What to make of the local election results & a big thank you from Cllr. Edie Pope and myself

Firstly, it was great to see Southport Lib Dems regain a strong footing in their Town, winning 4 of the 7 seats up for election this year. Well done to all involved.

And a big swing from Labour to Lib Dem in Crosby’s Victoria ward for Hannah Gee as well. The way that determined young lady is going she’s going to win that ward back from the Red Tories soon.

Nationally it was a very good night for the Lib Dems and a bad one for the two main Brexit Parties (The Red Tories and the Blue Tories). As I make this posting the running totals of gains and losses of council seats in England was stood at:-

Lib Dem + 597
Labour – 101
Tories – 1136
Greens + 165
UKIP – 109

Brexit Parties Losses (Con, Lab, UKIP) so far – 1346
Remain Parties Gains (Lib Dem & Green) so far -762

With these local elections being fought to the loud background noise of Brexit it was always going to be a test of whether the electorate would continue to back Brexit or would signal a move away from it by backing Remain parties such as the Lib Dem’s and Greens. Yes I know local elections are supposed to be about very local issues but many electors these days use them to give their verdict on national political matters.

Labour were in a dilemma because they could not announce they had done a Brexit deal with the Tories before local elections as they would have been hammered, but let’s face it none of us will be surprised if the Red Tories back the Blue Tories in a job loss, NHS funding cut deal as the Labour leadership has wanted for a long time now.

Oh and just a footnote – I held my seat on Lydiate Parish Council – 34 years and counting as a Parish, Town and/or Borough Councillor in Sefton Borough’s East Parishes. It’s been a blast and the electorate keeps backing this old radical Liberal leftie for some odd reason. My Lib Dem colleague Cllr. Edie Pope also retained her seat on Lydiate Parish Council so congratulations to her too.

Is Labour just an alternative Tory Party for those who consider themselves to be ‘working class’?

Does it go without saying that the vast majority of Labour voters would never vote Tory and that they will continue to vote Labour pretty much whatever the party stands for?

I ask as having been involved in politics for some 37 years now I really don’t know what Labour stands for these days other than not being the Tory Party. Just look at this:-

They started to privatise the NHS when in government but now say they oppose NHS privatisation.

They campaigned, if rather weakly, to Remain in the EU during the recent referendum but now support Leaving the EU.

They backed and promoted the war in Iraq, along with the Tories, but now seem thoroughly embarrassed (and rightly so) by what they did.

They were pretty much a social democrat party during the Blair years but now have a socialist leader and a predominately socialist membership.

Their MP’s are mainly social democrat in outlook and belief but their party membership has no time for them, often labeling them as Red Tories.

Their ‘working class’ supporters are seemingly rather right wing and are tempted to support UKIP at times when tribal loyalty starts to wear a little thin.

Is ‘not being the Tory Party’ now Labour’s strap line and main selling point?

And I never cease to be amazed by the number of champagne socialists there seem to be around Labour. Top of the range cars are often a give away but then you discover that the drivers/owners are Corbyn backers. How does that add up because for all his faults Corbyn is an unlikely champagne socialist. Indeed, having personally felt he deserved the benefit of the doubt and that the press were out to hound him, I think it may well be fair to say that he’s a socialist from a previous era. A throw back to Michael Foot’s idea of what Labour should be all about? Certainly he does not come across as someone at ease with our diverse society, more as though modern ways leave him with a hankering for the good old socialist days.

I often use the somewhat jokey phrase these days ‘Hey I’m a Liberal, most Labour Party folk seem too right wing too me’ yet, whilst this line often brings about a wry smile when I use it, I really do think it fits many Labour politicians.

Being known as a ‘not the Tory Party party’ is one thing but supporting Teresa May’s off to the far right Government, as Labour has done over Brexit, just puts them on a charge of being Red Tories in reality rather than just by insult from their own left wing.

Labour’s dilemma laid bare in Prescot

I went canvassing yesterday for a local council by-election and was struck by two things. Firstly, the revival of the Lib Dem vote was strong and of course, from my point of view, most welcome. But what really stood out was the the position of the Labour Party and it was not good news for them!

Yes of course I came across a few tribal Labour voters who have voted Labour all their lives and will continue to do so no matter what Labour stands for. I suppose you categorise them as Labour’s right wing. Most of them will not actually be Labour Party members but their loyalty to Labour is absolute.

Compare that with the actual membership of the Labour Party these days; predominately left wing, socialist and very much behind Jeremy Corbyn.

These two groups are all but incompatible and to add to the mix you have the vast majority of Labour’s MP’s being in neither camp! Yes of course some will be from Labour’s working class tribal right and some will be Corbynites but the vast majority of them are stuck somewhere in the middle. They will be seen as being social democrats in polite company and as Red Tories by their own Party membership.

So what about Prescot? Well Labour-run Knowsley Council is clearly about as popular as snow at harvest; even Labour supporters who expressed a view about their local council were hardly complimentary. But what I noticed, if you take away Labour’s tribal supporters, is that the rest are hardly enthused about Labour at all these days.

Obviously I don’t know how the Prescot by-election will turn out but what I could clearly see on the doorsteps of Prescot was that the national trend of Labour support slipping away whilst Lib Dem support rises is being replicated.

As I often say, hey I’m a Liberal, most Labour folk seem too right wing to me.

PS. BTW I personally did not come across anyone who said they were a Tory supporter.

Labour – Now firmly a socialist party

Corbyn has won today and with a greater share of the vote, so Labour just needs to get on with being the socialist party which is surely what it is now supposed to be.

It was all but Christian Democrat under Blair in European terms.

And what’s all this fuss about right wing Labour MP’s potentially being deselected? Surely they are not socialists (the left, and I include myself here, call them Red Tories) so why do they want to stay in a socialist party? And yes it is legitimate for Labour members to deselect them as they don’t believe in what Labour now stands for.

Just a bit of Liberal advice for the Labour Party.

14 months of playing the Tories games

Who living today will forget the appalling EU Referendum campaign with all its lies, exaggerations and misleading information. And who will ever forget the leadership crisis it precipitated in the Tory, Labour, Green and UKIP Parties.

We got the world’s attention alright and then made utter fools of ourselves and our democratic and tolerant values right in front of it. We could not have damaged the UK’s reputation any more if we had sent Cameron to the sea to hold it back or even appointed Boris to be say Foreign Secretary. We have sadly become the fool of the western world.

But we have in reality simply been playing a Tory Game of Thrones throughout this appalling debacle. Just look at the events.

Cameron only promised an EU referendum because he thought he would be in Coalition again and that the Lib Dems would block it. He was right about the latter but totally misjudged the former, as did many others. Can you imagine his disbelief and angst at the General Election result in 2015. He was now going to have to deliver on that promise he had made to keep his troops quiet, never actually thinking he would have to implement it! Oh dear what to do now, it had all been set up not to happen with the Lib Dems carrying the can for blocking it. The pollsters and electorate (assisted by our warped electoral system) had played a cruel trick on him and it will be a trick that will probably sink us all.

It was of course a terrible gamble that Cameron felt he had been forced to play because so many of this troops were on the verge of tripping over to UKIP. It was a punt that will ruin any credibility that he thought he would leave office with. The man who gambled every last chip at the poker table to save his Party but who lost the nations shirt (and pretty much the rest of our clothes) when his chips were down.

But he had made his bed and he thought he could lie down in it and win the referendum. He was very wrong as the Tory Party ripped itself to shreds and deepened its its already cavernous EU divisions. He has, of course, had to walk away and has done so a man in utter disgrace despite all the platitudes and goodbye smiles.

But it also transpired that Labour’s divisions were about to be exposed big time as well as their right wing (sometimes called Red Tories) decided to use what it said was Jeremy Corbyn’s lacklustre performance during the EU Referendum as a stick to beat him with. In fact that allegation seems not to stand up to close scrutiny as despite the press and ‘Red Tories’ saying Corbyn did not make the effort the facts look to be just the opposite. I am no apologist for the Labour leadership but the very best you can say about the attacks on Corbyn’s EU performance is that it was nowhere near as bad as his detractors have said it was.

So Labour fell apart too thanks to Cameron’s referendum, although this was probably his only personal bright spot this year!

And then Tory rats who had been sailing the good ship UK into high Brexit seas all decided to jump ship when they had filled the UK electorate with utter nonsense and won! They knew what they had done (you could see it in their let’s get out quick faces) and they were not about to stay around to help clean up the mess; even the UKIP leader ran off with them. But bizarrely May has brought Boris back for more punishment in a high profile job he could not resist!

So Tories, Labour and UKIP have all gone for a new leader, well Labour’s Red Tories want one but the left does not. We presently only know the result of the Tory selection as it was no election. It had more drop-outs than a poor university course!

Don’t you think it was odd that Johnson backed out of the Tory leadership race and was it not even more odd that Loathsome also backed out at the last minute? It’s it the case that the Tory 1922 Committee realised that a public election campaign between Loathsome and May would again tear the Tories apart so Loathsome was advised to back out? May therefore has been crowned without being exposed to the unpredictable and some Tories would say barmy Tory Party membership. But of course she has no mandate and no legitimacy.

So the whole charade since May 2015 has been about the Tory Party with us the poor bloody electorate being manipulated at every turn. Yes of course the process has also exposed fatal flaws in the Labour Party but that rematch has been on the cards ever since Neil Kinnock and then Tony Blair managed to chase socialists out of what was meant to be socialist party. The referendum result simply precipitated another attack by punch drunk Red Tories on Corbyn but it would have happened anyway.

But you know the Tories having manipulated themselves and us into a bloody awful mess expect to be able to rise up again and all will be OK with the Party that usually governs the UK. But will it?

Scotland having rid itself of a tired authoritarian Labour Party is surely going to go for independence again and who would bet against them getting it, deserving it and needing it? Sadly there are now few credible arguments for the Scots to stay in the UK and I say that as one who hoped they would stay in the first independence referendum.

And Northern Ireland, what will they do having voted to stay in the EU with Scotland. Clearly things are not so clear cut there with the Protestant community still wanting to cling on to being a part of the UK. But you know a united Ireland must be more on the cards now than it has ever been since separation because the Irish Republic is strongly supportive of the EU.

But then there’s the Remain voters in England and Wales who are clearly and thankfully (from my point of view) not going to take Brexit and all the potential trouble that comes with it lying down. Brexit voters may continue to tell us to ‘deal with it’, ‘shut up’, ‘move on’ but they must be on something if they think such advice will be listened to.

And finally (for now) there’s the huge question of what happens next. Clearly the Brexiters had no plan and had no intention of coming up with one. Is that why May has put them in Cabinet positions where they have no choice? When you ask them, as I have, you get awkward smiles, ‘it’ll all be OK’ type remarks and a change of subject. Some of them wanted Brexit at any cost so don’t seem to give a damn what happens next, although you can be sure they will pointing the finger of blame at everyone but themselves if and when the wheels do come off.

So Mrs. May you have a lot on your plate and no plan other than to say it will all work out well, or words that effect. Why you can see her sat down with Sir Humphrey now:-

Prime Minister – Your advice Sir Humphrey?

Sir Humphrey – Please read the transcript of the advice I gave to Mr Cameron Prime Minister.

Prime Minister – What good will that do?

Sir Humphrey – Well he ignored all the advice I gave him and he therefore created the hole that you are now sat deeply in Prime Minister.

Prime Minister – Oh bugger Cameron Humpy you know that advice was given to him so that he would ignore it – It was wasn’t it?

Sir Humphrey – No Prime Minister it was not. Time to Kiss your backside goodbye Prime Minister, I am off to advise the Scottish Government. But do not worry Prime Minister Mr Trump may be coming over the pond to give you the benefit of his advice, I am sure you will get on famously!

Brexit – Another excuse for a further round of Labour blood letting!

You begin to wonder if the Labour Party can find anything they all do agree about.

I suppose it is no surprise that Labour’s ‘Red Tory’ MP’s are yet again after Corbyn following the EU Referendum catastrophe. They were always looking for the next opportunity.

And yes Labour did fail to engage with its white ‘working class’ (oh how I hate that terminology) membership/vote and yes, that is at least partly why you could argue (and I do) that we are in the mess that we are in.

BUT, the real culprits here are the Tories and that is where Labour’s energies needed to directed rather than towards their own troops via yet another internal punch up! It’s as though Labour’s right wing has lost all perspective on the real world and they really do think their internal wars are the most important thing.

And it’s because of Labour’s navel gazing that the Tories have been allowed to destroy our Country whilst having just a wafer thin majority and little public backing. Yes Labour, you as the main opposition party should have been leading the charge against the Tories not yet another one against Jeremy Corbyn!

Maybe if Labour’s right wing had not been spending all day every day during the Referendum campaign looking to wrong foot Corbyn then they might have spent some time speaking to that section of the Labour membership/vote in the north of England who were always likely to be drawn towards UKIP/Brexit. Instead of fighting UKIP and mad right wing Tories who were hell bent on destroying the UK Labour’s right wing thought that Corbyn bashing was the right thing to do! You just could not make this up.

And yes I know that Corbyn is no leader of men and women but that is not the point here. I think we all feel that Labour will in due course elect a new leader (although not I hope from the right wing again) but that was for another day. Using the EU campaign to try to unseat your own Leader (again) just let the UKIP and Tory nutters run free leaving the Scot Nats and Lib Dems to fill the void of the official UK opposition.