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Lib Dem Fightback? watch

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    In the recent local elections, the Liberal Democrats regained control over Watford council, made some seat gains and held their ground in Scotland although they lost out in the Welsh and London assemblies.

    Do you think that the party is recovering or will it decline further?
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    Its treading water at the moment.

    A concern for the Lib Dems is that the wider environment (Conservatives becoming more right wing, Labour leaning to the left) should have opened space for them to exploit but it doesn't seem to be happening.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Its treading water at the moment.

    A concern for the Lib Dems is that the wider environment (Conservatives becoming more right wing, Labour leaning to the left) should have opened space for them to exploit but it doesn't seem to be happening.
    In the New Labour years they pitted themselves to the left of labour did they not?

    I think doing that and then forming a coalition with the Tories + tuition fees was such a drastic shift that anyone who ever supported the SDP strain of the party are not going to go back for a long while not matter what they do.
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    The Lib Dems gained vote share in England and Scotland which suggests that they have made small progress albeit they know now that protest votes can be fickle and the low scores for Tory-Labour suggest that it was so.

    Agree with Chaotic Butterly however i believe their biggest failure was not in entering the coalition but rather in not following it through. Their approach in the 2015 election was a gift for the Tories because it gave the soft right to them by slamming the coalition when what they should have done is painted the picture of classical liberalism. Whoever their electoral strategist was, he should be hung.

    One can say the Tories are heartless but they went into that coalition knowing exactly what they wanted at the end of it and how they were going to use the coalition to achieve their agenda (notably it protected Cameron somewhat from the back bench rabble on a number of issues and allowed them to push things like gay marriage). They also loyally defended the coalition in the election.
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    (Original post by Learning Curve)
    In the recent local elections, the Liberal Democrats regained control over Watford council, made some seat gains and held their ground in Scotland although they lost out in the Welsh and London assemblies.

    Do you think that the party is recovering or will it decline further?
    Not in my opinion.
    They betrayed young voters in 2010 and this will take a long time to be forgotten
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    I think it's a bit too soon to know for sure yet.

    The local elections earlier this month was a potentially good sign for them though. They have historically done well with concentrating their support within certain areas to maximise gains, so it will be interesting to see if they are able to use that historical support base to rebuild themselves. I think there's potential, based on the results we saw recently. However, we won't really know for sure for a while. They've still got quite a long way to go yet.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    In the New Labour years they pitted themselves to the left of labour did they not?

    I think doing that and then forming a coalition with the Tories + tuition fees was such a drastic shift that anyone who ever supported the SDP strain of the party are not going to go back for a long while not matter what they do.
    Tony Blair summarised the Lib Dem problems like that as well: they stood for election as a progressive party to the left of Labour, then joined a Coalition with the Conservatives and voted through regressive policies.

    Now I understand fully the Lib Dem's position in the immediate aftermath of 2010, and given Labour were only half-hearted in the Coalition negotiations and were also a party split by internal rifts and past their sell-by date in power, it was basically join the Conservatives and try to mitigate the effects of their policies plus get a few of their own enacted, or sit on the sidelines.

    So I can understand why they made the choice they did - but Blair has it right about why the electorate punished them as they did.
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    I'm sympathetic to them, but I'd rather they just split and join labour and the Tories.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)

    Agree with Chaotic Butterly
    :lolwut:
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    I'm sympathetic to them, but I'd rather they just split and join labour and the Tories.
    Same. If you are a social liberal I don't know why you wouldn't vote for New Labour. New Labour were more liberal than the SDP for crying out loud (I can see how someone may prefer lib dems on grounds of ID cards etc however.)

    The "don't give a crap about the poor" libertarian orange bookers can go join the Daniel Hannan conservative wing of the party.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    S

    The "don't give a crap about the poor" libertarian orange bookers can go join the Daniel Hannan conservative wing of the party.
    That's too far I think. Clegg and Laws have both strongly defended the NHS and the welfare state, as well as strong environmental regulations and aren't nearly as extreme as the Tory Right.

    I have actually read the Orange Book...
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    That's too far I think. Clegg and Laws have both strongly defended the NHS and the welfare state, as well as strong environmental regulations and aren't nearly as extreme as the Tory Right.

    I have actually read the Orange Book...


    I don't trust anything he says. He used to be a conservative and I don't put it past him ta ll to be in the Jeremy hunt camp of trying to make a slow steady transition to a free market form of heath care. He is a beverage liberal only for Realpolitik reasons. Even if he isn't he will still climb into bed with the likes if Jeremy hunt for any taste of power...

    The guy was strongly against tuition fees!
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    That's too far I think. Clegg and Laws have both strongly defended the NHS
    Interesting. Clegg has received donations in the past from private healthcare firms - including £5,000 from Alpha Medical Consultancy. I wonder how much their loyalties are to a state-funded healthcare service - especially considering how both voted in favour of the Health and Social Care Act, which legally abolished the NHS beyond emergency care. Awful atrocity.
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    Now, as someone who identifies strongly with the Liberal Democrats' vision for Britain (but not a party member!), I am in wholehearted favour of their fightback.

    I think a Lib Dem Fightback is actually necessary if the Tories are to be ousted from power in 2020. Only the Liberal Democrats can win against the Tories in the South of England, and if I were Corbyn, I'd be on the phone now to Tim Farron asking about some kind of hushed-up electoral pact to ensure that Labour can comfortably take seats off the Tories in the North and the Lib Dems can comfortably take seats off the Tories in the South, so that the next government will be Labour or coalition-Labour.

    Nonetheless, I am more pro-Lib Dem than I am anti-Tory, and I do genuinely hope that the next government will be Lib Dem majority or near there (ha, in my dreams!)

    Despite this, I'm somewhat unimpressed with Tim's record so far. The Liberal Democrats, known for coalition politics, community politics and much cleaner politics than anything we've seen from the Tories or Labour recently, should espouse an open-minded political mentality that they are willing to work with any party to build a better, more liberal tomorrow for Britain. Having only eight MPs, following a more tribal, partisan political mentality therefore actually looks like trying to eat more on your plate than is actually there. It looks like acting the kingmakers of politics when everyone knows - themselves included - that the Lib Dems lost their right to call themselves that when they came fourth in the general election last year.

    This is why I have found Tim Farron's "unashamed land grab" of Labour voters utterly incomprehensible. It totally betrays the aforementioned coalition, community and cleaner political mentality of the Liberal Democrats and has frequently sounded like parroting of the Tories' claims that Corbyn is "unelectable". All that talk of disaffected Labour MPs calling him and of disillusioned centre-left voters - when the polls and the facts haven't validated either of those claims - has just seemed arrogant, tribal and partisan, least of all coming from the leader of a party of eight MPs whose own career may well depend on Labour doing better than the Tories nationally. I've never been a Labour supporter, but to have seen Tim join the bandwagon of politicians heckling Corbyn before he had even been elected leader of the Labour Party made me sympathise with Labour like never before. It's certainly tarred the Lib Dems with the same brush of nasty politics as the Tories and Labour through their recent fallouts - and has totally betrayed their political mentality.

    It also seems as though many of the new Lib Dem proposals are more desperate bids for votes than anything else - including the cannabis regulation market, the plea for more refugees and the term-time holidays talk. The Liberal Democrats don't appear to be setting boundaries on their policies - especially on welcoming refugees and immigration - and this has led to the view that the Liberal Democrats are back to being the populist protest party that they were before 2010, and not the serious party of government Nick Clegg had made it during the coalition. Granted, the media coverage hasn't helped Tim to set his boundaries and to give clear guidance on how much immigration he thinks is good immigration, but the Lib Dems could be doing more to show this. Quite rightly, Tim has made impassioned pleas for accepting refugees - but it's divorced from the reality that whilst most of the British electorate sees the moral need to welcome them, they haven't quite seen the economic benefits of refugees, which do exist and which Tim could be emphasising.

    All this is attributing to confusion of what the Lib Dems stand for - tribal politics or progressive politics? Protest party or government party? The electorate of Britain desperately yearns for a third government party to challenge both Labour and the Tories and which espouses progressive politics, not the tribal politics of fallouts seen in recent weeks from both Labour and the Tories. The Liberal Democrats should be filling this space, but they aren't - because their actions haven't been matching up with their values. The space is there for them to occupy it - they just need to get a little less tribal and a little more serious.

    Will there be a Lib Dem Fightback? Maybe, maybe not. I hope so, though, for the sake of our country's protection against the socio-economic recklessness of the lawless, volatile Tories.

    Is Tim Farron the leader for a Lib Dem Fightback? Maybe, maybe not. If his campaigning messages were to change, however, that could become a definite 'yes'. He's funny, likeable - just not known and with confused messages.

    I do think that the recent history of the party will limit them from any sudden Fightback. It was only six years ago, however, that Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats were polling higher than both Labour and the Tories during the peak of Cleggmania. Six years on, there is a need for a Lib Dem Fightback - for the fortunes of Labour as much as for the good of the country. Hopefully, it shouldn't be too hard to re-engage with the plurality of the population that once sympathised with the Lib Dems, and would have voted them as the main party of the United Kingdom had the polling day been three or four weeks earlier in 2010.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Tony Blair summarised the Lib Dem problems like that as well: they stood for election as a progressive party to the left of Labour, then joined a Coalition with the Conservatives and voted through regressive policies.

    Now I understand fully the Lib Dem's position in the immediate aftermath of 2010, and given Labour were only half-hearted in the Coalition negotiations and were also a party split by internal rifts and past their sell-by date in power, it was basically join the Conservatives and try to mitigate the effects of their policies plus get a few of their own enacted, or sit on the sidelines.

    So I can understand why they made the choice they did - but Blair has it right about why the electorate punished them as they did.
    I disagree. You said yourself, there were two options: do something, or do nothing. If they did nothing, we'd have likely had a second GE, the Tories would have won a majority, and then all the policies they're putting in place right now would have happened in 2010. The Lib Dems chose instead to mitigate that - we can really see now how much they protected us from the Tories.

    Those were the only two options, but you seem to believe both would be wrong.
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    There is no point to them as a national party. The left-but-not-Labour and student vote can now go to the Greens and the regional parties. The Lib Dems will hold on in constituencies where the MP is personally popular and in Orkney where it is a tactical vote against the SNP. Their life as a national party is over.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Tony Blair summarised the Lib Dem problems like that as well: they stood for election as a progressive party to the left of Labour, then joined a Coalition with the Conservatives and voted through regressive policies.

    Now I understand fully the Lib Dem's position in the immediate aftermath of 2010, and given Labour were only half-hearted in the Coalition negotiations and were also a party split by internal rifts and past their sell-by date in power, it was basically join the Conservatives and try to mitigate the effects of their policies plus get a few of their own enacted, or sit on the sidelines.
    I think they failed in not picking out one or two policies that were unequivocally theirs (policies the Tories would otherwise have opposed) and made absolute support for them a precondition of entering government.

    If the Lib Dems had been able to get a win on AV and the abolition of tuition fees they would have been forgiven a lot more support for the Tories than they provided historically.

    I think people are willing to accept horse-trading in politics but they need to perceive that you have done something. In retaliation for not getting some of the things they wanted the Lib Dems blocked boundary changes which greatly hurt the Tories in the 2015 GE, but got no credit for that from the left. If they had granted the boundary changes but delivered the students what they had been promised, a positive case could have been made for voting Lib Dem.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    I think they failed in not picking out one or two policies that were unequivocally theirs (policies the Tories would otherwise have opposed) and made absolute support for them a precondition of entering government.

    If the Lib Dems had been able to get a win on AV and the abolition of tuition fees they would have been forgiven a lot more support for the Tories than they provided historically.

    I think people are willing to accept horse-trading in politics but they need to perceive that you have done something. In retaliation for not getting some of the things they wanted the Lib Dems blocked boundary changes which greatly hurt the Tories in the 2015 GE, but got no credit for that from the left. If they had granted the boundary changes but delivered the students what they had been promised, a positive case could have been made for voting Lib Dem.
    I think that a big mistake they made was in having no overall end goal for the coalition. The Tories for example went into coalition knowing that it both gave them a chance of enact more socially liberal measures that would please some (gay marriage) but that the large majority also gave them a chance to go further in other areas than they might have (education). The Lib Dems on the other hand had no real objective beyond getting manifesto policies across and by 2014 far from using the coalition as an opportunity to gain votes from the soft right, they were bashing the nasty party leading anybody who actually liked the coalition to conclude that if they wanted more of the same, they should vote Tory. If they were going into coalition, they should have followed it through at the election.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    I think that a big mistake they made was in having no overall end goal for the coalition.
    At least none that could be sold publicly.

    One can argue that they watered down various Tory proposals but the public doesn't see each of 20 bills made 5% more left wing.

    They see 1 leftwing bill forced through against Tory backbench squealing. That is what would have brought Lib Dem voters back to the polls for them in 2015.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    I think they failed in not picking out one or two policies that were unequivocally theirs (policies the Tories would otherwise have opposed) and made absolute support for them a precondition of entering government.

    If the Lib Dems had been able to get a win on AV and the abolition of tuition fees they would have been forgiven a lot more support for the Tories than they provided historically.
    Really the Lib Dems lost because tuition fees was a totemic issue for them and a large part of their support voted for them on it, and they compromised on it. Reading some of the accounts of the Coalition from Lib Dems after it seems that Clegg was never that keen on that policy anyway and so he was ready to cut it, which was probably a miscalculation. Although I can see it being very difficult to get the Tories to join a Coalition taking free tuition on board.

    The Conservatives also made a big compromise on tax: their big tax promise in the 2010 manifesto was raising the threshold of inheritance tax and Cameron was defending this right up to the final debate, but they dropped it to bring in the Lib Dems tax preference of raising the threshold of income tax which obviously benefits people lower down the scale than the inheritance tax measure would. However this wasn't catastrophic electorally, it raised some complaints in the right wing broadsheets but people annoyed by that were not going to abandon Lib Dems for Labour/Greens over it, like those annoyed at tuition fees were.

    Lib Dems actually got a "win" over the AV referendum being granted. AV wasn't their top choice but there is no way a Conservative government would have granted that referendum. They lost the chance for electoral reform at the referendum not at the Coalition agreement.

    Their other wins were on environmental issues and on the pupil premium so they came out of the Coalition agreement thinking they'd done quite well, but really 90% of the damage was done over tuition fees.
 
 
 
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