Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cable Calls for Labour/LibDem Merger (Sort Of)

I'm at a fringe meeting at the LibDem conference organised by the Fabian Society and chaired by Michael White. It's all about the future of the so-called progressive left. Charles Clarke and David Lammy are speaking, but the reason for this post is that Vince Cable has just issued a clarion call for the LibDems and Labour to think about merging after a heavy defeat for Labour at the next election. Cable made clear that he wants the left to stand together against a resurgent Conservative Party. He didn't, to be fair, use the word 'merger' but it was clear that it is where his thought process is heading.

Conservatives need to be wary of this and those of us who have advocated showing a bit of ankle to Nick Clegg in the event of a hung parliament should stop and think about the level of support there would be in the LibDems for the stance which people like Cable take.

We may be able to make a better judgement tomorrow following the debate on Clegg's tax cutting proposals.

Stephen Williams, the LibDem MP for Bristol West, made perhaps the most telling point. He said that 1997 had provided the opportunity for a real realignment of the left and Blair had funked it. If his discussions with Ashdown had reached fruition who knows what might have ensued.

Interestingly, Charles Clarke has just rebuffed Vince Cable's proposal for a realignment of the Left and said there was no prospect of it happening. In other words: sod off.


Martin Day said...

The LD's are a disgusting party - When the nation needs a new Government to set the people free from the unorthodox socialist and authoritarian agenda of the last 11 years, what was one of Clegg's first impacts on the political scene as LD leader?

No, not how many ladies he had the pleasure with but he wanted to double the number of LD seats.

I hardly think that is in the national interest, just Clegg and his band of crpto-socialist wailing babies! It looks to me as though Cable is not on the same sheet as Clegg and is undemining Clegg's repositioning of the party. Maybe sort sort of Coup will take place to remove the floundering Nick Clegg?

Daily Referendum said...

They merged years ago.

eu007 said...

Hmmm, the Lib Dems sound a bit desperate. Offering tax cuts to try to get Tory votes, and now suggesting a merger with the Labour party. Maybe they aren't too confident in their tax-cutting policy ...

strapworld said...

Vince Cable who loves being thought of as a brilliant economist. Is certainly no strategist.

He has, realistically, ended any chances of the Lib Dems achieving more parliamentary seats. Indeed, I would go as far to say that they could face a similar fate as the Labour Party appear to be heading.

All the conservative party need to do is say a vote for the Lid Dems is a vote for the Labour Party! That will kill them orft!

Anonymous said...

Interesting LD based discussion on the web about a potential decapitation strategy at the next election:

Anonymous said...

Reaffirms the long held suspicion that the Libdims are in fact soft lefties and that underneath they hold beliefs that are wholly compatible with Labour.

Perhaps this explains why over recent months the swings, as shown in polls and the like, have been exclusively towards the Tories.
Could it be that the population at large has more political maturity and common sense than they have been credited with in the media?

If the Tories can scythe the Libdims in parallel with Labour, then that would be a mighty fine state of affairs.

DougtheDug said...

The Lib-Dems have a history of working with Labour. There was the Lib-Lab pact in Westminster between March 1977 and October 1978 when they were still the Liberal Party.

Between 1999 and 2007 the Lib-Dems and Labour worked in a coalition for eight years in the Scottish Parliament and the only reason that the the Lib-Dems failed to form a coalition with the SNP after the 2007 elections was that Ming Campbell and Gordon Brown had such a close political relationship that Ming didn't want to upset Gordon.

To be honest I can't see the strategic advantage for the Lib-Dems in forming an alliance with a party that has just taken a kicking in the polls which will be the situation after the next GE.

Their status as Junior Labour in Scotland did them no favours in the 2007 Scottish Elections but if they decide to go down the suicide route them I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

If Labour suffer a heavy defeat, if the arrival of a Conservative government, ensures Scottish indpendence, a merger is on the cards.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to the day David Cameron will win 100% of votes cast with a sly laugh.

Man in a Shed said...

Its is always clear that Vince Cable's politics are essentially anti-Tory ( hence the BBC's love of him ).

Nick Clegg is the only Lib Dem politician I've yet seen who takes a view that the Lib Dems have something unique to offer. The rest behave like the socialist B team.

Newmania said...

That will go down well in the South where they are busy pretending they are almost the same thing as the Conservative Party. Thanks lain , I `ll use that
It was not that long ago Lib Lab merger was in the news as a possibility in the Independent and it was only when it looked like a bad idea that it went quiet.
Meanwhile Clegg is talking the most meretricious codswallop about being a tax cutting Party. They seem to have no idea what they are up to . Great post Iain.

Anonymous said...

I know we have been here before but if you asked somebody 15 years ago who would be insisting on ID cards and going to war here there and everywhere how many would have answered "Labour" ?
Freedom to Prosper
PS Bring back John Prsecott

Anonymous said...

So Charles Clarke told Vince to (metaphorically) sod off.

That might come back to bite him on his rather large a***!

Enoch Thatcher said...

the liberal dummiecrats are an irrelevance, they will be put to the sword at the next election. No wonder cable is shitting himself and I bet he isn't the only one.

Enoch Thatcher said...

"If Labour suffer a heavy defeat, if the arrival of a Conservative government, ensures Scottish indpendence, a merger is on the cards."

You can count on it, labour will be unelectable in England/Wales without their block of Scottish MPs. Which is why they are so fond of promoting the union and "britishness" at the moment.

kinglear said...

What did I say some time ago? The remaining 2 parties will both split - libdems into a hard left that will join the rump of labour and the rest will join the Tories. Labour will disintegrate into a hard left and..... nothing.

Anonymous said...

Might be a good idea.

The Labour party are too scared to publish what the turnout and voting figures (not percentages) were for the Scottish Labour leadership contest?

Sunder Katwala said...

Vince Cable said nothing of the sort.

Cable's argument about a possible realignment was basically the claim that, if the polls were true and Labour got stuffed, and then went into a civil war, then perhaps the LibDems would be the more powerful of two opposition parties. And then he said the LibDems could not do anything to bring this about, but that the plates of politics could shift.

Clarke then pointed out (given that the SDP/Alliance bid to overtake Labour happened after Labour defections), that there was absolutely zip chance of any defections.

There are quotes on the Fabian blog

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a Labour supporter and as probably a member of the next generation of labour politicians, i would say - lets get it on vince.

Cqan only happen if labour lose though. Libdems couldnt prop up a labour govt that had lost its majority

Anonymous said...

Calm down Martin, you sound like a Watford PPC, it's not policy it's Iain's take on a comment at a conference fringe. If as you say the Liberals are a dying party, why bother posting your bile.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Yep, that's great.. two parties can have their united front and champion belief-in-nothingism.

So, its a party that has proved it has a death wish and subsequently decided to take the rest of us with them...and a party of never wozzers who have suddenly sensed desperation and are bringing out the old lib/lab pact/coalition/mutual appreciation line.

It's disgusting!

They are two parties that are increasingly irrelevant. Why don't they just f f fade away.

Martin Day said...

September 14, 2008 8:44 PM @ anon:

Because I am sick to death of posting on sites where you have to be ever so nice and step on egg-shells all the time.

The LD's are a nasty, vile party that spread smear and personalise politics at every turn, they are a bunch of spoilt middle class brats on the whole, who don't fight on the issues but on there own self-important perception and have the sensitivity of children when there failing brand is subject to critique.

I detest the way, the LD's pervert politics and their high and mighty elitist attitude, that they are all ways right and above the other two parties. The LD's are permeantly in the gutter and this would explain their obsession with cleaning pavements and dog excrement.

The LD's at the next election will be swept out of many seats in this country and I look forward to the bafoon's getting caught with their pants down as they lose seats hand over fist to the Tories and get nothing from Labour.

Far from being the master's in a hung parliament I can see the LD's retreating into their comfort zone: The Yellow Taxi!

Clegg and Huhne are the rear orifice of the Labour party and their politics are as dirty as this anology would imply.

Chris Paul said...

Clarke says no? That's final then as he and GB are absolutely united on everything. I'd take Cable over Clarke these days for a place in cabinet, as many LP people would. CC is a clever man, and funny, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with nous.

John Moss said...

There are liberal Lib-Dems and there are socialist Lib-Dems. Most of the members and activists are socialists, the MPs are split down the middle, those who vote for them are probably more liberal than socialist.

If this were to happen, we would probably see ten defections to the Tories, (the Orange-Bookers), and gain some of those seats where liberal Lib-Dems were in the majority.

We would also see a return to the straight fight between socialist liberalism and liberal conservatism which has historically been the structure of our politics.

It could be a good thing, but the left have usually had to gang up on us to beat us, so it might not be.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Lib dems and Brownites can join forces in a libsoc party and the Blairites and Cameroonites get together to form a social democrat party - the majority of tories can join forces with UKIP to join a christian democrat group.
It all makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Come on admit Martin, you're really Ian Oakley!

Anonymous said...

Big mistake how Clegg handled the EU referendum ..We are not stupid and will not forget come the next election

Martin Day said...

No, I am not Ian Oakley!

I do not think the alleged actions were prudent - It gave the Whingers and the babies in the LD's ammunition, that they do not deserve and given their behaviour in some areas of the country: Shows there rank duplicity.

Mark Senior said...

Martin Day ( not his real name , of course ) is an embittered and twisted little man who seems to blame the LibDems for his permanent state of unemployment whereas it is clear to all from his posts here and elsewhere as to the real reason why noone will contemplate offering him a job .

Anonymous said...

It's nothing new. I remember attending a Labour conference fringe event where Polly Toynbee proposed that Labour and the Lib Dems merge and introduce proportional representation in a bid to ensure the "progressive left" stay in power for good. Her comments were met by nods of agreement from party delegates.

Martin Day said...

That's pulling power for you Iain!

You even get unretrenched crypto communists like Senior over here! I never realised he came on here - maybe Mark is going to defect as it looks like his party has left him!


I need smilies!

Mark, say hello to Skeleton for me! I watched some folk who looked like you earlier on the telly!

Maybe Mark will tell Huhne and Clegg the game is up in there seats. They may as well roll-over and let the Tories steamroller them!

Obviously Mark still cares about the unemployed like the compasionate Liberal Democrat he is! He reminds me of that group of lad's in that 1970's film - the clockwork Orange - Attacking the old man in the subway!

Tut - Tut Mark! You should stick to coin collecting as your political views are as rare and antique as your coins. Your party is like pond slim in the political evolution stakes and will surely be suseptable to an early extinction!