The times they need a-changin’

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a lot of talk recently about how the only solution to some truly painful election results (there was a moment, on Sunday, where I confess to shedding several tears) is to get rid of our leader.

Indeed, I wrote about why I thought it was an unwise idea a few days ago.

But, what has struck me most is many calls for change – but nobody actually suggesting changes.

Stephen Tall’s polling backs up the fact that, regardless of your thoughts on Nick, we all know something needs to give when it comes to HQ’s stranglehold on the messaging.

But it also led me to try present some of the facts of our local losses in numbers and offer some suggestions as to why.

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Cake v Coups: A few thoughts

There are very few things that genuinely annoy me; people who pack their shopping at self-service checkouts after they pay; people with Welsh names who mispronounce them; bad suit and tie combos.

And illogicality.

And, I’m afraid, this is the bracket the ill-timed ‘Lib Dems 4 Change’ petition falls into.

But, before I say why, I feel this needs to be said outright – those who have signed the petition have genuine concerns and it would be wrong to dismiss or belittle them. However, everything I have issue with is related solely to the orchestrators of this plot, and I don’t think it fair to confuse the two groups.

As it happens, I like Clegg. Sure, he’s not done everything right, but that was never really going to be possible – coalition or not. I joined after 2010 because I appreciated there was a party above tribal loyalties, who understood grown-up compromise and put the country first.

Though, my personal opinions on this are irrelevant, as it’s the logic behind the campaign that is the truly baffling.

Firstly, the setting up of a website to oust your leader on polling day/results are announced. Yes, I know it only takes a few minutes to do, but was it wise? Not only does it suggest a pre-planned coup – regardless of results – but it was obviously going to anger activists who spent a lot of time working hard to get people elected.

And then there’s the practicality of a leadership election. What better way to go into an election year than spend three months wanking over our internal politics and factions, cheerleading MPs for leader?

That’s time not spent talking to voters; time spent giving other parties their leaflet lines – “If Lib Dems can’t trust ‘x’, why should the country?” … “If they didn’t agree before, why keep him so long?” … Sacking him now is opportunistic and cynical”

It’s possibly even time spent giving the Tories a chance to call a snap election (there is provision for it in the Parliament Act after all.

Not to mention encouraging signatories to get lapsed members to rejoin just to sign the petition (as it happens, our membership is increasing these last few quarters, so it’s not as bleak as some would make it out to be).

We do need a discussion on how to best communicate our policies and beliefs to voters, of course we do – but by dumping our leader now, all we would be doing is making things worse. And we simply can’t afford to be doing that.

So, let’s have that discussion – without the silly coup talk – and get on with working towards keeping our MPs in 2015.

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Nick v Nigel: What happens next…

I know everyone’s done one of these already, but I thought I’d give it a go…

On the whole, I thought Nick Clegg did a great job against Nigel Farage – but then, that’s because I’m someone who tries to base decisions on facts and figures, and almost his whole hour was focussed on providing these.

However, that’s not normal.

Stats make people switch off – unless they are funny (29m Bulgarians and Romanians, anyone?) – and there are only so many times people can be impressed by your ability to remember a person’s name.

One of Nick’s biggest problems was how he spent a lot of time saying how great the EU was – and not really addressing the fact it’s also pretty awful in places, too.

I’m as ardent a Europhile as the next person, but if you don’t tackle the genuine concerns people have about the EU, you don’t have any hope of true engagement.

So yes – say how brilliant the European Arrest Warrant is; how trade negotiations and deals are an asset – but also point out how you’d make everything better.

We have a record of reform and achievement, so maybe it’s time for Nick to treat the next debate like a European doorstepping.

Point out UKIP are a party who want to take the UK out of Europe, but only hold elected positions of power in the European Parliament.

Point out how Nigel Farage has not tabled an amendment since 2008, missing numerous chances to take powers AWAY from Europe.

Point out while Lib Dems are campaigning for a single seat parliament, better fishing regulations, standardised roaming charges – Nigel Farage is being paid to do nothing.

If Europe is so all-powerful, why repeatedly spurn the chance to tackle the issues at the source?

And this is by no means a personal attack on Farage, but the inaction and hypocrisy of a party that are so concerned about the EU’s influence over our country that they sit back and watch it all happen.

He won’t do it, of course, since Nick’s too nice a guy and has already set out his stall, but it’d be nice.

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The Curious Collection of Lib Dem Music Videos

Over the years, I’ve been collecting weird videos – namely, videos focused on Lib Dem MPs. I didn’t mean to, but after I noticed the first few during the “Election Song Contest 2010″, they just kept coming.

So, below, are the ones that I have to hand – I’m sure there are more and, if you have some, feel free to post them in the comments below!

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We got it wrong on Syria

Today our parliament, by the slimmest of margins, voted against intervention in Syria as the BBC showed footage of alleged napalm-like attacks on schools.

Some are saying it was a good day for democracy, but it really wasn’t.

The Govt recalled parliament because it wanted to act on the knowledge chemical weapons were used it Syria, that much is obvious. However, after consulting others and talks with the opposition, it is clear the motion was watered down – to state we were to wait for the UN reports; to say there’d be a vote on military action should it come to that.

So, today’s motion? Was more a message, to say we would not stand by and watch  country commit war crimes against its own people.

Why, then, did Labour table an amendment that was practically the same as the motion and vote against the Govt?

I am, mostly, against intervention. And I have no problem with people suggesting non-military solutions or voting against something they disagree with – but to see MPs vote both ways just because of the name at the top of the paper? Not cool.

And to see MPs jeering at the vote result, talking about leadership challenges, of victories for their leader? It sickens me. There are people dying at the hands of their own government and our parliament resorted to turning a vote on how we could help them into a party political slanging match.

Across both votes the majority, in principle, were for action based on evidence. And now they’ve somehow managed to turn that into the result we have.

Now what? Do we not get a second debate and vote, because the first failed? Do we table another motion on how to help the Syrian people & condemn a tyrannous regime? How long do we have to wait until we DO something – another two years?

The problem isn’t necessarily the result, more how it was reached – and reacted to.

So no, today wasn’t a good day for parliament, even if the outcome was one you hoped for; it was a lesson in how to be a top-class dick.

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