Tag Archives: Liberal Democrats

Danny Alexander T-Minus 2 days to resignation?

Well, perhaps the headline is overplaying it a little, but it seems that the Daily Telegraph is now getting it’s teeth into Danny Alexander over avoiding capital gains tax – whether it’s legal or illegal will be the big question – Telegraph attempt to skewer Danny...whether an answer is needed before they decide he should be hung drawn and quartered is another thing.

The Telegraph is now full out gunning for the coalition, my spies tell me that they’re being briefed by Labour yes, but that to be be expected, more worryingly is the rumour that one or two Lib Dem staffers are briefing hacks that are way above their pay-grade. I’m not sure whether to believe this or not, I certainly wasn’t expecting a barage of messages surrouding David Laws yesterday though – so who can say who’s side they’re playing on.

What is true is that The Telegraph can no longer hide behind the veil of ‘the public interest’ in their theft of expenses data – if it is in the public interest, let’s have full disclosure; all out, right now… all parties all the data, otherwise it’s going to be a drip drip drip that does nothing but increase the circulation of The Telegraph (benefiting from the proceeds of Stolen goods one could possibly argue). It’s hard to see how the coalition can function effectively if one side of it is being taken apart one person at a time; it’s even harder to see how Nick Clegg’s reputation will recover after his protestations that his was a party of new politics, whiter than white.

Communications Control

Dear lord, the past few days have been interesting: the Liberal Democrats are really showing how far in opposition they really are – they’ve got so little control of their communications it’s hard not to feel sorry for them – they’re a mess. No clear line, briefing against each other secretly (but in a horribly obvious way) and just generally having the communications strategy of a bunch of rabid puppies.

They desperately need to get a grip: for the first time in their history they’re in power – and it’s all about to go awfully wrong if they don’t stop a few movers from acting like they’re running a university debating society, it’s shabby and unbecoming of a party in power.

This goes for the Conservatives as well – better press handling will result in slicker relations with the media; not spin, but at least making sure people are saying the same things at the same time: what will kill the coalition dead is the press, if they scent descent or a mixed message it’ll be leaped on every single time. I’m amazed with all of the support they have from really influential lobbyists, communications specialists, old-style PRs and digital and social media people that it’s still such a mess.

Some have blamed it on the state of the economy, the mess they’re having to sort out – the rush of the coalition talks, but they’re all just making excuses. A good communications plan and superb people to carry it out will work whatever the situation, so please. Stop making excuses and start exercising some communications discipline.

BREAKING: Lib Dem’s endorse Clegg’s position.

In a statement just issued by David Laws, the Lib Dem’s have just made a very positive statement talking of “very very positive talks” that fully endorse Clegg’s position on the party with the most votes and seats being the one they’ll deal with in the first instance, and that a stable government is what they want.

I’m reading stable as both for the nation, and ruling out the possibility of getting into bed with a party that’s going to rip itself apart over the leader that left them to the worst defeat since Michael Foot.

“A very very positive and constructive meeting of the Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet and of our parliamentary party, and both bodies have endorsed in full and completely the strategy that’s been laid out by Nick Clegg over he last twenty four hours.

We are determined to put the national interest above party advantage, and to play our part in delivering the stable and good government that the people of this country are entitled to expect. We have heard the Labour party and Gordon Brown have been saying over the last twenty four hours, but in line with the strategy that Nick Clegg has set out we will be continuing our talks with the Conservative party as the party with the largest number of seats and votes.

We understand the pressures that there are to make a decision on these matters as soon  as possible and we are keen for an early conclusion of these issues but people will also understand that we are keen to make sure that we make the right long term decisions for the people of this country.

It’s the final countdown

We’re now in the final few days before what I consider to be the most important election in my lifetime: the choice is clear – more of the same, a slow slide toward authoritarian big state dragging out society toward economic and social failure, or two very different choices that are at the same time almost the same. You see the problem with the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats is that there’s stuff in both their manifesto’s that I like and dislike in equal measure – It’s going to be a difficult one, but I think the military family history and the entrepreneur in me will keep my vote in the Conservative box: I just hope that Cameron now comes good on his big liberal society promises, and finally answers the parties European issues.

The one thing you can expect, is that this week is going to be dirty – people are going to be spinning and smearing all week: it’s going to be vicious: I think I’ll be down at Haymarket’s Sports Café for live coverage until dawn – either that or stuck in the office with pizza and beer cheering Blinky Balls getting his arse kicked.

Just why don’t you vote liberal democrat?

Reading the cringeworthy extracts from Brian Paddick’s mayoral race diary I was left wondering just where the Liberal party went so wrong, why in this permissive, integrated, socially accepting age are the party that should stand for what most of us aspire to wallowing in third place; and why are people who by all rights should think the Liberals are the place to be, instead following the Conservatives into the centre ground, and, as someone asked me only a few weeks ago: “Just why don’t you vote Liberal Democrat?”.

From my perspective it’s a lack of real policy, don’t get me wrong the Liberal’s have some appealing ideas, a 4% cut in income tax would be nice, opposition to the war in Iraq from the start was commendable and their views on minimising state interference in your personal affairs hits my small government happy buttons every time, but what else do they offer? Where are the real killer policies, where are they clearly defined as the party that will make your life better or easier and your business more profitable?

Leader after leader of the Lib Dems have squandered the opportunities placed in front of them to reform the party, to bring in a party line where the most common adjective used in front of it isn’t ‘loony’, for a party formed in 1988 they’re dreadfully old fashioned bordering on plain stupid, they saw the fall of Thatcher’s & Major’s Governments, both riven with infighting and sleaze, they’ve watched the meteoric rise of the New Labour project as it blossomed into Blair’s untouchable first term and then crumbled into dodgy dossiers, missing billions and finally dour Scotsmen, but it would appear they’ve learnt nothing.

After 1999 and Ashdown leaving they’ve has a series of leaders who have all been nice chaps, Kennedy, Campbell and Cable, but who didn’t seem to bring direction to the party, Kennedy of course had Iraq and won protest votes because of his stance, but that wasn’t going to be a lasting seat-winner and after the debacle of the alcoholism cover-up the party made the strangest decision in recent years by breaking with all convention and choosing an ageing leader at the very time that all the other parties were grooming young faces who seemed in touch with the wage-earning masses (in Cameron, Blair and to a lesser extent the next generation of the New Labour project in Milliband & Co.).

Campbell from the outset was unfairly mocked because of his apparent age, more often compared to Father Time than an effective leader, polling at less than 20% support from the party faithful his position was clearly untenable, despite admirable performances in the House he evidently didn’t have what it took to lead the party forward.

And this is where the story goes from odd to just stupid, after an interesting tenure as stand-in leader with Vince Cable (who I still maintain is the man that put the first real nail in Brown’s coffin) the Lib Dems decided that they’re try a Blair & Cameron approach, but without the drive, speaking abilities or real charisma that both the aforementioned possess.

Nick Clegg, possibly the most nondescript party leader of any party in recent memory, a shadow of Cameron, out-manoeuvred at every move by a resurgent Conservative party firmly and fairly taking the centre-right’s imagination with a new brand of socially just, liberal thinking conservatism. What’s worse is until the near-election event the Conservatives were gaining this attention at the detriment of the Lib Dems while having little more than brand Cameron in their arsenal, there were no real policies just positioning of a party that would promote a greener, fairer, more competitive society led by a smaller government that didn’t feel the need to interfere and legislate at every opportunity.

So while all this re-branding and re-positioning was going on, what were the Liberal’s doing? Were they churning out solid policy documents and a manifesto for a better Britain? Were they looking at how they could seize the initiative and make it into official opposition? No – they were fannying about. Making a lot of noise, but nothing that could be considered even close to coherent. No grand plan, no vision for the future, just the same bunch of MPs who frankly wouldn’t say boo to a goose, much like their ever dwindling bunch of remaining supporters…

I have a hearty belly laugh every time I hear a call from the stage at a Lib Dem conference to go back and prepare for Government, or even for official opposition, because there seems to be an almost autistic attitude toward the facts, they’re third, and not just third, but some way behind in third, and as politics at their end of the chamber becomes increasingly fractious with smaller parties and one-issue independents stealing seats it’s going to be them that take the real brunt of the seat losses long term, and that’s a real shame, because not that long ago the Lib Dems looked like a party that was ahead of it’s time, a party whose day would eventually come; the brutal truth is though, that the time has already passed: first Labour under Blair and since the Conservatives under Cameron realised that the power in this country sits firmly in the centre they both moved while the Lib Dems were still fighting like ferrets in a sack, and I fear that unless something spectacular is pulled out of the bag at the next election they’ll lose seats as a resurgent Conservative party pull a landslide and the Labour heartland’s react to pull the Labour party from the pit of oblivion into a demoralised official opposition.

But you know the really tragic thing about all this is, having said all of this I know in my heart of hearts that despite agreeing with the majority of their policies I’d never waste a vote on them, I don’t think their leader is worth the skin he’s inhabiting and I couldn’t say that there’s a shred of credibility to the latest set of party re-positioning policies that Clegg and his team have fired out. I very firmly believe that Cameron (with the help of Brown and his incompetent cronies) may have started put the final nails in the coffin of not just New Labour, but also the Lib Dems, as such robbing the political bystander of the fascinating spectacle of a liberally centered parliament, and of two parties that really do represent where England in the socially aware Conservative centre right having a libertarian Liberal Democrat party as an opposition – with the Labour party tearing itself apart looking for a foothold in third place.

We can but dream.

Liberal Woes

Will the political expert who told the Lib Dem’s they needed to be more like the conservatives step forward please? As you really should have told them that it’s today’s conservatives they want to be modelling themselves on, not the conservatives of yesteryear…

I must admit, and I know… I’m wrong, but I did have a hearty belly laugh at this story from the BBC about Mark Oaten resigning after being discovered to have had an affair with a 23 year old rent boy, not the wisest political decision for a family man aiming to be the head of the Lib Dems… Even the Lib Dem’s aren’t that liberal: All the party needs now is someone to say they were cruising ahem, looking for foxes, a couple of perjurers, an Iron Lady and a dull leader shagging a backbencher and we’ll be away.