Whoever you are, the Liberal Democrats will stand up for you

The party’s latest party political broadcast provides a good summary of our aims as we move past “Stop Brexit”:

The accompanying blurb also gives a good statement of our priorities:

The Liberal Democrats are working hard to tackle the big issues that people are facing across the UK.

✔︎ Ensuring a properly resourced NHS, to provide the highest quality care for our loved ones

✔︎ Fighting to reverse police cuts, to protect our communities from violent crime

✔︎ Protecting our environment. We’ve already done more to fight the climate emergency than any other party

✔︎ Building high-quality, reliable public transport links across the UK

✔︎ Investing in world-class education, to give our children the best start possible in life

We want to see an open, inclusive, outward-looking and optimistic United Kingdom.

That’s who we are. That is what we will be. And that is the future we will build.

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37 Comments

  • Michael Kitching 22nd Feb '20 - 4:42pm

    It’s not really a vision, an argument or a strategy though is it. It’s just a statement of various platitudes that could and in one way or another do apply to every other party.

  • David Becket 22nd Feb '20 - 5:47pm

    Nicky Tyrone sums this up very well.
    It is motherhood and apple pie. We have the policies but we seem incapable of promoting them in a way that catches the imagination.
    If it is the same team responsible for the web site change is needed.

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Feb '20 - 6:57pm

    A younger member, commenting in an email to me on the Social Contract policy proposed on this site recently by myself and Michael BG, helpfully suggested a message of ‘joined-up thinking’ for our party, thus: “One intelligent solution would be to integrate a real, outrage-driven response to poverty into a progressive economic policy and the excellent climate-change policy passed at Bournemouth.” This is along the right lines, I agree – to concentrate on strong, simple summary messages on matters we really care passionately about, such as the relief of poverty in our country.

  • Warren Clarke 22nd Feb '20 - 7:01pm

    Considering the devastating effects of the floods around the country in recent weeks, I’d like to see our party take the lead in proposing a huge investment in flood defences. I’d rather the government spend 100 billion on those than on HS2; it will need an investment on that scale to make a difference. If we could link that to our climate change policy and an agricultural policy, we could present it as our policy for the environment. Protecting communities and our countryside should be a priority in our vision for the future and would surely be approved and supported by the vast majority of people.

  • Nigel Jones 22nd Feb '20 - 7:39pm

    We certainly need joined up thinking; I suggested this yesterday on LDV in response to the debate about immigration. That is the only way to get a few major messages, but it will take a little time to develop. A list of policy items is nowhere near a message. It has to be part of it, so long as (unlike the one here) it majors on the economy and inequality. Inequality covers taxation, welfare, health, housing, education etc.. and shows very much the need for linking different areas of policy. I have been frustrated at least once in recent years by the inability of our FCC and FPC to accept amendments to motions that link the area being debated to other areas. For example, they refused to accept a link between what goes on in our schools and other local authority services, when there is loads of evidence that this link is extremely strong. I am disappointed in seeing so far, little indication of the changes needed in our party.

  • David Becket 22nd Feb '20 - 7:42pm

    Agreed Nigel. I am hoping for change and think it may be possible, but when a spokesperson for Voice approves of this video it shows the culture change we must make.

  • Colin Paine 23rd Feb '20 - 8:02am

    Human rights, not just in the UK? Protecting an independent Judiciary? Freedom of speech? Internationalism? The ticklist is worthy enough but it’s these things that make us different.

  • Katharine Pindar ‘s young member nailed it with the “to integrate a real, outrage-driven response to poverty into a progressive economic policy and the excellent climate-change policy”…

    Boris Johnson has been conspicuous by his absence in the flood crisis, he hid in a fridge to avoid questions and wouldn’t even view ‘the boy on the floor’ photos…In short he doesn’t like direct confrontation.
    He is a bully who waffles and smirks and this party should ditch the ‘mom and apple pie’ approach, target Johnson on specific points and hammer them home.
    A PPB should have coverage of flooded homes, NHS overcrowding, etc. with a “Where’s Boris?” slogan.
    It seems that those writing PPBs have no insight into what people are talking about; tap into their discontent and fan it. As the young member said, “Outrage!”

  • Paul Murray 23rd Feb '20 - 9:08am

    “Liberal Democrats want to see an open, inclusive, outward looking and optimistic United Kingdom”.

    What parties are campaigning for a “closed, exclusionary, inward looking and pessimistic United Kingdom”?

    Because unless you can take your campaign messages, reverse them and they still make some sort of sense then you’re not really saying anything of substance.

  • Steve Trevethan 23rd Feb '20 - 9:10am

    Might we stand up for Julian Assange?
    So doing would be standing up for freedom of speech, freedom of reporting, reduction of manipulation of our judicial system, and decent conditions for at least one actual, if unlabled as such, political prisoner, reduction of our subservient relationship with the USA, ditto imbalanced extradition treaty arrangements and understandings.
    Might we so stand against this attempt by the USA to dominate international news media and judicial matters in other countries?

  • Gwyn Williams 23rd Feb '20 - 11:40am

    What parties are campaigning for a “closed, exclusionary, inward looking and pessimistic United Kingdom”?
    The Tories!

  • John Marriott 23rd Feb '20 - 12:38pm

    Still agonising about what liberalism stands for, hey? Forget about the fine words, mission statements, strap lines and promises etc. For me at least, the reason why I am where I am on the political spectrum can be summed up by the words of the late Robert F Kennedy:
    “Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why NOT”.

    That might make me a Conservative Liberal, even a Liberal Conservative, or even a radical. For some that might make me just a utopian. Whatever I am, it’s clear that I’m not in the majority… unfortunately.

    One thing I would say, with all this handwringing and navel gazing coming from the Lib Dems and now the Labour Party is that neither has a divine right to exist so it might be time to find a new kid on the block. One thing is certain is that whatever the motley crew is that makes up the opposition, there will always be a good 40% of the electorate who would be considered Conservative, both with a large and small ‘c’. Does anyone remember the posters from the 1959 General Election: “Life is better under the Conservatives. Don’t let a Labour ruin it”?

  • @ John Marriott “Does anyone remember the posters from the 1959 General Election: “Life is better under the Conservatives. Don’t let a Labour ruin it”?” Yes, indeed I do, John, but five years later Harold Wilson defeated the Tories. Within 18 months he had increased his overall majority to 99.

    Liberal slogan in ’64 ? …… ‘Think for yourself, Vote Liberal’.

    In 1966, ‘For All the People, the Liberal Plan for 1966’….

    One more Lib M.P. then than now, a whole lot of radical thinking going on and some talented people in the Liberal Party.

    Sorry, but in 2020, now the one trick pony policy has bit the dust, there’s a bit of a policy vacuum.

  • Yes, also remember- and very much miss, the late Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and the imprisoned Nelson Mandela.

    Rooting for Bernie now. Still have a dream..

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Feb '20 - 8:27pm

    Yes, expats, we do need outrage, at what the poorest and unluckiest people of this country are suffering, and sadly are likely to suffer more under this government. For a start there is the rise in Council Tax, which is a matter of hardship to the badly-off. Will the extravagant promises of Boris Johnson mean local government being enabled to afford better services for local people, or be enabled to build more social housing? Don’t hold your breath for that.

    Yes, we do need joined-up thinking, Nigel, and besides my young friend’s emphasis on relief of poverty, progressive economic policies and climate-change policy, please recall that the Social Contract policy proposed by Michael BG and myself honed in on five current needs, echoing the Beveridge ideas – ‘poverty, poor health, lack of skills and training, homelessness and unemployment’. Where we Lib Dems see great need, there we must surely react. We do have the principles and the policies to build on, but my friend was complaining of the party’s seeming to lack passion. Let’s show that we do have the passion to fight the ills that we can clearly see.

  • ” Let’s show that we do have the passion to fight the ills that we can clearly see.”

    Yes, Katharine, it’s clear and very obvious that there’s a political gap for policies based on the sincere high moral ground……. and a bit of true righteous indignation…. coming from a future Lib Dem leadership

    I just wish the party would stop getting the jitters about vertigo and rediscovered itself.

    We need a Bernie or Bernadette in the UK.

  • Labour spent he last decade being “outraged” about austerity, and it got them precisely nowhere. Part of the reason Alexander Johnson won is that people are tired of being told that their country, their lives, their towns are s**t, isn’t it awful. For most people, most of the time, it’s OK – certainly compared to the rest of the world. They’re tired of pessimism.

    Manufacturing outrage isn’t going to win us anything. Coming up with sound, costed, coherent policies to set people free to make their own decisions will.

  • I always recall the take on the slogan “Life is better under the Conservatives” at the time of the Profumo scandal!!!

  • Barry Lofty 24th Feb '20 - 2:43pm

    Speaking for myself I feel even more pessimistic since the election of this present government, they need to be closely monitored at all times.

  • James Fowler 24th Feb '20 - 5:37pm

    I thought the PPB had very nice production values but I would be very surprised if it cut through. At this point though I doubt many people are receptive. Boris must be given his chance and in four years or so he’ll ask for another one – that’s the moment for us to think about. It’s easy enough to guess what he’s going to say: ‘I’ve governed jolly well for a few years but I just need another four or so to really sort things out. BTW, the rest of them are dangerous lefties who would go crawling back to Europe and let the SNP run England’. What do we think his weak spots might be?

  • Peter Hirst 24th Feb '20 - 7:19pm

    What we need is not so much new policy as innovative ways of promoting our existing policies that this PPB does. Does anyone look at the content of each PPB to see how much is new? Forming a link between them might seem unlikely to win votes though it is amazing how good many people’s memories are.

  • “Whoever you are, the Liberal Democrats will stand up for you”

    Homophobes, transphobes, racists, holocaust deniers, anti-vaxxers

    Are those in the ‘whoever’ the Lib Dems will stand up for.

    This is vacuous platitudism. Since 2015 the LIb Dems haven’t had a strategy, that was masked by Brexit which gave the party a tactical, if not strategic direction. Now that is (to an extent) over the party has reverted again to a strategy free direction.

  • @Hywel “This is vacuous platitudism. Since 2015 the LIb Dems haven’t had a strategy, that was masked by Brexit which gave the party a tactical, if not strategic direction. Now that is (to an extent) over the party has reverted again to a strategy free direction.”

    Indeed, all the more incredible given there is a huge and Liberal-sized hole in British politics at the moment. We have two socialist parties; one with vaguely socially liberal (though avowedly top down) policies, one with socially conservative policies.

    See where the gap is?

  • TCO 24th Feb ’20 – 9:13am….Labour spent he last decade being “outraged” about austerity, and it got them precisely nowhere…….

    The second half of the last decade was taken up almost entirely with ‘Brexit’ and, in the first half, austerity was championed by a Tory/LibDem coalition.

    As for ‘most people’s lives being OK’ you must live in an ivory tower…Ask ‘most people’ about the floods, the NHS, social care, etc. and you’ll find they are anything but happy.
    If you believe that outrage at those problems has to be ‘manufactured’ then your ivory tower hasn’t any windows.

  • @expats you’re completely missing the point (which is unsurprising, as you are a self-declared unreconstructed top-down socialist).

    One of the many reasons why Corbyn failed to get traction was that he (and Labour) spent years telling people things were terrible, their towns were terrible, and they had the solution. That’s not what people want to hear. They make their own judgement on their own circumstances.

    What they want (and need) is help to help themselves, in certain circumstances.

  • TCO 26th Feb ’20 – 8:53am………[email protected] you’re completely missing the point (which is unsurprising, as you are a self-declared unreconstructed top-down socialist)…….That’s not what people want to hear. They make their own judgement on their own circumstances….What they want (and need) is help to help themselves, in certain circumstances……………..

    It is you who are missing the point…The reason Boris Johnson won was because he did the exact opposite of your claim; he promised a simple cure-all to complex problems; Brexit.
    Why think for yourself when the answer can be summed up in three words, “Get Bexit Done”.

    As for my political view “a self-declared unreconstructed top-down socialist” is not quite right, Howver, when Labour promised to build affordable homes, put money into social services , the NHS, etc. it was “unaffordable socialist ideas from the 1970s”. The current Tory grandoise plans, running into uncosted £billions, are somehow seen differently .

  • @expats “It is you who are missing the point…The reason Boris Johnson won was because he did the exact opposite of your claim; he promised a simple cure-all to complex problems; Brexit.
    Why think for yourself when the answer can be summed up in three words, “Get Bexit Done”.”

    Nope. We were talking about “austerity”, not Brexit. Labour famously faced all ways on Brexit, but only one way on austerity. And the fact that both Labour and the Conservatives are now top-down state interventionist parties opens up a huge gap for a bottom up, market-friendly Liberal Party.

  • TCO 26th Feb ’20 – 11:25am……[email protected] ..Nope. We were talking about “austerity”, not Brexit.

    Nope; we were talking generally about policies to get elected. It was you who decided to identify ‘austerity’ as the reason for Labour’s failure (and, hence, Johnson’s win).

  • Julian Tisi 26th Feb '20 - 1:26pm

    @TCO “Labour spent he last decade being “outraged” about austerity, and it got them precisely nowhere. Part of the reason Alexander Johnson won is that people are tired of being told that their country, their lives, their towns are s**t, isn’t it awful. For most people, most of the time, it’s OK – certainly compared to the rest of the world. They’re tired of pessimism.”

    Completely agree, except I did have to google who Alexander Johnson was!!

  • The comments here clearly show the huge problem the party now faces before it can even start to recover. In essence our task is very simple, we need to find something that differentiates us from the other two main UK wide parties in a way that will make a significantly larger number of people vote for us.

    The sad truth is that the motto “A nice party that want to do good stuff for people” as exemplified by this PPB doesn’t cut it and never will.

    However, what has made our party’s plight almost intractable over the years is that in what is a FPTP two party system across England, there are very few opportunities for differentiation. Essentially for almost all national issues that people use to decide how to vote, the solution is almost always binary and Conservative have consistently taken take one side and Labour the other.

    Over the years there have only been two strategies that have come close to delivering success.

    The first was the ALDC, community politics long haul strategy, winning by proving we were better than both of the others, working for our local communities. That nearly doubled our MPs from six in 1959 to eleven in 1955, nearly doubled it again to 20 in 992, and then nearly tripled it to 62 by 2005, but was deemed far to slow by enthusiastic newcomers like Nick Clegg who could do much more and did by squandering it all and reducing us back to 8 in just five years.

    The second approach was developed by Tim Farron, in response to the twin crises facing our party and our country in 2017, and gave us our one policy where we were clearly on a different path from the other two major parties – Remain. However, this was again squandered by an impatient leader who wanted to win quick and persuaded herself that she could but instead she destroyed it all.

    We are now at a crossroads and have just two options a long and drawn out battle to build up once again from the bottom up, or a quick charge on the road to oblivion, pretending we can do it this time, because some of us would rather lose it all than accept facts.

    The choice is ours.

  • Finger trouble in previous post. What it should have said was:-

    That nearly doubled our MPs from six in 1959 to eleven in 1979, nearly doubled it again to 20 in 1992, and then nearly tripled it to 62 by 2005.

    Apologies

  • @David Evans “The second approach was developed by Tim Farron, in response to the twin crises facing our party and our country in 2017, and gave us our one policy where we were clearly on a different path from the other two major parties – Remain. However, this was again squandered by an impatient leader who wanted to win quick and persuaded herself that she could but instead she destroyed it all.”

    You really give Nelson a run for his money in the one-eyed stakes.

    Farron squandered the golden opportunity he was given by failing to get his position straight (pardon the pun) on gay marriage in the two years in the run up to the 2017 election, and was ripped apart for this basic oversight as a result.

    He went on to get even fewer votes in 2017 than your bete noire Nick Clegg got at his nadir in 2015, thereby making his successor’s task far harder than it should have been.

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