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Drinking by numbers

By Editor
May 21st, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Comments Off on Drinking by numbers | Posted in Lifestyle Products


HAT TIP: In case you missed it, the brilliant Guido Fawkes website put this little infographic up on its site yesterday…



It refers to a startling new report published by the Institute of Economic Affairs looking at the gloomy predictions about what the Licensing Act  (24 Hour Drinking) would do to the English nation. The graphic above pretty much says it all , but you can read a brief summary from the author (Christopher Snowdon) here. It has links to the fuller report on the IEA website.

Our thanks to Guido and co for the use of the image.

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Vince Cable Is Deluded

By Sara Scarlett
May 21st, 2015 at 11:21 am | Comments Off on Vince Cable Is Deluded | Posted in Liberal Democrats


Vince Cable has written one of the worst election post-mortems of 2015. It buys into a narrative that probably corroborates with his own prejudices and whilst that may be comforting; it is badly, badly wrong and shows a profound level of delusion.

In this article Vince Cable believes that the LibDems were victims of forces beyond their control.

Fear triumphed over hope: fear of “chaos”; fear of Ed Miliband’s socialism; fear of being held to ransom by the Scots. This fear was carefully – brilliantly – mobilised by the Conservatives and used to devastating effect in a targeted campaign that included 23 Tory-facing Lib Dem seats (all lost).

I know; I was a victim of it. My comfortable majority disappeared as thousands of suburban Londoners quietly feared for their (generally prosperous) existence.

For Vince Cable, a veteran MP to portray himself as a “victim” of another party is actually quite pathetic. You lost, Vince, you weren’t mugged.

Also, the Conservative campaign wasn’t that brilliant. It was a steady, measured campaign – it was boring – if anything. Cameron stuck to his mantra – “long term economic plan” – and that not only reminded people that the economy is doing okay but also that the Labour party didn’t have much of a plan under Blair and Brown and didn’t seem to  have much of a plan under Ed Miliband.

Vince’s article also speaks from the position that the LibDems did nothing wrong. The LibDems ran the worst GE campaign of their existence. It was the LibDems who seemed to convince Joe Public of their lack of raison d’etre.


Note: Blank tiles in scrabble are worth nothing…


The LibDem ‘air war’ essentially articulated that LibDems would prop up any loser-government that had failed to achieve an overall majority. The LibDems effectively convinced the public that there was no reason for them to exist. It was a bad campaign. The narrative that they ran with was wrong. Despite the Green’s gaff prone leader, I know exactly what they stand for. I don’t vote for them becuase I find their policies deeply misguided but I know what they’re about. When the LibDems are running a campaign which falls short to a party that looks like a jumped up Student Union effort then you are in trouble.

In this article Vince also portrays Ed Miliband as the victim of the public:

[Ed Miliband] clearly misread the public mood, which was fearful of change, or experiment, and distrustful of promises of a better life, especially when financed by the taxpayer. But he was as much a victim of circumstances as the creator of them. He was the product of a tribal Labour culture that had become severely disconnected from social and political realities.

You don’t have to have read Bastiat to know that someone promising you free money is likely to be a fraudster. Ed Miliband isn’t a victim. He was the leader of a major political party. Again this is talking down to the public. Uncle Vince knows best.

The Tories’ skill was in crystallising the public distaste for Labour’s record and offer.

I’m pretty sure Labour did that all by themselves.

Ukip had a good election, mostly at the expense of Labour and my party. The comical antics of the Ukip hierarchy and the lack of parliamentary representation can’t conceal the fact that Nigel Farage’s team is now in the Champions League of European Nationalists: not quite in the same class as Marine Le Pen’s outfit, but close.

UKIP also didn’t treat anyone with concerns about immigration as a racist underclass.

The politics of fear may come back to haunt the Tories. It has unleashed English – alongside Scottish – nationalism. Ultimately this may prove more dangerous to them than the traditional enemies of Conservatism. They have started a fire and clever Lynton Crosby will no longer be around to advise them on how to put it out.

I didn’t see a lot of fear in the Middle Classes. I saw them looking at Cameron, looking at Ed Miliband then looking back at Cameron and thinking ‘eh, he seems the less bad of the two.’ It was the Left who said things like ’24hrs to save the NHS,’ a blatant and scary lie. I don’t buy the notion that the public were irrationally scared and stupid enough to do whatever Murdoch tells them to do. It’s also incredibly patronising.

It would be so much better if the LibDems acknowledged and took responsibility for a bad campaign. They need to acknowledge that people see them as incompetent, ineffectual and irrelevent. The LibDem brand is deeply damaged and it will remain that way unless the leadership become more self-aware.

Can headless chickens engage in navel-gazing? #libdemfightback

By Angela Harbutt
May 21st, 2015 at 8:21 am | Comments Off on Can headless chickens engage in navel-gazing? #libdemfightback | Posted in Leadership, Liberal Democrats

The answer is yes, if you are a Lib Dem.

There have been many daft posts on Lib Dem Voice since the total obliteration of the Lib Dem Parliamentary party – and yesterday came another one. An article went up on Lib Dem Voice last night calling for “a #libdemfightback special conference before the 3 June close of nominations for the party leader” (yes that’s about 7 working days away).

Why a “special” conference ? Well according to the author of the piece “An obvious debate would be whether or not to change the Constitution to allow any member to be nominated as a leader.”

Not sure where that particular one is going – perhaps has a particular person in mind, or simply doesn’t like the current options from within the parliamentary group.

Whatever his reasons for the suggestion, here are a few points for Lib Dems to note:

UKIP /Plaid Cymru/Greens would soon run into trouble if they reached the dizzy heights of 8 MPs in Westminster. They could easily have a (non parliamentary) leader saying one thing and the parliamentarians saying, doing , or voting for something else. Especially if they had 8 well established, and experienced MPs (which the Lib Dems have).  For speed of message what you need is the leader of the parliamentary party to be the head of the whole party or chaos (and/or inertia) will ensue. And if the Lib Dems did have a “non parliamentary” leader would they also want to appoint a leader in the House of Commons? Just how many “leaders” do the Lib Dems think they need?

I also query the need for another elitist conference. Conferences by their nature exclude too many people who cannot take time off work; have prior engagements in the diary; have care responsibilities; cannot afford the travel etc. I am sure councillors /public sector workers/the affluent retired etc may be able to get to an extra conference. I am equally sure that the answer from that elite group on a great many issues would be very different from the wider Lib Dem membership.

[I would add that the conferences in recent years have resulted in a set of policies that the voters have wholly rejected – so their thoughts should be turning to how to make better policy choices (NOT at conference in my view) rather than how to change Articles 10.5 or 9.1. It never ceases to amaze me how totally blind the Lib Dems are as to how undemocratic it is to set policy with just a tiny fraction of the membership eligible to vote on any proposal.]

For goodness sake, just get on and elect a damn leader, amongst the entire membership if you must (I would have got the 8 MPs in a room and kept them there until there was white smoke). Once he is elected, lobby the new leader for all you like to get through changes about the future – including “rules on leadership” if that is your particular hobby horse.  Norman and Tim (the two current candidates as far as I am aware) are both reasonable human beings and would be happy to consider changes to how the party operates in the future, if they thought they would benefit the party.

I just hope that the leader will show some spine.

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Lib Dems – last chance saloon

By Angela Harbutt
May 20th, 2015 at 7:11 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Liberal Democrats

If Ms Jones vision for the Lib Dems was a bit too fruity for you, then here is an alternative item that may be of interest.

Julian Astle’s piece, which appeared in the Independent last week, is all together less humorous, but he makes some excellent points.

First he neatly encapsulates the entire problem with the disastrous 2015 General Election campaign…

“The proximate cause of the Liberal Democrats’ identity crisis was the decision to fight the election as centrists rather than liberals – a decision that the party leadership knew, deep down, risked leaving them with a functional and lifeless message, devoid of the sense of moral purpose and historic mission that made Clegg’s resignation speech his best of the campaign….

…In so far as this gave the party a reason to exist, it was to moderate the worst excesses of whichever party it might end up working with in government – a dismal offering. Not only did this tell voters nothing about the party’s own vision for the country, it actively undermined its claims to have one. If the Tories want to travel 10 miles to the right, and Labour 10 miles to the left, the logic of the Lib Dem position was that they were prepared to travel in either direction, but only for five miles.”

He also goes on to clinically dissect the reason for this ill-fated strategy

“…the underlying cause – and the one the party leadership candidates will try hard not to discuss in the coming weeks – is the unresolved battle between the party’s Right-leaning economic liberals and the Left-leaning social liberals about the true meaning of liberalism.”

But what of the future? Well, Julian argues that the “anti-austerity Left” has now become “the most crowded part of the political landscape” and, he argues, the Lib Dems have already burned their bridges back to that land…

“A party that has spent five years attacking the deficit with the Conservatives cannot credibly spend the next five denouncing “Tory cuts”.

So where next? It’s so simple. There is a large group of younger voters crying out for a party that represents them…

“rather than identifying either with the Left or the Right as the pre- and post- war generations did, and do, today’s young combine the social liberal views of the Left (secular, internationalist, concerned about the environment, relaxed about lifestyle choices and family structures) and the classical liberal views of the Right (in favour of balanced budgets, low taxation, conditional welfare, personal responsibility, individual choice and entrepreneurship) without seeing any contradiction between the two.

This increasingly educated, empowered, technologically savvy cohort is left cold by the conservatism of the Tory party and the collectivism of the Labour party. They are instinctive liberals. They just need a liberal party to vote for. “

Though I cannot, in any sense of the word be described as a young voter, that is where I am pretty much planted. It is one where many of my friends and occasional drinking-fellows (Lib Dem, UKIP and Conservative voters) to a smaller, or larger extent, are also at – economically free market, socially liberal (whatever that means these days).

Surely this is the best, the only, route for a sane Lib Dem party to take? And if they don’t act soon UKIP, the Conservatives (or some party yet to emerge) will move into this vacuum and the Lib Dems truly will be left defending the rights of the likes of Sebastien, Flounder, Flotsam and Jetsam and co, and little else.

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Virtue Signaling – A Symptom Of A Sick Nation

By Sara Scarlett
May 20th, 2015 at 10:00 am | Comments Off on Virtue Signaling – A Symptom Of A Sick Nation | Posted in Twitter

The other day someone on Twitter called my life ‘self-serving’ because I am not ‘left-wing.’ What could this aggressive individual possibly mean? I have spent my entire adult life engaged in some area of activism trying to make the world a better place not just for myself, but for my human beings too. I am a staunch supporter of Global Capitalism – the phenomenon that has pulled more people out of poverty than any other. I also give food to food banks, old clothes to charity shops and I look after my friends and family whilst trying to make ends meet myself. My life was judged by a complete stranger solely on my support for policies that favour businesses and lower taxes. Judging by their behaviour in the wake of the election, ‘the Left’ sincerely believe they have a monopoly on compassion. Whilst I wholly acknowledge that the intentions behind Labour/Green party policies may very well be to help the poor, I will never support them because I don’t think their policies will yield the consequences they, or I, want. Unfortunately, we have become a nation where the intentions behind policy are more important than the consequences of those policies. This is sick.

We don’t have discussions on the quality of policy anymore. We have discussions on the intentions behind policies. It is part of a phenomenon called ‘virtue signaling’ and it is the symptom of a sick, sick nation. It seems to be too hard these days to communicate the analysis of policy. Does this policy do what it is intended to do? Is it cost-effective? Is there a better way of doing this? Maybe this is a symptom of a world which communicates in sound bites and 140 characters but there are people whose job is doing just this very thing. I strongly suspect it is because facing up to the consequences of your actions and unfavourable analyses of policy is a hard thing to do and these so called PR “gurus” are intellectually lazy. Recently almost every conversation on policy I have had with a Leftie looks like this:

Me: What is this policy designed to do?

Leftie: Help the poor.

Me: Is it actually helping the poor?

Leftie: No.

Me: Is it in anyway hindering the poor?

Leftie: I strongly suspect it is.

Me: That’s awful. We should repeal it!

Leftie: How dare you say such a thing!!!

Me: I beg your pardon?

Leftie: Why do you hate the poor?!?!

Being against policy designed to help the poor, sick or old is considered tantamount to being against the poor, sick or old no matter what the quality and consequences of those policies are. This is dangerous, deluded and wicked. To simply stick by policies for decades despite their ineffectiveness because of what they mean rather than their consequences shows profound moral paucity.

Empty words are, more often than not, sad platitudes designed to absolve oneself of guilt from not taking the right action or none at all. Retweeting something from Oxfam or Unicef is not in the same league as actually donating to a food bank. If a guy calls himself a ‘feminist,’ does that pardon him from not treating his girlfriend badly? Most certainly not. Is setting up a direct debit to Help The Aged same as visiting your lonely Grandmother? Not at all. Meaning well is not the same as doing good.

Talk is cheap but in the case of policy, actions equal votes so don’t forget that the consequences of policy are more important than the intentions behind them. Just because a policy was designed to help the poor doesn’t mean it actually does. Get a grip; stop ranting on Facebook and go help people before you type that angry, sanctimonious tweet.