The LibDems must avoid knee jerk reaction and leaving the centre for the left!

I don’t like being put in a box. Especially the left or right box. If I had to sum myself up with a political party I would say something like 40% Lib Dem, 20% Conservative, 10% Greens, 30% none of the above. I swing left or right depending on the issue. I’m a Lib Dem because they hold a majority of my views with a clear 10% lead over none of the above. I’m sad Clegg has gone. I admired how he held together slightly left and slightly right factions of the party grounded in the centre ground. I am proud he acknowledged that in 2010 that he owed it to the people who voted LibDem because they wanted a LibDem Government to go into Government when he had the chance. It was a bold, brave decision and one that has benefited the people of  Britain curbing the worst excesses of the Conservatives over the past five years.

 I’m a mature (another box I don’t like to be put in) student and I forgive Clegg for tuition fees. He is not the first politician to break a promise and nor will he be the last. When you work in a team you have to make difficult concessions and I respect his decisions. On the contrary I don’t have rich parents so I’m thankful for the fair student finance system that means everyone can go to university and indeed the figures of participation from less affluent groups in university are positive. I might have 50 K debt but it’s the best loan I will ever have. I wish my mortgage or car finance was on such favourable terms.

I’m concerned for the future of the party. A leftist approach would alienate members like myself. To be honest, furthermore  this weeks election has hinted the electorate rejecting the left to an extent. Although the left won’t accept this, instead writing Facebook posts verging on trolling, accusing people who voted certain ways of hating the disabled and other equally absurd accusations because they don’t agree ideologically with them! Equally I appreciate if I was party leader I would alienate a great deal of the party to the left of me. That’s why we need another Clegg! And if we do get another bash at being part of the Government we should grasp it with both hands! I don’t vote LibDem because I want them to have a chance to govern and turn it down! The opposition benches (or bench for our 8 MPs) don’t get us to do what we achieved in the last 5 years even if it had detrimental effects!

When you’re very left or very right it’s easy to verge on sounding like a dictator when arguing your stance to someone on the opposite side of the spectrum. I think the left are quite nasty in their arguments with opponents, however feel they believe it is justifiable because of the left bias in most mainstream media and institutions. It is almost an offence to admit to being anything other then hardline left at my university. As a liberal I’m very big on freedom of speech, something the lefties don’t appreciate. David Cameron said yesterday about building a strong economy encouraging people to work. I find this reasonable enough however don’t expect everyone to agree leading to healthy debate but instead Facebook is full of Cameron and the right hate the disabled and poor and are all fascists. On Saturday The Guardian had a dig at the democracy that gave Cameron the keys to number ten accusing people of failing to vote Labour when so many were visiting food banks. Food banks I believe are a very subjective opinion. Oops, cue the trolls again, I had an opinion.

 My Facebook “friends “ had posts ranging from slagging off the Electorate for how they voted to threatening to unfriend anyone voting UKIP. I mean, come on guys, freedom of speech. I detest UKIP policies probably more then I do Labour’s. I argue the immigration and anti-Europe drivel and myths are fuelled by the media and scaremongering and completely unfounded and we should welcome free movement of people but that’s my view. My view, others have fought so hard so that we can be in a position where everyone can have a view and a vote, even if that view and that vote are different from our own. The left have to stop thinking they have some kind of monopoly of moral and social justice and actually that there view on society is simply that, a view!

On the one hand social justice is very important to me. The principals of a welfare state are vital to a progressive state that provides for its population in times of needs.In terms of international support, frankly following our empire building, colonisation and subsequent contemporary neo-colonisation, we owe it to the developing word to provide support. (That’s not to say current models of neo-liberal solutions based on the  relentless power of TNC’s and aid conditional on the West’s way of doing things are the right way of doing things, buts that’s not a debate for here!). On the other hand I’m a huge believer in personal responsibility. Perhaps the “right” swinging in here BUT I had a very modest upbringing in a crappy Labour controlled Northern deprived city. I know what hard times are. I know the deprived face barriers.I know about living in a deprived community because I lived (and indeed still live) in one. I’m not like Russell Brand who attends a protest once or twice for a photo opportunity or the Guardian reading middle class who visit a food bank once then declare they know everything about the oppressed and can speak and come up with solutions for them! Yes, there are people in a bad way in the UK. I’m not denying that and as I said above I’m very proud of our welfare principals but some people are taking the piss, they go through their lives expecting everything on a plate, taking no responsibility for anything. This is not fair! You get out, what you put in. Britain is full of hard working people and Miliband’s swing to the far left and anti-business approach has obviously pissed off those people. The Conservative majority was achieved through real people voting! 

Leftist factions in the LibDems appear to be plotting some leftist revival apparently because not being left enough cost us last Thursday! This is rubbish! We epic failed at the election because the media turned against us. The junior coalition partners  were the laughing stock of satirical media and ridiculed by the left, right and populist media. It became fashionable to hate the LibDems and unintelligently band around the word “tuition fees” without any thought for what we actually stand for and what we have done in coalition. The Conservatives came out of the deal unscathed and stronger! We didn’t stand a chance. A big surge to the left really is not the answer! I joined the party as opposed to just supporting them as I had done for many years prior,  during the height of the media scaremongering because I took the time to actually see what they were about and not just believe everything I read in the newspaper! 

Europe is very important to me. That’s pretty much my only red line. With the Lib Dems the only party who don’t dither over Europe, it’s a key reason for the 40% match between what I stand for and what the LibDems stand for. I would be happy with €Euro and Schengen Removal of borders but appreciate the full works is not everyone’s cup of tea. I think it is a farce we would even consider leaving Europe though. I mean, of course I’m all freedom and democracy so why would I be against a referendum where people decide. To oppose it would make me a hypocrite. I have just chastised  those lefties slagging off those who voted Conservative above and now I’m suggesting a referendum is wrong when so many people have an opinion on Europe. In my defence I can’t help but think that people are too uneducated to make that choice. That sounds quite mean. I’m suggesting half of Britain are uneducated, but I don’t mean it as such. I mean people have visions force fed to them from populist opinion and factions of the media, of myths around immigration and Brussels making all of our decisions but people just don’t understand the many benefits of Europe because nobody ever discusses them. Where would you go to find the truth about European integration? It would be awful for Britain to leave Europe. A complete disaster. For an example of what Europe was like before integration, think about World War 2. Business leaders know it, Labour and the Greens know it. Even Cameron and the less hardline Conservatives know it. Are the people of Britain going to have to wait until their jobs start disappearing on a scale worse then the recession before they know it! We are entering worrying times! I fear for the future of the UK. The Europe issue is far more pressing then the relentless bashing of the right from the left since the election result and will have much worse effects then any of the welfare/spending cuts people were protesting about yesterday, yet ignorance to the plight of our EU membership continues!

Apparently LibDem membership has soared since last Thursday. The haters queuing up to stick the knife in Clegg will argue it is down to his resignation and the end of the coalition. Although I’m suitably informed, the surge started prior to Nick’s resignation. Tony Blair has come out yesterday accusing Labour of losing the election by being too left. The guardian has revealed this morning that Labour had huge success in university seats. What we forget is most university students are rich and middle class, rebelling against Tory mummy and daddy whilst at Uni. Did you see how many students were protesting Saturday in London against the cuts that don’t effect them (and in my view don’t exist)? As soon as they leave uni and get a job they realise the Guardian and the protests were a load of bollocks! Hard working British people do not resonate with paternalistic, middle class generated, leftist elite! The centre is good!

Lurching to the left is not the right road!

LibDems have got a lot of work to do!

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My manifesto : Would you vote for me?

I have spent the last few months with a mix of arguing with the TV (usually at the unbelievable leftie leftie bias of all the main media outlets. I actually feel sorry for David Cameron every time he appears on the “unbiased” BBC they tear him apart and don’t let him finish a question whilst the Greens, SNP and Labour get uninterrupted chance to speak their mind) and yawning at election fatigue. I have to say I would be happy with any of the parties getting in power if they did everything they promised during electioneering season. It’s a shame real life does not reflect the pantomime that is the run up to the general election!

I keep saying to people I could do a better job then any of them clowns so here I am putting my money where my mouth is. My manifesto:

Higher taxes (but equitable in that the more you earn the more you pay). People talk about public services but don’t want to pay for them. The Nordic model of cradle to grave being looked after by the state is the result of higher taxes. Somebody has to pay for them!

Funding for public services would go on the service I.e refuse collection not layers of management to manage refuse collection (achieved through outsourcing public services to private firms on tough performance contracts (see below)

More private involvement in the NHS – some form of franchise model with rich spoils for the most efficient operators of healthcare provision to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and rid the NHS of its beauracracy, endless layers of management and target driven performance

In fact start the above sentence ” more private involvement in…..and add all public services to it. BREAKING NEWS privatisation is not that bad! Everyone moans at how shit there local authority is, how incompetent and inefficient they are yet the suggestion of a private company providing public services for profit sends shudders down the spine. When profit is the motivation -efficiency comes about unlike the wastefulness of the public sector, employing 5 managers to do the job of 1 or being a sitting duck to powerful unions backed by Labour to bring the UKs public services to its knees if it doesn’t get its own way!

Fair and equitable benefits based around rewarding work and supporting the (real) vulnerable, a safety net for all, added protection on those who have paid into NI and find themselves in hard times, more stringent tests for disability benefit that ensure those that do need help get it but those with a “bad back” don’t take at the expense of the former! Drug/alcohol/food addictions not treated as disabilities.

Educate the people on the EU (ban the Daily Mail would be a start), dispel the myths, work towards a stronger political and monetary union (yes, the €Euro one day), continuation of free movement of people and joining the Schengen borders agreement.

Put young people on a par with old in terms of discounted and free travel, free school bus travel,support to study beyond GCSE, scrap target driven education and focus on quality teaching to inspire and educate kids, not just to pass tests. Secondary school education would be around 40% exams/ 60% projects in final two years, reducing exam  stress -entire secondary school education amounting to a few exams not conducive to success! Schools would stop hounding parents over targets and attendance, periods of educational leave and work experience will be integral part of learning experience. Power back in parents hands not dictatorial academy principles. Mandatory Parenting classes to those who abuse system/ letting their children down.

University tuition fees will remain, university education too high quality and beneficial to give away. Student finance will remain fair and equitable to all. Better funding for mature students. Student finance Style don’t pay up front system for all adult learners and incentives to employers allowing staff to partake. Those on long-term benefits to partake in meaningful education with no sanctions.

People to be encouraged to take responsibility of their own lives- no win no fee sue your council/NHS/PPI bullshit will be restricted. 

Higher speed limits (motorways and non residential roads), removal of speed cameras but tough laws on dangerous driving particularly in local communities /schools. Education to likes of middle lane drivers and regular retesting to elderly and those caught dangerous driving. Sentences for causing death with a vehicle will be on a par with murder. Better education and tougher punishments for motorbikes and cyclists. Emphasis would be more on bikers taking responsible rather then expecting cars to “think bike”.

Tackling environmental issues, going beyond usual rhetoric

Cash for overseas development-we have short memories, our colonisation missions created these problems, I think we should bloody well sort them!

Build more houses, get shut of the stigma of social housing, build enough houses so that dodgy buy to let landlords have their houses repossessed and live a miserable existence as a result

Combine land use and transport planning, making use of brownfield ex industrial sites to make cities more compact. Some additional airport capacity needed, we can’t fall behind but should try to reduce short haul flights. Better use of channel tunnel and European High Speed rail for international connections. Ignore rich NIMBYS who don’t want new housing blocking their views. Better public transport. Sizeable towns and cities should have European model of trams,metro/underground and integrated ticketing. People shouldn’t be forced to leave car at home they should want to because of quality of transport system!!

People who want to take cannabis and other soft drugs at home hurting no one else but themselves can do so free from prosecution where it effects communities or leads to petty crime and all hard drugs then option of mandatory good quality support or criminal proceedings. No prison sentences for stupid crimes like purgery, non-payment of TV licence/council tax or benefit and other fraud. Petty criminals one strike then long prison sentences, crime must not be seen to pay! Prisons to be suitably shit places to live but provide education and opportunities once prisoners released. Proper support provided on release but again accompanied by a one strike and you’re back inside rule. People must take responsibility for their actions. Tougher sentences to deter crime.

Would you vote for me?
(Potentially coming to the UK in 2020!)

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My hard sell for the Lib Dems…….

I never really took a great interest in politics at the political level. Of course I had an opinion on politics. Most things we utter from our mouths are related to politics in some way or another (cost of petrol, anti-social behaviour, train fares etc…..everyday stuff!) and most of the time we don’t even realise it. Seeing heated exchanges on the news in the House of Commons made me think the political sphere was just a huge pantomime. Labour could never agree with Conservatives on principle, the Conservatives could never agree with Labour and they all argued like primary school children in the playground. Come election time each party would promise the World to different groups and then after elections back to the pantomime. In the last couple of years I have taken more of an interest in politics and my view hasn’t really changed of the pantomime . I hate putting people in boxes. I have some views which put me on a par with a wishy washy liberal, others that align me with the right. The other day I found myself agreeing with Nigel Farage (kill me now) about the farce of releasing IRA killers out after the NI peace deal (will we do a deal with ISIS in the future?). The only party I can’t resonate with is Labour. After spending a huge chunk of my school and then work life in Labour controlled Wakefield and more recently living in an ex-mining community hearing how Thatcher destroyed the area and how the last 30 years of deprivation, unemployment and welfare dependency are the fault of her and nothing to do with the Labour Party who have held the seat for the last 30 years, just pushed me to rebel and support the Conservatives! More recently I have swayed to the Liberal Democrats ( and I’m a mature student who actually thinks the tuition fees represent reasonable value- I do like to buck the trend!) mainly because of their support of Europe. Despite what the Daily Mail say I think the EU is a good thing, you only have to think about Europe and its relations through history and up until the 1940’s to appreciate the good of modern European integration. Immigrants aren’t actually steeling our jobs and benefits (shock horror!) and Brussels is not making all our decisions. Aside from Europe I disagree with a number of LibDem policies such as “hug a junkie”. I think the Conservatives encourage people to take responsibility for their own actions and their own lives. Equally though I don’t think they could get any further up the arse of the elites who pull their strings which is not particularly good for Mr and Mrs average. Labour on the other hand are a joke. In an ideal World Milliband would have us going back to the Soviet model with nationalised industries, destroying business and we all know where that leads to. UKIP are a paradox. The media gave them the power with their anti-immigration bullshit. The media now love to ridicule UKIP yet are largely responsible for the scaremongering UKIP thrive off. The Greens seem to be favourite to steal the LibDems student support after the tuition fees betrayal (lol!) which is sad because a couple of Green seats are not going to solve climate change and as a one policy party are neither going to have much impact on anything else. I think we could do a lot worse then another Conservative-LibDem coalition. No party is going to end unemployment, cut taxes and hand out lots of money. We have to be realistic in what we ask for. We have to take some responsibility for our own lives. The media have decided the LibDems are to be demolished in the election. Ask yourself why you share this viewpoint, where has your evidence for this decision come from? The media! Have a look at some of the actual achievements in Government and future polices rather then the media soundbites. If you still decide LibDems are not for you, then fine but let it be your decision, not the media! So it’s a hard sell, but consider this. I attended the LibDems conference in Autumn at Glasgow and witnessed some top young activists passionate about doing the right thing, some were a little too liberal for my liking and it was disappointing to see balding old men held the majority of the voting rights but the party least resemble the “pantomime” and have some good ideas contrary to the populist press!

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