A tale of two parties

I’ve come across a few blog posts and comments on Twitter and elsewhere comparing the fate of Canada’s Liberal party and the UK’s Liberal Democrats – both parties having suffered rather catastrophic election defeats last week – and wondering if there are lessons to be learned for both/either party. Some ponder that the losses both parties suffered is because of their “mushy” politics – people want a clear left or right choice. I understand why people are making this comparison – both parties were reduced to shells of their former selves and both have the word “Liberal” in their name. However, I don’t think comparing Canada’s Liberals to the UK Lib Dems is particularly useful. Canada’s Liberal party has been […]

Political perceptions

As I have frequently written on this blog, I read a variety of British media, left and right. I tend to avoid the tabloid press unless some other source directly links to an article that appeared in one of them, and so my daily reading includes the BBC, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, New Statesmen, the Spectator and ConservativeHome. I used to read the Times as well, but not since they’ve gone behind a paywall. Because I don’t limit myself to media that favour one party or ideological slant, I am frequently both amused and dismayed by how each side perceives the other. For example, Guardian and New Statesmen readers (and columnists) accuse the Cameron Conservatives of being extremely right-wing, while the […]

Fall Guy

In the slew of opinion pieces and analysis that followed the by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth, two in particular caught my eye, but not because of their analysis of the by-election results. In “What really won Oldham East and Saddleworth for Labour“, the Telegraph’s John McTernan notes: Nick Clegg may draw some crumbs of comfort from the fact that the Lib Dem vote was the same proportion as it was in the General Election. Unfortunately the swing to Labour meant that his candidate lost more decisively than even in 1997 at the peak of Labour’s powers. And on a smaller turnout. That is a poor return for the man who is by some length making the best, most thoughtful, […]

A call for grownup politics

I must admit that it brings me much joy when I come across a column or editorial that reflects my own sentiments much more eloquently than I possibly could. Hence my enthused, near total agreement with Julian Glover’s column in today’s Guardian, Grownup politics isn’t just about winners and losers. While Glover’s piece is arguably about the controversial issue of control orders in the UK, the main points he makes address the larger issue of how the reality of being in power often clashes head on with the idealism held when in opposition, and how we need to move beyond opportunistic, black and white, us vs. them discourse. Glover writes “In opposition it is easy to be absolute, excluded as […]

Too close for comfort?

As I’ve mentioned many times in various blog posts here, there is regular speculation in the UK media regarding the future of the coalition partners – will the coalition split up? Will the parties fight the next election as Coalition candidates under some form of electoral pact? Or will the two parties merge into one? One of the more interesting pieces I’ve read of late is this column in the Spectator by Fraser Nelson, in which he argues that the parties have, in many ways, already merged. He blames this, if blame is the word to use, largely on Conservative leader and PM David Cameron: I suspect it is because the parties have become too close: they have behaved as […]

Tempest in a teapot

As promised, the Telegraph has made public the opinions of three other Lib Dem ministers in the Coalition government, opinions the ministers thought they were making to constituents, when it turns out they were talking to reporters from the Telegraph working undercover posing as concerned constituents. There isn’t anything particularly earth-shattering revealed this time around. I don’t think anyone’s really that surprised that Michael Moore, Stephen Webb and Ed Davey have some reservations about the policies the government’s put forward or that they’re not exactly keen on the more extreme members of the Tory party. I am willing to wager that if the Telegraph had conducted the same sting operation with Tory MPs and ministers, they would have heard similar […]