What we can learn from Corbyn and Boris….and Sanders and Trump

We’ve all noticed that Jeremy Corbyn has jumped dramatically from rank outsider to Labour leadership  favourite. An old school leftie, in sandals and a beard (bear with me Liberals, I’m not against sandals and beards!) seems set to tap into a Labour rank and file zeitgeist not many thought was there a few weeks ago. Whilst the Boris star may have been dampened a little with water canon etc since he arrived in Westminster, he still electrifies any campaign he’s involved in.  And a mop-haired loon with a habit of putting his foot in his mouth, and a track record of scandalous romantic dalliances, is more of a campaign weapon for the Tories than almost any Saville Row suited safe choice braying about elimination of the fiscal deficit and family values.

Across the pond, maverick Independent Bernie Sanders is giving the establishment candidate for the Democratic nomination a run for her money (yes, a woman can be the safe establishment choice too). On the Republican side “The Donald”, with his mirth-inducing hair piece and boundless self belief in his eccentric world view, is posing a headache for the more mainstream Bush, Cruz etc.

What binds these politicians together apart from the fact that they’re enjoying surprisingly good poll ratings? It’s all about authenticity, stupid. Electorates have switched off from the usual platitudes. They want character. There’s a real yearning for authenticity, for voices and views we can identify with.

So what does that mean for us? I’m proud to say that Lib Dems are not short on mavericks and those out of step with the mainstream. Yet when it comes to selections I fear that we are encouraging, even training, people to fit an identikit mould. To curry favour amongst selection Committees and local members, women are trained to present an image of cliched polished professionalism, down to how much jewellery to wear and what is tasteful make up and clothing. It’s like we’re going for the lowest common denominator, trying to present bland clones who will pass muster with local members.

What I think the electorate really want is authenticity and diversity. People are crying out to hear people like them, or people they identify with, taking up issues they care about.  That’s got to include people who don’t fit the same old formula, be they ethnically diverse, women, LGBT, disabled, young, old. Passionate, articulate, informed, yes. But not just more of the same.

And how do we get these people in front of the electorate? Well at the moment I fear that local members won’t give these people enough of a chance. They’ll be awkwardly trying to shoe-horn themselves into the image of what they think the local members will vote for.

I’m not saying quotas are a perfect solution for anything but I do believe that if we used them to encourage more women, BAME etc candidates, we’d encourage broader diversity across the board – wider age spectrum, people who are disabled and LGBT, BAME women etc, climate change activists, experts on housing finance. This should still be accompanied by training and mentoring and culture change in local parties. But let’s help people to be more themselves and authentic voices to project liberal values to the electorate.

When I was a kid in the Highlands, I was so impressed when my local MP won a spectacular victory against the local Tory. An articulate, fun, red-haired 23 year old succeeded where many others across the country failed. And, until the final unavoidable SNP tsunami,  the electorate stuck with Charles Kennedy through personal problems and vacillating polls.  They voted for him because they valued him for being authentic. British politics is crying out for more of that.

* Siobhan Mathers is a former Policy Convener of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and a former target seat candidate.

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45 Comments

  • Siobhan Mathers:

    Too much o the ‘authenticity’ is not authentic. Can you be sure that the allure is not simply for the appearance of authenticity? Do you really believe that those you mention in your article have not well honed their images? These are people who have established themselves as contrarians.

    There are obvious dangers in conflating being authentic with being a maverick.

    I do not think that Norman Lamb is any less authentic than Tim Farron, in fact from my perspective Norman is rather more authentic, but Tim Farron has more of the maverick quality that can attract attention which I hope may benefit the Party.

    Diversity is quite different to authenticity and exemplified by the fact that the politicians you cite are all older white men. Are you saying that there was a lack of diversity in the candidates at the last election? There was certainly a lack of diversity amongst those the voters elected, but that is different. In fact if you want to make assertions of “what the electorate really want”, you have to be very careful to distinguish between those who appeal to a distinct sub-section and those who have more general appeal. Neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Donald Trump have that wider appeal.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 12:44pm

    John Alderdice and David Ford also have beards
    http://www.libdems.org.uk/john_alderdice
    http://davidford.org/

  • I think it’s as much about language as background. I’ve learnt that anyone using phrases such as ‘postcode lottery’ ‘race to the bottom’ ‘you can’t trust the Tories on …..’ And ‘sharing the proceeds of growth’ has no chance of being heard beyond a very narrow bubble. If we are serious about doing more outside Westminster, can we change how to talk to match this?

  • Maybe having real solutioins for many of todays problems is something that might help.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 1:01pm

    “In 1991, Sanders co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and chaired the grouping of mostly liberal Democrats for its first eight years. In 1993,”
    Please note:- small l, large D, liberal means different things in different countries.

  • Simon McGrath 2nd Aug '15 - 1:02pm

    “I’m not saying quotas are a perfect solution for anything but I do believe that if we used them to encourage more women, BAME etc candidates, we’d encourage broader diversity across the board – wider age spectrum, people who are disabled and LGBT, BAME women etc, climate change activists, experts on housing finance”

    How do quotas encourage more climate change activists or experts on housing finance? What happens if a white female accounts is up against a male, gay expert on the finer rules of housing finance.

    More importantly do you have any evidence that constituencies prefer ‘identikit ‘ candidates? far too often the problem is that there is only a very small number of applicants in the first place

  • John Tilley 2nd Aug '15 - 1:05pm

    If Liberal Democrats are to learn from anyone called Sanders, it should be Adrian Sanders.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 1:06pm

    “Sanders said in 1998 that investment banks and commercial banks should remain separate entities.”
    Good idea, even now.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Aug '15 - 1:12pm

    @John Tilley – Bernie has some good ideas and in these vote-match things most Lib Dems seem to end up closest to him. He won’t win the Democratic nomination, but his ideas are important.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 1:15pm

    “Sanders believes that “no single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure would send the world economy into crisis. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”
    What would he do with the cash pile called Apple?

  • Simon McGrath 2nd Aug '15 - 1:24pm

    @Richard “What would he do with the cash pile called Apple?” – i doubt he would do anything. The clue is in the phrase ‘cash pile’ rather than say ‘debt pile’

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 1:24pm

    “And how do we get these people in front of the electorate? Well at the moment I fear that local members won’t give these people enough of a chance. They’ll be awkwardly trying to shoe-horn themselves into the image of what they think the local members will vote for.”
    Not all Liberals or Liberal Democrats are former commandos, but Yeovil took one on. As leader Paddy Ashdown told the candidates at the Nottingham conference that Yeovil Liberals were in third place, “but if there were four candidates we would have been fourth”. Despite a lot of hard work he did not win in 1979. After even more hard work he was elected in 1983.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 1:51pm

    Caron Lindsay 2nd Aug ’15 – 1:12pm “Bernie … won’t win the Democratic nomination,”
    How about the Vice-Presidency if there is a female President?

  • Eddie Sammon 2nd Aug '15 - 2:21pm

    Good article and debate. One problem is that it is easier to be “authentic” if you are financially secure or have a “safe” parliamentary seat. It is also easier if you can identity or build a power base that largely agrees with you.

    Trump’s argument for the United States to have proper borders would resonate with people in the UK if we were not an island. It sounds like common sense. But his attitude towards economics does not sound like common sense. Rather than seeing developing countries grow as a sign of economic stability he sees it as ‘America losing jobs’.

    Corbyn is already reaching out to the centre by calling for party unity, but I do get worried in a selfish way about the rise of radicals. When they are of the left I worry that I will never be able to save for retirement because taxes will go up. They say they will provide a state pension, but who is going to pay for it? it sounds like a message of equal poverty.

    By the way, to the sub debate about finance reform: a lot of this is driven by people who don’t work in finance and arguably don’t care enough about it. Philosophical reasons aside, I’d never support big attacks on finance because I’d likely be attacking myself.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 3:33pm

    We should remember that Labour is voting on a preferential system, but we should leave well alone.
    This is Labour’s problem. We should follow what Tim Farron said about Labour being authoritarian.

    A younger Paddfy Ashdown and a younger Tony Blair made common cause on some isues in opposition.
    Charles Kennedy did not, because he thought he was being used and because he disaagreed about Iraq.
    A younger Nick Clegg and a younger David Cameron made common cause on some isues in opposition.

    It is too early for anything similar to happen between our leader and whoever wins the Labour leadership,
    and there is also the SNP.
    Before the 2020 general election there will be an IN? OUT? EU referendum.

  • John Tilley 2nd Aug '15 - 4:24pm

    “… people who don’t fit the same old formula, be they ethnically diverse, women, LGBT, disabled, young, old. Passionate, articulate, informed, yes. But not just more of the same.

    And how do we get these people in front of the electorate? Well at the moment I fear that local members won’t give these people enough of a chance. ”

    If people from these groups get themselves elected to local councils, get majorities on local councils, they will become the obvious candidates for parliaments, Natinal assembles etc.
    By building a base in their communities working with people to take power the will also gain the knowledge and experience to turn being a parliamentary candidate into being an MP.

  • Matt (Bristol) 2nd Aug '15 - 8:03pm

    Can I just say I don’t think Trump is the candidate of authenticity, he is the candidate of the bloody nose for the elite; and all we have to go on is opinion polls, not infallible crystal balls.

    (The irony is he is just a dissident part of the elite, not in any way an antidote to it).

    FANTASY POLITICS WARNING: I had a happy half hour day-dreaming about a scenario in which Trump gained the Republican nomination, Jeb Bush repudiated him and Hilary picked Jeb as her running mate…

  • Paul In Wokingham 2nd Aug '15 - 8:29pm

    @John Tilley – Bernie Sanders’ campaign just organized over 3,500 meetings in homes across the USA which drew over 100,000 people .His town hall meetings have also been drawing massive crowds. Bernie Sanders is a phenomenon: and one which UK Liberal Democrats would do well to look to if the party is to have the least hope of survival. I might point you to the recent endorsement by Ben and Jerry (of ice cream fame) who comment on Sanders’ campaign to stop corporations being treated as people for the purposes of campaign finance as evidence of his commitment to reverse the slide of US “democracy” into ever deeper plutocracy.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 8:40pm

    Jeb Bush was Governor of Florida when obsolete punched card election machinery gave an indecisive result, the Republicans took the case to the Supreme Court, who wondered “Why?” but eventually chose George W Bush.

    The President nominates Suprem Court justices.
    For the sake of democracy in the USA it is essential that a Democrat is elected as President, although it may not be sufficient, because Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life and are approved,or not, by Congress.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 8:42pm

    FANTASY POLITICS
    Imagine a recall election in California in which a Republican film star, married to a member of the Kennedy family, is elected as Governor.
    It happened.

  • @John Tilley “If Liberal Democrats are to learn from anyone called Sanders, it should be Adrian Sanders.”

    What about Colonel Sanders?

    @Dr David Hill “With the Lib-Dems and a ‘New Old labour’ in a coalition government”

    Not whilst there’s breath in my body.

  • Jane Ann Liston 2nd Aug '15 - 11:09pm

    Your article struck several chords, Siobhan. I recall murmurs about a very talented cllr in Edinburgh who was a parliamentary candidate, because of the style of her earrings! I myself apparently was considered impossible to vote for by a supporter because of my clothes (long floral skirts, as I recall) and while in office was rebuked by a fellow LibDem for wearing all-yellow to council meetings!

    It is the one disadvantage of candidate selection by the local members. If the membership is mainly composed of retired bank managers and the like, who mainly enjoy playing bridge and golf, then they are likely to prefer candidates who are ‘people like us’. Happily, the new members will be from a wider range of people, and should therefore be more open to less stereotyped candidates.

  • (Matt Bristol) 3rd Aug '15 - 9:49am

    RIchard Underhill, I agree the Republican ‘machine’ is highly suspect and undemocratic. I think Trump’s candidacy shows grassroots realisation of this, in a way.

    However, I am being semi-serious when I say that if Trump was to win the nomination (unlikely as it seems), it could cause a split in the ‘official’ Republican party and centre-leaning Democrats would seriously contemplate doing a deal with the Republican devil to win all of what was left of the ‘centre’. Where this would leave the Democratic left represented by Sanders is anyone’s guess.

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Aug '15 - 10:05am

    (Matt Bristol) 3rd Aug ’15 – 9:49am
    We should not ignore registered independent voters, who were so important to Barack Obama’s campaigns.

  • Simon Banks 3rd Aug '15 - 10:37am

    I think Martin has partly missed the point. Yes, people like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage cultivate an image and are often profoundly dishonest, but Siobhan is right to say they appear straightforward to many voters. This is because they don’t always muffle what they say for fear it might seem extreme or contradictory to party orthodoxy – and because they use normal English rather than Westminsterese or Bureaucratese or Management-theory-speak.

    We used to be quite good at this ourselves. Used to be.

    One of the most serious weaknesses we developed in the last ten years or more was a growing divide between the leadership (by which I don’t just mean the Leader) and the activists. It didn’t help to have a Leader who’d never really been an activist. We had many excellent MPs and candidates, but I do see some point in what Siobhan says about candidate training and selection. The attempt to produce a more professional body of candidates tended to iron out the most interesting things. People do not necessarily reject voting for candidates who dress a bit differently or are even a bit odd in some way (Douglas Carswell is a bit odd in several ways and Tim Farron’s behaviour and religious beliefs are not necessarily what the focus group would recommend).

    The media makes things worse by describing honest outspoken words as gaffes. But the public don’t necessarily dislike such “gaffes”.

    If what Siobhan says about advice given to female candidates is right, it’s grossly sexist (though one can imagine a degree of similar advice going to male candidates about suede shoes or length of hair, say). In assessing people’s suitability to be candidates, how much weight do we give to a record of activism – which need not necessarily be Liberal Democrat activism?

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Aug '15 - 11:13am

    Much of political discussion since the election this year made the assumption that ordinary people work on a strict left-right political way of thinking, so the success of the Conservatives and failure of Labour in that election meant we all needed to move to the right politically.

    Ordinary people do not think like that. Mostly if you have a discussion on politics with someone who is not political, what you find it veering one way and the other, a combination of views, some of which would be considered very left-wing and others very right-wing. Of course, it is often somewhat incoherent. Part of the issue is that those of us who are more politically involved have thought about these things more carefully, developed a sense of balance, and so end up seeming weak and uninterested in what ordinary people are saying because we always have this “But you can’t do that because …” mentality which holds us back, and actually quite rightly.

    This mixes with the dominance of the political right in the national media, and also in informal political discussion due to the huge amounts of money being pumped into economic right-wing pressure groups to push politics that way. So, what happens is that those who have power and influence pick out from the incoherent attitudes of ordinary people those aspects of them which suit their right-wing beliefs and from that say “Look, this shows that to win in politics you have to move right”.

    The SNP in Scotland, and now Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters across the UK have shown you can play the same game the other way round. I’m sort of pleased to see it, as it re-balances debate from where it has got pushed, but if it carries on I think it will re-awaken the moderate in me, after years in which I found myself seeming to be an extreme leftist in the company of the sort of people I now find even in Liberal Democrat circles.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Aug '15 - 11:28am

    Simon Banks

    We had many excellent MPs and candidates, but I do see some point in what Siobhan says about candidate training and selection. The attempt to produce a more professional body of candidates tended to iron out the most interesting things.

    This has been a long-term issue in our party, and in fact was what a lot of the SDP-Liberal disagreement was about during the time of the Alliance, not at all how those who weren’t around at that time now tend to paint it. It was also behind a lot of the left-right divisions in the old Liberal Party.

    The long-standing division has been between those who argued that to succeed we needed to be “proper politicians”, with a “professional” appearance, top-down managerial approach to the party and so on, and those who argued that to succeed we needed to be the opposition to that sort of thing and so to offer a very different and unconventional form of politics. The SDP were largely on the side of the former, after all it was formed by politicians at the top who had fallen out with party members. The Liberal Party was more on the side of the latter, due to it having been revived by people who did so because they wanted something different from the conventional, but it was more evenly divided with plenty who agreed that the SDP approach was needed to break out of the “beards and sandals” image of the party which they thought was condemning it to be a permanent “protest party”, winning local elections and by-elections, but never making real permanent progress.

    One can see a lot of what Nick Clegg and those closest to him were saying was very much influenced by this way of thinking, with the Coalition being seen as the ideal opportunity to ditch the “beards and sandals” image and people who supported it completely. However, it was done at just the wrong time, at just the time when people had become really fed up with the “professional competency” image (which had also been at the heart of the Blairite success) and wanted something different.

  • John Tilley 3rd Aug '15 - 11:31am

    Paul In Wokingham 2nd Aug ’15 – 8:29pm

    During my lifetime there have more than once been hopeful signs in the primaries of the Democrats in the USA.
    Eugene McCarthy was a hero.
    Paul Ŵellstone another.
    Obama actually made it to The White House and has been better than I dared hope.
    I will check out Bernie Sanders as you have recommended him.

    My present view is that Hilary would be great on domestic policy within the USA but in the grip of the traditional lunatics on Middle East policy. I am amazed at her stamina and her determination to win but worry about some of the sacrifices she is prepared to make to get there.

  • Sadie Smith 3rd Aug '15 - 11:48am

    A lot of the similarities come down to speech. It is not just avoiding the awful normal political phrases, it is finding a simple understandable phrase to explain something a bit more complex. Trump overdoes it.
    I am not too fussed about getting and giving advice on image – remember that Nicola Sturgeon’s smart bright suit, killer heels ans good hairstyle did not blunt her impact. But she did use, and sometimes misuse, language to great effect.

  • From the article, “Lib Dems are not short on mavericks and those out of step with the mainstream. Yet when it comes to selections I fear that we are encouraging, even training, people to fit an identikit mould.”

    Absolutely about fitting people to an identikit mould. But are selections the main point where this happens? I suspect an even bigger influence is the bureaucratic way the Lib Dems are run and especially the way policy is made.

    The Lib Dems, much more than the Conservatives, have an official policy developed via a long and bureaucratic process so there is, in theory at least, a ‘correct’ policy on any given topic at any time. Even if a particular policy had passed in key committees or Conference by only 51 / 49% it would be very difficult to argue for the minority position. So diversity is lost and process dominates.

    Conversely with the Conservatives it’s impossible to imagine mavericks like Boris Johnson faithfully toeing the party line all the time (unless cabinet collective responsibility is involved) so there are always alternative views ‘bubbling under’ ready to come to the fore if/when he official position falters or the minority view strikes a chord with the public.

  • One thing that unifies all three mavericks, Corbyn, Sanders and Trump, is that they all strongly oppose the crony capitalist inspired TTIP although you will be very unlikely to read this in the crony-owned mainstream press. How much of this has filtered through to their grass roots support is hard to say although social media has made it possible to circumvent the MSM so I bet it’s a significant factor.

    At the very least it’s clear that Corbyn and Sanders represent the interests of ordinary people while Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush only represent the two sub-brands of the Wall Street party.

  • (Matt Bristol) 3rd Aug '15 - 1:36pm

    There is a piece in the ‘i’ today (totally independent and non-biased as it is – joke) partially about TOm Cruise and scientology and partially about how much celebrity ‘interviews’ with ‘infotainment’ outlets are sewn up with agreements between the respective parties about what is on and off limits.

    Unfortunately, this is now a major way people consume ‘news’ and most people are not as aware of this as they could be; so you see a nice, relaxed ‘honest’ chatty person dealing in what appears to all intents and purposes to be a frankk and straightforward way with some straight-talking and hey, even a little irreverent questions. (But it’s all effectively mapped out in advance) .

    Then you cross to the ‘news’ channel and you see a politician being grilled to within an inch of their life by a Paxman clone and looking very disomforted whilts it happens (partially because their press department have told them so many things to say and not to say as they try to anticipate the attack that they’re facing internal meltdown themselves trying to remember it all, I daresay).

    And then the ordinary person in the street thinks, ‘why can’t those lying b*st*rd politicians be more like the frank, open, relaxed normal celebrities? Politics is full of crooks!’

    So when either a frank, relaxed, obscure political figure who has been able to avoid or bypass the fierce glow of the political media spotlight steps up ot the plate (and avoids the press department’s script), or a celebrity speaks on sports and ‘infortainment’ programming about their political ambitions, relying on years of pre-established, packaged personality grooming and hiding the controversial issues down the back of the sofa, they look like a ‘breath of fresh air’.

    Don’t mean they are.

  • Jonathan Brown 3rd Aug '15 - 11:32pm

    Good article Siobhan.

    Although we do suffer from a lack of people putting themselves forward for selection I think we also suffer from an innate conservatism in who we select. I’m generally all right – I tick most of the ‘privilege’ boxes, and I can work out how to play the system.

    But as a keen members and supporter of EMLD I have an interest in diversity and have seen good people not make the cut too often. You can often see why – something ‘let them down’ or they just weren’t ‘local’ enough for the party members, but it does mean we miss out on a lot of great people who don’t quite fit the mold, or who aren’t very good at navigating the system.

    And I’m sure the same applies to other under-represented groups too.

  • Paul in Wokingham 4th Aug '15 - 9:35am

    Writing in The Telegraph today, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard discusses this weekend’s default by Puerto Rico. He notes that a group of vulture funds bought PR debt at distressed prices but are now demanding 100 cents in the dollar on the basis that PR budgets – such as for public education – are massively bloated and can stand some belt – tightening so that they – the bond holders – can be fully repaid. Meanwhile PR debt-to-GDP stands at 100% and is entering a Greek-style spiral.

    Whose side should Liberal Democrats be on? The bond holders who are demanding their legal right to compensation at full face value on the PR government issued debt they hold?; or the children of PR who face education spending cuts thatcan only further damage their life chances?

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Aug '15 - 10:51am

    (Matt Bristol)

    And then the ordinary person in the street thinks, ‘why can’t those lying b*st*rd politicians be more like the frank, open, relaxed normal celebrities? Politics is full of crooks!

    In part this is due to a concerted anti-democratic campaign pushed by the business elite who are our real rulers in this country. There has been a deliberate intent to push the message “politics is bad” in order to justify a shift to control by the business elite, and where they can’t persuade people to vote for their parties they persuade them instead not to vote at all, which works just as well. People like Jeremy Paxman are part of the anti-democracy campaign. That is why I despise that man and all he does and all he says and all he stands for. Remember also that celebrity worship is the new religion, with the celebrities being the manufactured idols those really in charge put up in order to exert control through that religion.

    Of course, the issue is that real politicians have to come up with coherent policies that cover everything, and that means coming to a balance over competing demands. That seems weak and lacking in commitment, because dealing with that balance inevitably involves ifs-and-buts, when compared to celebrities and pressure groups and the like who can concentrate on one issue to the exclusion of everything else, and make out there are easy-peasy solutions to the problems of that issue and say nothing at all about the competing demands and the problems their supposed easy-peasy solutions would actually cause in a wider context.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Aug '15 - 11:01am

    Paul in Wokingham

    Whose side should Liberal Democrats be on? The bond holders who are demanding their legal right to compensation at full face value on the PR government issued debt they hold?

    There are plenty of cases where companies go bankrupt and those to whom they owe money, in corporate bonds and the like, end up never getting that money or only a proportion of it. Why should the same not apply to nations and states? If the point is reached where they really can’t pay back, that has to be accepted.

    Anyone who lends money does so with that risk. That is how it should have been treated with Greece. Quite clearly there was irresponsible lending, and those who lent irresponsibly should bear the consequences as much as those who borrowed irresponsibly. Rules for when a nation or state really cannot pay it back need to be established, and I think Greece has reached that point. “Bailing out” Greece by lending it more money wasn’t baling out Greece at all, it was baling out those who lent Greece the money. Some of that money was cynically lent because those who lent is knew it wold be passed back in spending to their country. Lending money to people who can’t pay it back in order for them to use it to your benefit, and then demanding they sell themselves into slavery to you when they show they can’t pay it back is a well-known irresponsible technique.

  • Why should the same not apply to nations and states? If the point is reached where they really can’t pay back, that has to be accepted

    Yes, and there’s a mechanism for that: the state prints the money to pay its debts, so the creditors receive the nominal value of their loans but lose out because of the inflation thus generated.

    Rules for when a nation or state really cannot pay it back need to be established

    They exist; the only reason they couldn’t be used in this case is because Greece, madly, wants to stay in the Euro.

  • Paul In Wokingham 4th Aug '15 - 5:12pm

    @Matthew – I couldn’t agree more.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Aug '15 - 10:48am

    Matthew Huntbach 4th Aug ’15 – 10:51am Please read what Jeremy Paxman wrote about the Norway debate.
    What he is saying is that the calibre of MPs is lower now, but complimentary about the former leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (a consultant psycho-therapist) http://www.libdems.org.uk/john_alderdice

  • Richard Underhill 11th Aug '15 - 3:12pm

    An opinion poll in The Times put JC on 53%. He advises caution. The Times has a paywall, but other media quote.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Aug '15 - 3:17pm

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33860521
    In the House of Commons First Minister and Chancellor George Osborne has said that he agrees that Jeremy Corbyn “would be a good leader of the Labour Party”. There was no immediate reply from JC.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Aug '15 - 6:43pm

    The Times page one columns one and two has JC on 53% of first preference votes, AB 21%, YC 18%, LK 8%.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Aug '15 - 6:55pm

    More women than men support JC, by 68% of women to 48% of men.
    You Gov in the Times also report that in the Labour deputy leadership race Tom Watson has 40% of the vote
    (first preference or outcome?) Stella Creasey is on 19%, Caroline Flint 17%, Angela Eagle 14%, Be Bradshaw 10%.

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