Not Very Liberal 129

I received – along with other party members – a rather stalinist email from someone called Baroness Scott, President of the Liberal Democrats. Somebody should explain to her the meaning of each of the words in the party title, because her email said this:

We have all worked hard and for that I thank you – my travels around the country showed me just how much everyone has put in. We have achieved this not only due to that effort, but also by sticking to our fairness message. In order for us to maximise our chances of delivering our fairness agenda we now have to keep this discipline up, avoiding speculation as to what happens next.

Baroness Ros Scott

President of the Liberal Democrats.

By “speculation” she evidently means open and democratic discussion of what the party should no next. We can’t have that, can we Ros? All those people whose hard work you applaud are just meant to put the highheidyins in power. They are not supposed to have opinions on what is done with that power, or if they do they should keep them quiet.

“Discipline”, eh? Not a word culled from the Liberal lexicon, really.

One of the more depressing moments of the election for me was when that rather nice independent doctor from Kidderminster was replaced by – a Tory hedge fund manager. A representative of the most socially useful of professions replaced by a member of a profession which is parasitic and socially damaging. It seemed to sum things up, somehow.

There is a fundamental ideological divide between liberals and conservatives. That is part of the weft of British history. I can see no firm grounds for a joint government with the nasty party, or what John Stuart Mill dubbed the stupid party. I have seen no evidence so far that Cameron has offered any compromise on any policy with which the Conservatives were not essentially in agreement anyway, while insisting that the Lib Dems go along with Tory policy on matters like Trident and immigration.

Pace Ros Scott, there is no point in pretending that the Lib Dems do not have their own internal divisions. The truth is that Nick Clegg is personally less removed from the Tories than a great many Lib Dems, while the militarist wing headed by Paddy and bomber Ming will see advantages in a coalition with the Tories in overcoming internal opposition to the neo-imperial agenda.

I am not any more enamoured of a coalition with New Labour. Apart ftom Gove and a few others, most of the Conservatives are traditional conservatives, whereas Blair created New Labour as neo-conservative, which is altogether more objectionable. I view the New Labour leadership as war criminals tainted by torture. Let them rot.

A electoral reform referendum offered to the people by New Labour might well be lost just because of New Labour’s unpopularity. That would set back electoral reform for another 30 years.

The Lib Dems are not obliged to enter a coalition with anyone. Let us stay in opposition. Cameron can form a minority gvernment with DUP support. I still expect he can find a Sean Woodward or two to cross the follor for the sake of office. There are enough unprinicpled careerists in New Labour. Let Cameron stumble on for a couple of years, then let us reap the benefit when he falls. If the Lib Dems enter any coalition, they will face electoral disaster next time.

Amusingly, Sky News just interviewed someone in LibDem offices in Cheltenham who said “I am not going pontificating about what Nick Clegg should do. That’s up to the party leadership”. Ros Scott should be happy that someone reads her emails and is terrifically disciplined.

I had never come across Eric Lubbock’s blog, which is peculiar. Eric is a real Liberal, and wonderful campaigner on human rights and development issues worldwide.


Having just seen a papers review on TV, it is striking that precisely those newspaper groups which launched the most furious and concerted election attack on the Lib Dems, are now urging that they join the Tories in government. That in itself should signal that it is a very bad idea for the Lib Dems.

129 thoughts on “Not Very Liberal

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  • jungle

    I don’t often disagree with Craig’s posts, but personally I would take pretty much any deal likely to lead to real electoral reform – Tory or Labour. I can’t see how that could be possible without agreeing to join some sort of coalition. Neither will there be another chance to have this position of leverage for a generation. Once this moment has passed, getting electoral reform will be impossible again (without a mass insurrection, anyway!).

    Looking at the long game, getting reform is more important than how long any coalition lasts, what its policies are, or even the result of the first election under the new system.

    It’s also worth pointing out that while joining a coalition is likely to result in the Lib Dems being blamed by the electorate for its instability and nasty policies – that doesn’t mean the Lib Dems won’t also be blamed for the instability and nasty policies resulting from *not* joining a coalition. Just see what Liam Fox is already saying for more details.

  • Anonymous

    The top 10% have over twice the amount of wealth needed to pay off the debt. They caused it they should pay for it.

  • ScouseBilly

    the_leander at May 9, 2010 11:04 AM

    I used to think that about captainsherlock’s missives too.

    However, unlike many in the blogosphere, his work does “join up” if you stick with it. I thought I’d post this taster for anyone interested. I know Craig takes an interest in the Dr Kelly affair and thought I’d drop it in here. I guess if Craig shares your view, he’ll remove it.

    FWIW the captain believes all our political leaders are “compromised” and will do as they are told. He has some interesting stuff on the “magic circle” of law firms role in our politics. Don’t forget Mrs Clegg has a senior position at DLA Piper one of said magic circle.

  • Craig

    jungle –

    a coalition with the Tories which uncluded real electoral eform would be a different thing – but I don’t think there is any chance of that. Some fob-off proposal perhaps.

    I accept that once we have PR coalition will become the norm – but that is a different situation. Under FPTP coalition is political suicide.

  • the_leander

    “However, unlike many in the blogosphere, his work does “join up” if you stick with it.”

    No, it really doesn’t. Unless he backs up his points, it is nothing more then groundless speculation that seems to have long crossed the border into moonbattery.

    Like I said: Citation needed.

  • ingo

    Any referendum,presuming the negotiators be stern enough to stand up to the large parties and recognise their current power, that does not include STV as an electoral reform option, is akin to a 10″ blade in the back.

    To impose a new electoral system, despite the political ineptness of the public on this issue, rigging and intimidation of voters choice, not to talk about outright corrupt practises, endured and fostered by the electoral commission in this country, is balatantly untennable.

    Whats fathomable by the Irish and Scots should also be a choice for us, otherwise they might as well stop talking now.

    I have conducted and helped in my last election, my body is reeling from stress and too much adrenalin, something I do not wish on anyone.

    My best regards to Craigs wedding anniversarry and happy belated birthday to Cameron.

  • ScouseBilly

    the_leander at May 9, 2010 11:23 AM

    You are free to think what you like.

    Craig at May 9, 2010 11:20 AM

    Three times in the past, Labour have “promised” electoral reform to the Liberals/Lib-Dems and failed to deliver.

    Unless the Tories make a substantive concession, I agree a coalition would be suicidal (at least for the Lib-Dems). However, would a Lib-Lab coaltion really work, after 3 false promises, with a fractional and fractious majority including others and above all dropping it’s moral high ground viz a viz Iraq?

  • Ingo

    Reading mary’s account of Greek austerity measures, another has to be flagged up, i.e. the pensianble age is far lower there thananywhere else in Europe, I believe it is 57, something that should be aligned with other countries.

    Scousebilly’s account does not mention the brilliant UN negotiator, Brazilian diplomat Jose Maria Bustani, fired some weeks before the attak on Iraq, a man who was just about to sign up Saddam to the chemical weapons treaty.

    This in stark contrast to the 600 million loan to saddam by the allies supporting his Iran Iraq war, some 48 hours after he dropped mustard gas in Halabja gassing hundreds of Kurdish people, an episode that must be remembered and seen in the same context as Dr. kelly’s death.

    There was a sytematic erradication of positive consent seeking, and a drive to cover up black ops, whilst seeking to perpetuate a war on terror by conspiratorial means.

  • The Judge

    Worth pointing out that the reason Dr Taylor lost in Wyre Forest was because the LDs were stupid/venal enough to field a candidate against him. A bit much when you consider that Taylor mostly voted with LD in the Commons.

    Tory majority: 2643

    LD vote: 6040.

  • Anonymous

    “There is a fundamental ideological divide between liberals and conservatives.”

    but why did you ever believe that clegg was ‘different’.

    he came about because regime change , as with the tories , required war mongers and neo con apologists. the media facilitated this regime change.

    the city and media with vested interests know in this respect there is no change regardless of prime minister..

    but lets not forget … all this is because of ‘serving the national interest’ … ‘the city’ … ‘the economy’ .. ‘to bring about change’ ..

    does clegg really think that the libs have anything to gain whilst he sells out on behalf of the war party ..

  • lwtc247

    The Tories will collapse a coalition govt BEFORE sealing any law bringing in PR. PR is NOT in their interests. Isn’t that a near cerr? Why on earth would the Tories do something that would forever limit their power. If Clegg is being told the by Tories they will, I am convinced they are would be lying. Druggie Dave will watch the polls like a Hawk. The house of cards will fall when he gets what he things is a substantial lead. Leo put it well…

    Leo (7:43) made a good point too which nobody(?) has picked up on…

    /Wouldn’t this kind of “working with the enemy” thing be the norm if we actually got PR?/

    And how exactly will PR stop the wars? Doesn’t anyone frigging care?

    Believing the Tories can be coaxed into a long and sincere process of actually _producing_ PR, is a fantasy noir. I imagine even ‘going through the motions of having a commission to ‘look at the issues of PR’ would be costly exercise, something a Tory chancellor would eagerly stick his cutting dagger into.

  • wendy

    “This is what the Greeks are facing. Coming our way soon?”

    except the the uk is potentially ground zero for the financial meltdown, it being the major financial center of the world.

    we have yet to witness the true scale of the fraudulent ponzi schemes the city has involved itself in, the true scale is not even in the 100’s of billions ..

    just remember the ripa and terrorism laws were not a matter of chance – just as the housing /credit bubble wasnt.

  • mrjohn

    Just saw Michael Heseltine on the telly discussing the horse trading and he made the valid point that electoral reform was not a big issue this election. If the voters had wanted it they would have voted liberal. They didn’t.

    The liberals are going to have to make a stronger argument for PR. Right now the only reason they appear to want it is to get more seats.

    If the liberals had a majority would they still argue for it ? Judging by the email above I think not.

  • Anonymous

    Blair and co were sent to infiltrate the labour party, mission accomplished.

    Clegg and co were sent to infiltrate the libs, mission about to be accomplished.

  • Anonymous

    “the true scale is not even in the 100’s of billions”

    What if I were to tell you that the 500 trillion is the amount of bad debt that is currently floating around the world economy at the moment and that this is what is panicking the financial world?

  • technicolour

    @ Chris Marsden: any links for the overthrow of Evan Harris? (good bloke, shame)

    @ Ingo; sorry, hope you’re recovering; what was that about Jack Straw running Clegg’s leadership campaign, again?

  • Charles Crawford


    Come off it. You as ever epitomise the ideal being the mortal enemy of the sensible.

    If you had your way and there was a change to the voting system to bring in more ‘proportionality’, we’d end up with exactly what we have now, ie Lib Dems and Conservatives busy haggling over who gets what job.

    OK, the relative weights of what the two parties brought to the table would be different, but the substantive outcome in policy terms might well be little different.

    So if Lib Dems are not prepared to take responsibility now and ‘leave opposition’, what is the point of them?

    Elsewhere in Europe there tend to be coalitions between parties. In the UK there are coalitions within parties. It looks as if many Lib Dem voters might default to Labour if a Tory/Lib Dem deal emerges. Good. A heavy internal Lib Dem split will clear the way to a clearer two-party situation being restored in due course.


  • Craig


    no, it is much more practical than that. The Tories will not offer PR, and under the FTPT system the Liberals will get hugely punished for a coalition at the next election. Once PR is established, yes coalition will be the norm and more politically survivable.

  • technicolour

    But Charles, you are clearly supporting the Conservatives, on your interesting ‘blogoir’, so this attitude is hardly surprising.

    As for your comments about an ‘opposition’, you may indeed have forgotten the point of having one, but that’s possibly because the Conservatives have entirely failed to provide one. The outcomes for Iraq, if the Lib Dems had held power, or had even formed the main opposition, would certainly have been ‘substantive’; don’t you think?

  • Anonymous

    No wonder Crawford doesn’t want PR, he is so far up the backside of the tory party he could not survive in a non methane environment.

  • MJ

    “What if I were to tell you that the 500 trillion is the amount of bad debt that is currently floating around the world economy at the moment”

    I would tell you that that is much more than the total amount of ‘real’ money in circulation. Yet the taxpayer is supposed to pay off these notional debts with real money. It’s called theft. Notional debts should be settled with notional money.

  • Anonymous

    ‘I would tell you that that is much more than the total amount of ‘real’ money in circulation.’

    That was my point.

  • Richard Robinson

    “I would tell you that that is much more than the total amount of ‘real’ money in circulation.”

    That was one of the main points I took from R4’s election coverage – Peston coming in every now and then, telling us that the only important point was to come up with something that wouldn’t cause “the markets” to “take fright”, because they can bring about the end of the world any time we don’t play ball.

    We can arrange the deckchairs however we like, just so long as we give the iceberg whatever it wants. How is it not going to be an even bigger iceberg next time we come this way ?

  • Abe Rene

    This is the second election I’ve voted Lib Dem, and like the last time it was largely a protest against New Labour, though this time I also felt that the Lib Dems could exert a good and tempering influence.

    But the country needs a stable government, and if the Lib Dems don’t succeed in doing a deal with the Tories and we have another election, whether in 6 weeks or 6 months, I may well vote Tory. If many people think like me, the Lib Dems could be decimated and any chance of sharing power or electoral reform gone for the foreseeable future. That prospect doesn’t bother me, since I’m against PR anyway.

  • Anonymous

    How come the poor are getting poorer.

    Does that answer your question?

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