Tag Archives: Lib Dems

Election 2019: Tories (and Lib Dems) have offered nothing but empty promises about poverty

Need a miracle: but people in poverty won’t get it from the Tories or their little yellow helpers, the Liberal Democrats.

These are the facts:

Wages are still £20 per week below pre-financial crash levels; take the top 10 per cent of earners out of the calculation and they fall far below.

Household debt is at its highest.

The so-called “jobs miracle” doesn’t mean more people are in work; it means poor people are being driven to take on extra jobs.

Half of non-home owners now doubt they will ever be able to afford a house.

Food bank use has increased by the highest amount in five years.

Four in 10 people do not believe they’ll have a decent standard of living in 10 years’ time.

Debt and anxiety are on the rise – and those living below the poverty line have fallen a massive 30 per cent below the threshold (which, at 60 per cent of median income, has also dropped to a lower level of income than in 2010)

Those are important. But perhaps the personal story in Polly Toynbee’s article gets the point across in a better way.

She refers to Thiara Sanchez, who was the daughter of a cleaner at the Treasury during the 2010 election campaign.

Days before that poll, she made an important speech highlighting the effect of poverty pay on her mother and grandmother (also a Treasury cleaner) and the knock-on effect on the family.

She needed a laptop to do her homework but couldn’t afford it; sometimes her family spent a week eating lentils because that was all they could afford; she hardly saw her mother because that woman could not afford to use the tube and the three buses she used took a long time.

Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg (remember them?) made promises about poverty, and they slithered into government together as a coalition. And what happened to Ms Sanchez and her family?

The spent several months living rough after being evicted from a flat – sleeping on buses and park benches and missing school – until they were rescued by Catholic nuns.

Her mother died of pancreatic cancer at the painfully young age of 49. So much for NHS England’s record of cancer detection and treatment. Her grandmother has severe dementia and returned to Spain – because care in the UK has been run down so badly by the Tories and Lib Dems?

Ms Sanchez herself managed to get through university and has a first-class degree in human resource management – and an enormous student debt thanks to the Lib Dems, who reneged on their promise to end student tuition fees, the instant they got into government.

She cannot get a job; employers want experience. She hopes a Masters degree might help, but this means another £10,000 of student debt.

She shares a flat with three men she does not know, at a cost of £500 a month. It’s the cheapest she can find; so much for Tory/Lib Dem housing policies.

Her story is a nine-year saga that is an indictment against the Tories (and Lib Dems) – who haven’t failed, by the way.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats achieved exactly what they set out to do, which was to shrink state spending, make the rich richer and crush the poor beneath the weight of their own poverty.

And now they are carrying out a new election campaign with an air of triumphalism – completely ignoring the fact that they have harmed – or killed – millions of people for good of their own petty ambitions.

And there are still people who will vote for them. Why?

Source: Poverty is at crisis levels, but Boris Johnson doesn’t care | Polly Toynbee | Opinion | The Guardian

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Want to know why the Liberal Democrats are trying to block Corbyn? It’s SELFISHNESS

Here’s a terrific Facebook post from Another Angry Voice that explains Jo Swinson’s policy and attitude.

I don’t know how any Liberal Democrat supporter could read this and still support their behaviour.

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Brecon and Radnorshire braces itself for the big Lib Dem ‘project fear’ bonanza

Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds with the party’s Assembly member for Brecon and Radnorshire, Kirsty Williams, in Llandrindod Wells. One constituent stated: “Jane Dodds doesn’t have original thoughts..its all ‘Kirsty says…'”

They’ve started early but those of us who live in Brecon and Radnorshire need to brace ourselves against the leaflet onslaught from the Liberal Democrats in advance of the by-election here later this year.

Somebody has already made a video about that party’s electoral habits:

The observations in the video are absolutely right.

Their leaflets are full of the same quotes being attributed to different people. For example: “The work that Mark Williams/Jane Dodds/Roger Williams* is doing for our area is really amazing and that’s why I’m backing him/her*” – apparently Jamie of Aberystwyth, Frank of Welshpool and Kirsty Williams AM all came up with the exact same wording to describe those three candidates – including current Lib Dem candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire, Jane Dodds.

Do you honestly believe that is credible?

They demand that supporters of other parties who might want to rid their constituency of a Tory/Labour* incumbent vote tactically for them instead, thus denying their own favourite parties the chance to build up a foothold. Genuine example: “I usually vote Conservative/Labour*, but I can’t risk Plaid/the Tories* winning this time.”

Do you think that is honourable?

And when challenged, they always – always – make it personal. This Writer has already been told that if the Tory (or, heaven forbid, the Brexit Party) gets the Brecon and Radnorshire seat it will be because I split the left vote by appealing for people to vote for the party they want, rather than the party that wants to trick them.

Do you think that is acceptable?

I don’t. For one thing, the Liberal Democrats are not a left-wing party. They are right-wingers. That’s why they found it so easy to go into coalition with the Conservatives in 2010.

It seems they don’t have any policies, unless you count “Bollocks to Brexit!” – which will play poorly in a constituency that voted ‘Leave’ in 2016. As about local issues and you get a lot of flannel about “supporting farmers” and suchlike without actually explaining how this support will be carried out.

Yet the opinion polls being touted by their supporters suggest they have managed to hoodwink around one-third of voters with this drivel.

If it really was a two-horse race, it seems that race would be between the Party of Brexit and the Party of Bullsh*t.

*delete as applicable

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If Chris Davies’ former constituency elects a progressive MP, it WON’T be a Liberal Democrat

Appropriate: Liberal Democrat Jane Dodds’ leaflet in the best place I could find for it – my cat’s litter tray.

The debate about how to avoid a right-wing MP in the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency of disgraced former Tory Chris Davies began the instant he was ousted by a Parliamentary recall petition – and Liberal Democrats are pushing hard for their candidate, Jane Dodds.

There are just two problems: This would be replacing one right-winger with another, and it would be an attempt to install a ‘Remain’-supporting MP in a ‘Leave’-voting constituency.

Here’s the most recent ‘Political Compass’ graph showing the attitudes of the main UK political parties:

It’s from 2017 but the positions of the main parties haven’t changed. The Brexit Party would be firmly on the “right-wing/authoritarian” axis.

It seems no coincidence that the Liberal Democrat leaflet (pretending to be a newspaper) posted through This Writer’s letterbox today had nothing to say about Liberal Democrat political views or what they would do with an MP.

Let’s look at Parliamentary arithmetic: The House of Commons has 650 elected MPs, of whom seven are members of Sinn Fein who choose not to take their seats or vote. That means there are only 643 active MPs, one of whom is the Speaker. So we’re down to 642. The Conservatives have 312 of those MPs, and are currently in a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (also right-wing/authoritarian) who have 10 MPs. That gives them a majority of three MPs in Parliament; the other parties and independents total 319 and the Brecon and Radnorshire seat is vacant.

Another Liberal Democrat won’t make much difference – unless they offer to go into coalition with the Conservatives again.

Meanwhile, in Brecon and Radnorshire, cruel Tory policies – initiated with the support of Liberal Democrats – are biting hard with services cut to the bone. Schools are suffering tremendous budget pressures. Social Services are falling apart. And Universal Credit is making the safety net disappear for those that are poorly paid or without work.

You wouldn’t think that, though, if you read the comments from the LDs on a Facebook group called Powys Progressive Alliance.

According to these members, the Liberal Democrats represent the only viable alternative to the Tories or the Brexit Party (which doesn’t even have any policies at all, yet), because they “have taken a few Labour voters cos of Brexit plus they already had a decent base here”, or “it’s easier to get disillusioned Tories to vote Lib Dem than Corbyn’s Labour”.

Here’s a cracking howler: “To get Labour to win you have to convince Lib Dems to vote Labour. To get Lib Dems in you have to convince Tories to vote Lib Dem. This second choice is a better/ easier / higher chance of success tactic (if your aim is to stop a Tory MP). You are not going to convince many Tories to vote Labour.” In which case, why are these Liberal Democrats trying to persuade genuine progressives from Labour, Plaid and the Greens to vote for them, rather than working on the Tories?

None of them have suggested that the Liberal Democrats could change their policies to make them more acceptable for genuine left-wingers. They would remain an authoritarian, right-wing party with authoritarian, right-wing policies, and would simply be asking people like This Writer to lend them enough votes to beat the Tories and the Brexit Party – in order, most likely, to allow them to go into another coalition to the Tories.

I’m not here to further Lib Dem ambitions for power, bought with the betrayal of Brecon and Radnorshire – again.

In any case, Brecon and Radnorshire is a ‘Leave’ constituency and that skews every vote further even than the tactical voting we’ve seen here in the past.

In the recent past, voters have turned to the Liberal Democrats because they have merrily sold us the unicorn of a chance to stay in the European Union – that simply won’t happen. The LDs picked up one European Parliament seat after another with this lie. They knew that the EU Parliament can’t vote to stop Brexit; it simply doesn’t have any power in that respect. But that’s what they told the public.

In the Westminster Parliament, as previously stated, the Liberal Democrats have just 13 MPs and one more won’t make a blind bit of difference.

The fact is that, no matter what happens in Brecon and Radnorshire, the UK is set to leave the EU – because that was the decision of the UK’s people as a whole.

Under the Conservatives, who want to leave with a deal that helps Conservatives and harms everyone else, ordinary voters like those in Brecon and Radnorshire will be harmed badly.

The Brexit Party would leave without any deal with the EU, causing even worse harm to voters (not that this is likely, even if that organisation did manage to scrape a single MP in this constituency).

As matters stand, the best – and most realistic – plan for Brexit is Labour’s. This would demand that any deal decided in Parliament – along with no deal and the possibility of remaining in the EU – would be put back to the people in a confirmatory referendum.

A vote for Labour would be a vote for a sensible solution to the Brexit dilemma – and would signal clear support for policies that 70 per cent of the people of the UK want, according to polls: Re-nationalised public services; a properly-funded, publicly-provided National Health Service; high environmental standards; high standards of goods such as groceries; a decent standard of living for everybody.

But that won’t mean anything if the signal Labour sends out is jammed by the noise of “Labour can’t win here!” and “Only the Lib Dems can stop the Tories/Brexit Party!”

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Chuka Umunna announces end of his political career – he’s joined the Lib Dems

Yellow: Chuma Umunna.

The MP who said he wouldn’t be seen dead in a yellow rosette has joined the Liberal Democrats.

This is the second change of party affiliation for Chuka Umunna within six months, as the former Labour MP for Streatham continues his quest to find a political party that can accommodate his personal ambition.

The simple fact is: He won’t find one.

This latest flirtation with the Lib Dems is happening because he saw them doing well in the European Parliament elections and thought they must be enjoying a revival; they aren’t.

The brief bounce happened because the Lib Dems positioned themselves as the ‘Party of Remain’ in elections that weren’t about Brexit at all, but which were presented as such to fool the voters.

People don’t live in ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ constituencies – they vote for the party whose policies reflect their own thinking, as Labour’s win in Peterborough demonstrates.

And Mr Umunna, once touted as a possible future head of the Labour Party, back in its New Labour days, will end his career as nothing more than a footnote.

Source: Chuka Umunna joins Lib Dems: ‘No room for two in centre ground’ | Politics | The Guardian

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Alastair Campbell expelled from Labour – but he thinks HE has been mistreated

Alastair Campbell: He thinks he has been mistreated.

Sour grapes from the man who tweets as @campbellclaret – after being expelled from Labour for supporting another party, he intends to appeal.

But it’s an open-and-shut case: He has admitted voting for the Liberal Democrats and as a Labour Party member he knows that is an automatic-expulsion offence.

And what does he mean by “hard not to point out difference in the way antisemitism cases have been handled”?

He knows – or should know – that all cases are investigated by the so-called Compliance Unit. People have their memberships suspended while investigations take place – except in his case, where he admitted the offence, none was necessary.

I didn’t see him complaining when my Leftie colleague Kerry-Ann Mendoza revealed she had been booted out for voting Green, before she even joined the Labour Party. That was scandalous – not his own treatment.

And anti-Semitism? I know from personal experience that people accused of anti-Semitism have their memberships suspended while investigations take place. Then the matter can go one of three ways:

Rank-and-file members may receive a semblance of justice, according to whether or not they have behaved in an anti-Semitic way, the circumstances informing that behaviour and the severity of any offence.

If the accused is a member of the party hierarchy, an excuse will be found to ensure that no investigation takes place and the Compliance Unit will refuse to engage in any correspondence on the subject.

If the accused is a high-profile supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, an excuse will be found to expel them. Any excuse will do. The party’s reasons for expelling me bear absolutely no resemblance to the charges under which I was suspended.

And I don’t have any right of appeal, Mr Campbell!

Perhaps he’s right and we should be looking at the difference between Mr Campbell’s treatment and that of people accused of anti-Semitism.

But let’s not for a moment entertain the possibility that he is the one who has been mistreated.

Source: Labour expels Alastair Campbell from party | Politics | The Guardian

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If the Lib Dems are the Party of ‘Remain’, why are they suddenly supporting Theresa May?

Vince Cable: It’s so long since he was newsworthy, this is the most recent image of him that I have. One can imagine him going into Downing Street in this hat and scarf in an attempt to be incognito.

In a perverse way, it seems we should be grateful to Vince Cable for clarifying the Brexit mess.

We had been let to believe that Theresa May was determined to force vote after vote on her Brexit deal, in an attempt to wear down MPs who hate it – and that Jeremy Corbyn would table motions of “no confidence” every time she lost: Brexit limbo.

Mr Cable has stepped in to break this deadlock, as Evolve Politics revealed:

So once again the Liberal Democrats are propping up a Conservative government. Does that remind you of anything?

But this raises a hugely relevant question about the Liberal Democrats. As the self-styled “Party of Remain”, isn’t it a huge contradiction for them to be supporting the enactors of Brexit?

This discrepancy was picked up by the Twitterati:

And Helena Bowie tweeted: “Just proves what I’ve been thinking since the coalition. You would think they would have learnt after getting wiped out.”

Then it was suggested that Mr Cable may be trying to force Labour into supporting a second referendum:

Of course, the so-called “People’s Vote” is a trap for Labour. The party’s policy is to push for a general election but, failing that, to support a second referendum (if I recall correctly). So if Mrs May announces another plebiscite, then Labour will support it. There’s no need to propose one directly, and in fact that would harm Labour’s electoral chances:

As it is, it seems Mr Cable has sealed electoral doom – not for Labour, but for his own party. And he didn’t even get a bung out of it:

Last word on this goes to Mark Adkins:

“Does Vince Cable really miss the smell of a brand new ministerial car that much?” Well put! Especially as it seems he really does.

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Liberal Democrats – and Vince Cable – humiliated at the hands of Labour and Momentum

Uh-oh! We can see where Momentum got its fashion ideas here.

We can laugh as much as we like at the Tories over Activate and its woeful attempts to generate publicity and support, but at least they’re trying. The Liberal Democrats haven’t bothered – leaving a gap for Labour and Momentum to fill.

The result is a huge embarrassment for the rapidly-diminishing party – and for new leader Vince Cable in particular.

Momentum have offered us this:

Tim Farron will be wincing at that one, no doubt.

And the Labour Party itself has this to say:

After those, if anybody cared what Mr Cable had to say before, they won’t from now on.


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ANALYSIS: Sleaford suggests flooding a constituency with campaigners really DOES get results

New Conservative MP Dr Caroline Johnson [Image: Joe Giddens/PA].

What are we to say about the result of the Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election? That you can get a good result – even if you can’t spell the constituency’s name – by flooding a constituency with campaigners and hassling people for their vote?

If so, we would have to qualify that by saying the tactic only served to give UKIP a smaller drop in voter numbers than Labour. If you look at the chart showing what happened to voter numbers between last year’s General Election and yesterday, you’ll see…

… the Conservatives lost almost half the votes they had in 2015, making them both the winners and the biggest losers of the by-election.

Labour’s drop to fourth place makes the party look terrible, but there is a difference of just 1,063 votes between the second- and fourth-placing parties, making the result statistically useless if any attempt were made to use it to predict a general election result.

In effect, Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats are neck-and-neck.

Liberal Democrats don’t care about the good of the UK – they care about being in power.

But the Lib Dems managed to increase the number of voters they had – and this is significant as turnout, at 37.1 per cent of the electorate, was 33.1 per cent lower than at the general election last year.

It indicates that voters are continuing to return to the Lib Dems after punishing them for five years of coalition with the Conservatives at the 2015 election.

It indicates that the Lib Dems, who claimed to have run their biggest campaign ever in Lincolnshire, are also following the tactic of flooding a constituency with campaigners – but, with them, it paid off better.

It also indicates that voters are choosing to ignore the fact that the Lib Dems would happily go right back into coalition with the Conservatives if it gave them another whiff of power.

In a recent interview, Mr Farron said: “Any serious politician who rules out going into power isn’t a serious politician.

“It’s not up to me to choose who the Liberal Democrats go into power with if the Liberal Democrats don’t get a majority. That’s up to the electorate [and] that’s how the arithmetic worked out in 2010.”

Voters should remember that: Liberal Democrats don’t care about the good of the UK – they care about being in power.

Here’s how the Daily Mirror reported the story:

“The Conservatives have comfortably held the Sleaford and North Hykeham seat with Ukip the runner-up in the parliamentary by-election.

“Tory candidate Caroline Johnson will be the new MP after winning 17,570 votes, beating Ukip’s Victoria Ayling, who had 4,426.

“It was a bad result for Labour, slipping from second place at the 2015 general election to fourth, behind the Liberal Democrats.

“The Tory majority of 13,144 is far lower than the 24,115 secured by Mr Phillips last year but represents a comfortable hold for the Conservatives in a by-election with a turnout of just 37%.

“Dr Johnson won 53.51% of the votes, down 2.68% on the share in 2015, while Ukip won 13.48%, down 2.21%.

“Labour’s Jim Clarke won 3,363 votes, a 10.24% share, down 7% on 2015, while Liberal Democrat Ross Pepper’s 3,606 votes gave him a 10.98% share, up 5.33% from the general election.

“Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said … ‘With Labour yet again nowhere, and after losing their deposit in Richmond, the Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government.'”

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Fracking u-turn is both humilation for the Coalition and a victory for common sense

150126labourfracking

[Image: Eoin Clarke.]

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition government has given in to Labour Party demands for stern regulations on any fracking operations in the UK.

The climbdown is humiliating for the government – and particularly the Tories, who seem to have wanted fracking to be the centrepiece of its “We’ll do what we like, whether you want it or not” election campaign.

A committee of MPs called for a moratorium on fracking, on the grounds that it could derail efforts to tackle climate change – but this was ignored.

The Environmental Audit Committee also warned that there were “huge uncertainties” about the environmental impact of fracking – and this was also ignored.

But ministers pledged an “outright ban” on fracking in national parks.

And they acceded to the logic of the Labour demands, which were:

150126labourfracking2

[Image: Eoin Clarke.]

“This is a huge u-turn by the Government and big victory for the protection of Britain’s environment,” said Labour’s shadow energy and climate change secretary, Caroline Flint.

“Labour has always said that shale gas extraction cannot go ahead unless there is a system of robust regulation and comprehensive inspection, but David Cameron has repeatedly ignored people’s genuine and legitimate environmental concerns over shale gas. Now, thanks to Labour’s amendment, the Government has been forced to accept that tough protections and proper safeguards must be in place before fracking can go ahead.

“While eight out of 10 homes still rely on gas for heating, shale gas may have a role to play in displacing some of the gas we currently import and improving our energy security. But that potential benefit cannot come at the expense of robust environmental protections or our climate change commitments.”

It isn’t what everyone wanted – this writer would certainly prefer fracking to be banned from the UK altogether.

However, Labour’s regulatory system is certainly the next best thing – far better for the environment and the people of this country than anything proposed by the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, who clearly don’t care about the environment at all, despite their posturing.

It may be too much to hope that this will put the frackers off…

But at least this decision gives us hope.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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