Cacoathes: an urge to do something inadvisable.

Jen Robertson dug out this interesting but rarely used word because on the odd occasion I am known for saying some inadvisable things but it did make me think of recent seeming uses of it all be it without it actually being said.

The EU Remain campaigning Labour Party doing a complete U-turn and voting for Brexit? Inadvisable

The classic of Nick Clegg saying he would oppose Tuition Fees and then dropping that opposition. Inadvisable

Labour saying they were going to defend the Sefton Green Belt and then voting to build on it. Inadvisable

The Tories saying in their 2015 manifesto that they wanted to remain in the Single Market and then voting to leave the Single market. Inadvisable

The UK voting to leave the EU in the advisory referendum. Inadvisable

I could go on but I am sure you get my drift…..

Liberals – Why it’s good to hear that some folks really don’t like them

I’ve been a Liberal all my adult life (having read the 3 major party manifestos from the 1979 General Election I realised I was indeed a Liberal) and throughout that time I have often heard people say things like Liberals are nice people, you care about people and other such comments.

Of course I have also heard just the opposite when former Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg, foolishly in my view, dropped opposition to Labour’s Student Tuition Fees. In some ways it was not actually about Tuition Fees, it was about trust and not carrying out what folks thought the Lib Dems had said they stood for. By gum some lessons were learned there and rightly so!

Now with the incredibly stupid idea of us leaving the EU and most probably tipping the UK economy over the edge in the process Liberals have been leading the fight against Brexit – along with the SNP in Scotland of course. This has polarised opinions and many on the right in particular really do hate us Liberals for our pro-EU stance.

But whilst the country is going to the dogs liberalism is on the rise – I am told that membership of the Lib Dem Party is soaring to its highest levels in a very long time. And you know I don’t think it is at all a bad thing for Liberals to be unpopular with people who support Brexit and who hold illiberal views on many other things. Some of them may even have voted Liberal in the past not really knowing how pro-EU we Liberals are but they won’t be making that mistake again I am sure!

10 reasons to dislike Liberals:-

If you hate the EU
If you are a racist
If you like our appalling unrepresentative voting system
If you are intolerant towards people from other countries
If you support UKIP
If you care little for environmental issues
If you are a Little Englander
If you think that Donald Trump is a good thing
If you change facts to fit with your own views
If you can’t see how beneficial it is to have people from other countries working and studying in the UK

I could go on but I guess you get my drift.

The cause of Liberalism has clearly been reignited by the EU Referendum, especially with Labour being so all over the place on this most crucial of issues.

No, I’m happy that some folks really don’t like Liberals because that means we are doing the right things and not trying to be all things to all people. And that’s a lesson that Labour has seemingly not yet learned. When over 60% of Labour voters supported staying in the EU they switch away from their admittedly half hearted Remain support and choose to back Brexit and the views of their minority right wing supporters! And this from a party whose membership is now predominately left wing. You really could not make up the tangle Labour have got themselves into could you. Of course that’s why Labour members who are also liberal and pro-EU by instinct are leaving that party and joining the Lib Dems.

If the Lib Dems have always had an obvious problem it has been trying to nail down what the party stands for in the minds of the electorate. Well that nailing down has clearly been done now!

Sir Humphrey’s advice to a ‘brave’ David Cameron on the EU Referendum

Back in the days whilst David Cameron had the chance not to lurch the UK into a huge Brexit crisis this exchange may have taken place following months of advice about him resisting being too ‘brave’:-

Sir Humphrey – Can I present you with a box Prime Minster, it’s one we put before Ministers prior to them taking momentous decisions. Bring in the OSBOT box please Bernard.

Cameron – What’s this all about then Humphrey?

Sir Humphrey – Well Prime Minister it’s the job of Cabinet Office to spell out to a Minister or Prime Minister all the potential pit-falls of a potentially ‘brave’ decision which we feel could have dire consequences. This OSBOT box contains details of the dire consequences of your pursuing an EU Referendum.

Cameron – But I know the consequences and I know I will win anyway.

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister knowing the consequences is what one of your predecessors, a Mr Blair, said when we put such a box in front of him prior to the Iraq war being authorised. It’s also what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg uttered before his U turn on tuition fees.

Cameron – But what’s that got to do with me, they were wrong and I am right?

Sir Humphrey – Yes they both thought they were right too Prime Minister. Mr Blair got it all very badly wrong though and Mr Clegg, well we all know what happened to him.

Cameron – So what purpose does the OSBOT box serve?

Sir Humphrey – It’s bit like Pandora’s Box Prime Minister – once opened it can’t be shut again and it’s your choice whether to open it or not. Blair and Clegg opened it, indeed you laughed yourself silly when Clegg did if you recall. Now its your turn Prime Minister.

Cameron – Do I have to open it?

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister if your are determined to hold an EU Referendum.

Cameron – Well open it I will because right is on my side, I say.

Sir Humphrey – Just remember Prime Minister all that you read in the box is likely to happen and you can’t shut the box once you have read of the consequences.

Cameron – Give me the key!

Cameron opens the box and this is what he reads:-

Most if not all of the following will now happen – The Country will vote to leave the EU. Financial meltdown will follow. There is no plan to deal with an EU exit. You will be blamed for opening ‘Pandora’s Box’. A Mr. B Johnson will dance on your political grave. Racists will emerge in large numbers. Xenophobes (a person unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin) will multiply. All the political barm-pots will have been brought together in one campaign group to campaign for Brexit – they will not be parted.

In short Prime Minister you have just read why you should not hold an EU Referendum but as you have opened the box there is no going back. Thank you for reading the most momentous political suicide note in living memory.

Cameron – But this is ridiculous Humphrey, none of this will happen mark my words.

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister I have marked your very ‘brave’ words and I have also taken the liberty of drafting a resignation speech which obviously, in your view, will not now be required?

Cameron – Look Humphrey I am confident nothing will really go wrong but if by some ridiculously small chance it does will the Country know that I was warned not to hold the EU Referendum? By the way what does OSBOT mean?

Sir Humphrey – No Prime Minister the Civil Service does not kick a Prime Minister when they are down, we find there is no need for us to join in a political lynching. And OSBOT – Only Stupid Buggers Open This.

Tuition Fees – Labour brought them in – Tories & Lib Dems promised to scrap them!

This is one of those political subjects that truly gets my goat as there has been so much hypocrisy and so many lies told about tuition fees.

When the Labour government introduced them the opposition rightly, in my view, labelled it a tax on learning and they pledged to scrap them. And that was the Tories too, not just Nick Clegg’s Party. See the recent revelations concerning George Osborne’s views on scrapping tuition fees when he was in opposition via the link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-36323823

Now it looks like they are likely to increase year on year so another row is breaking out with Labour saying there should not be any increase. You can bet that Corbyn is treading carefully as he won’t want students and their families reminded that tuition fees were originally Labour’s idea to tax learning. And let’s be honest if Labour had not invented this tax it would surely now be pressing for its abolition.

And here’s an odd thing. If you ask folks who was responsible for tuition fees they will probably respond by saying Nick Clegg or the Lib Dems. This is because that infamous and utterly disastrous (for the Lib Dems) retreat from saying they would scrap them is what sticks in the public’s mind. So the Lib Dems are seen by many as being responsible for the fees as well as for breaking their pledge to scrap them when they were actually only responsible for the second sin.

But the reason this troubling subject sticks in my mind is because it illustrates the dishonesty that is at the heart of our party political system and which fuels voters distrust of politics and political parties. Or look at it another way what pledges are being made now which will be reneged on further down the track.

You would have thought that with the advent of 24 hour news and social media that the chances of pledges being forgotten about when the political wind changes would be slim but I bet despite that dodgy pledges are still being made especially by those in opposition.

It is probably fair to say that we don’t really expect our politicians to be honest although in public we usually say we want them to be. And we are pretty good at looking shocked and horrified when an MP does something wrong over his/her expenses claims even though most of us will soon forget about it.

And there’s the rub ‘we will soon forget about it’, because that is what those making dodging pledges are relying on together with the media being too lazy to remind folks of course.

Did the Lib Dems hold back the worst excesses of the Tories?

www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/david-cameron-and-george-osborne-should-not-forget-the-lib-dems-know-where-the-bodies-are-buried-a6952641.html

The Independent has the story on its web site – see link above

I think even the most extreme Coalition hater (I await the rants to start) will concede that the answer to the question is yes especially as those worst Tory excesses are being played out now as there is no brake on the Tory right wing what so ever.

You see you have to try to see past the Clegg hating which for some, after his Tuition Fees U-turn, is all but impossible. To many voters if Nick Clegg said today was Monday they would automatically assume he was lying even if today was indeed Monday! What a legacy Nick has to live with.

But of course this Independent article makes some well informed comments, although it has to be said the electorate actually voted, under our utterly unrepresentative electoral system, for more right wing Tory policies in 2015. Well that was the effect if not really the intention because the Lib Dems were either battered for holding the Tories back or alternatively battered for not holding the Tories back enough. Only our first post the post electoral system (so loved by Tories and Labour) could deliver a new government of the Tory far right when more than 60% of the electorate was seemingly trying to create the opposite.

But to return to the Independent article, I was also taken by this quote from David Laws “The Lib Dem leader thought that a major weakness of both David Cameron and George Osborne was that they had little sympathy with or understanding of people on very low incomes, and were inclined to write them off politically as ‘not our voters’.”

Yes of course it sums up well how many Tories look at those less fortunate in our society but I have also heard Labour folk use a similar turn of phrase when talking about other matters. In other words if you come from a section of society or a place that does not return Labour MP’s/councillors why should we give a stuff about you.

It is of course pure tribalism and both Labour and Tories represent their own tribes and care little and indeed have great hatred for the other tribe. Sadly, UK politics is very much based on such appalling tribalism and that’s why we are in the mess that we are in.

With thanks to my spotter Jen Robertson

Labour loves tennis – OK but why the obsession with this particular sport?

Readers will recall that in closing down the innovative and unique Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall Maghull Labour said it was to change the offer to local youth and that they were introducing tennis coaching as an alternative.

Maghull TH Youth Coffee Bar before Labour shut it

Maghull TH Youth Coffee Bar before Labour shut it

Well hard on the heels of that momentous (some would say ridiculous) decision neighbouring Lydiate Labour (who run Lydiate Parish Council) are trumpeting that they have refurbished the tennis courts (rebuilt the fencing) at Sandy Lane Park, a project that the Lib Dem opposition on Lydiate Parish Council supported I might add.

So Labour in Maghull & Lydiate are keen on tennis, that seems very clear. So keen in fact that they were willing to shut down an all year round youth facility in Maghull seemingly so that tennis coaching can be offered as an alternative by Labour-run Maghull Town Council. Maghull Council does not have any non-Labour members by the way.

Looks like Labour thinks they may have the tennis vote all sown up in Lydiate and Maghull. Trouble is they have successfully alienated many local young people in the process and may have made themselves about as unpopular with the younger generation (all except tennis players of course) as Nick Clegg did when he U turned on Tuition Fees! What’s more the surface of the Lydiate tennis courts leaves much to be desired but more on that in a further posting.