Tag Archives: Liberal Democrats

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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Is Umunna really planning to stand for the Lib Dems in his SAFE LABOUR constituency?

Just when the Liberal Democrats thought they were electable again, Chuka Umunna looks set to join them.

That’ll mess things up. According to the Mail – so an unreliable source – he wants to represent the Party of Remain in Streatham, his current constituency, which has a “safe” Labour seat but voted very strongly to remain in the EU in 2016.

In the spirit of giving news stories all the space they deserve… that is all.

Source: MP Chuka Umunna is to stand for Liberal Democrats in his safe Labour South London constituency  | Daily Mail Online

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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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Dismal Euro election result hides underlying causes for hope

Take heart, Britain! All is not as bad as the European election results make it seem!

Yes, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party won 28 of the UK’s 73 seats, indicating an alarming shift to the political hard-right. But that doesn’t mean a hard-right election win. The Brexit Party didn’t even get a majority in the UK.

Also, the simple fact is that anti-EU parties led by Nigel Farage don’t actually do anything in the European Parliament, other than fart around making speeches that annoy the serious politicians. They certainly don’t take part in any democratic votes because it is a pillar of their beliefs that the EU cannot be a democratic organisation.

Just take a look at Mr Farage’s own voting record for the evidence. You’ll see the word “absent” a lot.

People who voted for the Brexit Party won’t make a difference in the EU because the Brexit Party won’t turn up.

In fact, the only reason the Brexit Party even campaigned was so Mr Farage could deliver an ultimatum on Brexit negotiations: He wants a place at the table so he can push for a “no deal” Brexit.

No deal means no NHS (he’d sell it to the Americans), no human or workers’ rights, chlorinated chicken for dinner and a massive increase in the cost of groceries and other goods. He would pauperise everybody who voted for him.

Best thing to do would be to give him the place he wants at the table – and then ignore him in the national interest.

Yes, the Liberal Democrats enjoyed a surge of support as UK citizens who want to remain in the European Union protest-voted for them.

How they expect to push their promise that a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for remaining in the EU, when the European Parliament won’t be voting on that subject, is a mystery.

But those votes won’t be wasted. They’ll be used to promote right-wing Liberal Democrat policies – the same kind of policies they supported when in Coalition with the Conservatives, here in the UK, between 2010 and 2015.

Socialist remainers who voted Liberal Democrat should monitor the result very carefully – and probably with dismay.

But there was also a surge of support – across the EU – for Green parties and policies that address the growing climate change and environmental crises caused by a human race whose policies have been controlled by people like the Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats for far too long.

The UK’s Green Party now has seven MEPs – an increase of four – who will help boost the total number of Greens in the European Parliament to a projected 71. This could give the Greens the balance of power in the European Parliament.

Any parliamentary group that wanted Green support would have to deliver on three key principles: climate action, civil liberties and social justice.

The party will exert maximum pressure on climate policy, but will also push for more social justice when it comes to who winds up footing the bill for the green transition.

And Labour will learn the lesson of its losses. The party as a whole will continue to express dismay at the polarisation of politics around a Leave/Remain conflict but will say there is no political solution coming from Westminster or Brussels so the question must go back to the people – directly.

That means either a general election or another referendum – the “people’s vote” that so many MPs, of many parties, have been demanding.

Labour has always said it will abide by the results of plebiscites on our membership of the European Union, and while a “people’s vote” referendum has been framed as a way of establishing support for remaining in the Union, the European election result (although not representative of the entire electorate as only a little more than one-third of the UK electorate took part) suggests otherwise.

It would be a way of silencing this divisive debate, once and for all.

So in the end, Labour’s policy may prove to be the winner.

 

 

Official EU Remain campaign and Lib Dems fined by election watchdogs. Leave campaigners are under investigation

Ex-party leaders Tim Farron and David Cameron campaigning for a Remain vote [Image: PA Images].

Sauce for the goose…

We already know that Arron Banks, millionaire supporter of the Leave.EU campaign, has been under investigation over millions of pounds in donation to Leave-supporting organisations that may be in breach of electoral rules.

Britain Stronger in Europe has now been fined, along with the Liberal Democrats.

And now Vote Leave is under investigation as well.

It seems most of the major players in the referendum campaign played fast and loose with the spending rules. How disappointing.

It seems nobody believed they could sway the public with the strength of a good argument alone.

And how many of the arguments were good?

Most, if not all, of the Leave campaign claims have been proved false. Perhaps that is why campaigners for that cause overspent.

And the remainers? They included David Cameron (and Tim Farron) among their number.

Perhaps they thought they needed to overspend in order to overcome the handicap that this represented.

Election watchdogs have fined the official Remain campaign and the Liberal Democrats thousands of pounds for breaching election spending rules in the EU referendum.

The Lib Dems were slapped with an £18,000 penalty for failing to submit correct spending returns for some £80,000 of funds it spent urging voters not to support Leave.

Official Remain campaign Britain Stronger in Europe – since re-named Open Britain – was also hit with a £1,250 fine for incorrect spending returns.

It comes after the Electoral Commission launched a fresh probe into whether the official Leave campaign broke spending limits in the referendum.

Questions have been raised over hundreds of thousands of pounds Vote Leave gave to a fashion student who then handed the cash over to a data analytics firm.

Source: Official EU Remain campaign and Lib Dems fined thousands by election watchdogs | PoliticsHome.com


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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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The Richmond Park by-election, the upset – and the spin

Sarah Olney smiles after winning the Richmond Park by-election [Image: PA].

Sarah Olney smiles after winning the Richmond Park by-election [Image: PA].

Congratulations to Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney on her narrow win against Zac Goldsmith. It shows that if you flood a constituency with supporters and pester the public hard enough, there’s nothing you can’t get them to do.

Of course, it isn’t very pleasant – but then, Liberal Democrats aren’t.

Party supporters flooded into Richmond Park, making nearly 100,000 attempts to speak to the constituency’s 82,500 voters, and stuffing their letterboxes with pamphlets.

Many constituents said they had been annoyed by the bombardment of Lib Dem propaganda.

The Liberal Democrats had two advantages in any case: Firstly, Richmond Park had been a Lib Dem seat until 2010, so voters had a natural inclination in their direction. And the constituency had voted Remain in the EU referendum, with 72 per cent of voters opposing Brexit.

Party campaigning was therefore focused on a promise to oppose Tory plans to quit the EU, with Ms Olney vowing to vote against any move to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that might be put through Parliament.

Where does that leave Labour?

Many commentators will want to assure you that this is evidence of Labour’s disappearance from the political mainstream. You’ll see it in all the newspapers that are run by right-wing businessmen who want you to vote in their best interests.

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, came up with this scurrilous nonsense in his comments to the BBC: “Clearly a concern to voters was they desperately wanted a moderate, decent alternative to the Tories now Labour has shuffled off the main stage.”

Again, this is a comment from a man with a vested – indeed, desperate, considering the Liberal Democrats now have a grand total of nine MPs – interest in talking down the Labour Party.

Hopefully his comments will come as a sharp reminder to those within Labour who said that party should not field a candidate, that it had a duty to do so – and that failing to do so would have worsened the criticism from opponents like the schoolboyish Farron.

Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jonathan Reynolds had argued that Labour had little chance of winning in Richmond Park and should not field a candidate, but This Writer agrees with Peter Edwards of LabourList.

He wrote: “Avoiding the fight entirely would have resonated around the country. Labour needs to show people who struggle under the oppressive and unjust weight of a Tory government that it is fighting for them, even when its chances of success are slim to minuscule.”

Quite correct. Labour’s position on Brexit – that the EU referendum is done, the people have spoken, and we have to get the best out of it that we can – was never going to be popular in Richmond.

But Labour had to be there to show that the party opposes – in all parts of the UK – the dangerous right-wing policies of Zac Goldsmith and, until the dissolution of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, Tim Farron; policies that led to the death of a man in freezing Birmingham earlier this week.

And after Mr Goldsmith’s disgustingly racist campaign to be London Mayor, how would it have looked if Labour had not fielded a candidate against him? The party would have been accused of backing away from the fight or – worse – condoning the racism employed by the Goldsmith campaign.

This is a tricky time for Labour.

The party has a hugely popular leader who has, at long last, put forward policies that a majority of the public support.

The Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the SNP and most of the people you’ll see on the BBC’s Question Time are terrified of this.

So their strategy is to starve Labour of the oxygen of publicity by putting forward warped claims about the party and denying it the chance to respond.

Notice, for example, that there is no comment from a Labour representative in the BBC’s article, quoted below.

That is not an accident.

So beware.

These so-called Liberals and Tories and their allies in the media will spin you into voting for another extreme right-wing government if they possibly can.

The Liberal Democrats have caused a major upset in the Richmond Park by-election, overturning a 23,015 majority to oust ex-Tory MP Zac Goldsmith.

Mr Goldsmith stood as an independent after leaving the Conservative Party in protest at the government’s decision to back a third Heathrow runway.

But Lib Dem Sarah Olney, who is also opposed to Heathrow expansion, fought the campaign on the issue of Brexit.

Labour’s Christian Wolmar lost his £500 deposit as he trailed a distant third.

Ms Olney polled 20,510 votes to Mr Goldsmith’s 18,638.

The Conservative Party, UK Independence Party and Green Party did not field candidates.

Source: Zac Goldsmith ousted by Lib Dems in Richmond Park by-election – BBC News

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Cameron and Brooks – the more we know, the less we like it

What have they got to hide, and can it be any worse than what we’re all thinking?

There’s a bad smell surrounding the correspondence between David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks, and it has nothing to do with the horse she let him ride.

The Observer is today reporting details of “intimate” texts sent between the current UK Prime Minister and the former head of Rupert Murdoch’s News International. One of them, from Brooks, states that she felt so emotional listening to his (2009) conference speech she “cried twice”, and that she “will love ‘working together’.”

Working together?

In what way, exactly?

There are too many loose ends here for anyone to feel comfortable. Everywhere you turn, one of them whips you in the face (like a riding crop, perhaps).

Let’s bear in mind all the embarrassment fomer Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt (Con) had over the plans for Mr Murdoch’s firm to take over Sky TV, granting it an unprecedented dominance over the UK mass media. Working together?

Let’s remember that Andy Coulson, a former News International employee and editor of the News of the World, became Mr Cameron’s Downing Street press officer for a time, until he was implicated in the phone hacking scandal and stood down. Working together?

Let’s also consider the way the right-wing press – of which News International and Sky News form an uncomfortably large cohort – has suppressed stories about the harmful effects of Mr Cameron’s policies, such as the deaths of 73 sick or disabled people every week (on average) who had their benefits cut after reassessment by the Department for Work and Pensions and its contractor, Atos. Working together?

Cameron has refused to allow publication of any more of these texts – and it is understood that around 150 may exist. The Observer states that it understands many of them would prove to be “a considerable embarrassment” to the government.

We don’t know what is in those texts, and we are being told that we never will. The only possible conclusion is that they contain information that is damaging to Mr Cameron, and therefore to his Conservative-led government. Because of the identities of the correspondents, we can also conclude only that this damage relates to them working together.

It’s obvious he’s got something to hide.

He’s not going to come clean about it either.

So he’s being dishonest to us, the British public.

It is not in our interest for him to behave like this.

What else has he been doing that is not in our interest?

I think we have a right to know.

After all, he didn’t win the 2010 election; he’s only in Downing Street because of a dodgy deal with the Liberal Democrats.

I told you it would come: Borishambles!

He just couldn’t keep his mouth shut, could he?

A couple of days ago, at the end of my article ‘Omnishambles, omnishambles, omnishambles’, I wrote ‘Coming soon: Borishambles!’. It wasn’t meant to be taken seriously; I was just acknowledging the Blond Buffoon’s popularity with Tory diehards.

But in a week when Tory backbench rebels handed the government a major Commons defeat over the EU budget, Boris gave me an early Christmas present. Watch this:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBmaCF3q7IM]

I know he was being followed by hecklers who were provoking him by calling him ‘Tory scum’ – but, while it’s impossible to say I approve of such language, considering the Conservative Party’s record since it came into government with the Liberal Democrats, that probably counts as merely mild criticism.

Boris didn’t see it that way. He snapped. The only remaining – even remotely – acceptable face of the Nasty Party showed its fangs. There’s no going back from that.

If you don’t like what the Coalition is doing in government, and you want to exercise your right to free speech about it, then in Boris Johnson’s mind you are a “Lefty tosser”.

Nice one, Boris. It’ll take a few more like that to completely ruin your chances of taking the Tory leadership, but there’s plenty of time.

We’ll keep an eye – and an ear – out for you.