So where do we go from here?

Yesterday saw the worst results that my Party has seen in Liverpool for more than 40 years. We didn’t manage to get a single Lib Dem elected including in my own ward.

As the Leader in Liverpool I must take some responsibility for that. However these elections were not fought about Liverpool or local politics. They were fought on national politics with a bit of European politics thrown in. So what happened here was not particularly a reflection of me or my local campaigners.

It would be easy then to avoid collective responsibility and do what a small collection of numpties were doing on election day whilst I was trying to get Lib Dems elected. These numpties have decided that the answer to our problems is to ditch the Leader. Well that might make make a ha’porth of difference electorally but morally it is a totally repugnant idea.

Let’s just remember 2010 and the scenarios that were available after the election:

  1. Allowing a minority Tory Government. They would have tried to move some nasty things and lose. They would then have held an October election and won it. Goodness knows what nasties they would have done given what the Lib Dems in government have stopped them from doing.

This would have been bad for the Country but good for the Lib Dems. We would have been able to parade all those things which we did not like in public and have parliamentary votes where we registered our distaste but didn’t win.

  1. Allowing a minority Labour Government. Well the second party never has the right to form a government but perhaps ways could have been found. That Government would have had to do most of what the current government has done. Never let us forget that they created the mess in the first place. Let us never forget that for every £8 the current government has cut Labour were going to cut £7. In practice the Government may well have gone further than that but so would Labour. No-one foresaw the Eurozone crisis which has so badly affected our economy.

This would have been bad for the Country but good for the Lib Dems. We would now be witnessing the decimation of Labour Councillors as people reacted to their cuts.

  1. Supporting a Lib/Lab coalition. The trouble with that scenario is two-fold. One they didn’t want one and two it would not have formed a majority. This would have spooked the market and our economy which was already in retreat would have nosedived.

This would have been bad for the Country but given us the same problems with haemorrhaging support. In this case it would have been the rural areas where we lost ground.

  1. Supporting a Tory/Lib Dem coalition. This is, of course, what happened. In reality it was the only way that a parliamentary majority could be found and in which some necessary stability could be given whilst the financial problems of gross debt in the public, commercial and personal sectors could be addressed.

This was, ultimately good for the Country as we can see from the growth in the economy but terrible for the Lib Dems.

I believe that Nick Clegg is a thoroughly decent man who has made the best of a bad deal for our Country’s sake. So many people have benefitted and will benefit from the uniquely liberal things that Nick and his excellent team of Ministers has achieved. Things like:

The triple lock for pensioners which has stopped pensioners falling behind wage earners as they did for 25 years under Tory and Labour governments.

The first £11,000 of our earning being tax free which has removed many people from benefits.

A larger public sector house building programme than under Labour when during their period of Government the number of social homes was reduced by no less than 430,000.

Free school meals for aged 7 and under.

The building of new Hospitals at the Royal and Alder Hey which had been talked about for years but delivered by us.

We know what has happened and we also know a little of what hasn’t happened. A few rows have become public but I suspect that Nick and his colleagues spend more time stopping the Tories doing things than actually making other things happen.

This is not an apology for our actions and in fact I have been highly and publicly critical of some of the things that the Government have done – especially in the field of local government. Our budgets have been cut too much given the critical services that we provide. The former Laurel and Hardy duo of Pickles and Sharps were an unedifying pair of clowns whose hypocrisy when talking about localism knew no bounds.

But I am a critical friend! When I was approached by the numpties I Impolitely told them to B++++r Off! Ironically, as Nick knows, I did not vote for him as Leader so I have always been a critical friend!

What am I going to do? Well in my small way replicate what Nick is doing. He still works to promote, liberalism, environmentalism, internationalism and localism. He will do it in the media and in Parliament. I will do it in Church Ward.

This weekend I am having off. Erica has gone away for the week to prepare for her gruelling year as Lord Mayor. But next weekend I will be out in Church Ward delivering my Focus, talking to people and still trying to persuade them that liberalism, environmentalism, internationalism and localism are the only real ways forward.

Will you be out on the streets with me? Or will you be in a  back room muttering and plotting?

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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19 Responses to So where do we go from here?

  1. When two worlds collide ……………..

  2. I think you grossly misjudge those ‘plotting’.
    This isn’t some personal vendetta, this is business.
    I’m personally a big fan of Nick, and I think within government we’ve done a lot of good.
    But given the wipeout that *will* come next year, regardless of whether we keep Nick or get a new leader, the question is ‘what kind of party do we want to be in 2015?’.
    We may as well start asking that question now instead of twiddling our thumbs for a year and wasting an opportunity to re-prepare ourselves to be of service to our communities.

  3. John Minard says:

    Labour remains the luckiest party in politics. If the election had been 2011, they would have had to have started implementing their deficit reduction budget and would have subsequently suffered the same fait as Fianna Fail in Eire. They never promised to protect NHS spending, and they were not shy about increasing tax on the low paid. Their demise would have been particularly bloody.

    In any event, if the Lib Dems had got that 28% / 80 MP breakthrough to have properly held the balance of power, I think they could have secured a better deal. As it was, they weren’t given that and therein the awfulness of seemingly upholding a Tory government without getting coverage and credit for the some very real achievements hard won.

    That relative weakness led to the dropping of a sincere pledge on tuition fees, plus an utter savaging and pillorying of Nick Clegg by the right, and left, in the AV vote campaign have marked Nick Clegg’s card ever since. Unfortunately there’s nothing he can now do to turn things around for the party. It’s terribly unfortunate, the circumstances, and to a very large extent unfair and bad luck but he has to realise that.

  4. Mr Bradley I suggest you look in the Mirror and check what face you see. Mr Kemp has done more for the party than you ever did, you started this problem with your attitude.

  5. David Pollard says:

    What Nick Clegg has to learn fast is to be more honest. When interviewed, he should answer the question asked. Just today in the Independent is a story that a report on the performance of the Universal Credit was suppressed because it was critical. Its this congenital lying that the electorate are fed up of and why Nigel Farage is so popular. When his party makes a gaff, he admits it and does his best to justify. The rest just slide round the question.

  6. caronlindsay says:

    I agree with the main thrust of your argument. I certainly won’t be signing the letter. I don’t agree with calling people names, though. Some of those people are my friends and they were out knocking up on Thursday, too. If there’s a conversation to be had, let’s keep it civil. Last thing we should be doing is fighting each other.

  7. ex LD voter says:

    (I am not local to Liverpool). I always voted Liberal Democrat, and in a Tory area of the country, Interested in your analysis. Given the choice of the LD propping up the Tories, I would have preferred another election, because most people did not vote to destroy the NHS, create spiralling tuition fees,and the other nasty things that the coalition is responsible for. It seemed that it was always a LD minister pushed forwards to announce and defend those unpopular policies, and even if they did it through gritted teeth, you enabled these things to happen. Perhaps a banking collapse would have been better, because the power of corrupting banks and the free market has been let off the hook, funded by my (public sector) salary cuts, pension cuts, savings, and cutting support for those in most need so that the rich are protected, and the market is free to continue to grow the inequalities in society.
    I hope that people quickly realise how awful UKIP would be with any real power, and i feel really sorry for Nick Clegg and all the hardworking LD MPs and Councillors up and down the land, but I won’t vote again for a party that have propped up the party i least wanted to get re-elected. Ever. And I am sure I am not alone. I will vote Green, because tactically voting Liberal Democrat was a disaster.

  8. Lisa Jones says:

    ‘Mr Kemp’ has been ‘lacing his boots’ since before you were born Warren. You, personally have caused a lot of this. You never had the brain or the gravitas (look that up in the dictionary) to be Leader, not necessarily your fault, but you were batting above your capability. Do be quiet now, please. You really are not that bright.

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  10. Tom Maguire says:

    I suppose as a socialist this is not really the place for me to be writing my opinions on the liberal party. However, before the coalition, i always had the greatest respect for the liberals and their ideals in localism. Whilst my own party floated from the extreme left back to the centre and at some points even to the right, and whilst the conservatives went from the right to the far far right, I always admired the way the Liberals stuck to their guns and stood firm in the centre, shouting out for local people and the polices that effected them. Sadly, Nick Clegg has done to the Liberal party what Tony Blair done to my own party, sold it down the river, and no shine or gloss will cover it over. In fact instead of learning from that huge political mistake of so called modern politics, Clegg and cameron enlarged it, and in the process seen his party nearly wiped out. I believe its time to understand, there is no such thing as Modern Politics or even old politics, politics should and always will be about the people, and when we stop listening to the voice of the people we supposedly represent, we do so at our own peril. Sadly comments such as “not fit enough to lace my boots”, is the reason our politics has ended up in the state it is in, and has allowed a party such as UKIP with no polices and no mp’s to win seats and gain momentum , with what I consider to be at times, opinions that border on division and lies, I think it may be time that all three major parties sat back and took a deep long look at the future direction they are taking, before its too late for them, politics and the country.

  11. pchilds80 says:

    Mr Bradley is completely in denial. Maybe if he hadn’t ade such a mess of running the local party and emplying his won cronies into his ‘Gang’ (not to mention the mess around the election paperwork) we might not be in such a mess.

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  13. Alex Jones says:

    I have to disagree with you on a number of points. Traditionally Liberal Democrats have always campaigned on the local level, which is their strength. Whilst the national political situation made electing councillors challenging, the onus is upon the local party, local issues, and good all-year-round work in the wards by councillors and activists to get Liberal Democrat councillors elected into office.

    Here in Colchester the Liberal Democrats produced some of the best results in the country, holding nine of the ten seats they were defending through hard localised campaigning.

    After the European results come in tonight, which will predictably see another LibDem massacre, I am hoping the leadership will change strategy, including withdrawing from the coalition Government.

    There is no point changing leader if there is no suitable replacement.

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  15. richardkemp says:

    Warren, the reason I have removed your posts is that they are neither lucid not illuminating. I always allow posts which have e contrary views to mine but when they are just personally offensive to me or others I remove them for everyone’s sake. I would advise that you act with a little more humility. Remember you are the one with a criminal conviction for perjury and no-one else who has commented.

  16. Eddie Clein says:

    A lot of what you say Is true and fair although I must take issue with you for intimating that the meltdown in LD support only cost us seats in this years election. Factually we lost seats starting in

    year one of the coalition due mainly to Cleggs stupid and crass support in the increase in student tuition fees. There was never a chance of us as a party going forward after that. The price we have paid for propping up a right wing Tory government was meaningless and destructive for people like me and Pam and others whose primary objective was always to serve the best interests of our constituents and the city of Liverpool first and foremost.

  17. David says:

    Nick Clegg has got it all wrong, he should go and now!

    His credibility is zero, what is he going to do, listen, re-brand his policies the messaging or change his policies? Sorry Clegg gives me the impression of a barnical… when ever will the Lib Dems try to win an election? It wasn’t ;long ago they were sidling up to Labour jusat who the heck does LibDems represent apart from leeches?

    Obvioulsy he isn’t taking the ‘door knockers’ into the situation as usual he is thinking of himself – power hungary!

    Answer me this-:
    Which is better to let the ship sink or throwing it’s captain overboard to save the ship?
    How is he going to recover?
    Will he change his view ?

    Like hell, leopards never change their spots nor zebra their stripes.

    Do these elites realize it is very easy to win votes, very easy to lose them but very hard to get them back, for goodness sake this is not a protest vote, it’s the policies that loses votes, blame the party… YES, they will listen now but far, far too late!

    The trouble is there is NO credible person in the LibDems you can call ‘leader’ no PM material the LibDems are doomed at this present time, look at the polling since Clegg came to power- in single figures and the giys not ashamed – he’s arrogant!

    No more LibDems for me thank you.

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