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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  • Nick Clegg

    I will take the party to the right and you will obey!!!!

    The LD will become the left wing of the conservatives, and you will follow.

  • MJ

    “How come the rich are getting richer?”

    Because their profits belong to them but their debts belong to us.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Because their profits belong to them’

    Because our profits belong to them.

    Does the word ‘Privatisation’ mean anything to you?

  • eddie

    Time for your to leave the Libs Craig. Where next? Respect is a busted flush. The Greens seem to accept all comers. Perhaps you could start your own party.

    The notion of a party without discipline made me laugh out loud. What are you, ten? The thought of a Lib-Tory pact is also highly amusing – hopefully both parties will fall part as they try to contort themselves into some kind of coalition. Meanwhile Labour can gloat from the sidelines. Very amusing.

  • technicolour

    And I see on Charles Crawford’s thing that he’s quoting Theordore Dalrymple (financial expert? not when I looked) saying that the voters of Greece mostly deserve everything they get because they were stupid enough to accept government bribes in order to fuel their ‘economically unjustifiable’ lifestyles.

    ATHENS, Nov 13, 2007 (IPS) – A third of Greeks live close to the poverty line or under, a new survey has found.

  • Anonymous

    Crawford doesn’t allow the truth to get in the way when he is on full rant flow.

  • Apostate

    The various permutations as to which parties will form the next government are really just a lot of froth.

    This was the no-choice election in case you guys missed it.

    Whether it’s Brown,Clegg,Cameron or the bleeding Queen won’t make a ha’porth of difference.With or without the “election” you are all about to be dispossessed.

    Since you can’t see the wood for the trees after several weeks of meaningless frenetic activity you misconstrued because the corporate media sold it to you as “democracy” and the free flow of information check out:

    -for a more realistic account of where we are now and why.

    Ever wondered why there’s no “banker” on a chessboard? Well it’s because the banker controls ALL the pieces!

  • technicolour

    Poor Nick Clegg. He should have sat back & let the parties come to him with their best offer, not immediately announce that he was going to try and support the Tories first, I think.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    You’re right Craig. A minority government or coalition involving most of the parties except the tories would represent over 60% of voters. In terms of what’s democratic and representative of the election result that’s little different from the 59.1% that you get when you add the total share of the vote for Lib Dems and Conservatives.

    The Lib Dems are diametrically opposed to the Conservatives on many issues (e.g electoral reform and on putting off public sector cuts till after an economic recovery).

    Nor has Cameron offered the Lib Dems anything more than an all-party commission on electoral reform. No guarantee it’ll decide we should have a referendum on P.R. No guarantee he’d accept it’s reccomendations as binding.

    Brown has to resign to allow a Labour-Lib Dem-Nationalist-Alliance-SDLP-Green minority government – and the Labour party needs to make a public commitment to a bill for a referendum on PR being passed this year.

  • Mr M

    I once saw a nice kind Arab man who suddenly changed as soon as one Sky News gang reached over to him with the cameras and mics. The attension of the camera crew suddenly excited him and the next thing I saw was him shouting “Jihad” and all other stuff that might look good on Murdoch Media.

    The Lib Dems might be having such moments 🙂

  • Anonymous

    ‘I once saw a nice kind Arab man who suddenly changed as soon as one Sky News gang reached over to him with the cameras and mics.’

    ‘next thing I saw was him shouting “Jihad”

    Did they whisper something in his ear and hand him a some cash.

    ‘The Lib Dems might be having such moments’

    They are indeed.

  • mary

    ‘And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.’

    ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’

    King James Bible

    Not in London and Brussels behind the closed doors you don’t.

    Wonder what is being stitched up?

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Having just been gubbed in an election, I feel some sympathy for Brown despite all the things he’s done so badly wrong. Anyone getting involved in politics has to face up to the fact that if it doesn’t go bad from the start or in the middle, it will eventually.

    Just hope we finally get PR – probably won’t make any difference to how many votes i get if i stand again, but it would let people vote for what they actually want rather than for what they dislike least.

  • Oscar

    Well I can’t help feeling totally vindicated by the result of the election. This feeling of vindication is exceeded only by the disappointment of my fellow Scots falling for the ‘Vote Labour to keep the Tories out’ line yet again.

    Did the Clegg bounce ever really exist in anything other than the mind of the pollsters?

    I am sure there are many principled people in the LibDems but your problem is that, despite their posturing, your leaders are not principled in the least.

    The LibDems will do a deal with whoever offers them power and it will end in tears as it eventually did in Scotland.

    It might be worth it if PR is part of the price for their support but if the LibDems do not take the chance to secure PR now then they will deserve everything they don’t get in the future.

  • mary

    Commiserations to Duncan McFarlane.

    This is his most interesting biography where you can see that he assisted Craig in Norwich North.

    It is tragic that politically active and independent minded people like him and Craig stand no chance of getting elected in the existing system.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Mary.

    Duncan, I respect you even more now. I’d read your letters in The Herald but hadn’t realised the whole story was so rich and impassioned – what a wonderful account. Good on you – and keep on!

  • Anonymous

    From the ‘Voting Tree’ thread.

    “What I say to people on the doorstep is we will only cut your throat slowly, the others will cut your head off” was a comment of New Labour MP for Blyth Valley in the North East, Ronnie Campbell, in a local paper.”

    I thought I would go and find out who the good people of Blyth voted for

    Name Party Votes % +/-

    Ronnie Campbell Labour 17,156 44.5 -10.5

    Jeffrey Reid Liberal Democrat 10,488 27.2 -3.9

    Barry Flux Conservative 6,412 16.6 +2.7

    Steve Fairbairn British National Party 1,699 4.4 +4.4

    James Condon UK Independence Party 1,665 4.3 +4.3

    Barry Elliott Independent 819 2.1 +2.1

    Allan White English Democrats 327 0.8 +0.8

    Majority 6,668 17.3

    Turnout 38,566 60.0 +3.8

    Thats where you went wrong in Norwich north craig, not telling people what they wanted to hear.

  • Parky

    there are many things which need explanation, here are a few;

    The “crisis” which we are all now apparently facing has suddenly arrived along with all this debt and nobody could see it coming? I mean it’s not like the volcano in Iceland which is a natural event and could not be predicted although the warning signs were there earlier in the year. Suddenly we have to come to a decision over a weekend or else the financial markets will get very cross and we will suffer financial “meltdown” whatever that is. So how did we get to this crisis, whose fault is it ?

    So we had a gerneral election and there wasn’t a mandate given to any party by the public, ie by the rules in place no party got a majority in the Commons. However the three main parties take it upon themselves to do some horse trading amongst themselves in secret and we the public are expected to wait in silence until they decide what’s best for us! Surely what we have is not a hung parliament but a constitutional problem. The election didn’t deliver what is was supposed to, a strong stable governement. What we need now is a fundamental look at our democracy, a proper written constitution and a new election based on a different system. The present system is not fit for purpose, a new one is needed and it should not be decided by any of the political parties working in isolation. We can not continue with a 19th century system which is leading us to third world status. If any time was ripe for a revolution it is now.

  • Richard Robinson

    “Surely what we have is not a hung parliament but a constitutional problem”

    No, it’s a problem of power having been ‘outsourced’. The country is being informed that people with huge amounts of money will make our choices unviable unless we make their interests our priority.

  • writerman

    If any issue is unsuitable for a referendum… it’s the complex issue of electoral reform and the adoption of some form of proportional representation.

    How on earth are ordinary people to make any kind of rational decision about it?

    What do people know or understand about PR? Which system is best? A simple question about whether one wants PR or not is close to meaningless. Or will there be multiple choices available on the ballot paper? Will small parties that receive less than 5% be excluded?

    There are a great many complex and un-answered questions relating to PR which are not suited to a referendum, in my opinion.

    In the current situation I’m not even sure that PR is a good idea. It might be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. The two-party duopoly replaced by chaos.

    Maybe the Liberals should just merge with Labour and form a new National Progressive Party instead?

  • Parky

    ultimately then it is these hugely monied people who have most to lose if we don’t play ball with them.

  • avatar singh

    leander wrote-“But pulling a stunt like this right now could leave us in a state not unlike Russia under Yeltsin”

    why? if yeltsin was a hero for the british and american media .public and govt. then why not a yeltsin like man and situation for britian? what is good for a goose——-”

    or is it that really the much praised yeltsin(by the anglosaxon) was really an agnet to ruin Russia to the cheers of parasitic anglosaxons ?

  • Freeborn

    In his critique of Popper’s Open Society thesis one writer takes issue with Popper’s assumption that all critical thinking has as its raison d’etre the gaining of a better understanding of reality.

    While this may be the case with science it does not,he insists,apply to politics where the primary purpose of all discourse is to gain power and then to stay in power-

    “Those who fail to understand this are unlikely to be in power.The only way in which politicians can be persuaded to pay more respect to reality is by the electorate insisting on it,rewarding those whom it considers truthful and insightful,and punishing those who engage in deliberate deception.In other words the electorate needs to be more committed to the pursuit of truth than it is at present.Without such a commitment,democratic politics will not produce the desired results.An open society can only be as virtuous as the people living in it.”

    In the “Ostrich Election” just passed only a few of the politicians who have engaged in deception were punished by the electors;the great majority remain in the corridors of power.The new intake will be as swiftly corrupted as were the old.

    The electors remain mired in a fog of self-deception and delusion little understanding that the quality of their lives is about to depreciate markedly.

    And the writer who came in this book to be so preoccupied with the nature of reality? He was one of those who made a killing from people’s propensity to mistake the virtual reality of synthetic financial products for the real thing:George Soros!

    Like the politicians he describes and the synarchy he represents Soros will no doubt escape and even profit from the financial collapse that will be the doom of us lesser mortals.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Again – I smell a coalition with the Tories, then the Conservative driver will be deciding where he takes the honourary passenger in the back seat.

    No one would have forced the passenger in, but he was keen to have the ride.

  • technicolour

    Oh, get away with your cries of doom. We’re alive. We can all eat. We’re on the internet, not down a coal mine. We wanted a balanced parliament. We got a balanced parliament, with the Lib Dems holding the centre, one hopes. It’s not over yet.

    writerman, it took me three days and making 2 people go through it with me very slowly to understand the STV. If I can manage it, though…

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Charles,

    You are so predicatble: ” 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.”

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Thanks Mary and Suhayl.

    I realise now that my ‘about me’ page said there were people in “all parties” who are in it for the money and status – and that all party leaders tend to be dishonest.

    That’s very unfair. There are none in the Greens, Solidarity or the Scottish Socialists who are in it for the money or the status – and very few in the SNP – and Sheridan, Fox and Caroline Lucas most definitely are not dishonest. I didn’t intend to imply any of that – i put the site together in too much of a hurry.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    and most Lib Dems are in it for reasons other than money or status too – most of the careerists and the corrupt gravitate to Labour or the Conservatives and are encouraged to become corrupt as they have ‘safe seats’

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