Will we ever move forward if failure is seen to be richly rewarded?


Embed from Getty Images

I worked in the computer industry for my career.

I count myself lucky that I survived in a job that long.

But you have to be careful in industry.

I should imagine if a business manager spread a budget of £20 million over five times the area it should have been spread, with the result of modest failure rather than modest success, then she/he would be consigned to a dusty office with “special projects” written on the door for the rest of their career.

If a manager presided over a reduction in revenue of 80%, they would probably lose their job and join the dole queue.

But in the Liberal Democrat party such failure is rewarded with a cushy job for life (a peerage) or a job with a stupendous salary in sunny California*.

How on earth will there ever be an incentive to get things right, if there are such rich rewards for failure?

*I know such a reward is not directly in our gift but such jobs tend to follow when you can put “Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom” at the top of your CV. We were responsible for awarding that monicker.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

122 Comments

  • James Belchamber 12th Jan '20 - 10:25am

    This is an insulting piece which should be beneath any member of the party to write. That it was published here should be considered a failure of the editorial process.

    Shame on you Paul, and shame on the team that allowed you to publish this.

  • lloyd harris 12th Jan '20 - 10:29am

    To assume a leader who was only in the job a few months is totally responsible for the election and the loss of her seat was her fault is a bit harsh. Her seat should not have been lost, the party let her down so the fact she isn’t an MP is not her fault it is the parties fault. First past the post denied us seats, not the leader, we got 1.3 million more votes and net loss of one seat.
    Expecting Jo to spend 5 years away twiddling her thumbs and not bringing her talents to the the party is wrong. I would rather she was in the lords and tasked with dealing with reforming our group there, bringing her experience to amend legislation and pushing for the chamber to be replaced by an elected body. Going to the lords is a job, becoming a sir or a dame is a reward that I would be against. I want to see Jo working and not chucked on the scrap heap.

    We should not fall into the view like in football where the manager is blamed for poor performance by fans and they fail to take account of the players or the strength of the opposition.

  • Agreed.

    I worked for GEC. The company was destroyed by bad management. The managers responsible just moved on to cushy jobs elsewhere. That’s the nature of the old boy network. I can’t see a change while those at the top (pretty much a closed shop) control the hiring and perks of those at the top

  • What 20 million are you talking about and also the 80% reduction?.Are you talking about the coalition years? I ask questions to get answers.

  • James Belchamber 12th Jan ’20 – 10:25am………

    I fail to see what is ‘insulting’ about the article. Had it been written about Cameron or Blair getting on the ‘gravy train’ it would’ve been applauded on LDV.
    The facts speak for themselves; facing up to such hard truths is a commodity sadly lacking in today’s political debate

  • LiberallyLondon 12th Jan '20 - 10:49am

    This is really disappointing piece and as with James I question the process that allows it to have run in the form it has – do editors check each other’s posts before publication? I appreciate roles are voluntary – and the work of all editors is valued – but this really does seem personalised, ‘snipey’ and I struggle to see what it adds to the sum total of debate.

    From the post is the suggestion seriously that a private company should not be able to hire who they chose? And who has been given a peerage that oversaw ‘failure’ – unless the suggestion is Malcolm Bruce, Lynne Featherstone, Ming Campbell et al are in fact personally responsible for the 2015 result?

    The impact on many politicians lives if they lose their seat must be huge – from mortgages to living costs to what do you DO next? The fact we have 16 MEPs losing their work this month added to several MPs before Christmas this piece does seem rather tin-eared.

    There have been several pieces over the last week or so that seem to be baying for blood following this election, which clearly didn’t go how anyone wanted, but also was a chance to stop Brexit. People made a call on how best to try and achieve that (having tried, and failed, to get a peoples vote, suggesting a government of national unity and much more) and ultimately we did not do anywhere near as well as we hoped. The idea that for trying to do SOMETHING should result in some sort of ‘pariah status’ to atone seems ridiculous, and dare I say it another reason more people may not want to actually get involved with things.

  • John Marriott 12th Jan '20 - 10:56am

    @James Belchamber
    What’s wrong with you? Are you afraid of free speech? Remember the quote attributed to Voltaire? (“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”) Quite frankly your comment is unworthy of someone, whom proudly displays the Lib Dem logo on his posts.

    Paul Walter is someone, who has shown me personally the utmost courtesy when dealing with some of my less temperate remarks and explaining why it might be a good idea if they were not to see the light of day on LDV. The fact that I happen largely to agree with him is neither here nor there.

  • Graham Jeffs 12th Jan '20 - 11:14am

    We have had a decade of mismanagement at all levels. There is as yet no indication that there is a collective recognition at the highest levels in the party that they are largely responsible for this.

    Pompous efforts to throw dust in the eyes because these comments strike home simply enables the incompetent to hide.

    I’ll say it again: a party organisation that sends out an email to members sneering at Corbyn and Johnson for being “white, old, leave men” is in the hands of the unhinged. Too often we say or do things that are at variance with common-sense, consistency of approach and any recognition of the ramifications. “PC” is not the same as “liberal” and pseudo-intellectualising on this site is going to get us nowhere.

    If we do not sort this incompetence, the party definitely has no future.

  • Peter Davies 12th Jan '20 - 11:15am

    The stupendous salary in California was awarded by the computer industry that you hold up as the model. There are a lot of people in that industry who got management jobs to stop them getting anywhere near the code.

  • Welcome to the awkward squad Paul. Yes you are right too many of our leadership failed upward and had no skin in the game, perhaps if they did they wouldn’t have been so willing to tag along with call me Dave and throw the local councillors under the bus. I suspect the same template will happen to our brave Brexi’s and Lexi’s, in a decade or so some will regret their leadership has failed upwards and they are under a bus while some will still burble ” Tis lovely under this bus”.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 12th Jan '20 - 11:27am

    Paul, in another article the other day, you seemed positive about the possibility of Jo Swinson being given a peerage. But in this article you seem to say that “failure” should not be “rewarded” with a peerage. There seems a contradiction here?
    It was Facebook, not the party, that “rewarded” Nick Clegg with his current job. In the note at the end of your article you acknowledge this, but seem to blame the party for allowing him to have the title “Deputy Prime Minister”, which would look good on his CV. But the party allowed him to have the role of Deputy Prime Minister before it knew what a disaster the coalition would turn out to be.
    Perhaps unsuccessful leaders should not be rewarded with peerages. But I don’t see how we can actually prevent them from being “rewarded” in the way Nick Clegg has been.

  • Bravo. The truth needs telling. I applaud this and hope that those angry at Paul’s words can take off the blinkers for five seconds. The very idea of the House of Lords is insulting and every Lib Dem and Labour member that takes their place on this gravy train should be ashamed. Enough is enough and it needs saying.

  • In the computer industry actually any industry I’ve ever been involved with failing people are seldom sacked ( on the few times they have been the tremors that cascade through the organisation are a wonder to behold) they are assigned to ” special projects” or given a title and a role such as diversity champion and left out of the loop of anything that matters. The main things that matter to staff are ” Are we winning business”, ” Am I going to get a payrise”, ” Have I a future here”, ” Will they treat me well” anything else is at most an irrelevance and the same is true of voters.

  • The real question is how we can build a party in which members can exercise real control.
    We have achieved what the Chartists campaigned for and a bit more in terms of democracy. The question is how we move beyond that, from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first in one leap. I do not have the answers, especially as they will no doubt involve the use of the internet. I do know that the way our conference and elections are arranged almost guarantee there never will be answers.
    Most people want to be involved in making decisions but they do not want to attend largely meaningless meetings, especially ones where the business is largely decided in advance. If, starting at a local level, we can find better ways of doing this, we will have something to campaign about.

  • A number of high ups in the Coalition did well afterwards, we have no say in that but what we don’t have to say is ” They did really well, we are so proud of them. Hurray for Nick, hurrah for Danny etc, etc”. We can be honest and say ” They failed, they led the party to disaster and what little they achieved was not worth the pain”. Going forward we should remember that and be ever watchful that our leadership does not drink deeply at the spring of delusion and set out on the pursuit of unicorns.

  • Innocent Bystander 12th Jan '20 - 11:46am

    I am not in the place of Disgusted (retd.) of Tunbridge Wells, over this piece but it feels a bit petty and cruel.
    Wasn’t he elected by the members? Wasn’t their mistake greater than his?
    The party boasts (and very loudly too) that it is controlled by the members. Maybe too many are highly opinionated, argumentative and uncompromising. Maybe that attitude lost the 2016 referendum and the 2019 GE.
    Maybe the party has too many intelligent members and too many who are convinced they are but aren’t.
    Maybe, worst of all, the members would only ever vote for leaders who had no leadership qualities at all and instinctively reject any charismatic individual who did.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 12th Jan '20 - 12:00pm

    Tom Harney, we have not achieved all that the Chartists campaigned for. They called for general elections to be held every year!

  • David Becket 12th Jan '20 - 12:12pm

    @ Tom Harney
    “I do know that the way our conference and elections are arranged almost guarantee there never will be answers”

    In spite of everything we will have the usual bureaucratic conference in March.
    That is not what we need. With a leadership election on the way we need to be able to listen to, and question, every MP. It is from these 11 the leader will be chosen, and the membership needs to see them in action, Conference would be a good place. Is the Conference Committee up to this, or are they part of the problem.

    We do need to remove those who were responsible for the campaign.

    Election to boards is difficult. I submitted voting papers for every committee/board at the recent elections. It took half a day, there were too many elections with too many candidates. However it could have been easier.

    Each candidate should be asked to complete a standard questionnaire as their submission, this would make selection easier. If they do not submit the questionnaire their name should not be on the voting forms. Some thought will need to be given to the questions, but the process will be easier and provide a better understanding.
    They should also provide an e mail address so they can be asked supplementary questions.

  • Gwyn Williams 12th Jan '20 - 12:16pm

    Failure + Anger +Bitterness = Blame.

  • David Becket is right that we need opportunity to question our MPs at conference and have less time on other things. Now is not the time for business as usual. The issues centre on the leadership inevitably, but we would be wrong to simply put blame there. We need the opportunity to think through our current situation and that means all of us and we should be free to air our views about the leadership. I do not like the manner in which Paul has written, but the point he makes is extremely important. Are we a party that wants to do politics differently or not ?

  • Peter Watson 12th Jan '20 - 12:38pm

    @David Becket “With a leadership election on the way we need to be able to listen to, and question, every MP”
    I think it would be great if the MPs contributed the occasional article to LibDemVoice and then responded to the “below the line” discussion. In the years I’ve been visiting this site I only recall Ed Davey doing that, and it was during the Coalition when I’m sure he was much busier than other Lib Dem MPs at the time and since.

  • “This piece seems exceptionally gratuitous. No one goes into Liberal Democratic politics as a clever career path, there are no sinecures of safe seats and very limited scope for preferment. ”

    Now that is so – and was also true about pre-1997.

    Two exceptions spring to mind

    One is Steve Webb who didn’t come from a ‘traditional’ political background of affiliation to any party. He did IIRC get exposed to the party through one of the policy commissions John Smith set up. Having joined the party he set about organising and winning a seat the party hadn’t previously won (indeed which wasn’t much on the radar as target seat until the mid-90s).

    The other is Nick Clegg who doesn’t seem to have had any presence in the party before emerging as the candidate for the Euro East-Midlands seat before quickly moving to the (then) safe seat of Hallam. He is the only leader of recent times who had an identifiable record within the party prior to being elected and/or was involved in winning a seat on their own merits . He now has a job with Facebook. The Former Lib Dem MP for Hallam also has a senior job with Facebook and received a peerage in the 2010 honors (Lib Dem leader at the time – Nick Clegg)

  • Congratulations Paul, if your intention was to stimulate a debate among members that highlights the very real divisions in the party, then your have triumphed.
    We seem to have a similar, though perhaps slightly less severe case of the sickness that ails the Labour party. That is to say a “progressive” wing (I hate that term, but it will do as shorthand for the time being) and a more “pragmatic” wing. Consequently, any reference, however oblique, to the coalition years become another excuse for factional infighting.
    By all means let us discus what went wrong on December 12th, but I think it is time that we moved on beyond the Clegg/Alexander/Laws years. Mind you, I was canvassing once in the 1980s when a lady told me that she could never vote Liberal because of that scoundrel Lloyd-George, but generally I think political memories are shorter than that.

  • Joseph Bourke 12th Jan '20 - 2:19pm

    Nick Clegg served as a LibDem MEP from, 1999-2004 . After being elected as the MP for Sheffield Hallam in 2005., he was appointed by Charles Kennedy as spokesman for Europe and served under Menzies Campbell as Home affairs spokesman. In the 2007 leadership election there was little to separate Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg.
    As deputy prime minister in the coalition he became the first ever LibDem leader to answer for Prime Ministers questions.
    He retained his seat in the 2015 election (a campaign that was led by Paddy Ashdown) but stood down as leader following the poor election results in that year
    He fought the seat again in 2017. It was only after losing his seat that he took up the offer of a post with Facebook.
    The man has spent the best part of 20 years as a strong advocate of Liberalism. His resignation speech in 2015
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/nick-clegg-resigns-the-liberal-democrat-leaders-resignation-speech-text-in-full-10235830.html saw a surge in membership immediately following the election. As with football managers when you don’t deliver success quickly you get sacked. That doesn’t stop other clubs recognising your talents and experience or commercial organisations recognising the talents of former politicians that have failed to get over the hurdle of a winner takes all election and moved on from the political arena.
    Theodore Roosevelt said it best:
    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

  • We should remember the foot soldiers, and particularly the many lost local council seats, who were the people who actually carried the can for the mistakes of our leaders.

    Jo performed OK during the election, but must carry the can for the ‘revoke’ policy decision, into which she appeared to have bounced last year’s conference. I would be disappointed to see her rewarded with a peerage for such a major misjudgement.

    Nevertheless I really don’t believe it was Jo herself who decided to run a presidential campaign and plaster her image and name over our leaflets and battle bus. Someone at HQ clearly thought it was a good idea to base our campaign around the personality of someone voters had never heard of, and whose ability to connect with voters during the campaign was subsequently found wanting. It’s up there with whoever thought Mrs May should be the centrepiece of the Tories’ 2017 campaign. We would be better off identifying and ridding ourselves of the person or people at LDHQ who were responsible.

  • Alex Macfie 12th Jan '20 - 2:25pm

    I was one of the critics of Nick Clegg and his leadership during the Coalition, but this is totally unnecessary. He is a private citizen and can do as he pleases. He is no longer active in UK politics, and this is perhaps a good thing, as it gives our opponents less of an excuse to attack us over that chapter in our party’s history. I gather he was not a factor in the campaign in his old seat in the 2019 general election (where we lost narrowly). Probably because he’s not much in the main/political news anymore, so Labour wouldn’t have gained much from featuring him on their leaflets in Sheffield Hallam, if only because many voters wouldn’t really remember who he is/was.

    As for “free speech”, that has absolutely nothing to do with it. LDV, as an independently run blog site, has every right to set its own editorial rules. Refusing to publish it, or questioning whether it was editorially appropriate to publish it, is therefore not a violation of free speech. Paul W would have every right to publish it on his own webspace should he so desire.

    And as for a peerage for Jo, we don’t even know whether (i) she’s being nominated, or (ii) she even wants it. Should it come to pass, it’ll probably cause some gnashing of teeth from the usual suspects, but in the long term it’s not going to matter. I can see good reasons why she might not be interested in it anyway.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 12th Jan '20 - 2:28pm

    Paul as often, talks sense, but does so with a personal stance, rather than political axe. Herein he says what he feels, fair enough. I rate the Lords, especially cross bench peers, I do not want to abolish or elect. I believe Paul is correct, when those of us who have loads to offer politics cannot easily, due to being in areas with no chance to get elected as a Liberal Democrat, it grates, those who do are failures, and succeed yet.

    However, Catherine as usually yes, gets to the heat of the issue. The market rewarded Clegg, as did being connected. If we as a party recognised that it is being or feeling, as a rule, unconnected, that means many fail who would succeed, this party would connect with the members, as with the voters, and would understand Brexit is about this also!

    Many do not feel connecting with London decisions, or tendencies writ large, mass immigration based on low wages, overblown rents and exorbitant properties, political correctness, unchecked criminality, easy or cosy. They desire to maintain community and hegemony for traditional views of security, in the labour force and the wider society.

    We offer little but progressive stances on minor or peripheral issues.

  • Paul Barker 12th Jan '20 - 2:51pm

    So, when we say “Freedom of Movement” that actually means : “except for Nick Clegg ” ?
    This article shows the sort of nasty Class Hatred more typical of Labour & UKIP.
    I would like to see the article withdrawn & replaced with an Apology.
    More generally, I dont believe that beating ourselves or each other up is actually helpful.

  • James Belchamber 12th Jan '20 - 3:06pm

    For those making the freeze peach case: Lib Dem Voice can (and do) exercise significant editorial control over their articles. It’s common for them to ask you to edit/rewrite content, and two of my four submissions have been rejected.

    That’s their right; it’s their site. But you should be clear that there was an editorial decision to not post other content, and to post this content – and we should be free to criticise that.

  • Following losing his seat in June 17 Nick had no full time job until Dec 18 when he started his Facebook job. This article implies he went straight from losing his seat into a lucrative job when in fact there was an 18month gap. At some point Nick had to move on to something else and an 18 month gap seems long enough to me.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 12th Jan '20 - 3:15pm

    An especially regular modern progressive, and typical of the political correctness of this tendency, is to trample on freedom of speech.

    Freedom of speech is far easier to defend as Liberals, than is freedom of movement , as the former is mere words, that latter, actions. Words and actions have consequences. Mass media causes fewer to be disgruntled than does mass immigration. Though we now have a very authoritarian Home Office and awful dictatorial almost tyrannical, decisions on immigration outside of Europe, we have a rampant freedom of movement for EU residents as well as well connected players at the top of industry.

    Paul Walter is entitled to say what he likes as well as to be waspish in the telling. Alas he has sometimes supported less of this, as has the editorial team, that a Liberal party ought to. I am glad this site allows more disagreement than of the olde way, editing to suit the prevailing mood or view sometimes, to protect the party line.

    Paul Barker alas has taken leave of, if not his senses, a sense of what being Liberal or democratic is about. It is about freedom of speech if anything. We trample this at the danger of losing any sense of purpose for this party. It is the party cosying up to the left tendency to only here what it likes and agrees with that keeps it as a tiny force.

  • The question is ” Did Nick Clegg and Co leave the party in a better place when they left” answer definitely not. The next question is ” Did Nick Clegg and Co leave the country in a better place when they left” answer definitely not in my opinion they left a Tory party in power and the road to division and Brexit ahead of us. Now some may take solace in ” Equal marriage” or an increase in the tax free rate, but that is little solace when you face a uncertain future. Still grasping at straws may make reality more bearable for some, accepting as a party we (expletive deleted by editorial team) up well that’s hard to accept ( what a pity tis true).

  • With ten times more peers than MPs, that is more than enough. Quite ridiculous, frankly.

  • Excellent piece. It’s high time we had people within the party willing to face facts and tell some hard truths about what was a disastrous result.

    No one is saying that Jo was solely responsible but it is no coincidence that our poll rating halved when you have a leader with a -35 approval rating.

    It is absolutely vital that we ignore the ludicrous suggestions by the likes of James Belchamber above that no criticism of Jo or the campaign should be allowed. We will get absolutely nowhere if we continue to pat ourselves on the back muttering about increased vote share and deifying Jo.

    We need to have a rigorous, honest review of what went wrong and what needs to change going forward.

    People can draw their own conclusions about why some want to insert fingers in ears and make quite frankly insulting references to ‘freeze peach’ to protect those at the top of the party in an attempt to prevent the volunteers who gave up their own time to campaign being allowed to have their say.

  • Peter Watson 12th Jan '20 - 4:35pm

    @Joseph Bourke “His resignation speech in 2015 saw a surge in membership immediately following the election.”
    His resignation in 2015 saw a surge in membership immediately following the election.
    There, I’ve fixed it for you. 🙂

  • Peter Watson 12th Jan '20 - 4:41pm

    @frankie
    The third question is ” Did Nick Clegg and Co leave themselves in a better place when they left?”, answer yes.
    That is essentially the point Paul seems to be raising in his article, regardless of whether or not we agree with the tone: some ex-politicians appear to have fared better than the party and the country they served.

  • Peter Watson
    To be fair, Nick Clegg wasn’t rewarded for failure by the Lib Dems. He moved to California which I’m pretty certain is not within the Lib Dem sphere of influence. And it’s not like he had a future in politics.
    The problem wasn’t that the Lib Dems rewarded failure after the event, it was the failure to pull the plug on the coalition when the vote collapsed and not seeing that you can’t engineer another coalition because they’re an accident of electoral arithmetic. It’s the old fingers in the ear thing. We don’t like what we’re hearing, so let’s not hear it.
    In the case of the 2019 election, I don’t think there was a lot that could have been done except maybe attacking Labour less. The revoke policy lost a few votes, but the issues is more that it didn’t gain that many. The youth vote went to Labour because a lot of young people are struggling financially and that is a bigger factor than abstract notions of open v closed thinking or even the more concrete Remain stance.

  • Also worth noting that Ryan Coetzee went from running the Lib Dems 2015 election and almost immediately went to head up the Remain campaign. That was a decision which had quite significant consequences.

  • Alex Macfie 12th Jan '20 - 5:34pm

    John Smith: No-one is suggesting that criticism of the campaign or of Jo shouldn’t be allowed, only that criticism should be relevant. And I suggest that this particular criticism, of a former Lib Dem leader taking up a well-paid private-sector role some 18 months after his exit from UK politics, is irrelevant because the party played absolutely no part in giving him that role. And “free speech” is also irrelevant for the reasons given above. Free speech means the right to say what you want, but not the right to force people to listen to it or give it credence.
    Jo’s −35 approval rating was principally due to the vicious attacks on her on social media mostly from the Hard Left (who seemed more interested in attacking us than attacking the Tories) but amplified to some extent by mainstream media and even by our own ostensible supporters. Approval ratings tend to be negative anyway, as it’s usually the haters who express opinions. Before Jo became leader it wasn’t a problem, because the haters mostly didn’t know who she was. To say this is not to shift the blame in any way; the onus was on our campaigns people to fight back effectively against the trolls. It does appear that we did not see it coming, even though similar hatchet jobs were done on us in 2017, and for this I do blame our media strategists. Going forward we need to assume that trolls on social media are going to attack our leader whoever he or she is at the next election, and they will succeed unlesss we have a strategy in place to effectively counter their attacks, to Hit the Haters where it Hurts. Essentially we need an Alastair Campbell figure to immediately hit back at critics, and demand and get a fair hearing in the media.

  • David Evershed 12th Jan '20 - 8:18pm

    The problem with HQ management is that they do not listen to dissenting voices, especially not those in local constituency parties.

  • >I worked in the computer industry for my career.
    So I take it you are familiar with “The Catt Concept”?
    Basically, one of Ivor’s core observations were on how in IT you could gain skills and work on projects that get cancelled etc. yet get headhunted to gain more skills and work on new projects that also got cancelled and before you know it you’ve had a successful career in Computing…
    It is funny looking back at my career in IT and how those projects that actually delivered and were used, stand out from the general work…

    For one client I remember the salesman telling the sales team that this project was going to be the client’s swan song before they retired. As this was for a rather large (old school) business, my question was: did they want the handshake and carriage clock or the golden pay-off to go quietly. The salesman and I went on to have a good and profitable working relationship for several years before company reorganisation caused our paths to diverge.

    I raise this as at times it is difficult to determine just what is success and what is failure and much depends on the viewpoint you are taking.

  • I thought this was going to be about Boris Johnson’s mayorship…

    The largest personal cost of leading poorly is that you don’t get to do it any more. I thought it was pretty dreadful that Cameron was able to just ran off after the Brexit vote passed, hide for a while and pop up to pout a bit and sell his book. But whilst you could make a rule to force a GE if a leader left voluntarily that may still not have been of personal consequence to him, it would have just been his party who (may) have suffered.

    I do sympathise with the notion that there are many people in general who ‘fall upwards’ undeservedly, but until a real and meaningful change to higher end power systems is made these sorts of inequalities will be almost impossible to root out from society.

    You can make a selection process as robust as it can be, but ultimately there’s nothing to stop someone setting the house on fire and walking away whilst whistling (not that I’m saying that’s actually happened!), and nothing to stop people hiring them after if they do. Also, sometimes, the best available choice is still not an ideal one. This is true of all parties, not just LD.

  • Paul – you write about your experience of seeing your former colleagues being escorted off the premises of result of failure in their roles.

    Nick Clegg lost his job as deputy Prime Minster due to the collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote in 2015. He took a large pay cut in his final two years as a Member of Parliament. He then got kicked out by his electors in 2017. Subsequent to that he had to find a new job when he did. I dare say your former IT colleagues did as well.

  • Goodness Gracious. The awful truth is out there for all to see ..going by at least half the comments here there is nothing NOTHING progressive or radical about the Lib Dems..defending the status quo and doing it loud and proud. The Lib Dems have no future as a big player just a noisy neighbour in the battlefield…. Celebrating Danny and Nick’s hefty salaries after the misery of the Coalition… Disgusting.

  • “As with football managers when you don’t deliver success quickly you get sacked.”

    When Nick was leader the party lost seats at every set of council elections except his first (2008 – when he had been leader less than 6 months). The Lib Dems also won fewer seats in both Euro elections , both sets of GLA elections and both the General Elections under his leadership. That’s 14 different elections – the party made a gain in only one.

    Not only did he not deliver success quickly (and he was leader for 7 years) it’s debatable (if you treat the coalition as a statistical quirk) whether he delivered success at all.

    “To be fair, Nick Clegg wasn’t rewarded for failure by the Lib Dems. He moved to California which I’m pretty certain is not within the Lib Dem sphere of influence. And it’s not like he had a future in politics.”

    He then gets a job – for which he seems to be rather unqualified. He has no qualifications in that field, no previous experience of corporate leadership, communications, tech, or legal (the predecessor in that role had some extensive experience of both law and global communications). However his predecessor MP has a senior corporate role at Facebook and had been elevated to a peerage on Nick’s ‘leadership watch’. In the absence of a skill set to do the job, it seems reasonable to ask what are Facebook paying him for?

    “He took a large pay cut in his final two years as a Member of Parliament.”
    I’m bookmarking this to see if there is a more ridiculous thing said in the remainder of 2020!

  • Alex Macfie 13th Jan '20 - 6:15am

    Silvio: Who’s “celebrating” the post-Coalition jobs of DA and NC? They’re neither a good thing nor a bad thing, just irrelevant, because both individuals have left active UK politics and show no signs of wishing to re-enter. it’s also irrelevant because there is noting the Lib Dems could have done to stop them getting those jobs, even if anyone wanted to.

  • John Roffey 13th Jan '20 - 6:52am

    Silvo – yes I agree.

    Unless the party does recognise that it has strayed far from its declared objective:

    The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

    … it has no future and will just become a footnote when the history of our time is written. The merger with the SDP provided hope of a revival for the old Liberal Party – a hope that NC squandered.

    NC was/is probably a Tory at heart who joined the L/Ds because he was totally committed to the UK’s membership of the EU – and thought his progress as a politician would be more rapid by doing so. A coalition with the Tories was the outcome.

    The party can rise again if it returns to its stated objective because the next Labour leader is unlikely to be able to heal the divisions in the party. New Labour and Corbyn’s Labour Party are incompatible – so the door is open for the Lib/Dems to recover and become a serious player in UK politics once again.

    It seems to me that Christine Jardine’s article that considers ‘What Next’ is highly pertinent – it ends with ‘We have four years to rebuild for the next General Election. Let’s use them wisely’.

    It is already clear that the party will have little or no influence on UK politics over the next six months [and probably longer] because of the massive Tory majority – so a time of careful reflection, before a new leader is selected, will not cause any harm.

  • Peter Watson,
    Some ex politicians did do ever so well after being in government ( not all of them where ex Lib Dem MP’s by the way) nothing we can about that. It does however take a spectacular tin ear to celebrate that, espcially given the state of the country, applauding rewards for failure really goes down badly. So what can we do, file the Clegg experiment under “Badly Failed” and move on. When tackled about Clegg be honest his experiment ” Badly failed” and we won’t be doing that again and no we don’t feel we have to defend him, he is capable of doing that himself if he can find the time.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 13th Jan '20 - 8:38am

    Paul, I think its good to see members of the LDV editorial team expressing views that may be a bit controversial, and will encourage debate. You absolutely have the right to express these views. But I’m not sure that I understand what is the main point that you are making in this article.
    In a comment yesterday, you say “My point is that we have to realise that when we elect a leader we could be giving them a very valuable CV. Is that always consistent with our plan to increase our number of MPs? We need to think that one through.”.
    I’m not sure what you are suggesting we should do differently. Are you suggesting that someone might become Lib Dem Leader merely to improve their CV, as a step towards eventually getting a well paid job outside politics? This seems a bit far fetched. I expect Nick Clegg would have preferred to have continued his political career, if that had been possible.
    Are are you just suggesting that a leader does not have any real incentive to succeed, because they know that there will be a well paid job waiting for them outside politics? This also seems far fetched. After all, being a highly successful leader would improve their CV a good deal more. So why exactly do you feel that giving a leader a valuable CV is not “consistent with our plan to increase our number of MPs”? Anyway, how could we avoid “giving a leader a valuable CV”? What are you suggesting that we should do differently?

  • Most failed politicians end up stealing even more money off the British tax payer so anyone who goes off and gets a proper job is to be applauded, I suspect Nick Clegg thought that a post Brexit Britain was going to be a horror show with a ruined currency and declining economy so it made sense to fast exit to a country with a decent currency and exponential prospects. You never know, though, the UK may actually do ok on its own.

  • Steve Trevethan 13th Jan '20 - 8:52am

    Might the prospect of post political career/income opportunities affect attitudes and actions whilst in political office?
    Might possible post political office opportunities be focussed on the USA and not causing offence there?
    Lady Thatcher and Philip Morris?

  • It’s interesting to see how Nick Clegg (the most successful party leader ever in terms of actual votes, and the first to get into government for two generations) is spoken of by certain sections of the party in the same way Blair is by certain sections of Labour.

    Clearly winning elections and getting into power to enact your policies, which I would have thought is the objective of a political party, is a problem for some people.

  • Graham Jeffs 13th Jan '20 - 9:16am

    Is the real problem that the beneficiaries of these post-MP careers have not stuck around to help the rest of us re-build the party? They may have mismanaged things, but that is no excuse for opting out completely.

  • In the corporate world – above a certain seniority level, anyway – people who fail badly and get found out are often given the chance to quietly resign, rather than put the company through the hassle and bad press of a disciplinary case.

    They can then get a job somewhere else – spinning their “accomplishments” suitably on the CV – with no more than brief consequences for failure. A terrible leader who has half their staff quit and the product line collapse can put “successfully reduced operational overhead by 40%” and be snapped up. And it’s not like their former company will speak out publicly – after all, that’s exactly the sort of manager you want your competitors to have.

  • John Marriott 13th Jan '20 - 9:33am

    TCO
    And don’t forget a certain James Ramsay McDonald of Lossiemouth, Scotland, when it comes to fallen heroes. Despite his mistakes, Clegg was not all bad. Ramsay Mac, as they called him in his Leicester constituency, certainly wasn’t and neither, to be fair, was Blair.

    As Shakespeare’ s Mark Antony famously said:
    “The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is of interred with their bones…”

    You only have to go to the late Enoch Powell for the ultimate quote:
    “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure…”

    So, there you have it. Let that be a warning to all aspiring leaders.

  • Nonconformistradical 13th Jan '20 - 9:39am

    I agree with Graham Jeffs.

    And it would have been much better if Nick Clegg had got himself a job with an organisation which didn’t have a reputation for arranging its tax affairs so as to minimise the amount it pays rather than doing morally the right thing and contributing properly through taxes to the well-being of every country in which it trades.

  • @Paul Walter – you highlight Nick Clegg as the “exception” to the other party leaders who “stuck around”.

    It’s perhaps worth stating that none of those other party leaders held such a high profile role in Government (except Vince, but he had two years out following 2015), and had to cope with the serious illness of a child.

    We have no idea of the stresses and strains that were applied to their household 2010-17, particularly by the bile and opprobrium heaped (unfairly) on his shoulders especially by those within the party.

    All this should be borne in mind when looking at his post-political career.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 13th Jan '20 - 11:10am

    Paul Walter, Thank you for your reply. so you are mainly saying that we should learn from the past and be very careful in choosing our next leader? And that we should be careful to choose someone whose priority is the party, rather than their own career?
    In all fairness, I suppose Nick Clegg would have “stuck around” if he had not lost his seat in 2017. And at the time the party elected him as leader, I don’t see how they could have foreseen the future.

  • Paul Barker 12th Jan ’20 – 2:51pm……

    I disagree with every sentence especially the bit about ‘beating ourselves up’. The 2010-2015 coalition and the following election showed how flawed our political leadership and direction had been.
    Instead of accepting the disaster and changing personalities/direction there was (as your post typifies) a closing of ranks and reluctance to place blame on individuals…
    That election was almost 5 years ago and the party has gone nowhere.
    In 2016 almost half those voting chose remain and yet, on an election mirroring the EU referendum, this party ‘won’ 11 seats. It was an unmitigated disaster and yet the excuses about “2nd in lots of seats”, increased share”, etc. are trotted out as if it was some sort of success; it wasn’t.

    The only way to move on is to start, in your words ‘ ‘beating ourselves up’ and having an open ‘no hiding place’ review of WHAT, and more importantly WHO, went wrong.

    My opinion, so far, is that it will be yet another case of ‘lessons will be/have been learned’ and the party hierachy will remain largely unchanged.

  • Steve Trevethan 13th Jan '20 - 1:21pm

    Might it be worth discussing structures to at least the extent to which we seem to be discussing personality and personal factors?

  • Julian Tisi 13th Jan '20 - 1:35pm

    Paul, so is the point of your article essentially that you believe Nick didn’t have the best interests of the party at heart? With the evidence being that a year after he lost his seat he was offered a lucrative job outside of politics?

    I think I agree with TCO “It’s interesting to see how Nick Clegg (the most successful party leader ever in terms of actual votes, and the first to get into government for two generations) is spoken of by certain sections of the party in the same way Blair is by certain sections of Labour. Clearly winning elections and getting into power to enact your policies, which I would have thought is the objective of a political party, is a problem for some people.”

    One other thing – we had a lovely set of articles recently about the “class of 2015” and where they are now. Most of those who lost their seats weren’t candidates in 2019 and now have a life outside of politics. Being a candidate is a huge personal sacrifice – particularly in our party where the prospect of success is so hard to achieve – and it’s only reasonable that MPs who lose their seats might choose to call it a day.

  • Joseph Bourke 13th Jan '20 - 2:14pm

    Paul,

    in your reply to Catherine you write “I know this is difficult, but the whole point of interviewing and vetting people is so that you have some idea of how they will behave in the future. Otherwise you may as well select people by drawing lots.”

    Nick Clegg was selected by members to serve as both a an MEP and MP. He was appointed by Charles Kennedy as spokesman for Europe and served under Menzies Campbell as Home affairs spokesman. In a closely contested 2007 leadership election with Chris Huhne he was elected by members. He retained the support of the parliamentary party throughout the coalition years, never facing a serious challenge beyond that of Matthew Oakeshott’s effort to encourage Vince Cable to take over. He was then reselected to fight both the 20015 and 2017 elections. That is not “selecting people by drawing lots.”
    If your looking for models of successful party leaders in terms of electoral success recent decades they lie with Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron and now Boris Johnson. Nick Clegg’s effort to emulate that electoral success failed for well rehearsed reasons. Perhaps his communications skills and powers of persuasion (and the International law skills of his Spanish wife, Miriam) may be better utilised in America where the culture is much more open to aspirational and commercial success than is often the case in the UK.

  • Paul, on the ball, we need more of this straight to the point talking in the party. I have said several times we are not a “family” but a political organisation. There should be no place for failure on the scale we have achieved at the last three elections.

  • @ Julian Tisi & TCO “Clearly winning elections and getting into power to enact your policies, which I would have thought is the objective of a political party, is a problem for some people.”

    No problem for me, chaps. That would have been great,

    I agree Sir Nick did, in his own way, “have he best interests of the party at heart” and it’s impossible to disagree with , “winning elections and getting into power to enact your policies”.

    The trouble is when he got into power (not by winning an election but by fluke of the electoral system) for the most part he didn’t enact Liberal Democrat policies or put up much of a fight for them. He rolled on his back like a King Charles spaniel waiting for his tummy to be tickled.

    Maybe some kind soul will explain how the Welfare Reform Act 2012, the Bedroom Tax, P.I.P. and all the other personal austerity cuts affecting social care and the less fortunate match the Preamble to the Party’s constitution.

    “Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full”.

    Oh, and a few broken promises about raising VAT, lifting the top rate of tax, more privatising of the NHS and Royal Mail….. and Student Fees. It’s always a bad idea to upset the party’s heartland support. Look at the electoral map of 2010 and 2019.

    Let’s hope a new Leader will pay attention to the growing levels of poverty and inequality in UK 2020 instead of apologising for it.

  • @ Joe Bourke “He retained the support of the parliamentary party throughout the coalition years,”.

    And as some of them now admit on LDV, Joe, that was the problem. His five year record of success wouldn’t have lasted five months at Brentford F.C.

  • @David Raw as someone so committed to the Preamble, I look forward to your robust comments in support of “a competitive environment in which the state allows the market to operate freely”.

  • @David Raw “Maybe some kind soul will explain how the Welfare Reform Act 2012, the Bedroom Tax, P.I.P. and all the other personal austerity cuts affecting social care and the less fortunate match the Preamble to the Party’s constitution.”

    Maybe you will explain how enabling the ruination of the nation’s economy would enable any government to spend any money on anything. Which is what failure to go into government in 2010 would have meant.

  • Joseph,

    The second highest rated reply to David Steel’s article seems to set Mr Cleggs achvements in prespective

    Never mind how he steered the LD’s to disaster he taken the whole country over the edge. The Union will almost certainly collapse as Scotland leaves (and who can honestly blame them), we will probably leave the EU and worst of all as IDS (a catastrophically failed leader) guts £12n from welfare those in in need will totally screwed. Now thats a legacy to live with.

    Martin,

    If we don’t acknowledged our failures how will we learn from them? The coalition was a disaster and that is how history will judge it. Everytime we rush to help the Tories to save the nation, they prosper and we implode. Next time accept the nation can’t be helped if we help those that cause the mess in the first place.

  • @ TCO “Maybe you will explain how enabling the ruination of the nation’s economy would enable any government to spend any money on anything. Which is what failure to go into government in 2010 would have meant.”

    What ? Like, £ 6 billion on two aircaft carriers which didn’t have any aircraft ? I admire your loyalty, TCO and I’m sure you’d have gone over the top at Gallipoli, the Somme or at Passchendaele with a cheerful optimistic song in your heart about a pale blue future before the inevitable happened.

    @ Joe Bourke, Yes D.M.S. Steel states it accurately enough and wraps it up in an emollient first paragraph. I lived in his old constituency at the time so you can guess how he felt when the Borders was lost (by an excellent successor) after fifty years as a Lib heartland.

  • It’s all very well to blame recent leaders but at several points in my career I’ve been involved in some way with/had to think hard about organisation and what I concluded from those experiences is that even the most talented will hugely underperform if the organisation they work in is structurally dysfunctional. Conversely, even ordinarily talented people can perform out of their socks if/when they find themselves in a suitably supportive environment.

    This view is, of course, closely allied to the old military dictum, “Amateurs debate tactics, professionals study logistics.”

    So how do the Lib Dems measure up? How good is the organisation at identifying and then supporting the policies and campaigns that will deliver its supporters’ aspirations?

    In a word, badly. Within six months of the Liberal-SDP merger that brought the party into existence, I was fairly sure its new organisation wouldn’t work; within a year that hardened into certainty and so it has proved.

    Actually, that shouldn’t be a surprise. The organisation agreed upon was a hard-won compromise between two parties with very different approaches and reacting to a disastrous recent history of chaotic policymaking. But that was then, and this is now; we shouldn’t regard the outcome of those long-ago negotiations as set in stone – especially when we now know beyond any doubt whatsoever that the solutions found at merger don’t work.

    So, as Steve Trevethan hints, we should focus first on getting the party’s organisation right and fit for purpose.

    That said, a leader is, by definition, in a separate category. Their job is to, ahem, lead and it’s enormously disappointing that none of them have had the wit to understand that the Lib Dems need to completely rethink their approach if they are to do more than provide arguably the easiest path into the Lords or other cushy sinecures for time-served politicians.

  • Alex Macfie 13th Jan '20 - 7:20pm

    I can’t share TCO’s enthusiastic support for Nick Clegg’s stewardship of the party. Clegg may have been “the most successful [Lib Dem] party leader ever in terms of actual votes,” but it still translated into a net loss of seats, which is the yardstick by which these things are measured (as we saw in the last election). And similarly, he may have been “the first to get into government for two generations” (at Westminster, that is — we successfully participated in government in the devolved authorities in Scotland and Wales) but that was only because of the accident of the election resulting in a hung Parliament. We can try to maximise the number of seats we win in an election, but the relative strengths of the Tory and Labour parties is not something over which we have any control. Had it not been for us being accidentally propelled into government, there would certainly have been a question-mark hanging over Clegg’s future as party leader. We should not have lost seats to Labour in 2010.
    And we cannot overlook the disaster that was the 2015 election, which happened under his watch. Going into Coalition was the right thing to do in 2010, but the party’s approach to coalition was not.

    BUT… what Nick Clegg does now, as a private citizen with no involvement in UK politics and not even based in this country nowadays, is of no interest to me at all. By all means let’s get on with a review of last month’s poor election result, but it should focus on relevant things over which we have control. And what our former leaders do after leaving active politics is neither relevant or under our control.

  • Further to my earlier comment I should perhaps explain why I’m confident that a dysfunctional Lib Dem organisation is a big part of the problem.

    Start with the essence of Liberalism. One can approach this from many directions but one way to put it is that it’s about empowering people both politically and economically (which must go together). In other words, that they should have ‘agency’.

    That implies a bottom-up approach with institutional arrangements finely tuned to support decisions being made as locally as reasonably possible.

    It should go without saying that a Liberal party must reflect a bottom up approach in its own organisation and governance.

    Except the Lib Dems don’t – they have a top down approach, IMO adopted as a reaction against the chaos pre-merger and a determination never to let things get so ‘out of control’ again. Party democracy is claimed to exist “because Conference” but this is just a ‘get-out-of-jail card’ with little substance. It’s actually run by a (mainly) metropolitan establishment of (mainly) party insiders that can and does cheerfully ignore popular sentiment among members and the wider public alike.

    So, it’s hardly surprising that Clegg, having grown up, so to speak, in a top down party should find himself so obviously at home with the Tories or that the experience of seasoned campaigners is ignored (several have complained of this on LDV) in favour of inexperienced insiders who make rookie errors.

    Nor is it surprising that the party’s official concerns seem light years away from those of so many of its members let alone the general public.

    Needless to say, there is a much better way to organise the party but that would *gasp* involve change.

  • Martin,
    I judge Clegg’s tenure as a disaster, to be fair to those that came later Faron, Cable and Swinson I actually feel they actually made progress and stopped the ship from sinking. The problem they had was hand Clegg left them was weak and although progress has been made it is a lot slower than any of us would like. Going forward we have certain advantages, the Coalition baggage is fading, Brexit is now solely the fault of the Tories and the bad things that will happen cannot easily be laid at our door ( although some will try). What do we need to do to regain the trust of voters, stay on message and capture the disillusionment of the electorate and try not to get squeezed. O and try not to panic, last time we paniced we ended up with the ” Rose Garden”.

    Joesph

    The comment you feature may have made sense if only Brexit hadn’t trampled all other concerns, but it did and we are now where we are. The Tories have recently found the magic money tree but it will not cover the cracks caused by Brexit and in hard times lies ours ( Labours and unfortunately the even further Rights ) opportunity.

  • Gordon 13th Jan ’20 – 7:44pm:
    …the Lib Dems […] have a top down approach, IMO adopted as a reaction against the chaos pre-merger and a determination never to let things get so ‘out of control’ again. Party democracy is claimed to exist “because Conference” but this is just a ‘get-out-of-jail card’ with little substance. It’s actually run by a (mainly) metropolitan establishment of (mainly) party insiders that can and does cheerfully ignore popular sentiment among members and the wider public alike.

    Sounds like the EU in microcosm.

  • Steve Trevethan 13th Jan ’20 – 7:29pm:
    Might this have avoided some of the coalition harms done to our nation and our party, such as “Austerity” which was and is egregiously harmful socially and economically?

    No, because it was imposed on us by the EU’s Excessive Deficit Procedure (September 2008 to December 2017).

    ‘2008/713/EC: Council Decision of 8 July 2008 on the existence of an excessive deficit in the United Kingdom’:
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32008D0713

    ‘Austerity has not been a Tory choice, but an EU one’ [July 2019]:
    https://joelrwrites.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/austerity-has-not-been-a-tory-choice-but-an-eu-one/

    The EU has opened Excessive Deficit Procedure measures against the UK three times (1998, 2004 — 2007, and 2008 — 2017) since the Stability & Growth Pact was signed. It was the most recent recommendations from 2008 which led to all major parties in the UK promising to reduce the deficit through austerity measures.

  • Bless Jeff everything in your world is the EU’s fault, wot you going to do when going forward all our ills are the Brexiteers fault? Hide perhaps. Tick tock no sunlit uplands, no unicorns just responsibility, will be a hard lesson to learn.

  • Alex Macfie 14th Jan '20 - 6:24am

    “Perhaps we might have done our nation and our party more good if we had gone into a coalition in which we retained power, as the D.U.P. did?”

    Comparisons with the DUP are apples & Oranges. The DUP is detached, and therefore shielded, from mainland British politics. As the DUP and its voters don’t care much about what happens outside its own backyard, it could easily be bought off with a bribe in return for voting for government measures that it would probably have voted for anyway, and in many cases don’t affect Northern Ireland.
    Yes, Clegg & co mishandled coalition, but there are no lessons for us to learn from the DUP’s experience, because the DUP is in a totally different position from us in UK politics.

  • Steve Trevethan 14th Jan '20 - 8:01am

    Thanks to Jeff for the JoelWrites attachment!
    Might it have been possible to have reduce the difference between income and expenditure by increasing taxation on those who can afford it better?
    Does anyone know why there is a European financial policy with which, it appears, few if any, member states comply?
    What are Slovenia to Finland doing that we are not?
    How does this EU policy fit with Godley’s sectoral balance theory?

  • John Roffey 14th Jan '20 - 8:33am

    Gordon 13th Jan ’20 – 7:44pm

    “So, it’s hardly surprising that Clegg, having grown up, so to speak, in a top down party should find himself so obviously at home with the Tories or that the experience of seasoned campaigners is ignored (several have complained of this on LDV) in favour of inexperienced insiders who make rookie errors.

    Nor is it surprising that the party’s official concerns seem light years away from those of so many of its members let alone the general public.

    Needless to say, there is a much better way to organise the party but that would *gasp* involve change.”

    This seems the crux of the matter – change is required and if the warnings of the climate scientists are to be heeded – a bottom up approach will become increasingly more important as local communities need to manage the circumstances they encounter in a unique manner.

    I too doubt if this will be forthcoming as power is an addictive drug and there are too many who are drawn to politics – not to benefit the majority – but to feed their addiction. Surely this is a time for the MPs to promote discussions on LDV, as Christine Jardine has, to demonstrate their ability to listen first and then to act. This quality would also be of great value in the meantime – to ensure a unity of purpose within the party.

    Did you see that this article in the Guardian? Australia bushfires are harbinger of planet’s future, say scientists – Apocalyptic scenes give glimpse of what would be normal conditions in 3C world.

    “Scientists warn that beyond a rise of 2C, the impacts of climate breakdown are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible, yet current global commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris agreement are estimated to put the world on track for 3C of heating.”

  • John Roffey 14th Jan '20 - 8:36am
  • Sopwith Morley 14th Jan '20 - 9:15am

    Over-promoting the useless to pseudo senior managerial roles to keep them out of harms way has a history stretching back into the mists of time, as does overlooking the compotent to ensure the business at the sharp end is staffed and run on a day to day basis by the experienced and the skilled,
    The military with its glass ceiling (occasionally broken ) between NCO’s and the officer cadre is a case in point.

    Where our system fails miserably is the many jobs, teaching secondary education being a case in point which now have graduate only entry straight from university at 22-23. What do they bring to the discipline, usually zero skillset, zero experience outside of PGCE training, no specialist subject knowledge, and yet end up teaching specialist subjects on the basis of curriculum prompt sheets.

    The fault is not theirs, but the first generation of these clueless are now in school management, often at senior level, happily employing the next generation of similar clueless clones, with barely a knowledge based teacher on the payroll. Everybody is concerned about the state of our education outcomes, but nobody seems to be prepared to hold their hand up to this obsession with graduate only entry as long as you have any old mickey mouse degree. It speaks volumes that most teacher training colleges allow student onto teacher training courses without a Grade ‘C’ in English, Maths and Science as long as they manage to achieve pass an equivalence test before they graduate, a test they can try multiple times.

  • Sopwith Morley 14th Jan '20 - 10:54am

    Over-promoting the useless to pseudo senior managerial roles to keep them out of harms way has a history stretching back into the mists of time, as does overlooking the competent for promotion, to ensure the business at the sharp end is staffed and run on a day to day basis by the experienced and the skilled. The military with its glass ceiling (occasionally broken ) between NCO’s and the officer cadre is a case in point.

    Where our system fails miserably is the jobs, teaching secondary education being a case in point which now have graduate only entry straight from university at 22-23. What do they bring to the learning process?
    Usually zero skillset, zero experience outside of PGCE training, no specialist subject knowledge, and yet usually ending up teaching specialist subjects on the basis of curriculum prompt sheets.

    The fault is not theirs, the system encourages the mediocre to teach, but the first generation of the clueless are now in school management, often at senior level, happily employing the next generation of clueless clones, with barely a knowledge based teacher on the payroll. It speaks volumes that most teacher training colleges allow students onto teacher training courses without a Grade ‘C’ in English, Maths and Science as long as they can manage to pass an equivalence test before they graduate, a test they can try multiple times.

    Our modern society is driven by imposed ‘educational levels’ with no basis in the real world. To be ‘educated’ today is simple the final result of attending your college for around 6 hours a week for about 30 weeks a year, for 3 years at great cost, and questionable benefit. This whole debate revolves around a mythical skillset and intellect that is seems to be mysteriously gifted onto the graduate from above. Everybody today is concerned about the state of our education outcomes, the woeful state of our technical training, but nobody seems to be prepared to hold their hand up to this obsession with the graduate only mindset that is increasingly endemic.

    Failure is now the default position of especially the public sector, where senior manages seemingly employed as specialists in that area in the first place, bring in expensive consultants to ensure any blame can be directed away from senior managers to the outside consultant, who has by now probably left. Very, very convenient.

  • @David Raw “What ? Like, £ 6 billion on two aircaft carriers which didn’t have any aircraft?”

    I didn’t realise you were an expert on Defence Strategy, Procurement, and delivery lead times. Possibly because you aren’t.

    Bu then again, perhaps you will be able to dazzle me with your knowledge of the merits and demerits of cat & trap vs VSTOL.

    “I admire your loyalty, TCO and I’m sure you’d have gone over the top at Gallipoli, the Somme or at Passchendaele with a cheerful optimistic song in your heart about a pale blue future before the inevitable happened.”

    Loyalty is a valuable characteristic, Mr Raw. You ought to try it sometime.

  • Again we have a lot of posts from Lib Dems, and no doubt ex Lib Dems dismayed at the opportunity our party has once again squandered. However, despite seeing lots of pain and sadness on all sides, I do not see anything that tells me – Things need to move forward and “This time, things will change.”

    In June we were on a massive high. The Conservatives under Theresa May had totally failed due to its internal divisions and the contradictions of their Brexit nightmare and Labour was still riven with its own splits, their cracks papered over with prevarication and indecision.

    The Liberal Democrats in contrast were on a massive high. In May for the first time in ages, we had won back substantial numbers of council seats we had lost in the coalition years. In June we had our best result ever in a National election gaining 15 new MEPs and our vote 3.36 million, was close to the combined total of the Labour and Conservative parties combined – 3.88 million. On 1st August we won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. At last things were on the up.

    However, six months later we are bemoaning our third catastrophic General Election in a row.

    In this and other articles there are lots of statements of what should and should not happen, how we must never let this situation arise again, but sadly, tragically, very little on what the party needs to do and how the party needs to change to make sure it doesn’t.

    Shortly (hopefully) the party will announce the arrangements it proposes for the Review of our performance in the General election. Once this is made public, I will, if the board let me, submit an article on how we can make sure that Things do move forward and “This time, things will change.”

  • @Alex McFie ” Had it not been for us being accidentally propelled into government, there would certainly have been a question-mark hanging over Clegg’s future as party leader. We should not have lost seats to Labour in 2010.”

    Indeed, I agree we should not have lost seats to Labour in 2010. But you can’t blame Clegg, who’d been in post for barely two years at the 2010 election.

    The reason we failed to capitalise on Labour’s misfortune in 2010 was the frankly bizarre left-leaning approach of the Kennedy years that saw us trying to “decapitate” Tories in 2005, when we should have used the time of his leadership since 1999 to build up our strength and positioning to take Labour seats when inevitably they fell from grace.

    That failure is laid squarely at the door of the party’s Left.

  • Graham Jeffs 14th Jan '20 - 1:16pm

    Sopwith Morley – I fear you are only too right. Possession of a degree is not by any means a guarantee that the graduate has any real ability, skills or intelligence. I speak from much experience of interviewing many job applicants. As for teachers, I’m convinced that the better ones are often those that have done something else first!

    As an aside, my son needed to enhance his maths when he went to university as he did not have an A level in that subject. The gap in his knowledge was not huge, he did not need a full A level in maths, but it proved impossible to find an A-level maths teacher who could impart the practical maths skills he needed. We dealt with three or four, none of whom could help. Eventually we found a retired engineer who was able to supply the requisite knowledge – in two or three visits. The maths needed was in no way associated with engineering. It did leave one wondering how good the maths teaching is locally.

  • Jeff

    Ha! Very droll. Yes, established bureaucracies do tend strongly to sclerosis under lacklustre leadership. Both Lib Dems and the EU have suffered from that.

    But what do you do about it? Walk away and lose all input into what comes next? Or stay to shape what comes next?

    For however much sclerotic bureaucracies might resist it, change will eventually come.

    Brexit itself looks likely to strengthen the current Brussels establishment in the short term. In the longer term it will have to change, not because of Brexit but because of the euro (which I always opposed) and which cannot long survive. Conversely, the UK may not survive, especially if the first few years of Brexit are hard economically. As for the Lib Dems, I sense that their complacency is fading fast and that many members (and far more potential members) are looking for a better lead than the current party can provide for the reasons I summarised earlier.

    Regarding your reply to Steve Trevethan – it is simply not true that austerity was a choice forced by the EU on the UK. The linked article makes that case very cleverly, but the UK can (and did under Labour) ignore the EU and could have continued to do so under the Tories – but they didn’t want to. I remember George Osborne et al in 2010 had a positively missionary zeal for austerity as did my Conservative friends. In general banker-influenced parties always like austerity (bankers do very well out of austerity); the only thing that trumps their instinct for austerity is the need to retain power which is why there is suddenly the pretence that it’s off the table.

  • Steve Trevethan 14th Jan '20 - 4:01pm

    Thanks to Gordon!

  • Gordon 14th Jan ’20 – 1:51pm:
    Regarding your reply to Steve Trevethan – it is simply not true that austerity was a choice forced by the EU on the UK.

    You’re correct; it wasn’t a choice. It’s not a tenable position to be in breach of an EU Treaty obligation and fail to take remedial action as directed by an EU Council Decision.

    …the UK can (and did under Labour) ignore the EU and could have continued to do so under the Tories – but they didn’t want to.

    The required austerity measures were introduced by the Labour government…

    ‘Darling’s austerity measures declare war on working people’ [December 2009]:
    https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/19471/Darlings+austerity+measures+declare+war+on+working+people

    Chancellor Alistair Darling’s pre-budget statement was a declaration of war against working people. It is only the opening shots, and much worse will come in the future. But the basic features of the attacks are already in place.

    ‘Alistair Darling: we will cut deeper than Margaret Thatcher’ [March 2010]:
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/mar/25/alistair-darling-cut-deeper-margaret-thatcher

    Alistair Darling admitted tonight that Labour’s planned cuts in public spending will be “deeper and tougher” than Margaret Thatcher’s in the 1980s, as the country’s leading experts on tax and spending warned that Britain faces “two parliaments of pain” to repair the black hole in the state’s finances.

    I remember George Osborne et al in 2010 had a positively missionary zeal for austerity as did my Conservative friends.

    And yet it still wasn’t enough to satisfy the EU…

    ‘Council Decision (EU) 2015/1098 of 19 June 2015 establishing that no effective action has been taken by the United Kingdom in response to the Council Recommendation of 2 December 2009’:
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32015D1098

    …there is suddenly the pretence that [austerity] is off the table.

    Our deficit is now below 3% so the EDP has been closed…

    ‘Council Decision (EU) 2017/2429 of 5 December 2017 abrogating Decision 2008/713/EC on the existence of an excessive deficit in the United Kingdom’:
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32017D2429

  • Peter Hirst 14th Jan '20 - 5:49pm

    We need to invest more resources to strengthening and increasing our core vote. Until we can be sure of at least 20% of the electorate, elections are going to be challenging, under our current electoral system.

  • Paul Holmes 14th Jan '20 - 6:10pm

    The more a Party gears everything towards ‘it’s Core Vote’ the more it deters other voters from supporting them. As the Corbynistas and Lib Dems discovered in 2019 and the Bennites in 1983.

  • Jeff

    As a non-member of the eurozone the UK only has an obligation to, in effect, behave sensibly. That’s not the treaty wording of course but there are no sanctions and what is appropriate having regard to the circumstances is a matter of opinion with plenty of room to differ.

    So, Brown/Darling DID ignore the headline budget ‘constraint’. Sure, the eurocrats were unhappy about that but not nearly as much as the leader writers in the Daily Telegraph. Cameron/Osborne did austerity, because they were true believers. They just did it a bit slower than the eurocrats would have liked so they continued to churn out meaningless paperwork about it until eventually it went below their arbitrary benchmark.

    Socialist Worker was more upset by the destination of Darling’s spending (i.e. to bankers rather than workers) and, as it happens, I agree with them on hard economic grounds as well as social justice ones. No major party appears to understand the economics of a balance sheet recession, what they think/how they behave is dictated by ‘fake economics’, bad theory self-servingly promoted by vested interests.

    On your last point I think you misunderstood me. I was looking forward in the context of Johnson’s many promises made for the December 2019 election. I don’t think he’s overly concerned with reality one way or another, but the desire for power trumps that for austerity when there is an election to win. It’s not so much a case of changing spots as temporarily spray painting over them.

    Where I DO have concerns is with the immense shadowy influence exerted by a few unelected people, in particular the press barons. How far can a Tory minister stray from the line dictated by the Telegraph or Times? Not far, I think. So, why is that not the big issue? Could it be because the press doesn’t even report it, let alone big it up?

    Also, if the UK really feels threatened by a few mildly critical but toothless memos from Brussels, then how on earth does it imagine it will get on with respect to the rest of the world? Do people really think Trump is going to tun into a fluffy bunny or that the Chinese are going to just roll over?

  • The denial here is jaw dropping. The party acts shocked when they choose a leader so tainted by the cruel dreaded Coalition years and left leaning voters say no thankyou. Jo Swinson was at the frontline in defending with full blooded passion one of the most vicious Tory Governments we have known. The party is heading for utter irrelevance and doesn’t seem to care.

  • Phil Beesley 14th Jan '20 - 7:29pm

    Paul Holmes: “The more a Party gears everything towards ‘it’s Core Vote’ the more it deters other voters from supporting them.”

    Creating a Core Vote is not about campaigning for every possible Remainer (who may not be Core Voters). Core Vote is about people who instinctively agree with liberal values — voters you don’t bother to knock up because you know they are liberals.

    Core Vote comprises educated people with an internationalist, socially liberal attitude. It also includes people who feel like outsiders — people who make up their own minds, maybe they dislike big organisations, they tend to do things for themselves or give time to a local group without any fuss.

  • David Evans,

    ”Shortly (hopefully) the party will announce the arrangements it proposes for the Review of our performance in the General election.”

    Yes, hopefully it will – but will it get to grips with the issues? It already tried after the 2015 election, producing two consultation papers, one on policymaking and one on governance.

    The policymaking one made some good points, highlighting shortcomings in the approach, not least (this from memory) that in practice, our spokespeople must often make policy ultra vires. A system where theory and necessary practice differ is a bad one as it means the formal approach is unworkable. Also, everything is kept in silos so there’s little joined up thinking, little ability to evolve and no ability to develop a coherent narrative.

    Separately, I have previously commented that way less than 1% of members are involved in policymaking (going to conference doesn’t count). Despite occasional outbreaks of angst, the party has never found a way of tapping into the vast experience of its members.

    The paper on governance was dire, never (again from memory) getting much beyond worrying about gender and ethnic balance.

    At root is a belief (shared by other non-authoritarian left-leaning parties) that the best model of democracy is ’direct democracy’, based on that of ancient Athens where all citizens could gather to debate the issues of the day. Unfortunately, this model doesn’t scale. It may have worked for the Liberals in the 1950s, but it doesn’t work for the Lib Dems now.

    We have a ‘representative democracy’ because, other things being equal, it works. Party governance should reflect that and exploit its potential, for example by asking members what they think/suggest about A, B, C etc. then leaving the spokespeople to evolve policy proposals based on that input but also on their political nous (surely, a key ability for MPs). I would then expect them to win conference’s approval for their proposals – or else!

    That would be wonderfully clarifying. Rival factions could emerge rather than trying to pretend everyone agrees by sticking with the lowest common denominator. And that would enable the party to get in touch with the electorate, change tack when necessary and evolve its policy thinking

  • Alex Macfie 15th Jan '20 - 7:05am

    TCO: Actually we HAD been gaining strength and positioning to take Labour seats under Charles Kennedy, but we were starting from a very low base in Labour-facing seats. Most of our gains in 2005 were from Labour, and we also got a lot more strong 2nd places to Labour. The failure to fully capitalise on this growing strength against Labour in 2010 was thus Nick Clegg’s. I find bizarre the idea that 2 years in post is not long enough to own one’s failures.
    The attempted “decapitation” of high-profile Tories could be seen as a failure (the only scalp being Tim Collins, who was unseated by Tim Farron), but at least the party under Charles was trying to fight them. Compare and contrast with the 2008 Haltemprice & Howden by-election (under Clegg’s leadership), where we gave Tory MP David Davis a clear run following his vanity resignation supposedly over “civil liberties” (when actually he was using it to shore up his position in what was then a Lib Dem target seat). This was equivalent to us standing aside for Zac Goldsmith in the 2016 Richmond Park by-election, and with hindsight should have rung alarm bells about Clegg’s approach to politics.

  • Phil Beesley: “[core vote] comprises educated people with an internationalist, socially liberal attitude”.

    Yes. The Lib Dem’s fundamental problem, really, is that there aren’t that many of those in the UK, they’re quite spread out, and in the last decade a lot of them have switched to voting Labour and are no longer ‘core vote’ – Cambridge now a secure Labour seat. Sheffield Hallam now Labour held when they were a distant third in 2010, Canterbury likewise. City of Durham and Oxford East gone from Lab/Lib marginals to a distant third.

    If you add on ‘economically conservative’ to the description it probably covers who the Lib Dems still have left – who won’t go to Labour on economic grounds, and won’t go the Conservatives on social grounds. But that also gives difficulties in attracting more voters, as any move of position is likely to lose as many voters to Labour as it gains from the Conservatives, or vice versa.

    And this is the second problem – most of the places where the Lib Dems are second, it’s to the Conservatives. So gaining X Conservative votes but losing X Labour votes would probably give a significant number of extra seats nationally. But that would mean giving up on the “socially liberal” bit somewhat, and that seems to be the bit most Lib Dem *members* actually agree on.

  • @Phil Beesley. You are giving your version of what a Lib Dem Core Voter is.

    My point was that any party which ‘gears everything’ towards it’s Core Vote in a FPTP electoral system, will deter the other voters that are essential to actually winning elections.

    In 1983 the ‘longest suicide note in history’ led to Labour’s, then, worst electoral performance of modern times in 1983. Tony Benn, its architect, however declared the result a success because it was the biggest ever vote in the UK for a purely Socialist Manifesto. So massive electoral defeat was no problem as long as Labour pandered to its supposed Core Vote.

    In 2019 Corbyn/McDonald repeated the same error -but so did the Lib Dems -and we have another large Conservative majority as a result.

  • Phil Beesley 15th Jan '20 - 1:01pm

    cim: “The Lib Dem’s fundamental problem, really, is that there aren’t that many of those in the UK, they’re quite spread out, and in the last decade a lot of them have switched to voting Labour and are no longer ‘core vote’”

    That is why I did not limit my description of Core Vote to the educated, socially liberal internationalists identified in the Howarth-Pack strategy paper. I intentionally mentioned those who comprised the Core Vote of the old Liberal Party — they were not easy to identify as a market research demographic but you could identify them in conversation. They cared about their fellow citizens but didn’t want the state to do everything, they were localists, people who worked in a charity shop or turned up to pick up litter in a community group (even though they were quite private people). There were small business owners who didn’t aspire to vast wealth and felt uncomfortable with the Conservative Party for a multitude of reasons.

    The Core Voters I have listed are much harder to identify than the targets of the 2019 general election campaign. They are the people you meet from a local, community based campaign.

  • Paul Holmes 15th Jan '20 - 1:12pm

    As to what a Lib Dem Core Voter is, Phil Beesley says they must be Internationalist -although Lisa Nandy for Labour is arguing exactly the same thing in her speech today and ‘shock horror’ I have seen Conservatives argue the same thing about their beliefs too.

    What about one of our local deliverers? A very active OAP (over 70) who delivers a regular two rounds of leaflets for us (often the same day she gets them) and has voted Liberal on every possible occasion from her 21st birthday onwards. Despite having been born in a working class family, in a terraced street, in a Town which in her formative years barely had a Liberal Party and where Labour weighed their votes rather than counting them. Yet in the recent GE she was agonising over whether she could vote for us because of our anti Brexit policy (although she still delivered our leaflets and remains a committed supporter for future elections).

    A Core Voter or not? Not ‘educated’ and not ‘Internationalist’ if that means you MUST support EU Membership. So by Phil’s definition the answer is not. Yet she has been voting Liberal for 5 decades -much longer than many of the recent Remain supporters who joined/voted for us and may well be very transient supporters rather than long term ones. She also freely gives of her time to actively support us via leaflet delivery, unlike so many of the recent ‘Remain’ members.

  • Phil Beesley 15th Jan '20 - 1:16pm

    Paul Holmes: “You are giving your version of what a Lib Dem Core Voter is.

    My point was that any party which ‘gears everything’ towards it’s Core Vote in a FPTP electoral system, will deter the other voters that are essential to actually winning elections.”

    I was trying to list attributes which describe actual Lib Dem Core Voters…

    The point about identifying a Core Vote is that a campaign only has to remind them to vote Lib Dem rather than to persuade them. The primary campaign has to be about winning votes from those outside the Core.

  • Something for those who dismiss the notion of a Lib Dem core vote to consider.

    In 2019, the party achieved a 30.9% vote share in Henley, a very prosperous Home Counties constituency. That was the highest vote share that either the party or its predecessors had ever achieved there since 1924. Only in February 1974 was there a vote share close to it.

    Does anyone remember the 2008 Henley by-election where the party achieved a disappointing 27.8%? That was an extremely poor result, given the fact that Liberal Democrats usually won or came close to winning seats like Henley in parliamentary by-elections. In fact, the Henley by-election, following the party’s failure to make further ground against the Tories in 2005, left the party’s future prospects looking quite grim.

    What happened in Henley between 2008 and 2019 to produce this turnaround (not great at first sight, but huge when viewed against the relative positions of the parties)? Did we win control of the council? No. Did a huge tranche of Tory voters die or leave the area? Probably not. Might it have something to do with the growth of the core vote in certain parts of the country, of which the Thames Valley is one?

  • Paul Holmes 15th Jan '20 - 2:51pm

    Perhaps we agree then Phil -at least about what campaigning should be aimed at even if not necessarily about what our Core Vote should be defined as.

    Regrettably our 2019 GE campaign took a different view and concentrated policy highlights, public pronouncements and Campaigns Dept resources on what was now identified as our Core Vote and its issues. As a result we saw 20% in the Polls fall to 11.4% and many previously strong LD areas out in the wilderness. Our highly unusual Target Seat strategy (the part that involved ‘Targeting’ seats where he had come nowhere near winning but ‘should’ be able to because of supposed concentrations of our supposed Core Voters who could be won over) did not bring success and instead we had a net loss of seats.

    For those who have blamed ‘the electoral system’ we do need to remember that the problems of FPTP, in a two Party dominated system, are not exactly new. An evidence based Target Seat strategy had started to significantly overcome these problems in the record breaking elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005.

  • John Barrett 17th Jan '20 - 11:38am

    Hywel – “To be fair, Nick Clegg wasn’t rewarded for failure by the Lib Dems. He moved to California which I’m pretty certain is not within the Lib Dem sphere of influence. And it’s not like he had a future in politics.”

    Hywel – He then gets a job – for which he seems to be rather unqualified. He has no qualifications in that field, no previous experience of corporate leadership, communications, tech, or legal (the predecessor in that role had some extensive experience of both law and global communications). However his predecessor MP has a senior corporate role at Facebook and had been elevated to a peerage on Nick’s ‘leadership watch’. In the absence of a skill set to do the job, it seems reasonable to ask what are Facebook paying him for?

    Maybe it wasn’t totally out-with the the Lib-Dem sphere of influence.

    If one of the reasons he got the job at Facebook, despite his apparent “lack of qualifications for the job” was because of the influence of the Peer he had elevated to the Lords, especially if those at Facebook thought that it would be good to have the same Peer on board, partly because he was very close to those with influence and then to the UK Deputy Prime Minister.

    Or is it just a case of old pals helping each other out?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohnny McDermott 25th Feb - 9:29am
    Hi Michael 1, thanks for the considered response! I get point 1, and the Scottish Tories certainly will campaign on that message, but feel we...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 25th Feb - 9:28am
    It was not long after I was first elected to the North Kesteven District Council in 1987 that ‘Right to Buy’ raised its ugly head....
  • User AvatarFrank West 25th Feb - 9:10am
    I don't understand how building control can sign off rooms without windows, regulations are there in black and white, entirely different to planning permission.
  • User AvatarFrank West 25th Feb - 8:12am
    If there is another referendum then the terms of the exit should be agreed beforehand, so that everyone who votes will know what they are...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 25th Feb - 7:18am
    Although the housing problem is a complex one, a basic question needs to be dealt with. What do we do about poverty in the country....
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 25th Feb - 12:26am
    On a development site with approval for 100 homes: - sometimes the approval is in phases governed by the planning conditions - builders can not...