Skip to main content

Shed no tears for the Liberal Democrats

Yesterday, a rather desperate canvasser came knocking on my door in the outskirts of London. My Labour poster had obviously not done enough to deter this beleaguered emissary of the former Business Secretary, Vince Cable. In fact, it seems that showing my colours may actually have acted as something of a magnet to the Lib Dems. Just a day or two before, I’d had a leaflet spinning the rather unlikely story that The Daily Mirror was advising me to vote for Cable. I’d also had a letter from the Cabinet Minister telling me how much he understood my desire to get rid of the Tories.

Today, Labour and Green supporters in this leafy suburban constituency may be wondering if they did the right thing. They’ll see that Dr Tania Matthias – a GP in the NHS, who must surely need treatment for the cognitive dissonance associated with supporting the Conservatives – has swept Dr Cable aside.

As we pick up the pieces the morning after the night before, it’s quite natural to ask whether we perhaps should have voted tactically and saved Cable’s skin. My answer is a categorical no.

I’ve always been impressed with my dealings with the guy at a personal level. He is incredibly bright and has a razor-sharp memory for detail. On a couple of occasions, he stepped in to help with quite difficult issues and made representations on our behalf. I couldn’t fault his work as a constituency MP.

At the 2010 election, however, he told Labour voters to support him to keep the Tories out in Twickenham – a call echoed by his colleagues in other local seats such as Kingston & Surbiton and Sutton & Cheam. Many natural Labour supporters gritted their teeth and did what they were told. Cable then jumped into the bed with the very Tories he had denounced.

Five years go by. Five years in which the use of food banks has increased hugely, while the public has been fed a dubious diet of austerity. And then Cable has the nerve – the barefaced and unashamed cheek – to come back to me and say I should vote for him because he’s the only man who can beat the Tories.

I may be desperate, but I’m not signing up to join the cast of the Muppets. Cable is a bright man, but he insults the intelligence of his constituents with his opportunism and lack of principle. The Liberal Democrats have been utterly decimated in the 2015 general election, but they have only themselves to blame.



Popular posts from this blog

I was sad when I quit Labour a year ago. Now, I feel a sense of relief.

What motivates decent people to stay as members of the Labour Party?
It’s a question I’ve been pondering intensely over the past year, which I’ve spent in self-imposed exile. I resigned the moment Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as leader after the contest with Owen Smith.
When I quit, it was with a very heavy heart.
As far back as the late 1980s, I’d served as Labour General Secretary of the London NUS. By the early 90s, I was chairing Frank Dobson’s constituency party in inner London. On two occasions, I stood as a Labour parliamentary candidate.
If you make that kind of commitment, you assume it’s a relationship that will last for life. And even though I hadn’t been an activist in recent years, it never occurred to me that I’d be forced to rip up my party card. 
Today, as Labour’s 2017 conference looms, I wonder how anyone with a moderate viewpoint can kid themselves the party is even worth rescuing.
One group of centre-ground survivors falls into the category of the bloody minded. Like …

What if the whole Corbyn project is based on a lie?

If there’s one thing that scares the Corbyn movement more than anything else, it’s the emergence of a new centre-ground party.
Supporters know very well that once it arrives, the alleged ‘popularity’ of Labour’s far-left leadership would be badly exposed – in just the same way that Michael Foot’s good poll ratings disintegrated with the emergence of the SDP in the early 1980s.
When people are given a choice, many will opt for moderation.
When they lack choice – a particularly stark problem in the UK’s indefensible first-past-the-post electoral system – they tend to polarise to left and right.
For supporters of today’s Labour leadership, it’s therefore critically important to dismiss the centre ground as something which no one wants any more. As a failed ‘neo-liberal’ project, which has no relevance to 2018.
But consider the facts.
A recent BMG Research poll for The Independent found that millions of voters currently find themselves without a political home.
Many feel that the main parties …

Cult of personality? The writing's on the wall.

Nothing makes Corbynistas more angry than the suggestion there are cult-like qualities to their movement and their veneration of the man they affectionately label ‘JC’. This accusation is viewed as such a slur, in fact, that on some social media channels moderated by the far left, anyone using the term ‘cult’ is deemed to be abusive and is in danger of finding themselves banned.
The evidence – specifically a cult of personality - is, however, now so strong as to be incontrovertible.
The madness reached some kind of apogee this week with the unveiling of a mural of Corbyn on his home turf of Islington.  
Let’s be clear. Murals celebrating political figures are not a part of British culture, unless of course you count the streets of West Belfast, where the Labour Leader has built up a strong network of contacts over the years. I’m sure they are de rigueur in parts of Gaza City, where the veteran socialist MP counts yet more friends.
It’s difficult to establish who is the more idiotic.…