Thinking and voting different ways?

No doubt Peter Hain writing in The Guardian calling on people to ‘Think Lib Dem but  vote for Labour’ will upset a few people. However, his piece is little more than political common sense; in key marginal seats voters who have previously backed the Liberal Democrats could make a significant difference. Therefore calling on them to support Labour is hardly traitorous, it actually shows sound tactical judgement.

These voters could well have come from a position of voting Labour and are voting Liberal Democrat as a protest. Often a single issue (like, for example, the Iraq War) will have driven them away and still they remain stubbornly in protest mood. However, they recognise the dangers of a Conservative government and this is why when polled Liberal Democrat voters consistently prefer Labour over the Conservatives.

Talking to them about common ground should remind them of how Labour can be a home for them again. It might also be worth while showing them Labour can listen to their concerns; our record on civil liberties is not one to be proud of and its an area where  some ‘core values’ thinking  is needed as is the taxation system.  

 Hain’s ambit will also put pressure on the Liberal Democrat leadership which belligerently and myopically dreams of replacing Labour. While rightly pointing to common ground we need to be aware of differences: Nick Clegg and his desire for ‘savage cuts’ make him personally a unrealiable ally on fiscal policy (though the same does not apply to Vince Cable who has consistently sounded closer to Labour).

Doubtless Hain would have not been able to go public were his opinion not representative in some way of opinion within the Cabinet. Given the state of the opinion polls and the current political climate it would be nonsensical for the Party leadership not to prepare the ground for possible co-operation with the Liberal Democrats and I, for one, despite the problems see that as being preferable to giving the upper hand to the Conservatives.


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2 responses to “Thinking and voting different ways?”

  1. Andrew Hickey says :

    I would almost believe that was heartfelt on Hain’s part – except that there is no mention there of getting Labour voters to vote Lib Dem in Lib Dem/Tory marginals, which any genuine attempt to create a ‘progressive coalition’ would mention, but which a desperate attempt to get a few more votes for a failing government wouldn’t…

    ” our record on civil liberties is not one to be proud of”

    Labour’s record on *everything* is not one to be proud of. On average, between 1997 and 2007 (last time I looked) one mental health hospital bed was closed every two days. They’ve prosecuted illegal wars, increased the gap between rich and poor, criminalised thousands of people who were harming no-one with bans on things like ‘extreme pornography’, allowed bailiffs to physically attack people who refuse payment, ensured I can’t go to visit my in-laws without having my genitals photographed by a stranger, colluded with torturers…

    I honestly, at this point, can’t see *ANY* way in which a Tory government could be significantly worse, and this is coming from someone who is in principle *entirely* in favour of greater co-operation between parties. But Labour have had thirteen years in which to impress ‘progressives’, and in that time they have precisely two achievements to their name of which they should feel anything other than ashamed – the minimum wage and civil partnerships. That’s simply not enough when weighed against the enormity of their attacks on basic human rights, civil liberties, and the last vestiges of the welfare state they claim to support…


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    As you ackowledge there is another side to this story; for example, the minimum wage and other areas of investment. Yes I agree there are plenty of problems and your very right on civil liberties but then again the Liberal Democrat position on that it is far from spotless either, same applies to wars; they are still committed to pursuing the futile Afghan adventure…. as for the Conservatives….well don’t get me started…lol….

    This is where I leave the debate because back in the day I would have called your last paragraph ultra-leftism, it amuses me muchly how much liberals sometimes ape Trotskyists in failing to see basic concrete reality. I am the first to stand up and say Labour’s record leaves alot to be desired but to say there is no difference to a Conservative Party that wants to privatise through the back-door and would gurantee a double-dip with its program of patented economic lunacy is like I said to fail to acknowledge reality and enagage with the world as it is rather than look at it through a ‘pure’ ideological prism (in which everything is measured against the perfect standard).


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