Monday, 19 September 2011

WHITHER THE LIBERALS? ...YES, INDEED, WHITHER?

So first we asked where the Tories were going. The answers were various, but we came to the conclusion that they may well be going in three different directions. Then we talked about where Labour was going. It seems that they might reject the Holyrood leader from London and plump for the Ms Lamont. On the basis that you want personality, looks and intellect to be a political leader these days, I think we can safely conclude that this will not be the best decision ever. But beggars can't be choosers.

So now we must ask: Whither the Liberal Democrats?

Well, it's been conference this week and they have managed some headlines and a few of their "big names" have been writing for the papers. Notably Malcolm Bruce, who it seems is an MP and Tavish Scott MSP, who used to be .... So we have some idea of what they feel they're about.

Bruce has been talking to The Telegraph about the SNP's "abuse of power"! This abuse appears to have manifest itself in talk of a referendum on independence. Having more MSPs than the rest of the parties put together, there is no obvious impediment to introducing an appropriate bill to give Scots the chance to chose their future. The likelihood is that it will pass and that Scots will be able to vote. A possibility that seems to scare the living daylights out of the unionist parties.

Of course the SNP hasn't actually mentioned referenda save in response to questions from opposition parties, Instead the SNP talks about bringing jobs to Scotland before all else; bringing capital spending forward to provide jobs for people and improve the infrastructure and housing in our country.

But old Malc has gone as far as to suggest the need for a second chamber for the Scottish parliament to hold the SNP to account. [For pity's sake man, we're trying to reduce the cost of government, not increase it.] And how would he insure that this second, expensive chamber wouldn't be SNP dominated? Have it appointed? By whom? Nick Clegg? Oh please.

Where is the abuse of power, Malc, seriously?

And poor old Tavish Scott, bitter to the last, has written for Scotland on Sunday. I won't go into details here, because someone who is an expert on debunking pompous nonsense has already done it here.

Still they both made a great headline for the unionist papers.

They seem desperate to do that at all costs. They are the hard men, they're standing up to the Tories and the SNP.... Pfffffff.

Where are they going? Well, they went from 16 to 5 seats in the Scottish parliament; that's a start . Then there was the English council elections, where half the seats were lost; and in Liverpool, losing 11 out of 13 seats, the ex-council leader, a lord no less, lost his seat to an 18 year old lad.

They won't admit it but they must be dreading next year's council elections here.

So not so much WHITHER the Liberals... as WITHER the Liberals, and who would wonder at it when they sold principles for a few cabinet seats, flash offices and big cars...

**********
However... there is hope. Because the rank and file are still trying to get some decency into the government's policies on health benefits as shown here.

26 comments:

  1. Their attempts to hold the SNP to account, by and large sound shrill and desperate. It is only the unionist media that keeps telling us that Willie Rennie’s headline grabbing, by having a trite opinion on anything and everything, is in actual fact the holding the SNP to account. Were it not for that nobody would have noticed! This is evidenced in their continued slump in the polls and the fact that despite Willie’s “breath of fresh air” they still lost their deposit at Iverclyde. You would have thought that after years of wafer thin, unsubstantiated, lies and attacks on the SNP the Unionists would learn that that tactic does not work. Indeed it seems to suit the SNP very well, hence their meteoric rise.

    Across Scotland the Lib Dems, thanks to their insistence on STV in local elections, are in bed with every other party and some Independents. It seems likely that, that will no longer be the case come the local elections in May. All this because they jumped into bed with the Tories in England. Seems all the strangers considering their traditional heartlands are (or were) in Scotland. Orkney and Shetland for example is their safest seat (in the UK) and has returned a Liberal since the 1950s. Whether they can continue to count on these islands next time remains to be seen. They came within a whisker of losing Orkney at the Scottish GE with their majority slashed to 860 and only held on thanks to an anti-windfarm independent taking a large slice of the non-Lib Dem vote. While in Shetland Tavish's majority was slashed from 4409 to 1617 and again would have been less if another independent had not come in second.

    Nick Clegg’s long game will have to start paying dividends soon or they wont have a council an MSP or eventually an MP left north of the border, just like their associates in the English government.

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  2. The Limp Dems are a busted flush. Their ace card was that they were never expected to get into power so could be used as a protest vote. This also allowed them to promise anything they wanted, knowing they would never have to deliver. Their vote in Scotland reflected their benign influence in the rest of the UK.
    Having got into power in England the spotlight was turned onto them and their failure to deliver pledges and their wacky energy policies have shown them up for what they are. Wacky lefty liberals who will cling onto the EU and windmills, while the UK sinks into debt and anarchy beckons.

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  3. Old Cleggers was on the Today Programme "important slot" at 8.10, this morning. And he seemed to take every question Justin asked him and turn it into another question.

    Last year, for example, they had promised that bankers' bonuses would be cut. It was, they had said, as absolute travesty of justice that while the poor were doing without, the people who caused the problem were receiving massive bonuses. So Justin hammered him on that. Promises and pie crusts sort of thing.

    He replied: Are the bonuses coming down as much as I would like? No. Did the government set up the Jenkins commission to look into how banks were run? Yes.

    (I don't quote word for word, but that's the general effect)

    He did it to nearly everything he was asked to the point when the question-answers were all that you heard...not the substance, but the fact that they were there.

    Indeed, one listener emailed to show complaining about it. He asked: "Is it smart to answer each question with this kind of question? No."

    Clegg did not perform well at all. There were a lot of "ahs", "ehs" and "you knows", and nothing much of interest.

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  4. Monty, I think that you're right. They always seemed to have something alternative to offer, UK- wise, but because of the voting system did very poorly. They had only 2 million fewer votes than Labour at the last election, but fewer than a third of their seats, because of the spread of their vote.

    But they were only attractive because, unlike the other two, they had never had their chance to show what kind of a mess they could make of it.

    Now they have had that chance, and unless things change very dramatically in the next 40 months, they are toast.

    Although they have softened some of the Conservative policies, they will now be forever associated with Cameron. And that is a deathly legacy.

    If you want Cameron's policies (and some must) you might as well vote for Cameron, and not his puppet.

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  5. I do not believe ANYONE wanted the Limp-Dumps to get into any sort of position of power, as was said above they were the place to 'protest vote' in safety... that safety has now been shown to be a fools paradise, what I wonder, is the alternative for the 'safe vote' now. Truely the state of politics in England will be the 'two party' system as the Lumpy-Dimps sink into the waters of oblivion never to see the light of day again!
    Up in your neck of the woods the poisoning of the chalice that the Dim-Lumps once held, by their eager self prostitution on the priapic alter of coalition power with the Tardy party, should have finally sealed their doom...whats the old saying "Good intentions pave the way to Hell", it seems a shame because there were some 'good eggs' in the basket who have done some good work, but to my mind the Liberals (as were) were doomed from the moment they took in the Liebore exiles and suffered the consequences of second rate socialist agendas being forced over them in the remake into the Lamp-Dims party...
    Politics eh!, apart from the paychecks and large trough involved who in their right mind would want to be a politician given the choice of parties that there are at present and the 'whip' system used to abrogate the wishes of the voters. In the abscence of clearly Independent people to vote for the only vote that is going to count is rapidly becoming the 'molotov' option, don't you think?

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  6. Whither the Liberal Democrats?

    If you want to know where you're going it's a good to know where you're starting from.

    Previously the Liberal-Democrats great selling points were vote for us, we're not Labour or Conservative, we believe in a federal UK and in the Highlands especially, the last flickering memories of their predecessors the Liberals as a radical reforming party.

    They've lost their first selling point because now they are very definitely Conservative supporters and Nick Clegg was willing to take them down the road to perdition in a coalition for the sake of a couple of Cabinet seats. If they'd agreed to keep the Conservatives in government as a minority government on a vote by vote basis then they could have supped with the deil wi' a lang spune. As it is the lure of mondeos was just too much.

    Federalism has now simply disappeared from Lib-Dem political culture and you'll look in vain for policies promoting an English parliament or regional English parliaments on their party web-site. Danny Alexander and Michael Moore defend the union now as vigorously as their Conservative bretheren ever did in an effort to show that they may be Lib-Dems but they can be just as patriotically British as the Tories.

    In the last Scottish Parliamentary elections the Highlanders woke up and realised the Liberals were long gone and kicked out all the mainland Lib-Dem MSP's in conjunction with the rest of Scotland.

    So I can't really see any policies which the Lib-Dems espouse which really differentiate them from Labour or the Tories. They even sold voting reform down the river with AV for their mondeos in Westminster. Scotland already has two patriotic British parties in the Conservatives and Labour. What's the point of the Lib-Dems?

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  7. tris..
    Did we ever find out whether Tavish trousered the £100K from the sale of his taxpayer funded flat ? Seems to have gone quiet on that story.

    I see the Unionists are sending their trojan horses northwards to mess things up behind the scenes in Scotland. This travesty was overseen by Sir Peter Housden who was permanent secretary and principal accounting officer for the Department for Communities and Local Government.......

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8774287/The-469-million-Whitehall-fiasco-of-FiReControl-goes-unpunished.html

    He is now permanent secretary of the Scottish Government.
    You couldn't make it up :)

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  8. Tris

    I have just noticed on the Malcolm Bruce story The Telegraph must be psychic.

    With no revising chamber SNP must beware abuse of power
    By By Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon

    By by Malky do not let the door hit you on the way out. You will not be missed.

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  9. Guys:

    Thanks for the posts. I'm only in for 10 minutes and off out to my mum's for tea.

    Really interesting posts... I'll reply when I get home tonight.

    Thanks again.

    Tris

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  10. tris


    I'll get whole Cabinet to make case for Scotland staying in UK - Michael Moore

    Err! and this will help???

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  11. nominedeus: Yes. I think you're right. We have had experience of the (I won't compete with your natural talent for messing up their name!) Liberals joining forces with another party (Labour) to make a coalition government. To be fair they did take a Labour government in Scotland, tightly controlled by England, and as such completely out of touch with Scotland a bit more to the left. Student fees and care for the elderly are two good policies (albeit, almost unaffordable in today's climate) that they bequeathed us.

    I've now changed my opinion. I'm glad they didn't. They are just as crap as the others, and it's bad enough with two crap parties in London without having a third.

    I should imagine they will simply fade away after this ghastly coalition is over.

    Bye Bye Whigs...

    On a UK level it always seemed to me that they didn't take the opportunity left them by labour's lurch to Blairism, and the Tory madness of the late 90s and early 00s, where they gave themselves 3 leaders who couldn't lead a thirsty man to a bucket of water.

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  12. I noticed that the federalism had disappeared, Doug, when that idiot Michael Moore (where in god's earth did they rake him up from) refused Alex Salmond's requests for powers, many of which had previously been Liberal policy.

    Federalism was never supposed to include the nationalists.

    Now we have some old fool from the Liberals ... telling us that we need a second chamber to moderate an elected chamber... and elected partly by PR, so a fairer representation of the wishes of the people.

    Presumably he thinks that this second chamber, which will doubtless require a place to sit, will be appointed by...David Cameron?

    How dare Malcolm Bruce tell us we need to be protected from ourselves. We didn't need it when his lot were in coalition. The bloody cheek of the man.

    There we go again. Too bloody stupid to elect a parliament.

    What's the point of them...largely there's none, the way they are at the moment. They will almost certainly disappear.

    The sooner they go the better.

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  13. Jeez Monty. What a complete mess, and the scary thing is that the Quiet Man wants to do it again with tax. After this fiasco and the English health service computer system also buried after hundreds of millions spent on it because it just won't work...they want an even bigger system?

    As for punting the idiot in charge up here, you see this would be seen as punishment enough.

    Damn it, where does one go for the ballet, and one's clubs are in London, and it's a damned long way to go to down to the country for the weekend.

    Nope, anywhere north of Watford is badlands to these people.

    I bet Alex keeps him on a pretty tight leash though. He must be longing for his pension.

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  14. Dubs, I thought you mentioned that yesterday. He's a spiteful old buzzard, insulting his own countrymen like that. Been in Westminster too long and gone native I wouldn't wonder.

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  15. It shows how completely and utterly they are out of touch, Niko.

    Cameron said that he will tour Scotland with that po faced wife of his, who clearly hated the place when she was here for the weekend with the Queen. She even came up wearing totally inappropriate clothes which she was trying to sell for a design company. Cheeky cow.

    Anyway, Cameron seems to think that his coming up here will help the case... huh? Mad. Eck must be working out invitations for him and the entire cabinet to come up and tell us all we're better off with the yUK.

    You watch. I bet they'll come up one by one, very reluctantly, and one of them will be overheard on a live mic saying some thing like "ghastly people, awful place, thank god I'm going back to civilisation tomorrow".

    Oh yes. I feel freedom coming. I can smell it Niko....

    Who would you rather have... Eck or Eton Mess?

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  16. Ah CH... good video. They sell access to Danny Alexander and Michael Moore. Jeez, they should come and ask me. I'd pay good money NOT to see them...in fact I pay even more to never see them again!

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  17. I hope Malcolm Bruce loses his seat next election

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  18. Hello headthat. Nice to see you on Munguin's Republic.

    I totally agree with you.

    He had 36% of the vote last time, down 9%. The SNP was second with 22.2%, up 6.2%

    Given the popularity of the Liberals in Scotland, I don't think it beyond the bounds of possibility that he will do just that.

    Bye Bye Malc.

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  19. Tris:

    Federalism was never supposed to include the nationalists.

    Absolutely true as federalism is just unionism with regions.

    It's perhaps inevitable that as the nationalist threat grows the Unionist Lib-Dems back further and further away from any meaningful federal powers for Scotland and other nations in the UK.

    Joan McAlpine reports that the Lib-Dem candidate Alan MacRae who failed to hold onto John Farquhar Munro's old seat said that the Liberal Democrats lost because they ceased to be the party of Home Rule - just when real self-determination is within Scotland's grasp.

    That's the Lib-Dem problem in a nutshell, they just don't have the cojones to promote federalism when their beloved union is under threat.

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  20. I suspect that they wouldn't want to go too far down that road right now. David wouldn't like it... and someone might lose a Mondeo!!

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  21. Tris:

    It's a catch-22 for the devolutionists and the federalists in the Union parties isn't it?

    As Alex Salmond said, "Labour's devolution bus runs on SNP petrol.", but that applies to all the unionist parties.

    It's only with a powerful SNP that the idea of devolving powers or creating federal powers gets a second look but as the SNP threat increases the desire to give Scotland more powers recedes proportionally.

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  22. Yes, that's it in a nutshell Doug... but I'm glad it was you who explained it ! :)

    Anyway...as Niko so rightly says...Michael Moore says he's going to get all the cabinet working on it.

    That pretty much assures us of victory before we've promoted the idea at all.

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  23. 2 down and one left to go tris, pass as a result on the first, wont know on the others till next week but if the first was a goer then todays is deffo a good'un, fridays as yet is an unknown...thanks for asking!
    You mean I spilt it wrung???
    xxx

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  24. Glad to hear it nominedeus. Keep us posted.

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