An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem


12:44 pm - May 13th 2010

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contribution by Kim Lofthouse

Dear Labour supporters,

I voted Lib Dem in the general election and that I did so not out of some sort of misplaced disillusionment with recent Labour policies or hope that it would keep out the Tories in my local area. I voted Lib Dem because when it came right down to brass tacks, they were the party who’s values & manifesto pledges were most in-line with my own values and ethics.

Now as someone who has die-hard Labour supporters as family, friends & co-workers, I’m well aware of why any outcome involving the Tories being back in power is abhorrent to you and from the point of view of being anti-Tory (some may say to an almost fanatical extent at times) I’m well & truly on your side of the line.

However, I don’t think that painting the Lib Dems and their supporters as the new Satan is particularly helpful to the Labour movement or the left in general.

This outcome isn’t the fault of the Lib Dems or their supporters; in the end the Lib Dems only ended up with the choice of Labour or Tory as coalition partners because of the hung parliament result of the election and they never stated that they would only go with Labour if that were to happen. For more detailed reasons on why the ‘betrayal’ charge doesn’t stand up in the cold light of reality can be found here on Pickled Politics

An argument that I’ve seen come up quite a bit today which is that the Lib Dems are really Tory-lite and that, therefore, all their supporters are pro-Tory. This is just a modified version of the right-wing Conservative line that was going around, prior to the election, accusing the Lib Dems of being Labour-lite.

It also negates the fact that many Lib Dem party members & supporters passionately despise the Tories and what they stand for (myself included on the supporter side of the fence) – a lot of us were just as disappointed, outraged & saddened to see Conservative after Conservative seat rolling in on Thursday night.

On the contrary, those of us in the left-leaning Lib Dem camp (such as myself and more notably Simon Hughes) are simply choosing to wait & see before we take a leap of faith with our political allegiances.

For us, we can’t give up our own liberal values to make that leap from the yellow ship to the red one without seeing some radical changes in Labour policy and thinking over civil liberties & constitutional reform at the very least.*

In my mind, the left-leaning Lib Dems are part of the hope for the new liberal left and Labourites who choose to burn all their bridges with them via demonising them & throwing stones are doing the movement no favours.

We understand that you’re angry, but choosing to thrust it all on the Lib Dems simply because as a party & support base we’re smaller than you is a bloody stupid idea if you want to avoid the Tories having their own 13 year reign in Downing Street.

Instead, showing respect & understanding to those in the Lib Dem camp who are choosing to follow the cautious ‘wait-and-see’ model for the time being is more likely to result in these people either aligning themselves more definitely with the Labour side of the fence or going all in and jumping onto the socialist bandwagon.

In short, to paraphrase one of those old clichés, now is the time for Labourites to remember that you attract more flies with honey than vinegar and that the same goes for attracting & keeping left-leaning Lib Dems as part of the movement.

Yours in alliance – not war,

Kim

—————
Kim Lofthouse blogs at Amor Vincit Omnia (where a longer version is posted) and tweets here.

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Reader comments


Hi Kim,

Excellent letter, I hope that over the next few months we can persuade you to join Labour. Could you (and any others who are in the same situation) expand a bit more about what changes you think Labour ought to make in the areas of civil liberties and constitutional reform, or more generally?

My heart bleeds for the Liberals. There was another option, a minority Tory government. Anyone who thinks that Cameron is not now plotting to bring down the coalition and go for another election is deluding themselves. The Liberals can’t have it both ways. They are now in government and have to stand by the decisions that are going to be carried out. If you don’t like that prospect, then leave the Liberal Party. Many Labour supporters did that and are now coming back to Labour as the only party of opposition. The Liberals can no longer be both in government and in opposition at the same time. I can feel the pain of justification as the left-leaning Liberals try to reconcile their principles with the actions of their Party.

Thank you. I’ve been saying pretty much the same for the past few days (though my version involved a lot more swearing…). I don’t like the Tories either, but they did win the most seats, & the coalition terms that have emerged are quite good ones. If the Lib Dems had gone with Labour they’d have been attacked for propping up an unpopular government. True, they could have opted to go with neither, but a coalition provides an excellent way of demonstrating alternate styles of government, which is important to the Lib Dems, so walking away would only have made sense if the terms of the coalition agreement were ridiculously unfair. On a gut level I would have preferred them going with Labour, but I’m too practical to entertain that seriously.

There was another option, a minority Tory government.

Not really, the Tories ruled that out. Andf it would have been impossible to pass legislation then.

That is silly for various reasons:

1) Means Libdems would rightly be pilloried for leaving everything in jeopardy while the economy was a bit unstable (and actually, the economy is very precarious right now, despite many lefties pretending it isn’t).

2) Libdems can’t advocate for coalition politics while saying no to it themselves.

3) Politics means the art of compromise. As far as I can see, they were offered more sweeteners by Tories than Labour. And besids, the latter didn’t have the numbers or the willingness. Little else they could do I suspect.

@Rob Watson

Unless I really wasn’t paying attention when I wrote that open letter last night, I wasn’t saying that I was against the outcome of the coalition. I was saying that I’m choosing to save my final judgement on it for the time being and that I, personally, won’t be joining Labour any time soon whilst they’re still insistent on their authoritarian control of civil liberties.

Yes, I am disappointed by some of the concessions that have been made on the Lib Dem side – I’d be lying through my back teeth to pretend otherwise – but that doesn’t mean I’m sat going boo hoo the Lib Dems have turned Tory. It just means that I have a personal opinion on the situation (based on my ideals) but that I realise that there was a need for some compromise somewhere to make a coalition work. I’m not completely devoid of a sense of reality so I know that it would be a stupid & pointless dream to expect either side to have wholly supported the Lib Dem agenda – if that was going to happen then we’d all be the same party. Besides which, Labour are/were also pro-Trident and anti-immigration amnesty so it’s not as though the compromise would’ve necessarily been different if the situation were reversed.

This letter’s fine Lorelei. But already the Tories have grabbed the anti public services opportunity – from the Lib Dems – to not ring-fence the NHS and they’ve got the Top Up Fees whip hand. One of the attractive aspects of the Lib-Lab route was that the left of the Libs could persuade our right on these civil liberties areas, or at least bargain them over.

The Tories will find Labour ready to join them in dissolving parliament at almost any point of their choosing. The 55% ruling gives the Tories the red button on that, even if every other party wants to kick them out. Lib Dems in local government can look forward to be cleared out in droves. And come the next General Election there may be carnage in your parliamentary group.

If Lib Dems could not make a deal with other anti-Tories work they really should have let them govern as a minority and take them down as and when they strayed from a reasonably diluted version of their pro-rich deep cuts philosophy.

2

Although it’s tempting to call for the New Labour equivalent of a De-Nazification Guide issued in post-WW2 Germany, more seriously there is no doubt a long list which dis-illusioned centre-left voters could produce. Most of these will be unsurprising, and some may even come to pass under the Con/Dems, who knows? In the end however it isn’t enough for “Newer” Labour just to sign up to a less illiberal approach to civil liberties, or support a particular form of constitutional reform: they have to believe in them, heart and sould. We’ve had enough of the spin, the dishonesty, the lack of principle.

In the end, the soul of the Labour Party is in the hands of those with a vote; those of us outside probably shouldn’t intrude on private grief. I don’t envy you the furrow you have to plow, and I think you’re probably talking years rather than months.

I don’t see any convincing candidate from those limbering up who isn’t tainted with the residue of the New Labour oil spill, but I’m willing to listen to them telling me that they are here not to praise New Labour, but to bury it. Habeus corpus.

I don’t think that painting the Lib Dems and their supporters as the new Satan is particularly helpful to the Labour movement or the left in general.

Can’t argue with that – but that isn’t strictly the point. For my own part, I’m not angry with Lib Dem supporters but the Party leadership itself. From speaking to LD voters & fellow-travellers I know, they feel cheated – in the words of one: “I may as well have not bothered voting”. And they have lost the votes of many, after all they are (were) the primary opposition to the Tories in many councils, what are those voters supposed to do now?

you’re angry, but choosing to thrust it all on the Lib Dems simply because as a party & support base we’re smaller than you is a bloody stupid idea

I think that misses the point too. Non-party aligned lefties and liberals are also annoyed at this, & not because the LDs are smaller (otherwise there’d be annoyance at the Greens unseating a Labour MP) but because they have joined forces with a Party that most of us loathe with a passion.

BUT saying all that, yes we shouldn’t let the differences get in the way of the liberal left (fractured as it always is), otherwise the fight against the rampant rightism of the Cameroons will be all the more harder. And yes, Labour royally fucked up so some of the LD-directed anger is probably displacement 😉

@Sunny H – Exactly! Coalition politics is about compromise and people need to realise that compromise is not the same as abandoning one’s political values (or any values for that matter if we take compromise out into the bigger picture of real life).

4

Why is it necessarily silly Sunny? From what I heard the Tories were prepared to form a minority administration if the LD’s couldn’t be persuaded, and a rainbow colaition didn’t take off. Passing legislation might have been more difficult, but hardly impossible. A confidence and supply agreement with the LD’s would have been quite feasible, and in the view of many people much preferable to the ConDem’s!

1) The economy will do what the economy does. None of the 3 major parties were being honest before the election about the scale of the hard choices ahead, but then none of them wanted to be the messenger the public shot for delivering bad news. Don’t buy into the “sky is falling” scenario. Supposedly stable majority governments got us in this mess remember!

2) Surely if the LD’s are being held to this standard, it’s quite open to them to refuse to enter a coalition too? If the price hadn’t been right, then so be it.

3) You may be right: the eventual outcome was the most likely. But (and it’s a big but!) it definitely wasn’t the only practical outcome. The inner party in New Labour spiked the deal. The more I see of the current love in, the more I reckon clegg would have been better leaving the Tories to it: it’s being reported he and Cameron rejected the idea because it was too “uninspiring”! Strangely enough I’m not too inspired with this outcome!

I have to disagree with this thing about compromise. I’m all for compromise between different traditions in the Labour Party, movement and the left more widely. I’m all for anarchists, trots, tankies, democratic socialists, lefty liberals and blairites working together. But compromise between people on the left and Tories – that’s just wrong. No good will come of it. The fundamental premise that no-one challenged during coalition talks was the idea that the most important outcome was a strong and stable government. I like strong and stable governments, but there are things that are more important than stability.

Incidentally I don’t blame Lib Dem voters or members, but I do think Clegg was wrong to go in with the Tories, and other people were wrong to acquiesce. (I also think he never intended to go in with Labour, and all that was a smokescreen to appease his activists and get more from the Tories – especially if what I hear about Lib-Lab talks faltering when Clegg demanded more cuts is true.)

12. Shatterface

The complaints from New Labourites are pathetic. Yes, Cameron might betray the Lib Dems and call another election in six months time but he’d call that election *anyway* if he was running a minority government. In the meantime the Lib Dems can begin the process of repealing some of the illiberal legislation passed during the last 13 years while forcing the Conservatives to commit themselves to this same process.

Calling on Lib Dems to come over to the Labour camp is asking them to abandon the only real power they’ve had in generations. Yeah, right, that’s going to happen – and I’m sure that those who elected them would flock to re-elect them next time once they’ve chucked away *this* opportunity.

And that’s before you even start to factor in principle opposition (yes, there is such a thing) to Labour’s abominable record on civil liberties.

we can’t give up our own liberal values to make that leap from the yellow ship to the red one without seeing some radical changes in Labour policy and thinking over civil liberties & constitutional reform at the very least

So essentially you want Labour to adopt Lib Dem policies on those issues? Why, when the Lib Dems are already in government? Unless you think it’s better to be powerless in opposition, than to be in a position where (some of) those policies can be enacted?

Do you trust Labour on either of those issues, though? If they did change, I don’t think they’d really mean it – they’d just be trying to get your votes. Judge them by their 13 years in government, and then tell me how long you think it will be that they will go through “radical changes” in their policy. There are two reasons not to trust Labour to implement good policies:

1) their philosophy is just different. Labourism isn’t the same as liberalism. The role of the state in either, in relation to the individual, is completely different.

2) they torpedoed the chance of both parties working together because they preferred to be in opposition and let the Tories/Lib Dems get the blame for the cuts. Reid, Blunkett, Abbott, etc.

@Chris Paul

See Sunny’s comment above for why a Tory minority government wasn’t an option.

I think Labour opposes the Tories not on policy grounds (they implemented a lot of Tory policies themselves), but pure tribalism. Glad to see the Lib Dems are a bit more constructive on that front.

I find this immensely dispiriting. There’s a great big stomping elephant in the room here, and I would like to be the one to name it “22% cuts” – because this is what’s on the agenda of the coalition government, reading their agreement in the best possible light. The result is likely to be a profound economic contraction – we’ve already seen this in Greece, where austerity measures are predicted to produce a 4% drop in GDP next year. This comes at a time when unemployment is soaring, now 2.51m according to official underestimates, and the economy still in a parlous state. (I’d like to know what “lefties” are claiming that the economy isn’t in a precarious condition at the moment, btw – not Labourites, surely, and certainly not anyone to Labour’s left?) It will cut vital services that the poor, the elderly, women and children most need. It will involve the accelerated sell off of state assets. It will involve cutting welfare, just when more people are unemployed and need support. The only segment of the UK population who are sure to benefit from such policies are those economic elites clustered around the City who may now be subject to an even more lax regulatory regime now that the Bank of England takes precedence over the FSA.

May I please ask how left-wing Lib Dems will feel about this? What will they say when the government is engaged in a pitched, protracted battle with the labour movement over these cuts, for example? Will they reiterate Vince Cable’s denunciations of ‘militancy’? Will they say that the government has a moral and political mandate, and that the unions are undemocratic dinosaurs holding back the necessary fiscal medicine? I could understand a ‘wait and see’ attitude if the most salient policy, the one that beats everything else in terms of its ramifications for the economy, for welfare, for public services, for social well-being etc., hadn’t been signalled pretty plainly in advance. But while there may be a nasty shock on the way, there are no real surprises coming.

there are things that are more important than stability

Not if instability prevents you from doing any of them.

if what I hear about Lib-Lab talks faltering when Clegg demanded more cuts is true

Funny, I’m sure I saw John Reid, Blunkett, Diane Abbott, Tom Harris, Andy Burnham et al come out publicly on TV whilst the talks were still going on to condemn the deal. Whether or not the Lib Dems were too demanding or whether it’s true that Balls and Milibands weren’t willing to give up ID cards or child immigrant detention (FFS), we might never know.

But who do you trust? Labour defended ID cards and child immigrant detention to the hilt, whilst in office. What makes you think they’d give them up, to the Lib Dems?

Anyway, it’s academic now. It’s done. I for one believe that whatever happened behind closed doors, the public condemnation by Labour former ministers and backbenchers destroyed an already fragile deal. Once they came out on TV, and other Labour MPs said they would defy their whip, the deal was impossible.

Amazing how they couldn’t defy their whips on principled issues, but when it comes to working with another centre-left party they found their conscience! And guys like John Reid and Blunkett – some of the nastiest home secretaries in history. I don’t understand why Labour made it impossible for the Lib Dems to join them, and are now going to spend the next 10 years in opposition blaming the Lib Dems for trying to do something to sort out the economic mess (which Labour has ducked responsibility for).

@15

I for one believe that whatever happened behind closed doors, the public condemnation by Labour former ministers and backbenchers destroyed an already fragile deal.

Agreed.

a pitched, protracted battle with the labour movement over these cuts

Why do I get the feeling the “labour movement” wouldn’t have fought these cuts had they been brought in by Labour? Because that movement did **** all to punish Labour for all the other shit they did in office.

Amazing to see all of those people who two months ago were defending Labour’s cuts as necessary to curb the deficit, now criticise the Lib Dems for bringing in cuts.

I think the coalition itself is fair enough, it was the only stable government solution and the Lib Dems decided that stability was more important than trying to form a more unstable progressive alliance. That’s their perogative.

I’m more disappointed than anything. The Lib Dems have chosen to forgo progressive alliance, but more so they have probably destroyed the possibility for a generation. I don’t really think a centre-left alliance with the current parliamentary seat distibution was possible, but I believe that by joining the Tories in government they have made a future alliance unthinkable.

I would certainly agree that if Labour want to attract Lib Dem voters it needs to improve its policies on the constitution and on civil liberties; indeed I think it should do it whether it wants to attract them or not. I also don’t think criticising supporters is particularly fair. I didn’t invade Iraq, you won’t close down vital services. But I think the onus is not on Labour supporters to give the Lib Dems an easy ride in case they want to be pally in future, instead it’s to make the valid centre left criticism of both parties now in power, and if Lib Dem supporters don’t like it then tough.

Remember Lib Dems MPs voted unanimously to support the Lib Con government. That includes the darling of their left, Simon Hughes.

Nobody of significance in the Lib Dems is being cautious or playing a ‘wait and see’ game.

Many Lib Dem supporters — and members — are trying to blame Labour somehow. But Labour was right to reject AV without a referendum. AV is not PR, which I’ve supported since the 1983 election when I was 14.

AV will only benefit the Lib Dems. We also have the disgusting gerrymander that is the plan to introduce qualified majority voting for dissolving parliament. It is designed to keep Cameron in Downing Street even after the Lib Dems leave the coalition or the Tories sack them.

Two years ago I got this email from my local MP, John Leech a Liberal Democrat:
‘At the last election Labour tried to con people in Withington, by saying that if they voted Lib Dem they would let the Tories back in. This wasn’t true, and it won’t be true at the next election.’

We now know he was in denial. Kim is still in denial.

I’m more disappointed than anything. The Lib Dems have chosen to forgo progressive alliance, but more so they have probably destroyed the possibility for a generation. I

No I don’t buy this at all. What did Labour offer Libdems for that ‘progressive alliance’?

Why aren’t people slating the likes of Andy Burnham or David Blunkett or Lord Falconer for killing that alliance?

21. Jamie_Griff

Nice letter Kim,

I also voted Lib Dem because their manifesto pledges were most in line with my own wishes for the direction of the country. They combined the economic responsibility of Labour regarding the timing of spending cuts with repeal of the most heinous affronts to civil liberties that have been introduced over recent years. They are, like me, pro-Europe. They proposed the break up of the banks. They had the most redistributive tax policy. All this appealed to my lefty instincts so I put a tick in their box thinking that if they got enough seats they’d have enough clout in a hung parliament to curb the Tories worst economic and Europhobic tendencies or Labour’s authoritarian tendencies. I also wanted them to push for electoral reform towards a proportional system.

I was therefore dismayed to read the coalition agreement. All the Tories’ stupidest economic policy initiatives are intact while all the best Lib Dem ones will be ‘investigated’. They’ll ‘work towards’ raising the tax threshold. We’ve got the most anti-European, neoconservative foreign secretary possible. We’ll get a referendum on AV (not a proportional system) which the Tories will campaign against.

I’m not saying this is the fault of Lib Dem supporters. I’m blaming it on either the incompetency or duplicity of your leadership in failing to secure any meaningful concessions in the agreement. The Tories did not win the election, they shouldn’t be allowed to steamroller through all their policies as though they have a mandate. As a result of formal Lib Dem support that’s exactly what is going to happen.

I feel like I was missold.

“No I don’t buy this at all. What did Labour offer Libdems for that ‘progressive alliance’?”

We don’t know what was discussed except through rumours and press reports, and it is kind of fruitless to speculate. But there’s no evidence that the Libdems were interested in a progressive alliance either before or after the elections, and the critics of the progressive alliance were correct that it didn’t have the votes to command a majority.

I’m more interested in what the basis for a progressive alliance could be in the future.

As another lib-dem voter who supports this whole coalition thing, this open letter says a lot from my point of view too.

As for what labour would need to do to win my vote – well. Erasing the last nine years of a disastrously mismanaged “war on terror” would be a great start. I grew up in a labour area, and without labour’s mismanagement of that episode, I would probably have stuck with my tribalism and voted labour when I was first able to vote, in 2005. Instead, I voted lib-dem then, and lib-dem this time around as well.

The sustained assault on civil liberties and manifold failures of judgement that I saw 2001-present is entirely due to that. I /like/ the labour ideals. I grew up in a very poor region, and I know full-well that it’s going to suffer more under the current administration than it did under new labour (although not as much as it suffered under thatcher). When I’m thinking about political ideologies, I tend to come out as extremely left-wing and liberal – http://www.politicalcompass.org/printablegraph?ec=-5.00&soc=-6.10 for instance.

But the current labour party is nothing like the ‘labour ideals’. It’s extremely authoritarian and centre-right. It swept its manifesto promises of electoral reform under the carpet. It introduced University top-up fees (which I, fortunately, just missed – otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone to University, in all likelihood). Looking at the administration, I saw no compassion towards asylum seekers – sometimes from regions ‘we’, as a country, were in the middle of bombing. I saw far too many powers being given to the police – the current upshot of that is the continuing misuse of supposedly anti-terrorist laws to prevent photographers and filmers from taking pictures and footage around london. One of my strongest early-adult memories is of sitting in front of the TV watching ‘us’ kill people by dropping bombs on Baghdad.

(to clarify: I’m not a completely anti-war kind of person. Kosovo, for instance, I remember being quite proud of our intervention; and I was reluctantly in favour of the initial afghanistan invasion, although it seems to have gone to pot overall. But Iraq was just warmongering, and I’d call it a profound betrayal).

The current tory-lib dem administration is going to shaft various areas of the populace, with a number of different expressions of glee. It’s going to hurt the poor, the old and the sick – I’m sure of that. It’ll push through trident renewals that will give Iran further justifications for its (not-so) clandestine nuclear activities. But it’s also going to restore civil liberties and push electoral reform. We definitely need the former, and the latter is something that I just don’t trust labour to do. Who knows, we might manage to avoid any new wars in the next five years, too.

I doubt labour will ever get my vote, regardless of policy changes. Their actions in the last 9 years have, for me, tarred them with the same poison that the 80s gave to the Tories – they just can’t be trused. Under the alternative vote, my first choice would be the Greens, and my second choice lib-dems. If I lived in Northern Ireland, I’d probably be voting SDLP.

However, I am happy to trust labour in government as long as they’re married to a party that I don’t yet feel that I can’t trust. As the coalition document shows, the lib-dems have acted as a huge moderating influence on the tories. The numbers didn’t work out for labour and the lib dems this time – but who knows what the next election will bring.

Well, I know one thing it won’t bring. A labour party untainted by the decisions of past administrations. Which is truly a shame, because it means I can’t possibly countenance, or work towards, a Labour majority government.

#16 What, because a load of has-beens (and one minister) didn’t want the deal? Do you really think any of those people would’ve rebelled against a Lib-Lab executive, knowing they personally would be blamed for a Tory government getting in? Clegg is using a few Labour voices who spoke out of turn to try and justify shacking up with the Tories. There is no justification for going in with the Tories, there cannot be, whatever the circumstances.

#17 first of all, I’m delighted about the hint child detention will be ended. I’m anxious to see something official about particulars, but it’s only been a few days so far and there’s lots of announcements to flesh out, so that isn’t a criticism. I also hope it will continue – of course Labour did some progressive stuff in 1997 (like getting rid of vouchers) only to get much, much worse on the issue.

Also, you can be damn well sure we’d have opposed cuts brought in by a Lib-Lab coalition. But you can’t honestly say they’d be as big or as damaging as cuts brought in by a Lib-Con coalition.

blanco – I can’t completely disagree with you, as it is clear that a segment of the TUC bureaucracy thought that it was more important to protect ‘their’ government than to defend their members. Nevertheless, we have had constant friction between the government and the unions for the last thirteen years, which is why the FBU disaffiliated, why the RMT got itself kicked out, and why the PCS union decided not to hypothecate any of its political fund for the Labour Party. The CWU came close to disaffiliating and certainly mounted a number of strikes against government ‘reforms’. And cuts of the magnitude being discussed would have led to mass unrest regardless of who implemented them.

#24, Labour are already to blame, and pretending otherwise is sticking your head in the sand. Any coalition between Labour and the Lib Dems was knife edge already, and the amount of MPs that came out scuppered any chance of a deal. Labour wasn’t negotiating seriously.

Labour members keep saying we should have gone with an alternative, and fail to offer anything realistic. A tory minority government, either able to get what it wants through, or able to blame everybody for not letting it do stuff, forcing another general election in months, and being the only party able to afford a campaign was not a better alternative.

Shatterface

Calling on Lib Dems to come over to the Labour camp is asking them to abandon the only real power they’ve had in generations

And that’s what this all boils down to in the end isn’t it? Power. But this is power for power’s sake, this is selling out your principles and everything you claim to believe in in exchange for a couple of seats at the top table. No wonder so many of those who voted Lib Dem in the deluded belief they were voting for a progressive party are now so thoroughly pissed off. Well welcome to the new politics, sadly though it’s the same as the old politics. It’s privileged white men doing deals in backrooms to protect their own interests, and fuck the rest of us.

Clegg should have done what others here have said and left the Tories to their minority government. As it is, he’s now lost the Lib Dems any claim to being a left-leaning party. No party that has the interests of the working class, the poor, the unemployed, the sick, the vulnerable and so on at heart gets into bed with the Tories. That’s the bottom line. And no amount of naive “let’s just wait and see how this pans out before we start calling it a disaster” bollocks is going to change that.

@24

No, because while talks were going on senior Labour figures were briefing the press against the “progressive” alliance. They had the chance to put the Tories out of business for a generation and blew it. So they get no sympathy from me.

But I agree that a coalition with the Tories is hideous. Why they couldn’t’ve let the Gov disintegrate is beyond me – why does everyone seem to think with another election the Cons would win with a thumping majority?

Btw, blanco, I was never one of those who defended the cuts, and I’m not sure that most Labour supporters would have done either.

Labour members saying this is power for powers sake after the last 13 years are perhaps the best joke resulting from all this.

As these railings from Labour members continue, they show that the Labour party as a whole does just not understand coalition government. We either do everything your way, or we’re evil. Grow up.

31. East Londoner

@15 / 16 this is wrong, there was opposition from within the Tory party from similar “senior” figures (self appointed) but that didnt stop the deal going through. What stopped the deal is that Nick Clegg never wanted to do the deal with Labour so there were no serious negotiations, whether that was for reasons of mathematics or his own personal preferences is a matter for historians.

I have no antipathy towards LibDem members or indeed many LibDem MPs and I believe that is true of most of the Labour party (there are some places were there have been long standing bitter personal / political battles which have left a sour taste on both sides), I have always thought that it was in both party’s best interests to work more closely together for a more collaborative politics, I would say a more normal politics.

We dont know how things will work out with the coalition (though early tea leaf reading suggest not well from a “liberal / progressive” point of view). The Labour party does need to spend time considering what went wrong and a high priority in that must be how the party managed to loose the support of some of its long term supporters – stereotypically Guardian readers and how that can be addressed for the future. I would hope that this sort of process would be attractive to disaffected LibDems and they might feel strongly enough to get involved. There are different strands and traditions here and there are some difficult policy areas that have to be addressed (I would suggest primarily immigration and also the relationship between the individual & the state), there arent many benefits to being in opposition but one is that it does allow a greater freedom of thought.

“the same goes for attracting & keeping left-leaning Lib Dems as part of the movement.”

Part of what movement? This already presupposes some kind of unquantifiable bond between the Liberal Democrats and the left. They’re obviously not a part of any movement I’m a part of if they’re doing deals with the Tories.

Labour weren’t helpful, but the Liberals’ dilemma as it is largely being presented ais completely false. They could have left it it a Tory minority government and another election would have been forced eventually. The left might have done badly out of that election, or they might have done well. It’s a fact of politics that sometimes you lose elections, and that might have been the result. But at least then they could have said that they’d tried out of principle, rather than just rolled over to the centre-right when it looked like the only way they could get into power.

Add to this the stated intention to break the pledge that their candidates all made to the NUS to vote against top-up fees (whether or not they were in government) when it would be perfectly easy to rebel against the Tory whip (if Labour MPs could do it last time they can do it this time) as far as I’m concerned the Liberals have planted their flag firmly on the centre-right.

Yeah, perhaps tactically it would be better for others on the left to try to woo the Lib Dems by telling them how much we love them even though they’re about to force through Tory cuts and privatisations, so that we can build some kind of imaginary centre-left bloc at some point in the future. But in reality it looks like people are going to have to face up to the fact that that centre-left bloc was an illusion all along.

“No party that has the interests of the working class, the poor, the unemployed, the sick, the vulnerable and so on at heart gets into bed with the Tories. That’s the bottom line.”

Amen.

34. Culverin

@20 Sunny H

This is all a bit detached from reality, the reality here and now…. the perception amongst LibDem voters in my area was that the LibDems have nothing in common with the Tories because the Tories are right wing and the LibDems are centre left. To be absolutely clear, the choice was either Tory or LibDem and they chose LibDem because they, to various degrees, despise the Tories.

You ask why people aren’t blaming Blunkett, Burnham, Falconer, etc.

Well, because the fact is they’re blaming Nick Clegg, they think that they’ve been betrayed by this hurriedly arranged marriage and have nowhere else to vote when they don’t want Tory. Clegg has lead the party into an elephant trap and in voters’ minds the LibDems cease to exist (because vote LibDem get Tory anyway in any election).

Clegg was making overtures to the Tories last summer, it’s too much of a coincidence that this isn’t contrived. Why was the negotiating team dominated by right wing LibDems?

I am unconvinced that constructive opposition wasn’t a better option – there would still have to be give and take plus the party would still exist in voter’s minds.

“why does everyone seem to think with another election the Cons would win with a thumping majority?”

Momentum, finance, murdoch press and lib dem support draining to the other two as they failed to capitalise on a hung parliament. Plus possibility of an assualt on the UK by international finance leading to a “we need a strong government to make the cuts” narritive.

Secondly Labour would still be fighting it with Brown.

@8

Whilst I don’t disagree that there are Lib Dem voters who feel cheated, I would add that there are probably a similar number of Tory voters who also feel cheated – possibly more as it’s not in the nature of traditional Tories to play well with others.

@Shatterface

Your point about abandonment of power is a good one and I agree with it because whilst we would all like to stick to our ideals, it would be rather pointless to be in politics (which is essentially all about power) and refuse your first real chance at it since 1926 because you may have to compromise.

@blanco (13)

No I’m not calling for Labour to abandon their core values, but there are many out there (even in the Labour movement) who would say that those values were at least partly abandoned when Blair took up the mantle of party leader & PM in 1997. I would say that it’s very difficult (if not impossible) to argue that Labour as it is now in it’s post-Blair state is the same Labour of the 1980s or even the same Labour envisaged by Keir Hardie right back at the start.

I would also agree that the Liberals & Labour do view the role of the state & the individually – that would be the reason why the Liberals haven’t just been absorbed by Labour. However, I don’t quite see why that means that the state should remove civil liberties in the way that the last Labour administration did – to me that goes beyond what Labour was supposed to be about when it began (from what I know of it) and starts creeping scarily close to the negative sort of socialism that we witnessed in the twentieth century.

As for Labour changing their tune simply to win voters – well don’t all 3 of the bigger political factions do that to some extent at election time to try and ensure that they’re the ones that come out on top?

@lenin

You ask how I feel about cuts and the answer is unhappy. I work in the Arts sector so in terms of my profession & one of the things I’m most passionate about in life, I’m one of the first on the chopping board. However, if we put the arts funding cuts to one side for a minute, I’m also pragmatic enough to realise that something has to give somewhere when we’re in a time of recession and I have strong optimism that the Lib Dems will have a neutralising effect on the deepest of the Tory cuts. That’s not to say that there won’t be any, but that with any luck the services for those who need them most will be largely unaffected and that those cuts that do come about will be less stringent than they would’ve been if the Tories were running the show solo. Is this a leap of faith on my part, yes – but it’s one based on what I know of the Lib Dems and their values (which don’t include punishing the poor & vulnerable but do include helping people and enabling people to make changes in their own lifes where that’s possible) and we won’t really know where the cuts will come until the emergency budget comes out. It is entirely possible that the budget will be the thing that makes people like myself choose to step away from the Lib Dems – all I am saying is that that’s a judgement I’m not prepared to make so early in the game.

Any deal between labour and the Lib Dems was always going to be tight in having a majority, even with every small party onside. Enough Labour MPs came out to make this impossible. That is the point. We didn’t see a parade of Tory MPs all day against any sort of deal. Certainly grumblings happened, but Labour shouted it to the world.

Saying Nick Clegg never wanted a deal with labour is a straight out lie. No one can prove it, or provide a single shred of evidence. All reports I’ve heard through the Lib Dem Federal Executive say Labour wouldn’t negotiate seriously, refusing to compromise on important areas. Labour even ended up backtracking on what it’d offer for PR. Several Labour MPs came out against even having a referendum on PR. I never thought the tories would manage to do better than Labour on PR, but it seems the thirst to be an MP above any other consideration is strong within far too many Labour MPs, including my own, Diane Abbott.

38. Watchman

Mr S. Pill,

“Why they couldn’t’ve let the Gov disintegrate is beyond me – why does everyone seem to think with another election the Cons would win with a thumping majority?”

A few things tend to lead to this conclusion:

Momentum. The Conservatives were getting the seats and making the gains, and this would be the message carried into the next election (why do you think Lord Mandelson was so keen to portray the election as a Conservative loss?).

Enthusiasm. Turnout may well fall (certainly it would not be expected to rise, although who knows) and this would most likely hit Labour hard as its block vote fell in marginal seats.

The squeeze. The realisation that there was a chance of producing no government again would likely count against the Liberal Democrats and Greens etc, which might on its own contribute enough seats for a Conservative majority, and may induce UKIP supporters also to vote Conservative, with effects in the marginals.

Behaviour of the Parties. The impression that Mr Brown stayed on as leader and attempted to form a government will have irritated people, and may have turned off potential Labour voters. Mr Cameron meanwhile was careful to appear reasonable and sought to give the impression he had the best interest of the country (framing is everything remember).

History. Every time this sort of result has happened in British politics, the largest party (that which was in opposition) has gone on to win the next election.

Probably not all the reasons, but the ones I could come up with quickly…

@Mr Pill

“why does everyone seem to think with another election the Cons would win with a thumping majority?”

There’s obviously no way of knowing anything for sure about what might happen in politics in the future (no one saw most of this coming), but I’d wager two things would’ve led to a *small* Tory majority (no one is saying it would be “thumping”) if they had been allowed to form a minority government and called a second election in November:

1) people would be fed up of the instability that followed the hung parliament and the inability of the Tory government to just get on with stuff, I reckon people would blame the other two parties for not being constructive, and squeeze both Labour and the Lib Dems to return more Tory MPs.

2) the Tories would have more money and energy – yes money doesn’t matter if used badly (like we’ve just seen) but if used well it will make the difference. And energy – FFS Labour didn’t have the energy to even try and pretend it wanted a coalition with the Lib Dems (and compromising on ID cards and locking immigrant children up), why would the summer and the divisiveness/navel-gazing of a leadership contest give them the energy they needed to win back all the seats they just lost?

40. Culverin

@ 36 Kim

All this being reasonable about the coalition just doesn’t wash with voters…. the party has disappeared in people’s minds – it’s been swallowed by the Tory party, face it, amongst voters, the perception is vote LibDem get Tory anyway. You can’t frame it any other way.

Consequently, have you seen the picture of the cabinet meeting? 5 LibDems lost in a room packed full of Tories.

Once again let’s look at rolls….

Nick Clegg – lefty liaison officer/glorified whip/the man who lead Troy into the horse
Vince Cable – a useful face like Ken Clarke and CBI liaison officer and lobbyist for business (with a budget of £1.4 billion)
Chris Huhne – banging his head against a brick wall officer and Zac Goldsmith’s handler
Danny Alexander – toughguy
David Laws – the emphasis will be on the ‘secretary’ bit of the job title, George thinks he’s got things under control, doesn’t need any outside help

I know I’m ranting, perhaps that proves that I’m just as angry as the Tory right!

@Nick – well said! Your political compass graph is almost identical to mine.

Although I would add one caveat to Nick’s comment for myself which is that I don’t ‘support’ this coalition – it isn’t what I voted for, but given the information I’ve had about all the negotiations and the fact that so many Labour figures were saying no to a deal with the Lib Dems right from the very start, I would say that it may be that it was the best outcome available for anyone wanting to avoid a Tory landslide.

As people who were following me on Twitter prior to today will know, I’m not happy with some of the things that Clegg has sacrificed in the course of this coalition but I understand that there had to be a compromise of some sort once the Tories had announced that they weren’t prepared to go for a minority government. Yes I will drift away from the Lib Dems (or at least those who are pro-Clegg) if things start heading any further down the right-wing Tory road, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be agreeing to support any party that wants to give the state total control over my life and actions. I’m sorry but I just cannot swallow my belief in individual freedom to sit on the Labour side whilst their still abusing the anti-terror laws to stop anyone with a camera and insistent on stamping down on people’s right to non-violent protest. That to me isn’t Labourism – it’s authoritarian control with one foot in paranoia!

42. Watchman

“Chris Huhne – banging his head against a brick wall officer and Zac Goldsmith’s handler”

I love the job description, but is the second part the cause or consequence of the first?

Kim,

I accept what you say, but it is the nature of the coalition that upsets people. What I expected was that LibDems would have a real revising voice in parliament, so that when a new bill was introduced – be it labour or Tory – then the LibDems would scrutinise it. I support Labour, but god knows there have been some ill-thought-out laws passed in the last 13 years. I expect there to be ill-thought-out laws passed by the Con-Dem party too, but the problem is that the LibDems have had their hands tied (as far as I can see, by Clegg) which means that the scrutiny will no occur.

For example, look at this redefinition that a majority in parliament is now considered to be 45% (the flip side of a 55% opposition). Who thought that was a fair and just idea? Didn’t a LibDem point out that a majority is 50% + 1, everywhere else? Look at the so-called fixed parliament idea. I have news for you, the 1911 Parliament act sets the longest term of a parliament at five years, so what has Cameron done? he has just said “we will not only carry on as before, but we will make it more difficult for you to stop me squatting in Number 10”. Where was the LibDem scrutiny there? The announcement was not a reform for the better, it was entrenching a minority administration by saying that Parliament cannot remove them. Nowhere have I ever seen a LibDem policy argue for that.

I think that the LibDems are now on notice. The public know what to expect from the Tories, but if they can see that the LibDems have had an influence for the better then you’ll benefit. However, on the very first act of this new government you have failed. Well after you have tired of this coalition and left the Tories to rule as a minority, the public will not thank you for the act keeping an unpopular government in power.

44. Watchman

Kim,

“I’m sorry but I just cannot swallow my belief in individual freedom to sit on the Labour side whilst their still abusing the anti-terror laws to stop anyone with a camera and insistent on stamping down on people’s right to non-violent protest. That to me isn’t Labourism – it’s authoritarian control with one foot in paranoia!”

There is an argument that it is part of socialism (which does not claim to be liberal remember – different philosophy) which may explain why a surprising amount of Labour supporters are easy with this sort of abuse – so long as it is used ‘correctly’ (i.e. not by the Conservatives). The gulf between Labour and Liberal has always been more than just a matter of degree; the matter of personal freedom versus obligations to the state lie at the heart of it.

“Is this a leap of faith on my part, yes – but it’s one based on what I know of the Lib Dems and their values (which don’t include punishing the poor & vulnerable but do include helping people and enabling people to make changes in their own lifes where that’s possible)”

In that case, why did the Lib Dems accept all the Tory plans for welfare (which they opposed 1 week ago), and allow policies towards the poor and vulnerable to be decided by Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling?

@kim – forgive me, but isn’t the cat already out of the bag on this policy? The Liberals and Tories agree to accelerate deficit reduction, that’s in their coalition agreement. They also want to implement a number of tax changes (the most significant of which, ie the £10k allowance, appears to be rather regressive and a policy nostrum of the right) which will mean they have to borrow more. The arithmetic says that even if they want to keep deficit reduction at the levels advocated by New Labour, they will have to cut 22% of all non-protected spending. With due respect to the arts (and I do think it important), that isn’t the major area in which these cuts will be experienced by most people. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of lay-offs, and severely reduced services across the board, which will ultimately lead to economic contraction and soaring unemployment. It will also mean asset-stripping the public sector – Vince Cable and George Osborne are of one mind on this.

Understand the severity of the cuts being talked about: we’ve all been told that they would be deeper than anything Thatcher accomplished. In various departments, according to the FT and IFS, cuts of only 18% would be equivalent to abolishing the armed forces, closing the courts, cutting over a third of grants to Network Rail, stopping all road-building and repair programmes, etc. etc. I don’t think there’s been a study of the impact that such deep cuts in education or welfare would have. As for local councils, they’re going to have to downsize Barnet-style: ‘easyCouncil’, with libraries closed, housing and refuse privatised, parks not renovated, deep cuts in the workforce.

I’m afraid that your faith that the Liberals will blunt the worst of the cuts is entirely misplaced: the agreement is there, in black and white, and it must perforce mean even deeper cuts than New Labour envisaged (which were bad enough). The implications of the agreement are obvious, as is their likely consequence. We are talking about the most vicious, confrontational government since Thatcher – of necessity, one likely to outdo Thatcher if it has to fight to get its cuts implemented across the public sector. And I’m saying that in those circumstances, there isn’t room for circumspection or wait-and-see policies. We need to face up to the horror that awaits us, and I’m urging you and all left-liberals to say ‘no’ to these cuts without equivocation. It’s an issue that has been allowed to slip below the radar of public conversation because only the business press really talks about it and acknowledges the severity of it. But within 50 days, there will be a budget, and I want all the forces of the left – from liberals to social democrats to socialists – to be united in opposition to anything so drastic as is entailed by this coalition agreement.

47. Forlornehope

Perhaps it’s all this “loathing” and “despising” by politics nerds that turns the vast majority off politics. It does rather seem to be more prevalent on the left than on the right. Why cannot people just accept that their opponents have come to different conclusions on the issues? The other side don’t have to be bad people, just wrong. Once you get over these childish passions you might then start to see how you can work with other people to get some part of what you want. Until then you will remain irrelevant the fate of the Liberal party for the last seventy years.

@43 – the idea of a more-than-simple majority for dissolving parliament seems reasonable enough to me. Given a commitment for fixed terms (I’d rather have had 4 years than 5, but I don’t care all that much), you have to do /something/ about votes of no-confidence.

One option would be to say that you can’t have any re-election until the end of that fixed term, no matter how much the parliamentary groups break down – and that a vote of no-confidence would simply result in a forced reformation of the government based on the existing parliament. So maybe lib dems would fall out with cons and we’d be left with a minority tory government after all, following a vote of no confidence. That sucks a bit^Wlot.

A simple majority is too vulnerable to the largest party abruptly deciding to end everything at a time that suits them – which is what fixed-term parliaments are there to try to stop, in the first place. Not ideal.

a substantial majority having the ability to trigger a new election (lib+lab(+everyone? – I’m unsure of the numbers), or lib+con, or con+lab) looks fine to me.

@41 Culverin

I would agree that they way things are being presented (due to bastard Cameron getting all the say over who sits in the Cabinet) isn’t good and I, personally, see it as call for any Lib Dem supporters who dislike the Tories to become increasingly vocal about their values and the fact that the Cabinet is so dominated by the blues. I am extremely disappoint with the way the appointment of ministerial positions has gone, but then again as the Lib Dems are only 57 out of 363 or in a Lib-Lab scenario 57 out of 315 it wasn’t really going to turn out that differently whatever way the cake was sliced. Oh and don’t try and feed me any bullshit about Labour giving more key positions to the Lib Dems because we all know they wouldn’t have done as it would defeat the point of them being the majority party in a coalition to do so.

As stated in my last comment, if the road ahead becomes any more blue than it is under the outlined deal I will be disassociating myself from Clegg quicker than lightning but so will large numbers of the party activist and members – and most of them won’t be flocking to Labour either for the same reason as I mentioned. Overall I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if at some point over the next 5 years there isn’t a split within the Lib Dems itself – whether that will result in the formation of another new political force, I don’t know – but right now, I’m being practical about the fact that I have to try to live & work under what has been decided until 2015 and choose my battles carefully for the time being.

@4 Sunny

Abt the possibility of a minority government:
“Not really, the Tories ruled that out. Andf it would have been impossible to pass legislation then. That is silly for various reasons:

I wouldn’t use that word, “silly”. Minority governments exist and can do alright (Scotland the first example to spring to mind)

1) Means Libdems would rightly be pilloried for leaving everything in jeopardy while the economy was a bit unstable (and actually, the economy is very precarious right now, despite many lefties pretending it isn’t).”

Like I said yesterday. Whoever is to the left of Thatcher in this country gets pilloried anyway. Irresponsible, loonie, wishy washy, flip-flopping, friends with the terrorists. We’ve heard them all. Why should we bother this time round? Imagine if the LibDems in the end had decided to vote in favour of the Iraq invasion for fear of being “pilloried” for putting “our boys” in jeopardy, etc.

The history of monority governments shows that agreements can be made (i.e. on the budget) without going the whole hog entering the same Cabinet etc.

2) Libdems can’t advocate for coalition politics while saying no to it themselves.”

As I argue here, they went about it the wrong way. a) Coalition politics under a non-FPTP system is what the LibDems were primarily about; b) with exceptions, generally in other countries parties run an election campaign being clear about who they will join. In Germany you vote Green knowing that either they’ll go it alone or form a colaition with the SDP (like they did). In Italy you vote the racists of the Northern League knowing that they’ll side by Silvio Berlusconi, etc.

That is open coalition politics. And NOT, saying SIX DAYS before the elections that the LibDems are the only progressive choice and the only real alternative to the Tories. That is conning people.

Sunny, I think your position on the coalition is being ambivalent. You keep saying that “we (who exactly?) are the only opposition now”, but I haven;t read a single critical word coming from you re this government. If you did and I miss it, I will swallow humble pie, but that’s how it looks to me.

@15 blanco
I hear this John Reid, David Blunkett thing time and again. The day the alleged talks with Labour folded I was fuming at Labour. I wrote a whole tirade here.

Then I started thinking that obviously the deal with the Tories was already cut. It’s obvious. Secondly, though no doubt they were out of order, Blunkett and Read count fuckall today in the Labour Party. Like someone else remarked elsewhere, they’re not even MPs any longer! The dice was already cast.

You obviously blinked when a selection of Tory grandees (Tebbit, Redwood, not to mention the entire Daily Mail machine) were talking down any potential agreement. That doesn’t count, does it?

@45

Source please – the welfare things I’ve seen published so far don’t suggest a wholesale acceptance of Tory thinking given what was already in the Lib Dem manifesto anyway.

That being said, on the welfare issue I tend to be in the Green camp anyway.

@48. Nick

“the idea of a more-than-simple majority for dissolving parliament seems reasonable enough to me”

Why? If the House has no confidence in the government, then it should go. Simples. I do not agree with fixed term parliaments, but equally so I do not agree on the Prime Minister having the choice of when to call an election. It should be up to Parliament to decide when the election will be, and that means Parliament decides through a no-confidence vote.

But look, if there is a 52% no-confidence vote and Parliament is not dissolved, what happens then? All other votes are on a simple majority. So do you have a minority party pushing bills through the House that will never be passed? Of do you say that the rest should try to form a government? So what will happen – Labour with 258 tries to form a government, then at the first hurdle loses a no-confidence vote of LibDem+Cons and we have a dissolution. That is a nonsense situation.

“One option would be to say that you can’t have any re-election until the end of that fixed term, no matter how much the parliamentary groups break down”

Wow. That is a bit like saying that a couple cannot have a divorce until one partner has died. As you say, that is not an option.

“A simple majority is too vulnerable to the largest party abruptly deciding to end everything at a time that suits them – which is what fixed-term parliaments are there to try to stop, in the first place. Not ideal.”

It has happened before. The Wilson/Callaghan lib-lab government survived from 74 to 79.

“a substantial majority having the ability to trigger a new election (lib+lab(+everyone? – I’m unsure of the numbers), or lib+con, or con+lab) looks fine to me.”

The 55% rule says that for there to be a dissolution there would have to be some Tories voting against the Con-Dem government (307 is 47% of seats). How many Tories would chance losing the Tory whip, and de-selection at the next election?

“Source please – the welfare things I’ve seen published so far don’t suggest a wholesale acceptance of Tory thinking given what was already in the Lib Dem manifesto anyway.”

The source is the coalition agreement, section 7. It is taken from the Tory manifesto. And will be implemented by two of the most right-wing Tory ministers, advised, according to reports, by Philippa “cure the gays” Stroud.

Which is a shame as former Lib Dem spokesperson Steve Webb is an excellent MP and an expert on welfare policy. I think this is actually the biggest defeat so far for the leftie Lib Dems in the coalition.

@45 donpaskini
“In that case, why did the Lib Dems accept all the Tory plans for welfare (which they opposed 1 week ago), and allow policies towards the poor and vulnerable to be decided by Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling?

Hallelujah…! Finally someone talking sense.
I guess having a fixed-term parliament was a more important priority than letting bible-belter social right-winger IDS wreak havoc at Work and Pensions.

#47 “Perhaps it’s all this “loathing” and “despising” by politics nerds that turns the vast majority off politics.”

Is it really? The most hated people in British history are politicians – number one is Thatcher. Politicians do a lot to arouse hatred and loathing. It’s one of the great motivators, probably the sole reason why Labour experienced an unexpected revival in its working class bases. Is there something wrong with despising people whose policies have a profoundly injurious effect on you and the people around you?

With the 55% needed for dissolution, people with blinkers on seem to be missing that this is to stop the tories running out on the deal and calling a sudden General Election. Without this point, Cameron could call an election whenever he felt like it. Why is it so hard for people to get this point? It’s very obvious and simple.

Forlornehope

Perhaps it’s all this “loathing” and “despising” by politics nerds that turns the vast majority off politics. It does rather seem to be more prevalent on the left than on the right. Why cannot people just accept that their opponents have come to different conclusions on the issues?

Because for some of us politics is a bit more than just an intellectual pissing contest, and the “different conclusions on the issues” that our opponents come to have very real and very damaging consequences for us in the real world.

I don’t think leftie LDs should leave the party, although I would like to know what you mean by a ‘lefty LD.’ There needs to be some principled reminder/check on the LDs in power, but you need to be clear-sighted.

I do find it extraordinary that – apparently – there was no opposition to the coalition amongst LD MPs or its Federal Executive. No one voted against it.

I find it odd that given the range of principles and policies at stake, there was no dissent in public or behind those closed doors. We have not even had a proper gloss or spin on it. Odd for a ‘liberal’ and ‘democratic’ party to be so disciplined and conformist given what is at stake.

Also very disturbing is the process by which your party ‘gained’ or acquiesced in the constitutional change of fixed term five year parliaments and the 55% threshold (I certainly didn’t see these specifics in your manifesto).

For me, that approach to achieving political reform – combined with your demand that Labour introduce AV legislation rather than a referendum for the price of collaboration – is profoundly undemocratic.

All other constitutional reforms have been openly argued for, been up front in manifestos, hotly debated in campaigns. Yes, our loser Labour manifesto had the general – but not specific – call in it for fixed term parliaments; the LDs buried it deep; the Tories did not even refer to it in theirs.( I have had longer, more detailed conversations on this on another thread).

Final comment from me for the time being as I really need to get back to doing my day job!

@Rich – good point. Fixed term parliaments are actually a Lib Dem idea rather than a Tory and as far as I understand it, the logic behind them is very much that it prevents the largest force in a coalition forcing an election whenever it likes.

@donpaskini – has there been confirmation of the Stroud/Grayling appointments? The things I had seen up until now didn’t have either of them in ministerial appointments but I may have missed something as I’m not paying 100% attention on account of work stuff taking priority. If this has been confirmed, I am very opposed to it as I think that religion has bugger all place in politics and I’m violently against homophobia (out of principle & because it’s negative for me personally).

@47 Forlornehope

What puts off people is being constantly conned by politicians. From Tony Blair’s encyclopaedia of lies (tuition fees, 2nd resolution, pretty straight guys etc etc etc) to Nick Clegg portraying himself 6 days before the vote as the only alternative to the Conservatives.

You cannot say publicly “I don’t think the choice is between Conservative and Labour – the choice is now between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats” and then a week later jump in bed with the Conservatives. Or am I being overly naive in taking words literally?

This sort of stuff will put people off the LibDems. It already has. Hopefully it won’t put people off politics altogether, because progressive voters are running out of where to turn to.

@58 – Am I the only one who heard Brown, in his I’m-going-to-resign speech, offer immediate legislation on AV and a referendum on PR as part of his proposed deal with the lib-dems? Are you suggesting Nick Clegg called him up beforehand and told him to offer that?

Labour, not the lib-dems, are the ones who came up with the idea of implementing AV without a referendum. I’m strongly in favour of electoral reform, but I am absolutely of the opinion that it should go through a referendum first. And that’s what we’re going to get – within a year, if I read the signs correctly.

@#58, From what I know, the reason no MP voted against the deal is Labour had ruled one out, and none of our MPs are as fickle as Labour members who thought leaving the tories to do what they felt like was best. This includes the most left leaning members of our party, who give a far better representation of what it means to be on the left than almost all of the Labour party. The idea that all the MPs, and all but one member of the federal Executive would fall into line because they were told to is laughable, and an insult to many great people. Liberals don’t fall in line because someone tells us to.

The fixed term parliament is something the Lib Dems wanted, and as I’ve pointed out, the 55% for dissolution is to prevent Cameron dissolving parliament and screwing us on our deal. Why people think it’s the reverse, I do not know, considering the way it reads.

Your next point is a horrible twisting of what we know happened, and Nick above pointed it out already.

Ok I fibbed, but this really is the last from me for now.

@Elaine – I’m also a bit suspicious over the lack of opposition so far. However, they’ve still not gotten the seal of approval from the activists & party members yet. There’s a conference in Birmingham this weekend where that may or may not happen and I intend to send the rep from my neck of the woods down there with quite a lengthy list of questions that I want answering. Oh and I agree that there is a need for people with doubts/questions/issues to keep the Lib Dems away from being absorbed by the Tories entirely.

Just to clarify something, I’m not one to blindly follow any political line (which is probably why a lot of people don’t like my views on things most of the time) but equally I’m not prepared to drop things and clutch at the nearest alternative 2 days into what is going to be the system for the next 5 years.

The crux of this thread seems to revolve around Don Paskini’s question about what can the Labour Party/movement do to persuade people like Kim and myself either to “come back into the fold”, or at least to view Labour as part of the solution, rather than as part of the problem.

I haven’t seen or heard much from Labour members and/or supporters, either here or elsewhere, to progress that point.

Perhaps we do have to wait for Labour to “find itself” again before we can make a judgement, but a number of things make me cautious:

1) repitching a centre left “tent” presupposes an admission that New Labour was an aberration an that it’s baleful legacy will be expunged. I’ve seen little evidence that most of those in the party are ready to do that. Forgiveness presupposses an admission of guilt – I haven’t seen ANY evidence of that.

2) Although it may smack of Kremlin watching (in as much as we may never know the details of why the Lab/LD talks foundered) it is pretty obvious from what has come out already that Labour were overwhelmingly responsible. Their arrogant refusal to give up pet projects is particularly unforgiveable. It’s just not good enough for Labourites to say that it no longer matters; it DOES matter, and frankly I’d trust the LD version of events much more readily than yours.

3) I’m still not convinced the leopard can change it’s spots. In the case of New Labour it evidently doesn’t want to in any case. Those who are prepared to re-invent the Labour Party have a hard road ahead, which may take years rather than months. I hope the process leads to a genuine, progressive, radical party: but I’m not holding my breath. With luck however, it might exist in time for the next election, or earlier in the ConDems fall out of love sooner.

@56. Rich

“With the 55% needed for dissolution, people with blinkers on seem to be missing that this is to stop the tories running out on the deal and calling a sudden General Election.”

Not at all. That is a separate issue. Cameron could have simply said that Parliament decides, on a simple majority, whether an election can be called. Cameron does not have a simple majority, he has 47% of the votes. The 55% is saying that even though a majority (50-54.99%) of the House has no confidence in the government, the government still stands. As we know, with the current numbers it is unfeasible for any government not to include the Tories. So we will be in the situation of a disfunctional House that has declared that it is unable to form a government and a rule created in the secret negotiations to give Nick Clegg a grand title will now prevent the people a chance to change it. Where is the democracy in that?

First, your point on the secret deals (and so they should have been until agreed, considering how insane the media got as it was) was just to give Nick Clegg a fancy title is insulting and moronic. If you seriously think every single Lib Dem MP would agree to this deal with that as its basis, I can only refer you to the case of Arkell v. Pressdram as the most polite response I can give.

The 55% makes it hard for Cameron to force an election without a lot of support, or a true coalition against him. It makes it impossible for him to screw the Lib Dems unless Labour go on his side. So I rather like it.

I’m still waiting for any of those Labour MPs or supporters furiously condemning the Lib Dems to apologise for child immigrant detention.

@66. Rich

LOL it goes to show that I am having an effect if someone quotes “Arkell v. Pressdram” to me rather than actually giving a reasoned argument.

“The 55% makes it hard for Cameron to force an election without a lot of support, or a true coalition against him. It makes it impossible for him to screw the Lib Dems unless Labour go on his side. So I rather like it.”

::sigh:: Cameron has relinquished the right to call an election when he likes by agreeing to a fixed term (note: the maximum term allowed under the Parliament Act). Now do the sums. He has 47% of the vote, so if this decision on dissolution was to prevent Cameron from calling the election then why not make the limit 48% – or (shock!) keep it at a simple majority of 50%?

No, the situation is simple. Since he has 47% of the vote it means that the maximum number of people who could possible vote against him is 53%, so he pushes up the limit to 55%.

Can you tell me why you are so scared about the people having a decision in who should be the government, why do you think it is important for Cameron (or any Prime Minister for that matter) to regard it as a five years prize of his own possession? That is what the 55% limit has done and I am surprised that anyone who believes in democracy could ever defend it.

One notes that a straight majority of these left-leaning, heartbroken Liberals voted for Clegg and his Thatcherite, Orange Book cadre in the party leadership election with all that, given the opportunity, that entailed.

This kind of pretense to some sort of incohate leftist feeling in the Liberals is patently and sickeningly dishonest. It’s a Thatcherite party with a Thatcherite membership and Thatcherite policies.

Hi Galen,

“2) Although it may smack of Kremlin watching (in as much as we may never know the details of why the Lab/LD talks foundered) it is pretty obvious from what has come out already that Labour were overwhelmingly responsible. Their arrogant refusal to give up pet projects is particularly unforgiveable. It’s just not good enough for Labourites to say that it no longer matters; it DOES matter, and frankly I’d trust the LD version of events much more readily than yours.”

As you say, we don’t know what was discussed in the negotiations, beyond media speculation which proved to be wrong on every single other point in the past week. So I don’t see how you can conclude that Labour were overwhelmingly responsible – we don’t know what pet projects they were or weren’t prepared to give up.

I’m going to write something about what I think Labour should try to do to appeal to you and other left-leaning Lib Dems in the next few days. But do remember that it was Labour ministers before the election who were urging people to vote Lib Dem in order to make a Lib/Lab coalition possible, at the time when Lib Dems were telling everyone that Labour was irrelevent and the real choice was between them and the Tories. So at the very least, there’s blame on both sides.

“I’m still waiting for any of those Labour MPs or supporters furiously condemning the Lib Dems to apologise for child immigrant detention.”

I campaigned against child (indeed all immigrant) detention, and like many Labour supporters, I will strongly support any legislation by the coalition to end child detention.

I am concerned, though, by reports that the coalition legislation would restrict the right to appeal and reduce safeguards:

http://freemovement.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/clean-sweep/

blanco

I’m still waiting for any of those Labour MPs or supporters furiously condemning the Lib Dems to apologise for child immigrant detention.

I’ve got no qualms about saying that child detention was an absolutely shameful policy and that the sooner the new govt enacts its promise to end it the better.

How long will we have to wait for an apology from the ConDems though once we’ve witnessed the first child being pulled screaming from its parents’ arms. Or is there some guarantee that I’ve thus far missed that says the parents won’t still be dragged off to detention centres while the children meanwhile get placed into care…..

If you’d made a reasoned attack, you’d get a reasoned argument. Garbage in, garbage out. Repeating, the idea that Clegg did all this for a fancy title is insulting. You offer not a shred of reasoning or proof as to why this would be his aim.

The 55% is part of the fixed term parliament deal. It stops his backbenchers and party grandees pushing him to have a dissolution when it favours them.

And I’m not scared of people having a decision as to who’s in government. We just had that. You’re not happy with the result. Neither am I. Unlike you however, I’m a Liberal Democrat, and we believe in compromise. It’s obvious few labour members do.

In response to #69, please, try the other leg, it’s got bells on. For me, the idea that the Labour party cares about individuals and people is laughable. We’ve managed to get most of the crap from the last 13 years reversed in the deal we got. We’re not locking up children anymore, unlike what Labour wanted. That was shameful, and you did nothing. Stop crying at how we’ve sold out, when you did long ago. We got much of what we campaigned for, and have toned down the tories. I’d love it to be better. But Labour ran.

To #70, I’ve heard stuff from people higher up the Lib Dems, and from how Labour was negotiating, to its MPs then going on TV and slating any deal whatsoever, it’s entirely fair to blame Labour for this.

Coalition government leads to things neither side wants, but both sides getting some of what they want. Labour needs to learn this, and it’s been an obvious failing from all my interactions with Labour over the years. We do things your way, or no way.

And while the agreement does have legitimate points to be dismayed about, can people please stop making things up as to what it’ll result in?

#67 I’ve been happy to say and will say again: that is by a long way the best thing to come out of the coalition agreement. I’ll be really pleased if it comes to pass (and as things stand I’m assuming it will). However it’s by no means the only unfairness associated with the immigration system and in general things look like they will continue to get worse in that area, as they did under Labour too.

It’s also not worth the downsides of the coalition agreement (mainly the cuts), and I do not say that lightly as I’ve spent more time campaigning on migration issues than any other issue.

On the subject of lib-lab vs lib-con, I suppose the only thing we’ll be able to agree on is that no-one can know for sure what went on behind closed doors, and whether you hold my opinion that Clegg never really wanted a deal with Labour and scuppered it by holding out for cuts he knew Labour couldn’t support, or Labour scuppered the deal by refusing to control dissenting voices, will depend mainly on your pre-existing views of the parties and individuals involved. All we can know for sure is what Clegg signed up to and what Liberal Democrat MPs will now support.

70

Don, look forward to it. I take your point about the dangers of trying to discern what actually happened in the talks. We may never know, or it will be years from now when all the memoirs and autobiogs come out?

I’d lay odds however that the likes of Reid, Blunkett etc DID scupper any deal, either directly or indirectly by giving the green light for back benchers. Reid was rubbishing the idea on election night before the results even came in, and there was a Scottish Labour MP railling against any coalition on the morning after (no idea which one…. most of them in my home country are selected more for slavish obedience than charisma, which seldom matters as they’d elect a donkey as long as it had a Labour rosette on.)

I’m not saying blame is one sided, just that I trust Labour less. Given the past 13 years that understandable, tho given the past week, who can I trust now? 🙁

“To #70, I’ve heard stuff from people higher up the Lib Dems, and from how Labour was negotiating, to its MPs then going on TV and slating any deal whatsoever, it’s entirely fair to blame Labour for this.”

Oh right. And there is no reason at all why your anonymous source would seek for political advantage to try to blame Labour for the failure of the talks.

Fact remains that the Lib Dems did absolutely nothing to make a coalition with Labour possible, either before or after the election. Trying to shift all the blame onto Labour is desperate and pathetic.

“I’d lay odds however that the likes of Reid, Blunkett etc DID scupper any deal, either directly or indirectly by giving the green light for back benchers”

If it helps, one thing on the “to do list” for Labour lefties should, I think, be to defeat the John Reid/David Blunkett faction within the Labour Party (and to defeat whoever the Blairites end up backing as the next leader).

“Stop crying at how we’ve sold out,”

I’m not crying. I’m not claiming you sold out either, I was well aware of your unabashed inegalitarian ethos.

It would be nice if you stopped pretending you were anything other than a mob of Thatcherite slash and burn thugs wedded to the concept of greater inequality as a matter of principle though, it’s kinda rude.

When I saw the quote from Labour that the Lib Dems had been pushing for early cuts this year, it became fairly obvious who was lying. Considering Clegg and Cable had said that no cuts this year was what they wanted, Labour really should have come up with another point to invent. While we’ve ended up with cuts in the deal with the tories, they’re not as bad as we could have otherwise expected.

As to trying to do nothing, I seem to remember provisional discussions going on with Labour well before the talks with the Tories slowed slightly. So, uh, you’re wrong.

So, yeah, I think I can blame Labour, considering the facts we publically know, which are clear enough, and the stuff I’ve heard privately.

Labour saying the Lib Dems are inegalitarian is funny. Not seen how your government acted? It would be nice if you treated us as the party we actually are, and not your demon-bogeyman fiction. I’m hearing far too much crap from Labour supporters right now, and always have really, and I look forward to the day you argue based on the facts of each issue, rather than making stuff up.

@Scratch – 69

Alright you’ve pulled me back in for 5 minutes.

Regarding what you said, actually I didn’t vote for that…in fact I didn’t vote in the Lib Dem leader elections at all as I’m a supporter rather than a party member. So it would be wrong to say that all people with similar views to mine voted Clegg into the leadership. Personally, I don’t think they’ve done particularly well over the leadership question since Charles Kennedy stepped down in 2006 but Clegg was definitely a step up from Ming Campbell in my opinion. I’m not really a pro-Clegger (to coin a phrase) and I’m also not one to vote for people rather than parties when it comes to national elections.

Also, I find it interesting that people are arguing that Clegg went with the Tories for the title of Deputy PM. Firstly, how do we know that Labour didn’t offer something similar? If they did that blows that argument right out of the water. Secondly, as far as I’m aware the Deputy PM title doesn’t actually mean anything in real terms as it’s a position created around specific individuals rather than being one set in the unwritten constitution as having any meaning – am I wrong?

#80

Yes, it angered me that Clegg could argue for something privately that he had argued against during the election campaign, but I’m clearly going to believe the people I know and trust and have spoken to privately, and you’re clearly going to believe the people you know and trust and have spoken to privately. I really don’t see how that helps us here?

FWIW I have been surprised at the number of people who’ve taken at face value the mainstream media narrative about obstacles to a Lib-Lab deal. Does it really surprise you they’d rather blow a process story out of proportion than talk about genuine differences between parties on political and economic issues, and whether they can be resolved?

#82 I think you’re 100% right about that; I wouldn’t be surprised if Labour had offered something similar and I doubt if the precise numbers of cabinet posts and the titles of such were the most important details in any negotiations.

“I’m hearing far too much crap from Labour supporters right now, and always have really, and I look forward to the day you argue based on the facts of each issue, rather than making stuff up.”

Fair enough. What do you think about Iain Duncan Smith becoming Work and Pensions Secretary, supported by Chris Grayling, and do you agree that it would have been better if the Lib Dems had insisted on their excellent spokesperson Steve Webb being appointed instead?

I’m going to trust people and a party who have given me many reasons to trust them, and haven’t given me a reason not to, unlike so many in the Labour party, and its government. Why you would trust some of them beggars my belief, but all to their own.

As to the media, most of its coverage was insane. It’s why the talks have to be secret. I didn’t take my view on the talks from the media, but what I heard internally. The fact Labour members appeared all day on the TV backing up what I was hearing made it fairly obvious which side was really playing ball. You can’t escape that fact.

87. Culverin

@76 Galen10

Yep, I agree, only days before the election Nick Clegg was selling the LibDems as the only alternative to the Conservatives. Plus, in most of the LibDem seats they are the only alternative to the Tories.

It’s not just me, voters here where I live feel fucking ripped off by that creep Clegg. He should make his fucking mind-up.

What I just don’t get is the total lack of feeling on this website…. it’s like a fucking politics class. The reality is….. Clegg has wiped the party off the map with his vote LibDem get Tory trick.

I really don’t think there can be a recovery – we’re all part of the greater Tory party now.

88. Flowerpower

Kim

Most of the LibDems I encounter tend to be of the Orange Book Tendency and are as pleased as punch with the way things have played out. They refer to your sort as ‘weirdie beardies’ or ‘sandalistas’ and won’ be shedding any tears if you all either go off to Labour (‘where {you} belong’) or (in the case of the Green Ecofascist variety) go back to the woods to hug a spotted owl. I have witnessed during the past hours some of your hedge fund LibDems (who’ve controlled the party for some time effectively) expressing joyous solidarity with Tories over magnums of Bollinger.

Take the hint…….. services no longer required.

I think we got a blinder by getting the pension increases in now, with the triple safeguard for it. I’d have loved to have a Lib Dem in every senior cabinet position, but that wasn’t going to happen. As it stands, we get to influence what happens, and consulted directly. Much as I have problems with IDS, it’s interesting actually reading what he’s been involved in producing. Some of his outcomes, such as more focus on marriage are odd, but I suggest actually reading what he’s written. Ignoring the bits about marriage, a lot of it is close to what Labour theoretically likes. Rather odd, I know.

Answering all these people feeling ‘ripped off’ by Clegg, how much attention were you paying? If Labour or the Tories had power by themselves, we all know exactly what would have happened. Not much difference. That’s what Clegg was offering, and we’ve got it, as demonstrated in the coalition document. He was saying he’d talk to whoever got the most votes first. He did. He started talking to Labour *before* any talks had collapsed with the tories, and got rebuffed. That it’s Labour who did the rebuffing is clear. Just look at the stance of so many of their MPs. Ignoring this is sticking your head in the sand.

I’m far from being of the Orange Book tendency as you call it, being on the side of Simon Hughes and the like. It’s also fairly obvious that few people have actually read the Orange Book and just keep repeating what they’ve heard about it. It’s not one big long document, but a series of articles, in various different veins.

I’m as happy as I could be after the election result and Labours decision to go into opposition. I am waiting to see how things turn out, but so is everyone else.

@Don

“do you agree that it would have been better if the Lib Dems had insisted on their excellent spokesperson Steve Webb being appointed instead?”

Are you saying they should’ve spent more time negotiating with the eviiiil Tories?

But I thought this in itself was a cardinal sin?

The Lib Dems speak to Tories. You attack them.

The Lib Dems get concessions out of the Tories, major concessions. You attack them.

The Lib Dems try to negotiate with Labour, but Labour are too busy getting ready for opposition. You attack them.

The Lib Dems get into a coalition government. You attack them.

The Lib Dems get 5 senior cabinet posts. You attack them for not getting DWP.

WTF?

I just hope by Thursday 7 May 2015 you have something positive to offer the electorate.

Thing is, we all know what would have happened if the Lib Dems had not made any agreement.

“Lib Dems prove they’re not ready for power”
“Lib Dem policies fail when given a chance to be put into action”
“Lib Dems let Tories into government”

Wait, that last one is being said anyway. Oops.

In all their justifications about fixed term parliament and 55% threshold, no one has answered my fundamental point.

Constitutional change should be debated upfront in the campaign so voters are informed about positions. Constitutional change is not something to be done via backroom deals.

The discussion should be wide and deep before legislation is introduced.
Nobody argued/made a case for the fixed term in any debate, leaflet (I had almost daily drops from LD and Tories) or discussion I heard ore read in this campaign. 5 years and 55%. never appeared on the horizon. Show me the evidence to the contrary.

As someone seriously committed to political reform, the only way that this could even be half-way seriously considered is if MPs are given a free vote on it. Then you can have some modicum of a debate – which should have happened before the election.

The way this has been introduced shows a real contempt for addressing political reform and constitutional change in a serious and democratic manner. Remember this has been agreed between LD and Cons, not proposed. Where are voices of opposition in the LD camp? Nowhere. They are willing to get what they want – however.

94. Nick Cohen is a Tory

As another lib-dem voter who supports this whole coalition thing, this open letter says a lot from my point of view too.

Nick
You are rabid free market libertarian who wants a total absence of public services.
Thatcher didn’t go far enough.
You have nothing in common with that letter.
Are you Nick Cohen

Er, on the fixed parliaments, it was in the Lib Dem manifesto, so you can hardly claim you were misled. I don’t recall us going round saying they shouldn’t happen, so it’s not exactly any reversal either.

The 55%, as explained time and again, is to stop either coalition partner pulling out easily, and more specifically to stop Cameron from calling a snap election. How often does this need to be repeated?

@Elaine – 93

http://network.libdems.org.uk/manifesto2010/libdem_manifesto_2010.pdf

Page 88 of the full Lib Dem manifesto clearly states that they plan to:

“Introduce fi xed-term parliaments to ensure that the Prime Minister of
the day cannot change the date of an election to suit themselves.”

It doesn’t give details on the length of these, but then again most manifestos don’t go into the detail over the majority of things – even so it was there right from the day they published their manifesto.

@Rich

It needs to be repeated enough times so that everyone is busy saying it and no one remembers that Labour brought in a 66% level for the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament.

@Nick Cohen – 94

I’m a little confused by your comment – is it direct at the the other Nick that’s posted?

blanco, no need to have a tantrum. Far from attacking the Lib Dems, I was pointing out an area of policy which I think they had a good spokesperson and good policies – what’s partisan about that?

Here’s a tip for surviving the next five years, though. You don’t have to justify everything that your party does, it is ok to say that, for example, you disagree with the decision to hand over welfare policy to illiberal Christian fundamentalists and homophobes rather than trying to change the subject and attacking straw men. I’m a Labour supporter, but I’m always happy to acknowledge when I think my party’s done something wrong (or indeed, as on civil liberties and child detention, where the coalition seems to be an improvement).

94 – sorry, I don’t have a clue who Nick Cohen is, and since I never bought into ID cards, I guess I can’t prove I’m not him…

I /like/ public services. I love the NHS, the welfare state, free university tuition, roads, rail, water, power, banks, and all the rest. When RBS became state-owned, I moved all my money over to it in a paroxysm of joy. I have a list of things as long as my arm that I would prefer to be publicly owned.

But all that is my /second/ priority (and not well-supported by a Labour administration, might I add). Civil liberties are more important to me. Having an administration that I don’t have a complete lack of trust in is even more important.

Now, rather than putting up a straw man and telling me that’s who I am, then demolishing that straw man with an argument from association, maybe you’d like to add something constructive?

101. Nick Cohen is a Tory

Look
We lost, fair and square.
The numbers stacked up for a lib con partnership.
I actually think it was the best for the Labour party and more importantly democracy.
It is good to have a change.
We don’t want a situation like Japan, where it is democratic one party rule.
What concerns me is the vocal opposition.
With all the press, bar one , TV stations and blogosphere behind the coalition.
I am afraid of the tyrany of the majority.
Also Lib dems
Michael Gove, Hague and many others are did hard neocons, even more than the Labour right.
What happens if Israel bombs Iran .
What happens if we have terrorist outrage an there are calls for the 42 day detention law
What is the foreign policy. Neoconservative
Economically both parties will work together.I actually think all parties would have worked in a similar way.
What about prison policy, there are many short sharp and shock Tories who quite happily bring in the 3 strikes and your out policy of their ideologues in the Republican party
What about the NHS.
My fear is the Tories will shaft you.
Kim , yes to the coalition but watch your back, they have the press barons, you don’t.
Also don’t be soft selled by Tory agent provacateurs like Shatterface, Nick, Charlie 2 , flowerpot brain and the rest of the massive Tory blogosphere
They were defending the attacks on your leader before the election, ie Nazi Clegg

102. Watchman

Don,

“What do you think about Iain Duncan Smith becoming Work and Pensions Secretary, supported by Chris Grayling, and do you agree that it would have been better if the Lib Dems had insisted on their excellent spokesperson Steve Webb being appointed instead?”

Wasn’t going to happen. Welfare reform is an important issue for the Conservatives, and they want to reform along the lines Mr Duncan-Smith has been setting out for several years now (to be fair, these were originally lines designed in collaboration with Labour party members). Also, as these reforms are likely to be seen as scary (I have no idea if they will be) would the Liberal Democrats want to be the ones actually announcing them. In fact, have you noticed that those fronting potentially damaging cuts are all Conservative? The Liberal Democrats are in less slashable areas (albeit Chief Secretary to the Treasury has to be highly involved). Maybe a coincidence, may be marginalisation from spending departments, but may also be an agreed plan in return for supporting cuts?

@Nick Cohen – 101

On what basis are you calling the people listed Tory agent provacateurs? Just curious because unless you know them all personally and thus know their personal backgrounds I’m not entirely sure how you can make that judgement simply on what some of the have stated in comments.

Kim@96

As I have already said repeatedly, I know it is in the LD manifesto–but at several levels below headline political reforms. It is in the front of the Labour (we lost). It is not in the Tory manifesto.Where and when was it debated.

Constitutional change should not be a footnote. It is not a minor matter.

blanco@97 Yes, I have already said there are fixed terms and thresholds in the Scottish and Welsh Assembly. That constitional change and all its details were upfront and thoroughly debated. It is irrelevant to the point I make

You have to dig deep to find this

all the voters i know who decided to vote lib dem rather than labour this time round (around 6 or 7) have now deeply regreted what they did and feel cheated by the lib dems. they only voted for nasty nick because they didnt like gordon brown. now we are all stuck with these pair of idiots as leaders. what a massive step backwards we have all just took. this is our george bush moment.
the voting system wont be changed because the conservitives are very against it and can and will vote against it.
not only has dangerous dave and nasty nick cut child benifits,
they are scrapng the retirement age,
cutting our pensions,
raising VAT
raising tax on air fare,
expansion in the airline industry is being frozen.
so thats me taking another pay cut due to less demand for air travel. (i work in the airline industry) and flying till I die cos we cant afford to retire.
thanks voters….
ps dont blame me i voted labour 😛 and i imagine most of you lot will in 5 years time.because is this really what you voted for?

@Elaine – 104

I never stated that it was debated and as I don’t support the Tories why would I know/care if it was in theirs? At any rate it works against them rather than for them as it stops them calling an election/abandoning a coalition every time someone disagrees with them.

I don’t disagree that it should’ve been debated but I don’t think that in the aftermath of the current election it would’ve been helpful to do so and would (more than likely) have dragged the whole thing for even longer. I would be open to any campaign for this to be debated at some point before 2015 or after the next GE depending on what the reasons are for not doing it sooner.

Personally if something is in the manifesto then I don’t call that digging deep – if you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing and still vote for a party then that’s your choice (and sometimes your downfall) not theirs. It’s a tad unreasonable to expect them to make every part of a manifesto into a headline as that would either lead to even longer manifesto documents of defeat the point of having such a document rather than simply releasing policy statement after policy statement over a period of months/years.

@105

The Lib Dems only ever set out to cut benefits for those earning over £100k (or was it £50k – anyway one or the other) – now personally I can’t see child benefit making much of a difference to the quality of life of those earning 50-100k a year. Can you?

108. Watchman

“Also don’t be soft selled by Tory agent provacateurs like Shatterface, Nick, Charlie 2 , flowerpot brain and the rest of the massive Tory blogosphere”

Should I be offended or delighted not to be on the list?

Anyway, why is acceptable to decide those who disagree with you (at least two of whom I think are not committed Conservatives from comments) can be written off like this rather than actually addressing their points. I hate to tell you this, but using unsubstantiated accusations and labels which are presumably negative will not win debates, merely give the impression that you can’t cope with the issues.

Oh, and is using Tory a good idea for a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, which has just issued a manifesto document emphasising personal freedom? That sounds much more like Whiggish activity to me…

On what basis are you calling the people listed Tory agent provacateurs?

The Colonel’s First Rule of Internet Commenting: “Anything I say is true.”

Sorry –got posted before I finished it. Please delete post 104
Kim et al

As I have already said repeatedly, I know it is in the LD manifesto–but at several levels below headline political reforms. I also said it is in the front of Labour’s (we lost). It is not in the Tory manifesto.Where and when was it debated? Where and when was it highlighted? The 55% threshold is a major constitutional change and does not appear anywhere.

Yes, I would have opposed Labour legislation instituting a 55% threshold after this election as well, even though the fixed term parliament proposal is on the ‘ front page.’

blanco@97
Yes, I have already said (maybe on another thread) that there are fixed terms and thresholds in the Scottish and Welsh Assembly and the London Assembly is also fixed term, but obviously with fewer powers. Many (if not most) other parliaments have moved to fixed terms over the years.
These facts (and the argument that it might be a good thing) are still not relevant to my basic point.

Constitutional change is not trivial and should not be a footnote.

Rich @
<<>>
This is not an justification for constitional change. In fact it is the worst possible justification for constitutional change. You never change a constitution to address one specific situation. This is sheer opportunism.
BTW The maths works the other way as well: with 45% of the MPs, Cameron can continue to govern even if all LDs walk away (but that is irrelevant to my specific argument).

I am open to arguments on this constitutional matter. My point stands it was not debated in the election. It is a very slippery and shoddy way to introduce constitutional reform,

101 – I’m such a good tory agent, I managed to get the Kim to be my partner. Damn, I’m good. As for all the scaries you list – there’s a lot of areas there that we could get shafted on, yes. But at least we’ll have some civil liberties and breathing space. And, although it’s deeply unfashionable right now – “I agree with Nick”. And I trust him, to an extent, to do the right thing. In the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

104 – given the rest of what you’ve said, I’d hazard that 55% is the number, rather than a simple majority, to prevent the lib dems and labour pulling out together and leaving the tories hung high. I’ll agree that due process is being put aside for that change – but I can understand why that’s the case.

105 – curbs to the air industry are indeed one of the things I voted for. There’s no harm in having more airports up north. London’s got too many as it is, in my view. Helps spread jobs out a bit too! Also, air travel is ridiculously cheaply taxed – fuel duty? Nope. VAT on the fuel? Nope. Why? I seriously don’t get it. If there was ever an industry that needed to be taxed more, it was air travel. Considering what you get for the money – ridiculously fast transport – increasing fright and passenger charges isn’t such a big deal.

Switching from per-passenger to per-plane duty makes it less economic to fly almost-empty planes. Given how bad planes are for the environment, I’m well in support of this too!

“It affects me personally” isn’t, in my view, a strong enough reason to oppose a tax, or a cut. Indeed, I expect my future air travel to be somewhat more expensive. I don’t mind! I’ll just save up for longer (I’m going on my second ever airplane journey in November. It was a lot cheaper than I thought it’d be, both times).

Pensions are shot anyway – for both the public and private sectors. I can’t see any way of fixing them that doesn’t involve raising the retirement age. I don’t even have one yet – and I don’t know if I’ll be able to find one – so maybe I’ll be working until I die, I dunno. It’ll be interesting to find out.

As far as I can tell with the electoral reform, it’ll be entirely down to the public and media whether the house of commons changes (three-line whip on con MPs to vote the referendum through). It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the Lords, the west lothian question, welsh devolution, etc – proposals around that aren’t as concrete.

112. Stuart White

I come late to this thread. But I support the spirit of the original post entirely.

Rather than attacking left liberals who remain in the Lib Dems and/or assuming they will all inevitably flock into our party because their party is now in coalition with the Tories, Labour needs to work hard to renew its own programme in areas like civil liberties and democratic renewal.

the airline industry is already on the ropes. we cant take any more tax. a few years ago the planes were always full. i have seen passenger numbers plummet after every tax rise. british airways will go bust soon anyway,. these strikes will kill them off (i am very against these btw, british airways cabin crew really dont know how good they have it.) imagine they will soon find out when applying for other airlines. anyway back to my point. hammering the airlines for tax wont help the envronment, wont bring in any extra revinue cos of falling numbers. and the tax rises put on the airlines get taken right out of the employees pay. i already take home £350 a month less than several years ago. job losses mean i am working longer, harder with less rest breaks. (i fly illeagally several times a month now to cover flights because of job losses)
all this negatvity towards air travel needs to stop because its the employees that are suffering not to mention the passengers with higher fares.
or… at least target the airlines with dirty planes and low passenger figures that are really harming the environment, not the modern airlines with modern cleaner palnes and full loads.
rant over haha

Odd for a ‘liberal’ and ‘democratic’ party to be so disciplined and conformist given what is at stake.

Odder too for them to be criticising New Labour for insufficiently centralised message discipline and spin control…

It’s a common (and far from wrong) criticism of New Labour that they were too New and not enough Labour, too willing to cooperate with genial right wing politicians like Bush for the sake of perceived security and stability, too worried about how to get into office and not enough about what to do once there.

It’s just, from here on, that someone other than Lib Dem voters will have to be the ones making that criticism. I guess, if they don’t want to admit a mistake, they will have to come up with some narrative as to how the failures of New Labour were all the fault of too-powerful unions, too much attention paid to low-wage workers, or some such…

Kim:
I may have read the full manifestos, but I am a political nerd. All manifestos were essentially available only online.

It is perfectly reasonable to expect that a ‘key’ (part of negotiations) constitutional change would be at least mentioned in the summary.

When you google and go to the main Liberal Democrat site (not the members’ network) and choose Your Say, here is what you get

<<<>>>

Of course, yes the next level down (download this full section) has a one sentence mention of fixed term parliaments to “ensure that the Prime Minister of
the day cannot change the date of an election to suit themselves”

I guess I just take constitutional change, political reform and public involvement in these debates too seriously.

There are good arguments to have on this issue, but it wasn’t part of the election campaign. I have nothing more to say on this issue.

I wish all of you well in your LD debates. As a Labour supporter, I have opposed many Labour government policies (especially on civil liberties and Iraq), found many allies in the Labour Party and participated in fantastic debates and discussions at open Labour meetings whether with Ministers or MPs in attendance. Hope your meetings are as open and lively.

It is wise to try to avoid defending the indefensible….

Kim – I think the argument about 55% is now unjustified.

I’m not sure what it was referring to earlier but I’m clearer now.

Basically, the 51% required for a no-confidence motion still stands. This 55% is for the coalition alone to fall and for new elections to be called. Basically it forces coalition partners to work harder together. They actually have a higher percentage in Scotland. So I don’t see why people are getting so agitated over it.

This is really my very last word on the constitutional issue.

If Labour had introduced this change in similar circumstances, the Daily Mail and Telegraph would be calling it a “Hugo Chavez” moment and talking up the dangers of Chavistas. Cue endless articles and cartoons, etc. etc.

If it didn’t include them, Vince Cable (for whom I do have some respect as a local MP) would have made a joke as well.

#116

Sunny, can you clarify that? What would happen if 51% voted no confidence in a government but it didn’t have the 55% necessarily for coalition to fail. What is essentially the difference between the two positions?

119. Nick Cohen is a Tory

Anyway, why is acceptable to decide those who disagree with you (at least two of whom I think are not committed Conservatives from comments) can be written off like this rather than actually addressing their points. I hate to tell you this, but using unsubstantiated accusations and labels which are presumably negative will not win debates, merely give the impression that you can’t cope with the issues.
Are you not been a little holier than thou.
I don’t mind this kind of attitude if the same rule applies to Labour supporters and their views.
I will be watching the Watchman.
Remember no insults.
Also in a way they are agent provacatuers.
Your are not neither is Tim W
As for addressing their points, I did and I have

Mikey – given that you can still get flights on the cheap I’m not entirely sure how you can claim that tax is driving airlines out of business? I would suggest that reduced passenger numbers are due more to the recession & increased awareness of climate change/environmental issues regarding the effect of air travel – so sorry your logic doesn’t wash with me. Also I think that measures that prevent half empty flights and yet more airport expansion adding to these issues is a good thing. As for your comment about flying illegally – more fool you if your letting your employer get away with bad practice that could have serious consequences for you if an accident occurs.

113 – looking at figures from the civil aviation authority –
like http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=1279&pagetype=90&pageid=11239 – doesn’t show any huge drops in passenger numbers outside what I’d expect of a recession. Not that I’m particularly good at numbers or statistics, of course, and not that the numbers are particularly conducive to that kind of analysis.

Still, I’d say that what airlines like BA have /actually/ come under pressure from is competition by the budget airlines. If the companies are responding to that by shorting their staff, well, that’s a job for the unions, am I right? If you agree to flights in breach of your employment contract / employment law – how will that wash in the event of a plane crash?

I seem to remember big outcries to air passenger duty being imposed in the first place – reforming it so that fully-loaded planes pay the same or less, is surely a good thing? It’ll disproportionately affect the airlines that fly low passenger numbers, as you want.

Imposing a fuel duty, and indeed VAT, on plane fuel would also disproportionately target those (probably budget airlines?) that fly the more inefficient planes.

I’m not hostile to air travel – well, I’m hostile to intra-England flights (it boggles me that people will drive to Glasgow to fly the rest of the way to London, and back again) – but I don’t buy the idea that it’s suffering under some kind of incredible pressure due to taxes. Maybe I need a worked example showing how much tax there is in a typical short-haul or long-haul ticket to convince me?

As consumers, we seem to be really good at getting used to ridiculously low prices for stuff and then getting extremely worked up when it becomes more expensive.

…not that Glasgow is in England. Intra-GB flights, I guess that should be…

123. Scratch

So anyway, how many of this supposed roiling mass of left-leaning Liberals’ elected representatives do you think will cross the floor after the budget, disgusted and shamed by the horrors wrought in their name?

I won’t lie to you…I’m guessing absolutely none at all.

I’ll be astonished if any of them even vote against it.

tim f, see this:
http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/05/is-55-too-low/

Will Straw rightly asks whether 55% is in fact too low.

Apologies again for post 115. The section from the LibDem Manifesto is missing (was in original post) so here is the post again with the proper insert. I will refrain from posting until I sort my posting out.

Kim:
I may have read the full manifestos, but I am a political nerd. All manifestos were essentially available only online.

It is perfectly reasonable to expect that a ‘key’ (part of negotiations) constitutional change would be at least mentioned in the summary.

When you google and go to the main Liberal Democrat site (not the members’ network) and choose Your Say, here is what you get
>>>Liberal Democrats are the only party which believes in radical political reform to reinvent the way our country is run and put power back where it belongs: into the hands of people. We want to see a fair and open political system, with power devolved to all the nations, communities, neighbourhoods and peoples of Britain.
As the expenses scandal showed, the political system is rotten. Hundreds of MPs have safe seats where they can ignore their constituents. Party funding rules mean big donors have huge influence. Power has been concentrated in Westminster and Whitehall by a succession of governments. And Britain’s hard-won civil liberties have been eaten away.
Liberal Democrats will do things differently, because we believe that power should be in the hands of people, not politicians. We will give people a real say in who governs the country by introducing fair votes. We will stop big donations and give people the power to sack corrupt MPs. We will increase the powers of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament. We will cut back central government and all the stifl ing targets that it sets and make sure local taxes are spent locally. And we will introduce a Freedom Bill to restore the civil liberties that are so precious to the British character.>>>>

Of course, yes the next level down (download this full section) has a one sentence mention of fixed term parliaments to “ensure that the Prime Minister of
the day cannot change the date of an election to suit themselves”

I guess I just take constitutional change, political reform and public involvement in these debates too seriously.

There are good arguments to have on this issue, but it wasn’t part of the election campaign. I have nothing more to say on this issue.

I wish all of you well in your LD debates. As a Labour supporter, I have opposed many Labour government policies (especially on civil liberties and Iraq), found many allies in the Labour Party and participated in fantastic debates and discussions at open Labour meetings whether with Ministers or MPs in attendance. Hope your meetings are as open and lively.

It is wise to try to avoid defending the indefensible….

.

It’s not too late to join us, if you’ve had enough with big government and want a high society then give the Condems are try, you might find you have more in common with us than you first thought!

http://www.condems.org.uk

@Elaine – 115

I wouldn’t have a clue what it does/doesn’t say in the members are of the Lib Dems website as I’m not a member.

Anyway, with regard to your point about it not being a headline during the election campaign – I imagine that it wasn’t given that status because the Lib Dems were aiming for an out & out win with the idea of focussing on the economy first and then putting the electoral reform measures out for debate. I very much doubt that they, or anyone else wrote their manifesto with a hung parliament & coalition government in mind. Also I don’t recall any mention of electoral reform relating to fixed term parliaments by Labour during the campaign either.

As previously stated, I also would’ve liked this to have been properly debated and I would be in support of any campaign to bring this debate about. However I still don’t think that it would’ve been a sensible move to debate this after a hung parliament election result whilst trying to hammer out a coalition deal as it would’ve only extended the process into something taking weeks or months and would’ve opened the door to the Tories being able to make fake pledges to get a budget passed and then immediately call another general election which neither Labour nor the Lib Dems would’ve had the money or resources to fight properly – thus leading to a Tory landslide majority in all probability.

Also whilst we’re on the subject of electoral reform matters being pushed through without a debate – didn’t Gordon Brown use the carrot of instant legislation on AV followed by a referendum on PR to try & entice the Lib Dems? I notice that AV isn’t mentioned in the Labour manifesto until page 62 of 78 – so it seems to me that this a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, all things considered.

@126 – that should say members area – not members are!

@Scratch – 123

I never claimed that there were masses of them, simply that I am one and that in all likelihood there are others who think like me (actually I know there are as I live with one of them, but there you go).

I also never claimed that masses of them would leave if the budget turns out to be a slash & burn of all public services/welfare state provision. I simply stated that some may leave because of it and that I definitely will as I’m in favour of both public services & the welfare state. If I do choose to stop being a supporter of the Lib Dems because of it then it won’t have anything to do with shame – I chose to show them my support (via voting for them) on May 6th because of their manifesto and proposed budget for recovery and not because I thought/assumed they’d end up in a coalition with the Tories. So as far as I’m concerned that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Generally speaking I try not to dictate what the actions of other people will be if I can help it as there’s no way I would know what they may choose to do. At worst, I take a guess that – in this case I guessed that those Liberals who support public services and the welfare state (like myself) won’t stick around very long if the budget is a complete slash & burn of them all. Nothing more, nothing less.

@Nick Cohen

What happens if Israel bombs Iran .

Israel bombed the hell out of Gaza and the Labour government didn’t lift a finger to stop them. So what’s new?

What happens if we have terrorist outrage an there are calls for the 42 day detention law

After the last terrorist outrage, the Labour government tried to bring in 90 days then 42 days detention – both times they were opposed by the Tories and the Lib Dems.

What is the foreign policy. Neoconservative

Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, Guantanamo. Is that what you call progressive?

What about prison policy

Jack “Titan superprison” Straw was a cuddly fluffy guy, then?

Some things are better. A lot of things haven’t changed. But I don’t see anything that’s got worse, yet. Labour have no grounds upon which to criticise this government, either on the basis of its coalition agreement or its 2 days in office. You’d think you lot would have something better to do than to condemn the Con-Dems 2 days into office, conveniently forgetting the last 13 years!

maybe you should look at my wage slips from the last few years to see the change. i am meant to be in a good payed job but i am only working to put food on the table now and my depts are building up. i have not bought anything thats not an essental in over a year now. i am wearing last years summer clothes.
i will let you figure out what would happen in the event of a crash were pilots and crew are not fully rested. the caa would not be too pleased. and there is a definite drop in passengers. its obvious. a few years ago all planes more or less operated at full capacity. take away even a small percentage then it really hits us hard. for example my airline (not mentioning the name for obvious reasons) based on a full flight only makes about a pound per passenger profit. take away just a handfull and you are operating at a loss. people lose jobs, people have less choice in airlines as they start to go bust and prices rocket. we need a bit of help to get passenger numbers up again so we can feel safe in our jobs again. it dont help anybody by taxing us to death.
i dont understand why anybody would fly from glasgow to london either. quicker to drive for starters.
labour wounded the airline industry, the con-lib dem joke is about to deliver us a fatal blow.
pilots and crew have suffered enough and lost there jobs. XL, globespan etc. more airlines will go bust under the torys, you want to pay through the nose for your holiday, or be stuck abroad when your airline goes bust???

oh and kim i have no choice but to fly to feed myself. i no longer make 22k like i used to.
i am watching the airline business fall apart with my own eyes everyday.
nothing to do with people concerned with the environment, its still one of the greenest ways to travel.
its not logic its fact. i am watching friends and workers from all airlines losing jobs.
so go fuck yourself if you dont belive me. i have no reason to lie.

130 – if your airline is making £1 profit per passenger, assuming airline tickets of between £60 and £1,000 or so, then you’re running on an unsustainable business model – and it’s no surprise that corners are being cut with wages and safety. A business running on margins that are that stupid, and that sensitive to market downturns and increased costs, deserves to fail, in my opinion.

According to the figures, there were about million less passengers in 2009 than there were in 2007. That’s not an insignificant drop, but if your business were charging sensible rates, it wouldn’t be affecting you as negatively.

an extra £5 on a £60 fare, or an extra £50 on a £1,000 fare – it’s not a lot to the consumer (although some will complain very noisily, I’m sure), but it’s the difference between profit and loss for your business by the sounds of it. Instead – and I’m assuming it’s a magic budget airline of some sort – they’re running on wafer-thin margins and shafting their staff, because they want to stay at or close to the bottom of the price range. That’s their choice, and I dearly hope I’m not flying with them in November.

@Mikey – unless your wages have dropped from 22k down to 10k or under then you should still be able to feed yourself. Or rather I seem to manage whilst earn less than that and I managed whilst earning about 12k as well.

If you really think it’s one of the greenest ways to travel then you’re denying rather a large amount of climate science research to the contrary based on, well nothing actually.

Oh and I wasn’t saying stop flying – I was saying that you shouldn’t be flying when you’re not in a fit state to because it puts your life and the lives of others at risk. Why not go to your union about (what I assume) is a breach in your employment conditions (it certainly breaches safety regulations) and get them to work with you to change it for both yourself & others? Why not go work for another company that isn’t so lassiez-faire about the safety of its paying passengers and the welfare of its staff?

This 55% to get rid of the gov before the end of the fixed term is pathetic and a disgrace against democracy. A great example of proportional representation in action from the highly principled Liberal Party.

Why don’t the Condems also introduce some more non-democratic voting mechanisms. How about Labour must have 55% of MP’s in any future parliament to form a government.

When we have the referendum on AV what percentage of the public will have to vote for it in order for it to passed?

i have been in this industry for a while now its not as simple as charging a few extra quid per ticket. passenger fgures drop even more if you do that. putting a pound extra on a seat makes shares drop. passengers fall and go for someone else.
i work for one of europe and the worlds biggest airlines we had continuous growth for 10-15 years before fuel tax, passenger tax etc. my airline is now the strongest financially in europe. so the business model does work. it wins business awards every year. we are suffering really bad at the moment even being the strongest airline financially. i really mean it when i say i cant afford to buy food sometimes. and i am one of the best paid in the business. i really feel for the other airlines.
a million passengers is a massive drop in such a competitive market actually. a huge huge drop. so dont dismiss what i am saying as bollocks i have been doing this years and i am pretty clued up on all ths. i wanted to let people know whats going on and how things are about to go so wrong. if ya wanna just dismiss it all or try being a smart arse then fuck off. anybody wanna ask me any real questions then go ahead. million passengers not an insignificant drop, you must be a complete idiot. any business that loses a millon paying customers over a 2 year period is in trouble

@Mikey – unless your wages have dropped from 22k down to 10k or under then you should still be able to feed yourself.

The voice of echt “left” Liberalism incarnate!

Don’t believe the fraudulent special pleading of these Thatcherite swine, sooner or later they always expose themselves, their core position is that the poor have too much.

kim its not that easy. i have a union and they cant help. i will lose my job if i speak out or refuse flights. moving airlines wont help. i know im moaning a lot but my working conditions are still the best in the industry. dont say much else for the other airlines. my company is too big and the union too weak.
my pay is prob about 16k now. not as low as yours but i am still strugling on that. my taxes rose this year so thats effected it even more.
i wouldnt be in such a mood about all this if it wasnt such a massive issue. not just with me but everyone in the industry.
and my airline is a very green airline. its the greenest of the lot. and our passengers carbon footprint is smaller than if they took the same journey by car. fact…..
sorry for sayin go fuck yourself by the way. bit out of order on my part. but its a massive thing that nobody knows about or is denying. its not fair i have lost so much of my pay for the work i do. it may seem an easy job but i have been in the police and its 100 harder than that. we are police, fire fighters, nurses, waiters, cleaners, all rolled into one. we deserve a lot more respect from the government. (thats all 3 partys)

@Scratch

Care to explain? I’m not saying that 22k is masses of money but it’s hardly the be sniffed at and as someone who has lived off 12k (as recently as 2 years ago might I add) I know that it’s possible and I’m hardly raking it in now. It’s not nice or comfortable but it is do-able just about.

That’s a million customers across all UK airlines, not a million customers per airline, of course. Shared out across the 60-odd airlines that operate in the UK – it’s not insignificant. But neither is it a catastrophic drop.

Imagine running a restaurant where you make a pound on every dish you sell in a night, as long as every table is occupied. You’d go out of business almost immediately. A typical restaurant’s business model will have 1/3 of the price as staff costs, 1/3rd as business costs, and 1/3rd of pure profit – which can be used to reinvest pay bonuses, etc.

Airline fuel in the UK attracts no fuel tax, and no VAT on the fuel, so I don’t know how fuel tax could possibly be a massive hit to the business. That £0/year bill to the taxman really stings, I bet.

Consumers are price-sensitive, like I said. It’s not a concern solely of the aviation industry, and taxes are basically orthogonal to profit in a competitive industry, since taxes affect all airlines more-or-less equally.

Believe it or not, it really is as simple as raising prices. It’s that or operate on margins that are too close for comfort. Losing money per-unit and making it up on volume is a time-honoured tradition, but it’s not really good business sense. the UK broadband industry is a good example of this – you’ve got TalkTalk down at the bottom providing abysmal service for a fiver or so, then the ISP I use up at the top, providing nominally the same kind of service for £35/month. Both of them are profitable – at the moment – but the former is only profitable because it has so many customers, and cuts corners on every service and support item it can.

Race to the bottom really makes me 🙁 sometimes – it’s one of capitalism’s big fails, when taken to extremes by companies jostling for the bottom line.

So in short – I’m sorry the company you work for is operating in a ludicrous space with an unsustainable business model, but that’s not sufficient reason, in my eyes, to avoid imposing justifiable taxes on it.

In 2008, it was calculated that airlines collectively kept £10bn out of the government’s coffers by not paying fuel duty or VAT on fuel – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-airlines-16310bn-government-fuel-subsidy-842770.html – it was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. There’s nothing fundamentally different in the aviation industry, compared to, say, train or taxi or bus companies, to say they should be getting this kind of free ride. If your company can’t cope, it’ll go out of business – that’s the nature of business. Again, serves it right for operating on such a stupid business model.

my wages have dropped about 8k. due to loss of passengers lost cos of massive tax rises (not environment or reccession) studys have proved that. my income tax has increased cos i now pay tax for when i am in the skys or abroad (dont make sense to me) less passengers = less commission.
if u had to take an 8k paycut would you just accept it???? i used to earn the same as a nurse or copper. and i did do a bit more work than a nurse or copper.
now i earn a lot less and work a lot more. can u see why i am pissed off???
i love ths job and i really do think i deserve the same as a fireman, police man or nurse. i do all them jobs rolled into one with more hours.

@mikey

I’m not denying that the airline industry is suffering or that they’re treating their employees like crap. I was actually quite pleased to see the BA workers go strike & stand up to their management over pay & conditions.

In terms of pay (given what you’ve just said) I’m on roughly the same as you now but that’s a change that’s only come about very recently for me. I’d imagine that a dip from 22k to that is quite a culture shock though.

@Scratch

Care to explain? I’m not saying that 22k is masses of money but it’s hardly the be sniffed at and as someone who has lived off 12k (as recently as 2 years ago might I add) I know that it’s possible and I’m hardly raking it in now. It’s not nice or comfortable but it is do-able just about.

A subsistence wage…how C19, just like the last time Liberals held power for any length of time.

I won’t lie to you, I’m more about the Atlee – Wilson era when social mobility and an iota of personal comfort was for the first time in recorded history not only within the grasp of the working class – but could be expected. Even milquetoast “managing capitalism” was a staggering, epochal, unprecedented advance on what was on offer from the preceding (and current) Con-Lib forces of bourgeois reaction.

The echoes of which are far from indistinct in your previous post, unsurprisingly enough.

nick i have already told u your talking out your arse. i am flattered u took the time to google passenger figures etc. a millon passengers spread over all the uk`s airlines is a massive massive drop. 60+ airlines yeah. but most of them are very small with no more than one plane. i do not work in a restraunt and it really is a bad example comparing it with international airlines. they all have very similar business models and did very well right up untill the tax rises. if you have no clue what your talking about dont argue with someone who does.

british airways has a really powerfull union kim. its good they are standing up for themselves but i dont agree with what they are complaining about. they wll bring down british airways with these new strikes. someone said to me they are planning 30 ths year. it will be the end for british airways if thats the case.

@Scratch

Again I don’t see your point – I didn’t say that living off 12k was a good thing or something to be grateful for. I simply said that it was possible because it is possible. End of.

I agree that no one should have to do it because it’s a nightmare in terms of stress, but it happens and probably more so in the arts sector than a lot of other industries. Simply because something is unfair (which I agree with) doesn’t mean that it’s impossible in survival terms. I said that it is possible to feed yourself whilst earning less that 22k, that’s all. I also said that there comes a point I would say once you get to under 12k where that becomes impossible without subsidy of some sort – which is why I would support subsidies for anyone in that situation so that they can afford to feed/clothe/house themselves. So I’m currently unsure how saying you can feed yourself on less than X amount (where X is over the much talked about 20k salary that get bandied about) makes me Thatcherite – I didn’t say that it was right that people have to live of less than that or that they deserve to have their wages cut below that point, just that people earn under that benchmark and still manage to eat.

Although, perhaps you’re just looking to pick a fight because you dislike me?

Mikey – if you have studies, please link to them (and if they’re not public, there’s no point referencing them).

I’ll note that in 2008, BA noted an operating profit of 1bn on a turnover of about 10bn – in 2009, there was an operating loss of 500 million. That can be almost entirely laid at the door of the recession and dropping passenger numbers as a result of that; not due to the government doubling the fuel duty from £0 to £0, and not as a result of them doubling the APD, which doesn’t make a great deal of difference to the final cost of the ticket.

Imagine you were a taxi driver and didn’t have to pay duty on your fuel. You could offer fares at probably 2/3rds the cost of taxis in the real world. But is it fair that the taxi-man can do that while the buses can’t? Again, consumers would kick and scream as the duty was imposed – but there we go. Since it’d affect all taxi drivers mostly equally (the more wasteful will be penalised more), it’s not particularly bad for business as a whole. Some taxi drivers might choose to aborb the tax in their profit margin to become more competitive – they get more customers but operate on a smaller margin, and probably go out of business in the long term.

Total passenger numbers were about 18m; a drop from 19m to 18m is, of course about a 5% drop.

If your business fails because of a 5% drop in customers, then you really are doing it wrong.

Kind of fits with the BA numbers – their operating profits were about 10% of turnover, so lose some passengers, profitability drops.

It’s not too hard to run a business in the good times (and examples with restaurants or taxis as the focus /are/ appropriate. Running a business is more or less the same, regardless of what the business actually does. That’s why you have the domain of /business studies/ – but I digress). Running a business when times are tough is a lot harder – anything running on the edge (like the UK economy, perhaps 😉 ) in the good times is unlikely to survive in the bad.

Although, perhaps you’re just looking to pick a fight because you dislike me?

I don’t dislike you, you’re a breath of less fetid air in the current atmosphere of grotesque poujadist gloating from Liberal/Tory dirt. One notes that vile offence against nature Shirley Williams, for instance, has anointed the thug coalition in all it’s grotesque Thatcherite horror this evening.

At least you appear to give a semblance of a toss about the coming storm of supremacist reaction.

sorry nick i cant give u them studys it will give away who i work for and i will be in deep shit with my boss again lol
but i cant see why u dont trust me on this. why would i lie about it??? the studys were about a year ago, if you want to google it yourself.
ps i dont work for BA, they are suffering more than most. its a lot to do with bad management in that case.
and as regards to fuel tax. the tax has already been paid on it so your paying tax as well as the airline. doubling the tax. its not a fair tax at all. its very damaging to future growth and jobs.
not really sure were your going with the taxi driver thing. the taxi driver pays tax on fuel once, at the pump. airlines pay it at the pump. then the passengers pay on top. hope that explains it a bit.
kim obviously i can afford to eat or i wouldnt be here. its an expression. i am really strugling at the moment with money. i have always been super carefull with money so its not me spending above my means. its me earning just enough to pay the bills and have no money for myself when before all the tax rises i could afford to live rather than just exist. i believe everyone should earn a fair wage for the job they do, and taxes should get higher if you earn a comfortable ammount. i dont and i still had a massive tax rise.
didnt come lookin for a fight just to get my message accros about this because its a big issue. its u and nick who have tried to discredit all i said.

Nice to see that Scratch is continuing to display the proudest traditions of the extreme hard left. Insane rantings, nothing factual, insults abound. I realise this post lacks hard facts, but you only need go read his own posts to see what I mean. Not a shining example for your side guys.

maybe you should run an airline nick. all the airlines over the last 50 years or so seem to have been doing it wrong. 5% drop in passengers is a massive drop and very damaging to an airline. you cant compare it with other business models because its too different.

Mikey – I don’t think you’re lying. I just think you’re wrong.

Operators of cars and buses pay 58p fuel duty per litre of unleaded petrol. They then pay 17.5% VAT on that, and 17.5% VAT on the remainder of the money that is charged by the supplier.

So if it’s £1/litre at the pump (ridiculously optimistic in today’s market), then 58p + 17.5p of that goes to the taxman – the salesman gets about 25p.

When buying fuel for a plane, the fuel duty is 0p. Yes, 0p VAT is 0%.

So the salesman can sell the fuel to the airline for 25p/litre and make exactly the same amount of money on it, per litre, as petrol for cars.

But car operators are 75p/litre out of pocket compared to plane operators.

There is no tax on that fuel. None at all. Not a bit. It’s not paid twice, or once. It’s paid zero times.

The APD is a tax on passengers, not a tax on fuel, and it’s not really a lot of money at all.

If you’re wrong about this simple, well-documented fact, what else are you wrong about? That’s why i’m taking your various assertions with a pinch of salt.

@Scratch

Damn right I give a toss – depending how this goes it could be the major factor in whether I still have a job in 12 months time or not and what happens to my career (presuming I may still be able to have one in my chosen sector) for the next 5 years. So far it looks as though I’ll be pinning my hopes on either moving down to London where the arts may survive or the BBC’s move to Salford. I’m already furious that Jeremy Hunt intends to cut £66 million worth of arts funding when the arts itself makes more money in VAT return to the government that it has spent on it.

Nice to see that Scratch is continuing to display the proudest traditions of the extreme hard left. Insane rantings, nothing factual, insults abound. I realise this post lacks hard facts, but you only need go read his own posts to see what I mean. Not a shining example for your side guys.

Meh.

Come back after the budget and big up your “progressive coalition.”

Maybe you will, one wonders if there’s actually any limit at all to Liberal/Tory chutzpah.

You appear to have a lot of chutzpah yourself, as your arguments seem to be based on the imaginations in your own head, rather than reality. We will indeed see what the budget is like. When it comes, will you be offering your ideas on what else could have been done that doesn’t involve finding the end of a rainbow to pay for it?

And I wouldn’t want to run an airline. For a start, I’m not trained in business studies. Secondly, the barrier to entry is too high. Thirdly, there’s too many operators already – I recall an article a couple of years ago saying that some consolidation was well overdue. It’s not really happened yet, as far as I can see.

I wouldn’t want to be starting up a new ISP in the UK market today either – it’s just another example of a saturated space. Healthier than the airline market, though, since there are several different business modelsl hanging about. If every company in the space uses the same business model, it’s bound to get cramped.

Kim.

The arts in London are already a sinecure for Nathan Barleyites (and, to be fair, relics from the golden age of social mobility.) I used to run a design studio down there, I’ve dealt with them.

Best of luck, genuinely, but even in before the crash it would have been a bastard of a long shot. I’m not sure it’s possible without monumental parental backing/serious connections.

#124

That still doesn’t help matters. Unless I’ve missed something big, and it’s possible but I can’t fathom what, under our present system there is effectively no difference between a dissolution motion and a no confidence motion, because either a no confidence motion, or a government losing a succession of votes, effectively triggers dissolution. On each occasion 50% majorities would apply. Now the separate concept of a dissolution motion is being mooted, which would require 55%. I think I would rather keep what we already have than go to fixed parliaments with a higher threshold for dissolution. Fixed parliaments aren’t a priority for me anyway – I’ll trust the country to decide whether a prime minister is being undemocratic in calling an election for party advantage – but this move to institute a 55% threshold does seem undemocratic and a spurious claim that there’s a technical difference between a no confidence motion and a dissolution motion when there’s no cultural difference between the two does not change that.

might be worth moving to london kim. the torys generally let the rest of the country rot. good luck to you, me and the rest of us its going to be a tough few years for the majority of the UK.
nick ur going to use up all your google credits looking up everythin i say. i know for a fact we pay tax on fuel. i sign off the sheets sometimes. it says tax included on it. then the passengers pay tax as well. its a stealth tax. google it haha
the likes of shell who supplys our fuel sont pay tax on it. we pay them when we fill up.

nick it was a joke. dont really start an airline lol

no need to go chasing rainbows. just tax the the super rich. so the rest of us can enjoy a more comfortable reccession

@Scratch

There is a lot to be said for the parental backing argument, unfortunately – I’m hoping that as my current experience lies more in the arts admin side of things there may still be a life raft to cling to. We shall see.

Also whilst I agree that the arts in London isn’t well paid (far from it when you take into account the increased living costs of being in London and the amount of work people do for a living) it’s still got more chance of surviving that the arts in the Northern provinces where I am at the moment. I imagine that a lot of the new emerging talent may end up buggering off to Denmark and other European countries where they at least pay you something to via the state to stop you starving to death.

We will indeed see what the budget is like. When it comes, will you be offering your ideas on what else could have been done that doesn’t involve finding the end of a rainbow to pay for it?

No. I’ll be too busy trying to survive the avoidable Hayekite idiocy unleashed upon me and everyone else by Clegg and chums.

But, since we’re in the calm before the storm and I’m at a loose end…I’d print money and supertax extant capital gains, I feel certain genuine, non Tory Liberal Mr Keynes would approve.

*sigh*

http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=589&pagetype=90&pageid=2449

I think we can all agree the civil aviation authority knows what they’re talking about.

APD – passenger tax
Passenger service charge – goes to the airport.
Insurance – goes to the insurance company
Fuel surcharge – goes to the fuel company. This isn’t tax, it’s the airline’s way of seeing how increased fuel charges have hurt them, and an attempt to pass it onto the customer in some cases.
Everything else – odds and sods that go to other other airports or governments.

This outcome isn’t the fault of the Lib Dems or their supporters; in the end the Lib Dems only ended up with the choice of Labour or Tory as coalition partners because of the hung parliament result of the election and they never stated that they would only go with Labour if that were to happen.

Yes it is. It is the result of the decision they made. They were not obliged to go into coalition with anyone. This is the view that the Scottish Liberal Democrats rightly took when the SNP came first in the Holyrood election. The SNP are still in government and have passed budgets. But they haven’t been able to get any partisan or controversial legislation through and Salmond, gratifyingly, is regularly confronted with the fact that while he claims to speak for the nation, the nation simply hasn’t given him and his party the votes needed. This could have been the fate of the Conservatives. Instead we have this Blue-Yellow love-in. Are you trying to tell us it doesn’t make you a little queasy? If not, you can add this to the long list of matters on which you are in a minority.

I never said that the Richard Curtis-esque lovey dovey press conference didn’t make me feel queasy. I said that Labour supporters choosing to throw stones at those people who are leftward leaning isn’t helpful. I strongly disliked the tone of the press conference yesterday, but then any kind of smarmy git like behaviour has that effect on me hence why I despised Blair.

Oh and just to reiterate, no minority government wasn’t an option because the Tories very publically & repeatedly ruled it out. I’m pretty damn sure that makes it not an option.

“Oh and just to reiterate, no minority government wasn’t an option because the Tories very publically & repeatedly ruled it out. I’m pretty damn sure that makes it not an option.

I must have blinked when they did so “very publicly & repeatedly”. But even so, let’s say they did say it, it’s because from the first second someone else declared “very publicly & repeatedly” that they were very keen on forming a coalition. The LibDems announced their availability (of course subject to talks within, literally, hours.

The Tories would have formed a minority government. Many influencial Tory figures (as well as the Tory press) were actively pressing in this direction. I think too many people here are naively dismissing it upfront, which is puzzling (as well as a bit worrying, like trying to justify themeselves).

People here have been (and rigthly so, please dont get me wrong) slating former MPs like Blunkett and Reid and backbenchers like Dianne Abbott for rubbishing the idea of the so-called “progressive alliance”, but it’s telling how people like you, Kim, have turned a blind eye to the similarly critical voices that were coming from the right regarding a Lib/Con coalition (Norman Tebbit, John Redwood, the Telgraph, the Daily Mail, the entire Cornerstone Group).

In the case of Labour, with such tight numbers in any possible coalition, there was a big difference in the MPs coming out on either side against a coalition. ENough came out on labours side to scupper any chances of one. The numbers barely added up even with all the minor parties, and Labour scuppered any chance all throughout Tuesday. When I heard about how Labour had been negotiating, refusing to concede anything on ID cards, renewable energy, the third runway, and more, and then they came out lying about the lib dem team demanding stuff in reverse of our policy!

So yeah, I don’t really trust Labour right about now. Anyone who thinks another election in the next year would have gone worse for the tories is tricking themselves.

166

Yes and no. In the end it was the LD’s decision to make, so they have to take responsibility for that – but in my view (and that of many others) the failure to reach a deal with the Labour party is MUCH more to do with the unacceptable face of Labour vis Blunkett/Reid/Abbott etc.

I agree that Cleggs best move, failing a sane Labour party involvement, would have been to leave the Tories to their fate. time will tell if he’s dealt his own party a death blow: frankly I don’t even care that much if he has, as long as we get a reformed voting system out of this whole debacle.

@claude – 168

I haven’t been turning a blind eye – no one has asked me my thoughts on that side of it yet and it didn’t fit with the overall message of my original post, hence why I didn’t include it in there.

I am well aware that Tebbit & co opposed the idea very loudly and it’s hardly surprising they did given their own views that are bluer than blue as far as Conservative views go. That still doesn’t detract from the fact that several things were said by Cameron & his lap-dog Osborne on the BBC news (both online, on the on-going live TV coverage and on BBC Radio 4) about the fact that they weren’t prepared to entertain the minority government option.

As for whether that was said because of the stance the Lib Dems had take about coalitions – that’s certainly possible, but then again there were hints towards the idea before the results even came in.

Just one interesting point, now I seem to have gotten away from beating down the poor airline industry.

http://libdems.org.uk/siteFiles/resources/PDF/mypersonalguarantee.pdf

#>>>
“This is my personal guarantee that I will use all the support you give me on Thursday to deliver fairness in Britain.

“We need a fairer tax system. I will use your votes to cut taxes for those at the bottom and in the middle and close the loopholes for those at the top.

“We need to support our children. I will use your votes to ensure extra funding for schools, to cut class sizes and give all children a fair chance.

“We need to clean up politics. I will use your votes to reform Parliament, to deliver a fairer voting system, protect your freedoms and give you the right to sack corrupt MPs.

“We need a new economy. I will use your vote to split up the banks, get them lending again, invest in green infrastructure and so create jobs.

“This election campaign has shown us that millions of people want us to do something different this time.

“Politicians should work together to solve the nation’s biggest problems.

“That is why, whatever the outcome on Thursday, I believe we should be prepared to work together to fix the terrible state of our public finances and ensure economic stability.

“These are the key steps to a new, fairer Britain. Give me the power of your vote and we can make it happen.
#<<<

Which of those pledges is this coalition government committed to? Wait, all of them?! Seriously? Wow.

Whether all of them get implemented, only time will tell – but that's no different to any other government. In 5 years time, if half of those pledges remain unbroken, I'll be calling Nick Clegg a huge success and hoping for his party to get a greater share of the popular vote, and many more seats.

I guess we'll see how it goes.

Interestingly, the official full government list has Steve Webb down as one of the 2 ministers of state in the DWP.

For the rest of the full list, see here: http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/latest-news/2010/05/her-majestys-government-49840

174. Graham Smith

As I said at Wednesday’s Compass meeting – the blame is with Labour for pursuing right wing, reactionary and authoritarian politics. After 13 years of Blair, Blunkett, Clarke et al it’s a bit rich to hear Labour supporters moaning that the Lib Dems should have sided with them as part of some fantasy “progressive” alliance. I’d much prefer a Lib/Lab coalition, but with real Labour, not New Labour.

@Graham Smith -173

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

176. Galen10

173 & 174

It wasn’t (and isn’t) Labour saying this surely? Nu Labour from what I have seen and heard aren’t moaning about about the LD’s.. they actively worked against a rainbow coalition. Some of that may have been “realpolitik”, and actually thinking it wasn’t practical, but I think it was more Nu Labour control freakery, sticking one to the LD’s, and the (slightly deranged) view they will be able to win next time.

I hope Nu Labour is dead too, but have no appetite for Old Labour either. We’ll have to see what the re-invented Labour party turns out like, and whether it is interested in (and worthy of?) a place in a progressive future.

177. Nick Cohen is a Tory

Kim
Foreign policy
What about hague’s speech on Iran.
What will you do when
1. Iran is attacked
2. Israel attacks Gaza
Hague, Gove and Cameron are neo cons.
Remember Camerons best buddy is Daniel Johnson, editor of the neo con house magazine Standpoint.
One of the reasons Labour lost was the division over foreign policy.
Will this be the major stumbling block for the coalition.
Talking of Standpint
I note they had a party at Johnsons celebrating the Tory victory.
Many of the good and true toastng champers.
Nick Cohen, Mel phillips, Boris, Martin Bright, Ian Hislop all toasting the new regime.
Happy times

@Nick Cohen

Firstly, Israel has been on the verge of attacking Gaza for centuries, so I’d say it’s a bit rich to pin any blame for that on the current administration unless they actively choose to send troops in to help with it (which I doubt they will unless they’re all completely stupid) and I also note that Labour didn’t actually do that much in terms of reprimanding Israel for it’s activities in Gaza either.

As for the Iran issue & larger issue of war in general – I’d oppose it. Not because of any political allegiances to anyone, but because I’m a pacifist so to me war is unacceptable for any reason. Besides which using potential wars as a way to either make me appear to be Tory or renounce my sins (as it were) and join the Labour camp is a bit of a weak trick given the number of people who protested the Iraq war and have still remained Labour voters/supporters despite the fact that the Labour administration ignored them and were reluctant to having their actions over Iraq independently investigated.

@178 – that should say decades, not centuries by the way!

180. Nick Cohen is a Tory

Kim
I wasn’t calling you and Clegg, Tories, far from it.

My point was that there is going to be a major difference between yourselves and the neo con Tories.
My question is how is your party going to act if the neo cons in the government, they are the majority in this cabinet , say back up action against Iran (say air strikes) or Israel invades Lebanon or attacks Gaza.

I am not defending Labour’s position,

Also I getting a little tired of lib dems attacking anyone who says the coalition has fundamental problems as either extreme left or right.
I agree for the lib dems it was the sensible way to go but stop been so super sensitive

not sure i totally agree with the iran thing there kim. i am very against war as well. i protested against the iraq war and sent a petition round my school at the time 🙂
but i think iran is a bit different. more nuclear weapons in the middle east??? isreal shouldnt have them in my opinion either, but they do so no point moaning about it now. letting iran have them as a deterent would be a huge mistake given the potential strength of its army already. i would support air strikes against nuclear facilitys in iran only. any kind of invasion or ground assult is not justified in my eyes.
would love a debate on this if anyone wants to join in. not a big expert on this so would be great to hear a bit more and different opinions


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Rosemary Terrace

    RT @libcon Open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14 /// tho it reminds me of this: http://xkcd.com/357

  2. Bea

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/aIdm4n

  3. Michael Harrison

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  4. Molly Moggs

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  5. Alex Lambert

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  6. LiberalLabour

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  7. Holly Combe

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  8. Steve Evans

    Great article on liberal conspiracy, sums up my current position better than I've been able to lately: http://bit.ly/cufmZl

  9. jimbobthomas

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  10. Chris Casey

    Open letter to labour from a leftie libdem http://bit.ly/cufmZl <<–seems like sensible thinking to me

  11. Pete Lewis

    Excellent discussion in the comments here about coalition etc: http://bit.ly/buzvaz #condem

  12. Richard King

    Open letter to Labour supporters from a lefty lib-dem. http://bit.ly/aF9hco (FAO @Jack_Scott)

  13. Erica Packington

    RT @graphiclunarkid: Open letter to Labour supporters from a lefty lib-dem. http://bit.ly/aF9hco (FAO @Jack_Scott)

  14. H K LIVINGSTON

    LibDem letter to Labour http://bit.ly/9QQE14 GIST: "Don't hate me. I still share your hatred of 'our common enemy'!" TRIBALISM. Grow up.

  15. Luke Bosman

    An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14 /via @libcon

  16. Jack Scott

    RT @graphiclunarkid:Letter2Lab supportrs frm lefty lib-dem http://bit.ly/aF9hco (FAO @Jack_Scott)<~interesting article-deserves proper reply

  17. Liberal Conspiracy

    An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  18. David Clark

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  19. Kim Lofthouse

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  20. Marcus Kernohan

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  21. Thomas Oliver

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  22. Jaimé Molloy

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  23. czol

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  24. sunny hundal

    An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  25. Don Paskini

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  26. Andrew Parrington

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  27. Ed Gerstner

    Couldn't have said it better. RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  28. Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem -- Topsy.com

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  29. Mike

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  30. Nicola

    RT @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  31. Gareth Winchester

    RT @libcon An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/cMuZoa

  32. Sam Chong

    RT @libcon An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  33. Sean Court

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  34. Chris Paul

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  35. Anna Martin

    RT @libcon An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  36. Marjory Smith

    RT @sunny_hundal: An excellent open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem (@lorelei_) – http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  37. Ronnie Brown

    An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem – http://bit.ly/czZBdb – my sentiments, exactly.

  38. Wayne O'Dell

    An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14 /via @libcon <= very interesting letter

  39. Niall Millar

    RT: @libcon: An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://bit.ly/9QQE14

  40. James Robson

    RT @graphiclunarkid Open letter to Labour supporters from a lefty lib-dem. http://bit.ly/aF9hco

  41. Frances Dillon

    RT @libcon Open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem http://j.mp/9KNRAp

  42. SOCIALIST UNITY » SUNNY'S LETTER

    […] All well and good, but among those names is the blogger Sunny Hundal, who recommended voting Tory as recently as 2008. Who recommended a vote for the Liberal Party in the 6th May poll this year, and has since defended the Lib Dem decision to enter a coalition with the Tories (see comments in this thread). […]

  43. sunny hundal

    @hangbitch thanks Kate, but we published something like this already: http://bit.ly/9QQE14





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