Welcome to my day – 21 December 2020

Well, this all sucks, doesn’t it?

Yes, Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson, the man who has serially over-promised and under-delivered through nine months of pandemic has encouraged the populace to look forward to a window of near normality and then, at the last possible moment, snatched it away. So, to all those of you who have had your plans turned upside down, my deepest sympathies.

Out here in deepest Suffolk (tier 2), we are at least able to get out for a decent walk and, whilst there are restrictions, most things are still possible. However, most of the LDV team are now in tier 4, so please bear with us over the next few days. As Caron noted yesterday, we’ll be running a very limited operation from Thursday until Sunday, but I am hoping to have something for you to read each day. That said, moderation will be sporadic, so my advice would be to keep your comments courteous and respectful, unless you are happy to wait until someone checks in.

But, without further ado, let’s take a quick look at last week’s five most read posts…

At number 1, Paul Reynolds departed from his usual beat of international affairs to muse upon whether or not working with Labour was desirable or possible. You had views…

Next up, Joe McCauley’s debut piece calling upon the Party to reach out to potential working class members, struck a chord. And he’s right, if you don’t ask, you’ll never build a proper coalition sufficient to change things for the better.

The announcement that Christmas was, for many, effectively cancelled, and the Liberal Democrat response to it was covered by Caron on Saturday evening and drew a predictable critique of the Government’s performance.

We’re always pleased to welcome contributions from our Parliamentarians, and Sue Miller, one of our most experienced Peers, called for the Party to support the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on Tuesday. It certainly seemed, based on the comments, that she is pushing at an open door…

And last, but not least, Katharine Pindar (note correct spelling of name) brought us her thoughts on the Marmot Review on public health (version 2), looking at how public health policy might be reformed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking forward, we would welcome contributions either looking back at the year past, or looking forward to the year ahead. 500 or so words is the sweet spot for articles, and here’s a fuller guide to writing for Liberal Democrat Voice.

And so, on with the motley…

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21 Comments

  • Thanks Mark for all your efforts and may I wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (or as close an approximation to it as we can hope for in the present circumstances) to all of you who run LDV, all those Lib Dems who post here and everyone in our wider Lib Dem family.

  • Peter Martin 21st Dec '20 - 11:54am

    I’m reminded of the Aesops Fable which involves a man and his son travelling along with a donkey. No matter which combination they opt for, one or other riding, both riding or both walking, someone will voice what seems to be a valid criticism and there’s a change.

    So, if the Govt makes a decision, should they stick to it, come what may? If they do they’ll be criticised for being inflexible. If they don’t they’ll be criticised for breaking promises.

    If we have a single national policy of lockdown, those in areas which are less badly affected will complain there is no need for them to be locked down. If we divide up the country into regions we’ll inevitably have anomalies where one side of the street has different rules than the other.

    I’m not a Tory but the Covid issue isn’t really about left and right. Covid policy isn’t the sole preserve of the Westminster Govt. Scotland, NI and Wales have devolved govts which are in charge and they haven’t done any better. So how has devolution helped?

    When its all over I doubt if there will be much difference in the performance of any European Govt. Germany looked to be doing well during the first wave but they are struggling like anyone else in the second. Cases are rising fast. Last week they were reporting higher death rates than the UK.

  • …………..Out here in deepest Suffolk (tier 2), we are at least able to get out for a decent walk and, whilst there are restrictions, most things are still possible………………..

    Here, in coastal Suffolk, things are much the same. Walking the dog on a usually deserted beach and calling in for a luchtime beer with the ‘compulsory’ Scotch egg (shared with the dog) means that the worst of the restrictions seem far away..

    However, our family are ‘out of bounds’ and Zoom is a poor substitute for our usual christmas..My thoughts (and a little cash) are with those far worse off than I..

    Anyway, best wishes Mark, and to all others on LDV, for this christmas time…Thank you for all your work throughout the last year and let’s hope next year will see better times..

  • Peter Martin 21st Dec '20 - 4:24pm

    I’ve just been speaking on the phone to a business associate from Dublin and guess what?

    They’ve been hit with last minute, even more last minute than ours, changes to the Christmas rules too!

    Nothing to do with “Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson” of course and much more to do with my namesake Micheal Martin. But, you won’t have a downer on him for Brexit reasons.

    I haven’t checked but I’m sure it will be the same story right across the EU too. Politicans everywhere, rightly or wrongly, are panicking.

    https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/ireland-lockdown-updates-everything-you-23198012

  • @Peter Martin – the argument is not being made entirely in hindsight; the Government had been advised against promising things it couldn’t safely deliver since, ever since the question of Christmas was raised. Opposition politicians, having seen this advice, asked the government to reconsider multiple times, most recently last week Wednesday.

    The situation did not really change significantly between Wednesday and Saturday – what changed was the Conservative’s political calculation in choosing between “cancelling Christmas” and the additional risks.

    Almost everyone I’ve spoken to believes that the restrictions are forgivable, but the contempt shown for people’s plans is not.

    They had multiple opportunities to act earlier. They had opposition support, scientific support, and even public support.

    But it was ego & arrogance that meant they over-promised and under-delivered.

    The parallels with Brexit are obvious – but hopefully this causes people to see through the blather and bluster.

  • It appears that ever dissimulating pair, Shapps (aka Michael Green) and de Pfeffel Johnson are also innumerately challenged. At 5.00 pm last night Shapps/Green stated they’d whittled it down to ‘only 170′ lorries trapped on the M20 approaching Dover. It was all carefully pre-planned on how to deal with it’.

    An hour ago it was over 1,500. To quote Laurel & Hardie, ‘another fine mess ‘ and with Brexit yet to come.’

    What a bunch of shifty incompetents.

  • I do not care how many comparisons are made with other countries’ handling of this pandemic, it will not change my mind about the the incompetence of Johnson and his associates along with so many of their other disreputable actions since coming to power.

  • David Raw 22nd Dec ’20 – 11:12am..

    Perhaps Shapps went to the same school as Raab**? After all, if you don’t consider Dover too important why would you believe that more than 170 trucks would be en-route there?

    Stay safe this christmas period, David (and all others on here) ‘Unicef’ used to be equated with the hungry of the third world but, this year, I’m reminded that it, and the words of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ (“he greatest gift they’ll get this year is life”), are part of this nation’s winter..

    **Dominic Raab’s “hadn’t quite understood” how reliant UK trade in goods is on the Dover-Calais crossing”.

  • Sir John Curtice has just published the latest poll figures on Brexit :

    BBC NEWS : “YouGov has regularly asked people the question: “In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to leave the European Union?”

    During the last three months, on average, 39% have said that the decision was right while 49% have stated it was wrong”.

    If Lib Dems can’t get a headline out of that, what can they get one out of ? By being ambivalent about it…… as was fully demonstrated at First Ministers Questions at Holyrood today ?

  • @ Expats : Thanks for the good wishes. The same to you and stay safe.

    No, they didn’t go to the same school, though for the most part Raab seems to have disappeared for now. Planning his manoeuvres ? I suspect (hope) Johnson will be gone some time next year… though who will succeed him is anybody’s guess.

  • Richard Underhil 25th Dec '20 - 11:51am

    David Raw 23rd Dec ’20 – 5:25pm
    Possibly the UK will have a female Prime Minister.
    If there is a referendum in Scotland, soon(?) should we concentrate again on areas held by Lib Dem MPs? leaving a Tory-Labour coalition to again try to maintain the unity of the UK.

  • Richard Underhill. 25th Dec '20 - 12:09pm

    David Raw 23rd Dec ’20 – 5:19pm
    Do we think that Moldova should be allowed to join the EU?
    What would be the structural effects if Switzerland were to apply? (currently encircled).

  • Richard Underhill. 25th Dec '20 - 12:15pm

    expats 21st Dec ’20 – 12:43pm
    Would a Cornish pasty be a substantial meal if consumed in Cornwall?

  • Richard Underhill. 25th Dec '20 - 12:31pm

    David Raw 23rd Dec ’20 – 5:19pm
    In order to get into government we may need an arrangement with a larger party, so which?
    Newer Labour?
    SNP?
    Green?

  • Richard Underhill. 25th Dec '20 - 12:45pm

    Mark Valladares | Mon 21st December 2020 – 7:45 am
    When the Royal Navy decided to plant a Union Jack on Rockall in adverse weather conditions, it was uninhabited, and probably still is, so did Boris know? what would be the effect on the Common Fisheries policy?
    At breakfast does he slice an egg at the little end? or the big end?

  • Tony Greaves 27th Dec '20 - 4:30pm

    Just to be clear, everyone “can still get out to get a decent walk” whatever Tier they are in. And as often as you like. Just don’t do it with more than one other person outside your household.

  • BBC News 1 hour ago “SNP MPs will vote against Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal when it comes before the House of Commons next week. The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford branded the trade agreement with the EU a “disaster for Scotland”.

    Now let’s see what sort of stuff the Lib Dem M.P.’s are made of. It is a seminal moment that will decide whether the Liberal Democrat Party deserves to survive.

  • Peter Watson 28th Dec '20 - 10:05am

    It would be funny – in a deeply and grimly ironic sort of way! – if Lib Dem MPs ended up voting alongside the Tory right to help deliver a no deal Brexit and alongside the SNP to help progress towards an independent Scotland.
    Perhaps it’s part of a fiendishly cunning plan, learnt from the debacle of the AV referendum, that Lib Dems are more likely to get what they want if they claim to want the opposite; apparent opposition to Brexit and Scottish independence was just a clever ruse. It makes me look at tuition fees in a different light: after all, the party seems suspiciously keen on them these days. Either that, or one would have to question the party’s competence over the last several years. 😉

  • Richard Underhill. 28th Dec '20 - 3:15pm

    27th Dec ’20 – 5:29pm
    Please consider batteries for electric cars, which is possibly the biggest area where a government with political ambitions could “invest” large sums of money and cause competition at low prices which neighbouring countries could fear. Should we remember the Westland helicopter problem which affected the ambitions of cabinet members and could have affected the MP we had at Yeovil.

  • Richard Underhill. 28th Dec '20 - 4:27pm

    A few thoughts on government investment in business. Michael Heseltine is a businessman as well as a politician and modestly truthful abut his role in trying to sell aircraft such as Concord(e) to a keen customer such as the Shah of Iran, politically secure?
    but London to Paris is only a short hop and the Tupolev was offering something similar.
    In Yes Minister there is a list of industrial investments from Sir Humphrey, including nuclear power, which has other problems so that even Dr David Owen was opposed.
    An American car executive called De Lorean was trapped in his own car with maximum publicity, although it did manage to soak up regional unemployment for a while. A computer centre was built in Fleetwood, north of Blackpool, for the same reason without diagnosing the future of computerised telephony.

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