Potential Defectors and the Liberal Democrats

Today Tim Farron the leader of the Liberal Democrats reported that he had received texts and calls from Labour members distraught at the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. I suppose the implication being that some or many might defect to the Liberal Democrats.

Now anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows that I have little time for the Labour Party, or for many within it. I have tweeted over the last few days that I suspect the Parliamentary Labour Party will try to bring Corbyn down, thus destroying their party as they go against the clear vote by the members of the party. I never considered the worst scenario that might be many defecting to the Liberal Democrats.

There are many within the Liberal movement that want the party to seize the middle ground therefore they might welcome an influx of both disillusioned Labour members and MPs. I don’t. I feel the Liberal movement should not be about left, right or center but about what’s right, about an honest politics. I would like to think that it is about what is right and wrong, is it right to purchase new weapons of mass destruction when many are going hungry and using food banks, is it right to cut tax credits while allowing big business to avoid paying tax, is it right to claim we live in a democracy when we have an unelected and unaccountable head of state and unelected second chamber.

These are some of the questions I feel we should be asking ourselves as Liberals. No more politics of hate, or power for power sake, no more broken pledges, but a politics that voters can embrace because of it’s honesty and common cause that most or many can agree with. I think people have had enough of the politics of old. Labour members who embraced the war on Iraq, that embrace austerity for austerity sake, that embrace the poorest paying for the richest, Labour MPs that will drop every principle they hold and run to safer ground to save their parliamentary privilege would not be welcomed by me.

I believe the election of Jeremy Corbyn was a moment where many in the Labour movement stood up against the politics of old, the politics of Blair and Mandelson. No matter if you agree with them or not I admire them for standing up to what was in effect the Tory Party within the Labour Party. They have started to clean out a dishonest infection within their party and I wish them every success in the world, however I DO NOT want the Coopers of the world , the opportunists of the Labour right to infect the Liberal Democrats with their politics of greed, and their politics of selfishness. If that happens I dread to think what will happen to the Liberal Democrats and ask myself where do the real Liberals go.

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2 comments

  1. Sue Varley

    Hi Bruce

    Do you really think there is anything to choose between the likes of Clegg and the likes of Cooper? The only thing separating them that I can see is which shade they thought would give them the best career opportunity when they began in politics. Since then, the right wing Labourites and the not-really-very-liberal-or-democratics have been equally adept at betraying what their parties are supposed to stand for.

    The part of me that, like you, wants decent clean politics hopes this will not happen, but the still-sickened with Westminster most of me thinks the sooner they do it the better, to further hasten the demise of both excuses for political parties.

    How does the membership of a party reclaim it from the rogue parliamentarians and their cliques? I don’t think Corbyn will succeed. Surely he must be aware how the appointment of Watson will look to those of us in Scotland who are politically awake, does he think we will just accept it, won’t notice it, or does he not care what we think? If he is serious about trying to turn Labour around in Scotland, he’s not doing too well. Perhaps he has realised privately that it’s not going to happen unless Labour offer to meet our aspirations for at least real Home Rule, so is just going through the motions.

    With the massive support of a huge new membership behind him, if promising to sing GSTQ and appointing convicted Lords is the best he can do to turn his party’s ideals and policies around, I don’t see what chance there is for the honest Lib Dems amongst your number to try the same for the Lib Dems.

    Maybe you could start by sending Labour a certain MP for Orkney and Shetland in exchange?

    Sue

    • grumpyscottishman

      Sue

      I joined the Liberal Democrats after the GE because I thought I would try and bring about some sort of change, at least in some people’s thinking. I would never have joined if Clegg had remained leader and I was delighted the likes of Alexander and cable lost their seats. I’m under no illusion how difficult it will be to change minds but I remain a yes voter and will fight for that in the next referendum and within the Liberal Democrats unless they throw me out. I do think if enough people join parties we can bring about change but members have to consider the rules also, the SNP have really tightened up and I know some members who feel that there is not a lot of room for different opinions now. The Lib Dems are the only party where the membership vote on the policies of the party but that still leaves the party to decide which policies go forward so a long way to go I guess but we just have to keep at it.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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