We need to show that we are not a one-trick Brexit pony

Embed from Getty Images

As a new member (I joined in June) Brexit, or rather stopping Brexit, was one of the reasons I joined. Yet this wasn’t the sole reason. Likewise my new colleagues have no doubt been pushed ‘over the line’ by our strong Anti-Brexit stance.

Yet, what happens post Brexit?

I’ve been a regular LibDem voter for some time before joining, coupled with this, Brexit and a growing dissatisfaction with the ‘big two’, I found myself increasingly agreeing with LibDem policy, on a variety of issues. Indeed I found that there was very little I disagreed with and that was true for around 90% of policy! It’s easy for new members, partly due to the hugely warm welcome we receive to feel massively ‘at home’ here.

However, in order to keep up the momentum of the Libdem surge, I urge us to consider life after Brexit. After all, our strength isn’t only in our Brexit stance but also our other policies, like the environment, equality and, as a teacher myself, education. It is by ensuring our focus is broad and balanced tha,t whatever occurs after October 31st, we can show our true colours, retain the membership we have secured and gather further support from Liberal thinkers far and wide.

My fear is that without the Brexit scourge, other potential voters, supporters and members will see us as a one-trick Brexit pony, not unlike others that could be called to mind. It is in our interest to form the next version of our narrative and show what ‘life after Brexit (or not)’ could look like under a Liberal government. Do people know what we stand for on Green issues? Does Jo Voter know our educational policies or are we doomed to be voiceless in a post Brexit apocalypse?

Therefore can we see more locally and nationally about everything people care about? How will we fix the NHS crisis? What is our answer to rising knife crime? How can we reverse cuts for school funding?

* Aidan Jenkins is a SENCO (special needs co-ordinator) in a local high school and a new party member in Newcastle-under-Lyme

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

88 Comments

  • I absolutely agree. As a newish member myself, fighting Brexit was just one of the factors that led me to the Lib Dem’s. In fact, it wasn’t even that main one. Having discovered after many years in Labour that actually I wasn’t a socialist but a liberal (and probably always had been), I knew I had to be where the other liberals were. This party has so much more to offer than just being the anti Brexit party (vital as that is). The richness of our philosophical tradition, our role in the setting up of the Welfare State, our belief in the primacy of individual freedom, the progressive policies – it is truly a hidden gem.

  • Agreed.

    Some suggestions:

    – rebalance tax from income to assets (unearned house price windfalls would be a good start)
    – look to move to the Dutch insurance model for health service funding, thereby depoliticising it and improving outcomes
    – significantly improve defence spending to ensure projection of hard and soft power to defend British and European interests
    – return to middle schools, and introduce selection post 14
    – invest in entrepreneurs and start-ups, particularly around environmental businesses

  • Lloyd Harris 19th Aug '19 - 12:28pm

    Hope this helps
    https://www.libdems.org.uk/campaigns
    This page on the national website covers our current campaigns. There is a lot more on here than just Brexit. Unfortunately the national media is fixated by Brexit so it isn’t easy to get any other messages out.

  • I am also a new ish Lib Dem voter and joined to oppose Brexit . The experience of Brexit has taught me not to be too fussy about minor disagreements between reasonable people
    I was a Conservative but I liked the coalition and there is clearly no place for people like me in a Party that has ,amongst other betrayals , forgotten the wisdom of conservatism.
    So I appreciate that many Liberals will not agree with me on this but in my view the obvious absence on the political spectrum is anyone advocating fiscal prudence
    We are currently at over 85% of GDP in debt as a country with both main Parties (kindly ) to dump electorally driven spending on our children .
    No-one seems to care about the future or present tax payer

    The Liberal Party might wish to think creatively about public sector reform. By international standards we spend a lot on education and do not, in my own view, get value for money.
    Nationally negotiated wage settlements pensions that are not helping to recruit to to anything like the degree their cost warrants, fast track supply staff int teaching roles without degrees if they show aptitude …….
    If the Liberal Party wishes to colonise the territory vacated by New Labour and One Nation Tories it may have to make some uncomfortable choices but ,as I say , I am personally open to arguments and ideas form all sides , just lets make them evidence based and not populist !!

  • Neil Sandison 19th Aug '19 - 12:36pm

    Good article .We need to get 3 policy areas right and not be afraid to shout them from the roof tops , Education , The Environment and the Economy .At the moment the two old parties are trying to out bid one another on spending promises which are completely unreal or could only be delivered by wholesale privatisation or nationalisation . Yes a drift back to the failures of the past .life long learning ,the circular econonomy and behavioural and corporate carbon neutral manufacture and reuse are the way forward.

  • As someone who voted Labour in 1997, then Lib Dem in 2001, 2005… – largely because Charles Kennedy was to the left of Blair and his hawkish New Labour – the first thing that’s needed is more honesty.

    If Labour and the LDs split the progressive vote in England at the next GE, you could well end up with the appalling prospect of progressive opposition parties getting upwards of 60% of the popular vote, yet end up lumbered with a regressive, deeply reactionary, authoritarian hard right administration led by one B Johnson. Surely, the main priority should be seeking a progressive alliance? How many more decades will it take to learn the lesson that without proportional representation, regardless of how good its policies are, the only thing a third party will sustain is Tory misrule .

  • @Andy “How many more decades will it take to learn the lesson that without proportional representation, regardless of how good its policies are, the only thing a third party will sustain is Tory misrule.”

    I agree – Labour, being the third party, is currently a blocking agent. Its moderate MPs should leave and join the Lib Dems, as some have already done, and leave the socialist rump behind. Then we can get on with becoming an internationalist, liberal party of the centre left, centre and centre-right.

  • Paul Barker 19th Aug '19 - 2:39pm

    If we are talking strategy for After Brexit do we mean After we defeated Brexit or After the Chaos & Economic Wreck of a No-Deal Brexit ie After we failed to stop it ?
    Those are 2 very different Worlds & I am not adding any other possible variations such as Labour/Tory splits resulting from Brexit happening or not.
    The Common Factor is that as a Third Party (in the eyes of The Media) we need to keep what we say very short & simple. Three Policies sounds like one too many to me.

  • Peter Martin 19th Aug '19 - 2:44pm

    Yes, you do need to think ahead a little towards the next election. What’s likely to happen?

    Labour won’t win an election promising to renegotiate a softer Brexit. Too many Remainers will switch to Lib Dem. Too many Leavers will switch to TBP. There’ll be abstentions from both sides too.

    The Labour party will want Brexit to be well and truly off the agenda first. That can only happen if the Tories take us out. Then the wind is taken out the TBP sails, you, the Lib Dems, could be left up SC without a paddle, and the Tories will cop the flak for anything bad that happens afterwards!

    It sounds a bit cynical but that’s politics! So you should be thinking about that spare paddle right now!

  • william francis 19th Aug '19 - 2:46pm

    What we need is good messaging, centred around not only a strong narrative as to why people should vote Lib Dem, something positive optimistic not simply “vote for us because LabCon is bad”.

    We should concentrate on 2-3 policies to really campaign on in a clear distinct manner.

  • Geoffrey Dron 19th Aug '19 - 2:51pm

    Cards on table: I voted remain and I’ve resigned from the Tory Party in protest at BoJo’s election as leader/PM. I’ll almost certainly be voting LibDem in the imminent GE, but I won’t join the party.

    Why? Well, one of my reasons for voting remain in 2016 was prematurity, i.e. there was time to resist the EU’s federalist agenda in conjunction with other member states and, if a two tier EU couldn’t be established, a referendum in 2025 or so could be held at which I’d vote out.

    The LDs are being too coy about their attitude to federalism, presumably because they know that the British people, including many 2016 remain voters, don’t want to be part of the Brussels political project, which bears scant relationship to the Anglosphere model of federalism. It’s time to come out of the closet and say how they envisage the EU’s political structure for the long term if the UK revokes the A50 notice or applies to re-enter. Saying ‘we want to remain and reform’ is OK as far as it goes, but it needs fleshing out.

  • The three policy areas we should focus on in addition to ending Brexit and STV are Poverty, the Environment and Education. This does not mean that we should not have policies on the NHS and social care. Of course we should.

    Newmania,

    The last thing the Liberal Democrats should become is a party of “fiscal prudence” being overly concerned about the National Debt to GDP ratio which is nowhere near its historical high of 260.34% in 1821 or even 237.94% in 1947. We should advocate reducing the ratio over time by increasing economic growth to about 3% a year each and every year. I recall an old Labour lord saying he didn’t remember people saying we had to pay off the national debt caused by the First World War. Of course he didn’t because once politicians didn’t misrepresent the nature of the National Debt and knew that so long as we had good economic growth the ratio of National Debt to GDP would decrease as it did after 1947.

  • Peter Martin 19th Aug '19 - 4:13pm

    @ Michael BG,

    I often make the point that hardly anyone really knows what the National Debt is. If we want to make it zero – that’s simple enough. Just get the BoE to buy back all the securities the Treasury has ever issued by creating enough ££ to do that! It’s probably not a good idea but if you really think the ND is a bad thing……

    The Americans could so something similar by creating 22 x trillion dollar coins. Or is that 23 now? I haven’t checked recently. If they make a couple of extra ones they end up with a National Surplus instead of a National Debt!

    Voila! Problem solved!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trillion-dollar_coin

  • @TCO

    I’m someone who thought the so-called ‘traffic light coalition’ (red, amber, green) mooted in 2010, however shaky the numbers, would’ve worked out much better for the Lib Dems than the 2010-2015 Conservative coalition did.

    Historically and in terms of ideals the more progressive , socially liberal Liberal Democrats and the Labour party are far closer, than the LDs are to the regressive, backwards looking, authoritarian Tories.

    Clegg got shafted by Cameron on AV(Cameron campaigned against) and then sabotaged by Tory MPs (with the likely connivance of Cameron), on Lords reform. The Tories are a dead end for the Lib Dems.

  • Actually, Andy, it was much more a case of Clegg and the Lib Dems getting shafted by Labour on AV,

    Labour had AV in their manifesto, for goodness’ sake,

  • @Andy – you’re making the mistake of viewing Labour as a “progressive” party (whatever that means – usually it means “Labour-dominated” when appended to the word “alliance”). I don’t. Labour is illiberal, authoritarian, backwards-looking and, to add further salt to the wound, socialist.

    Simon is correct. He also is too polite to mention that Labour have shafted us many times on electoral reform; AV+ was in the 1997 manifesto, for example. Labour only mentions electoral reform when it’s out of power.

  • The Lib Dems owe their resurgence to the simple clear message: Stop Brexit. Do you want to be like Jeremy Corbyn who shies away from all mention of Brexit if he can possibly help it, preferring to concentrate on the deep seated problems said to underlie it? The man who by pretending to be all things to all people, is losing the trust of voters? Plenty of time for the 1001 other problems, I say, when we have defeated Brexit. With the country facing a national emergency, it’s the only trick that matters.

  • David Evershed 20th Aug '19 - 1:54am

    The Liberal Democrat party used to have a policy to join the Euro currency and have interest rates set by the European Central Bank. No longer.

    Once we leave the EU my view is that we Lib Dems should drop any proposal to re-join the EU – the terms would be unacceptable.

  • Peter Martin 20th Aug '19 - 6:57am

    “The Liberal Democrat party used to have a policy to join the Euro currency …..”

    This would seem a perfectly logical policy for any party which has adopted a pro EU position. The EU official website proclaims that one of its “goals” is to:

    “establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro.”

    The EU complaint against the UK is that:

    “They previously wanted in with lots of opt-outs, now they want out with lots of opt-ins.”

    Isn’t this a perfectly justifiable criticism of both lukewarm remainers, which include the LibDems, and lukewarm leavers?

  • Before we get to the other side of Brexit we need to get through it. Assuming we don’t depart without a deal ( by no means certain) we have to work out the details of what happens between now and the final decision. If parliament does not support a people’s vote we can stay out of the fight of what to do instead by sticking to party policy. But if parliament does support a people’s vote we need to say what the second option is. As parliament would have had to block no deal to get to that point, we need to decide what deal we can support as a referendum option: we are likely to have to live with it for a long time. Speaking for myself I believe the Boles-Letwin Common Market 2.0 is the best: http://betterbrexit.org.uk/ . I am sure there are other opinions.

  • Well we could start by saying we have no plans to increase the pension age to 75. Latest Tory idea. I must admit the thought of Peter and the rest of the old Brexiteers being forced back to work does engender a sense of Schadenfreude, but I’ll try to be the better man and campaign for them to keep their pensions. It has to be said in a post Brexit red in tool and claw economy pensions are likely to be cut, everyone will need to pull their weight after all.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Aug '19 - 9:08am

    @ Andrew,
    I would settle for a Norway plus option too.

    I believe that it is the best way of bringing the majority of leave voters and remain voters together.

    I am not sure whether, even though we are in the last chance saloon, others would now be prepared to compromise. Attitudes have hardened and Boris Johnson is scooping up leavers and those who ‘just want it over’. Here in the north he has parked his tanks on Labour’s grounds, more money for the NHS, education etc. When I ask those who are now putting their trust in Johnson, whether given his record that is wise, I get the answer, not under normal circumstances but he is what the country needs at the moment.

    ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man? ‘ Johnson is giving a clear message, the fact that is dishonest seems to be irrelevant to those who want to believe him. His opposition is a disunited rabble of those who oppose no deal and those who oppose leaving the EU. more interested in arguing against each than compromising their vehemently held views.

  • Mike MacSween 20th Aug '19 - 9:13am

    Push unashamedly the basic liberal philosophy of personal freedom. What used to be called non-conformism. Political hippies, almost.

    How?

    Tim Farron was hounded mercilessly on the issue of gay sex. Once the press and the identity politics attack dogs of Momentum had smelled blood they wouldn’t drop it. It did for him, the accusation of “homophobia” wouldn’t go away. It’s a ridiculous accusation to level at Tim, but there it is.

    He squirmed and prevaricated, understandably, but unfortunately. Here’s the correct response:

    “Mr Farron, do you believe gay sex is a sin” (umpteenth time of asking).

    “I’m a liberal, so I think nobody should stop YOU having sex with other men. I’m also a Christian, and I believe it’s a sin, so I don’t do it.”

    That would be a brave statement of the core of liberalism. You never know, it may have made people think. And vote for us.

  • @frankie “t has to be said in a post Brexit red in tool and claw economy pensions are likely to be cut, everyone will need to pull their weight after all.”

    With a population of centenarians the retirement age will have to rise. Gen Xers like me are already suffering under the burden of all the boomers who retired at 60 that we will be paying for 40 years and have priced in a retirement age of at least 75, probably higher.

  • To Jayne, Andrew.
    A soft Brexit like the Norway option does bring leave and remain voters together yes, but only in the sense that nearly everyone opposes it, now that the debate has become more polarised.
    Whereas ‘no deal’ exposes Brexit for what it is, a terrible idea with immediately obvious effects, a softer Brexit would sugar the pill, still resulting in national decline but provoking less protest, like a slow poison.
    I’m not sure that I don’t prefer the former. But it certainly wouldn’t get it over and done with, as some leavers imagine. The only way to do that is to cancel the whole sorry saga.

  • @jayne
    I agree. The mood of the country is shifting to a noisy mix of “just get it over” and “we voted to leave, now deliver on it”, with an increasingly inaudible sector wanting a People’s Vote. This is difficult for the Lib Dems, despite their recent successes. Common Market 2.0 would deal directly with the noisy part of the national debate, including the no deal fears, and so could bring the country together. Making it a second option in a People’s Vote avoids violating Lib Dem policy, and might get it a hearing. However, as you note, the debate is highly polarised, so I am not optimistic.

  • Peter Martin 20th Aug '19 - 10:01am

    @ frankie,

    “Well we could start by saying we have no plans to increase the pension age to 75…..”

    “Having no plans” is usually code for “we probably will do something like that but we don’t want to say so now because it will cost votes”.

    On the general point, it is not unreasonable to expect people to work longer if we are all living longer. Economics is much more about productive capacity than it is about money. It does seem a shame to waste the talents of many elderly people. It would probably be preferable to work fewer hours as we age, and phase ourselves into retirement rather than to have to make an abrupt change on a particular date.

    It all depends on what people’s jobs are of course, but if we can encourage enough people to carry on working longer as a matter of choice, there will be less need to compulsorily raise the age of retirement.

  • Peter Martin 20th Aug '19 - 10:30am

    @ John King,

    “Now that the debate has become more polarised.”

    Is it really that polarised outside the political bubble? The mood in the general population is one of some nervousness as we get closer to Halloween but leavers and remainers are already “together” in the sense that they either feel we should stay in, on balance, or leave, on balance. They need don’t need “bringing… together” as Jayne suggests.

    The country is split between half-hearted remainers, half-hearted leavers and more enthusiastic leavers. There are hardly any fully committed pro-EU remainers who would want EU membership for the UK to anywhere near the same extent as France and Germany. There’s a lot of talk about “Remain and Reform” which just goes to show that no-one in the UK really likes the EU as it currently is.

    We all have a lot more in common than many would care to admit.

  • Absolutely right, but alongside the need for clearer policies on education, the NHS, etc there is one particular big glaring hole in current Liberal Democrat policies and campaigning – poverty, the ever growing number of people in this country in real need, whether in work or out of it. This is not even mentioned among the campaign themes on the home page of the Lib Dem website. It can look as if we’re not even aware poverty in the UK exists, and certainly that we don’t give it much importance.

    Poverty is a major crisis in the UK – as well as, of course, a contributory cause of the Brexit vote – and any party that hopes to be inclusive should care about it and put forward viable responses, beginning with a clear repudiation of the most punitive policies of recent years – the appalling mess of Universal Credit, the Bedroom tax, the scraping away of disabled benefits… Beyond the fact that this is the right thing to do, demonstrating that the Lib Dems are genuinely concerned over poverty and not just hand-wringing is essential if the party is to fend off accusations of not caring and just enabling austerity – accusations that come not just from Labour but from ordinary people on the doorstep, I’ve met them….

    There is a motion on this subject for the Autumn Conference, ‘Fairer Share for All’, but currently it’s weak and evasive. It needs to be much clearer and committed to have an impact – for example, calling for a full revision of Universal Credit, which so far it avoids.

    And, to anticipate an argument that often comes up whenever necessary public spending proposals are suggested – ‘what about the deficit? careful how you go!’ It can’t have escaped anybody that since Johnson became prime minister the Tory right have suddenly decided there’s money available for anything, so long as it might win a few Tory votes. It would be very odd for the Lib Dems to stand as the last party committed to the dying doctrine of rigid fiscal probity.

  • @Geoffrey Dron “Cards on table: I voted remain and I’ve resigned from the Tory Party in protest at BoJo’s election as leader/PM. I’ll almost certainly be voting LibDem in the imminent GE, but I won’t join the party.”

    I hope you reconsider – we welcome economic Liberals.

  • @Nick Rider “Poverty is … a contributory cause of the Brexit vote.”

    This myth needs to be debunked.

    Brexit was voted for by the comfortably off, retired and middle-aged, with rosy post WW2 views of Britain, who don’t understand modern interlinked global supply chains, and who don’t have to worry about losing a job because they retired at 60 with a fat pension.

  • Peter Martin-
    Agreed, Britain has always seen itself as a bit special and apart from continental Europe, so the Federal idea is not so popular. But in many ways we already have something close to the ideal relationship with our opt outs and permanent rebate – something the other countries envy. Not much point in abandonning this in favour of being a rule taker without a voice.
    However, you are right about the remain and reform idea, it is a concession to all the anti EU propaganda over the years. Not that the EU is beyond improvement, but Lead not Leave is a better slogan.

  • Katharine Pindar 20th Aug '19 - 12:03pm

    Nick Rider is absolutely right, tackling poverty in this country should be the first Liberal Democrat priority, now and in the future. If Brexit happens, in any form, the people most affected will be the poorest, as the economy sinks and prices rise, yet 14 million are already in poverty, as the UN Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, told us in his devastating statement last November.

    Helping alleviate poverty should indeed be the foremost Liberal Democrat campaigning objective, along with environmental protection, and the fact that it isn’t yet shows up a weakness in our party. I think this is because we are too apt to identify with middle-class intelligentsia concerns rather than those which affect the majority of the people, such as the standard of living, It’s good when we concentrate on jobs, businesses and taxation, and on housing provision and costs, and we have relevant policies developed in recent years which need further shaping, as does the prospective policy A Fairer Share for All as Nick says. We are far from being a ‘one-trick Brexit pony’, Aidan, but in addition to publicising our existing policies we do I think need to change our emphasis.

  • TCO – your source pls? Most stats show that Brexit votes were negatively correlated with income and education level, while positively correlated with age.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Aug '19 - 1:07pm

    @ John King,
    I don’t think that anyone can deny that at least in the short term, we will be worse off by leaving the EU. I still firmly believe that remaining in the EU is best option for the UK. However, on the matter of a softer Brexit pleasing no-one, given the deep divisions that are fracturing our society, I accept that when one compromises, one never gets exactly what one wants. Indeed as I have always averred, when both sides at the extremist edges are equally disappointed at the outcome of a negotiation, one has probably reached the ideal compromise.

    Katharine Pindar is as always the voice of decency. One of the problems that I have found in discussions with those who will probably most be negatively affected if we do leave the EU, is that no-one bothered about them, their predicament and concerns , whilst we have been in the EU so why worry about leaving, they really don’t see that things can get worse. Katharine is correct when she gives primacy to poverty in our society.

    @ Peter Martin,

    It gives me no pleasure to say that I believe that I have been proven correct when I warned you some time ago that your left wing support for Brexit was bolstering the political right and extreme right. The people I speak to are not inhabitants of a political bubble, they are blue collar workers, hairdressers, shop workers, ‘normal people’. That is why I believe it is a time for damage limitation, the dialling down of visceral or ideological arguments, and to seek compromise.

  • TCO – Also, TCO, in terms of policy and voter base, LibDem has more common grounds with Labour than with the Tories. You know, the Tories are the party of the uneducated, to borrow the phrase from Canadian professor Amir Attaran (I quote the phrase while totally ignoring Brexit), but Liberals and Labour are not. And Nick Clegg had learnt the hard way when he promised free higher education and then thrown his lot with the party of the uneducated.

  • Sue Sutherland 20th Aug '19 - 1:16pm

    Of course we must fight against poverty but not just because it made some people vote Brexit, but because our party’s ideology demands that we must.

  • Katharine, Jayne and Sue are correct. What is rather sad and depressing is that the party parliamentarians including those whose responsibility it is appear to be uninterested. Time they got a wake up call in the question and answer session should there be a party conference in September.

    Meanwhile demand continues to rise in my local food bank and we expect an explosion in demand this autumn if Brexit goes ahead.

  • Peter Hirst 20th Aug '19 - 1:33pm

    Words without the money to implement them are virtually useless. We must however campaign for a more equal and fairer society that thinks long-term, values the environment and respects people different from ourselves, regardless of the Brexit outcome. We will be much more effective at all these objectives if we retain our eu membership.

  • My case for free, public-funded university education: certain forms of pseudoscience have re-emerged in recent years. Meanwhile, private, fee-paying universities are very prone to offering cash-grabbing pseudoscientific courses to hapless students. For example, many universities in the US and Australia offer “quack” medical degrees. If universities are publicly funded, these courses can be banned.

  • @Thomas

    1) “Source please” – https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/brexit-and-the-squeezed-middle/

    2) “Also, TCO, in terms of policy and voter base, LibDem has more common grounds with Labour than with the Tories.”

    Source please? Clearly you’ve never spent any time in Tory/Lib-Dem marginals. There is a lot of overlap on the centre/centre-right. Basically, decent people who can’t stomach socialism.

    3) “If universities are publicly funded, these courses can be banned.”

    They can be banned if Universities are privately funded.

    “Free” (it’s not free – it’s paid for by taxpayers) tuition is a transfer of resources from the worse off to the better off.

    @Peter Hirst “Words without the money to implement them are virtually useless.”

    Indeed. There’s no point in considering this unless there’s been discussion about what taxes will rise / other services will be cut.

  • TCO – as I said, the Conservatives are “the party of the uneducated”, with policies that aim to keep the mass uneducated so that they easily control and mislead them (although I admit that certain hard left factions of Labour are not that far different). This tendency is even clearer in English-speaking North America. One example of such policy is excessive tax cuts at the expense of public education. Over the last 40 years, conservatives kept pushing “pro-growth” tax cuts, and then when those cuts never delivered expected extra growth, they enacted further tax cuts, and all those successive cuts were accompanied by the hollow-out of public service and public education system. In America things are even worse.

    ““Free” (it’s not free – it’s paid for by taxpayers) tuition is a transfer of resources from the worse off to the better off” – tax-funded universities work fine in most Continental European countries. And then, we can still have international students paying full fees like currently. Also, in addition to pseudoscience, private universities also have cash-grabbing incentives to operate Mickey Mouse degrees. In a tax-funded university system, since the government controls the finance of the universities, they can have much bigger influence over university cirriculums, and thus, can pressure unis to drop Mickey Mouse courses. In the current system, you cannot outright ban all those courses without going full authoritarian. Oh, and it will be easier to deplatform nuts like Noah Carl under a public-funded university system.

  • @Thomas

    No comment on Brexit being voted for by the better off?

    You seem to be confusing public universities and a graduate contribution. The latter ensures we have better access for the less well off in society. Removing a contribution towards tuition means a transfer of resources from the least well off to the better off.

  • Geoffrey Dron 20th Aug '19 - 6:40pm

    @TCO

    As my favourite phiiosopher is JS Mill, I’m tempted, but at the heart of my current reluctance is that I really believe few (pace Andrew Duff former MEP) in Britain genuinely want a United States of Europe. I’m not one of the few, but, reluctantly, I feel it’s better that we are leaving our federalist neighbours to take the European Project to its logical conclusion – we were only ever going to get in their way.

    Ideally, of course, I’d have wanted the UK to stay in the EU and argue for a two tier (outer and inner as against political union and economic association only) arrangement. EFTA perhaps. But there’s something wrong about cancelling Brexit and then in, say, 2025, announcing that we want out because we can’t go down the federal route.

    Actually, I think Brussels has much to answer for in that it helped make Brexit likely by treating ‘ever closer union’ as holy writ and of universal application.

  • Geoffrey Dron 20th Aug '19 - 8:38pm

    @Thomas/TCO

    There’s overlap between One Nation Tories (Tory Reform Groupies as I was till recently), LibDems and Social Democrats. No overlap with Marxists like Corbyn & co.

  • Geoffrey Dron 20th Aug '19 - 9:17pm

    David Attenborough has always refrained from being party political, however in an interview with Italian la Repubblica he’s gone further than before in articulating the reasons why millions voted to leave:

    “I think that the irritation of the ways in which the European community has interfered with people’s lives on silly levels or silly issues has irritated a lot of people who don’t actually understand what the advantages and the disadvantages are.

    They’re just fed up with somebody over there who doesn’t speak their language, telling him how much money they’ve got to charge for tomatoes or something silly. And so, they’re getting fed up.

    Now, maybe the European Union didn’t pay enough attention to what sort of things that members of the Europe care about and has allowed themselves to do all sorts of things which irritate the members there at all.”

    Perhaps reinforces my earlier comment on Brussels having played a large part in bringing Brexit about.

  • @ Geoffrey Dron Now that you’ve left the Tory Party it’s time to leave your former bad habits behind you. Proper Liberal Democrats demand better.

    Calling Mr Corbyn a Marxist is lazy politics and probably a hangover from the Tory tabloids who use it as an easy term of abuse. He is in fact a Bennite Socialist with
    libertarian tendencies…. and there’s plenty of evidence for this if you care to look for it… indeed the GOM Sir Vincent has often said he found himself in the same lobby as J.C. countless times in the Blair/Brown era.

    That doesn’t mean that I, or other Liberal Democrats, agree with J.C., but some of us do believe in evidence based politics so you better get used to it in your new habitat.

  • @Geoffrey From

    Absolutely. I think many now get it but there are a few who don’t.

    Absolutely agree on Corbyn.

    The EU issue is so a tricky one. From what I’ve heard we were winning the argument on federalism, and the EU view is “you’d got what you wanted on slowing down political union. What a dumb time to leave.”

  • @Geoffrey Dron. Mr Raw is atypical of party members. Dig out the NaCl. You are welcome and generally won’t be patronised like that.

    He also chooses to ignore the evidence that Corbyn’s closest associate is a self-declared Marxist: https://youtu.be/9lCcFjRhiaw

  • Geoffrey Dron 20th Aug '19 - 10:41pm

    @David Raw – OK, I slipped into shorthand

    BTW, if you look at my contribution on the transport in N England thread, I think you will see that I (a retired solicitor) do employ an evidence-based approach. As a member of local Healthwatch I’ve read the Due North report. Have you? If not, I recommend that you do.

  • Geoffrey Dron – given the fact that we are more of a social liberal party, we have more overlaps with moderate Labour like Chuka Umunna (now a Libdem) than with Tories of all kinds, although I would not deny that there are also common grounds with the One Nation Tories. However, One Nation Tories also consist of the likes of Theresa May and Boris Johnson. And didn’t these One Nation Tories support the Snooper Charter while the Libdem opposed it? Also, I extremely dislike the Tories’ cosy stance towards China. Huawei has been found to help African governments to spy on political dissidents, so it certainly can spy on us, therefore I support its ban.

    And don’t forget about social conservatives, which certainly form a part of your Tory Reform Group. We have absolutely zero common grounds with social conservatism.

  • TCO – “– invest in entrepreneurs and start-ups, particularly around environmental businesses” – one problem: the term “start-ups” tend to focus too much on fancy tech garages and ignore manufacturing businesses. I generally support current Libdem’s current industrial policy stance, which is essentially the extension of Coalition’s industrial strategy (which I consider as our party’s contribution), after reading the papers. But, we as the party seem to ignore the level of investment as percentage of GDP, both public and private investment figures, all of which are well below both OECD and EU averages, and I think we should aim to increase total investment (both public and private) to 23% of GDP (above OECD average) within 5-7 years. Besides, our Automation Plan is currently geared too much towards regulations rather than encouraging manufacturers to adopt automation to modernize their plants and machinery. It is a fact that Britain lags far behind other OECD countries in the use of automation technology in manufacturing (plenty of sources are available on the Internet).

    Additionally, we should also aim to reduce household debts (which add nothing to our national competitiveness) and trade deficit (which is a major cause of our debt problem) as well. You know, German people/individuals often refrain from taking on debts for consumption. However, a healthy amount of government debt is needed to keep the bond market functioning and provide a source of low-risk assets for banks (to prevent them from turning to riskier assets).

    Finally, your Dutch insurance model proposal, although can certainly work in practice, would be a political suicide. Also, as I said before, there are more than enough “welfare reform” legislations in real life that are actually quiet attempts to slowly dismantle the welfare state.

    Geoffrey Dron – oh, and Labour still has more significant Remain groups than the Tories, and more remain voters as well.

  • Corbyn has been a regular columnist in the Morning Star for as long as I can remember. This is the journal of the Communist Party of Great Britain and his writings have been consistently Marxist. This is plenty of evidence over decades.
    But David Raw and the juveniles who sang “Oooohhhhh….. Jeremey Corbyn” were impressing their own visions on him, of what they wanted him to be, because they were awaiting a Socialist Messiah and hoped it would be him.
    Can you detect an air of big disappointment? He has never shown anything but animosity towards the EU but so many are desperate for him to lead the Remain cause.
    If you don’t believe this obtain the back issues of the Morning Star and find out for yourselves what his true beliefs are, and have always been.

  • Hard Rain and TCO . Given I’ve slogged my guts out for this party and it’s predecessor since 1961, been employed by the party and one of it’s MPs, been elected five times in local government (and stood for parliament) I think I know a bit more about it than you do. You presume far too much.

    I also believe in showing proper respect to one’s opponents which clearly you don’t.

    I just happen to believe in social liberalism

  • jane mansfield 21st Aug '19 - 9:04am

    @ TCO,
    Perhaps Mr Raw takes an evidence based approach rather than spreading myths that are based on political prejudice.

    In a report commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, ‘Brexit Vote explained: poverty, low skills and lack of opportunities’ JRT, Professor . Goodwin and Professor Oliver Heath devoted specific attention to data on the role of poverty as well as other factors.

    Among the key findings.
    The poorest households with incomes of less than £20,000 were much more likely to support leaving the EU than the wealthiest households , as were the unemployed, people in low skilled and manual jobs, as have people who feel that their situation has worsened.
    Educational inequality might have been a stronger driver, but one cannot ignore the role of poverty and lack of opportunity.

    The Financial Times also commissioned research undertaken by Professor Stephen Machin and Dr Brian Bell,. ‘ UK areas with stagnant wages are most anti EU’ They found that aggregate figures masked areas of the country that have not seen modest gains, 62 out of 370 local authorities saw median wages fall, some with double digit declines. These are the areas where UKIP flourished in the 2015 election.

    Professor Machin points out, ‘ that the warnings of economic peril of Brexit, may seem less convincing to people who have not seen any prior gains, even though those areas have most to lose from Britain leaving the EU’

    These studies were commissioned in 2016. Never mind, Daddy what did you do during the war, TCO, what did you do in the last 3 years to address some of the causes of Brexit apart from denying that they exist?

  • @TCO I said poverty was a ‘contributory cause’ in the Brexit vote. That means one among several. I did not say it was the sole cause. You have a pretty slapdash approach to arguing your case.

    It’s hard to deny that poverty was indeed one cause of alienation from political structures – with the EU as a convenient scapegoat – and so of the Brexit vote, for the reasons repeated above by jane mansfield.

    And once again you try to divert the discussion away from poverty itself into arguments about political consequences, structures, etc. Is this a way of saying poverty in the UK doesn’t exist, or just that it doesn’t matter?

  • John Peters 21st Aug '19 - 9:56am

    LABOURLIST has an article by Christabel Cooper and Christina Pagel which may be of interest.

    My summary: sovereignty is more important to leave voters, the economy is more important to remain voters.

    https://labourlist.org/2019/08/the-challenges-labour-must-face-to-win-the-next-referendum-for-remain/

  • @David Raw you state that “I also believe in showing proper respect to one’s opponents which clearly you don’t.”

    Perhaps you will look again at this comment “Now that you’ve left the Tory Party it’s time to leave your former bad habits behind you. Proper Liberal Democrats demand better.” and reflect whether it exhibits “proper respect to one’s opponents”. That cuts all ways, not just in the direction of the Labour Party.

    And we’ve all got long track records of hard work in the party’s cause; longevity doesn’t excuse poor behaviour.

  • @John Peters: “My summary: sovereignty is more important to leave voters, the economy is more important to remain voters.”

    My summary of your summary: leave voters are inwards facing; remain voters are outwards facing.

  • @Nick Rider “And once again you try to divert the discussion away from poverty itself into arguments about political consequences, structures, etc. Is this a way of saying poverty in the UK doesn’t exist, or just that it doesn’t matter?”

    Poverty is a symptom of political structures and consequences. You can’t fix poverty until you fix the way society is structured. You can’t pay out more money, if you are receiving less money. Otherwise it’s just a wish-list of good intentions which can never be enacted.

    Part of that means accepting that we need to get hold of the leavers of power, and will need to make compromises and forge alliances outside our comfort zone to do so.

  • Recent Government moves suggest a shift in Strategy : to arguing that Brexit has in effect already happened, hence the cutting of most “Ties” by the end of the Month. Alongside the continuing collapse of the Brexit Party Vote & the rise in Tory Polling that suggests that Johnson could be shifting towards having a General Election before Halloween, perhaps on October 10th if he took the two-thirds route round the FTPA.
    The latest Polling gives The Tories 41% & Labour 28%, that must make an early Election tempting.

  • @ TCO BBC News today “More than 210,000 children are estimated to be homeless, with some being temporarily housed in converted shipping containers, a report says. The Children’s Commissioner for England says that as well as the 124,000 children officially homeless, a further 90,000 are estimated to be “sofa-surfing”.

    Her report tells of families housed in re-purposed shipping containers and office blocks, and whole families living in tiny spaces. Councils blamed a £159m funding gap”.

    Do please tell us whether Liberal Reform have got a market solution to this ?

  • Sandra Hammett 21st Aug '19 - 11:47am

    Dominic Cummings’ strategy is this:
    Negotiate with EU to scrap the backstop (the most devisive part of May’s Deal) if that succeeds call it a triumph.
    If it fails push for a No Deal, complying with the ‘will of’ 2016’s people and laying the blame at the EU’s door and say we WILL be triumphant… eventually.
    In the event of a general election he can win back or ally with the Brexit Party vote by the PM saying he’s being stopped and he needs your help to ‘strengthen his hand’.
    In the event of a referendum their case will be simple, ‘Tell THEM Again’.

    The key to this plan is they all feed into each other’s narrative eg threaten No Deal to get changes from the EU, get Hard Brexiteer support just by asking for it because the project is at stake.
    Butter your bread on every facet.

    Unless we offer a two stage referendum; Leave vs Remain/Deal, then Remain vs Deal. To give us chance of moving on from this drudgery. Anything else will look like a fix.

  • Jayne Mansfield 21st Aug '19 - 12:30pm

    @ TCO,
    I don’t know whether you get a buzz from depicting the elderly as fat cats sitting on the unearned incomes from rising house prices when actually there is a real problem of pensioner poverty.

    A new piece of research by Professor Bernhard Ebbinghaus of Oxford University , the UK is one of five countries out of the 16 that he has studied, where there has in people over 65 living in severe poverty. been an increase in pensioner poverty defined as 40% or less of the medium income.

    My husband in his seventies is still paying taxes from his fat pension, as am I from my slimmer one (thanks to choosing to undertake voluntary work for much of my career). We expected out taxes to pay to improve the lives of the vulnerable, not those who really are wealthy.

    The increasing inequality and poverty of vulnerable groups has been a gift to UKIP who have managed to park the blame on the EU rather than our own elected representatives.

    I agree with many of Labour’s policies to redress these issues and build a new social contract. If that makes me a Marxist, I am a proud Marxist.

    Until people like you come to terms with the various reasons why people voted Brexit rather than insulting them, and shoulder some responsibility for it, Brexiteers are going to remain Brexiteers.

  • Geoffrey Dron 21st Aug '19 - 12:55pm

    @David Raw – since the 1906 Liberal government, the parties at the centre of UK political life have accepted that JS Mill’s classic statement of the limit on government power must be qualified or fleshed out by the need for government intervention in appropriate circumstances (e.g. per Lloyd George the conquest of employment).

    There is considerable overlap in the centre, albeit with differences of emphasis. It is the more extreme manifestations of Thatcherism and Socialism which depart from this pragmatic balance. Suggesting that centrists must be devotees of the primacy of the market is unwarranted.

  • Dennis Wake 21st Aug '19 - 2:04pm

    There are many empty houses and empty shops which could be brought into use as here they were formerly in the house of the owner but the local authority will not allow it and Labour want to give the shops to people who will reopen them although there are far too many shops in many places which were opened in previous boom years but have been overtaken by internet shopping or changes in spending habits. We must move with the times not live in the past.

  • Geoffrey Dron – since 1906, the Liberal Party had broken away from Gladstonian Liberalism, and moved to New Liberalism (fun fact: this also coincided with Progressive Movement in the US). But the party did not stopped there. The transition towards social liberalism did continue until it became a firmly social liberal party during the Great Depression with the Yellow Book.

    David Raw, TCO – we all know what eventually happened to financial markets and global/national economy when the governments in the UK and especially the US tried “market solutions” for housing a.k.a lax morgage loans for NINJA people, and we all know that these folks will never be able to repay housing mortgage debts at market rates. Honestly the debate about housing/home ownership policy should have been settled following the GFC.

    David Raw – I fully expect these Liberal Reform will roll out measures to push up mortgage lending to homeless folks as “market solution” (and we all know what happened the last time governments tried to use market solution for housing).

    Geoffrey Dron – “There is considerable overlap in the centre, albeit with differences of emphasis. It is the more extreme manifestations of Thatcherism and Socialism which depart from this pragmatic balance.” – we are still closer to say, Chuka Umunna, than to the Tories.

  • @David Raw ““Her report tells of families housed in re-purposed shipping containers and office blocks, and whole families living in tiny spaces. Councils blamed a £159m funding gap”. Do please tell us whether Liberal Reform have got a market solution to this?”

    A market is just a mechanism for matching supply and demand.

    An innovative market approach to this problem (which the report you quote shows the State is currently failing to address), is that taken by https://homeshareuk.org/ This social enterprise matches elderly people with care needs (such as cleaning) and large, mostly empty houses, with younger people in need of good quality housing and who can provide aspects of that care. The accommodation is provided free in return for labour. Both sides also benefit from stability and companionship.

    I’m sure you’ll agree that this is exactly the sort of creative, bottom-up approach we should be championing as Liberals, rather than some sort of top-down statist solution more redolent of the Labour Party.

  • @Jayne Mansfield* – you assert that poverty caused the Brexit vote. That requires, of course, for people in poverty to have voted for Brexit. However, there are numerous peer-reviewed academic studies showing that there is a strong correlation between poverty and low turnout. This isn’t an academic article, but it’s a good summary of the phenomenon:
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/16/poverty-election-vote-apathy

    So if poor people don’t vote, how can they have voted for Brexit?

    “I don’t know whether you get a buzz from depicting the elderly as fat cats sitting on the unearned incomes from rising house prices when actually there is a real problem of pensioner poverty.”

    Let’s clear one misconception up first. You’re confusing wealth (asset value) with income (cash received when the asset value is realised). So it is possible for pensioners to be asset rich (house with a high value) and cash poor (small pension income). Though many current pensioners retired at 60 and have index-linked final-salary schemes, both things which have disappeared for those of us still in work.
    That said, I “depict the elderly as fat cats” (your words) sitting on unearned house-price wealth because it’s true, as this FT article demonstrates: https://www.ft.com/content/c69b49de-1368-11e9-a581-4ff78404524e

    Often known as the wealthiest generation, baby boomers have consolidated their position through “soaring property prices, inheritance and the prevalence of final salary pension schemes”, according to Charlotte Ransom, chief executive and founder of Netwealth.

    “I agree with many of Labour’s policies to redress these issues and build a new social contract. If that makes me a Marxist, I am a proud Marxist.”

    Personally I wouldn’t want to associate myself with a political philosophy responsible for the deaths of untold millions of people, but each to their own.

  • Geoffrey Dron 21st Aug '19 - 4:30pm

    @Thomas – the Coalition government of 2010 – 2015 contained many ‘social’ Conservatives. LibDem ministers in that government have nothing to be ashamed of even if they might, left to their own devices, have done this or that differently.

    I suggest that LibDems should not only be familiar with JS Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ but also with Doris Kerns Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’ (subject: Lincoln’s cabinet 1861-1865; title self-explanatory). In 1861 the USA faced an existential crisis; now the UK faces a crisis, possibly even an existential one (will the Union survive?), so maybe centrists shouldn’t be too restrictive as to who they’ll work with.

  • @Thomas “The transition towards social liberalism did continue until it became a firmly social liberal party during the Great Depression with the Yellow Book.”

    Yet in 1980 Jo Grimond wrote “Liberals must stress at all times the virtues of the market, not only for efficiency but to enable the widest possible choice”, and by 2004 with the publication of the Orange Book the party was returning to it’s economic Liberal roots. Embracing all four corners of Liberalism was fully completed in 2007 with the election Nick Clegg to the party leadership and many of the contributors to senior positions in the party – continued today by having Ed Davey as Shadow Chancellor.

  • @ Geoffrey Dron Yes, Geoffrey, I’ve read the Due North Report….. not surprising given I was brought up in West Yorkshire. As a former Convener of Social Care in Scotland, may I, in return, ask if you’ve read the more recent Alston Report on Poverty in the UK and today’s report by the Children’s Commissioner ? It’s fair to say Alston gives much more prominence to in-work poverty than Due North did five years ago.

    I agree with some of what you say in your latest offering – but with some riders.

    You’re far too kind to the Tory Coalition Ministers who led the Lib Dem Ministers by the nose (exceptions Norman Baker and Sarah Teather).

    Second, the Liberal demise post WW1 wasn’t just about the war and the clash between Asquith and Lloyd George. It was riven by dispute between social liberals and classical liberals…. many of the former moving to Labour and the latter to the Tories. I’m afraid Asquith’s ‘Paisley Policy’ is remarkably thin to the modern eye – and LLG’s heavy handedness dealing with dissent during and after the war was far from ‘liberal’ and left a bitter taste.

    Third, in addition to Mill, (not a happy bunny), have you read Dickens (Hard Times, Christmas Carol), Beveridge and Keynes ? Whilst I have many reservations about Corbyn he is more Keynesian socialist with libertarian tendencies than a Marxist…. though it suits the Tory tabloids to label him thus.

    You say, “Suggesting..centrists must be devotees of the primacy of the market is unwarranted”. This doesn’t chime with TCO’s Liberal Reform splinter group. Alan Muhammed the co Chair states, ” they (Lib Reform) accept that virtually all Liberal Democrats believe in four-cornered liberalism, but emphasises its belief that economic liberalism, consisting of the promotion of open markets, competition and free trade, “has to be a key component of modern liberalism”.

    Judging by TCO (who’s too shy to tell us what his history PhD was about) they focus much more on the fourth corner. Too much Adam Smith and not enough Beveridge/Keynes.

  • TCO,

    On the 19th August you suggested five policies which I assume think should be the core of our message once Brexit has been dealt with.

    If we tax the increase in value of assets more and income less, what do you think will happen to the assets owned by income poor people?

    How is the Dutch insurance model for health services more liberal than the NHS?

    When has increased defence spending been a liberal policy?

    I am surprised that you think the government should invest in private businesses? Why is this better than our existing policies?

    Do you think increasing the retirement age to 75 is a vote winner?

    You wrote, “Poverty is a symptom of political structures and consequences. You can’t fix poverty until you fix the way society is structured”.

    So how should liberals restructure society to ensure no one lives in relative poverty in the UK?

  • @ TCO “Yet in 1980 Jo Grimond wrote “Liberals must stress at all times the virtues of the market, not only for efficiency but to enable the widest possible choice”,

    Please note, he talks of the ‘virtues’ – not the primacy – of the market…. so please don’t quote Jo out of context.

    I was fortunate enough to know Jo Grimond in the 1960’s. Did you ?

  • Geoffrey Dron 21st Aug '19 - 6:45pm

    @MichaelBG/TCO

    Apropos defence, whether or not increased defence-related expenditure = LD policy, I do believe in an increase, initially to 2.5%.

    I do not however believe in the under-sea deterrent and am opposed to the replacement of Trident by such. My reasoning is essentially that of Crispin Blunt (the only Tory to vote against ‘Trident2’) in 2016, viz.,

    https://www.blunt4reigate.com/news/full-statement-renewal-trident

    Similar doubts had been expressed by Des Browne a few weeks earlier. The issue should be revisited.

    I wish it had been possible to block Gordon Brown’s costly vote-buying white-elephants, i.e. the aircraft carriers. We need destroyers and frigates not large targets. However, this horse has bolted.

  • Geoffrey Dron 21st Aug '19 - 9:25pm

    @David Raw – Ah yes, Adam Smith, the author of ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’

    https://www.adamsmith.org/the-theory-of-moral-sentiments

  • @Michael BG “If we tax the increase in value of assets more and income less, what do you think will happen to the assets owned by income poor people?”

    In the main income-poor/asset-rich people are pensioners, generally living in over-large houses in which they have unearned asset-value windfalls. The policy would result, and indeed should be designed to result, in the sale of these houses in order to pay the tax.

    This will bring two benefits. The first is the income to the treasury of money from unearned wealth, which will allow a shift away from income tax (which is a tax on economic activity). The second is the increase in supply of family houses; this will have the double benefit of increasing availability and reducing the price for the families who need them, thereby easing the housing crisis and relieving the over-heating property market.

    “How is the Dutch insurance model for health services more liberal than the NHS?”

    The NHS is an unresponsive socialist monolith with outdated practices, slow to react, and an over-reliance on treatment rather than prevention.

    The aim of a liberal health policy is threefold:

    – free at the point of use
    – encouragement of personal responsibility
    – consumer not producer oriented

    The Dutch model meets all three goals.

    “I am surprised that you think the government should invest in private businesses? Why is this better than our existing policies?”

    Fiscal policy can steer the economy in many ways. We should ensure ours favours start-ups and small businesses.

    “When has increased defence spending been a liberal policy?”

    1906 and the Dreadnought arms race springs to mind. Paddy understood the need for soundness on defence.

    “Do you think increasing the retirement age to 75 is a vote winner?”

    That wasn’t one of my five policy suggestions. It is a likely reality given the ageing population and the burden being placed on those in work by the (asset rich) baby-boomers. I never said it was a vote winner.

    You’ve not commented on middle schools and selection post-14, so I presume you agree with that.

    “So how should liberals restructure society to ensure no one lives in relative poverty in the UK?”

    We should structure society to ensure no-one lives in absolute poverty. Relative poverty is a meaningless concept.

  • @David Raw “Please note, he talks of the ‘virtues’ – not the primacy – of the market…. so please don’t quote Jo out of context.”

    Yes, how remiss of me. The full quote continues “Much of what Mrs Thatcher and Sir Keith Joseph say and do is in the mainstream of liberal philosophy.”

    “I was fortunate enough to know Jo Grimond in the 1960’s. Did you ?”

    It would have been difficult, me being at that point an egg. However, if I’d known him in the 1970s and 80s, I’d have been impressed at his wisdom. He sounds like a real Orange Booker:

    “Neither the Government nor the local authorities make any wealth or have any money of their own. If we want them to spend more and more we have to pay. The remedy is in our hands. Stop running to them asking them to do this, that and everything under the sun – and demand instead that they stop doing and spending so much.”

    “I can see a danger that Liberals lose to the Tories their claim to have new and sensible ideas and are left saying “Me too” to a Socialist conventional wisdom which is failing.”

    “The Labour Party remains without principle, clinging to office, paid by the trades unions, and with an anti-democratic Marxist wing. ”

    ” It is not capitalism that is in crisis. It is Socialism that is in collapse. The faith has vanished. The principles are shattered. ”

    “We have to reduce the public sector, the state-run sector, and hand it over to other bodies. “

  • TCO, Geoffrey Dron – I will only support military spending increase if such spending has positive spillover impacts on civilian technology and industries (for example, the Internet being developed by the US military). Unfortunately, this is not the case with the British military, so we’d bettee spending that money on investments in R&D and in promoting start-ups and businesses (didn’t you told us that you want investments in supporting businesses).

    TCO – “1906 and the Dreadnought arms race springs to mind. Paddy understood the need for soundness on defence.” – but the Liberals did not jack up Army spending.

    TCO – how exactly will your supposed “market solution” help improve home ownership among non-pensioner low-income people without triggering another subprime mortgage bubble? Don’t you remember that the shift away from direct social housing provision to market mechanism based on cheap and aggressive lending led to that bubble and eventually the GFC?
    I also think that you have never read Keynes and especially Hyman Minsky, because the Minsky Moment is exactly what happened in the GFC.

    Geoffrey Dron – “the Coalition government of 2010 – 2015 contained many ‘social’ Conservatives” – but they are not Liberals and will never be, since they generally want to interfere heavily with people’s personal, non-economic lives. Frankly, when I think about “social conservatives”, I immediately relate to a Fox News watching nut with a MAGA hat on his head.

    TCO – you love to refer to Netherland, but don’t you know that Netherland, Germany and many other Continental European countries provide free university education?

  • Sorry, Netherland unis are not tuition fee free but the fees are extremely low for domestic/EU/EEA students.

  • @Thomas you mention Germany as a country you admire, which of course has a selective education system. I’m glad you support that too.

  • TCO,

    I thought the bedroom tax was wrong because it tried to force people with little income into the expense of moving. I don’t think it is right to uses taxes to force poorer people to downsize. I think it is illiberal.

    Forcing people to sell their large homes and buy smaller homes will not increase the supply of homes; it might reduce the price of larger homes while increasing the price of smaller homes.

    I don’t recall personal responsibility being a liberal principle. In the Dutch system what happens to people who can’t afford the health insurance?

    Relative poverty is measurable and there is general acceptance what it means. The UK definition of absolute poverty is meaningless.

    Even if you wanted to ensure no one lives in absolute poverty, you could have modified the question to answer it.

    How should liberals restructure society to ensure no one lives in absolute poverty in the UK?

  • @Michael BG “I thought the bedroom tax was wrong because it tried to force people with little income into the expense of moving. I don’t think it is right to uses taxes to force poorer people to downsize. I think it is illiberal.”

    Downsizing is the result of the policy of taxing people for their unearned windfall. What’s illiberal about taxing unearned wealth? They’re not going to starve, and will probably have a better life spending the money tied up in their property.

    Besides, you seem relaxed about lots of other illiberal acts.

    “Forcing people to sell their large homes and buy smaller homes will not increase the supply of homes; it might reduce the price of larger homes while increasing the price of smaller homes.”

    There is an increasing supply of small homes due to the scarcity of land, but families are being forced to live in them because there is insufficient supply of large homes.

    People selling large homes won’t be short of cash to move house.

    “I don’t recall personal responsibility being a liberal principle.”

    That’s unfortunate, because Beveridge certainly did: “The State in organising security should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility“.

    “In the Dutch system what happens to people who can’t afford the health insurance?”

    LMGTFY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_the_Netherlands#Insurance

    “Relative poverty is measurable and there is general acceptance what it means. The UK definition of absolute poverty is meaningless.”

    Relative poverty is meaningless. What it means is that in Norway, for example, someone who can afford all the basics of life can be viewed as in poverty, when compared to someone in Sudan they’re living in luxury.

    I think it’s easy to define what absolute poverty is. People who have a roof over their heads, sufficient food to eat, an income and access to health care are not in poverty.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Aug '19 - 2:57pm

    TCO

    We agree on many aspects, but you should see homes and houses as more linked. The state treating people who have paid for their home, or house, unless a mansion, should not be taxed highly for that . I lost my house in financial difficulty. My wife and I have suffered a great deal of upset, she was injured in a car accident that was in which an elderly lady lost control of her car and came onto the pavement. We had relocated to Nottingham to buy a modest hoses, years ago, aware my city of birth, London, could not deliver. There was no help for us to keep our house with a modest and reasonable mortgage when we had little work, as , under Blair and Brown, as now, only for unemployed is there help, which is temporary, not for those on low or little income, or working or disability tax credits.

    Our losing that house a decade ago was the saddest thing other than the car accident. Despite effort most would hardly comprehend, we have not recovered fully or financially from these events.

    Do not, please, see those who love their modest home, as fat cats when Dukes and super rich, often, own much of our country. That is as wrong as the notion, to own modest land is bad, if I ever make money, I and my beloved wife, shall but a day after, purchase a modest house and some land, and anyone who dares try to tax us out of it or see us as fat cats would have my wrath, and you would not like that, if that happened!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And wonderful quotes of our other terrific Jo, Grimond!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jayne Mansfield 22nd Aug '19 - 3:49pm

    @ TCO.
    ‘you asserted that poverty caused the Brexit vote’

    I did no such thing. I referred to research papers, one which argued that contributory factor , and I made a point of quoting one of the authors, ” Educational inequality might have been a stronger driver, but one cannot ignore the role of poverty and lack of opportunity.”

    It is clear from your misreading and response to another poster Nick Rider, that you respond to posts before reading them carefully and that for some reason, you take a defensive position whenever, the role of poverty and voting in the EU elections is raised.

    I have no issue with the findings of author of the Guardian article that you draw attention to. However, I would be grateful if you would offer up one of the peer reviewed articles that you mention that finds that those in poverty or finding their security in life has been undermined by political policies, those people who did not feel that their vote in a General Election would change their circumstances in any material way, whilst not failing to vote in a General election where they felt their vote would not make a difference, also chose not to vote in the EU referendum where they were told , and believed in many cases, that their vote really would make a difference, they really could exert political power.

    As far as my being a ( tongue in cheek), Marxist , it is just a label used by many who have never read a word written by Marx. As far as I am concerned, many of the policies being developed by the current Labour party are social democratic policies that seek to address some of the problems that led to the Brexit vote. Some would have been applauded in the Liberal Democrat Party of old.

    I have worked in countries where those of us who worked with NGOs for the benefits of the poor and marginalised were labelled Communists, Marxists etc.. Sadly for those in power who have a vested interest in suppressing the rights of those stereotyped as uneducated, uncultured , the authors of their own misfortune, etc., the label is pretty meaningless in the careless way it is used.

  • TCO,

    I think it is liberal for people to be able to choose the size of the home they live in, without the state forcing the poorest to downsize. Note it is only the poorest who are affected.

    If people wish to downsize and spend part of their capital that should be their choice not forced on those with the lowest incomes.

    Do you have any evidence that people buy smaller homes than they need, when they purchase their home?

    I have looked the Dutch health system up on Wikipedia and it costs more than our system. It doesn’t encourage personal responsibility because part of it is totally funded by the state and the other is compulsory. It is also a tax on jobs as employers have to pay 50% of the premium for their employees. Also there are extra payments required for some treatments. Therefore it is not always free at the point of delivery as you claimed.

    The UK government has its own definition of absolute poverty, which you are ignoring.

    The Social Metrics Commission state that 14 million people in the UK (20% of our population) live poverty (of which 4.5 million are children), 4 million live more than 50% per cent below the poverty line and 1.5 million experienced destitution. Do you think the government should do anything to reduce these numbers? What level of relative poverty is acceptable to you?

    Your definition of absolute poverty does not include the cost of water, lighting, cooking, heating, clothing and transport costs.

    So assuming you accept the inclusion of these – how should liberals restructure society to ensure everyone has a roof over their head, have water, light, heating and working cooking facilities, sufficient food, clothing and the transport costs of working?

  • TCO – I think the German selective school system, if applied in a heavily class-divided society like Britain, can lead to the class-based separation of students, with students from upper/middle class going to Gymnasium, while students from working class going to the lower schools. The separation from very young age (right after primary schools) is also flawed, since there are hell a lot of people who do not do well in early years but eventually become high achievers when they grow up. In this system, their development could be permanently derailed if they are to be put into the lower schools, where teaching and facility quality and availability will be certainly worse than those of Gymnasium. This is not to mention social stigma, which will be a much bigger problem in a heavily class-divided Britain.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarBarry Lofty 15th Dec - 3:48pm
    I wish people would stop blaming us oldies for all the woes that the past few years have thrown at us. I too feel that...
  • User AvatarDuctus 15th Dec - 3:38pm
    @Peter "So where did the Remain votes go, and why?" About a third of Tories voted remain in 2016 and about 2 thirds of those...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 15th Dec - 3:38pm
    @ Lazy Scribble, On behalf of the Editorial Team, thank you for the “compliment”. However, unlike our opposite numbers at Labour List and Conservative Home,...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 15th Dec - 3:35pm
    For goodness sake, stop blaming the media. The party leadership made some duff decisions right at the start. I have always maintained that being a...
  • User AvatarJackmc 15th Dec - 3:32pm
    Maybe we could put some oomph into the ‘movement’ idea and push a couple of liberal causes really hard. I mean, marches, petitions, legal action...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 15th Dec - 3:32pm
    I was one of the 6 million who people signed a petition calling to revoke A50, but it did not cross my mind that this...
Tue 7th Jan 2020