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Nathan
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12/02/2019 4:36 pm  

Image result for the guardian front page 2013

Daily newspaper often seen as being on the mainstream left of political opinion. It is increasingly shifting onto a digital platform and has had success in doing so. 

2010 General Election Endorsement: Liberal Democrats.

2014 General Election Endorsement: Labour

This topic was modified 22 hours ago by Nathan

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Sinan
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19/02/2019 2:58 pm  

The Left Resurgent: How Ari Suchet Resurrected Socialism

The Labour party has elected its first female leader, a momentous milestone for the party that has historically stood for the rights of women. The more fascinating aspect is where in the party Ari Suchet hails from, she hails from an unashamedly left wing anti austerity, pro-immigration and pro-EU wing of the party.

To be clear, this should be considered distinct from the wing of the party that makes up the Socialist Campaign Group, often derided as the sealed tomb of the left. Ms Suchet shares none of their historic euroscepticism, represents much more socially liberal part of the country than a lot of their MPs (though some are her parliamentary neighbours). This is a form of socialism that is passionate, as Ms Suchet often was during the contest and has the makings of a dynamic force that could propel Labour over the line at the next election.

The first and most difficult step for any left-wing candidate in the Labour party is to get the nominations required to get on the ballot, John McDonnell once again tried, but only mustered 7 nominations, most of whom ended up backing Emma Thornberry alongside other MPs considered to sit on the left of the party. Ms Suchet found some of her fellow left-wingers to give her their nominations and upon realising the kind of Blairism that her main rival, Juliet Manning was presenting managed to gather the nominations of a lot of MPs who sit on the party's "soft left".

Then came the party's infamous Channel 4 debate, highlighted by Emma Thornberry's early shouting of the word "CAPITAL" in response to the first question. The outburst and overall poor performance of hers meant a lot of the left in the party at large and the unions would feel no choice other than to vote for Ms Suchet. While Ms Thornberry would be condemned to only win 2% of the electoral college vote, a sign that she was not ready to face the rigour of a leadership contest against comparatively capable contenders. While the media consensus was that Juliet Manning had performed better in the debate than Ms Suchet, there was a lot of consternation in all parts of the Labour party about her stance on Grammar Schools.

This led to a large number of MPs, choosing to back a candidate from the left of the party. MPs who would rather be caught dead than in a room with the Socialist Campaign Group or the MPs in their political vicinity were now voting together to stop what they saw as a divisive and dangerous leader who would ignite furious party rows. However, privately some Labour MPs who voted for Ms Manning felt that she was right to challenge the party's taboo on Grammar Schools and had made a persuasive case that they appreciated, though didn't necessarily agree with. Others who voted for Ms Manning felt that a party led from the left would lack any sort of economic credibility and that Labour had to show it "learned its lesson". There was also the issue of the large number of abstentions and votes for Dara (a reference to a twitter spat.) a significant number of MPs couldn't bring themselves to vote for any of the 3 candidates fearing that they would doom the party one way or another.

These abstentions, which most likely would have been votes for a moderate on the right of the party opened the path for Ms Suchet. The membership still voted for Ms Manning, this is after all the party where David Miliband came out on top of his brother with the membership, but once again clearly enough of them feel that the days of the New Labour formula being the path to victory has ended to hand victory to the left. Unions and affiliates understandably rattled by the prospect of a pro-Grammar School Labour leader, swung behind Ms Suchet to deliver her victory.

The question is can she translate that victory into gains in the next election. The initial set of polls show that the party has taken a hit, though this is more likely a function of the manner of the leadership contest than a verdict on Ms Suchet. Based on the polling average, she would form a majority government if an election were held today, the question is can she build on this foundation and bring Labour back to government after only one term of Tory-led government? The other more immediate question is whether members of the parliamentary party will tolerate a leader who challenges so many of their convictions on what they believe needs to be done to win? For now Ms Suchet is secure and can build her security with strong performances and reaching out to the talents across the party. If she manages this, the future may not just be bright for the Labour party, but red for the UK.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Steve
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21/02/2019 11:10 pm  

Labour targets Lib Dem voters in first campaigning push post-election

Labour has kicked off their new era of leadership with a day of campaigning focused on disgruntled Lib Dem voters. Labour canvassers delivered a strongly worded appeal for Lib Dem voters to "come home" to Labour (reproduced below).

The letter strongly attacks the Coalition record on tuition fees, tax, and constitutional reform; while appealing to Labour's liberal traditions and achievements.

The appeal has received a mixed reception, with criticism from Lib Dem and Conservative voices on twitter. Lib Dem voters the Guardian spoke to were split. One told us that they were still sceptical about Labour even though they were angry at the Lib Dems. "Most of the liberal achievements they're gloating about here were 50 years ago," he said. "This is the party that only a few years ago was trying to force ID cards on us."

But another was more receptive. "I'm sick to my stomach about what the Lib Dems are doing," Jenny, a former member of the party said. "I want to see how Ari Suchet does. If she can prove she deserves my trust I'll consider voting Labour again."

 

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Sinan
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23/02/2019 11:01 pm  

An Unlikely Hero Emerges

Many politicians are privy to information and hold suspicions that they are unwilling to share, even if there is a public interest in doing so. This can be for any number of reasons, but it almost always comes back to convenience. It's convenient for a lot of people to sit in the party they are in, even if they sense something is wrong.

That's why when a politician, even one that you vociferously disagree with, steps up to the plate and says what needs to be said, you have to give them their fair share of credit. Up stepped Dylan Macmillan a man who this paper has often strongly disagreed with. It's well known that since coming into office and for some period before that, Mary Cambel has been operating under the shadow of a scandal. A leak that was falsified, released by the BBC. The Conservative Party is now engaging in a token effort to find the culprit, though some in the public wonder if the blame lies at the Prime Ministers feet.

Mr Macmillan's speech, was brave, articulate and spoke to a concern that many Britons have. In our gut we know that there's a disconnect, a lack of trust between the people of this country and its political and media class. His support for Leveson is a brave position for a member (or for now suspended member) of the Conservative Party to take.

Whatever his future may be in politics, be it returning to the Tory benches or striking out on his own, we hope that Mr Macmillan will continue to show the integrity that has been rare on Tory benches and sadly all too rare on opposition benches as well.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Sinan
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25/02/2019 2:56 pm  

What next for Labour?

 

By Calvin Ward MP

When Juliet Manning conceded the Labour leadership election to Ari Suchet, the two women at the forefront of Britain’s centre-left greeted each other with the socialist fraternal kiss; three deep hugs alternating from left to right with a kiss on the cheek in each embrace. It was a gesture never before seen in British politics, and one which is seldom seen at all outside of the African National Congress in this day and age.


It was far from a spontaneous act. I am told that it was the idea of Juliet, who by the time the pair appeared on stage knew already that she had won the popular vote amongst ordinary party members but lost to her opponent overall, to mark this moment of transition in such a bold, arguably controversial and above all “socialist” way.


I can only speculate what it meant for these two women, knowing that the Labour Party was about to acclaim its first female leader, to choose to portray each other as comrades in arms at a time when our political opponents had proven bitterly divided.


It is not insignificant that Ari chose to make none other than Juliet herself chairperson of the party, so creating a triumvirate of strong and outspoken women - Ari, Juliet and Harriet Harman - as the centre of power within the Opposition. Already, under their stewardship, the party has pitched itself as the natural home of liberals in Britain: damning the coalition whilst accepting that Labour itself needs to do much to win back the trust of the British people. The fact that our three political leaders, each of whom effectively represent a distinct faction within the party, have come together and committed their energies to a single cause, is remarkable in itself.


The Government has been racked by scandal and division. Mary Cambel’s ascension to office was marred by controversy surrounding the leak of supposedly falsified tax plans, the investigation into which has itself triggered further discontent, with Dylan MacMillan thrown out of the Conservatives and incurring the angry wrath of his former colleagues. Within hours of her appointment as Equalities Minister, Rashida Khan was sacked as a storm erupted over her opposition to gay marriage. The Defence Secretary was swept into a bitter war of words with a prominent Tory backbencher, and eyebrows were raised amongst senior Whitehall officials as the Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions seemed to usurp the Home Office in taking control of a dispute over emergency service pay and pensions. These disasters merely scratch the surface of Tory division: Europe lurks in the background, pushing individual ministers into small cabals with the potential to knock the Prime Minister sideways.


The Liberal Democrats have, as ever, had virtually nothing to say about the ongoing troubles in Westminster. Meredith Hansen-Charles was at least complicit in the appointment of Rashida Khan, showing a serious lack of political judgement - and as the Blue on Blue attacks have grown in ferocity, exasperation surely grows throughout the country with the feeble enablers in orange.


Already, it has been Labour which has seized the initiative. When firefighters across the nation went out on strike, it was Juliet Manning in her capacity as Shadow Home Secretary who held talks with the Fire Brigades Union before anyone within the government had lifted a finger. Those talks were productive and informative for both parties - informing our position that whilst public sector pensions do need to be made sustainable, one cannot expect a 60-year-old firefighter to be capable of meeting the same fitness standards as one five years his junior.


Bertie Wilson, talked of in many quarters as a future leadership candidate himself, has already impressed in his early spars with the Education Secretary over school budgets. Dot Wainwright has dominated party policy discussions, forcefully putting forward a forward-looking agenda at ease with the developments of a modern economy. The shadow cabinet is filled with big-hitters, in stark contrast to the government’s “cabinet of last resort.”


As the leadership campaign made clear, what the Labour Party must do now is to redefine “socialism” for the modern age. Neither the hard-left mantras of the 1980s nor the authoritarianism of New Labour are fit for purpose in a climate that is increasingly hostile towards politics and politicians. The major challenges of our time are clear: a sluggish economy with downtrodden wages; a critical shortage of housing; the need to reform our schools and hospitals to meet with the challenges of the future. The biggest challenge of all, perhaps, is the challenge of political and constitutional reform. With the nationalists on the rise in Scotland and UKIP building up a substantial protest vote in England, it is clear that the government’s failure to engage properly with a reform agenda should be seen as an opportunity for Labour to lead the way.


In my view, the Labour Party must commit itself wholesale to the vision that has been set out thus far: of a patriotic, liberal socialism which appeals to all corners of society. We must support the freedom of the individual and of the economy, whilst pushing for an increased role for social responsibility, and the community. We must roll back the frontiers of corporate - and state - control, whilst extending greater freedoms to all our people. We must tirelessly promote equality for all, and secure a better standard of living for the many. Above all, we must dedicate ourselves to the promotion of opportunity: whatever your background and whatever your dream, you should be able to trust the Labour Party to help you make it happen.


There will be three strands to this work. The first is to mend our broken political system. Labour must embrace proportional representation where the coalition have failed to deliver it, and abolish or replace wholesale the antiquated House of Lords. We must ban MPs from holding second jobs and make clearer the accountability of civil servants to the public at large. Local authorities and devolved administrations should be strengthened, not strangled: and we should extend the franchise to those who, at 16, are already permitted to marry, join the armed forces and enter the world of work.


The second strand is to fix our broken economy. Labour must promote bold investment in infrastructure and technology, whilst seeking to build a world-beating education service and a world-leading health service accessible to all. Taxes should remain low and fall further, especially for the poorest who are hit hard by VAT and other forms of indirect taxation. Enterprise must be supported and made possible by an economy that is flexible and responsive to change; underpinning all of this must be a firm commitment to workers’ rights, with a real living wage as standard and an end to exploitative zero-hours contracts.

The third strand is to make people feel safe and secure in their communities once again. That means making it easier to build new and better housing, and continuing to support council tenants who wish to own their own homes. It means opening up the most deprived areas to investment, and it means managing immigration in a way which is rational, fair and effective - relieving pressure on the most troubled communities, whilst continuing to support the public services which depend on the contribution made by migrants. Most of all, it means supporting the police and recognising the changing face of crime: implementing common-sense justice and doing more to combat terrorism.


These three strands will form what is being dubbed at Brewers Green as the “broad front” strategy: forging a bold, ambitious and evidence-based plan for Britain which looks forwards, not back. Ari Suchet and Juliet Manning are leading the charge, and the Labour Party has never been more united behind them.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Sinan

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Steve
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02/03/2019 9:21 am  

FBU Deal a welcome break from Cameron's confrontation

Image result for matthew wrack

People like Matt Wrack are not the "enemy within"

Like many people we held out little hope that the Government would give any ground in its talks with the Fire Brigades' Union. But we have been pleasantly surprised by the details of the deal, which goes much further than the last government had ever been willing to.

It is a welcome change of direction. Hardliners in the Tory Party and right wing press have not moved on since the 1970s and 1980s, or from seeing unions as the "enemy within" rather than as the collective representatives of millions of ordinary people who with the next breath they bemoan for not engaging in the political process.

The reality is that the deal delivers the core of the government's intention - raising the firefighters' pension age to 60 - with the substantial protections the unions said was necessary in such a physically demanding profession. That is what modern compromise between unions and government should look like. It may mean the fiscal savings in the long term are slightly lower; but the short term insecurity of the thousands of firefighters or the people who rely on them with be eased. And further reform is hardly ruled out.

William Croft deserves a strong accolade for his handling in particular; questionable comments on question time that could have easily disrailed the talks aside. While we have yet to see a coherent vision from the new Government, early indications are that it is working hard to shed some of the more hardline elements of policy within the Cameron government - and that is a change we can welcome with open arms.

A Team


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General Goose
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04/03/2019 11:22 pm  

WHY WE WALKED

Mary Cambel broke one record as prime minister: she is, by far, the shortest serving PM we’ve had since Queen Victoria ascended to the throne. It will certainly make for an interesting pub quiz question one day, but the primary lesson we can learn from her short-lived premiership is that party politicking and reckless brinksmanship do not work.

So what happened? The events of yesterday were bewildering, and as one of the central figures caught up in them, proximity did not bring clarity. It is easy to think that this was just standard Westminster infighting that became unusually public, but what was at stake was trust. Mary Cambel and Harold Saxon showed they were not worthy of the trust of their colleagues, and they recklessly endangered a proposal to allow the removal of corrupt and criminal MPs while at the same time attempting to destroy the link between MP and constituency that many hold so dear.

The recall bill would have given ordinary people the right to recall any MP found guilty of serious wrongdoing. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats supported this bill. Conservative Calum Douglas-Wilson, however, introduced three amendments that would have required mandatory by-elections for any MP who had the whip removed or changed party affiliation. Meredith Hansen-Charles and I made it clear that the Liberal Democrats would not support this. It would empower the whips and stifle independence amongst MPs, and as people vote for an individual rather than a party, it would have profound and damaging constitutional impacts severing that important link between MP and constituents. These wrecking amendments would have sunk the whole bill – and were clearly intended as an attack on ex-Tory MP Dylan Macmillan rather than borne from any principle.

Meredith Hansen-Charles, as Deputy Prime Minister, was in charge of constitutional reform. She set out the government’s view on this, in coordination with her Cabinet colleagues of both parties. Harold Saxon, Chief Whip AND Foreign Secretary AND Health Secretary, then whipped Tory MPs to vote for the amendments. This was disastrous. I can’t think of any other instance in British history where a Chief Whip whipped against government policy.

Saxon had to go. He had to leave the Cabinet. He had broken trust, broken collective Cabinet responsibility, undermined the pillars of reciprocity and mutual understanding upon which the coalition was built. Eager to reform politics and to make something good out of this mess, we also requested a free vote on a bill by Dylan Macmillan to replace the House of Lords with an elected Senate. Conservatives had repeatedly dodged and ducked their duty to give us a meaningful vote on a democratic upper chamber. This was the chance to right that wrong.

But Cambel seemed to prioritise Saxon’s political career over the coalition and, indeed, the country. They showed no inclination to compromise. No principled reason was given as to why Saxon should remain. Then they went on a counteroffensive, one that caught me off guard. I had mentioned, in passing to Dylan Macmillan, that I was to be attending talks with Cambel and Saxon about this issue. I also told him that it was my opinion that this should be used as an opportunity for something good, in the form of a democratic upper chamber. For Saxon, that was reason enough to say that I had leaked. I hadn’t. I had not revealed a single thing that was said in confidence. I had just divulged my schedule and shared my thoughts.

It was a false equivalence, and a brazenly insulting one at that. The result they wanted was for us to sweep this under the rug, to continue as if nothing had happened. How could we? It was clear Cambel and Saxon were incapable of negotiating in good faith. And by all constitutional precedent, Saxon had to go. He had whipped against government policy – grounds for returning to the backbenches under any normal arrangement. In contrast, all I had done was dare to talk to someone that Saxon didn’t like. How they thought these two acts in any way balanced each other out was beyond me.

What was especially vexing is that the recall bill – without the wrecking amendments and the draconian attempt to so fundamentally change the nature of British politics that they entailed – was something that we both had in our respective manifestos. Our manifestos agreed that recalls would only be permissible in cases of serious wrongdoing, that they would not be used and abused as a tool for party political aims. The coalition agreement reflected this consensus between our parties.

Both Cambel and Saxon often implored us to keep faith to the coalition agreement. They routinely told us to fall into line because we couldn’t risk seeing the coalition end. When the time came for them to make their own sacrifice for the coalition, they refused. Their words were shown up as empty. They did not want coalition partners. They wanted servants.

They could have stayed on, but they no longer enjoyed the trust and confidence of the party. Sir Rick Horncastle and Alex Cardigan left the Cabinet, principled public servants that they are, condemning in no uncertain times the hostile and erratic behaviour of their leadership, and it is an open secret at Westminster that most Conservative ministers who had an opinion on the matter did not side with Cambel and Saxon. The confrontation was viewed as unnecessary; the grievances of Lib Dems legitimate; the risks of stubborn refusal to budge too great.

I will give Mary Cambel credit for this. She did not prolong her departure or inflict gratuitous uncertainty on the nation in a last-ditch attempt to save her political career. A Prime Minister unable to work within the confines of coalition, she recognised, is an unsuitable Tory leader. This move was laudable and gives Cambel a chance to turn her reputation around and make positive contributions on the issues that matter most to her and her constituents.

For Saxon, whose childish insults on Twitter have bemused politicos and frustrated his constituents, such a window of opportunity to bow out gracefully has likely passed.

I firmly believe that the coalition was a worthy endeavour. It provided stable government when the country needed it – and a program of fiscal responsibility that was far fairer than what either the Tories or Labour were promising on their own. We remain open to coalitions in the future. The Liberal Democrats are, after all, a pluralist party, who believe in the views and interests of everyone in the nation being represented in the mode of government, who reject tribalism and dogma. I would happily enter a coalition government in the future – provided it was based around mutual respect and trust, and a mature and honest approach to the differences that will inevitably arise. I had productive working relationships and have sincere friendships with many of my Conservative colleagues. It is a shame Cambel and Saxon threw that away.

The challenge to all parties is clear. If you care about stable government, if you care about showing faith to the decisions made by the electorate, if you care about those members of the public who aren’t your party faithful, accept that coalitions are here to stay – and elect leaders who are up to that task.

Graham Adiputera MP was Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change during the Cambel premiership and serves as Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader. He has been MP for Sutton and Cheam since 2001 and before entering politics was an academic who worked on issues of international relations, political economy and political theory.

((Posted with permission))

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Parliamentary - 17
Media - 30
Policy - 24


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Sinan
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19/03/2019 10:36 am  

The Election is heading for a dead heat but why?

If you had offered the Conservatives a tie in the popular vote and retaining around 270 seats (as they are expected to based on the latest polls) I imagine Dylan Macmillan would have taken it. While his personal numbers have slid rather hard, his party have managed to soar in the polls after an initial leaking of support. Though it's worth noting that they've only recovered to their pre-election level of support after a horrible first half of the campaign whose only saving grace was that Labour were also struggling under the pressure of MHC's fantastic debate performance and UKIP and to a lesser extent the Greens slowly eating away at Labour's base.

The first sign of trouble for Labour was at that very debate, this was meant to be Ari Suchet's time to shine, to show that the anti-austerity left had found an avatar that could propel a wing of the Labour party that many didn't even remember existed to government. Instead she fell flat on her face, overshadowed by a leader who should have been weighed down by the baggage of coalition. Dylan Macmillan was even allowed to get out of the debate relatively unscathed, though as the electorate have seen more of him it is worth noting that they've liked him less.

After the first half of the campaign showed little movement between the two major parties, besides their leaking to the minor parties and the re-energised Lib Dems who are now moving onto an offensive strategy in their targeting on the back of their improved fortunes in the polls. Then came the Tory salvo, they used their superior resources to great effect, erecting billboards, sending leaflets and aggressively targeting their target seats. That combined with Macmillan's underwhelming, but solid performance in a one-on-one debate with Ms Suchet provided the foundation for what now appears to be the direct switching of probable Labour voters to the Conservatives.

For Ms Suchet the stakes can't be higher, failure to win against a disgustingly unpopular coalition (and briefly a minority) government will likely condemn the Left-Liberal wing of Labour to the fate of their ideological forebears. To be sealed in the crypt that is the Socialist Campaign Group, forever a hostage within the party, forced to stay by an electoral system that punishes splits. Ms Suchet does have the resources to turn this around, the manifesto while not as well received as either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat counterparts has several strong and popular policies. According to insiders in the party HQ, the party still has a lot of resources to deploy and they have talented messengers at the top of their party.

Though it may look like the election is heading for a dead heat or a narrow Conservative victory based on the trends, the opportunity is still there for Ms Suchet and Labour to turn what looks like their darkest hour into a moment of greatest triumph. They only need to look to their own policies, understand why they were at one point polling 10 points clear (it was more than just Mary Cambel) and deploy their ample resources in the marginal seats they need to win. Succeed and Ms Suchet may yet lead a majority government from a position that has never led a majority government. Fail and we're looking at 5 more years of condemnation.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Steve
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19/03/2019 7:25 pm  

Labour is ready to govern. Just.

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At the last election we declared that the liberal moment had come. We stand by that. By 2010 new Labour looked as if it were retreating to the worst of its illiberal instincts, both economically and socially; it seemed tired, out of ideas, and in need of a stint in opposition.

But we obviously cannot ignore that on many issues, the Lib Dems have disappointed us. Tuition fees, welfare cuts, and tax cuts for the rich are a toxic mix that, even if they moderated, the Liberal Democrats enabled. 

We have a huge personal respect for Meredith Hansen-Charles and for Dylan Macmillan. They have both stood up for their views in difficult circumstances recently, and strike out a distinctly liberal tone on political and press reform, and on justice. But they are from the government and parties that gave us the bedroom tax and £9,000 a year university. We cannot in good conscience advise a vote for either.

That leaves Labour. Since 2010 there have been positive changes: Ed Miliband, and now Ari Suchet, have struck a distinctly more pragmatic and liberal tone on issues such as justice and immigration. Are we yet convinced that they can be trusted on the economy? Not entirely. The party speaks with great passion on inequality and austerity and we commend that. But the end to austerity and making our economy fairer needs to be sustainable and relies on fresh ideas. Labour has some good policies - such as a significant increase in the minimum wage - but we are more concerned about suggestions of mass renationalisation that will have only questionable benefit.

However, on balance Labour is clearly the right choice. Labour's campaign has asserted that it is "ready to govern." We agree. Just.

A Team


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Sinan
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21/03/2019 1:41 pm  

2014 General Election break down: how did this happen?

By Ian Warren (@Election_Data)

It was a long night and at the end of it the exit poll proved to have underestimated 2 critical things: the SNP surge and the resilience of the Lib Dems. There were of course other upsets and shocks, UKIP managed to win in Thurrock and Shrewsbury a month before European elections where they will now surely be the favourites. Labour did end up becoming the largest party, but barely, only 19 seats, less than 100,000 votes and only 0.3% ahead of the Conservatives.

So how did we get to this situation? Why did the Labour Party fail to make the sorts of gains that were indicated by the polling, especially those at the start of the campaign. How did UKIP seize two seats? Why have the Conservatives managed to overperform in marginals and what changed for the Lib Dems to allow them lose only 7 seats by the end of the night?

First, why did the Labour Party struggle to get close to a majority? The obvious answer is the SNP surge, while many will point to the failure to take Redcar and make progress against the Lib Dems as a symptom, there are relatively few Lib Dem/Labour marginals, so a stronger performance might only have yielded 4 or 5 more seats from the Lib Dems (who are Labour's likely partner in some kind of governing arrangement). UKIP also surged in several key Labour/Conservative marginals and in a lot of seats seemed to have hurt Labour more than the Conservatives. Though it is worth remembering that UKIP's two seats were Conservative seats before the election. To take an example look at Nuneaton the Conservatives clung on by 140 votes, their vote share fell by 4.7%, but Labour's also fell. The only parties to rise? The Green Party by 0.6% and UKIP by 12.8%. There was an undercurrent of anger through the election, especially in the wake of Mary Cambel's tenure as Prime Minister that seems to have fed into the UKIP/SNP/Green Party increases, whether such anger is sustainable and will lead to these parties becoming meaningful movements in the long run is yet to be seen.

That aforementioned anger is likely the driving factor that saw two of UKIPs high profile candidates secure shock wins, Thurrock and Shrewsbury and Atcham will now be represented by UKIP. UKIP seemed to have taken advantage of the space afforded to them by Dylan Macmillan's move towards a referendum on EU membership and claimed a victory in shifting the Tory position. The fact that they were able to point to a concrete shift from a -seemingly- principled politician served to both damage Mr Macmillan and make a large section of Conservative voters believe UKIP was a worthwhile protest vote. This potent mix damaged Dylan Macmillan when compared to Ari Suchet and MHC and served to deliver some of the more decisive losses to the Tories against their old coalition partner and the Labour Party.

The result in Scotland seems to be down to similar factors to the UKIP surge, a general dissatisfaction with perceived sleaze in Westminster and the looming independence referendum drove voting dynamics. The Labour losses seem to have more to do with Scottish Labour than with Ari Suchet herself, with a lot of the sentiment being that the Scottish Labour Party had taken their voters for granted and were unwilling to properly challenge austerity. It's worth noting that the Scottish Labour Party sits comfortably on the right of the Labour Party and the Scottish Labour contingent in the PLP contained MPs who were openly opposed to Ms Suchet, such as Ian Murray. Perhaps it will be a small comfort to Ms Suchet that some of her most ardent opponents in the PLP have lost their seats? Though the loss of Edinburgh South to the Liberal Democrats indicated it's not only the SNP who are feeding off the notion that Scottish Labour has lost touch with voters.

The Liberal Democrats, against all expectations, probably enjoyed last night. Or they enjoyed it as much as possible given they lost votes and seats. The credit for this result goes to the Liberal Democrats vastly superior campaign and manifesto. Also it helps to be led by the most popular politician in the UK, MHC has been a revelation as Lib Dem leader. Perceived as a steady pair of hands, many reluctant Labour voters will have voted for the party on the basis that MHC and Juliet Manning would guide Ari Suchet towards softer-left positions. The Liberal Democrats will be able to breathe easy for a while and plot out the next election pretty much at their leisure with many seats up for grabs after the toxicity of the Con-Dem coalition has passed. In fact the churn in vote share indicates the 16.3% will likely be much more resilient than their previous coalition of voters indicating a high floor for MHC going forward.

Finally there is the surprising strength of the Conservatives in some marginal seats. This likely led to the closeness of the final result, it seems as if the Conservative 2010 cohort each outperformed the expected swing by 3.5-4.5% While there were some painful losses like Broxtowe and Sherwood in the East Midlands or Waveney, all in all there were some surprising and even encouraging holds that may not have been plausible had Dylan Macmillan not been Prime Minister, such as Stevenage held by 0.8% on a majority of 373. Without the incumbency advantage and Dylan Macmillan recovering the parties polling from rock bottom the seat would have comfortably gone Labour. To blame this result on Dylan Macmillan is to ignore critical context about the party he inherited. A party that was 10 points behind Labour in the polls and on the verge of a historic collapse. A prolonged scrum about the leadership of the Tories feels inevitable, but it may just lead to Mr Macmillan staying in place and being in an even weaker position than when he inherited the party, a situation a lot of senior Tory MPs are keen to avoid.

This election seems to have been defined and dominated by the aftermath of the historic scandal Mary Cambel presided over, the public anger precipitated into large increases in vote share for UKIP and the SNP. The warning signs are there for all 3 major parties, people are willing to turn to alternatives if the circus of Westminster doesn't get its act together, whether those warning signs are heeded is another matter entirely.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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