Tag Archive: GE2017

Apr 30 2017

A real opposition

Labour no longer form an effective opposition. On the main issue of the day, Brexit, their leader was insipid in the referendum campaign, and the Remain campaign was hamstring because of this. And now the vote has passed their policy seems to be a vague “we’ll do Brexit but not as Brexity as the Tories”. They voted to trigger Article 50 in the absence of any practical acquiesce to their demands on Brexit.

Theresa May led a slim majority in parliament with no personal mandate, and a prime directive: Brexit that a very narrow majority of voters actually voted for and if they did vote for it then it was a glorious unicorn which frankly is not on the table (or in the stable, if you wish to avoid a mixed metaphor). Any reasonable opposition should be well ahead in the opinion polls, not 20 points behind as Labour is now.

The opinion polls as they now stand are not “will they / won’t they form a government”, more “what size rump of the Labour party will be left”.

Their main problem is leadership. Fundamentally a man who rebelled so often against the party in the past is incapable of leading it. The parliamentary Labour Party agrees, 80% of them voted against Jeremy Corbyn in a no confidence vote. Labour MPs don’t want Corbyn as their leader, why on earth should we want him to lead the country?

The problem with leadership has meant that the Opposition has scarcely had a function front bench since the 2015 election, and re-electing Corbyn as a leader as not helped in any way.

Labour as an opposition with a minority of less than 20 seats have been ineffective. Just think what it would be like with a minority in of more than 100.

Labour as a party is dead. It’s dead but it doesn’t yet know it. You can vote for it to make the corpse wiggle for a little longer or you can do something different.

Across the country Labour are saying “Don’t vote for them, they’ll let the Tories in”. The blunt truth is, they will let the Tories in with their utter incompetence and they’ll give them a free hand to do what they want once they are in. They rely on their “hereditary” vote and a presumption that they have the right to any vote that is not a vote for the Tories.

On the 8th June, vote for a real opposition, vote for the Liberal Democrats.

Apr 24 2017

And they’re off!

How did we get here, facing a second general election only two years after the last one?

Theresa May called the election, possibly because she saw that Labour was historically weak – the Tories currently have something like a 20 point lead over Labour in the opinion polls. That’s much larger than any sort of margin of error, and if maintained until the election will give the Tories an overall majority in excess of 100 seats – see the Electoral Calculus website for a more detailed prediction.

Or it might have been because she was going to lose her majority of 17 through resignations of Tory MPs over election expenses. Channel 4 has done some great work researching this story: Channel 4 Election Expenses Investigation. As it stands Tory MPs and their agents could have charges brought against them during the election campaign.

MPs voted by more than a two thirds majority to allow the election, as required by the Fixed Term Parliament Act. In retrospect this is a bit surprising, clearly the Liberal Democrats have an interest in this General Election – things can’t be worse for them than the 2015 election. But why have Labour made this so easy? They could have forced a vote of no confidence instead of voting with the government which would have made little practical difference but would have not looked good for the government.

Of course the original cause for the General Election is David Cameron’s decision to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU to pacify the europhobic wing of the Tory party. He clearly expected to win the Remain vote in the referendum, and his failure led to the most spectacular act of political self-decapitation that I can recall.

This general election appears to have taken Labour and even Tory parties by surprise, but not the Liberal Democrats – as local parties we were asked by our HQ to select candidates last summer, after the EU referendum.

Regular readers of my blog will be aware that I’m somewhat political. I can’t maintain a mysterious and thoughtful mien in the forthcoming campaign before finally, publically revealing my voting intentions. I am the treasurer of City of Chester Liberal Democrats, so:

Vote Liberal Democrat on 8th June, wherever you are!