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.

http://ericavebury.blogspot.com/

UPDATE

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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  • Steelback

    Avebury a real liberal?

    And there was me thinking Avebury was a British intelligence asset.

    Since the late 1970s Lubbock’s “centrifugalist” geopolitical agenda have seen him lend devoted support to terrorist groups from the Afghan resistance to the Soviets,the Khashmiri rebels against India,to the Shining Path narco-terror group in Peru!

    All these groups share with British intelligence a desire to break up and destablize large nation states that

    stand athwart Anglo-US imperial ambitions.

    Peculiar liberal sort,our Eric!

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Oscar – completely agree – if Clegg doesn’t demand a referendum on PR as the price of any deal with anyone the Lib Dems will not survive.

    People voting Labour to prevent Tory cuts is sort of understandable in that Tory cuts will be even deeper (and especially in Scotland where they have almost no seats) but misses Alastair Darling’s open statement that there would be cuts “harsher and deeper” than under Thatcher if Labour was re-elected.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Duncan McFarlane,

    ” Oscar – completely agree – if Clegg doesn’t demand a referendum on PR as the price of any deal with anyone the Lib Dems will not survive.”

    So – the Liberals have a barganing chip if they are willing to play a principled game.

    Murray is a principled man – but – politics for the most part lacks principle and runs on expediency.

    Murray, a good man, wants to and has shown that he stands on principle. The Liberal hierarchy will stand on expediency – that is what I perdict.

    If I am incorrect – I would be happy to buy all the bloggers on this thread a pint at the local.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Craig,

    ” UPDATE

    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.”

    I wager that the Liberals will do what is expedient. It is called “politricks”

  • onlymejustmeyesme

    This is precisely why we should get rid of political parties and vote for the actual policies.

    That would be more of a reform than any alteration in the vote-counting system.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    i doubt it’d benefit them to be in the same position they were in in the Scottish Parliament in the past – with very little influence on government policy as a junior partner, but held responsible for all government policies by the voters as part of the government.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.’

    Albert Einstein

  • Duncan McFarlane

    yes – in other words if you have a lot economic inequality (roughly equalling socialism or progressive liberalism), you won’t get much political equality (democracy).

    Nye Bevan said it long ago – socialism is impossible without democracy – and vice versa.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    (though it’s not necessary to call it socialism to have economic equality – and many governments and parties that have claimed to be socialist have been the opposite (e.g Stalinist, Maoist) just as many of the worst dictatorships talk most about democracy.

  • Anonymous

    ‘and many governments and parties that have claimed to be socialist have been the opposite’

    Well done Duncan McFarlane for seeing the obvious that so many fail to see. The world has never seen socialism, it has always been destroyed, disfigured, distorted at birth and used (as you point out) as a tool to promote more suffering. Socialism remains a dream.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    (doh – i said socialism or progressive liberalism roughly equal economic inequality though. Actually they roughly equal economic equality – or economic inequality equals a lack of socialism or a lack of progressive liberalism)

  • Doug Allanson

    In the last half hour or so Patrick Wintour has put some interesting material on the Guardian website which no doubt will appear in the paper tomorrow, which goes some way to clarifying the difficulties facing Clegg, who has now said he will make a decision within 24 hours. Wintour makes it sound as if he will go one way or the other, thus rejecting Craig’s idea of sitting on the sidelines.

    I am inclined to agree with Craig, as the Tories are full of crap and Labour are unfortunately toxic at present owing to the fact that nearly ten years ago the entire parliamentary Labour party, virtually, resigned their political credentials to go along with the one genuine Neocon in the party Tony Blair. They finally got rid of him and replaced him with a guy with the communication skills of a rhinoceros.

    However if the Libs decline to dance with anyone no doubt we will have another election in six months and who do we vote for then?

    I voted Libdem this time because Clegg said a few refreshing things, in a half hearted way about bankers and human rights. But the Libdems don’t begin to have a solid platform.

    And what would it take for the Labour party to become credible again?

  • Doug Allanson

    By the way Craig, regarding the above, I suppose its too much to hope that your £100 is still going? (March 27)

  • Duncan McFarlane

    If the Lib Dems get PR out of a deal with either Labour or the Conservatives then they would gain seats even if it lost them half their votes (which it wouldn’t).

    They currently have 59 seats (under 10% of the seats) on 23% of the vote. If their vote was only 12.5% under P.R (and it’d likely be much higher) they would get roughly 81 seats.

  • Anonymous

    New Labour have served their purpose for the neocon agenda they will take the blame in the mind of many in the electoral. At the next election the princes of the universe will get their majority to rule us all.

    It would I think suit the princes of the universe if it is a lib/lab coalition (which would not last long). Things will be far worse very soon and that will make people much more likely to vote tory.

  • anno

    Lots of people who got rich under Thatcher and Blair want to be David Cameron.

    Why not sell Eton educations? It can’t be more difficult to fix than absolution and parliamentary honours. Carve a few more gilded names on the school’s list of Old Boys/ Girls. All those noxious twerps who voted for the fat-head should contribute to his barmy, sell everything that’s not screwed down, recovery plans, by contributing from their ill-gotten gains.

    I voted Liberal,because on the eve of the election I met the sleaze-merchant who is my nasty New Labour M.P. and managed to twist his ear a little. He came back with an increased majority and the satisfaction of the Tories winning.

    Anyway, I want my 10,000 pound tax threshold please. The daft Tories think that everything they voted for should now drop into their hands. No, you don’t have a mandate for getting your own way and you have to compromise. The Tories realise that they will have less distasteful compromising to do with the LibDems on board than if they have to slog out every case in parliament.

  • Richard Robinson

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

    They have plenty of other countries that will.

  • Ruth

    Far more important than PR is to establish who the government in power gets its orders from.

  • Clark

    Richard Robinson,

    yes. That is why I can’t see an answer without some international co-operation between governments.

  • Clark

    Ruth,

    I think that international capital is now more powerful than national governments. National governments could change that, by co-operating with eachother in changing their national laws. But many individuals comprising governments are corrupted by capital, they work as advisors, they get more of their money from business than from being members of government.

    Yes, there are cabals that orchestrate things, but at the highest level there doesn’t need to be. What is good for Big Money is the same the world over; Big Money One doesn’t have to compete with Big Money Two, it’s too risky and dangerous, why take on such a powerful foe when you can more easily ans safely exploit and manipulate weaker entities, such as governments and the people they consist of?

  • Clark

    Ruth,

    that’s why we need electoral reform. Democracy itself needs to be strengthened. Most of the UK constituencies are safe seats, those MPs can do as they like without risk of losing their lucrative positions. They are also sitting targets for Big Money, who work upon them over decades.

    Corruption of the intelligence services will also play its part. Who better to discover the weaknesses of the members of government, to aid in the manipulation? And all cloaked by secrecy, justified in the name of “the national interest”.

  • Tweedldum and Tweedlefuckindee

    No, Nick’s not very liberal at all.

    There are reports that he joined the Tories whilst at university and his wife is the daughter of a right wing Spanish politician, in a party which was formed by an ex-Franco minister.

    Then he’s got all these right wing policies.

    Why the fuck didn’t he just stay in the Tories and we could a proper liberal leader?

    There are traces of spookiness about it all.

  • harry

    we in america don’t have many areas in politics where we have an advantage, but hsving a two party system certainly is an advantage in cases like that facing the uk today. in every election the leadership is either republican or democrat with no coalitions needed.

  • Anonymous

    ‘we in america don’t have many areas in politics where we have an advantage, but hsving a two party system certainly is an advantage’

    Really, and there was I thinking you only had a one party system with two right wings…silly me.

  • lwtc247

    I smell a rat.

    That jumped up little snot aka Michael Gove is giving off warning signs… giving public[!] displays of apparent bending over backwards to the LDs. Could be true – but I very much doubt it. I think he’s preparing for a possible collapse in talks in case the LD’s cont join with the Tories.

    “We treated the LD’s with great respect and I even offered to give up a cabinet post. The LD’s have destroyed a potentially governable alliance. Bad baf LD’s, the NuLabLab pact has no legitimacy. Zeig heil! ”

  • Vronsky

    “Under FPTP coalition is political suicide.”

    I think this one of the most important points made. Some commentators are making the comparison with Scotland, asking what’s so bad about coalition or minority government when it works just fine up there? But the context is entirely different – Scotland has PR (of a sort) and nobody is throwing away a chance of a future majority by entering (or refusing) a coalition now. Nobody has any chance of a future majority – coalition or issue-by-issue deal making are the daily norm.

    I wonder if it is now weighing on Lib Dem minds that their refusal to enter coalition with the SNP ran into a pretty severe instance of the law of unintended consequences: it began the ongoing erosion of their reputation north of the border, and allowed the SNP government to gain popularity.

    There is one interesting possible outcome, though. If the SNP fair poorly in the Holyrood elections next year we could have a Lib/Tory coalition in London and a Lib/Labour coalition in Edinburgh. Double double, toil and trouble..

  • Apostate

    The Einstein contribution rises head and shoulders above the baby-talk.

    The facile commentary re-the realignment of various vacuous politicians entirely misses the point made by Einstein re-the role of finance capital.

    The prime role of the central bankers in shaping our political system made the left-right paradigm that so animates the political posturing of the babblers entirely irrelevant decades ago.

    Contrary to what the babblers and leftie sap-brains imagine this is just as Marx envisaged.Their understanding of “communism/socialism” as the righteous dispossession of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat is based on a myopic surface reading of the great man’s work.I mean where they’ve done any reading at all,that is!

  • Apostate

    While finance capital held pivotal peak position in the economic system described by Marx he did not envisage that level of the pyramid being swept away in the revolution.

    Far from it!

    The dispossession of the bourgeoisie would be carried out by the proletariat.Dictatorship,a central bank and income tax would follow.

    But what would become of international finance capital?

    The financial oligarchy would dominate the societies where the masses had been victorious.All the world’s property would fall into the laps of the oligarchy now controlling all the states’ resources in a world republic.

    Not a word of this-the real plan-was mooted in the Communist Manifesto or Das Kapital naturally.

    Just how far we are from Marx’s plan being fulfilled is not yet clear-but it may soon come to fruition-Cameron,Clegg or Brown notwithstanding!

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Marx envisaged the capitalist system destroying itself once wealth was concentrated in so few hands that the majority had no stake or way to survive in the existing system.

    The problem with that is that he envisaged this happening by revolution, not reform – and most violent revolutions lead to new dictatorships, hijacked by a minority.

    Socialists don’t need to be Marxists either. Marx’s analysis of capitalism was brilliant, but his views on how socialism would come about were vague, unrealistic and utopian.

    In reality the only system that works is a compromise between the free market and socialism – that eliminates poverty through a welfare state, good public services and some nationalised industries to bring in revenues, but also allows a well regulated free market that lets people better themselves and provide for their children through working harder or being more innovative (and of course none of that will work if we destroy the environment we all rely on for survival)

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