It’s alleged that LibDems could Split before 2015


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Well folks if you have been following the LibDems Conference lately it comes as no surprise that Vince Cable quoted that the coalition could break up before five years is over.

Oh dear me has the Liberal Democrats gone short on memories of lately It’s not just the Tax Payers Alliance who have been left red with rage by Nick Clegg’s plan for free school meals for every four and five-year-old in Britain.

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Southwark’s Liberal Democrats are also red-faced, after a old leaflet campaign emerged accusing their Labour counterparts of “bad choices” for spending “millions for free food for the richest kids”.

anood-al-sameraiIn 2012 Cllr Anood Al-Samerai said she saw “no evidence to show that extending free school meals to every child will significantly reduce obesity.”

But the group did a u-turn earlier this month, perhaps after internal murmurings about plans for Clegg’s landmark pledge. Southwark Lib Dems sent out a press release just eight days ago, pledging to keep meals free.

Here’s Cllr Al-Samerai again. “Southwark Liberal Democrats are on the side of local parents who want the best for their children. That’s why we’ve pledged to protect universal free school meals if we win control of the council next year,” she said.

“With this embarrassing u-turn they have given no explanation why they have changed their mind leaving a huge credibility gap in their plans,” the Labour party said in a post on its website.

P9104876Cllr Peter John, Labour leader of Southwark Council, said he welcomed the Lib Dems “damascene conversion to Labour’s policy of free healthy school meals but frankly I don’t believe a word of it”.

“Locally the Lib Dems, are now adopting Labour policies in a desperate attempt to hang on but you cannot go from absolute opposition, to cast iron support overnight and expect to retain any credibility. The Lib Dems offer no alternative, and this desperate attempt to take popular Labour policies as their own shows what a sorry state they are in.”

71px-Simon_Hughes_and_John_Hemming_croppedSouthwark is the constituency of Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes. The local Lib Dems have yet to respond to a request for comment.

Can anybody remind us why the LibDems are supporting the coalition given that they have cut Welfare Benefits let’s begin with:

A year ago, the Very Reverend Dr David Ison was leading Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral when four women dressed in white chained themselves to the pulpit.

Marking the first anniversary of Occupy London’s eight-month encampment on the steps of the ­Cathedral, they called on the Church to “throw the money changers out of the temple”.

Fast forward a year, and an ­extraordinary thing is happening.

As the second ­anniversary of the Occupy protest at St Paul’s approaches, both sides are working together to highlight the toxic effects of the government’s welfare reforms.

One of the women once chained to the pulpit, Alison Playford, is speaking animatedly to Rev Ison, the Dean of St Paul’s.

“We always knew there was common ground between the Occupy movement and the Church on tackling poverty,” says Rev Ison.

“And we are all agreed that what is happening to people with disabilities has to stop now.”

In Parliament Square, a week on Saturday, September 28, Rev Ison – who only five months ago presided over Margaret Thatcher’s funeral at St Paul’s – will conduct a memorial ceremony for those who have seen their lives ­devastated by the Government “austerity” programme.

Playford, a 31-year-old actress, says: “Our campaign 10,000 Cuts and Counting refers to the 10,600 people who died during or within six weeks of being put through the Atos Work Capability Assessment between January and November 2011.

“For some of these people, the assessment contributed directly to their deaths and, for the rest, they were made to endure the indignity of stressful and humiliating tests during the final weeks of their lives.”

Rev Ison shakes his head. “10,000 people comes from the Department for Work and Pensions’ own figures. And we don’t yet know the figures for 2012-13. It has to stop.”

A joint campaign between St Paul’s, Occupy, Disabled People Against Cuts and the Wow Campaign, 10,000 Cuts and Counting, is a landmark moment in the growing battle against welfare cuts.

At the memorial service, disabled actors will read letters from people detailing their experiences of the Work Capability Assessment – many of them written to Michael Meacher, the Labour MP who has been most outspoken on WCA.

There will also be a carpet of white flowers.

“We want to show the breadth of people speaking out about this,” the Rev Ison says.

“It’s everyone from DPAC to the British Medical Association, which has said that Atos is not fit for purpose.

“We all want to know why people are being put through so much stress and worry.”

Andy Green, 38, from DPAC, says there is no time to waste. “People are suffering and dying every day,” he says.

“Yet the really stupid thing is that welfare spending has gone up, not down under the austerity campaign.”

The morning we met, the Prime Minister had welcomed yet more draconian measures to crack down on benefit fraud – jail sentences of up to 10 years.

“Where are the sentences being given out for defrauding bankers?” Rev Ison asks.

“There is more money being lost by DWP error in unclaimed benefits than by fraud,” Playford says.

“More money is being lost by corporate tax evaders by a football to a pea than by benefit fraud.”

After the memorial service on September 28, a delegation from the gathering will take the “Wow” – or War on Welfare – petition to Downing Street.

Put forward by actress Francesca Martinez, it has so far been signed by 52,000 people and calls for a New Deal for sick and disabled people.

The aim is to reach 100,000 signatures in the next three months – which could trigger a parliamentary debate.

“It’s a huge moment for Wow,” says Jane Bence, one of the campaigners behind the petition. “It’s wonderful to see people coming together from across the spectrum to say, ‘enough is enough’.”

Rev Ison says it is important to show people with disabilities and mental health problems that they aren’t alone.

“We need to show those who feel alone and picked off and despairing that they’re not on their own and there are a lot of people who want to see things change.”

In June last year, the St Paul’s ­occupation ended badly, in violent eviction.

It is a credit to the courage and ­resilience of both sides that they are now working together.

Through recent actions in Friern Barnet where Occupy helped local people re-open their library, and at the Balcombe fracking demos, protesters are finding new, effective ways of working side by side with communities. Meanwhile, as austerity deepens, the Church is finding its voice.

“It’s the role of the Church to build community in an era when people are very individualistic, and that’s what I see happening in the protest movement too,” Rev Ison says. “Caring for people should be right at the top of ­everyone’s agenda.”

He looks up towards the dome of St Paul’s. “We all need to ask ourselves, ‘would we want to be treated like that?’ Most of us will experience disability at some point in our lives. It’s not us and them. It’s us.”

What this happening this must be the worst nightmare somebody wake us all up remember the Libdem backed out of a coalition deal with Labour yet they have the cheek to say that Nick Clegg has said he is ready to work with Ed Miliband in a coalition if the voters install Labour as the largest party at the 2015 general election.

In his closing speech to the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow today, Mr Clegg will appeal to the public to give his party a share of power for another five years, saying they are just getting into their stride in government. “The absolute worst thing to do would be to give the keys to Number 10 to a single party government – Labour or the Conservatives,” he will say.

During a round of media interviews last night, the Deputy Prime Minister sought to kill growing speculation that he is preparing to form a second coalition with the Conservatives in 2015.

Asked if he could comfortably say “Bye bye David Cameron, hello Ed, I will be your deputy now”, he told the BBC: “I’ll tell you why I could, it isn’t about my personal preference, it isn’t about whether this person likes that person more, or whether they get on better with this person … It is about following the instructions, the instructions manual handed to us [by the voters].”

Mr Clegg said: “Of course I would serve in a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition if that is clearly what the British people want and of course that it is possible to assemble [one].”

Asked if Mr Miliband would be a good prime minister, Mr Cameron replied: “I don’t know, it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t think you should judge people until they’ve been able to prove themselves. I personally think that the Labour Party and Ed Miliband himself have assumed that the general election is somehow going to be delivered to them on a plate simply by criticising the Coalition and the difficult decisions we’ve had to make – often unpopular decisions because we’ve had to clean up the mess they’ve left behind.”

He made clear he would not stand down as Liberal Democrat leader if Labour demanded that as the price of forming a coalition. “It’s not for them to hand-pick which individual Liberal Democrats they work with, in the same way as it’s not for me to hand-pick the Labour team,” he said.

In today’s speech, Mr Clegg will stress that he is ready to work with either Labour or the Tories in the national interest. He will say: “I don’t look at Ed Miliband and David Cameron and ask myself who I’d be most comfortable with, as if I was buying a new sofa.”

Mr Clegg will tell his party to “feel proud” of what it has achieved in office since 2010. “This recovery wouldn’t be happening without us. We have made sure the deficit is being cut at the right pace … Three years. We’re not even done yet. Can you imagine what we could do with five more?”

He will claim the sacrifices made by the British people would be put at risk if Labour or the Conservatives governed alone. “Labour would wreck the recovery. The Conservatives would give us the wrong kind of recovery. Only the Lib Dems can finish the job and finish it in a way that is fair,” he will say.

Mr Clegg will tell delegates that the Liberal Democrats have completed their journey from “the comforts of opposition” to a party of government. He will argue: “We’re no one’s little brother. We’re not trying to get back into government to fold into one of the other parties – we want to be there to anchor them to the liberal centre ground… bang in the middle. We’re not here to prop up the two-party system. We’re here to bring it down.”

In an unusually personal speech, the Deputy PM will admit he had a privileged background but insist that the upheavals faced by his parents and grandparents meant he was taught not to “ take things for granted”. He will say: “My Dutch mother had spent much of her childhood in a prisoner of war camp. My dad’s Russian mother had come to England after her family lost everything in the Russian Revolution… We were raised to believe that everyone deserves a chance because everyone’s fortunes can change, often through no fault of their own.”

Mr Clegg will stress that, since entering government, he has spent more time than anything else on improving social mobility through measures such as the pupil premium for disadvantaged children.

Intriguingly Nick Clegg has suffered a major blow as he prepares to put his leadership on the line today, with a poll revealing the deep unease about the direction of the Liberal Democrats among current and former supporters. More current Liberal Democrat supporters – those who would still vote for the party now –  believe the party has changed for the worse since the 2010 election (36 per cent) than think it has got better (20 per cent), according to a YouGov survey.

The survey found that 59 per cent of all those who voted Liberal Democrat at the last election believe the party has got worse in the three years since, with only 9 per cent saying it has got better. The results show Mr Clegg has a mountain to climb as he tries to woo back former supporters who have deserted the party since it joined the Coalition.

In a crunch debate at his party’s conference in Glasgow today, Mr Clegg will make a personal appeal to delegates to stick with the Coalition’s economic strategy and reject calls to depart from the Government’s austerity plans. The left-of-centre Social Liberal Forum (SLF) wants the Coalition to adopt a new “fiscal mandate” and to order the Bank of England to do more to boost growth and jobs. Mr Clegg’s allies claim this amounts to a call for higher public spending.

But his internal critics have accused him of “picking a fight with his own party”, when a compromise on economic policy could have been reached. They claim that Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, who has close links with the SLF, wanted such a deal. Last night Mr Cable was under pressure to back Mr Clegg rather than his natural allies in the increasingly fractious debate. His aides said he supported Mr Clegg’s economic statement but that he believed it could be improved.

Insiders said the crucial vote that follows the debate could be close, but predicted that Mr Clegg would win over wavering delegates by turning it into a “loyalty test”.

Prateek Buch, the SLF’s director, said: “The motion has to go further than current Coalition policy as [we] approach the next election, to demonstrate we are an independent party.”

Mr Clegg on Sunday sought to reassure his critics by promising to set out his “red lines” for possible coalition talks should the 2015 election result in another hung parliament. He suggested that cuts in taxes for the low-paid and higher taxes for the rich would be key Liberal Democrat demands in any potential agreement.

The Deputy Prime Minister said it was too early to spell out the party’s “die in a trench” issues, but they are likely to include a commitment to lifting the personal tax allowance to £12,500, taking all workers on the minimum wage out of income tax. This would build on the party’s flagship promise at the last election to raise the threshold to £10,000, which many Liberal Democrats regard as their proudest achievement in government.

A new tax on the wealthiest people – probably through a “mansion tax” on the owners of £2m-plus properties – will be another central Liberal Democrat commitment. The party is also examining the idea of a tax on the value of land on which houses are built.

Mr Clegg told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “I strongly suspect, given that we have put so much effort and indeed  so much money into making the tax system fairer, tax fairness will of course be one of the signature tunes for the Liberal Democrats.”

He added: “In my view it is going to be more likely than not that in the future you’re going to get more coalitions. It is less likely that you’re going to get these slam-dunk results when one or the other of the two major parties always gets a majority.”

The YouGov poll, commissioned by the Labour Uncut blog, shows that a majority (53 per cent) of current Tory supporters believe their party has got better since the last election, with only 11 per cent saying it has got worse. Among Labour supporters, the figures are 46 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

There is some good news in the survey for Mr Clegg. It found that Labour supporters are much more open to a Lib-Lab coalition that includes Mr Clegg than Ed Miliband appears to be. The Labour leader has said it would be difficult to reach a deal with the Liberal Democrats unless they change their leader.

Some 21 per cent of Labour supporters say the party should form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats even if Mr Clegg remains at the helm, while 33 per cent would back a deal only if he is replaced and 36 per cent want no deal with the Liberal Democrats no matter who leads the party. Eight-seven per cent of Labour supporters who want Mr Clegg replaced would allow him to stay on to form a government with Labour if the alternative was another Lib-Con coalition, while just 4 per cent of those people would rather see a repeat of the current Government than do any deal with Mr Clegg. This means that overall, 50 per cent of Labour supporters would back a Miliband-Clegg partnership to prevent another Con-Lib coalition, while 40 per cent would not.

YouGov interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,593 adults between 30 August and 4 September.

Somehow I don’t believe that LibDems would see this happen on the grounds of that it’s to their advantage to remain in the coalition with the Conservatives. If there should be another coalition(god forbid) they want to hang on to power which would not be to Labour advantage nor do I advocate that Labour should go into coalition with the Conservatives either let me make it clear I would like to see a return of a Labour Government instead no ifs or buts.

Sure many Labour activists may have concerns with the party but at least we do our fight inside of the party instead of outside which brings about a healthy debates in which way how Labour can return to government but at the same Labour should not be complacent either. Next year Labour will be fielding candidates for European and Local Elections then in 2915 there will be two elections Local and General Elections which Labour must take the lead some will say that’s being optimistic. For myself I say it is achieved but it will take time.

Five years in opposition is a long time in government on 21 September Labour will be holding its conference and Ed Miliband will have to give an extra ordinary speech to the undecided voters, swingers, and Labour supporters to bring home the message why is Labour is in waiting to be the next government what are Labour alternatives to the economy, welfare, long time unemployment, high youth unemployment, crime prevention, public services, bedroom tax, Europe, HS2, truly affordable social housing, and the list goes on.

In regards to Europe there are many activists wants to know where Labour stands will it offer a referendum to hop in or out. Let’s be clear that Labour did very well in Europe where they did some hard negotiations to ensure Labour policies was enshrine in the European Parliament which benefit UK citizens for this reason many Labour activists including myself will be traveling across the UK to ensure we will get a Labour victory in European elections. For Labour activists who have some spare time on their hands contact your regional office for transport details or general information where your support is needed nearer the time.

We all aware that other political parties will be fielding their candidates but Labour should not take for granted that we will defeat all the parties be-aware of the our foes BNP and UKIP they will be spreading their Far Right Agenda to gain votes from the disillusion voters which Labour must try to win over to stand a chance to win both European and Local Elections in 2014 and again for Local and General Elections in 2015 which is a lot of grounds to cover.

The general feeling that our Labour activists are picking up the mood from the doorsteps is:

1) many on some form of benefits want to see an end to the bedroom tax, job creation, proper training which leads to qualifications which will lead to full time employment.

2) Low and Middle incomes want to see the Living Wages enshrine into law and more family friendly policies reintroduced such as SureStart which benefited those at the point of need.

3) The reintroduction of train to gain to obtain qualifications to stand a chance for full time employment which manufacturing industry recognizes.

4) There are some people who were forced to take redundancies owing to economic changes needs to feel valued and offered encouragement to gain employment and not forgotten by previous and present governments.

I’m sure many more can be done but it takes time. Recently I was on a campaign trail I was in discussion with a person who told me of their predicament. This person ran their own business with two other partners for 23 years and decided to return to collage after losing their job to better themselves to stand a chance to gain some well-earned qualifications to learn new skills only to be informed by three collages that the person was over qualified and the price range was out of reach to the person in concern.

All the person wanted to do was to convert their expertise in management that he or she learned over the years for them to turn it into a qualification which would be of beneficial to any campaniles to employ them.

Since the formation of this coalition many have witnessed first-hand at the amount of cut backs and hardships yet many people who are very low and middle incomes have to queue up at food banks to help make ends meet.  Instead of this coalition offer assistance they constantly are told “We’re all in it together and it’s Labour fault well the record has been worn out with scratches that the many has no confidence with this coalition they want to see a change of government.

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4 responses to “It’s alleged that LibDems could Split before 2015

  1. Gordon This is great stuff but you need to split it into different articles to make it readable to all the tired souls after a day’s work!

  2. Pingback: Hypocrisy in Southwark #LibDems could Split before 2015 | johndwmacdonald

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