Welcome to my day: 27 September 2021 – it’s not going terribly well here, is it?

Good morning from Suffolk’s Gipping Valley where, in exciting news, I’m preparing to go to the office to work for the first time since last March. It’s going to be an odd sensation, as I’ve become a touch reclusive, but needs must, as they say.

Results from Germany indicate progress for our sister party in Germany, the Free Democrats, with the prospects of lengthy negotiations over the formation of a new administration. Will it be “Jamaica” – CDU/CSU, Greens and FDP – or “traffic light” – SPD, FDP and Greens – or is there another combination that can get across the line? At least the Alternative für Deutschland have been pushed into fifth place…

Elsewhere, San Marino has legalised abortion, albeit only up until the twelfth week of gestation, with a 77% vote in favour. And, on another brighter note, Swiss voters have decisively voted in favour of same-sex marriage in a nationwide referendum.

Apparently, on this day in 1066, William the Conqueror’s army set sail from Normandy with the aim of conquering England. Luckily for them, they didn’t need petrol when they arrived… Also on this day in 1540, the Jesuits were founded, going on to demonstrate organisation, compassion and discipline somewhat beyond the Johnson administration, whilst in 1905, a paper was published, written by a young physicist called Albert Einstein. “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” introduced the equation E=mc² – discuss how this formula can be applied in governance, perhaps?

So, what have we got for you today? Well, the “HGV crisis” is rather overwhelming ministerial attempts at news management, and we’ve got some thoughts on the issue from Chris Perry, Michal Siewniak and myself. Luckily, we’ve all approached the issue from different directions, which is nice.

I’ve also taken the perhaps dangerous step of discussing moderation policy, something I have some form on. Some of you probably won’t like what I’ve got to say…

And we’ve got a video which explains what the Party is doing to demonstrate its commitment to internationalism, especially salient given the recent restatement of our values.

But I’ve got a community bus to catch, assuming they’ve been able to get fuel for it, so, until later, it’s a good morning from me, and a good morning from him…

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice. His day job is something else.

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  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 27th Sep '21 - 11:45am

    @ Martin,

    Patience, mon ami, patience… it’ll turn up later this afternoon…

  • Is there going to be an article on The German Elections ? Theres a lot to talk about – as far as I can tell the Centre-Left/Progressive Parties got about two thirds of the Vote, something The British Media have failed to notice.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 27th Sep '21 - 1:18pm

    @ Paul,

    I may cover it later but we always (within reason) welcome contributions…

  • Sandy Walkington 28th Sep '21 - 9:39am

    Do we really think the FDP is our ‘sister party’? I got it back in the days of Genscher and School but no longer. I think we have far more in common with the German Greens. Just saying.

  • Agreed Sandy. From what I can gather from my limited understanding of German politics, the FDP has different priorities to us. I was told their priority is to lower taxes, while we’re usually promising a penny on income tax. Their name describes them as free marketeers, while we support regulated markets. We have a strong social democrat history and I don’t think that applies to them.

    It’s always tricky comparing parties between countries, and I also understand that the German Greens are much more right wing than the UK Greens. Of course, describing a party as left or right wing depends a lot on the point of view of the observer, but safe to say we should be wary of comparisons based on name alone.

    Merkel is supposed to be a ‘conservative’, but she couldn’t be more different to Johnson, and her party’s policy on immigration would terrify most UK Conservatives (and Labour).

  • Rob Harrison 28th Sep '21 - 11:07am

    Fiona‘s point is pertinent – to compare political parties between countries can be challenging because of different social conditions. But let me make some observations as a German citizen and resident on her and Sandy‘s comments.

    Germany‘s tax and social security take is much higher than that in the UK. Health and social care costs are funded by a seperate insurance-style levy. So whereas the Liberal Democrats propose funding the social care policy by increasing taxes, there is little need to promote a similar policy in Germany. Education is also better funded than in the UK. The FDP‘s policy in the recent election was based on consolidating public finances – the previous focus on tax reduction has long gone.

    The name Free Democrats does not imply a libertarian party in which there is no market control. On the contrary, the FDP has emphasised the need to ensure that markets are free and fair and not dominated by big business. There‘s a general acceptance of the social market economy within the party.

    The party has certainly changed in the last few years, after they were kicked out of the Bundestag eight years ago. There‘s a new generation of politicians who would describe themselves very much on the „social liberal“ scale of liberalism, focussing on opportunities for citizens, support for the less well-off, improving state schools, providing decent housing for all.

    The FDP‘s policy on carbon resembles that passed by our own party at the last conference . Germany has already started to introduce CO2 pricing in further sectors of the economy, including heating oil.

    I know that some LibDems look towards the Green Party as being a more natural home. Many in the current leadership of the Green Party have views similar to those in our party – but there is also an authoritarian undercurrent which can be quite disturbing.

    The good news is that one of the most likely coalition options coming out of the election will be a red-green-yellow (traffic light) coalition which could exploit the strengths of all the parties.

    (Full Disclosure: I am a member of the FDP and have been a candidate for the European Parliament)

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