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Recent Elections2010 Articles



Why Labour shouldn’t leave behind “the modern left”

by Don Paskini     October 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

Anthony Painter, writing on LabourList about the Occupy movements, argues that:

It’s time to leave behind the 1% who want to spend their Saturday afternoons in protest after protest, direct action after action, while the right continue to do their worst to our economy and society…

More than anything else the problem with the modern left is that we’ve become very presumptive about what the 99% want. We are very good at nominating ourselves as their moral spokespeople. We know what people really want even if they don’t yet themselves.

Here’s why I don’t think it’s time to leave behind this 1%.
continue reading… »

Should Libdems propose a ‘two-tier manifesto’ at elections?

by Robert Sharp     November 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm

All this chat about how the Libdems have broken their manifesto promises leaves me a little cold. Or rather, in the modern parlance, “a bit meh”.

I think my failure to become outraged or agitated stems from a sense that the Liberal Democrats have fallen into a semantic trap. ‘Manifesto commitments’ are things that you promise to enact when you have Power to do so in Government.

But the situation that the Lib Dems find themselves in does not seem to fulfill the sufficient and neccessary conditions to merit such a description.
continue reading… »

Woolas: Judical Review Rejected

by Unity     November 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm

In the last half and hour or so, BBC News have reported that Phil Woolas has failed in first attempt to overturn the ruling of the election court, which bars hims from holding any elected public office for the next three years.

Woolas went to the High Court, this morning, to ask for a judicial review of the election  court’s decision, a move rejected by the court, which told him to take his case to appeal.

It’s not entirely clear, as yet, why and on what precise grounds Woolas sought a judicial review at this point in time.

Update 1 – 2:47pm:
While the application was rejected on technical grounds. various people on Twitter are saying that Woolas is seeking an oral hearing to renew his Judicial Review application. We’ll keep updating as we hear more.

Update 2 – 3:10pm There will be no new election until after judicial review application by Woolas is considered, says Speaker John Bercow.

Update 3 – 3:15pm Polly Curtis at the Guardian says it’s likely to go to the Court of Appeal.

Why I am voting for David Miliband

by Don Paskini     September 3, 2010 at 8:30 am

I think it is an enormously encouraging sign that the so-called “heir to Blair”, “continuity New Labour” candidate for the Labour leadership believes in:

– an economic strategy which aims to halve unemployment
– a living wage
– doubling the bank levy
– a mansion tax on the wealthiest homeowners to reverse housing benefit cuts
– withdrawing charitable status from private schools to pay for an expansion of free school meals
– defending universal benefits
– marriage equality for same sex couples
– a comprehensive strategy to rid the world of nuclear weapons
– training 1,000 future leaders to campaign in their communities
– building more affordable homes and creating more green jobs as part of an industrial strategy to reduce Britain’s dependency on the City of London continue reading… »

What do those five days tell us about the Coalition?

by Guest     July 30, 2010 at 8:50 am

contribution by Phil BC

Nick Robinson’s Five Days That Changed Britain yesterday evening was not the revelation-fest BBC trailers led us to believe.

I was almost knocked out my chair to discover Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown “didn’t get on”. My jaw hit the floor when it was revealed David Cameron thought Clegg was someone he could do business with. Okay, I’m being a bit facetious. But I did come away with the impression the real story of the post-election negotiations between Labour, the Tories and LibDems is yet to be told.

For the LibDems, ultimately a deal with Labour couldn’t be done because of Gordon: the real reason, it turned out, had more to do with Clegg’s volte-face over spending cuts. The official ConDem narrative claims the LibDems changed their minds once they saw the books.
continue reading… »

Here comes that Digital Election we have been waiting for

by Robert Sharp     June 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Last week, Anthony Painter launched a Digital Election Analysis he wrote for Orange.

A key conclusion was the that the eager awaited ‘Digital Election’ we had all been expecting (after the fantastic Obama ’08 campaign) simply failed to materialise, and it was TV wot hung it.

My thoughts on the events were blogged elsewhere.

However, since Sunny has just posted his provisonal Blog Nation programme, I will offer a quick addendum to my earlier thoughts here, which is simply that it is the Labour Leadership Election which will prove to be the Digital Election we have all been waiting for.
continue reading… »

Is this why the Libdem election vote didn’t hold up?

by Guest     May 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm

contribution by Renard Sexton

There’s one point about the recent election that has not been discussed about. And that is whether there was a “loud but flakey Lid Dem” effect at play, similar to the “shy Tory” problem of the 1990s.

As put by Nate Silver at 538 earlier this week, this “may not be the pollsters’ fault if voters changed or made up their mind while casting their ballots, as sometimes happens for third parties whose viability is questionable” (emphasis his).

We now have at least partial answers to these questions, which conspired to precipitate an election result where instead of seeing a long-awaited Lib Dem breakthrough we saw a rather demoralising Lib Dem meltdown.

To begin with, the Liberal Democrats pulled 23.6 percent of the national vote, a mere 1.5 point increase over their 22.1 percent share from 2005. As we have learned from our projections, however, if those 450 thousand voters (1.5 percent of the total 2010 electorate) were gained in the right seats, they could flip perhaps 5 to 10 seats to the Liberals.
continue reading… »

An open letter to Labour supporters, from a leftie Libdem

by Guest     May 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

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.

Life imitates art

by Unity     May 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Just a little pictorial commentary for a dull Wednesday evening…

We are now officially the voice of opposition

by Sunny Hundal     May 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm

The Saturday morning after the election I was briefly interviewed by Vanessa Feltz of BBC London and I said Nick Clegg was in a ‘lose-lose situation’ because he was going to be pilloried for whatever coalition decision he took. She laughed at me and said that surely he should be happy as kingmaker.

I don’t claim to understand Libdems that well, but there are an awful number of bad assumptions being made.

1. For a start, while I don’t doubt that Labour memberships will jump up quite a bit, it’s rather naive to assume that Libdems will embrace the Labour party in anti-Tory anger without requiring an actual change in policy (on ID cards, civil liberties, constitutional reform etc).

I suspect a lot of left leaning Libdems will wait and see, after being told by the likes of Simon Hughes and others that they simply could not go into a deal with Labour because of the maths and lack of incentives. A lot of Liberals hate the Tories but not as much as lefties and Labourites do. So they have to be wooed rather than taken for granted.

2. The number of concessions Cameron has offered the Libdems are, it seems, quite a lot. And more keep tumbling out. In fact I suspect even many Libdems are quite surprised how much ground Cameron was willing to cede to them. This will also keep them on side because, as I said last night, if the coalition fails then both parties will be punished brutally at polls.

3. But that said, Libdems are in for a long ride of disappointments. Sooner or later the Heffers and the Tebbits (now channelled via Tim Mongtomerie) will exact their pound of flesh. The Cameroons may claim to be liberal Conservatives but they still have a base that is solidly conservative.

And the right-wing base of the Conservatives is also far more organised and powerful than the left-wing base of New Labour ever was. Which means that by five years time, either the Libdems will desperate to get out or will have mostly been absorbed and forever tied to their new allies.

4. And so I’ll reiterate the point I made last night and explain why this is now the official voice of the opposition: the only way to expand the Left tent is to offer a home to those Liberals who will not want anything to do with the Con-Lib coalition.

Labourites would be foolish to assume that the UK will keep a massive anti-Tory majority, especially since Cameron will try his hardest now to remain centrist and keep Libdem voters on side. He never really liked hard-right ideologues like Norman Tebbit and Simon Heffer anyway, and now he can successfully use the Libdems as his shield and a prop for power. The right-wing base has nowhere else to go.

5. In the face of a centrist Tory-Liberal coalition, the worst mistake the Labour party could make, and the Left could make, is to go really left-wing and start appealing only to the tribalist Labourites. I’m afraid, at this point, that constituency isn’t big enough for power.

What is needed now is a self-assured centre-left opposition that has the narrative to offer an alternative vision while also being able to peel off disgruntled Libdem voters.

6. And lastly, I see that various Labourites can’t help but vent their rage by making sarcastic remarks like: ‘yeah, what are you people who advocated a coalition with Libdems saying now, fools?‘ I refer them to this article. Since senior Labourites didn’t want to try harder to build that coalition, there’s no point blaming those who advocated it in the first place.


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