Posted by: John | June 15, 2009

Don’t let Labour off the hook: There is no alternative to Democratic Reform

Bit alarmed that other bloggers and Lib Dems are going soft on Labour. Seems that some think that because the Economy `is picking up a bit` we should cut some slack.

The problem with that is huge. Who was it that helped get is into this mess in the first place? Who warned about all this years ago (hint: It wasn’t Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling). That’s just the first layer of the onion.

The second layer is that since the expenses tsunami people are looking more deeply at Politics and wondering `who are the best people to govern us?` and `Are the things that are the given indicators the right ones or the only ones`.

Thus, in typical old-fashioned stale Labour style I hear people who are Labour supporters saying `oh, house prices are going up that’s a good sign` or `there are some green shoots on the horizon`. My answer to that is `So?`

Surely, it’s insufficient to equate old nostrums of economic success with  rising support for Labour as if you can plot these things on a graph? Yes these things help yet do they tell the whole story?

There are two things Lib Dems can answer `Do you think the Country’s on the right track?` and `You only get Vince Cable as Chancellor if you vote Liberal Democrat`.

Perhaps unemployment will fall – though are the living standards lower or higher than before for those who lost their jobs? What about the terms and conditions of those jobs? And are there weaknesses in the system where some people have advantages in finding those jobs rather than others? I’m not talking about rich vs poor – I’m talking about poor vs poor.

What about the system itself? Is it too onerous on claimants and the aspiring unemployed? What about the tax credits system? Surely, we have a story to tell on this that relate to loopholes and forms etc? What about training?

What about housing? No good having yet another temporary job if you can’t realise your dream and start owning that small flat or house.

Finally, we need to say how we’re the only party not only coming up with solutions but prepared to tackle the vested interests by asking the right questions (the questions that lead to other questions) and not simply asking the questions that have always been asked. Thus it’s not just the `how?` but the `why?` Why are so many of our jobs so poorly paid that the state has to subsidise big business through the tax credit system etc? Why are house prices so high even now and why were they allowed to get so high?

Democratic reform is not just a bolt-on in my view it’s a necessary given if we are not to have a Labour/Tory economy that just does the same things all the time. The reason why the old nostrums are kept going by the `old men` Brown/Darling/Cameron/Osborne is because it suits them. They want to keep the electoral system the same (even Brown) because they want to address the narrow concerns of  the `middle englanders` in those marginal `Lib Demless` seat polling districts. Tell themwhat they want to hear or have been told they want to hear.

Yet without a modern democratic system that embraces the change of `Whitehall giving power away` to the regions, Councils and localities we will never achieve the Economy that is `the best that it can be`. That means discrete roles for Central Government and the rest being given `lock, stock and barrel` away – no preconditions, no agendas.

Thus, Labour prattles on about `indicators` as if it’s still a Tory/Labour battle – when in reality we need to get on to `which of the three parties is best suited to deliver the change we need?` That must include the question `which of the three parties is best suited IN THE COMPETITION OF IDEAS, PERCEPTIONS AND COMPETENCE to govern Britain`.

What amazes me is how we still let them get away with it. If it were a cartel of two major suppliers they’d be jumping up and down yet when it comes to their own skins the same rules don’t apply.

They should be asked that question as many times as possible.

As for this website and me – I’m still asking thinking of the same maxim that inspired its conception and is the raision d’etre of this site:




  1. Why are house prices so high even now

    Because that’s what people are willing to pay for them.

    and why were they allowed to get so high?

    Allowed? If someone wants to sell something and someone wants to buy something, and they set a price, who is it to say they should not be allowed to do so?

    Alternative answer – because people harmed by high house prices have been conned into thinking “all politicians are the same” and so don’t vote, so who cares for them? And because people who benefit from high house prices would have screamed blue murder, led by the Daily Mail, at the sort of reforms which would have led to house prices not reaching such high levels. OK, so high house prices also have a devastating effect on family life, so the Daily Mail is disgustingly hypocritical to always be going on about family values but to do nothing about the biggest destroyer of the family – high house prices. But we are liberals so don’t care to mention that sort of thing, because, well, we’re trendy types who don’t like to talk about “families” (might make us sound like those Christians we hate), and actually, our voters tend to be the type who think they benefit from the house price con as well ….

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