Cable – has he hit the right notes here? What future is there for the center-left in UK politics?

The Guardian has a comment piece by Vince Cable on its web site – see link below

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/12/wealth-inequality-liberal-democrats-economic-reform

The left of British politics has struggled in recent times to put forward a credible alternative to the popularist right wing policies of the Tories/DUP/UKIP and this despite this same right wing cabal trying to drive through a Brexit which will hurt us all, make the poor poorer and lead to job losses and reduce investment in the UK. You would think this nightmare scenario would galvanise the left into action but sadly that has not happened.

Socialism and an economy based on private capital being invested in it never mix well

Yes Corbyn has his social policy agenda which could look good to voters at face value, but of course he is also wedded to the the right wing policy of Brexit! He’s in that rather bizarre political fix because many of his so called ‘working class’ supporters voted for a Brexit that will sadly shoot us all in the foot (but the poor more so) if it is followed through. So Labour is not presently credible because its policies of the left will be knocked out by Brexit. What’s more socialism and an economy based on private capital being invested in it never mix well. On that basis Corbyn’s lot would probably be a very unhappy one if he was given the opportunity to implement his policies. Indeed, he would be unlikely to be able to deliver his agenda other than in the very short term because economic trouble would surely be stalking him.

Influence the thinking of those across the left

So how do the ideas of Vince Cable stack up? Well he’s leading a party with a low support base so being able to implement his agenda looks to be a significant challenge. I suppose his best bet is to try to influence the thinking of those across the left, but not of the hard left of course. His agenda seems liberal, progressive and even radical. I particularly like his ideas to try to tackle the area of land value as it is of course the basis of the huge imbalance in wealth in the UK.

Back to the days of fascism?

British politics has been turned on its head since the 2016 Brexit vote. The Tories are all but UKIP under a Conservative flag these days and worryingly they have people amongst their leading lights who hark back to the days of fascism. Bluntly a political party with only around 100,000 members, many of them of the elderly, rich and far right are running this country into the ground because they will benefit from such a move. Brexit is the vehicle to achieve their aims and the left has not found a way to combat them because there’s no one of stature (with widespread credibility) on the left to lead that charge.

Breadth of support across the political spectrum

It’s as though our two major UK political parties have both gone into crisis at the same time and this really has not happened before. Labour under say David Miliband would be widely credible, Labour under Corbyn is hugely popular with a section of the British public but it does not in my view have the breadth of support across the political spectrum as Blair did to carry the day it seems.

Realignment of the left

Now don’t get me wrong Blair made some huge mistakes. Iraq obviously and trying to bring private companies into the NHS come to mind as examples but there was a much softer issue of huge importance which he let slip. It slipped ironically because of the huge majority he was given by our rather warped electoral system. That result made him think that realignment of the left need not be pursued further. His talks with Ashdown came to nothing because he thought he did not need to pursue them any more and his party was far from keen on those talks too. That was a huge error of judgement and an easy way out in my view and it probably started the decline (although no one realised it at the time other than a few enlightened folk) into the mess we presently find ourselves in.

The super rich will indeed become more wealthy at the expense of the rest of us

I have deliberately written this posting in a reasonably even handed way as I am convinced that progressives across all the parties of the center and left (although this would almost certainly have to preclude the hard left) need to find a reasonable common agenda which they can coalesce around. This needs to be done to face down the the rich and presently all too powerful right wing. If the left fails the right will reduce workers rights, environmental protections, food standards etc. on the back of Brexit and the minority of the super rich will indeed become more wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.

Put tribal politics to one side?

So having gone though these sobering issues is Cable on the right track? Will anyone be listening to his ideas to re-balance our fractured society? Or will the center and left continue to beat itself up whilst letting the need for great reform in the UK flounder on the back of Brexit? My view is that Cable is putting a credible progressive plan out there which others could work around and build upon if they could just put tribal politics to one side.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Brexit – Why are our political leaders prone to embarrass us?

Today I woke up to hear that the Tories had nearly lost a couple of Brexit votes last night but that they had scraped home with majority of just 3. But it turns out that a handful of Labour MP’s had voted with the Government and 2 Lib Dem MP’s were missing in action during the vote.

The Tory Government was there for the taking, the Labour Leadership had finally sobered up and decided to do what they should have been doing months ago i.e. be the Official Opposition, but even then 3 of their MP’s went into the Government lobby (whilst other Labour MP’s abstained) to vote for the Tory Brexit plan. Then to put the tin lid on it 2 anti-Brexit Lib Dem MP’s, who should have known better, were absent on other business.

Frankly, along with many other progressive politicians, I am livid with those Labour MP’s who were not willing to kill off the Tory’s Brexit and indeed sided with the Government! I’m also livid with the two missing Lib Dem MP’s for not ensuring they were in the House of Commons Chamber to have their votes counted.

I have no worries that the two Lib Dem MP’s (Cable and Farron) would have voted against the Government had they been there but not being there was a big, a very big error of judgement. I also realise that had they recorded their votes the Government would still have had a majority of 1 because of Labour’s Brexit 3 but none the less they should have been there.

I’ve been in politics for 38 years now and have been a elected local councillor for 33 of those years but rarely have I felt so angry about a matter as I do today with regard to these 5 MP’s.

Cable – I’m really warming to him – Quite the old radical when I thought he would not be

www.independent.co.uk/voices/vince-cable-brexit-white-nigel-farage-nostalgia-lib-dem-ukip-immigration-racist-a8251966.html

The Independent has an interesting opinion piece on Vince Cable and his recent controversial but spot on analysis of many Brexit voters.

Cable certainly hit some raw nerves on the right and indeed on the right wing of the left too if you get my drift. That Bluekippers would get upset is a given but Cable also made some of what Labour calls its working class vote uncomfortable too. Many of Labour’s core voters are often right wingers in reality even though their tribal instinct is to vote Labour. What’s more many of them are Brexit supporters and as an old Labour Party member and trade union colleague of mine once said to me many years ago – there’s more racists in the Labour Party than there are in the Tory Party – or words to that effect. No wonder Cable’s commentary on the EU Referendum got a reaction!

On a wider perspective, I must say I am really warming to Cable. I feared he would be a moderate centrist but he’s hitting a lot of quite radical notes for me, not least in calling out Corbyn for his regressive approach to the EU and his backing of Brexit. This quote sums up Cable’s radical agenda:-

‘Corbyn lets down the people he claims to defend. You can’t speak up for the poor and be complicit in making us poorer, claim to love the NHS knowing that Brexit will starve it of cash, be an advocate for workers’ rights and stand by while we leave the EU, which protects workers.’

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

JC did a runner when jobs and young people were being discussed

Well here we have the proof that Jeremy Corbyn is really not up for fighting our Bluekip Government’s crazy Brexit.

When a cross-party Leaders meeting was set up to discuss how to protect jobs and the opportunities of young people because of the devastating consequences of Brexit he was not there, indeed he refused to attend!

The empty chair was between Lib Dem Leader Vince Cable and Green Co-Leader Caroline Lucas.

The SNP were there and so were Plaid Cymru, so that’s all the supposed progressive political parties represented in the House of Commons except Labour! And also supposedly, 80% of Labour members oppose Brexit probably because they know it will make the poor poorer, reduce opportunities for young people, put up the cost of living and put jobs at risk. But hey JC’s not on that agenda!

Brexit and Labour’s incoherent stance

www.independent.co.uk/voices/hard-brexit-liberal-democrat-name-of-mp-mp-labour-party-eu-withdrawal-bill-no-deal-tories-a8103736.html

The Independent has the opinion piece from Tom Brake MP on its web site – see link above

I must admit I have begun to laugh these days when JC attacks the incoherent TM for being in a right old muddle over Brexit because he too is in that very same muddle. Yes he attacks her but he keeps on voting with her in the H of C! OK Lab’s official position last night was to abstain but that kind of sums them up at present does it not?

This Tweet from Vince Cable of a couple of days ago also hits the Labour nail on their heads:-

‘Just suggested to @theresa_may in the chamber that she might as well have Labour leadership with her at the #Brexit negotiations, since they seem to agree with her on leaving Single Market and Customs Union, no matter how disastrous that may be.’

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Employee Ownership – This needs Liberally promoting yet again

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/budget-liberal-dog-that-hasnt-barked.html

Iain Brodie Browne has the opinion piece on his blog site – Birkdale Focus -accessible via the link above

This cause together with the promotion of cooperatives and mutuals is what made he realise I was a Liberal back in 1979 when I was wondering as a young lad where my true political home was.

The us and them approach to work by both the Tories and Labour seemed so negative to me and it still does now. And having spent 42 years years as an active trade unionist in the public sector (22 of those as a Branch Secretary) I have not seen a more positive way to re-balance our workplaces, our economy and our society.

So thanks to Iain for running this up the Liberal flagpole once again because its time is now and it will always be so.