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A vision for the Liberal Democrats

By Alex Chatham
June 16th, 2017 at 1:28 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in Civil Liberties, EU, EU Politics, Free trade, freedom, Labour, Tim Farron

The Liberal Democrats are looking for a new leader. Tim Farron has stood down after leading the party through a General Election campaign and increasing the amount of MPs the party had in parliament. The party’s pitch during the campaign was to offer voters an alternative to Brexit. The party’s heart isn’t in leaving the European Union but instead of promising to reverse the process, they suggested a second referendum with an option to remain.

The voters took no notice.

This has led commentators and politicians to claim that two-party politics are back and third parties have had it. Perhaps. But we have heard this sort of thing before. We have also read about the death of the Labour party and demise of the Conservative party. Support for parties ebb and flow. The Lib Dems could yet again capture the popular imagination or at least influence debate and public policy.

To do that, the party needs a vision. There are many ways to go but it will come as no surprise that a post from this site suggests embracing free markets and free trade. That means a change of direction on Brexit.

The Labour party’s position on Brexit appears to be ‘we will do it, reluctantly’. The Conservatives are still arguing among themselves with a few voices offering a clear path to the exit doors. Could the Lib Dems pivot away from a slavish love of the EU and truly embrace internationalism?

Free trade creates prosperity. That is real free trade not  regulated trade or negotiated trade. With Britain out of the EU, its government can opt for trade deals with other countries which impose regulations or tarrifs or it could go for real free trade. No tarrifs, just let companies trade with each other. What a difference that would make to the economies of Africa. Right now, those African countries are penalised by the EU because EU countries protect their farmers. Ironic isn’t it that for all the criticism of Trump and his ‘America First’ mantra, the EU has been putting EU countries first for a long time. The Lib Dems could set out a vision for a free trading nation, managing migration to allow people with the talent and skills from all over the world to come and work in Britain, not just the EU, reform of its own markets to stop ‘crony capitalism’ which ensured open, free markets. Coupled with the party’s commitment to civil liberties and personal freedom, this new addition would make a distinctive offering to voters.

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Farron’s Speech Prove The LibDems Haven’t Changed

By Sara Scarlett
September 24th, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Comments Off on Farron’s Speech Prove The LibDems Haven’t Changed | Posted in Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron

Everyone seems to have liked Tim Farron’s speech. Sorry to be contrarian but I did not…

I fear Isabel Hardman has made some legitimate points in this op-ed. Here are the quotes she picked from his speech:

“A Labourite is someone who feels profoundly misanthropic and dismisses all apparent acts of altruism as ultimately selfish. They believe some people aren’t worth very much and that it’s best to have a jolly good scrap at every opportunity.”

“If you love blaming people and shattering relationships. If you say Britain is best when Britain is splitting up. Then guess what. You’re a Tory!”

‘A liberal is someone who looks for the best in people, not the worst. We believe everyone is of equal value and that people always achieve more together than they do when they are at each other’s throats.’

‘If you reject the politics of blame and separation. If you say Britain is best when Britain is together.

‘If you say Britain is best when it is outward looking, modern and inclusive. Then guess what. You’re a liberal. Embrace that diagnosis. It is an utterly decent and British condition.’

Basically – everything *good* is Liberal and everything *bad* is Labour and/or Tory.

Unfortunately, what undermines the whole underlying assumption of this speech are that there are things Liberalism is and things that Liberalism simply is not.

But worse than that is the fact that Tim Farron (or his speechwriters) do not understand why people vote for parties other than the LibDems. Nobody goes into the into the voting booth and says: “Well, I’m a heartless cunt who loves shattering relationships so I’ll vote Tory!” It’s incredibly patronising to voters. Almost as patronising as: “You’ve been brainwashed by Rupert Murdoch, you feckless sheep.”

It’s the type of thinking that leads us to this shit…

heart-and-brain

Didn’t even work amongst people who got this pop culture reference…

Nobody votes for a party despite the fact that they think they are brainless and/or heartless. If you want to run a successful campaign I strongly recommend not insulting the people you’re trying to win over and consider that they have positive reasons for doing what they do.

Since May the LibDem ‘resurection’ has had a very strange tone. #LibDemFightback? Against whom? It seems to be a fightback against the electorate.

The LibDems should be humbling themselves before the people and taking some time to think about why the electorate don’t trust the LibDems or simply think them irrelevant.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 20.10.08

92% irrelevant…

But instead they have taken little responsibility for their election devastation and are still working on assumptions that have been wholly invalidated.

It may also be worth considering why so many people who consider themselves Liberal, don’t automatically think their natural home is in the LibDems. Being for everything good and against everything bad makes you a lot of things but ‘distinct’ isn’t one of them.