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Friday, July 31, 2015

Will David Miliband return to assume the throne?

It is still 43 days before we will know who the new leader of the Labour Party will be. It feels like an eternity has passed already. Can we cope with another six weeks of Labour's very public self-immolation? Haven't they learnt yet that there are some things best done in private?

What is worse the Times reports that a number of Blairites are already planning for a post-Jeremy Corbyn world. That is they are starting to line up options for getting rid of the Islington MP should he win in September.

The paper quotes 'leading-Blairites' who believe that David Miliband could return as an MP if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Labour leader so as to try to take advantage of the hard-left candidate’s likely downfall.

At the same time the Communication Workers Union  has endorsed Mr Corbyn and urged him to purge the party of Blairites, calling them a “virus”. A walk in the park this is not. These people are meant to be on the same side.

Given David Miliband's lack of killer instinct when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister and when decisive action could have got him the keys to the party leadership and number 10 Downing Street, the chances of any of this plot becoming a reality is unlikely.

However, it is indicative of the mood in the Labour Party at present, who seem to have embarked on one all-mighty self-destructive binge to oblivion.

I know that it won't come to that but one has to ask oneself why so-called Socialists are indulging themselves in this way and consequently giving the Tories a free ride as they dismantle our public services?
While the comment “one has to why so-called Socialists are indulging themselves in this way and consequently giving the Tories a free ride as they dismantle our public services?” is very pertinent, might it be more apt to ask oneself “why so many Liberal Democrats indulged themselves in government for five years while the party around them was clearly collapsing and consequently gave the Tories a free ride that enabled them to detoxify themselves while dismantling our public services?” After all, as a relatively senior Lib Dem, you must be much closer to knowing the answer on that one.
I do not think that being in Government, putting your policies into effect and keeping the right wing of the Tory Party in check is an indulgence. Isn't that why we are in politics?

Yes, it had an impact on the Liberal Democrats but we were putting the country ahead of our own self-interest, unlike Labour who appear to have forgotten why they are in Parliament in the first place.

As for giving the Tories a free ride, that is hardly the case. You just have to look at what they are now doing which we prevented them from doing in the first place to see that they had a very difficult ride.

And let's not forget why there was a coalition government. It was because voters rejected Labour and because Labour were not interested in working with the Liberal Democrats in Government even if the maths had added up.

Oh and the reason that the Tories are now dismantling our public services is because they won a majority in an election with a first past the post system that Labour colluded in ensuring stayed in place at a time when we had a chance to reform it.
Peter, Let’s look at it objectively. In 2010 and 2005 well over 20% of the electorate trusted us with their vote. We had over 4,000 councillors with some on almost every council in the country and 11 MEPs and 60 MPs. We regularly had a representative on Question Time, Any Questions etc. Every person in the UK had a Lib Dem at some level of government (or often a team at several levels of government) which they could go to and raise issues if the local Council, NHS Trust, government department or whatever had decided to ignore their rights.

Now we have just 8% of the electorate who vote for us, less than 1,900 councillors with many black holes al over the country, 1 MEP and 8 MPs.

When you ask “I do not think that being in Government, putting your policies into effect and keeping the right wing of the Tory Party in check is an indulgence. Isn't that why we are in politics?” I’m in politics for much more than that and I hope you are too. What was done may not by some be considered an indulgence but it was huge waste of opportunity, the work of about 40 years and quite likely the entire future of our party.

Personally I think that the “we were putting the country ahead of our own self-interest” is actually simply self justifying, because none of us are in it for ourselves, we are in it for the people who need us to be there to fight for them, and there are now no Lib Dems to do that in so many parts of the country. What we have done is put the interest of a few years of minor influence right now (and compared to what has been sacrificed it is minor) ahead if the long term interest of future generations who need Liberals.

We didn’t sacrifice our own self interest, we sacrificed a legacy, a vision and a future for five years in ministerial positions taking the blame while the Tories detoxified themselves and toxified first Nick and now the entire party. We have 8% of the vote and a very tenuous future where in 10 years time there may be no Lib Dem MPs left.

At best we delayed the Tories doing some of the things they wanted to do for five years at the expense of our party’s future. At worst we gave them five years for people to forget how nasty they are while they did a bit less than they might, but have given them at least another five years to do even more damage.

Finally saying it is Labour’s fault shows a massive unwillingness to face up to the fact that we entered into it all knowing how Labour behave in such circumstances and yet we pretend it was not our fault for behaving as if they would suddenly become a different party.

Ultimately like so many politicians we may chose to deny that things ever went wrong that were our fault, but the electorate have voted and shown such protestations to be no more than self indulgent self justification. We can go on pretending that it wasn’t our personal fault and we don’t need to change and watch the party steadily unravel as voters realise the few that are left are still in denial, or we can face up to our mistakes and change.

It really is your choice.

"When you ask “I do not think that being in Government, putting your policies into effect and keeping the right wing of the Tory Party in check is an indulgence. Isn't that why we are in politics?” I’m in politics for much more than that and I hope you are too."

Seriously David? You are in politics to act as an ideas think tank for the other parties and to get elected without taking responsibility then? That is not what the Liberal Democrats are about and nor has it ever been so.

Yes we made mistakes in Government and we paid for that. I regret as you do the situation we now find ourselves in. I may lose my job to UKIP next May as a result. But I honestly think that back in 2010 we had no choice but to enter that coalition. The problem is what we did with it once we were there.

Many of us expected to pay for the decision to go into Government and we did many times over. None of us expected the devastation to be as great as it was. But it was still the right decision because at the end of the day a political party exists to put its policies into effect in Government. And we did that. We also acted in the National interest and kept the Tories in check.

It was a high price to pay for that, but what was your alternative? Your rant does say.

Five years in Government, with jobs for a small few, for the Party to be smashed and then let down the following generation - is that why you are in politics?
Seriously Paul? We achieved a great deals n government as you know. I am in politics to get things done not to shout from the sidelines. Clearly that is your preference,
Peter, my response to your last reply to me where you stated I had a rant has not been posted. Will it? I really do fear that our party and its values are in danger of total oblivion if good Lib Dems just bury their heads in the sand.
I don't seem to have that comment David. Can you post it again? And I am not burying my head in the sand. I am just trying to deal with the world as it is, accepting we made mistakes and paid for them and trying to move on. To be honest this debate is pretty sterile. The party voted back in 2010 to go into coalition. Most of us knew we would pay a price for that. None of us expected it to be so badly handled but it is clear that we had some significant achievements from it and kept the Tories in check for five years. If we had not gone into coalition then there would have been a second general election, we would have been marginalised and we would have had unbridled Toryism from 2011 onwards. I know which I prefer.
Tried a second time and it didn't take. I shall e-mail it to you.
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