Welcome to my day: 1 October 2018 – a bit like being at the scene of a car crash that hasn’t happened yet…

Good morning, and welcome to another week here at Liberal Democrat Voice.

Something is happening out there, with Liberal Democrat polling numbers consistently edging up into double figures. Is it the start of the long march to credibility, or is it a reflection that, compared to Labour and the Conservatives, our stance on Brexit is beginning to cut through?

Last week, Labour decided that, rather than take a view on Brexit, or on a People’s Vote, they would offer several. Unfortunately, whilst Sir Kier Starmer was enthusiastically received for suggested that a new referendum would include the option of remaining inside the European Union, other, louder voices were grudgingly offering a choice between the Chequers proposals and no deal. Not so much sitting on the fence as sitting in a field with multiple fences and moving from one to another.

But this week looks like rather more fun from the perspective of an outsider. I don’t know much about how apps work, but you’d have had to have been living in a cave for the last two years not to be aware of GDPR. Or, evidently, Brandon Lewis. He is, of course, as Jo Swinson discovered, easily confused, but isn’t out of a job yet, as it is very hard to be sacked from this Conservative administration.

A sack is a good analogy though, as senior Conservatives will be fighting like rats in one – pro-Chequers (and by extension, pro-May), pro-Canada+++, anti-Chequers, pro-WTO rules, there’s still no signs that they can coalesce around any position, let alone one that the European Union hasn’t already rejected.

No rush though, there’s still six months to work something out, and the European Union needs us more than we need them, right?

One agreed strategy though is to blame the European Union for being unreasonable, despite the minor detail that the European Union’s red lines are clear and present, and are bound by a legal framework. Although, if you’re trying to appear reasonable, you might not, as Dominic Raab is busily doing, state that the financial settlement already agreed to might not be honoured.

And Boris. What will he say, and will it contain any actual content as opposed to a repeatedly stated desire for cake and unicorns? His “Brexit Plan” has been shredded by the usual range of suspects, and it seems that his sole aim is to appeal to Conservative members not quite old enough to have fought in the war but who believe that we won it single-handed. That’s probably a sound strategy…

So, on with the madness…

* Mark Valladares is Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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  • Dorothy’s mantra was “There’s no place like home” which would have served as an appropriate banner for the Tory Conference. If you can bear, it try dipping into the live coverage on BBC Parliament. There is something very, very dangerous here which is in many respects gives causes for concern wider than party politics – namely the level of fantasy poisoning the party of government. Our system requires a coherent narrative embodying conservative traditions as an ongoing contribution to serious political debate. If that is no longer in fashion within the Conservative Party, it will unleash forces to fill the vacuum which do not bear thinking about.

  • John Marriott 1st Oct '18 - 9:58am

    You can mock Tory and Labour if you like; but they are still mopping up around 80% in opinion polls. Why, if you reckon they are so awful?

  • ……………………Unfortunately, whilst Sir Kier Starmer was enthusiastically received for suggested that a new referendum would include the option of remaining inside the European Union, other, louder voices were grudgingly offering a choice between the Chequers proposals and no deal………………..

    You must have been watching a different conference; Starmer’s voice was, by far, the loudest and, far more importantly, the best received. Corbyn Watson and McDonnell endorsed his speech both at conference, and in subsequent interviews. Of course they, and he, would prefer a GE but that’s what the opposition do.

    BTW ..When even the ‘Daily Torygraph’ run a headline saying “McDonnell is mad but Labour are asking the right questions” you know bottoms are twitching at CCHQ.

  • David Becket 1st Oct '18 - 11:13am

    @ John
    Yes they are awful, but we, the alternative, are totally invisible. Do not blame the media for ignoring us, in our position we need to make a lot of noise, which we are not doing.

    We need:
    A regular message on six policy areas continually repeated.
    At least three Press Releases per week, sent to all local parties and social media.
    Spokespersons that actually speak, apart from two they are invisible.
    A leader who is prepared to wake party HQ up.

    Vince is a safe pair of hands, but he does not have the ability to inspire those who are not committed to the party. We need that leadership. One possibility is to elect a young Chairman with the time and enthusiasm to make a splash. It would also help our leader if we had a group of key spokespersons working as a team and making regular public statements.

    Then having started to move up we need to make our committee structure more proactive.

  • jayne mansfield 1st Oct '18 - 12:11pm

    @ Frankie,
    I think we all have a propensity to hear what we want to hear. Trying to over-ride this is not easy.

    Whether you like it or not, our future relationship with Europe will be determined by the Tories or Labour. If you think that the most important thing is minimising what some believe to be the self- inflicted wound caused by the Referendum, maybe you should be less partisan and start giving some credit to those within the Labour party who are engaged in a battle of ideas.

    Personally, I quite understand the position of those who are fearful of overturning a democratic vote, especially where it means ignoring the will of people who in some part were led to voting leave because they felt that they were never listened to by the political elite. Persuading people in areas where communities feel that they were left behind by uncaring politicians, who rabbit on about how the country as a whole has benefited economically from being members of the EU or migration is not likely to move them overmuch.

    It might not mean much to Liberal Democrats in leafy Remain areas, but undermining people in areas where they already feel undermined and ignored , might, as John McDonald fears, risk a far- right backlash amongst those who we want to remain part of a political mainstream that really does understand their concerns and hopes for a better future.

  • David Becket 1st Oct '18 - 2:22pm

    At least they are coming out.
    Are they sent to Local Parties?
    Should Local Parties be requesting them?
    Could they be sent to My Councillor sites?

  • jayne mansfield 1st Oct '18 - 5:06pm

    @ Frankie,
    I am not a right wing appeaser, I just don’t think it sensible to push ordinary people into the arms of extreme right- wingers with their superficially plausible, ‘common sense’ . solutions to complex problems, and their faux concern for the underdog?

    Given that another referendum is being framed as a ‘people’s vote’, a vote about the destination etc., etc., rather than an attempt to overturn the ‘people’s vote’ of 2016, what, having undermined what the people voted for last time, are you as a party planning to do if a vote takes place, and the people once more voted in favour of leaving the EU? Given that it seems people are allowed to change their minds, even before the original decision has been effected, can we look forward to neverendums?

    Cameron’s decision to put party before country has left many of us with an unholy headache. As individuals, what best to do to unravel this mess and heal the terrifying divisions that have resulted.

    I don’t take your cynical view of the motivation of Labour when it has seemed to sit on the fence, although after the referendum vote, that seems a sensible place to be when trying to listen to both sides. Instead, in my experience, there are honest differences of opinion on what best to do. Anecdotally, the remainers that I know have a serious problem with overturning a democratic decision where sovereignty was passed from weak politicians to ‘the people’.

    May I ask, what plans the Liberal Democrat Party has in mind to deal with whatever eventuality our future relationship with the EU will be, if the people’s vote is not one that the party wants, whether we have hard Brexit, soft Brexit , leaving without a deal or remaining in the EU? A lot of eggs appear to have been put in one basket. I am not even sure what sort of future EU the party wishes the UK to belong to.

  • Neil Sandison 1st Oct '18 - 10:28pm

    Labours composite motion on a peoples vote was a fragile fudge which fell apart before the day was over or the vote taken. But what i think we are missing is that Corbyn has with the exception of Keir Stammer sanitised the party leadership and his executive into a personal cult . Clause 4 socialism is back in tooth and claw .Hearing Derek Hatton of Militant infamy was back in the Labour party fold will see social democratic non believers increasing facing votes of no confidence in their constituencies .Many may well just resign before they come up for selection .Lets welcome those that still support the social liberal tradition into our ranks to help us build our new political movement

  • jayne mansfield 1st Oct '18 - 10:45pm

    @ Frankie,
    Of course you can say that in your view, that is, Brexit is a mistake and campaign against it. However, I believe that the way the Liberal Democrats have gone about has been counterproductive.

    Would your party have been so dismissive of the ‘will of the people’, if the referendum had resulted in a narrow vote for remain? Would you equally dismissive if there was another referendum and the vote was then in favour of remain?

    Brexit is personal for me. It will have a very direct effect on the well being of some of my family members, so I get rather cheesed off when I see people who perceive themselves as powerless and ignored by the political class, having their perceptions reinforced by arrogant politicians who still won’t listen. It’s an approach that doesn’t seem a sensible way of persuading people to one’s viewpoint.

    The people who voted brexit have grievances. I would aver that it is better to listen to them so that one can enter into respectful discussion of those grievances and how national politics can bring about a change in their personal circumstances if there is the political will to do so. What I have been finding is that there is no trust that politicians have that will.

    I am not sure that Jeremy Corbyn offered hope, I think that what he offered was change. I wonder whether all those baffled and alarmed about the polarisation of politics , ever stop to think that it might just have been the so called centre ground of politics that led to the grievances that inspired people to vote brexit.

  • Philip Knowles 2nd Oct '18 - 8:47am

    I get the press releases from my local Baroness and publish them to our local Party website. I use them as a basis of letters to our weekly newspaper and get 2 or 3 a month published. I don’t get anything from HQ but then I’m only the Policy Chair for Yorkshire and Humber Region so you wouldn’t expect me to would you?
    I’m been a bit behind for the last month and just restarting but they are here
    We also send out a weekly email with all the press releases which you can subscribe to.
    None of this is rocket science and I self-taught myself WordPress to do this. Why can’t HQ?
    Communication from HQ is, and will be, the biggest stumbling block for the Party. A consistent, but tailored, message across the country with Vince saying things nationally and us saying the same things in the local context is vital. The trouble is that we’re always playing catch up. We don’t know in advance what is going to be said so we can’t prepare for it – the GE last year was a classic, we found out the policies after the Unaddressed Mailing had to be with Royal Mail.
    Somebody down there must have a plan. We need to know each month what the topics will be so that the whole country is talking about the same things. If the national media won’t give us the coverage we need to use local media and WoM.

  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares 1st Oct ’18 – 12:40pm………[email protected] expats, I suppose the problem here is not who you believe, but who has the power to decide? Key union leaders have significant influence, the Leader is a sceptic, and the members seem to be in thrall to him. What position can Labour be relied upon to take? Or, is avoiding the taking of a stance their position?……………………………

    The difference between Labour and the Liberal Democrats should be obvious; one can become a government, the other can’t.
    In the ‘heady days’ following the Brexit vote ( a vote in which areas dependent on frictionless EU trade, like Sunderland, etc., voted overwhelmingly ‘out’) the country was told, by those who were negotiating, that “A good deal was easy”; that “They needed us more than we needed them”, etc. In many of these areas UKIP had also come a perilously close second in the 2015 election. How could Labour ignore those voters and hand UKIP the initiative? They might have tried harder on matters like the benefits of immigration but was that really the time for ‘reasoned’ arguments about THE major factor in the out vote?
    Perhaps they were all things to all men; but was that a bad strategy? The Tories quickly became utterly divided about what Out’ actually meant and, after all, a cardinal rule is ‘never to interfere in an argument between husband and wife’; they’ll both unite against you.
    Over the last 18 months finance, business and manufacturing (especially the motor industry) have been pointing out the folly of a hard Brexit (or even Brexit itself) and Labour has amplified these concerns to the point where they have shot our fox on a second referendum; it is now firmly on their probable agenda.

    jayne mansfield, as always, talks a lot of sense. Her, “the way the Liberal Democrats have gone about has been counterproductive”, is spot on.
    On LDV, those who voted ‘Leave’ have been likened to ‘racists and xenophobes’ or, at best, to children “who didn’t understand what they were voting for”; not the best way to build bridges.

    As an aside; the seeds of ‘Brexit’ may not have been sown during the coalition years but they certainly came to fruition in that period.

  • Old Liberal 2nd Oct '18 - 12:03pm

    I fear so many of us still have to come to terms with the fact that since 2010 we have moved from being broadly liked and listened to, to a party that was first disliked, then destroyed and now ignored. Our leaders and their followers saw it happening, but refused to accept their responsibility for creating the problem and that they were responsible for solving it.

    In most of the county the party is a shambles and most of its real activists are gone replaced by keyboard warriors who past more about their personal issues – mainly feminism and sexuality, and almost never about issues relevant to 90% of the British people.

    Maybe it is the fact that as Brexit approaches, the realization that we were right on our one big mainstram issue is driving our modest rise in the polls. However, after we leave in March – still more than a 95% near certainty – how long will stay with a party whose big idea is to open up a supporters scheme?

    We have prevaricated over coalition for too long and it is too late to change people’s minds on the Lib Dems. Most of us are too ashamed to accept we messed up, or too arrogant to even consider the possibility that we sacrificed almost everything for next to nothing.

    As long as that doesn’t change, our party’s fortunes will not change either.

    It’s a bit like being at the scene of a car crash that happened seven years ago, but even now no one around at the time accepts the fact that they crashed it.

  • Alex Macfie 2nd Oct '18 - 12:49pm

    jayne mansfield: I can;t speak for Frankie but I would absolutely respect the right of Leave supporters to carry on campaigning in the event of a People’s Vote with a Remain outcome. I would not use any arguments based on the “will of the people” (and I hope the Lib Dems would not either), as I find the phrase distasteful given its origins in the rhetoric of tyrants. However, I would happily indulge in some schadenfreude at the Brexit camp and the fact that they would have lost that trump card.

    Jenny Barnes: Corbyn’s hard-left baggage cannot be denied, and nor can that of his closest advisors (e.g. Seumas Milne, Andrew Murray). At the last election, he was not regarded as a serious contender, and so although a lot of over-the-top abuse was thrown at him, he got little real scrutiny. It will be interesting to see how he and Labour handle the next election, when PM Corbyn will be considered a serious possibility, and he and Labour policies will therefore be subject to serious scrutiny in a way they were not in last year’s election. Given his tendency to surround himself only with people who agree with him, I find it doubtful that he will stand up to such scrutiny. The Tumpian references to the “MSM” and treating all criticism and scrutiny of his policies as “smears” may play well with his fanclub, but it is doubtful that it would work with swing voters.

    The “vote LD, get a Tory government” thing is still put about by Momentum, but it’s already old, especially as it didn’t happen after 2017 (when Lib Dems could have propped up the Tories, but chose not to).

  • David Franks 2nd Oct '18 - 2:26pm

    Thank you Mark for telling us hq sends out lots of press releases and local parties should use them. Would love to, so why are they not sent to local parties?

  • Alex Macfie 2nd Oct ’18 – 12:49pm……………………The “vote LD, get a Tory government” thing is still put about by Momentum, but it’s already old, especially as it didn’t happen after 2017 (when Lib Dems could have propped up the Tories, but chose not to)……………..

    Chose not to? Tim Farron absolutely ruled out any agreement with the Tories in April of 2017 when it looked like a Tory landslide; how could he have reneged on that? It would have been the end of the LD party; a party that had still not recovered from the post coalition meltdown.

    As for ‘Vote LD get Tory’…From Labour’s point of view that is correct. There are only two parties who will form a government, if LD take votes from Labour in Lab/Tory marginals it may well result in a Tory government. You would be equally incensed if LD stood a chance of government and Labour took LD votes in LD/Tory marginals.

  • Katharine Pindar 2nd Oct '18 - 6:28pm

    expats, Labour did not ‘shoot our fox’ by reluctantly coming round to the idea of a people’s vote being desirable, even with the Remain option, if they don’t get a General Election. We absolutely need Labour in the Commons to back the idea for it to have any chance of it happening.

  • paul barker 2nd Oct '18 - 8:03pm

    On the question of how our Voters see us; we like to think of ourselves as rational people who follow the evidence so look at the Polling that has been done on attitudes towards us. There is a big chunk of Voters who claim that they will never forgive us for The Coalition but they are mostly loyal Labour voters or serial Non-voters. Neither group are relevant to us. While The Coalition got us to where we are it has very little to do with keeping us here.
    The problem is that we are small so Voters who are sympathetic to our values dont see us as relevant, its a circular argument. Growth in these circumstances will be slow unless something breaks in from outside. We have been growing though, for 6 Months now & we already back to where we were 18 Months ago. That growth doesnt have to continue at the same rate for more than a Month or so to put us back at levels we havent seen for 7 Years.
    Lets try to look at the positives instead of constantly bemoaning past mistakes that we can do nothing about.

  • Alex Macfie 2nd Oct '18 - 8:08pm

    expats: So we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t. We got all the flak for reneging on the tuition fees pledge, but when we kept our 2017 promise not to go into coalition (with either big party, incidentally) it’s apparently only because we couldn’t have reneged on it. Well actually no. The reason for making the promise was not just the received wisdom that the result would be a Tory landslide. There was very little appetite for coalition among grassroots Lib Dems, and certainly not with the Tories, who so effectively shafted us in 2015 after our coalition with them (this is something their present partners are safe from, as the Tories do not compete for votes with the DUP, whose voter base is very tribal in any case). Of course another coalition with the Tories would have been the end of the Lib Dems. But this is nothing to do with whether or not we had promised before the election not to go into coalition. It’s simply because that’s what would have happened if a small, bruised Lib Dem party had gone into coalition with a much larger very right-wing Tory party. So yes, we CHOSE not to go into coalition with the Tories, in direct defiance of Momentum-driven speculation (both before and after the election) that we would, because we did not want to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tories.

    At the last election Labour taking Lib Dem votes in LD/Tory marginals probably cost us several seats (Southport, Lewes, St Ives). Of course we don’t like it. Labour has been taken over by an aggressive left-wing faction who are deliberately targeting us, and don’t mind if the Tories win as a result. They know full well they have no realistic chance of ever winning most LD/Tory marginals, but they do this (sometimes at the expense of winning themselves against the Tories) because we stand in the way of their binary class-war analysis of politics. Reportedly Labour cheered when the Tories took Southport from us. So no self-respecting Lib Dem is going to take any lectures from Labour about us letting the Tories in.

  • OnceALibDem 2nd Oct '18 - 8:31pm

    “@ David Becket and David Franks,
    I very much suspect that, if you contact the Press Team at HQ, they’ll add you to the circulation list. Do be careful to adhere to embargo dates though… But they do need to know who to send them to.”

    Or follow https://aberavonneathlibdems.blogspot.com/ who seem to be tapped into some feed.

  • Alex Macfie 2nd Oct '18 - 8:43pm

    Old Liberal: Brexit is not going to go away as an issue after the UK leaves the EU. If Brexit happens, then Lib Dems and other Remain groups will continue to warn that it will be a serious mistake, and after the event, will focus on campaigning for the UK to rejoin the EU. And as the reality of post-Brexit Britain bites, this is likely to gain support in the long term.

    The thing about “keyboard warriors” is that they are rather small in number, but make a lot of noise. So I don’t think any Lib Dem keyboard warriors are necessarily representative of the party as a whole. Actual activists don’t have so much time for that sort of thing. But as far as obsession with “fringe” issues goes, there seems to have been a lot of that in the Young Liberals in time past. So nothing new there,

  • Most of us are fearful that a hard left party is consolidating its position under the leadership of Corbyn. Part of the evidence behind this fear is open talk of current Labour MPs’ being deselected by constituency parties. How would it be, if when a Labour MP is deselected, we looked at his or her story and credentials, and if they look ok, invited them to stand as the LD candidate at the next GE ?

    I can see, of course, that any current prospective LD candidate might justifiably be distinctly miffed, were that to be done. But surely many of us would think that stratagem would give such a constituency its best chance of defeating the Tory candidate, the best chance of a LD MP, and the best chance of pushing back against the hard Left? All of the anti-conservative voters would stand to gain, in terms of who was to represent them in Parliament, and I believe there need be no credible accusation of dishonesty or cynicism, if such an invitation to swap flags was based on the MP’s record, seen through LD lenses. As things stand at the moment, a constituency which sacks a current Labour MP is more likely to lurch to the conservatives to avoid a Corbyn government, than to vote LD, isn’t it ?

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd Oct '18 - 11:03pm

    @ Frankie,
    I don’t question your commitment or your frustration, but I do question your party’s politics.

    Yes brexit has dominated the agenda since 2016, but why have your party let this happen? The years since the referendum should have been a time when you loudly attacked the record of the tory government on the very issues that you mention. We have not left the EU yet, and our NHS has been systematically destroyed. Similarly the education system, the probation service….. I could go on.

    It might suit your party to portray the people who have started to support the Labour party as far left, as momentum or whatever, but in my experience, this portrayal is inaccurate and a million miles away from the sort of people I meet who are caring, true professionals, people who have a sense of vocation who are distraught at what has happened to the professions that they loved and the people they hoped to care for or support.

    How strange that your party still seems to suffer some sort of Stockholm syndrome and cannot see that the party of government is the party that ought to face a damning inditement from opposition parties for what they have brought about, a destruction in the social fabric of our no longer pleasant country, a country that is divided.

    Of course Labour’s alternative policies should be subject to scrutiny, but they are not the party of government, what has happened to our country is not the doing of Jeremy Corbyn, Seumas Milne or any other bogey man one wishes to draw attention to as a diversion from criticism of the party with a brain (allegedly), and your party’s role in helping to keep them in power.

    The party of government is becoming UKIP in all but name. The decent Tories like Dominic Grieve, etc, are as much as, or under greater threat as the Conservative party takes a dramatic swerve to the right. The Conservatives are not being infiltrated under cover, the party is openly welcoming individuals who are helping to power this lurch rightwards.

    And this Frankie, is the government in power and the government likely to be in power after the next election. I know who I am most afraid of, and so do many more who have decided that Labour is the only vehicle for defeating those who intend to take our country in that direction.

  • paul barker 2nd Oct ’18 – 8:03pm……………….On the question of how our Voters see us; we like to think of ourselves as rational people who follow the evidence so look at the Polling that has been done on attitudes towards us. There is a big chunk of Voters who claim that they will never forgive us for The Coalition but they are mostly loyal Labour voters or serial Non-voters. Neither group are relevant to us. While The Coalition got us to where we are it has very little to do with keeping us here…………………….

    Sorry, paul, but this forecast is on a par with your previous predictions of LibDem glory!

    Those who, as you say ‘will never forgive us’ are not ‘loyal Labour’ or ‘non-voters’; those people never supported us before,during or after the coalition. The reason for our collapse was because those supporters who made up our numbers no longer support us.
    It has nothing to do with other parties; and everything to do with ours!

  • Jayne Mansfield 3rd Oct '18 - 11:21am

    @ Frankie,
    I am sorry but I think we need to agree to disagree on this. Not on the importance of remaining in the EU, but on the way the party responded to the vote.

  • Alex Macfie 3rd Oct '18 - 6:57pm

    Jayne Mansfield: How exactly are the Lib Dems “helping keep [the Tories] in power” at present? We are not part of the government, and we are actually highly critical of Tory government policy in all the areas you mention. Just because we also criticise Corbyn’s Labour, this does not mean we are pro-Tory. It isn’t binary, either-or. But that’s ultimately the problem. In the new class-war two-party politics, everyone is supposed to pick a side, and so you assume that because we are critical of Corbyn we must have sided with the Tories.
    And how is talking about what our opponent is about now instead of what we did in the past “deflecting”? I always thought focusing on your opponent’s past was more deflective, like, say, going on about our record in the 2010-2015 Coalition government when UK politics has moved on quite a lot since then. The Tories used to do it in the dying days of the Major government, when it seemed Major’s every other statement began “Under the last Labour government…”.
    Just to be clear, Lib Dem policy on coalition is the same as it was at the last election: no coalition with either main party under their present leaderships. So the only way we are likely to enter any government in the foreseeable future is in a “Borgen” scenario.

  • jayne mansfield 6th Oct '18 - 4:23pm

    @ Alex Macfie,

    My disenchantment began when the Liberal Democrat’s, after the financial crash, started parroting the Tory narrative that Labour could not be trusted with public finances . It predated the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. My memory may be failing me, but I don’t remember the party in the days before the financial crash, deviating far from the Labour plan. Indeed I seem to remember that the the Liberal Democrat financial plan in the 2005 manifesto, like the Conservative one, was not substantially different to that of Labour, ie to keep the National debt below 40% of GDP. Nor do I don’t remember the party calling out for significant restraint on public spending to account for increased tax revenues.

    I am afraid, that given current state of our society, I have decided that one does have to pick a side, and that is precisely what I have done. I may have misgivings and concerns, but faced with the prospect of one of the most incompetent, uncaring , right wing governments I have known, I leave it to others to help the tories back to power by demonising Labour’s current leader rather than critiquing the party’s policies under his leadership.

    I would be delighted if your party regained some of the tory facing seats it lost at the last election. I certainly hope that it does not win any Labour- facing elections, thereby making a Tory government more likely.

    Which Tory leader might your party enter into a coalition with, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove , or any other ( in my opinion), morally bankrupt potential candidates?

  • Alex Macfie 6th Oct '18 - 5:10pm

    jayne mansfield: I cannot envisage Lib Dems considering coalition with the Tories led by ANY of those talked about as potential leaders. Not BoJo, Gove, JRM. The Tories would be unlikely to accept as leader any of those that the Lib Dems might consider talking to (e.g. Anna Soubry). So in practice, the Lib Dems are not going to go into coalition with the Tories in the foreseeable future. This means there is no danger of a Tory government resulting from Lib Dems taking Labour-facing targets.
    You may want the Lib Dems to regain seats from the Tories, but the Corbynistas wouldn’t agree with you. As I have written already, Momentum intervention caused us to lose Southport to the Tories, and prevented us from winning back several seats, including Lewes and St Ives. In LibDem-Tory battleground seats, Momentum want the Tories to win.

  • Neil Sandison 6th Oct '18 - 5:49pm

    jayne Mansfield .The Tories have some new friends in the DUP to play with who share their narrow vision of the world .Jeremy Corbyn was a very reluctant if not stone cold remainer who only did it to stop his party disintegrating into internal warfare .
    If the Liberal Democrats just ape the Labour party whats the point of us ?
    Partys to do not shape parliaments the electorate does .i would not be suprised to see yet another inconclusive general election .That why we have recognised PR actually represents more closely the political diversity of Great Britain today.

  • Alex Macfie 6th Oct ’18 – 5:10pm…… Momentum want the Tories to win………

    And why would this be? Momentum want a Corbyn led government; the LibDems are an irrelevance in that picture unless they take Tory seats.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 6th Oct '18 - 11:23pm


    You have not really shown that you can pick a side if you spend all your effort defending Labour here not on Labourlist where you never go, or at least do not post a suggestion or argue with that party.

    Your desire to be as mean to this party, talk of us wanting coalition with Tory e moral bankrupts you describe, yet not let go of this site , is very unusual.

    The recent criticism is very meanspirited.

  • Mean spirited ?

    I’ll tell you what’s mean spirited. Voting to introduce Universal Credit which, according to the Trussell Trust and today’s Times newspaper, has reduced the average recipient families income by £ 200 per month whilst at the same time agreeing to increase VAT (despite a promise not to), reducing the top rate of income tax and reducing corporation tax.

    And if it’s not mean spirited it’s downright incompetent……. and as someone who has supported the party in its different incarnations since 1961 I’m entitled in honesty to say.

  • I’ll tell you what’s mean spirited – slashing billions from Universal Credit funding in 2015 as soon as you are free of your coalition partners, by reducing the working income allowance and butchering the family element, thus destroying the original purpose of incentivising work and pushing more children into poverty.

  • Martin 6th Oct ’18 – 9:37pm……Expats: Do you not understand how FPTP works?….

    Obviously, I don’t. And, obviously, as you do, please explain how “want(ing) the Tories to win” will help Labour win a GE?

  • Alex Macfie 7th Oct '18 - 8:44am

    expats: I’ve explained already why Momentum want Tories to win against the Lib Dems. We confuse the class war. The hard left wants a socialist revolution, and to create the conditions for this, it needs a hard-left party to be the only alternative to the Tories, and for anyone who doesn’t like hard leftism to be voting Tory.
    Hence Momentum acting as spoilers in Tory-Lib Dem battleground seats. Labour are never going to win most of them as they were mostly rock-solid Tory until the Lib Dems and predecessor parties started working them. Giving the impression that Labour can win there encourages Lib Dem/Tory waverers to switch to the Tories. And this is exactly what Momemtum wants to happen.

  • Thanks Nick for bringing some facts into the debate. The basic concept of Universal Credit is fine, it’s how it has been implemented that is the problem. Labour are deliberately trying to conflate all problems with the implementation of Universal Credit with the system as a concept as it’s an easier campaign slogan, and better way to have a go at a wider number of rival politicians, regardless of truth.

    My friend works for Citizens Advice, and has no doubt that the way Universal Credit has been introduced has caused huge problems that must be rectified, but she is very against the idea that the whole system should be scrapped. Scrapping the whole system is a political soundbite that doesn’t help the people who need the system fixed. Scrapping the system means working out a whole new system that will have a whole new range of administrative problems.

    The best way to help the people in need of support from the state is to make the necessary modifications to make it work for the people that need it.

    @Alex, you make good points. Richmond Park being a perfect example. The experiences of the recent by-election meant that Labour activists absolutely knew that they had no chance of winning, but that we did. In campaigning hard, they knew they were taking votes away from LibDems they were either pushing the old “If you are not with us, you are against us” idea and that everyone not (momentum) Labour is as bad as the Tories, and didn’t want to risk having a decent LibDem MP opposing the Tories to prove that wrong.

    This isn’t a concept unique to Labour, but there is a certain sort of political activist who hopes for the rival government of the day to treat the people badly in order to make it easier for their side to win in the future. They are the ones who refuse to engage in cross-party working to progress shared goals, because they are more concerned about other parties taking credit than they are with the people they supposedly got into politics to help.

  • Nonconformistradical 7th Oct '18 - 9:54am

    In repsonse to Alex Mcafie on Momentum…


    And for Momentum read Militant Tendency

  • Alex Macfie 7th Oct ’18 – 8:44am………….

    I consider current Labour policies, under Corbyn, far more in tune with those in Europe than Stalin’s Russia but I thought you believed that Corbyn, and his policies, were as far left as one could get so why won’t the far left settle for him?

    Momentum is largely made up of those on the left of Blair’s Labour rather than a “Militant” mark 2 (BTW in it’s heyday Militant had rather less than 5,000 members).

    The idea that there are significant numbers of Marxist/Leninist/Anarchists hiding under tables, waiting to take over the UK, is pure fantasy.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Oct '18 - 1:40pm

    David Raw

    You are incapable of being even handed without bashing the drum of your rightful concern in most comments.

    I share the concern of you and Jayne. I was a member of the Labour party unlike both you critics, and left because it was divided and worse.

    I agree on certain policies, with them and both you two.

    I cannot think to say glibly , which morally bankrupt Tory are you gong to go into government and support, is other than meanspirited.

    Sorry but Jayne never comments on Labourlist but does here, and is welcomed. You never say a word in defence of those who are in this party and standing up for what is right but do not think being past tense and mean to our party is a good thing.

    Sir Vince made mistakes. I suppose you and Jayne think Corbyn has not???!!!

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