Saturday, 7 May 2011

Libdems; Where to go from here.

The dust is settling from the blast that rocked the party on Thursday. The electorate has stood up and said they don't want AV and showed a their distaste of the Coalition government by slaughtering Liberal Democrats across the board and returning a ... Wait there was no major Labour gain, if anything the Conservatives did very well this time...

But aren't they?
Yep, the government.

Anyway. The important fact is that we need to decide what direction we are going to move in. We are not at our lowest but we are in trouble. The Conservatives have shown to Coalition Lib dems who believed, as I did, that they will play dirty and play to win. So should we, before my prediction for the 2015 election, where Labour and Conservatives will happily round on us and destroy us, comes true.


A lot of pundits predicted that this election would be hard fought and more than likely lead to defeat. A Rorke's drift mentality seemed to take over a lot of areas. Lib Dems were happy to defend what they had already taken against an array of opponents; Labour, Conservatives, TUSC, BNP, Independents, Former Liberals, UKIP, English Nationalists...
Of course the first two were and always will be the biggest threat.
If studying military history has taught me anything over the years its that the British always bounce back after a horrific defeat. Isandalwana and Rorke's drift, Quatre Bras and Waterloo, Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. We can bounce back from this if we leave the Rorke's drift mentality now and instead move to the attack.

In councils we've lost, such as Norwich and Sheffield we need to watch, openly criticise the new administration as and when they fail and make cuts.
Point out lies, omissions and inaccuracies.
Relight the fires, get in contact with our grass roots and the electorate, show them that we are different to our Coalition partners and that we care and want to work for them and represent them.

But Chris... That's easier said than done. People hate us at the moment and its what we were doing before hand.

I know, campaigns have been hard fought and years of hard work lost because of the last six months of national politics and Westminster but we have four years to regroup and attack.
We need to listen to the people, represent them in fights against a council's unjust policies or actions.
I personally will be working for Gillingham South, supporting our two councillors in office and watching council policy closely and commentating as well.


I think it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for the coalition. I'm not suggesting that the party should leave the Coalition, far from it!

The coalition has a lot of important work to do, and we are pushing through a lot of our policies, policies that we wouldn't have a hope in hell of passing if we waited for a Lib Dem government.
We are also dulling the blade of Conservatism. I agree with Nick when he says that a Pupil Premium, AV referendum, cuts to income tax, free pre-school education would not have been brought in by the Conservative government on its own.

But we need to stand up, as a unit and say when we don't agree with something.
This is important, we have the right to abstention over issues, but the party all need to do it, not Just a few "Dissident MP's" whom the media quickly dive on as "Splitting the Coalition" but from Nick Clegg down we need to be able to say "No."
No to illiberal, unpopular, selfish policies that may arise or anything that is not supported by the party at large, especially NHS reform.

I also want to state that I am not encouraging dissent for the sake of dissent but we do need to remind the public that we are not a sub sect of the Conservative party and that we are backing "Alarm Clock Britain" and the electorate.

The more important thing is that we need to start trumpeting our achievements rather than relying on them to speak for themselves. People don't know that we've lowered the income tax threshold, or created the pupil premium all that can be seen is Tuition fees and austerity cuts.
Our achievements are being eaten up as "Government policy" and silently read as "Conservative policy." This needs to change.


I'm going to say it... I agree with Nick. I think he works exceptionally hard at a thankless job that anyone in his position would suffer with.

The Media like to portray him as a bungling untrustworthy buffoon who would as soon as sell his own grandmother to charm Cameron. Is it because they are frightened of what he represents? Last year it took a matter of days for newspapers to turn on him after the first successful leadership debate. "Nick Clegg is a Nazi" read one, others warned of the horrors of voting Lib Dem. "A Vote for Clegg is a Vote for Brown." Others call him a hypocrite for wanting to rid the world of business of Interns when he himself used interns. "A Vote for AV is a vote for PRESIDENT CLEGG!"
Thinly veiled attacks on him personally are being passed as news. He needs a media make over and he needs to stand up to David Cameron and distance himself from some decisions.

I think a leadership challenge at this point is politically crazy and dangerous. We've suffered a defeat Yes, but that is no reason to round on our leader yet unless he fails to address the situation. A change of command shows us to be weak in the face of adversity and strife and no one will support a party that crumbles like that. The last time we were in power we did the same thing, Lloyd George replaced Asquith and the split was horrendous and helped cause the party to implode. The same would happen now, we already strain a little between social liberals and Orange Book Liberals but we still use the same approach to solve problems, Mills' theories on Liberal politics. Its what the electorate and media don't get.

To quote Clegg again: "We're not on the left, we're not on the right. We have our own label. LIBERALS"

So I think our leader needs to remember that and start showing it not just closing his eyes and doing what he thinks is best but what the party and the people want.


Just one last thing and I think it is one of the most important. We've learnt that we cannot jump on bandwagons, or rally to populist policies that win votes but are hard to implement. Look at Tuition for Pete's sake.

When you're on the doorsteps or campaigning out there, and this goes for parliamentary and activists, and you too Nick if you're reading this (I doubt it) don't make promises that we cannot keep. Its simple.
In our local election the independents have said they will campaign to bring rail fares down. Balderdash.
We need to campaign on issues and truth... Not Balderdash.

No comments:

Post a Comment