Where now / What next for the Liberal Democrats

Much has been said of the demise of the Lib Dems over the last week in both English and European elections. The results, as we know, have been a disaster whatever way you look at it, and it must be pretty depressing to be a Liberal Democrat right now. It was also funny in many ways.

Now I consider myself a future Liberal Democrat, don’t laugh I do. I am a Liberal and a patriot, but while I vote nationalist it’s always been a means to an end for me because I really believe that we have come to an end of this unfair political union, a union that Scottish people never voted for or were asked their opinion. I accept it was 300 years ago and democracy was very different then but not that much but I am digressing.

We need a strong left of centre Liberal movement in Scotland. I have no doubts about that at all. Liberalism for me is common sense, is the idea that you can take many views based on your principles and that a good idea is a good idea no matter where it comes from. Liberals believe in democracy, free trade, ownership and freedom of expression. Not many people would disagree with those aspirations and I would add that for them to work they need to work within a framework of social justice and fairness.

The problem right now for the Lib Dems is that the party has been hijacked in the same way that Labour was by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Nick Clegg got power when the party decided that they would take advantage of Charles Kennedy’s personal problems and have a wee power grab. I was very close to voting for them in Westminster elections under Charles Kennedy, I don’t agree with everything he says but he was a leader and had some integrity. Nick Clegg aided by the likes of Danny Alexander, Vince Cable, Simon Hughes, Jo Swinson and the David Laws of the world however saw their opportunity and the rest is history.

Now many people and commentators say that the Liberals are suffering because of their coalition with the Conservatives at Westminster, and while that may play some part in their demise, I suspect it is the fact that they, like Labour, gave up on the principles that they are supposed to believe in for a bit of power. They made promises that they did not keep and have allowed themselves to be pulled to the right on an agenda of attacks on the poorest. They made a complete arse of the AV referendum when you would have thought they would have taken their time and not allowed themselves to be bullied by the mainstream and the right.

One of my biggest gripes with the current Libdems is their persistence in saying they cut taxes for the poorest and took many out of tax, however the price for this was the virtual ending of tax credits which left many a lot worse off and the tax cut did little to make up the difference. They gave up their souls and betrayed their members by giving up far too much , in the national interest of course.

A lot of people are now calling on Nick Clegg to stand down, I agree with them and he should. He is now a disaster for the party and while they will win some seats next year, they may even hold the balance of power if UKip implode, they will not make the kind of inroads that a true liberal movement should. The other problem they have is that the people waiting in the wings are equally a disaster. Danny Alexander is unlikable and in the wrong party, Vince Cable is not the man they think he is and would only be a stop-gap. Simon Hughes is not in the frame any longer for lot’s of reasons while David Laws stole from the public purse and should not have a way back.

I would argue that the Liberal Democrats need to do a few things. The person they should turn to is Tim Farron, the current president of the party. He comes across as a decent and honest man and may well just strike a chord with the electorate. They have to get Danny Alexander gone; he is poison and is a Tory. Michael Moore would have been a better choice, not very exciting but a decent man who I think people may just have underestimated. Others like Carmichael, Campbell, Cable need to be allowed to retire gracefully over time. There is a place for a liberal movement and a liberal party, but again like new Labour, the members of the Liberal Democrats need to act now to save it.

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10 comments

  1. Bugger (the Panda)

    I agree fundamentally with that analysis.

    Come a Yes vote a lot of what you wish for will fall into place, and similarly for the “Labour” and “Tory” wings.

    The problem is that they, all of them, are saddled with worse and useless bed blockers.

    They need to be euthenised politically.

    • Anonymous

      B

      I agree , all the parties are saddled with too many career politicians who don’t know what work is and live in a bubble. In many ways we are to blame due to our indifference but the referendum has gotten discussion going again and long may it continue.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  2. givinggoose

    It’s not new people that they need, it is an end to the culture of professional politicians. Danny Alexander has never had a proper job history, nor Clegg. It’s off to Oxbridge, or similar and an 1st in PPE, politics, philosophy and economics or an equivalent. Then bag carrier for some MP, then up the greasy pole you go.

    You are spot on about Danny boy, he’s a True Blue Tory to his core. Just like Murphy in Labour. As for Kennedy, I don’t think he has integrity, he’s a careerist as well. The LibDems need to quietly fizzle out and stop wasting everyone’s time. Maybe someone will come along in the future and tell us that once upon a time……and invent a new party, with a new name and a rock solid party constitution that states that you have to have a career history that qualifies you as being normal. Then maybe folk will listen.

    • Anonymous

      givingoose

      Danny Alexander is just not likeable at all in any shape or form. He seems to take great pride in talking Scotland down and that I don’t get. I really think people like Alexander, Lamont etc. would rather Scotland was extinguished 300 years and changed it’s name, it would have made their lives so much easier as they are British and that’s that.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Helena Brown

    Now here is the problem as we saw it in my house, we talk a lot of politics here. The one thing that I like the Liberal Party for is not going into coalition with the SNP, why you may ask, well they are prostitutes of the highest order and when they went into coalition with the Tory Party they got royally done. It was a certainty that they would lose in the deadly embrace of the Tories, but it was the relish that Danny Alexander/Nick Clegg/Vince Cable etc showed as the junior partners for doing all the dirty work.
    They have not only lost out because of this but because they sold out everything that they said they believed in and too cheaply settling for AV rather than proper Proportional Voting and letting the Tories increase Tuition fees. I think it was Morag on Wings who said that she counselled everyone she knew not to vote for the Lib Dems in England because we had seen their works here in Scotland. The end of Tuition Fees, aye right, call them something else and pay them back at the end. Sorry Bruce, we normally agree but on this Party, no, never. Their time has been and has gone, they should have died a century ago with Lloyd George, like Labour they have no idea what they stand for.

    • Anonymous

      Helena

      For me the Liberals were led down the same path as Labour under Tony Blair. After Charles Kennedy they allowed themselves to be hijacked by Tories who wear yellow. I agree that they are paying for the coalition with the conservatives and as you said the glee in which they are happy to be the bearers of bad news, but they are paying more for giving up on their principles. Like Labour for independence, a group that might just save the Labour Party there is a group called Liberal Left and it is hard to argue against their beliefs, very old Liberal and most definitely loyal to the Liberal belief. They are going to have to go through a lot of pain and years in the wilderness for allowing certain people to make decisions that some of the membership were not for, they may even have to split.

      However, I really do feel that we need a strong liberal movement because at the end of the day most of us are liberal in thought, are honest and decent. There needs to be a middle way which is left of centre and that can at best be common sense. What we have right now is three tory parties and the SNP who are a centre party with some left of centre tendencies.

      I don’t think their time has gone, like Labour the members need to return it back to it’s true beliefs or there need to be new Liberal and Labour Parties and that is maybe what will happen. We need different voices and decent opposition rather than what we have now, I will probably join the party at some point and argue for change. Probably not achieve anything but at least I would able to say how I felt.

      Thanks for commenting, much appreciated and food for thought as usual.

      Bruce

  4. scot2go2

    sorry… the first time I have disagreed with your views…. they are a despicable lot…. you left out the alignment with labour in previous Scottish elections… effectively disenfranchising the Scots who could be bothered to vote…. they are in it for themselves… one promoted to ermine status…FOR WHAT?… what lasting legacy did that leave?….. apart from bitterness as we Scots could have been a long way further forward… possibly would not have had the calamity of the one sided “austerity”… NAH!… they will need a root and branch clearout which has as much chance as Johann saying “YES”

    • Anonymous

      Scot

      Like Labour they have been led astray and it is the members fault and the voters fault who voted for them but there is a place for liberalism. Liberal Left is a group like Labour for Independence and a lot to agree with comes from them to be honest. As Helena noted it is maybe too late for the party but I do think that the ethos of liberalism and socialism for Labour can be saved but it might be different or new parties. I suppose for myself I am hoping against hope that the members of these parties somehow get control and throw the careerists and the professional politicians out, we have allowed politics to become an elite when to be honest the politicians should be people like Helena and yourself, real people making real decisions not these arseholes making decisions on behalf of a minority of vested interests and their own interests. Cameron says Britain is broken, it is but it’s the so called elite who broke it and we are the only ones who can fix it really, if we have the guts to starting in September.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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