Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “Liberal Democrats”

Abolishing Opposition

Tim Farron is emailing about the budget:

Today we saw exactly what we’ve come to expect from George Osborne.

While gleefully abolishing vital services in our communities, he declared with his usual arrogance, that he had abolished the Liberal Democrats.
Email “They want to abolish us” from Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

He doeth protest too much! Read more…

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Protest or Principle

Many portrayed the election of Tim Farron as leader of the Liberal Democrats as a swerve to the left – possibly even to the left of “Miliband Labour” (remember them?).

Then Jeremy Corbyn was elected as Leader of the Labour Party clearly intending to take Labour back towards its Socialist roots.

Tim Farron’s reaction to this says quite a lot about the 2015 Liberal Democrats. Read more…

Being the 3rd or 4th Party

It is difficult when the country won’t divide into two warring tribes. But, on the other hand, if you look at politics in the United States of America, perhaps not.

Without just two warring tribes and the associated bi-polar politics we (the UK) need to seriously consider multi-party politics and its implications. The fact that we have not really done so is part of the reason for the politics of the last five years generating so much heat and venom yet so little light and progress.

For the first and second parties in a multi-party system, the basic strategy is fairly easy and unchanged. You “campaign to win”.

If successful you either:

  • with a following wind from the electoral system create a majority government (happy days), or,
  • you form a minority government or a coalition – either of which is difficult – but is probably better than losing.

If you lose, you are spared the responsibility of governing and you are free to be chief critic – as long as you do not lose so badly that you cease to be the second party.

If you are not the first or second party, the situation is more difficult. Read more…

General Election Prospects

Speaking in a personal capacity at the conference in Glasgow on Tuesday, Ms McGuinness told activists how she believed the next election would be contested.

She said: “Let no-one here fool themselves. The next general election campaign will be a really ugly business.

“The Tories will aim to buy the election, with the millions of pounds donated to them by their hot money hedge fund friends. Labour will seek to steal the election, relying on an electoral system so biased in their favour that 35% of the vote could deliver them 55% of the seats.”

UKIP would try to “hijack” the election, she predicted, turning it into an argument about Europe and immigration.

She added: “The one thing that will connect this collection of clowns will be a desperate attempt to marginalise the Liberal Democrats, for what they all fear, above all else, is that once again, the British people will put the balance of power into our hands.”
BBC News website 8 October 2014 : Bercow spokeswoman quits after Lib Dem speech

Leaving aside the slightly odd factor that one of the speaker’s spokeswomen was speaking so politically at a party conference (for which she has since resigned), is this a reasonable projection? Read more…

Values Outfoxed by practicalities

In choosing a week to bury excruciating news, the Liberal Democrats have excelled at an ugly art. Westminster slumbers in recess, voters are on holiday or reeling from the latest horrors of Isis – and Nick Clegg tersely announces Lord Rennard has been reinstated as a party member, all disciplinary action miraculously evaporated.
The Guardian 21 August 2014 : Lord Rennard’s return to the Lib Dem fold caps a sorry saga of mistakes

It’s a typical bind that a party like the Lib Dems would get caught up in. In holding them up for criticism and ridicule, a part of me feels sorry for the injured little critters.

Read more…

Promising a Referendum

Labour has received a

warning from Unite general secretary Len McCluskey that the party risked being “boxed in” at the 2015 general election unless it dropped its opposition to matching David Cameron’s promise to allow voters a say.
The Guardian 3 July 2014 : Labour would be ‘silly’ to offer EU referendum, says Ed Balls

What-ever happens the right wing press is going to attempt to “box in” Labour. So, the question is: Read more…

So What? – Post-Election Ponderings

So some councillors and MEPs have lost their seats, some have gained or regained their seats. As a result some councils have changed control but there has been little change in the European Parliament. In due course the wheel will turn full circle and some of those seats will move back.

We expected the Liberal Democrats to get a hammering. And they have – councillors and MEPs (including some very good ones) are apparently responsible for all the evils of the Westminster coalition.

We expected UKIP to do dramatically well (much as the SDP did in the early days). And they have, at least in terms of votes; but under First Past the Post, few seats. Sunday was different as across Europe sundry sceptic and reactionary parties won seats.

We expected Labour to come back at the expense of the Conservatives. And in general they have – a bit. Across Europe the Conservatives (both European “Merkel” Conservatives and “Cameron” Conservatives) lost to Socialists and to “Others” – mainly sceptics.

In the UK, the BNP lost its MEPs, but elsewhere in Europe, the BNPs fellow travellers made gains.

Beyond that it is very hard to draw firm conclusions. We can postulate a few soft ones though! Read more…

What to do tomorrow (Euro election day)?

I am fed up with this so-called Euro campaign and feel very unqualified to vote other than on purely tribal grounds. Trouble is I am not a tribal voter. Read more…

Conference Mischief (2 of many)

The Independent is at it again. The paper that has previously been the nearest to Liberal-supporting has claimed:

The survey found that 59 per cent of all those who voted Liberal Democrat at the last election believe the party has got worse in the three years since, with only 9 per cent saying it has got better.
Independent Website 16 September 2013 Lib Dem reality check: 59% of voters say party is worse now than in 2010

Does the independent report or forsee the news

Does the independent report or foresee the news (note dateline!)

Leaving aside the dating of the article, is this really surprising? Read more…

Conference Mischief making (1 of many)

So The Independent on Sunday has done a poll that shows that activists from a left-of-centre political party would prefer a parliamentary coalition with the Labour Party.

According to the poll for The Independent on Sunday by the respected grassroots website Liberal Democrat Voice, four out of 10 party activists want the Lib Dem leader to form a coalition with Labour in 2015, while a further 15 per cent would like to see a Labour-Lib Dem “confidence and supply” agreement, whereby the third party is free to vote against the Government but agrees not to bring down the Government or vote against its Budget.

In a major blow to some senior Lib Dems close to Mr Clegg who are planning a second term of coalition with the Conservatives, only  15 per cent want to see this deal, while 6 per cent would back a Conservative-Lib Dem “confidence and supply”.
The Independent website 15 September 2013 Exclusive poll reveals activists would want to form a coalition with Labour in 2015

How very illuminating and depressingly typical of the sort of stirring that is done around the party conferences. It just provokes more stupidity. Read more…

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