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Homeless liberals

By Alex Chatham
June 19th, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Comments Off on Homeless liberals | Posted in Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Liberal Philosophy, Libertarians

For some, Tim Farron’s resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrats demostrated the failure of the party to live up to the first part of its name. It is more likely that the equivalnt of Lib Dem ‘men in gray suits’ wanted Farron out because he failed to secure many more MPs at the General Election. Of course, the party has long been associated with nannyism and a desire to interfere in people’s lives: none of which is very liberal. It is certainly nothing like its previous incarnation. The old Liberal Party might have had its quirks but the liberal tradition of John Locke, Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill coursed through its DNA.

If the Lib Dems are’t liberal, who is? Conservatives for Liberty are doing their best to stake out liberal ground within the Tory party. The problem is that Conservatism is a broad church and some of that church, as we have seen recently, doesn’t much like liberalism. Even the Tories who argue for low taxes and a small state don’t talk about limiting government, a key component of classical liberalism. Of course, you can keep making the case and right now the Conservatives are about the best you will get if you want economic liberalism.

The other options are to support a liberally-inclinded think tank or individual electoral candidates. At some point, we might get a liberal party committed to the rule of law, limited government, tolerance, liberty, plurality, peace  and free markets. In the meantime, homeless liberals have to work out how best to maximise freedom in a climate rather unsympathetic to the liberal creed.


How The LibDems Created UKIP

By Sara Scarlett
June 11th, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Comments Off on How The LibDems Created UKIP | Posted in Liberal Democrats, UK Politics

The Liberal Democrats are relatively good civil libertarians, but when it comes to lifestyle freedoms one wonders how widely a party can interpret the word ‘Liberal.’ There is no branch of Liberal thought that can comfortably justify the high levels of nanny-statism we experience in the United Kingdom. Disappointingly the party that calls itself ‘Liberal’ is now one of the nanny-state’s greatest cheerleaders. After joining the Liberal Democrats in 2008 (I was young. So very, very young…) I very soon realised that the LibDems are not a political party – they are a small clique where ‘Liberal’ is a just term for everything they like regardless of the word’s definition.

The notion that the state should generally not impede the lifestyle freedom of individuals is an idea that Liberal (with a capital ‘L’) thinkers, such as John Stuart Mill, can comfortably lay claim to. This tradition of thought was woven into the Liberal Party of old to some significant degree albeit not without caveats and exceptions. The Liberal Democrats, however, have abandoned this notion almost entirely. Just skim LibDem Voice op-eds over the last few years and you’ll find members happy to promote: the Sugar Tax, Plain Packaging, the Prohibition of Drugs (in its entirety – no, really. All drugs.), Minimum Alcohol Pricing, and much, much more.

By evacuating this political ground so spectacularly, the Liberal Democrats did a number of things. Firstly, they became less distinctive from New Labour. They lost any claim they had to being an ‘anti-authoritarian’ party. This also opened up a massive unguarded front on which their enemies could attack them. By creating confusion about what the ‘Liberal’ in Liberal Democrat was referring to, no one did more to weaken the Liberal Democrats own brand that the Liberal Democrats. More crucially, by departing from this particular piece of political ground, the Liberal Democrats left it open to be assumed by another political party. Enter UKIP.

It is a boon to outsider parties to be considered ‘anti-authoritarian.’ By championing lifestyle freedoms on the side, UKIP hoovered up support from people who had been neglected by the three “LibLabCon” parties. It strengthened UKIP brand as the true outsider party and allowed UKIP to plausibly deny being a one issue party. To micromanage the intimate lifestyle choices of the electorate is to talk down to the electorate. This is not the main reason people are voting for UKIP, it is, however, why UKIP is so immune to scandal. In contrast, the Liberal Democrat’s seemingly endless capacity for sanctimony amplifies their own indiscretions when they inevitably occur.

By transforming into lifestyle paternalists, the LibDems willingly ceded political land that was undisputedly theirs. It was from this political land that UKIP broadened their own support base and strengthened their brand. Much of UKIP’s wider policy remains underdeveloped and strikes me as very ‘Little England’, but by seizing what should have been policy mainstays of the Liberals, they coloured themselves as rebels. This has only been further reinforced by Nigel Farage’s earnest pint drinking/fag smoking image. When I was a LibDem, I remember many discussions about why people who described themselves as ‘liberals’ didn’t automatically vote or identify as Liberal Democrats. For those of us outside the clique, the definition of the word still applies.

My Year As Tory Scum

By Sara Scarlett
December 26th, 2015 at 12:48 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Conservatives, Liberal Democrats

After years of being told to ‘join the Tories,’ last year, I did! Here are a few thoughts…

I am still glad that Cameron is still Prime Minister despite his cowardice and “wetness.” I would rather have him in charge than any of the other Party Leaders who were around on May 2015 and any of the Leaders who are in charge now. Tim Farron strikes me as a nice man but ultimately he’s a charisma-free zone. Whilst I will admit the same could be said of Cameron, the Liberal Democrats need someone really special to decontaminate their brand and I don’t think Farron’s up to it. Cameron to his credit did decontaminate the Tory party brand.

The Labour party appears to have elected the cross between the President of a Polytechnic student union and a tramp. UKIP would be in a really strong position right now if they had changed their Leader and Douglas Carswell knows it… But the talent in UKIP may simply not be there. It could easily be the case that Farage is the best they’ve got. There are also other parties, I believe.

I’ve always been disappointed with Conservative party policy, a feeling shared by most of the classical liberals in the Tories, and I still feel disappointed with a great deal of it. Cameron hasn’t really brought in anything resembling sweeping reforms. To deal with the big issues like the deficit, health care, education, welfare, pensions and housing, there needs to be big structural change and if I have to make a predictation, I would confidently bet that the type of reform that’s needed is not going to happen under Cameron. He’s an okay caretaker but someone else is going to have to fix inherent problems in the system. Issues like a shortage of school places could be very easily with things like vouchers and profit…

I find myself, however, less angry at the Tories than the LibDems. The Conservatives are not Liberals and that’s okay because they’ve never claimed to be, or called themselves, liberal/Liberal. Conservatism as an ideology has always struck me as rather thin and unengaging but then someone in the LibDems will advocate sending smokers to prison and it will enrage me.

Unlike the left, the Conservatives are good when it comes to self-awareness. They are less good at framing the debate on their terms largely because the ‘unelected state’ – e.g. the BBC, the Arts, Academia – have a heafty left-wing bias and often define the terms of the debate before any political party gets a look in. Compassion should not be defined by how much money you throw at public services regardless of their effectiveness and outcomes. The Foreign Aid budget is a perfect example of this.

The LibDems are in bigger trouble than they realise. They’re not well placed to deal with a moderate Tory government. A lot of LibDem policy is surprisingly under-developed considering how long they’ve been around. The party caters almost exclusively to people working in the public sector and education with very little to offer those of us in the private sector.

More pertinently – I’ve also never heard a Tory say to anyone: “Why don’t you go join the Labour party?” Not ever. Not even once. The Tories will take your direct debit and cooly welcome you to tea and biscuits with the local council. There’s something inherently superior about about a political party that doesn’t alienate the very people who are giving it the money it needs to survive. What defines a Tory is whether or not you’re a member of the Conservative party not some arbritrary purity test. Despite finding myself drinking with a small subset of classical liberals and libertarians wondering why the party isn’t more into freedom – just like I did in the LibDems – the Tories are just so much more *together* with each other. The left-leaning Christian socialist wing of the party won’t try to expunge the neocons and vis-a-vis. In British politics broader churches are stronger churches and the LibDems inherent inability to manage that has been their downfall.

How many seats will the LibDems get next election? I’m going to go with four. Guesses in the comments section, please…

Bernard Woolley explains the Syria vote

By Guest
December 3rd, 2015 at 10:18 am | Comments Off on Bernard Woolley explains the Syria vote | Posted in Foreign Policy, Liberal Democrats

BW: Congratulations Prime Minister you have won the vote.

DC: Excellent were we united?

BW: It was a comprehensive vote in the affirmative Prime Minister.

DC: But were we united?

BW: The Conservative Party were completely united, except for the seven who were not. This included Julian Lewis, the Chair of the Defence Select Committee. He voted with Jeremy Corbyn and just over 150 Labour MPs. But not the Shadow Defence Minister Maria Eagle, who voted with you. She, along with over 60 others voted with the Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn. But John Baron, one of your MPs on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee voted the other way. You can then say that nearly all those who take decisions about defence and foreign affairs are for you, but many of those who think that they should be taking decisions about defence and foreign affairs are against. It is similar to the way the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence feel about each other.

The DUP, UUP, independent Unionist and UKIP MPs all supported you. The SNP, SDLP, Plaid Cmryu and Green MPs were against. So the nationalists who like internationalism voted against international action by this nation. The nationalists who dislike internationalism voted for international action in another nation. The Greens are nationalists on climate change, which they accept requires international action, but should be managed nationally, and internationalists on military matters in the hope that they may then never have to take a national decision on an international matter with national implications.

The Liberal Democrats Leader and six of his MPs supported you, two of his MPs did not. This is relatively simple. The Leader is a social liberal, a group that tends to oppose military action, but he has decided to be in favour. The main opponent is an economic liberal, a group that tends to support liberal interventionism, but he decided to be against. The anti-war liberals then are opposed to their Leader but in favour of the man they voted not to be Leader, who is in turn opposed by those who thought he should be Leader, and are now supporting the Leader they didn’t vote for.

DC: What?

BW: Compared to the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats your position is entirely coherent and united Prime Minister.

DC: Thank you, Bernard. I believe our enemy will be on the run by Christmas.

BW: Yes, Prime Minister, and ISIL.

DC: Thank you, Bernard.

Thanks For The Memories

By Sara Scarlett
December 1st, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Comments Off on Thanks For The Memories | Posted in Liberal Democrats

The Mark Clarke ‘Tatler Tory’ bullying scandal has brought back some fond memories of my time in youth politics. Here are a few of my favourite screen caps from that time in my life…

Why don’t you just fuck off and join the Tories?

01-09-2009 00-46-07 Facebook Borrowman advocates assault

Violence is never the answer, Duncan…

01-09-2009 00-48-34 Borrowman advocates assault 2


01-09-2009 00-51-00 Borrowman goes mad

Join the Tories – Take Two… Maybe I should just join the Tories – nobody is threatening to violently assault me there…

01-09-2009 00-51-45 Borrowman advocates hate campaign

Encourage other members to take part in the fun…

Picture 1 Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4That’s right every problem in Liberal Youth was my fault even though they continued long after I was off the scene…

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 18.47.38

Off like milk? Or like a bomb? Are you calling me a terrorist? Because someone in the LibDems did actually do that once…

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 18.48.39

Sara Scarlett drinks blood…

Picture 6

I notice that this individual has since taken his Twitter feed down. Can’t imagine why…

And my personal favourite – two members of the same party “joking” about beating me in the face with a fire extinguisher! So good.

Picture 5 Picture 9


Why a fire extinguisher? So oddly specific…

I don’t know what I love most about this collection of screencaps more? The fact that grown adults did this on a public platform, or that some of the aforementioned individuals are now in charge of the anti-sexual harassment group, or that the Liberal Democrats have it enshrined in their constitution that no one shall be enslaved by conformity – unless they don’t assimilate to the policy views of the majority of centrist LibDems in which case they’re fucking Tory cunts and we’ll hound them out the party…

I genuinely wanted to get back involved and help the LibDems out about a year and a half ago – that is until the sustained bullying started back up on LibDemVoice. I don’t comment on sites like Guido because it’s a cesspit and it knows it is. But I do expect that on a site with a strict moderation policy people shouldn’t be allowed to behave in a way that drives members of their own community off the site. I feel as though the LDV moderators have the internet equivalent job of raking a zen garden but one where there is shit where the sand should be.

The only way to survive is to become scum yourself and give it right back – but since I don’t want to be scum and I didn’t like the person I was becoming, I thought it better to bow out and leave the shit pit for people who enjoy that sort of thing. Those people are the people who are either very apt at manipulating other people, the people with a lot of emotional resiliance, and/or the people who are so bland they don’t get wrapped up in anything because they are so mind-numbingly, almost death defyingly bland. Look at any MP and you will see that they fit into one of those three categories.

In all honesty, I do feel shame for every single unbecoming deed I have ever done – I wonder if the people who bullied me similarly feel shame. In balance I do believe that I have been aggressed upon more than I have aggressed. I hold non-conformist views and I know I’ll be attacked for them but too often they’ve played the man rather than the ball.

Good people just don’t last long. The system is inherently corrupting. Look at the Rennard scandal. All the women who accused Lord Rennard of impropriety are no longer party members. You have the choice – do you make a completely justified complaint? Or do you have a career on politics? Until those two choices are no longer mutually exclusive, politics will remain a shit pit where the shitty cream rises to the shitty top. No wonder there isn’t a sound dispute resolution process in the LibDems. The people in charge of the process are the most in need of being subjected to it.

I’ve met Mark Clarke – once -just over five years ago and I have delibrately made a point of not going anywhere near him or his circle ever again. His reputation preceded him even then. He wasn’t even shy about it. That’s the difference between the Tories and the other parties. The Tories know they’re scum. Everyone else is in denial.

And that, children, is why nothing gave me greater joy that seeing the LibDems get annihilated in May.