Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Lib Dem turmoil latest

The report of an important dispute between Nick Clegg and Lord Rennard has been in the
Times:

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article4340213.ece

Clegg's response to the piece is here, in the ironically-named 'LibDem Voice' website:

www.libdemvoice.org/nick-clegg-writes-for-ldv-making-the-lib-dems-fit-for-the-battle-ahead-3025.html


We in the Green Party have a new leadership structure; we have a Leader, are serious about power and are professionalising our Party; but we are not centralist / anti-democratic. The Lib Dems under Clegg are becoming more and more a rightwing party without serious scope for the members to engage and exercise power.
 
Clegg already has huge leverage over policy (whereas the Green Party Leader is quite properly subject to the will of the party in terms of policy-making which is exercised by its twice yearly conference of members). Now Clegg wants to centralise the Lib Dem organisation too.
 
I say to Liberal Democrats:
 
Come and join us, as I did nine years ago now (and have never regretted it). Come and join us, if you want to be part of a democratic party, where you can have a voice, and a party that is going somewhere - as opposed to a neoliberal centralising party that is a sinking ship, going nowhere...

5 Comments:

Blogger MatGB said...

"an important dispute between Nick Clegg and Lord Rennard has been in the [lying Murdoch rag that replaced The] Times"

Added in a clarification there. The Bones Commission report is a recommendation that will be going to conference next week. Clegg appointed Bones in consultation with Rennard (the appointed cheif exec) and Hughes (the elected leader) as well as the (elected) Federal Executive.

To criticise the democratically elected people in the party for possibly reducing the power of the non-elected Cheif Exec and (finally) making him accountable and then spout off about how democratic the Greens are in comparison is an interesting use of rhetoric.

"We in the Green Party have a new leadership structure; we have a Leader, are serious about power and are professionalising our Party;"

All true, and I wish you luck in getting either an MP or breaking out of the 'Others' category in election results.

"but we are not centralist / anti-democratic."

Good, because I wouldn't be involved in any political party that was either.

"The Lib Dems under Clegg are becoming more and more a rightwing party"

???

Where on earth do you get that idea from? Shifting the tax burden from the lowest income earners to the wealthiest and the most polluting is right wing? Decentralising policy making, giving local communities real control, democratising or abolishing quangoes is right-wing? Define your terms or give me a palpable example of this right wing shift?

" without serious scope for the members to engage and exercise power."

So the national conference that has sovereign power of party policy doesn't exist? Federal Policy Committee isn't elected to draft the resolutions? Federal Conference Committee isn't elected to sort out the agenda?

Oh, wait, they're all still there.

" Clegg already has huge leverage over policy (whereas the Green Party Leader is quite properly subject to the will of the party in terms of policy-making which is exercised by its twice yearly conference of members)."

Um, your second clause just described the Lib Dem policy making structure—as leader, Clegg quite rightly has influence, but everything he proposes is subject to a vote of conference, and he's in no way guaranteed to win them.

" Now Clegg wants to centralise the Lib Dem organisation too."

Well, if you want to read the Bones Commission report as 'centralising' then in some way, yes. Reality is he's taking out a necessary streamlining reform in order to allow quick decisions by having each existing committee send its chair to an officers group in order to actually get things done.

Taking delegated powers from a bunch of (central) committees to give to a different (central) committee made up of reps from each committee is only centralising if you like tilting at windmills. Have you actually read the report rather than the biased Murdoch-press version of its effects?

"I say to Liberal Democrats: Come and join us"

The need for electoral reform means I have to support the only party in Parlt that has a chance of getting somewhere on STV. After that, I'll consider your offer. Until then, the party that might, if it's really lucky, manage to get two MPs next time is effectively, in the FPTP system that we both want to replace, splitting the reformist agenda, FPTP encourages a two-party system, for a 3rd to exist takes effort, a 4th that is effectively not more than an extreme version of the 3rd?

No thanks.

"if you want to be part of a democratic party, where you can have a voice, and a party that is going somewhere"

I already am. Plus mine has already got somewhere, yours has more potential to move forward, naturally, as it's currently nowhere.

Seriously, tilting at windmills is fun, but FPTP requires broad church coalition parties, under FPTP the Greens are a waste of time. Sort the system out, then we can talk.

10 September 2008 at 14:07  
Blogger Rupert said...

Thanks, matgb. That's some helpful extra information.
On the LibDems as right-wing: I am referring to your Party's neoliberalism and Orange Bookery, which is pretty dominant.
On having to wait for proportional representation: That argument was used against me while I was in the LibDems. I didn't believe it then, and I don't believe it now.
I won my Council seat under fptp, and soon we Greens will be doing the same at Westminster.

10 September 2008 at 15:26  
Blogger MatGB said...

1) define 'neoliberalism' and tell me what's actually wrong with liberal economics (as opposed to thatcherite/Howite profiteering, not at all liberal under any sane definition)

2) Have you actually read the Orange Book? I'm a socialist (of the JS Mill variety) and I have very little problem with most of the OB content—sure, Laws got carried away with his chapter, but Huhne, Clegg and Featherstone's stuff was sound. But if you don't want to take my word for it, Joe Otten wrote a long series of reviews of the book, and is a former Green party activist—his review was one of the resons I chose to rejoin the Lib Dems after years as a lapsed member:
http://joeotten.blogspot.com/2006/01/orange-booker-slur-concluded.html

"I didn't believe it then, and I don't believe it now."

Your choice, First Past the Post is a two-party system. Seats the Greens have won are almost exclusively seats that they've worked incredibly hard to get into 2nd place—once you're one of the top two parties in an area (even just a council ward) it's easier to stay in place, it's an effect called Duverger's Law after the French theorist and former MEP Maurice Duverger. Bizarrely, his analysis is one of the best attacks on FPTP I've ever read, but he saw it as highlighting the strengths of the system.

The greens will win some MPs under FPTP, but it's unlikely in and of themselves that they'll acheive any meaningful change. The Lib Dems are likely to win between 80 and 100 seats at the next GE (minimum) which may see them in a serious bargaining position.

After we've got a change in the system, none of the current three 'big parties' are likely to survive as is, and I foresee most of the current Green party, people like myself within the Lib Dems and a bunch of current Labour types eventually forming a new party.

But for now, we need to fight the battles we can win—good luck getting into Strasbourg, but by your own admission you'll need that luck, even under a PR system that doesn't waste votes (even if it is a godawful closed-list system).

10 September 2008 at 15:49  
Blogger donpaskini said...

"The Lib Dems are likely to win between 80 and 100 seats at the next GE (minimum) which may see them in a serious bargaining position."

If you really think that, I fear you are in for a horrible shock come election day...

10 September 2008 at 23:39  
Blogger Joe Otten said...

Ah my ears are burning, but I see Mat is on top of this.

Rupert, it is a little naughty for you to call us 'centralising' when the policy making powers of our conference have not been touched, and your party has just decided to have a leader.

12 September 2008 at 11:56  

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29.
The report of an important dispute between Nick Clegg and Lord Rennard has been in the
Times:

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article4340213.ece

Clegg's response to the piece is here, in the ironically-named 'LibDem Voice' website:

www.libdemvoice.org/nick-clegg-writes-for-ldv-making-the-lib-dems-fit-for-the-battle-ahead-3025.html


We in the Green Party have a new leadership structure; we have a Leader, are serious about power and are professionalising our Party; but we are not centralist / anti-democratic. The Lib Dems under Clegg are becoming more and more a rightwing party without serious scope for the members to engage and exercise power.
 
Clegg already has huge leverage over policy (whereas the Green Party Leader is quite properly subject to the will of the party in terms of policy-making which is exercised by its twice yearly conference of members). Now Clegg wants to centralise the Lib Dem organisation too.
 
I say to Liberal Democrats:
 
Come and join us, as I did nine years ago now (and have never regretted it). Come and join us, if you want to be part of a democratic party, where you can have a voice, and a party that is going somewhere - as opposed to a neoliberal centralising party that is a sinking ship, going nowhere...
30. 31. 32.