Isn’t it time socialists abandoned Labour?


11:25 am - January 18th 2009

by David Semple    


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With the declaration of the government that there will simply be no vote on the proposed third runway at Heathrow, the shaky position of the socialist Left in Labour is thrown into stark relief.

If socialist MPs, councillors and activists can’t influence the policy of Labour, one wonders why we should continue to be part of Labour at all? Our situation very much seems to resemble the song by Stealers Wheel, “Clichés to the left of us, Lib-Dems to the right…”

What are the pros and cons of being a socialist and supporting the Labour Party?

On an electoral basis, the claim that it is the best of a bad selection is on very uncertain ground. Frankly I’d prefer to elect Evan Harris, of the Lib-Dems, over pretty much any member of the Labour Cabinet. I’ll certainly be choosing Caroline Flint Lucas of the Greens over Peter Skinner in the upcoming European elections. Yet this decision not to vote Labour cannot be translated into a rule-of-thumb. It is only in certain areas where I would choose to advocate that.

Labour MPs with impeccable socialist credentials will always have my support: John McDonnell and the Labour Representation Committee being at the top of the list. It is true, however, that for the Left the professions of faith in Labour as the least-worst option are becoming increasingly untenable. Nevertheless, the connections of Labour’s socialists to the Labour Party are more than merely about elections, rightly so, but problematically this often tends towards a nostalgia and unrealism.

This can be seen in arguments between individuals on Labour’s Left over the future course of the Labour Representation Committee. Without any hope of reconquering Labour or transforming the structures of the Party that would allow Left activism to re-take the Party from the bureaucrats, there are members who insist that we remain with Labour come hell or high-water. Their only valid argument is that to leave would almost certainly deprive us of parliamentary representation.

How important that representation is can be seen in the performances of people like McDonnell, in his stunt with the mace. Holding parliament in contempt was an important symbol, which was read about and listened to all over the country last night and this morning.

On the other hand, New Labour is firmly in control of the Party and the prospect of continuing LRC parliamentary representation is not bright. Labour Party Conference has been hollowed out in two ways; first, it has been stripped of its powers and secondly, those powers have been transferred to National Policy Forums. The constituencies which are meant to take part in these have been hollowed out by the New Labour agenda – which has led to crashing Labour Party membership figures.

One by one, the Socialist Campaign Group and the LRC lose their parliamentarians – and these are not being replaced.

Even within the LRC there are those who can see this happening. The LRC, and its youth wing, the Socialist Youth Network, are open to members of any Party which does not stand candidates against Labour and to members of no party. This is a reflection of the number of solid activists who deserted Labour over the Iraq War, over trades union issues and over the multiple courses of action on which the government has decided to ignore its supporters.

This multi-polar perception of socialist activism is in-built to the Labour Representation Committee, since its major union affiliates have broken from the Labour Party proper. Later this month, the LRC will be launching with the NUJ, the FBU, RMT and other unions a co-ordinating group to improve communications and the potential for joint action. Labour verus TorySimilarly, it is this multi-polar perception which gave rise to the Convention of the Left in Manchester last year.

CotL brought together many strands of socialism within Labour, as well as inviting participants from outside of the Labour Party: Scottish Socialist Party, Socialist Workers’ Party, CPB-Morning Star and the Greens, to name the major ones. The smaller Trotskyist sects also attended the conference, and a repeat performance is hopefully going to be organised for this year’s conference season, either to coincide with the TUC or Labour conference.

It was this multi-polar concept of socialism which drew me to the LRC, but it is also a weakness in one respect. In the LRC there are those more attached to and more engaged with the Labour milieu, and there are those more attached to and more engaged with a non-Labour milieu. The LRC is an important development, representing all that was ever good about the Socialist Campaign Group and little of what was bad, but it brings Labour socialists no closer to deciding whether or not to stay Labour.

The reason the LRC is so key to the discussion is that, whether or not one votes Lib-dem because they like the individual they vote for, it will be the institutions of activist socialism that will ultimately deliver for us the global change to capitalism which we want to see.

In the early 1980s, Paul Foot characterised Tony Benn’s movement as an engine driver who, seeing the end in sight, detaches the train from his engine and powers on ahead. By this, Foot meant to convey the view that the political swing to the Left by Labour was not being emulated on the ground; shop stewards were harder to find than in the 1970s and unions were less prone to organise work-ins or strikes over issues political rather than economic.

For Labour socialists, there is the danger that we reconquer the Party only to find we’ve left the working class on the platform. This would be to repeat the mistakes of Tony Benn et al, or worse still to repeat the mistakes of the Independent Labour Party. At any rate, I don’t think the Labour Left is yet strong enough with the unions and with its class to emerge on to the stage as a separate political entity. Continuation of multipolarity seems the best strategy for the present – but we should be under no illusions:

For better or worse, we have lost control of Labour, probably for good.

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About the author
David Semple is a regular contributor. He blogs at Though Cowards Flinch.
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Reader comments


Yes. Next question?

With such a sharp affirmative, Jenny, presumably you have somewhere for them all to go?

I think it’s been more than a decade since the Lib Dems were ‘to the right’ of Labour… I certainly have seen far more willingness to use the word ‘socialist’ in the Liberal Democrats than among Labour party members.
I simply cannot begin to fathom how anyone who actually cares about the poor, or about basic human rights, can support the current Labour party…

Dave: Lib Dem. Green, Start a new party. Whatever they like; I am, after all, a Liberal. I just think it’s nonsensical for them to cling to the corporatist wreckage of the Labour party, which abandoned socialism well oer a decade ago.

@ Andrew Hickey; it depends on what you mean by ‘to the right’. On subjects such as civil liberties, sure the Lib Dems will defend them more than the current Labour leadership seems to be. And on certain matters of welfarism, the Lib Dems might be out in front of the Labour leadership – but the Lib Dems aren’t socialists and have no conception of socialism. Whichever stream of Liberalism one espouses, it is an ideology very much tied to the apron strings of capitalism. Why then should socialists abandon one capitalist party for another?

@ Jenny: perhaps you didn’t read the article and instead replied only to the title. I have given several pros and cons to socialists leaving the Labour Party. You seem to ignore that within Labour there are still elements which manage to hold together socialist theory and practice, in some cases by virtue of being within Labour and being of the Party which trades unions have trusted for a hundred years and more. That the leadership has betrayed its membership is irrelevant – that’s been happening to socialists essentially since day one.

Excuse me, on both counts that should be Jennie – force of habit.

Dave, you are right, I only read the title. Mea Culpa.

The third Heathrow runway is not a socialist issue ? The most prominent objector is Boris Johnson . I am against it as are many Conservatives . Ponderous big developments are a feature of authoritarian socialist governments around the world . The contempt shown for Parliament is nothing new , you were busily applauding the shocking lies told about Lisbon when a specific promise for a referendum had been given .

This is good idea break away , have some political integrity , tell the truth about your positions and fight for global socialism . I `m not sure the gathering should be called a Party , more an intimate soirée for close friends but you can serve cocktails and canapés and prattle at each other in obscurity .

Sorry, but who cares?

The voters abandoned socialism – if they ever really embraced it that is – decades ago.

Meanwhile, as you cover in the headlines section, the Brown bounce is well and truly over.

Fraser Nelson (partisan I know) on Labour post Brown:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3265781/gangs-of-new-labour.thtml

Read and weep.

I would, I guess, be nice if all socialists could agree on the question of which political party to join and be active in – but it’s not going to happen any time soon.

A large part of that is that people’s experiences are so different depending on where and in which context they are politically active. So for example I’ve always found that the majority of people who share my values and who I admire and respect politically are members and activists in the Labour Party (whereas the Lib Dems have tended to be much more right-wing).

Equally, I know that if I’d become politically active in other parts of the country, it’s entirely possible that it would have been Lib Dems, Greens or the Socialist Workers Party who were most active and most welcoming.

That’s one of the things I like about this website – it brings together people on the liberal-left from all these different parties and traditions.

“Why then should socialists abandon one capitalist party for another?”

Because a capitalist party that will defend civil liberties and ‘certain matters of welfarism’ (and also the environment) is better than one that won’t? There are also plenty of Lib Dems who *do* consider themselves socialist as well, as I’m sure MatGB will be along any second to point out (and I’m one myself).

As well as that, there’s also the pragmatic matter that the Lib Dems support proportional representation. If PR is brought in, then the chances for smaller, ‘fringe’ socialist parties to have actual national representation becomes infinitely greater than the current system, giving you a chance to get an MP who suppors *all* your values.

Basically, it seems to me you have a very small number of options:
1) Continue supporting a party that seems deliberately to attack everything you support (yes yes minimum wage not as bad as the Tories…)
2) Start to support a party that has at least *some* of the same values, even if you also have some fundamental differences with it – especially if that party is one that values dissent. The Lib Dems would seem to me the most promising option, but there’s also the Greens or some of the fringe parties.
3) Start your own party, “Dave S’s Socialist party for Socialists called Dave” which will have exactly the policies you want.
4) Join the SWP and try to bring about violent revolution through means of newspapers.

To me, the only sensible option among those is number two, but of all of them the first seems to make the least sense to me…

@ Andrew… With the exception of perhaps Evan Harris and one or two others, the parliamentary voting records of the LRC group within Labour blows the Lib Dems out of the water on the environment, on welfare, on civil liberties and on half a dozen more issue besides. And that’s WITH the heavy whipping which goes on, on all sides of the aisle in the Commons.

There’s also the small matter that the Lib Dems, at the moment, seem in the middle of their own trip to the right. If one of the consistent problems laid out by the article is the difficulties of building a socialist alternative movement whilst our leadership hamstrings us by driving people away from the broader banner under which we stand (i.e. Labour), then the solution to that problem is not to exchange one hamstringing leadership for another.

The Lib Dems have the virtue (if such it can be called) of being out of government, or being in government in the regions – where populism is a matter of course for Labour as well, as in Scotland prior to the SNP administration. I have little doubt that, should the Lib Dems reach government, in many respects they’d take bad elements from both Labour and the Tories – as they seem to do in local government.

Finally, there’s also the question of the trades unions. Trades Unions are pro-Labour; even where the leaderships are uncritically Brownite, the activist membership is to the Left of the Lib Dems, even supposedly ‘socialist’ Lib Dems. I doubt that ever in the history of Liberalism has anyone ever called for the overthrow of capitalism, and by socialist, I mean anti-capitalist. The Lib Dems were given their modern form by people protesting Tony Benn et al…and you want us to join the Lib Dems? Seems a bit of a contradiction.

@ Donpaskini… I think that one of my points regarding the strength of the LRC is its willingness to work with all groups. My only regret is that it exists under a state of seige within its own Party and will either eventually take over control of that Party or be defeated, losing parliamentary representation and so forth.

“the small matter that the Lib Dems, at the moment, seem in the middle of their own trip to the right”

* headdesk headdesk headdesk *

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times this myth is debunked, does it?

Dave

on certain matters of welfarism, the Lib Dems might be out in front of the Labour leadership – but the Lib Dems aren’t socialists and have no conception of socialism. Whichever stream of Liberalism one espouses, it is an ideology very much tied to the apron strings of capitalism

Bollocks. Google John Stuart Mill “On Socialism”, or read his biography by Richard Reeves. I’m a liberal, democrat and socialist, in that order. Liberalism isn’t tied to capitalism at all and Mill made a strong case, backed by many others, that socialism was best served by a competetive system, whereas capitalism naturally heads towards monopolistic oligopolies.

You’ve repeated the “Lib Dems move right” meme while I started typing this. I’ve debunked this on this site so many times now it’s getting repetetive, it’s utter bollocks, they’ve announced a policy of increasing taxes on the wealthiest, closing tax loopholes abused by the richest and decreasing the tax burden on the lowest paid.

How is the most radically redistributive taxation policy put forward by any mainstream party in the last 30 years a right wing shift? it isn’t.

As for pro-union? Unions aren’t the be all and end all of support for the working man. In fact, there’s a significant argument to be made from the left that the trades union movement in the UK has done a lot more harm than good over the last 50 years or so.

Capitalism is a system of ownership predicated on a small elite controlling most of the business—it prefers a competetive system only in that it makes it easier to form privately owned oligopolies. Socialism would be best served promoting mutuals, partnerships and cooperatives, and by being both more efficient and better for morale, forcing greedy capitalists out of the system: a socialist owned business will, on aggregate, be more efficient and have better motivated staff.

State ownership and nationalisation was a red herring that damaged socialism and nearly killed it off. And that’s why the longest suicide note that Benn was happy with had to be opposed.

Benn had been a decent liberal socialist at times, see his attempts to turn Triumph(IIRC) into a co-operative. But his support for nationalisation at all costs in his later years was the antithesis of liberalism, and without freedom we are nothing.

The Liberal movement has a strong left wing and socialist tradition. That it isn’t what you think of as socialism is a problem at your end, and one that I’d do more to persuade you on if I was any good at it.

So, a small proportion of Labour MPs are to the left of all but a small proportion of Lib Dem MPs then… how about the main body of both parties?

The ‘trip to the right’ in the Lib Dems is just media nonsense. Can you name any actual concrete policy changes that have moved us to the right?

I know that the Trades Unions support Labour, my arguments apply to them, too. As for the ‘people protesting Tony Benn et al’, that was a generation ago. The Gang Of Four left Labour when I was two. Since then, the Lib Dems have stayed in roughly the same place, politically, probably moving overall slightly to the left, while Labour have careered so far over to the right that even people who were Thatcherite back then would now be on the left of the party.

Given a choice between the Labour of Michael Foot and Tony Benn and the Liberal party of David Steel I would have chosen Labour every time. That choice has not been available in decades, unfortunately, and given a choice between a party who seem intent on funneling ever more money to the very worst kind of exploitive multinational capitalist companies at the expense of the poorest people in society, or a party that doesn’t want to do that, I know which one *I* am choosing…

What Mat said, with the proviso that nationalisation in *some* circumstances (natural monopolies and public utilities, mostly) makes a lot more sense to me than even mutual ownership…

Nitpciking – maybe write a more comprehensive answer later – I’m sure you don’t mean Caroline Flint, but in fact Caroline Lucas. But actually, due to the vagaries of the electoral system, Peter Skinner and Caroline Lucas are both certain to get elected – so it is a question of whether you want an extra Labour member who will vote with the Party of European Socialists in Brussels, or an extra Tory who will vote with the right-wing majority as part of the ED.

As to whether Liberal Democrats can be socialists, it’s almost silly to argue about because the term is used in such a subjective way – but I would argue no because they don’t have a class-based a worldview. They also seem to have a value-centred rather than a power-centred conception of politics, which isn’t helpful if you think the aim of politics is the transfer of power to the working class.

“that socialism was best served by a competetive system” a slightly weak prescription.

All economic systems are best served by a competitive system: markets are vastly more important than who owns the productive assets.

“Socialism would be best served promoting mutuals, partnerships and cooperatives, and by being both more efficient and better for morale, forcing greedy capitalists out of the system: a socialist owned business will, on aggregate, be more efficient and have better motivated staff.”

Sadly this isn’t true. I agree that sometimes it is: John Lewis is a workers’ coop and does very well. But to say that Waitrose is “more efficient” than Tesco, Aldi, Lidl etc, capitalist organisations competing in the same market goes a little too far I think. ” Efficient enough” to hold its own, sure, but ” more efficient”?

Given that anyone who wishes to is entirely free to set up a workers’ coop then if they really were in aggregate more efficient then we’d expect them to have colonised a rather large part of the market over the years. And indeed in some sectors they have: as Chris Dillow keeps pointing out, lawyers are partnerships and a partnership is indeed a workers’ coop (although with two classes of worker).

In other sectors they haven’t so colonised and so there’s at least the nub of an empirical refutation of your thesis there. I have a feeling that (and this is a feeling only) where large amounts of capital are required: the billions upon billions to build a car plant, a silicon fab say, a large scale mining operation, then workers’ coops aren’t going to work simply because said workers don’t have enough capital to put into such a venture. You need the widely dispersed risk sharing and the concentration of small investments into large that say, shareholder capitalism allows.

In other sectors, where capital requirements for market entry are low then I can see that the workers’ coop could indeed work: and may well be more efficient. Say, a web design shop. What are entry requirements? A few tens of thousands on equipment, the human capital of the staff and a few months wages to get going?

I’d say that (I do say it often enough actually) that it’s horses for courses. As long as people are at liberty to use whatever capital and ownership structure they like (assuming of course that they’re not trampling on others’ freedoms and liberty to do likewise) then we’ll end up, through the marketplace of such models competing with each other, with the most efficient models colonising those parts of the economy where they are indeed the most efficient. I even agree with Chris Dillow again in that the greater emphasis on human rather than physical capital means that worker owned firms are, potentially, going to colonise more of the market than they do now.

But we don’t actually have to do anything: just sit back and watch what happens. Which is rather why I say that markets are vastly more important than whatever the ownership structure is, for such a market gives us the empirical answer as to that efficiency, something which we probably can’t work out a priori.

How is the most radically redistribute taxation policy put forward by any mainstream party in the last 30 years a right wing shift? it isn’t.

Interesting , thats not precisely the way it is being sold here …….

In fact, there’s a significant argument to be made from the left that the trades union movement in the UK has done a lot more harm than good over the last 50 years or so.

They have been responsible for safeguarding employment conditions and security for their members . If your argument is that the inelasticity of the Labour market bankrupted the country then your argument is against socialism as much as trade unions which has imposed similar burdens on employers . In my view this is single largest mistake of the New Labour period

Capitalism is a system of ownership predicated on a small elite controlling most of the business—it prefers a competetive system only in that it makes it easier to form privately owned oligopolies.

Oh blimey back to the corridors of power brothers , are we . New Labour would not doubt prefer there to be a corporate socialist state but the majority work for SME`s who have no such power. There is stringent control of price setting and market share in this country and the only monopoly is the state.

Socialism would be best served promoting mutuals, partnerships and cooperatives, and by being both more efficient and better for morale, forcing greedy capitalists out of the system: a socialist owned business will, on aggregate, be more efficient and have better motivated staff.

Can you really say these words and not laugh ? Hallo gate post , hallo Liberal what a lovely day look at all these people determined to earn less than they could . Lets say I have an idea , I get some finance selling part of it and hope to make some money . Why on earth would I want to set this up as a cooperative ? Put it another way if you are going to regulate start ups in this way , can you imagine how few there will be ?This can only sound reasonable to people who do not work in the real world .

The Liberal movement has a strong left wing and socialist tradition. That it isn’t what you think of as socialism is a problem at your end, and one that I’d do more to persuade you on if I was any good at it.

I would be interested though , can you explain to the socialist credentials of a Norman Baker with specific examples . He was a member of the Beveridge group so that should be easy enough and given how few MP s you have you surely know something about him There that’s an easy test for you….. You have a left wing Liberal well known and one of only few . Can you of anything ‘socialist’ he has ever said or done ? Jennie you seem convinced tell me about how sociallist the Liberals are . I `m all ears …

Newmania: I don’t think all Liberals are socialist (I’m not), but I do think socialists can find a home in the Lib Dems.

It’s kind of like JSMill’s maxim that although not all conservatives are stupid, most stupid people are conservatives, really.

23. Shatterface

The least-worse option is no option at all.

Even if you vote for a left-wing MP it will still be taken as a mandate for a right-wing executive.

Newmania, you’re being an arse, again. Many many businesses are set up as partnerships all the time, my local garage is one, most law firms are, many IT firms are. So yes, people set up as mutuals constantly, for a variety of reasons. The rest of your point is irrelevent as you’ve demonstrated your complete inability to actually make a distinction between teh classifications I’m using.

Tim, to an extent, you’re right, larger firms are harder to create from scratch. However most larger firms would grow first from being smaller firms, right? And if the banking sector works properly, then it can lend money to firms wishing to expand and invest, as they already do.

Chris has written in the past about how the tax and inheritance system disincentivises the formation or even continuation of mutals—the demutualisation of many of the bigger building societies was a specific policy of Govt as you know, and look how that’s ended up, I think all of the former mutuals have now fallen, (right?) whereas those that stayed mutual are still working.

As long as people are at liberty to use whatever capital and ownership structure they like (assuming of course that they’re not trampling on others’ freedoms and liberty to do likewise) then we’ll end up, through the marketplace of such models competing with each other, with the most efficient models colonising those parts of the economy where they are indeed the most efficient. I even agree with Chris Dillow again in that the greater emphasis on human rather than physical capital means that worker owned firms are, potentially, going to colonise more of the market than they do now.

I agree completely, but the bit I emboldened is true. I have a feeling that currently co-operatives and mutuals are harder to set up than they should be, and that the taxation system can and should be modified in order to at the very least level the playing field.

Getting startup capital for a business is always difficult, naturally, but mutually owned banks can provide such a service, and co-wnership with buyout rights would also be an option, right? If a capital investor gets a return on their money, and the mutual itself can buy all of itself back over a period of time if succesfull, then a different model would be possible.

25. douglas clark

Where would credit unions fit into this template? They seem to me to be growing quite quickly and are owned by their members. The one I’m in is now so big it can offer me a mortgage. Given that they were originally set up to cover what we now call the ‘sub-prime’ market, they have an incredibly low default rate.

26. Shatterface

I agree with MattGB: liberalism and capitalism are not the same: they developed together in the West but the success of capitalism in the illiberal East shows that the Western experience is historically contingent.

It’s also time to sever the knee-jerk association of socialism and anti-capitalism: there are far-right elements in the anti-capitalist movement just as there are in the environmental movement and in animal rights. Capitalism can be opposed from the right as well as from the left: Prince Charles is not a socialist, nor is the Pope. Nor for that matter are the anti-capitalist theocracies of the Arab world, whatever ugly alliances have been forged in the justified opposition to the ‘War on Terror’. (And replace the word ‘capitalism’ with ‘America’ and this paragraph still stands.)

A capitalist economy is a precondition for the development of socialism. You aren’t going to bring about the revolution by smashing the windows of your local Starbucks (a good example of anti-capitalist alliance with far-right anti-semitism).

Progressive politics means moving forwards, not back.

“The least-worse option is no option at all. ”

The least-worst option is definitely an option; especially if, in the process of making that change of opinion clear, the message of why our choices have changed gets through.

Many of my clients are partnerships and sole traders. They employ Labour force as well a contract Labour . So if that’s what you mean then it s makes fuck all difference to anything and we already have it .I cannot wait to tell these people they are unknowingly part of the socialist revolution . You ought to try getting money out of threse people and then tell us about “forcing greedy capitalists out of the system “.

Joker .

29. Shatterface

Those of us who have voted for left-wing candidates have seen our votes claimed as showing a mandate for the executive, so no, it’s not an option.

I didn’t vote for the invasion of Iraq and I didn’t vote for an MP who supported it but tge government still claimed my tacit support.

That finished me as far as Labour goes.

I doubt that many here voted for the war, or ID cards or more runways: it doesn’t matter, the party has your vote.

Who on earth has claimed Labour is the least worse option?

Lee, the original article appears to be saying that…

Getting startup capital for a business is always difficult, naturally, but mutually owned banks can provide such a service, and co-wnership with buyout rights would also be an option, right?

You think you go to the bank for money to start up ? Banks lend money to people who can offer boots and braces collateral and thats all , like your house . Then what do you do , offer to share the winnings with your employees ? You have not thought this through

33. douglas clark

It is probably worth bringing this to the table too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcredit

Which, at least at a micro scale, belies what Newmania has just said above, does it not?

Newmania’s ignorance of over 150 years worth of thought in this area is showing, given he even quoted one of my alternate solutions while dismissing one of them shows why ignoring him is the best option.

Newmania, if you really want to engage on this, go read Chris Dillow’s back archive from the last 4 years on his blog, then go read up on the many many articles out there about market socialism. Then you might be able to engage above a level of “you haven’t thought this through”.

Yes, I have, but I really can’t be arsed to regurgitate all the different solutions to problems you’re making up as you go along.

35. Shatterface

‘Who on earth has claimed Labour is the least worse option?’

I’ve yet to see a stronger arguement for voting for Labour than ‘the Tories would be even worse’. More than a decade in, that’s not good enough.

Any socialists still giving their votes or money to New Labour this many years after the fact are entirely to blame for their own powerlessness. Whatever the executive unaccountably chooses to do next, it will be on exactly the same lines as we’ve seen from the beginning.

I agree with a lot of what Mat and Jennie have said, but I can’t see that the Lib Dems are truly the place for socialists. Start a new party instead – start an actual left-of-centre party focused on socialist policy.

Of course, that will probably take a lot of the lefty voters from Labour, guaranteeing a conservative win. The UK is just too conservative. But if we had an electoral system worth anything, you’d at least be able to vote for a significant minority party and have that voted counted towards people who will act for you (instead of wasted). So step 1 would seem to be to implement PR… who was it promised that 12 years ago? And who failed to deliver? And you’re still there?

“I’ve yet to see a stronger arguement for voting for Labour than ‘the Tories would be even worse’. More than a decade in, that’s not good enough.”

I don’t disagree, you seem to think I am disagreeing though.

Steve (Tyrel, or another Steve B)?

I agree with a lot of what Mat and Jennie have said, but I can’t see that the Lib Dems are truly the place for socialists. Start a new party instead – start an actual left-of-centre party focused on socialist policy.

Therein lies the problem.

Under the current electoral system, you have to support one of the broad church parties, as the FPTP system encourages such behaviour. I dislike this. Another reason why I joined the Lib Dems was because they’re very very strong on the sort of electoral reform that will allow more parties without constant internecine factionalising.

I’m very clear when talking to other Lib Dems that, within a few elections of the introduction of STV, I’ll be in a different party, probably the same one as a lot of LC contributors currently in Labour, the Greens or no-one.

Parties are a flag of convenience, and the system ensures that you can really only have 2 parties competing in any one district (3-way marginals are rare and disappear over time, 4-way marginals even rarer and are even less likely to stay for a longer period).

Starting a new party is a fools errand, change the system first, put into place the systemic underpinnings that will allow for further developments.

The type of economy I look forward to is a medium to long term objective, as are a lot of the other things I like the idea of (such as LVT and a CBI). Short term, next ten years or so, the Lib Dems are the only option we’ve effectively got, except in areas where there is a liberal Labour PPC and both the Greens and the Lib Dems are a long way behind.

I’m of the strong opinion that Labour will end in 3rd place in several seats they currently hold, I live in one of them. I suspect the Tories will take those seats, but I’d rather fight to give the alternate candidate a chance.

Mat (Yes, it is Tyrell):
“I’m very clear when talking to other Lib Dems that, within a few elections of the introduction of STV, I’ll be in a different party”

That’s an interesting approach. I agree that some form of PR has to come first before a new party is viable, I was more expressing digust at the current system than a realistic plan. If a new party (Let’s call it ‘real’ Labour) was started, most of my satisfaction would be from seeing the unions and other funding/votes move to it and destroy the current lot overnight. But yes, that would hand everything to the Tories in this two-party mess we choose to call ‘democracy’.

It hadn’t actually occurred to me to go for any party that sounded serious about PR just until it was in, and then vote for who I actually want. Interesting.

Ah.

It hadn’t actually occurred to me to go for any party that sounded serious about PR just until it was in, and then vote for who I actually want. Interesting.

If I haven’t managed to explain that basic point of my worldview to you, then obviously I’m not doing a good enough job of explaining it to anyone.

Guess a “why I’m a Lib Dem” post is in order sometime soon. Oh, wait, I promised Dr Pack I’d write one at some point anyway. Hmm…

*adds to long list of posts he’ll never get around to writing*

41. douglas clark

Steve B,

I am going to vote Scottish Nationalist, just, well, just because.

And the day after we get our freedom, I’ll join the Liberal Party.

You might disagree with me – sometimes I’m not too convinced myself – but it a strategy after a fashion.

I suppose you could describe it as tactical voting….on a grand scale.

Maybe when Labour goes into opposition it can be reclaimed for socialism…

Nah, I can’t see it either.

And start up a new party? There’s two things you’d need- funding (provided by the rich of course… that could be a problem….) and positive media attention (cosying up to Murdoch….good luck with that…) We have a democracy where the parties are restricted beforehand to those deemed acceptable by the powerful. We have a constricted political landscape, and anything outside of this field is considered radicalism, purely because the narrow points of view that make up the media consider it as such.

It’s a lost battle as far as I can see. Marketing has killed you- capitalism perversely identifies with liberty and freedom- anything that goes wrong the media calls socialism (George Bush… Gordon Brown…. Hitler….). It’s a word that no one knows what it means, except as an insult.

Socialism has faded, it’s conceded to capitalism more with every generation. Some blog or other a while ago had a post about socialists letting themselves be reclassified as liberals, to be more acceptable to the media and such. It’s this search for mainstream respectibility that got to the Labour party, I guess.

Britain’s a lost cause, I reckon- we’ll keep consuming our slave made goods, celebrating our celebrities’ huge wealth, supporting violence against innocents abroad- and we’ll call it liberty. Either that, or hate it and say it’s socialism’s fault.

43. Shatterface

It’s a question of long-term strategy: we won’t get the social and economic policies we want without PR so the priority should be to vote for the party most likely to introduce PR – even if their social and economic policies happened to be to the right of Labour (which, thankfully, they are not).

The fact that the Lib Dems happen to oppose many of the more draconian law and order policies of the current government is also a bonus.

Who for?

45. Shatterface

Lib Dem’s (as I hoped the second paragraph made clear): I’m to the left of that party but I’m aware that I’m not going to see the policies I want to see enacted under the FPTP system.

I note with pleasure that, in my Region, one prominent Labour Councillor – Leader of his Group on the District Council in the Bury St. Edmond’s area of Suffolk – has already voted with his feet, since the Heathrow decision last week, and crossed the floor to join us, the Green Party:
See http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2009/01/leader-of-labour-group-resigns-to-join.html
and / or http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2009/01/cllr-mark-ereiras-joining-us-hits-news.html
Rupert.
p.s. I’m a former LibDem, btw. Jennie (et al), don’t keep wasting your time with a Party of neo-liberals! The future’s bright, the future’s Green…

“The ‘trip to the right’ in the Lib Dems is just media nonsense. Can you name any actual concrete policy changes that have moved us to the right?”

How about dropping the 50% rate? Lib Dems now argue that the rich should pay less tax than under Labour’s plans.

Second point; way too many people on here failing to associate economic with social liberalism here as children of the same logic (and social circumstances).

The whole reason capitalism has become successful in ‘the illiberal east’ is liberalisation! The same push for liberalisation by the business classes lies at the historical root of liberalism in the UK. Haven’t you LibDemmers out there ever heard of Cobden? Have you never concerned yourselves with the writings of Locke?

Then there are the roots and rationales behind the Lib Dems themselves. A child party of the anti-union, anti-socialist SDP can only ever be capable of opposing socialism, especially without a root in the part of the working class which chooses to organise itself in response to the problems caused to it by everyday capitalism.

“Who for?”

Is it necessary to have an alternative?

If one were on a sinking ocean liner, and somebody shouted “It’s hopeless! abandon ship!”, one’s first thought wouldn’t be “Well, I just don’t think the water’s a viable solution…”

Ben

49. douglas clark

The problem Ben is that just talking to, or more probably by, each other ain’t gonna make a difference now, is it?

Well, my MP (Labour) is standing down. His replacement has already sent both me and my partner a letter (sent via the midlands I think, through a courier company), to the same address, going on about saving money and the environment. So, to answer the problem douglas poses, while I’m not comfortable joining a party right now I am definitely going to be putting all the resources I can to pushing the Lib Dem candidate here.

^It’d be nice too if other people started doing this, nearer the time I’ll probably be posting some helpful figures to aid people to choose an alternative candidate where appropriate. If we can push that sort of information around maybe we’ll start getting somewhere

How about dropping the 50% rate? Lib Dems now argue that the rich should pay less tax than under Labour’s plans.

Would this be the dropping of a rate that would raise about £2bn from the wealthiest in favour of different taxes that would raise about £20bn from the wealthiest?

Most of the ‘rich’ won’t pay much more under Labour’s plans than they do now, as they don’t take their income as income, they take it as dividends and similar, which are taxed as Capital Gains at 18%. That’s if they can’t Avoid it completely. Which is why the Lib Dems plan to, broadly, bring capital gains tax into the same rates scale as income, and close a few other loopholes.

So yes, they dumped a useless headline policy that made little difference in favour of a more redistributionary policy that would make more difference.

As for the rest? Of course I’ve read Locke (who was, after all, one of the great influences on that radical right winger Karl Marx) and am more than aware of Cobden. What’s your point?

Liberalism is about freedom and the rights of the individual. Liberals can be radically left wing and significantly right wing, as long as individual rights are respected they can remain liberals. I myself am considered dangerously left wing by a lot of Lib Dems (while being dismissed as a “neo liberal” by others, a term that had little meaning when used a s apositive description, and makes no sense at all when used as a pejorative).

What matters is the underlying structure and ability to set up and compete. That’s why I favour LVT, a CBI and, preferably, treating the amount an individual inherits as a capital gain on the individual, while allowing businesses to be left to themselves as mutuals as Lewis did.

a root in the part of the working class

and therein lies the problem. Liberals want to help everyone, not just those that sign up to the false promise of the union saviours.

Unions can, and should, be part of the solution, but saying you can’t be ‘socialist’ unless you listen to sellouts and idiots is utterly ridiculous.

Rupert:

don’t keep wasting your time with a Party [that hasn’t a chance in hell of making any difference whatsoever in most of the country]

Corrected that there for you Rupert, as that’s what you’re doing.

Until we’ve reformed the voting system, your party is a waste of time. You might, if you’re lucky, get elected as the Greens second MEP. Well done. That’ll make a real difference to, well, you.

But the Lib Dems are likely to get between 50 and 120 seats at the next General Election, minimum. That’s why I joined them, as I’d rather see that in the higher end than the lower end, as they’re the only chance we have.

If the Greens are really really really lucky, they might get two MPs. That’ll make a real difference to the formation of the next Govt, and give them real negotiating power when it comes to the policies of the next Government.

Rupert, as I’ve said up thread, get us a decent electoral system, then we can talk about what party I should be in. Until then, it’s you, not me, that’s wasting time.

Good luck becoming your party’s second elected parliamentarian. From what I’m seeing, you might actually need that luck.

If I was a small nebulous third Party I would want PR which would hand power to the Party no-one likes , as does STV. As we well know the Liberal Party has no inertest whatsoever in democracy as it showed over Lisbon reneging on an outright promise for a referendum. (Then quietly supporting New Labour in the Lords )The alchemical formulas are designed to give a small Party power they cannot win by actually gaining wide support. Very democratic . Furthermore it is only an extension of an already existing elitist con perpetrated by the wider Liberal Constituency . Basically it involves disenfranchising the conservative working class not to say straightforward gerrymandering
Currently Labour can get a majority on 36% of the vote, whereas the Tories need 42% or an 8 point lead .This is the result of a, long campaign to delay the boundary commission and not to reform it to reflect new facts about population movement speed ( from Labour inner city Constituencies ) . Add to that the double counting of Scottish and Welsh votes who should have far less seats given the WLQ , Holyrood etc. and under the current FPTP system the left are vastly over represented . This has to be addressed and will be as part of the manifesto
The PR dream is to establish a permanent Lib Lab pact and (remove the accountability of MP`s both from constituents and from the country as they will be impossible to remove . ). This they believe will permanently exclude Conservatives and result in consistent Progressive pressure. It is a lie and would require us to be governed by something more like a court than a Parliament .
There is no progressive majority try finding it in any pub? Not on immigration , not on international aid ( seen the figures) , not on capital punishment , not on abortion , not on just about every so-called progressive measure we have had inflicted upon us none of which command majority support ( and obviously not on Europe ) . PR is actually a way of reinforcing the disproportionate power held by middleclass Liberals by bribing half their enemies with money taken from the other half within the Labour Party class advantage is used to control conservative elements . The second choice Party of 30 % of Labour voters is the BNP. They would find it odd to be counted in the progressive majority . Take a step back and you see Liberals hate democracy they like the form of it within which they can force everyone to do as they are told.

Any move to PR with Labour sliding inexorably to defeat ( see today’s awful Polls for Labour ) would be a threat to democracy at the most fundamental level . It could not possible be undertaken without referendum which PR supporters would lose….under PR.. Not one single Conservative would support it ands they would all vote and unless you can deliver the entire labour Party that is that….and you cannot because the people of this country above all else want to be able to kick the bastards out . Such a system then would have no legitimacy
We can be sure Labour know they are finished when they start talking about PR we can be sure the Lib Dems never started because they never stop.. Never never never in this country.

54. douglas clark

MatGB,

Which party is rUPERT rEID supposed to be standing for. Dyslexia?

Newmania – show some evidence for your supposition that 30% of Labour voters’ second choice is the BNP. I don’t respond to most of your stuff but that is a downright lie and you need to be called on it. As someone who speaks with Labour voters about voting more than most, I can tell you that most Labour voters’ second choice is not voting, followed by the Tories, followed by the Lib Dems. (Depending on how regularly they need to vote Labour to be considered Labour voters, the second two groups may be swapped around.)

Tim F it appeared in a Survey that is quoted in Whats Left by Nick Coen , the same survey appeared in the book “The Likes Of Us ” By Michael Collins . You may not have it but I `m sure someone has . This , by the way , is not news it has been endlessly agonised over in the New Statesman .

Anyway if you want to question figures what about this heap of horseshit…. “Would this be the dropping of a rate that would raise about £2bn from the wealthiest in favour of different taxes that would raise about £20bn from the wealthiest? ”
The IFS say there is no more scope for redistributive taxation at all , the top rate actually had a negative effect on revenues .The idea that a collection of school teachers and bearded crèche minders can defeat the accountants of the wealthy and extract more than the Labour Party has yet managed is…..unlikely to command much serious consideration . You have to remember Liberals do not have polices they have adverts . You can say anything if you never have to do it .

And what about this for another set of dangling hairy bollocks from Matt GB
‘But the Lib Dems are likely to get between 50 and 120 seats at the next General Election, minimum. That’s why I joined them,’
Leaving soon then ?This is todays Coms Res Poll ,
CONSERVATIVES 41% (+2)
LABOUR 32% (-2)
LIB DEMS 15% (-1)
This is the U Gov Poll
CONSERVATIVES 45% (+4)
LABOUR 32% (-2)
LIB DEMS 14% (-1)
At the last election the Libs got 62 seats on 22% . The Conservative Party are pressing hard on this flank and nutty dogs-on-string people like Matt GB are just what we need to get those strays back in the fold . There seems no reasons whatsoever to think the Libs are going to improve their position I do not know exactly but I think 15% would give the Libs at best 25 and as 15% is the higher lets say between 20 and 25.
In a closely fought GE it could of course be far less . The Lib Dems were a historical oddity until the SDP event . With both Parties cluttering the middle I think Lib Dems in the high teens is where I would bet. 25 max

Miller 2.0: the economic liberalisation of former communist countries was accompanied by the massacre in Tiananamen Square (which took place AFTER the deregulation of wages and the freeing up of the market began) and Boris Yeltsin’s dissolution of Russia’s elected parliament by military force; even today critics of the government are being routinely murdered: no sign of social liberalisation there.

The economic liberalisation of Chile was brutally imposed by a coup which replaced Allende’s democratically elected government with the fascist Pinochet; this was followed by similar right-wing coups in Uraguay and Argentina.

The social liberalisation of Britain had already begun before capitalism took root, largely because we had a religion which made people individually accountable for their actions; the notion that Kings and Queens ruled through Divine Grace was already under attack.

I would like more tangible evidence on the 30% – without info about the supposed survey & the methodology I don’t believe it because it’s just obviously not true. I’m not being romantic about the political ideology of most voters – even Labour voters – because I canvass every week. But still it doesn’t stack up. It might be just about possible if they discount everyone who might be considered a swing voter AND discount people who wouldn’t vote if they didn’t vote Labour, because then you’re getting down to a very small number of people. But in that case the stat is completely meaningless.

Well done Newmania for trying to mix opinion polls with actual results. In 2004 the Lib Dem’s polled at….14-15%. They went on to win 62 seats the next year. So, in that sense, how is Mat wrong?

Needless to say Newmania is wrong; however the places the Lib Dems seem to be spending their resources suggest they see their main challenge as holding on to the seats where the Tories are challenging them. My guess is their number of seats will go down, but they won’t collapse to the extent some are predicting. Probably they’ll end up with 40-45.

Tim, there’s also money being spent, and specifically raised, to target Labour held seats–I get begging letters and fundraising requests for it fairly regularly and i never donate money (time yes, but money? Chance’d be afine thing).

There are a large number of reasons why the polls understate the LD vote outside of a GE, polling methodology, psephology, voter behaviour and sampling are all a part, underrepresentation in the media another.

They have to hold on to the seats they’ve got, but their most vulnerable (to the Tories) MP is, IIRC, Chris Huhne. No way he’s losing his seat. if I had money I’d put it on that. They could break the hundred, they’ll definitely stay steady, lose some to Tories but gain many from Labour–how many is a matter for a lot of calculations (and many many leaflet deliveries).

Also worth noting that at the last May locals, the LDs got 25% according to the BBC projections, which’d put the seats at the higher end of my range.

If one were on a sinking ocean liner, and somebody shouted “It’s hopeless! abandon ship!”, one’s first thought wouldn’t be “Well, I just don’t think the water’s a viable solution…”

Well, if your plan is to get somewhere, then its a viable question to ask. If you want to remain in one place, then I suppose hanging on to a life-raft and then floating around aimlessly could work for you…

I was a member of the Labour party – I am no longer nor will be again – at least for the foreseeable future – and I do regard myself in the socialist vein – I will be voting for the LibDems in the up and coming election.

What a waste of electrons in the ether.

Political parties are there to promote policies, not ideologies.

The battleground of ideas is where those policies are formed, so any party which fails to include any theoretical perspective in its armoury will only result in producing a less coherent, less relevant and less appealing set of policies.

Parties of the left, right and centre will all fail because they are by nature and definition oppositional. If you want to support and build a party which will benefit all you need it to include all, otherwise it will just create favorites ready to screw over whoever they can while the opportunity exists.

There are a large number of reasons why the polls understate the LD vote outside of a GE, polling methodology, psephology, voter behaviour……. spinny spin spin

In 2005 the Conservatives polled 32% .Thats why the Liberals got such a historically high number and that’s why Cameron has moved into their front law,. That is also why Clegg has been cosying up the right with his tall tales about tax cuts.
Spin it all you like that is the truth and it as infuriating as it always is to see the Libs flying every flag of convenience at the same time . In Lewes they are practically Conservatives , here they are socialists.

Newmania,
if ideology mattered in the way you suggest then we’d be perpetually under threat of revolution or coup.

The fact that we’re not should indicate to you that ideology is best left to the academics (you provide constant demonstration you’re not one of those), that is unless you’d prefer blood on the streets (red blood or blue blood?).

And the same goes equally for the extreme doctrinaire left-wingers you oppose.

That’s the beauty of the Lib Dem’s (and to some extent the Greens also), Newmania. They don’t need to conform stringently to the left/right argument that you and Labour are stuck in; the argument the Liberal Democrats provide is much more about liberties versus authoritarianism, and the reason that people like you get so frustrated about this “flying every flag of convenience” is because this argument is striking a chord with key amounts of the electorate that realise that Tories or Labour, their liberties are still under threat. You can’t understand how the political landscape is skewing away from the traditional left/right model in to a more “3d” model.

Cry some more 😉

Three dimensional politics phooey , you are like a man caught in someone else’s wife who says ” I refuse to discuss the matter unless we include the new thinking on counter intuitive loyalty acts , furthermore I do not accept your fidelity spectrum”
Clegg over Lisbon sounded exactly like that.
No loyalty , no spine , never there when unpopular things have to be done . Give me old Labour any day . At least they said the same thing 2 days running .

Just because all of our parties are in the same approximate area on the left/right, authoriatian/libertarian axis doesn’t mean the axis is wrong. It means are parties are very similar- a disgusting state for a “democracy” to be in.

It’s hard to give a sh*t about a party of policies that adds 2% to things here and there. No grass roots is gonna be built up without a clear uncompromising ideology.

The Lib Dems I don’t trust at all, joining them as a socialist would be unthinkable. It’s a waste of time to help build up a capitalist party to oppose the other two capitalist parties.

“No loyalty , no spine , never there when unpopular things have to be done . Give me old Labour any day . At least they said the same thing 2 days running .”

You are laughable in your lack of knowledge about Lib Dem policy, especially with how long it’s been running. Take tuition fee’s, if these were dealt with in the manner Labour and Tories would wish to deal with them then their stance would have changed 2 or 3 times in the last decade. The fact is the Lib Dem is the only party to have maintained (and still maintains) the same line they did three elections ago. Similarly on proportional representation, and on the war on Iraq.

You have the gall to sit here and claim that the Lib Dem’s are the one’s that change what they’re saying, yet you ignore that they’re the only one’s that don’t actually change their stance unless the membership believe it’s time to do so.

Lee,
Newmania has just explained to us that he ‘refuses to discuss the matter unless we exclude the new thinking on counter intuitive loyalty acts’.

In other words he’s just said he is just yabbering on because he isn’t prepared to look beyond the end of his nose and he’s got nothing better to do.

I’d recommend the pub to him but he’s probably been barred for boring all the other locals to death about which way they’ll be voting until they die.

On PR if they ever got any support they would change their stance and as a requirement for joining with a coalition it has been waived included and waived over the years ( Recent chats with Brown dropped it as reported in the Independent ).
It is an unprincipled position that is held in an unprincipled way
For a large part of the Blair administration the Lib Dems were criticising from the left , now they claim to have gone all low tax and appear to be swinging right criticising the very waste and bureaucracy they would have made if possible , even worse .. Clegg claims to be equidistant between Conservative and Labour and yet here you all are discussing what sort of socialism is best. Hu ?
The gall , the effrontery and the damned immortal rind I find I can easily summon . after years of Labour lite accusing us of being “nasty” .Then when the Labour project starts to unravel what do you say , “ Who us ? We are Gladstonian Liberals, almost Thatcherite “laissez-faire”
You were pretty damn quiet about Laissez Faire someone had to take on the Unions .

“It is an unprincipled position that is held in an unprincipled way”

So what is your argument NM? Is it that they change their opinion too much or that they stick to it too much? You don’t seem to be able to decide.

“now they claim to have gone all low tax and appear to be swinging right criticising the very waste and bureaucracy they would have made if possible”

Except that the Lib Dem’s have always opposed the “waste” programmes that they’d aim to cut, such as ID cards, and that they’ve always had some sort of scheme that means poorer people pay less tax while richer people pay more. Now the wrapping on that tax package has changed several times I’ll grant you, but whether it be LIT, Higher threshold on high earners or their new policy it is all essentially the same…tax people more than can afford it, to benefit those that can’t. They’ve never changed their stance on that no matter how it is packaged, a solidarity to their beliefs that in reality the Tories and Labour must be very envious over.

It’s apparent that Newmania has either a) not bothered to read the discussion above at all, or b) is unable to understand it.

What do we reckon, ignorant or thick?

c) willfully trying to distort the image of the Lib Dem’s out of fear.

d) All of the above…

d) all of the above

Now the wrapping on that tax package has changed several times I’ll grant you,

Yes just a bit .There was a ten year pledge to increase income tax up to 2002 , I think , so basically until Brown got right into the deficit years the Liberals were there complaining that we were not spending enough . During this period the Conservative Party was frozen out of the big state more tax consensus Liberals bathed in to their electoral advantage .
I would like to see them now accepting responsibility for the debt we are in , the failure of the throw money at it approach , as Labour must . You say distort the Liberal image but which one ? The lookee likey Cameron Orange book little Cleggy or the more typical cringing Labour accomplice in the broad left to which this site is dedicated and which assisted in getting us into the mess we are in.

d, all of the above.

“Yes just a bit .There was a ten year pledge to increase income tax up to 2002 , I think , so basically until Brown got right into the deficit years the Liberals were there complaining that we were not spending enough .”

You just said Lib Dem’s wanted to increase income tax (which they did, for high income earners, no-one else), and that Brown drove us in to deficit…Lib Dem plans would have eased those deficits, it’s hardly a call for “not spending enough”.

“You say distort the Liberal image but which one”

The one that promises to ensure more money comes from somewhere, almost certainly those that can afford it, to reduce poverty and inequality. The same image they’ve always had and have never faltered away from to score easy political points.

e He has taken a scalpel to the the abcess that is Liberal posturing .You have to admire him

You’re the one, Newmania, that is still to explain why having a consistent stance on redistribution of wealth is “changing flags”. Having fun in your fantasy land there?

The famous penny on income tax undertaking I referred to , see date , was dropped when Brown pledged a further £4 billion to education. So yes it was about not spending enough if the Libs of the day were to be believed .You have “mis-remembered ” and are perhaps thinking of the subsequent higher rate for those earning above £100,000 ( the sort of tax currently being decried by Matt GB as an empty gesture , which by coincidence he is right about )

Lee, much as I admire your willingness to batter your head against this particular brick wall, I do have to wonder why you bother with someone who is so adamantly against even the possibility of communication. In both form (the utter refusal to even so much as acknowledge the most basic rules of grammar, spelling and layout, making his text almost literally unreadable) and content (a series of cliches that have no relation to reality and which get spouted irrespective of what’s said to him) it’s entirely obvious that Newmania is not actually interested in communication with people of differing views, and may in fact actually be unaware of the existence of the concept of communication itself.

I’ll repeat until the cows go home Newmania, The Lib Dem’s have never had a year since 1997 (at least) where they haven’t promised to increase taxes in order to lower taxes in some form or another.

With regards to spending on education, this is entirely consistent with their views and long term policies on education.

most basic rules of grammar, spelling and layout….(yawn)

Aha the internationally recognised sign of the wanker, always a joy to see one shoot out of the bushes . I have a degree in English Lit sad sack and orthography and its history is a bit of hobby of mine. OK I type with mittens and I `m busy but how pathetic can you get.
Besides which what I say is basically right , after all why has Clegg been so worried , as he says , at being seen as Labour- lite . He obviously recognises the truth of my case. I think it would be better to admit having changed ( conveniently ) after all Conservatives have moved on social ,issues ( far less conveniently ).

With such a sharp affirmative, Jenny, presumably you have somewhere for them all to go?

Go to Cuba. It’s a socialist paradise there, isn’t it?

Mrs. Thatcher buried socialism in Britain once and for all. Long may she be remembered and celebrated for it.

“Long may she be remembered and celebrated for it.”

She’s died?

Cicero,
Thatcher buried people, primarily Heath and the wets and Scargill and the miners.

You can’t bury ideas: ideas are eternal, even if they are wrong. Truth and falsehood are concepts which outlast even the most resolute, resilient and pedantic debaters.

>>”Long may she be remembered and celebrated for it.”

Would that be along the lines of the discussion about her getting a statue? ie: fine, as long as it has animatronic bat wings and breathes fire, with “LEST WE FORGET” written underneath it?

You can’t bury ideas: ideas are eternal…

True. Stark-raving socialists will be with us forever, they will just have to learn never to exert any influence or have any relevance whatsoever outside their little fantasy world.

…even if they are wrong.

Indeed!


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