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Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Democrats

Morning Star on Shropshire Tory Rout, “Labour is a Party that Hates itself.”

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North Shropshire by-election result: Lib Dems win historic victory in blow  for Boris Johnson | Shropshire Star

Starmer’s Critics Did Not Wait Long to Attack.

The Alt-left Tweets got going this morning:

Corbynista Extraordinaire Rachel writes,

Now we have Rosie Dee on the Squawking one’s Organ,

“Earlier this week, ‘Rosie Dee’ – a popular activist still in the Labour party – wrote in withering terms of Keir Starmer’s foolish squandering of an opportunity to actually oppose and set Labour apart from the Tories, when Starmer propped up Boris Johnson to save him from a Tory rebellion over ‘Covid passports’ and compulsory vaccinations. Starmer did not even demand any concessions from Johnson in return.

Now she analyses Labour’s catastrophic result in last night’s by-election as a ‘nightmare’ for the Tory PM – and for the Tory-lite Starmer:

North Shropshire – a Nightmare for Johnson, A dream for Lib Dems and sleepless nights for Labour if they are to approach this result with honesty.

Given the tone of some of Skwawky’s crew of commentators it’s not cups of Rosie Dee (Co-op 99) that they’ve been drinking,

It is not merely Keir Starmer who needs to go as leader. The whole rotten borough organisation of the Establishment reserves from Blair, Mandelson and Campbell et al through to the majority of the current PLP and their LA equivalents, along with their cadre of twelve year old management clones clogging up space which could be filled by people of talent and commitment to the values, both at head office and throughout the region’s all need to be expunged from the host body if that host is not to permanently expire.

We need a root and branch clearing out of the stables with room only for those prepared to do what it says on the tin when it comes to values and doing the business. No bodge jobs and no sodding waste of time and space careerists – just as applicable to some of the wastes of space self referencing so called ‘progressive’ (pseudo)’ left’ as it is with such equivalents on the right/extreme centre.

Editorial: How should we interpret the Tory humiliation in North Shropshire?

Morning Star – wholly independent of the Communist Party of Britain and owned by the co-op (not the Co-op that sells 99 Tea).

“Local factors may have played a part in the party’s collapsed appeal: the well-known Labour candidate of the last three general elections, Graeme Currie, was barred from standing for having shared social media posts supportive of Jeremy Corbyn and freedom for Palestine.”

Comment: there may be some truth in this claim,

Betrayed and abused’: Labour’s previous North Shropshire candidate not shortlisted for by-election

Nov 14, 2021 Shropshire Star,

An experienced Labour politician spoke of his “anger and revulsion” after being barred from running for the party in the North Shropshire by-election, suggesting it was partly because of his support for Jeremy Corbyn.

The Morning Star rushes to its own judgement:

“The anti-socialist stitch-up will have left a bad taste in the mouth, sapping Labour members’ will to campaign and reminding voters that Labour is a party that hates itself.

The self-identifying Daily Paper of the Left is keen not to rejoice at the Tory defeat.

These local factors should not be of much comfort, however. For one thing, Labour’s anti-socialist purges and arbitrary disqualification of local members’ preferred candidates are Britain-wide: they are undermining the party everywhere.

For another, the stampede towards the Lib Dems is a sign of class politics in retreat.

Others would point to the Lib-Dem by-election machine’s efficient working of a constituency which has little, if any, record of class struggle, and where there was not a hope in hell of getting a Labour MP in.

The Labour leadership are likely to read the Lib Dem vote as confirmation of Keir Starmer’s view that the Tories are vulnerable on sleaze but the big challenges to the status quo represented by Corbynism and Brexit are in the past. That people want things as they are, but without Johnson.

Given that Johnson is a corrupt clown, a national populist whose election owed a lot to his personal appeal to the voters, what is wrong with landing a severe blow against him? The Lib-Dem victory undermined the popular bit of the ‘populism’. What could be better first step to getting rid of him and his party’s hold on office?

The Editorial concludes with words that could have been written any time during the last thirty years. It gives no reason to indicate that people have a clear idea of what they want, until enlightened by the Morning Star and whatever ‘radical alternative’ they, pro-Brexiteers who played their part in creating the status quo, back at the moment.

We cannot accept a return to “there is no alternative” politics when every development from the pandemic to climate change screams the need for a radical alternative from the rooftops.

But stopping it will mean rebuilding the power of organised labour step by step, workplace by workplace and community by community.

If that’s their trade union funding sorted, and everybody who wants something done about climate change in their camp, but how many divisions has the Morning Star’s friends in the CPG got in the workplace and community? A few thousand, counting fellow travellers….


Like this well-hard geezer, small businessman Steve Walker – the man they are calling the new Tony Greenstein…

Bland and treacherous LibDems surge to take seat from chaotic Tories. Bland and treacherous Labour loses more than 56% of its vote share.

“…the bigger disaster was that of Keir Starmer’s Labour. In an election created by the resignation of the previous Tory incumbent in a scandal, Labour didn’t just fail to win the seat but lost more than 56% of its vote share at the last election under the supposedly unpopular Jeremy Corbyn.

Starmer and his factional allies have, of course, been vigorously rewriting history to suggest that Labour lost the 2019 general election because of Corbyn’s supposed unpopularity ‘on the [mythical] doorstep’ and greeted Starmer’s accession as the turning point that would show how much the country was clamouring for their diseased version of Labour.

Starmer’s taste-free snake oil has no appeal when it comes to the actual event of putting an ‘X’ on parliamentary ballot paper.

Tragically, a country in desperate need of real change has none on offer at a parliamentary level. Starmer’s destruction of the one vehicle of hope for that change is unforgivable and last night voters got the chance to deliver him the message yet again.”

From the Comments..

“I see Starmer’s policy of expelling all socialists on the pretext of antisemitism and persuading all the disillusioned Tory voters to vote for a Socialist free Zionist party of nodding dogs has failed. Big surprise that isn’t it.”

Written by Andrew Coates

December 17, 2021 at 3:31 pm

Left Votes For Liberal Democrats in North Shropshire?

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Can socialists ally with liberals and Liberals? Political liberalism is founded on the consent of the governed and equality before the law, democracy, human rights, and defence (in the terms of one of the French founding figures, Benjamin Constant, the “Liberty of the Moderns” to pursue a private life in civil society, outside of public interference, determined by their own goals.

This is perhaps the best side of liberal political theory. Many people on the left will also be familiar with the later writings on socialism of one of the founding figures of liberalism, John Stuart Mill. Mill (criticising views summed up by the exiled French socialist Louis Blanc, with whom he was personally acquainted), for proposing an alternative to capitalism run by ” one central authority”. “In Communist associations” he wrote, ” private life would be brought in a most unexampled degree within the dominion of public authority, and there would be less scope for the development of individual character and individual preferences than has hitherto existed among the full citizens of any state belonging to the progressive branches of the human family.” This comment, like those of Constant, who referred to the period of the Terror during the French Revolution, has resonance after the experience of Stalinism and totalitarian regimes.

Yet, given the problems and the poverty of the many under capitalism he argued that, “The result of our review of the various difficulties of Socialism has led us to the conclusion that the various schemes for managing the productive resources of the country by public instead of private agency have a case for a trial, and some of them may eventually establish their claims to preference over the existing order of things, but that they are at present workable only by the élite of mankind, and have yet to prove their power of training mankind at large to the state of improvement which they presuppose.”(Socialism.1879. Posthumously published ).

Some argue that this is a basis for piece-meal reform, if not a forerunner of the synthesis of political liberalism and social democratic egalitarianism that has marked the British Labour Party. This is an opening to a wide debate since it is hard to see how socialist goals of equality, and the abolition of classes can be achieved without a wholescale change in the way goods are produced, exchanged and distributed, and the ownership by one section of society of them, and their enrichment at the expense of others. This would be a revolutionary change, not directed by an elite, but by the people without these privileged rights.

At the same time those on the left who oppose Stalinism, totalitarianism, and illiberal national populism – democratic socialists – have common ground in defending human rights and civil liberties with currents of European liberalism that uphold these principles.

Step forward the British Liberal Democrats.

This is a political party, not liberalism as a trend of ideas within political theory.

Today the Guardian Editorialises:

The Guardian view on a byelection test: Labour voters should back the Lib Dems

Some years ago, at the start of the new millenium, an early version of Liberal Democrat Watch appeared. It had avid readers in Ipswich, and in other places where the Liberal Democrats were in local government. The County Town of Suffolk saw a coalition between the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems; it predated the Coalition in national government. It was not a happy time. They agree to Tory policies (the larger group on the Borough), cuts to services, efforts (that failed) to part flog off the municipally owned bus services to the usual chancers, and an attempt to destroy the local art cinema run by the council, and sack staff, it rankled that an important section of the Lib-Dem councillors had been Labour, leaving, for some, because the party was not left wing enough. One of the Libs (who claimed he had been CPGB at one point, then Labour) ended up more recently as a supporter of the Brexit Party and a rabid one at that….

That site is still going:

This revives some memories.

Usual Lib-Dem “Poll”:

It’s all the same campaigning we know too well:

Then there is this:

Wait for their campaign tactics..

The local Labour campaign is not quietly giving way to their fellow opposition party: internal polling has been released that shows the Tories have a seven-point lead on 40%, Labour is the runner-up on 33% and Lib Dems are in third place on 11%. It rivals the Lib Dem internal polling that found them in second place and Labour a distant third.

Labour List.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 7, 2021 at 6:55 pm

The Liberal Democrats’ Electoral Challenge, Brexit, and the Internationalist Left.

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Said to be the Best Liberal Democrats Poll Ever (read small print).

A few days ago the leader of the Liberal Democrats declared,

Jo Swinson: Liberal Democrats close to winning hundreds of seats

Our polling shows that are within a small swing of winning hundreds of seats; because the political landscape is so totally changed by what has happened in our country.

Neither Boris Johnson nor Jeremy Corbyn is fit to be Prime Minister. Our country deserves a better choice and I am standing as a candidate to be Prime Minister and I would just say to you Martha, it is not up to anybody to tell people what they can or can’t choose – what is or isn’t possible – this will be decided by members of the public, people listening to this show, in the streets up and down the country.

The Liberal Democrats have a positive, alternative vision of the future, that is what I am going to be fighting for at this election.

Followed by this today,

The Liberal Democrats, and their predecessors the Liberal Party, have since their mid-sixties (old millenium) revival relied on the dynamics of elections to present themselves as new, rising, force.

Canvassers and activists of other parties have long experience of last-minute Liberal leaflets claiming that their party is about to win.

Traditionally a last minute poll would appear through letter-boxes announcing that their candidate is the only one capable of beating the Tories/Labour Party.

Once they took over a building in the street just next to mine, where a frenzied campaign could be seen at work.

They never won an Ipswich MP but at one time (just before and after their national agreement with the Conservatives) they ran the Borough Council in coalition with the Tories….

The Ipswich Liberals recruited former Labour councillors, including one who is now a leading light in the Brexit Party.

The strategy of appealing to Labour supporters with the claim to be “more left wing”than the party of New Labour worked in other places too.

Famously Tariq Ali, now a hardline pro-Brexiteer and  would-ne Corbyn’s best friend,  then the public face of a group of leftists in Haringey, called to vote Liberal Democrat in 2005 on the issue of the Iraq War (TARIQ ALI URGES A VOTE FOR LIB DEMS).

In fact it was at the time that the Liberals took their own turn to the right.

The ‘Orange  Book’ (2004) liberalism of ” choice and competition” was an important moment in their recent history. The Lib Dems claimed to reconcile “freedom of choice and competition” that is, free-market ideas and social policies , with an appeal to social justice.

It proved a pathway to an alliance with the Conservatives after the 2010 election.

The market-minded emphasis of David Laws, who proposed a social insurance model for the NHS in his essay, and of Paul Marshall, the Lib Dem donor and chair of the charity Ark Schools which runs several academies, prefigured the informal contacts that prepared the way for coalition negotiations ahead of the inconclusive election result. Ideas about liberation through the small state, that may have shocked many Lib Dems in the boom years, moved into the mainstream in the age of austerity.

Ten years after the economic liberals tried to capture the party, it is still divided


Today the Liberal Democrats are striking out on the issue of Brexit, claiming to be the best fighters against the hard right Johnson plans.

They equally attack what they claim are illiberal positions of the Labour Party.

Given that Donald Trump’s two best friends, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage represent a danger to democratic values, to internationalism, that is the common ground that Liberals and liberals share with democratic socialists, few people on the left will  concentrate their attacks on the Lib Dems and Jo Swinson. The national populists are our principal enemy.

Those claiming to be on the left who consider that “human rights” and liberal tolerance of different beliefs are part and parcel of “globalism” and back brexit, are part of the red-brown front, not the Labour camp.

As in here:

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But we should remind Liberal Democrats that we too, that is the radical internationalist wing of Labour, stand for these principles.

Perhaps one of the best ways to look at this is through the ideas of the writer, Étienne Balibar.

Balibar stands for what he calls “Equaliberty“. This brings together freedom, equality, and democracy (which he sees as an expanding ‘limitless’ idea).  His writings bring together modern social movements, class based politics, democratic (anti-Stalinist) Marxism, and the revolutionary tradition of human rights,

Equaliberty means that politics is founded on the recognition that neither freedom nor equality can exist without the other, that is, that the suppression or even the limitation of one necessarily leads to the suppression or limitation of the other.

What is a Politics of the Rights of Man?

These are some of the ideas which many people in Labour stand for, principles of hope for a better future.

Our stand, the internationalist left’s stand, is to fight against Brexit, the strategy of the hard right, by making this part of a campaign for greater social justice.

The Liberal Democrats may support liberty, but just how far do they back the Labour programme for equality?