Daily archives: December 20, 2010

Why Students Must Join the Lib Dems

A great many people are asking me why I am not leaving the Lib Dems. Well, I am a party member because of John Bright and John Stuart Mill. I am not leaving it because of a nonentity like Nick Clegg.

I am hugely angry over tuition fees. The policy itself, with the effective withdrawal of the state from university teaching and the reinforcement of social division, is a terrible disaster. The blatant display of political opportunism and bad faith by Cless and his ilk will poison politics for a generation.

But not only am I staying in the Lib Dems, I am seeking actively to recruit students. A very high proportion of the student vote went to the Lib Dems at the last election. Those genuine Lib Dem voters are absolutely entitled to join the party. They voted Lib Dem – this is not entryism from outside.

Every Lib Dem MP must win a majority of a vote of his local party members to be reselected.

Under clause 11.7 of the Federal Constitution if a sitting MP wishes to be reselected they have to either:

win a majority vote of the members present at a local party general meeting (conducted by secret ballot)


If that resolution is defeated then the MP can request a ballot of all members of the local party.


I want to see many, many students join the party, in places like, oh, Sheffield Hallam, for example. The answer to the disillusion of students with our democratic system is for them to join the party and actively participate in, oh, Nick Clegg’s reselection vote, for example.

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Cold Weather Failures

The good news is that I am at Schiphol airport with a passable internet connection for the first time in three weeks. The bad news is that I am at Schiphol airport a great deal longer than I anticipated. Schiphol is colder than Heathrow and has mpre snow than Heathrow. It is operating normally – except for flights to the UK, of course.

A combination of crazed right wing thinking and crazed left wind thinking, so typical of the UK, is why our airports are rubbish.

The crazed right wing thinking is that our privatised infrastructure operates on the basis of maximising short term income. BAA is a renter of luxury goods retail space and the planes are just an unavoidable inconvenience. Following modern capitalist dogma, it carries no redundancy. It has only enough staff to just run the airport if they are all present and at full stretch. It can’t cope with a percentage not being able to get to work; it has no built in insurance of excess capacity.

BAA invests in only enough cold weather equipment to cope with a mild to normal winter. It has not tied up capital in equipment that may be fully needed only once in every five years. It crosses its fingers and hopes – it has, in effect, no insurance.

It is not of course unique. The philosophy of just in time ordering that transformed cash flows two decades ago, means total collapse if transport is disrupted. You hold no stock, carry no excess of anything.

It is this ideological commitment to short term profit maximisation that makes capitalism an unsafe model for British public infrastructure.

But then there adds to the chaos the left wing rubbish of health and safety culture. A man may not unload bags if there is any ice under his boots. He may slip. All risk must be eliminated and we must live hermetically sealed from our environment.

Weirdly the health and safety bullshit has become a part of corporate culture, an intrinsic part of management speak, trotted out by people who would sell baby parts to turn a buck, but not if there was a danger someone in the workplace would slip on the blood. Health and

safety is a mantra divorced of either morality or common sense.

Now where is that free champagne?

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