This (LibDem) parrot is no more

This (LibDem) parrot is no more

It’s all got very tactical since Jo Swinson was elected Leader of the Lib Dems with Labour people exhorting people to remember their role, and hers personally, in the coalition government. She and the Lib Dems are in the strange and hypocritical position of arguing for a Remain Alliance but rejecting the help from Parties larger than itself.

For those with a memory of the Lib Dems, we know that that the time delay between announcing a policy and asking for electoral support is generally around a nano-second. No matter who leads them, this sectarian approach to other parties and the politics of the voters remains a constant.

But given today’s politics, the only, or at least the easiest, growth strategy for the LibDems is to act as a welcoming repository for Tory Remainers; Swinson’s rejection of a coalition with Corbyn’s Labour and now it seems with the SNP are designed to make it safe for Tories to vote and/or even join them. There are certainly several Tory MPs suggesting that they can’t and won’t support Johnson in a VONC and several of them might well survive in their seats if they were to run as LibDems. The LibDems also owe the Tories a drubbing in the South West.

The other thing to recognise is that the Lib Dems ceased to be a progressive party in 2007, when their Leadership election was between Clegg and Huhne; both were “Orange Bookers”, which was the right-wing economic manifesto within the Lib Dems. It was ideological commitment as well as Parliamentary arithmetic that led to the Lib Dems supporting Cameron’s coalition government. Their internal opponents have mainly left the LibDems. …



The gall of Julian Huppert and the LibDems beggars belief. Computer Weekly report that he is campaigning for a Digital Bill of Rights to be included in the LibDem manifesto.  I covered his intervention at OrgCon14 earlier this year. The LibDems have a serious problem in that they made a number of promises which they have broken, most obviously on tuition fees, but others have problems with some of the government reforms on welfare, the bedrom tax, and judicial administration, the introduction of secret courts for cases involving intelligence material. In the policy area of surveillance and digital politics, the LibDems are not as strong as they might like. The computer weekly article states that Huppert is looking to mandate encryption and ban “revenge porn”.  …

What do London’s MEP candidates think about digital?


Yesterday the Open Rights Group held its final European Parliament hustings at Shoreditch Village Hall in Hoxton, London. It’s been a while since I visited and it’s certainly cleaned up well. It was great to be there. On the way in, I met Claude Moraes, Labour’s spokesman who told me that the Tories non-attendance was deliberate policy. I don’t know if it’s shame at their behaviour on the lobbying around the data protection directive or fear of a digitally educated audience. The meeting was moderated by Glyn Moody, who led the meeting through the issues of privacy, surveillance, whistle blowing, net neutrality, lobbying and copyright reform. The Tories absence meant that representatives from Labour, the LibDems, both represented by incumbents Claude Moraes and Sarah Ludford,the Greens (Danny Bates) and UKIP (Paul Oakley) who were not, were present. …

If Only

Last weekend, I went to see “If Only”, a play by David Edgar about the politics surrounding the formation of the coalition and a subdued appeal for the political parties to rediscover their identities; identity destroyed by triangulation.

If Only

Triangulation is a political strategy used mainly by social democratic parties and the US Democrats, of moving to the right and forcing your opponents to differentiate themselves by moving further to the right. It’s extremely cynical and extremely dangerous. However, if it’s just about winning, it clearly worked for a number of years for the Labour Party, isolating the Tories under the leadership of Major, Hague, Howard and Duncan-Smith. The danger in this strategy is that many of those who genuinely agree with the policies abandoned have no-one to represent them in the national political debate; the left in society become politically voice-less. A further danger is that neither the acolytes of triangulation nor their supporters believe in what is being said and promised by politicians, it reinforces the slur that all politicians are liars by making it the truth. …

Digital Freedom, broad campaigns and the Liberal Democrats

I started to ‘follow’ Julian Huppert MP, the LibDem MP for Cambridge on Twitter. He was introduced to me by Tom Watson MP, at Orgcon 2010 as a new champion of digital freedom and free speech. I have been following him for a couple of days and while I recognise I need help, because the Labour Party is pretty poor on the subject, in the campaign for digital freedom  and to fight alienation in 21st century information economy, Julian, unlike Tommy, John Grogan and Dianne Abbot, all Labour MPs who opposed the DE Act,  seems to put his party before the cause. …

The Coalition’s EU time-bomb

Thinking about de Grucht’s prospects of retaining his position on the Commission, led me to think what’ll happen to Cathy Ashton’s position. The Commissioners are appointed by each of the National Governments, and their term expires in 2014. I can’t see the coalition agreeing without splitting the Tory Party in Parliament. It might make this week’s House of Lords spat between the Tories and Lib-Dems look like hand bags at dawn.

Can this be brought to Parliament? …