This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Save the Labour Party - STLP !

I've just come into possession of the STLP News (July -August 2006) edition. It carries a fascinating insight into Labour members (current and recent past 670 /704 respectively) commissioned by STLP and polled by YouGov.

* 2/3 of party members want Blair out by Conference 2007
* 50% believe policy is made exclusively by Downing Street
* Only 50% think the government is 'faithful to Labour values'
* 75% believe that rich donors have too much influence over policy / running the LP
* 55% believe the manifesto should be put to ballot of party members
* 52% see Iraq as the governments worst blunder
* 49% thought the 'slavish'following of the USA was a mistake
* 36% thought failure to raise basic tax rates was a major failing of government
* 46% felt the privatisation of public services is also a mistake.

When one sees that those with the commitment to join the Labour party are so alienated and notes the majority of issues that repel them, then the LD surely need to state our case better to such people. As a former Labour activist / councillor it saddens me to see how the Labour party has degenerated into a party without either principle or probity.

Conversely it reaffirms I was right to join the LDs. The principle of OMOV in elections, the sovereignty of conference (even if some at Cowley Street might prefer otherwise), consistent values, many of which strike a chord with Labour supporters (civil liberties, personal freedom, progressive taxation and social justice, centrality of green issues and internationalism).

In the LD there is debate. Now I'm not a great fan of gung-ho free market liberalism. I see myself as being broadly 'on the left' but still find I have more in common with 'Orange Book-ers' on issues other than economics than I do with the authoritarian left [or right]. Try the novel, very unlike New Labour idea, of putting your case and winning or losing the argument / vote !

That a majority of staff on the normally pro-Labour 'New Statesman' came out for the LD at the 2005 GE tallies with the conclusions by those traditionally Labour-inclined above. Sorry STLP at present the Labour party isn't worth saving. Why be in a party, like some I know, when you overwhelmingly disagree with it's policies? Come on in ! Put tribal loyalties aside, consider the LDs on merit.


Blogger Tristan said...

I honestly don't think that there are many gung-ho free marketeers in the LibDems.
Those of us who argue for markets argue for them where we believe they will work (which is a lot of places) but we also recognise the need for the state.

We are more sceptical about 'progressive taxation' as it often comes from envy. There is much evidence that such taxation is detremental to the poor and tax revenues... but we want taxation which is fair, does not discriminate against the poor and enables a dynamic economy which gives opportunity to all.

And yes, the whole party is far closer together on more issues than any other party as far as I can see and we have a stronger philosophical core, even if interpretation of that leads some in different direction.

And I'm sure there will be much debate in the years to come, different sides will win different parts. No party will ever be 100% in line with my views (apart from one consisting just of me) but I am glad to have found in the LibDems a party which shares my core beliefs and which gives the opportunity for debate.

8:41 pm BST


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