Don’t blame the media…..

Christopher Lovell has a blog suggesting that the recent ‘confusion’ over the Liberal Democrats policy on tuition fees is the media’s fault. Nothing could be further from the truth; the blame lies squarely with Nick Clegg and the leadership.

In reality, the policy announced by Clegg yesterday via e-mail, that we will retain our committment to scrap tuition fees by phasing them out over a six-year period is a result not of his wishes but the determined resistence of the Federal Policy Committee to Clegg’s wish to get rid of the policy. Time after time Clegg pushed for it to be put through and time after time he was defeated.The leadership also knew that it would lose any vote attempting to change the policy within the wider party.

We will leave aside Chris’s laughable claim that the Liberal Democrats are exceptionally democratic; they aren’t and he should know better. Please lets call a spade a spade. Only when we are prepared to do that can we mark a clear line of advance. It would also be wise to accept there are fundamental divisions in the party which will doubtless in time spill over into full-blown factional fighting when the occasion arises (probably after the election, especially if we are faced with the dilemma of a hung-parliament).

The tensions that are inherent within Clegg’s thinking (most glaringly in The Liberal Moment) are like a time-bomb under this party. His inability to work out a consistent world view lies at the heart of the schematic approach to policy we have seen under his leadership and will mean that the party will not move one beyond being a repository of protest votes.

In a hung-parliament situation this weakness will become fatal as he will not identify which course best charts the furtherance of our own policy goals. Already there are tensions between the leading committee and Clegg’s leadership and these would assume a more pronounced character in the above situation. The blame for the tuition fees debacle lies squarely with the leader not the media….

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About darrellgoodliffe

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7 responses to “Don’t blame the media…..”

  1. plumbus says :

    I simply dont recognise your description of our party. Have you considered that you may be unable to come to terms with being in a minority?

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  2. Chris Lovell says :

    I don’t recognise your description of the Liberal Democrats either. On the one hand you seem to be saying that the democratic structures of the party stopped Clegg changing our tution fees policy yet on the other hand you say that we aren’t a democratic party. I’m confused as I’m sure many others will be!

    In my post I’m not trying to say that Clegg was not wrong over tuition fees. He was.

    The point I’m making is that the media got it wrong. We never changed our party policy on fees as was widely reported.

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  3. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Plumbus;

    No, what I cant except is being in a minority and then being undemocratically excluded from an internal email discussion list which is what happened to me in Leeds. Laughably I was told to keep my arguments in private with the only avenue having been cut off…

    Chris,

    Well that maybe the case nationally but both you and me know that the Leeds Liberal Democrats are run on a totally undemocratic basis.

    My point is also that Clegg primed the media in the now infamous Independent interview so even on that level he bares total responsibility for what the media thought because he was obviously briefing as if it had already been changed.

    As I understand it a vote of censure was even considered against Clegg for precisely this reason..,..

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  4. Chris Lovell says :

    I’m not suprised there was talk of censuring Clegg, this shows the democratic structures of the party are working well and shows the leader is always accountable to the party.

    Once again though I fail to recognise your description of the Lib Dems in Leeds. I’d be interested to know how the Leeds Lib Dems are undemocratic. All local party officers are elected democratically and all council candidates are selected democratically. I think you may be confusing ‘undemocratic’ with ‘people disagreeing with you’.

    As for the email list, my understanding is that you were removed because you were not using it for the purpose it was intended. It was a list for activists to advertise campaigning events not, as you used it for, to argue about policy.

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  5. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Chris,

    That last point is so funny because I was told be a candidate for the council to do exactly that; to argue my case internally (and I have the email to prove this) after I had been thrown off the list; else I risked bringing the party into disrepute by arguing my case openly. So, you really cant win can you?

    It all amounts to censure and the fact is that much though you paint it with a democratic gloss it adds up to the same thing.

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  6. Chris Lovell says :

    Using an email llsit for something it is not meant to be used for is not the same as ‘arguing your case internally’. Why didn’t you actually talk to people? And I still fail to see how the Leeds party, or the wider party, is not democratic.

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  7. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Chris,

    You havent answered the point that I was not the only one doing this. What about the person telling the council to ‘get the militants’; bet they werent excluded were they? The bias shows clearly that what happened was an act of censure.

    Well what over means exist then? I did talk to people but I am not phoning or emailing people individually and to suggest I should when another forum exists is actually absurd. Should we mention at this point that there were other people who raised concerns too so the party was actually split in some way?

    I have just proved the former point above and your logical contortions to say I havent are to be blunt very amusing. As regards the wider party well, I wonder how many of these stories like the one above never get told…..

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