Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Cameron facing serial rebellion from Thatcher’s ministers in the Lords

Posted on 11 February 2012 | 10:02am

I had been hoping to do a post-Question Time blog yesterday, but events conspired against me. The first, and saddest, was the funeral of Nigel Doughty, to whom I posted a tribute here on Wednesday. It was a really beautiful service, the most moving part of which was his son Michael’s brief and tearful tribute. I also said to Fiona when I got home that though I may not do God, I would like a Church choir at my funeral. The singing by the Farm St Church choristers, and in particular the soloist who sang Ave Maria, was wonderful.

It was nice to see Gordon and Sarah Brown at the reception afterwards. He was a good friend of Nigel’s. I have seen Gordon just twice in the last few weeks, both times at funerals. With football in the air, we got onto the subject of Raith Rovers’ struggles to stay alive. Labour press officer Graham Gilby is trying to organise a pro-am match in London for February 19 to raise funds for the club. Any top players happening onto here, please contact him at and yes, Graham, I did ask Gordon  if he would get his boots out. He looked a bit alarmed!

From there to re-record parts of my documentary on alcohol, to take into account a new report coming out shortly. The film is going out on Panorama on BBC 1 Monday February 20.

Then onto the tube to Holborn for a couple of meetings. I thought people weren’t meant to talk to you on the tube. Twice people started up without invite, to engage in two of the debates that had been on Question Time, namely Abu Qatada (I was on the liberal side of the argument for once) and Leveson (someone asking how I managed to keep so cool with Ann Leslie chuntering away) The answer, by the way, is that I kept thinking of Denis Healey’s wonderful line that being attacked by Geoffrey Howe was like being attacked by a dead sheep.

Which brings me to … er, Geoffrey Howe.

One of the frustrating things about a programme like Question Time is that you can do all sorts of research but unless the right question or moment comes up, it might be wasted. The great thing about a blog is that nothing need be wasted.

When I was researching Shirley Williams’ ‘talk the talk but don’t vote the vote’ record in the Lords, I came across a fascinating pattern, which for some reason the mainstream media do not seem onto.

In the House of Lords, there is a seeming permanent rebellion going on from some of the big names of the Thatcher era. If my calculations are correct, the league table looks something like this

Tony Newton has rebelled 13 times. Geoffrey Howe 12. Michael Forsyth 8. Norman Lamont 5. Nigel Lawson and Leon Brittan 4. Norman Tebbit 3.

And on 25th January this year, 11 former cabinet ministers rebelled in the same vote on the Welfare Reform Bill. 10 were Thatcher Cabinet ministers whilst one – Brian Mawhinney – served only under John Major.

The issue was whether the Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission could charge a £100 fee and 15% commission (of any maintenance agreement) from a person with childcare responsibility after a divorce or split (chiefly women).The amendment would not allow the Commission to charge these fees of women where they had taken reasonable steps to get a maintenance agreement from the other parent.

Fairly technical you might think, but it is interesting, surely, that so many ministers from the most right wing government in our lifetime were appalled at what the Camerom government is trying to do here. So let’s hear it for, and let’s hear a bit on the media from

Leon Brittan, Peter Carrington, Geoffrey Howe,  Patrick Jenkin, Nigel Lawson, John MacGregor, James Mackay, Brian Mawhinney, Patrick Mayhew, Tony Newton, John Wakeham and Bertie Denham (not sure if he was a fully fledged Cabinet member as Lords chief whip but you get my point).

Off to Southampton v Burnley now. The Burnley team are staying in the same hotel where Labour’s regional conference is taking place. Small world. Well it’s not, it’s a really big world, but you know what I mean.

  • Peneloperead

    Well, I hope they all rebel over this hideous NHS Bill. I was born in 1948 and can remember my mum having to pay for vaccinations etc. Such a regressive step; let’s hope this is Cameron’s Poll Tax!

  • Suey2y

    That’s hugely helpful. There is indeed a Conservative group deeply unsettled by welfare reform and the constitutional skulduggery being employed to force the bill through. 

    We’ve said several times lately that when the future of compassion and dignity rest with Lawson, Britten and Tebbitt something has gone terribly terribly wrong. (or right, depending how you look at it)

    In some instances – like the social fund or DLA – the ex-Tory-ministers objecting set the schemes up in the first place and know their worth very well. 

    It also seems to me that Maggie would never have allowed ONE of the incompetent mistakes this lot have managed, let alone a daily diet of getting things wrong, u-turns and defeats. These old guys remember how hard Maggie drove them to check every detail and make sure they’d thought of everything. can’t imagine they have even an ounce of respect for the coalition with their Government-issue sledgehammers to crack every nut. 

  • I greatly enjoyed both Steve Coogan’s and your own performance on #bbcQT.  Ann Leslie showed herself for what she is a Daily Fail hang ’em Flog ’em.  She can tell us “Nurses’ aren’t Angels”.  Couldn’t you have “freshened-up” her glass of water with something from a colleague at MI5 whilst sat next to her?.  I used to have enormous respect for Shirley Williams, but that has largely dissapated, I’m afraid.  I absolutely loved both Steve’s and your “putrid” view of the Daily Fail.  It is simply the most racist hating working class hating piece of toilet paper on the planet.  Yet, for some unfathomable reason, millions of the people it attacks (aspiring ordinary working class/aspiring ordinary middle class) buy it.  Only the Guardian is doing a reasonable job of attacking rogue journos and this awful condemn  government – and they supported the Liberals!
    The Torygraph and the D.Fail and Express meanwhile attack the poor the non-whites etc etc .  Shame on them.
    As a Derby County fan I admire your tribute to Doughty, the way Forest fans criticised him, after he ploughed so much money in was a disgrace.  Sadly it’s his death, that has now brought tributes.

  • Mark Wright

    And yet Cameron doggedly refuses to budge. It’s the sort of behaviour one might expect from a PM with a 100 seat majority not one leading a rickety coalition that could fall apart at any time.

    It took Thatcher 11 years before she became so disconnected. Cameron should beware.

  • Michele

    Two things 🙂

    I’ve posted elsewhere about my inaccuracy there re months (I shouldn’t still be still working in to the early hours so often, and I do mean the two ‘stills’!).

    However, as the NHS e-petition that Janiete linked us to earlier this week  expires two months after the Bill will have gone in to law at the end of March, things are still pretty urgent.

    Some account has to be taken of all the professionals now rebelling about it.  An unholy mess was created by a lout on a smash’n’grab, it’s now having a bit of smarmy make-up applied to it by Cam/Clegg but they are still not allowing for anything even akin to production management. 

    Do they even have the modesty to have their fingers crossed? 

    Re funerals I went to the most moving imaginable in late Jan.  A step-member of the family had died suddenly and his funeral was led by a professional humanist celebrant and really was all about his life. 
    Those of us who’d only known him for a few years and as a responsible Dad/Step-Dad aso ‘met’ him as a big-haired curious mad traveller in denim flares and then on through to his last (and dream) job.
    I hope that when your time comes AC there won’t be some d***head screaming any of the other four-letter words or initialisms in to the air or ether.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Britain was able to build the welfare state after the second world war. It is a bit odd that Britain cannot afford to have it now.
    William Beveridge´s vision was based on the idea of full employment. Long-term unemployment was not part of his plan. Neither were the spiralling benefits costs.
    Housing benefit alone cost the UK over £20bn a year.
    Beveridge wanted jobs, but also responsible workforce. Everyone should work hard to find a job.
    Benefits should be paid to people whose earning power is interrupted by, for example, the trade cycle.
    Beveridge never wanted unearned support.
    Beveridge called his system social insurance. The term “welfare state” was coined by Archbishop Temple.
    Families must be offered reward and incentive.
    The Tories wanted to delay the Beveridge Report in 1942. Today they are cutting important services and benefits.
    And they are axing tax credits.
    Squeeze on middle class living standards continues. 94% OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS ARE STILL TO COME.
    When people realise the full impact of these mostly ideological cuts, the Tory-led government will be in trouble.
    Remember, the difference between Labour and the government on austerity is £40bn!
    Labour did not cause the cuts bý overspending. Britain´s public finances were in better shape in 2008 than under John Major.
    Deficit was caused by the financial crisis and recession caused by banks.
    Labour should be on the side of people who work hard and do the right thing.
    We should oppose cuts to disability benefits. But there needs to be some reforms to reduce welfare spending.
    Idleness and dependency on unearned benefits are not acceptable.
    But Thatcherite free-market orthodoxy is not the answer. We do not need righwing populism on welfare.
    Cuts to benefits will cause poverty.
    Out of 40m adults, only 297,000 are in never-worked households.
    Welfare is not the cause of debt crisis.
    A maximum benefit of £26,000 leaves many families with children poor.
    Only one in eight on housing benefits is unemployed.
    Soup kitchens will soon be back.
    To live on £67 a week is not easy. At the same time bankers are enjoying their unearned bonuses paid by taxpayers.
    Inequality cannot be right.
    Austerity is not working in Greece – plan A is not working in Britain.
    Tens of billions worth of cuts are unnecessary. In fact, they are only harming the UK economy.
    Britain now faces a double-dip recession.
    Tories and Lib Dems voted for £18bn benefit cut. But boardrooms are having 49% rises!
    This is politically unacceptable. No wonder some in the House of Lords are rebelling.
    The Attlee government was toppled by austerity that voters no longer trusted. Same will happen with the current lot.
    Long-term unemployment will rise.
    The Conservatives have induced people to vote against their own interests.
    They are using distractions.
    Instead of lack of growth, we are talking about benefit cheats.
    Attention has been diverted to values issues like in the US.
    People no longer vote with their wallets.
    Instead of the City the anger is targeted at “Big Government”. But the masters of high finance caused the “mess”.
    Markets not the governments are to blame. Failure of free market is the problem.
    Culture and value issues are important, but so is recession.
    Economy and banks should be the priority. Anyway, fraud in the City beats benefits cheats.
    Conflict between rich and the rest should be the number one issue.
    It should also be the vote winner!

  • Ehtch

    The Lib Dems are quite schizo at the moment, aren’t they? Stand for one thing and say another. They will go clinically nuts as an organisation if they don’t politely butt out of this coalition that they have got involved in. I am quite worried about Cleggy – his body language from the last few weeks of PMQ’s is quite disturbing to me – he must be on four packets of fags these days, you can tell by his yellowed face, or it might be bilorubin liver creaking from necking posh brandy every chance he gets, to cope. Anyway, keep an eye on Cleggy, he is close to cracking, BIGTIME! I can notice these things.

    And by the way, good luck to my Itie friends in rugger this afternoon at four, UK time. against those english, the rugger english I meant – put your paint and tar brush down Ehtch, will you!

  • Ehtch

    It is nice to buy the Daily Wail, so as to keep in touch what the otherside of life in this country thinks, Max. But yes, I hate the bogroll of a paper too – treat it like a copy of a Beano, a comic.

  • Teresa

    Alastair I couldn’t believe it this morning when I heard they are going to change the working tax credits, it’s really upsetting. Alastair what are they trying to do to us.

  • Anonymous

    Would still like to hear a post Question Time blog. Who is worst Ann Leslie for being from the daily mail, and constantly interrupting everyone (slap the interrupters Dimbelby!) or Steve Coogan for stealing jokes!

    I loved Rob Brydons line about him and Steve Coogan. “When I meet people in day to day life, I often try to be funny, and I always try to be nice. Steve makes no such provisions!”

    I think the tory figures where you have one on 13 rebellions, one 12, one 8 and a few on 5 or less suggest that there are only a couple of serial rebels? Some of those former members were only ever right wing on certain issues, and some were right wing because thats what you needed to get on thatchers team, they’d have jumped to any other wing for political expediency too. Tebbit is in the former bracket, he’s quite centrist economically, he doesn’t even criticise Blair or Brown economically and he supported the bank bailouts (no right winger does.) He is also very pro NHS. So its not clearcut who the right wingers are.

  • Anonymous

    Good article from Evan Davis regarding Osborne plan vs Balls plan. Non partisan, basically says neither will work:

  • Anonymous

    Just one point, people are noting that the professionals, the GPs etc are rebelling against these reforms “therefore they must be wrong” is the attitude. Tony Blair would have recognised that the producers of services will always rebel, it is the patients opinion that counts. Schoolteachers always rebel against reforms even good ones, if the reform favours pupils not teachers.

    If the government carried out a serious Bank reform bill, I should think that the vast majority of bankers would be up in arms, but noone would call for the bill to be scrapped on that basis. (The fact they are not up in arms shows how toothless the vickers report has been.)

    Now don’t get me wrong, I think the reforms are a total ballsup, but not because the GPs are against them.

  • Anonymous

    Good points regarding Beveridge.

    Just have to pull you up on Major. Firstly, the economy saw rapid improvement between 1993 and 1997 under Ken Clarke (who I hate.) It continued the same policies and the same improvement for the next 3 years under Brown, when he built his reputation. By some measures it continued to improve after that, by some it went downhill – it depends on which school of economics you aspire to. For most people it depends on their political leaning.

    However, the important point is that no right winger or conservative supports John Major or said he did a good job so to say “We did a better job than John Major on the economy” is nothing to boast about! Major joined the ERM, caused Black Wednesday and any “boom” he got was due to the fact that he ruined the economy in 1992!

  • Suey2y

    It’s odd isn’t it. Why won’t they compromise at ALL? why are they so intractable? A bit of give here and there and they wouldn’t be in the situation they are now across almost every department. 

  • Michele

    Three paras to disagree with something I didn’t put in those words anyway.

    There are many many reasons why every different type of professional is unhappy about the changes; some from pragmatism, some from pragmatism plus nouse about their own job, some from both the aforementioned plus confidence about how betterly (yes, I might have invented that word) Labour would have still been making changes (Labour never claimed the project from ’97 – ’10 was yet finished and no organisation of that size could ever be left alone or thought ‘Job done’ about).

    Steamrollering this through is continuing, it’s all about absolving Govt of future responsibility …. small government …… with the attitude of ‘Let the plebs fight it out for themselves depending on how efficient their new LHS happens to be’.

    Have you bothered with the e-petition (for what use it will be even if it reaches 100k before the ‘bill’ becomes law in 6 weeks time)?

  • Michele

    Are you Scottish Max Headroom?

  • Michele

     We did have a great big humungous loan though Olli, which took us a few decades to pay back (I think we’re still the only ones that did, although I could be out of date).

    Borrowing isn’t always bad is it?  It depends on what the purpose and investment is to be.

  • Michele

     The above wasn’t meant to sound as unwelcoming as it does!
    It’s just that someone that I think is Scottish used to use that ID plus a similar gif elsewhere a few years ago.

  • Michele

    Totally off-topic but I hope this lot get all they hope for this summer 😀

  • Anonymous

    I agree, America borrowed to invest in its early days and became a powerhouse doing so.
    However most of our borrowing that we use on what we call “investment” does not come under what their definition of investment was, its just spending.

    There is nothing wrong with a country that has a current account surplus running a deficit either, but of course we have nothing of the sort.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t bothered with any of the e-petitions yet, even though I think this is a fantastic addition to democracy in this country and is one of the few things I would praise David Cameron for. I know I know I should.
    Maybe this is the one I should get involved with.

    My contribution to democracy is finding policies, parties or people I don’t like, but then arguing on their behalf, as I find that I tend to alienate more people than I persuade!

    A lot of me thinks Blair / Milburn were the men to get this done. Its third rail for Tories, whereas Labour fixing NHS is Nixon in China territory.

  • Dave Simons

     ‘The Attlee government was toppled by austerity that voters no longer trusted.’

    The Attlee government in 1951 got more votes overall than it did in 1945. It was ‘toppled’ by First-Past-The-Post. It isn’t austerity in itself that brings governments down, rather public confidence in its necessity and its fairness. The electorate in 1951 were pretty used to hard times and I doubt if many people expected the Conservative Party, with its lovely pre-war record, to deliver them. I think the Labour election defeat in 1951 was one of the biggest political tragedies of the twentieth century. If Labour had remained in government it would have presided over the long boom that happened all over the Western world from around 1953 to 1968. It could have made real changes in British society – but the Tories got in by a fluke and held things back for another thirteen years, after which society was ready to explode into the ‘swinging sixties’.

  • Michele

     I don’t think you understand the word ‘investment’ in the way I do.  I’m posting about investment in people, in children, in all our surroundings, everybody’s health and continuing education and the country’s image abroad.

    You misinterpret a lot of what I post, do you do too much guessing about what’s not written?  I have posted about improvements in school surroundings and you respond about new buildings.  We don’t share wavelengths.

  • Michele


    You have doubts about things that will become law in six weeks and you’re not even interested in testing the Sham’s promise about 100k signatures?

  • Libdem

    Cameron does in effect have a 100 seat majority as the LibDems are between a rock and a hard place. If they opt out of the coalition now they’ll be ‘destroyed’ in the likely election and it seems now they have no choice but to stay there until 2015.

    In a way Cameron doesn’t have to compromise but rather bend a bit when the LibDems moan.

    For me, the frustrating thing is how little they’ve actually achieved in terms of sorting out the financial situation; the worst is yet to come! They completely ignored Blair’s advice to get the real things done early on.

  • Anonymous

    Why is the current government worse than previous Tory governments?  Why don’t they compromise at all? someone asks.  Vested interests and arrogance would seem to be the answer.  If you’re attempting the biggest scam in the country’s post-war political history, are you really going to take so long about it that people actually question your legitimacy?  You can be sure that there are some very strong links between the government and those mega-companies wanting a piece of the NHS.  What is more, the Department of Health is little more than Lansley’s propaganda machine.  Meanwhile, I read today that the American firm McKinsey has been making millions out of the NHS already and the bill has not even been passed.  
    On the subject of the panel, I wouldn’t have thought Question Time was so short of annoying right whingers that it had to put Ann Leslie on every season.  She should be settled in the corner with a gin bottle and everyone else could then get on the with the discussion.  As for Shirley Williams, she bottled it on the NHS and you were right to point this out, Alastair.

  • AC, you might have missed it, but LABOUR broke the bank, the Coalition Government has to be tough, when ever there needs to be tough cuts the Labour Party always do a runner, aka the National Government of the 1930s, they spend but they never hang about to clear up their mess. In fact the Coalition Government should go further on welfare, not allow those who have just reached 18 to get the DOLE, they have done bugger all for the system, lets send them out to clean the streets, then we can sack or reduce the costs that local councils have to pay their workers. Also lets charge for the NHS, not the important stuff, but for cosmetic demands, they charge in Ireland, and they are broke also. Just look at what happens when you have a out of control welfare state, that’s called Greece, and its all the fault of Labour from 1945 onwards, that includes your Political Master Tony Blair, when he had the power he didn’t dare change the system, so lets be accurate when we report of the welfare system in the UK.

  • Ehtch

    Had a look for the Dennis Skinner article online at The Observer just now, Alastair, but got attention-diverted by Stewart Lee’s latest baublings, as you do – heartbroken he is at his folk singing female hero’s gig catching David Cameronitis, by Dave’s presence. Very funny, as he is always, that is if you posess that certain native humour,

  • Ehtch

    Offtopic maybe, maybe it has already mentioned by comments here yet to be posted, but looks Whitney has succombed to her mind. She has obviousley been struggling with her upstairs for quite a while, but when it all comes together to the end, it just leaves us hollow. Stunning beautiful girl, but the other side of beauty got to her, as it does for so many. Give with one hand, take it away the another. Life is a struggling bastard at times. Chemical body chemistry produces stunning looking people, what with great skin and body, but it doesn’t always agree with the mind, sadly. People generally are absolutely frighten to death to be near true beauty, on the whole.

  • Ehtch

    Not me watching telly yesterday afternoon, honest!
    “fuck me, na chwarae”

    He will have a cneption fit when we play in twickers in two weeks, if we play well, which we will do.

  • Anonymous

    Lets remember one thing about Beveridge though – he was a eugenicist (just like Keynes and Hitler.) He believed that unemployed men should not be permitted to have children, nor to vote, nor various other things. This is illiberal, inhumane and cruel in my opinion.

  • Ehtch

    oh jesus Alastair, you have disappered, not even a tweet. Oh god, where are you for fuck sakes? If having a monday off from us animals, fair enough, no need to warn us, just worried that you might have taken The Scottish result yesterday against us The Welsh in a terrible way. It is only rugger for fuck sakes, even the true hardcore english can’t play the fucking game, and they say they invented it, but Webb is a Welsh surname, isn’t it?

    Oh I don’t know – knew you were doing too much laterly, but if I said anything, would you have listened? Don’t think so somhow. Oh crap, I am feeling the worst. Song anyway, if you can drag your miserable chin off your office desk, supposed to be quite funny,

    Apologies if others take offence, but do I give? Do I eff!


    Congratulations on keeping your cool with Anne Leslie on her extremely rude comment to you. I have a motto.”Only accept criticism from those whose opinions you repect” She diminished herself on the programme.You are respected both as a journalist and broadcaster

  •  Ha, No Michele – definitely East Midlands ‘South of the Border’

  • Ehtch

    BBC Wales ScrumV coverage from last night, saying it true and straight, as we tend to do – notice the blonde young celt lady at the back, you can’t miss her – see what I mean about old alpine celts in Wales? Anyway, here is ScrumV on telly last night in Cymru/Wales last night, on BBC iplayer,

  • Ehtch

    Elton in LV last night for Whitney,

  • Michele

    Such a funny explosion of indignation from Nick Ferrari re (scream for what follows) ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY ONE Police Officers being used to raid the Sun journalists.

    Sigh ….. if they’d used three at one house and that resident had let all colleagues know what was happening he’d have been equally indignant about bad planning. 

    It was all happening at once NF, can you understand the character of it?  We call it a fell swoop.

    Once again and just for the heck of it …… does anyone really really think that cops’ phones were not hacked too?

    Programme goes onwards to Egypt post-revolution; virginity tests, how lucky are we here, to be living so long past the sickening medieval torture of someone having the right to

  • Michele

     “Firstly, the economy saw rapid improvement between 1993 and 1997 under Ken Clarke (who I hate.)”

    Given that the recession ended around April 1993 that’s hardly surprising is it?

    It’s dead easy to improve from a low and dead easy to manipulate info re values vs percentages.  I know you haven’t done the latter …. yet 🙂

  • Michele

     Hope you know that Stewart Lee won ‘Stand up of the Year’ recently Ehtch.

    Call me Dave also claims that he and Sam like the wan-looking Lana del Rey; I like the piano on her viral vid but hate the lyrics.

  • Michele

     Oh hell, just read to the end of his column per your link. 

    I always want to ask such exploiters of Iraq’s dead whether they actually DO mean that they would prefer the UN’s sanctions to still be in place AND would they also prefer that the UN had ‘allowed’ US to do it alone? 
    We can be sure US would have and equally sure that Dubbya trying to out-do his Daddy would have created an even worse tragedy than that created by US by itself in Vietnam).

  • Anonymous

    Well deserved for Stewart Lee. His last series was brilliant, as was the one before. I certainly can’t think of a better comedian on the circuit.

  • Anonymous

    Ah you see I “read between the lines” (hoping you’ve seen the Gervais – Nietzsche sketch.) 
    I have never mentioned school buildings btw!

    Regarding investment, I am going on the strict economic definition of investment. That is the one that matters when you are talking about growth and all that in the short to medium term.

    It doesn’t mean I’m against spending on health, people, children, education, training etc its just in strict economic jargon a lot of that is spending (even though I know that if you have healthy educated people this is in a way “investment”.)

    But when Barack Obama, Gordon Brown or David Cameron are talking about it I want them to stick to the economic definition of investment – which is something they do not do.

    Brown was promising on this when he promised to “Borrow only for investment” but then he broke that promise, and how.

  • Michele


    Do you get commission from the organisations whose ads pepper your own site?

  • Anonymous

    Michele isn’t that what I said in my post when I said “Major joined the ERM, caused Black Wednesday and any “boom” he got was due to the fact that he ruined the economy in 1992! ”

    It just so happens that Clarke and Brown followed good policy between 1993 and 2000. It doesn’t mean I forgive them for 1992 or 2008 respectively. (Clarke was well up for ERM and joining the Euro.)

  • Anonymous

    I’m afraid for someone who rants about democracy I’m very poor at taking part in it.
    I didn’t even take part in the petition about the EU referendum which I think is more important because following the current process a few years from now it will be Germany / France / Brussels who tell us how our NHS will be run. And seeing as they all have more privatisation and competition in their health system they will probably impose that on us too, even though that isn’t the democratic will of our people. (And there I go about democracy again.)

  • Anonymous

    Agree with you that if they really did ever plan to make cuts (and I don’t know if they did) then they should have done them early on. They face a backlash as it is without having done the cuts.

    Don’t agree on the lib dems though. They are toast if there is an election now, and toast if its in 2015. If they came out and said “We can’t put up with these cutting, eurosceptic, tuition fee increasing Tories any more, we’re out, we demand an election” and simultaneously dropped Clegg and the other collaborators then they could have a way back. However I think said collaborators will ensure that doesn’t happen. And they would never have a proper purge of the Cleggites. This will hamper them just as the Brownites still hamper labour. Its why Michael Portillo astutely observed that no labour leadership candidates were a clean break from brown, they were all accessories. Whereas in his words an “Alan Milburn or a James Purnell” could have taken the party forward from a fresh start.

  • Libdem

    You’re probably right reaguns, toast is what we be whether now or 2015 but heh tomorrow is another day….we can always hope!

  • Anonymous

    Do you really support the Lib Dems? Its difficult to tell with your posts but also because the Lib Dems are such a broad church!

    I am still smug because in my office, everyone declared they’d be supporting the Lib Dems because of Clegg’s debate performance (and for fear of admitting their real tory or labour allegiances I suspect) and I declared “I would rather shoot that smug twat than vote for him”.

    This isn’t an anti-libdem post, if it was ashdown, kennedy or cable I might have a different opinion.

    As for the burnt toast – better to throw it away and start again than keep scraping!

  • Libdem

    Never supported the Tories or Labour! Put off Labour by one of my Labour mates admitting if they put up a monkey he’d vote for it! Always thought a 3rd party could stop the wild swings between the other 2 and now we’re the patsies!
    Kennedy was the best, Ashdown and Clegg are EU supporters to a fault and Cable well, what exactly is he?

  • Ehtch

    I like to post some comments to try and lead it in headscratching no man’s land Michele, and then BAM! Stewart Lee is right up my street, but not literally physically, unless he buys a holiday home in the sticks nearby me.

  • Ehtch

    Something’s going on in our neck of the sticks – 13,000 turning out to watch our team train on a Wednesday afternoon! Barking! But it is half-term for the school kiddies after all,

    Very interesting.

  • Anonymous

    Cable and Ashdown both support things that I don’t, but in some cases make better arguments in favour for those things than most.

    Kennedy just seemed like a decent bloke (and his drinking didn’t concern me) even though he is a keynesian, in the way that Alan Johnson comes across or Michael Portillo does now that the pressure is off – Kennedy managed that even when the pressure was on.

  • Michele

    Am belatedly re-reading the OP and its request / hope near the end for more-open exposure of ex-ministers’ opinions re coalition’s performance.  I doubt they’d agree to interviews or, if they did, they’d invent technical (rather than humanitarian) reasons for not agreeing with what’s being forced through.

    For them to do otherwise could seem hypocritical, just as would the Russians and Chinese if they objected to Syria’s behaviour to its own citizens.

    Re Shirley Williams too ….. what to say?  It’s disappointing that some ‘pacifists’ still manage to have a spiteful streak.

  • Michele

     What a dumb reason for not supporting Labour.  You let a dumbo make your choice for you? 

    You didn’t see the light when ‘LD’s treated Kennedy as they did?  What a shameful sneaking whispering then shouting campaign the cowards led against him.

  • Michele

    Flippin’ Nora ……. the petition was at only about 47k when we were linked to it here last week and it’s now at 107k!!!

  • Michele

    This I can’t wait to see and hear; what’s the song to be?   …….

    This morning, the signatures totalled 114,347.

    Once an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it is sent to the
    Office of the Leader of the House of Commons to check it is within the
    rules of e-petitions and the rules of the House. It is then sent to the
    Backbench Business Committee which has the final say. 

    Former deputy prime minister John Prescott promised to post a video of him singing if the petition reached up to 50,000 signatures but this has not happened yet.

  • Michele