled from. 
    Say it. Say it. Say it.

    http://michaelrosenblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/miliband-ukip-and-im-not-racist-but.html?spref=tw

  • @ Mark V

    “Labour and the Conservatives have been trying to keep tuition fees out of this election campaign. Despite the huge financial strain fees already place on Britain’s young people, it is clear both Labour and the Conservatives want to lift the cap on fees . . .

    The Liberal Democrats are different. Not only will we oppose any raising of the cap, we will scrap tuition fees for good, including for part-time students . . . Students can make the difference in countless seats in this election. Use your vote to block those unfair tuition fees and get them scrapped once and for all.”

    Why should we as voters be “tolerant” of political parties that lie to get power? Why should we be “tolerant” of politicians who betray the trust of those who voted for them?

    I’ll say it again. You are part of the problem not the solution.

  • “But UKIP provide a convenient umbrella for bad people”

    You are looking at it cock eyed. Really bad people get the vote too. Or would you rather they took extra parliamentary actions?

    We have destroyed both the BNP and EDL. They are a total irrelevance now. Griffin has not only been kicked out as an MEP he has even lost his role as Fuhrer and declared bankruptcy.

    We have defenestrated British fascism. Something that was beyond both the liberal elite and the hard left.

  • Simon Banks 16th Oct '14 - 8:55pm

    Our candidate in Clacton, Andy Graham, put up a good fight and we’ve had comments from outside the constituency about how well he did in the radio debate (when Carswell did poorly, but it didn’t hurt him). So we got out a message beyond Clacton.

    The result was indeed bad, though as noted, Labour did badly too and certainly UKIP were picking up some Labour votes. I think our biggest problem (other than that before the by-election, this was clearly not an easy constituency for us) was that for national reasons, people just aren’t listening.

    Carswell is not universally liked in Clacton, but he appeared to people not much involved in politics to be a brave man taking a stand against the establishment, so I think he did attract votes not naturally UKIP’s on top of the large UKIP following I’d expect. By the way the UKIP enthusiasts were not dispossessed, ignored or downtrodden. They were almost all people in nice houses and to all appearances on comfortable incomes, but full of resentment.

    While I’m not convinced Nick Clegg showing up would have helped, his interview on local TV was terrible – pressed on what would be an acceptable result for us, he repeated robotically that he’d make no predictions and made no effort at a sign of fight and spirit such as “We’re fighting for what we believe in and we welcome the chance.” It would have been nice to have had a good luck message, too. But at least the party presidency candidates turned up and Bob Russell did all he possibly could.

  • “I think our biggest problem… was that for national reasons, people just aren’t listening.”

    This seems spot on to me. You were caught the wrong side of a classic by election tidal wave, like Orpington or Bermondsey. Your (by all accounts very good) candidate could do nothing, and in fairness neither could your national leadership. (But it was bad form to be so terrified of getting associated with the defeat as not to campaign).

    You need a new leader. It is really that simple, but sometimes the simplest things are hardest to achieve,

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