People who have known me for a while, who have read this blog, or have followed me on twitter will know that I’ve not always been the intersectional anarcha-feminist I try to be these days. I used to be, especially a couple of years ago, an apologist for the forces of austerity. And while I could go down the route of some campaigners on the Left, pretend I never said that, pretend I was born on a mountain with a double rainbow in the sky when the angels sang my heralds, it’d be duplicitive and untrue. I’m human, and I’m flawed. And I think it would be much more honest to own my history as an activist.
Tag Archive for Lib Dems
People who know me know that I really don’t like Tom Harris, the current MP for Glasgow South. Hell, my second blog post was basically about him being totally awful on the issue of tuition fees (a lie he continues to this day), and he relishes in being the tribal kind of Labour MP, especially on Twitter. So savvy he is on Twitter, that he became Labour’s internet adviser.
Until he posted a Downfall parody of Alex Salmond, effectively comparing the Scottish National Party leader to Adolf Hitler. Yep. After he lost the Scottish Labour leadership election, he might’ve been a bit angry. Who knows? But he did end up having to resign the post.
“Homophobia”, cried Conservative Future on Friday, the day after the Lib Dems won the Grove Ward by-election in Kingston. “A return to 1983!”, cried the Lib Dem bashers around the internet (including famous opponent of equal marriage Ben Summerskill, but that’s for the next post). Why? Because the election was described as a “straight fight”, when the Tory opponent just so happened to be gay.
It’s one of those things that every Lib Dem was dreading to hear: that, even with months of campaigning, their candidate had lost to the Labour candidate. Not more was the hurt felt in Headingley two weeks ago. We — as in Leeds Liberal Youth — had been campaigning hard since last September to ensure that the then-incumbent councillor, Jamie Matthews, was re-elected. Jamie was a superb councillor, and was a better pick to represent students than the Labour candidate. Even after tuition fees. When thousands of students had problems with their internet connection, Labour, with a majority on the council, were nowhere to be seen. But Jamie carved out the niche of the “councillor who took on Virgin Media”.
I use the past tense, because he lost. By 32 votes. » Read more..
The Spring Conference of Liberal Youth was held in the lovely city of Leeds, thanks to a successful bid submitted by our branch, Leeds Liberal Youth. I have to admit, I was a Conference virgin, having not been to either a Liberal Youth nor a Federal Conference before (rather stupidly electing not to go to the 2011 Conference in Sheffield). But, with a Conference taking place in my proverbial back yard, I felt I was obligated to go. That, and I was part of the host. » Read more..
Some amusing news from the ermine chamber this week: 76% of peers, including 54% Lib Dem peers, would see reform of the House of Lords unconstitutional. The first thing is that the number of Lib Dem objectors, including Lord Steel, is depressingly too high: Lords reform has been Liberal and Liberal Democratic party policy since before proportional representation was added. The second thing is that this is complete bollocks.
My friend over at Legal Fiction has posted, from a legal standpoint, why this is not the case: most importantly, the use of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 to override the Lords with the Hunting with Dogs Act (2004) was seen as constitutional by the Law Lords. That, and Parliament has the right to pass nearly anything it wishes (with the exception of laws that violate treaty agreements). But there is a societal aspect too. » Read more..
Well, Thursday was an absolute disaster. Losing a third of our councillors and the AV referendum 62–38. So where did we go so wrong?
The meltdown was inevitable. It’s pretty much a “midterm effect”: after a realigning election, the new government suddenly becomes a lot more unpopular because they can’t sweep away the cobwebs they said they’d get rid of. This happened to the American Democratic Party in 1994 and 2010, but not to the Republicans in 2002: because 2000 was a steady hand-over instead of the landslides of ’92 and ’08. A new liberal force in politics was bound to be unpopular once it started to govern: some promises have to be broken, after all, if you need to govern properly. » Read more..
(Note, January 2013: This post was written when I was more naive to economic circumstances. It is best read in a perspective from before the cuts starting. It is kept in the purposes of transparency and does not accurately reflect my current thoughts on the matter.)
Belt up, this is going to be a big one.
So yeah. That march a couple of weeks ago. At a generous estimate, 400,000 marched against the government’s spending cuts. And while I sympathise with them, I also think that it was just a waste of time due to how it ended up. » Read more..
The Electoral Commission has outlined rough plans on where the reduction of MPs from 650 to 600. As expected, traditional Labour strongholds will lose seats. But is it “gerrymandering”, as Labour have alleged?
Not exactly. It’s an undeniable fact that the current system, as is, is horribly skewed towards Labour. The 2005 election, for example, gave Labour 90 more seats than the Tories in England, despite losing by 0.3%. Labour also enjoy their concentrated support in inner-city areas, which allows them to win a lot of urban seats (and the reverse for the Conservatives, in business districts and rural areas). This creates a squeeze on smaller parties with even support, such as the Liberal Democrats, but also the Greens and UKIP.
Why does the skew exist? Well, there’s several reasons for this happening: » Read more..
Damn you, Mark Cole, for doing the title I wanted to do first. Even so, I was up tonight waiting for the by-election result with bated breath… and we lost by 3,000 votes. It’s actually not bad, if you think about it. The Lib Dems are riding on 8–10% in the daily YouGov polls, but we still make a decent showing at the first major poll, to the point our share in the vote rises just ever so slightly. Tim Farron was right to call this a “score draw”.
Because, really, Debbie Abrahams didn’t win because she was a good candidate. She isn’t. Colne Valley, depending on the time of the week, is the next constituency over from me, and she didn’t really have a support base; indeed, I saw more support for the Lib Dem candidate (which was dwarfed by the support for the Conservative candidate and eventual winner Jason McCartney). She also fantastically crashed on polling day taking a Labour seat into third (although, admittedly, Colne Valley is a three-way marginal). » Read more..