It’s time to kill this Lib Dem revival – by reminding voters of the facts

Amanda Broom, who defected from the Tories, and Daisy Benson (right) the Lib Dems’ prospective parliamentary candidate for Yeovil, pictured in Chard town centre. Once again the Liberal Democrats are winning votes by making promises they have no intention of keeping [Image: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian].

It has been said that the Liberal Democrats are winning back votes in a big way because they are positioning themselves as the party of ‘Remain’; they want to stand for those who still want the UK to stay in the European Union.

What a bold statement!

As if the Liberal Democrats had any say at all in the matter. And even if they did, there is no guarantee that they would stand by their word.

Doesn’t anybody remember the Liberal Democrat promise not to increase tuition fees?

They had a chance to achieve this aim as part of the Coalition government they formed with the Conservatives – and what did they do instead?

They tripled tuition fees.

That isn’t all they did, either.

They sold off the Royal Mail – on the cheap – to hedge funds, if memory serves.

They supported the Tory austerity agenda to the hilt, no matter who it killed. That’s right – killed. The Liberal Democrats are as responsible for the Bedroom Tax deaths, the ESA deaths, and the jobseeker deaths, as Iain Duncan Smith and all his DWP minions.

Finally, voters need to remember that the current leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has made it absolutely plain that his party would go back into coalition with the Conservatives at the first opportunity to do so.

The Conservatives have positioned themselves as the party of Brexit. They are determined to steer the UK out of the EU, no matter what.

So what do you think the Liberal Democrats will do, if they go into coalition with the Tories?

That’s right, Remainers – you are following a falsehood.

The Liberal Democrats will betray you at their very first opportunity.

So why on Earth are you voting for them?

Lib Dem strategists are pinning their hopes for rebuilding after the dire results in 2015 on a resurgence in the south-west, their former heartland, where the party lost all 10 of its seats in the last election. Since then, the party has been quietly notching up its best council byelection results in 20 years, with a net gain of 28 seats compared with net losses for Labour of four seats, Ukip of three and the Conservatives of 33 seats.

On paper, this part of the country does not look like a happy hunting ground for the fervently pro-remain party, because of the high number of leave voters in the south-west. Yet more than half of those byelections gains were in the West Country, most recently in Taunton and Teignbridge in early December, with the seats all seeing swings upwards of 20%.

Source: ‘Morale is really high’: Lib Dems scent revival in south-west | Politics | The Guardian

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22 thoughts on “It’s time to kill this Lib Dem revival – by reminding voters of the facts

  1. Gill

    We are voting for them because you will not commit to ‘remain’ and they are the only party who are doing so. Thye may not be ideal but they have a vision you totally lack on this one.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      And you don’t mind the fact that they are lying in order to get enough votes to go back into coalition with the Conservatives – who will, by then, have already taken the UK out of the EU?

  2. Barry Davies

    Well The south west as you referred to has been a strong liberal then lib dem supporting area for decades so it is unlikely the remain aspect has had any effect on the going back to the lib dems in those areas.

  3. Chris Lovett

    Why would a party supporting remain enter into a coalition with a party pro-leave? A far more likely eventuality would be a LibDem/Green/SNP grouping standing on a remain ticket with entirely tactical placement of candidates. In spite of the LibDems past behaviour, our EU membership is far too important for that to concern me now. And I’m damn sure there will be many, many, many more like me. Our country is Europe and we’re not going to be deprived of our citizenship without a fight.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The point is that the Liberal Democrats DON’T really support Remain.
      Think about the timing of elections – they can’t do anything to stop the Tories taking the UK out of the EU in any case.
      Tim Farron has already made it plain that he would jump back into bed with Theresa May (what a horrible thought) like a shot, if it meant a chance to have power.
      You are being deceived in a very transparent way and I wonder why you are allowing that to happen.

      1. JAMES ROBERT

        It´s utter nonsense to say the LibDem´s don´t support Remain. They have always been ardently and unashamedly pro-European.

        Their brand was tarnished when the harsh reality of coalition politics met the unrealistic expectations of people who jumped on the “I Agree With Nick” bandwagon in 2010. IF the LibDems had actually won that election and formed a government, the country would be a different place. Instead they were junior partners in a coalition and had to make policy compromises like grown-ups.

        Whether they would form a coalition with the Tories in the future seems doubtful. It’s far more likely the Tories will throw in their lot with UKIP since the far right of the Tory party is now more or less marching to the Brexit/UKIP drum.

        All the more important for progressive centre and left parties to work together.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m saying they know that saying they support Remain will gain them votes without having to do anything at all in response.
        They will never have a chance to affect whether the UK stays in the EU or leaves.
        Sure, they may actually be pro-European, but that doesn’t change the fact that this claim to be standing up for those of us who voted Remain (I did) is a piece of cynical manipulation.
        Theresa May will not call a general election before the UK is out of the EU. Be sure of that. If she did, the Eurosceptics on her own backbenches would do more damage to the Tories than Labour or the Lib Dems ever could. She knows she has to keep that bandwagon rolling along to the bitter end.
        No – the Lib Dem brand wasn’t tarnished by the “harsh reality” of coalition politics. It was tarnished by the fact that the Liberal Democrats did a deal with the Conservatives in March 2010 – two months before the general election – in order to gain power, and then acted as enablers to ensure the Tories could rip the heart out of the country, killing thousands of people in the process. Liberal Democrats are as responsible for the deaths of benefit claimants as Tories, you know. They did not make compromises “like grown-ups”. The grown-up choice would have been to quit the coalition when the direction of Tory travel became clear, but they didn’t. They colluded in the disaster.
        The Liberal Democrats will never win another general election on their own so your speculation about that is fantasy.
        Tim Farron has made it clear that the Liberal Democrats certainly would go into coalition with the Tories again if they had the chance. He’s on record as saying it, and you can look it up.
        Progressive centre and left parties can work together on certain issues if they want. As the Liberal Democrats are neither progressive, centre or left, they will not be asked to take part.

      3. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421)

        The Libdems are utterly deceitful and anyone who has read their orange book understand that.

        The reason they are so willing to jump back into bed with the Tories is because they have the same Neo-Liberal agenda.

        They could at any point in time during their coalition have brought the Tories down just as they did with the past Labour government in the LIB LAB pact, The idea that they were powerless to stop the excesses of the Tories is pure mythology. They had the power to save the NHS from the Tories but chose otherwise, people need to remember that when they listen to their lies.

        The Libdems are an utter disgrace, they always denigrate Labour and have been instrumental in carrying the Neo-LIberal agenda forward.

        People trust them at their peril.

      4. Chris Lovett

        I’m interested in only one thing. Keeping the UK in the EU. The ends entirely justify the means.

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        My point is that you will never achieve those ends by those means.
        It’s a really simple point.

  4. Andrew Warmington

    You are very bitter about the Lib Dems in coalition, Mike, and you’re not alone in that. But really, what could they have done? The electoral maths simply didn’t add up for a Lib-Lab coalition which most of them would have preferred. The choice was go into coalition with the Tories and try to moderate the worst of what they did or stay on the sides while a minority Tory government got by from month to month in the depth of the worst economic downturn in living memory. They were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. By all means criticise their record in government, but you seem keener to damn those who compromised their principles than those who never had any in the first place.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      They could have tried to stop Tory policies that ended up killing thousands of vulnerable people, for a start.
      No – they weren’t interested in that.
      Yes – staying on the sidelines with a minority Tory government would have been much better. Every single policy would have received the scrutiny it deserved and the homicidal ones would not have been passed. You cannot argue that the Coalition was good for the economy because it wasn’t; Labour’s measures before May 2010 did more for economic recovery than anything George Osborne managed in more than six years.
      As for me criticising those who compromised their principles rather than those who never had any – have you ever read this site?

    2. Gary Barker

      Bitter? The Libdems were treacherous far right enablers who went back on their promises on tuition fees (who many people voted for) were just as responsible for the disgusting workfare and DWP murderous policy as the Tories. They never deserve to be linked with power ever again.

      1. Nicky Charles

        So what do you see as an alternative? Presumably not Labour who promised not to introduce tuition fees and then did, and then planned to increase the fees if they won the 2010 election. As for murderous, the last Labour government was complicit in the deaths of ten of thousands of Iraqis with their lies about WMDs. Throw in the deregulation of the banks, the increase in taxes on the low paid in order to fund tax cuts for the rich, the widening of the gap between the rich and poor (worse than Thatcher), the decline in our manufacturing base (again worse than Thatcher), the complete failure to address the housing crisis, the countless attacks on our civil liberties, etc. and Labour is even less deserving of your vote than the Lib Dems.

  5. anonymous

    I believe there is a legal case coming up as to whether the Brexit gained votes due to bogus promises regarding extra funds for the NHS, cutting immigration, etc. Assuming it goes ahed, the outcome seems pretty cut and dried.
    http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/10/brexit-man-trying-to-prosecute-dishonest-politicians-for-fraud-crowdfunds-a-whole-years-salary-for-himself/

    Currently Labour feels obliged to honour what is supposedly the democratic decision of the British public. However if this decision is proved to have been based on false information, then it is no longer democratic, and no politician or party (including, Theresa May!) will have any further justification for supporting it.

  6. casalealex

    In 2002, a secret Liberal Democrat document came to light – produced by the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors – in which local activists were urged to “be wicked, act shamelessly, stir endlessly” in order to win elections.

    In fact, ask anyone who’s been involved in local politics and they’ll tell you Liberal Democrat activists are the most infamous for playing dirty, using underhand methods and being utterly ruthless.

    Exactly as they turned out to be nationally in their coalition with the Tories.

  7. Paul

    The Liberal Democrats lost 49 out of 57 seats in 2015, i.e., 85% of its MPs, including pretty much all of the Orange Book faction, why would you think that said party would be stupid enough to ever go into coalition with the Conservatives again? After being burned so badly? That doesn’t make any sense to me, Mike, and probably won’t make sense to people considering supporting the Liberal Democrats in the future.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Tim Farron said it, though. He actually said the Liberal Democrats would go into coalition with the Conservatives again. He said it after the 2015 general election and it was widely reported.
      Yes, it may have been a stupid thing to say, but he said it, and he meant it.
      Perhaps people considering supporting the Liberal Democrats should think about that.

      1. Paul

        If Farron maintains that stance then the Liberal Democrats should win votes from pro-European soft/shy Tories who wouldn’t vote Labour under any circumstances and so should hurt the Tories more than Labour, especially in the South West of England (Cornwall and Devon). This could split the Conservative vote in key constituencies and benefit Labour.

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