Attacking the Tories is our priority but we shouldn’t be afraid of finding common ground with the Lib Dems

by Jonathan Todd

The Conservatives are the fundamental barrier to a Labour government, capable of correcting the division, injustice and incompetence that they have brought us. David Cameron and his party is our enemy. We should target our fire upon him and them.

He must be made to accept responsibility for his misguided decisions, instead of blaming his failings upon the past government, and the gulf in values between our party and the Conservatives should be consistently emphasised.

Attacking the Liberal Democrats is a distraction and suits Cameron. We should call his bluff.

This means focusing our attacks on Cameron and the Conservatives in public and below the radar building bridges and back-channels with the Liberal Democrats. A mature politics should not be scared of acknowledging that many Labour members – like me – share common ground with many Liberal Democrats on issues like the EU, an elected second chamber and wealth taxation.

Labour will be confident in setting out a prospectus for governing the country from 2015. In the event of a hung parliament, however, we would be well-served by having openly acknowledged, well in advance and in a spirit of mutual respect, our points of agreement with the Liberal Democrats.

Jonathan Todd is Labour Uncut’s economic columnist

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10 Responses to “Attacking the Tories is our priority but we shouldn’t be afraid of finding common ground with the Lib Dems”

  1. Martin Phillips says:

    Sorry but I disagree with any talk like this at all. One of the most common comments by cynical voters is – “you’re all the same”. What does it say to the voters that there are so many Labour Party activists saying that we should work with the party currently propping up the Tories. Your piece, and all the other pieces like it, are meat and drink to those cynics who say parties are all the same and only interested in power.
    The Lib Dems are propping up AND VOTING FOR austerity, real terms benefits cuts, breaking up the NHS and so many other policies even Thatcher wouldn’t have contemplated. The LDs will always find common ground with any party – that’s their skill. But we should have nothing to do with them and not discuss anything other than a Labour victory

  2. swatantra says:

    Most sensible strategy to come from Uncut all year. The real enemy are the Tories, not the Lib Dems or UKIP.

  3. Robert says:

    I agree with Jonathan and Swatantra.

  4. Renie Anjeh says:

    Completely disagree. We should be trying to find common ground with them, we should ruthlessly attack them and Tories from now until 2015 and we should urge those who have common ground with us (more in common with us than their party) such as the people from Liberal Left and Lord Oakeshott, to join us rather than languishing in the Lib Dems. We also need to steal their best ideas to politically weaken them.

  5. John A Bateson says:

    Jon – the problem is the attitude and language of the L/D’s since 2010. In our last years in office I might have agreed with you ( our record on civil liberties was poor, and we were too close to big finance ). However rather than attempt to modify Tory policy the Libs – with a few honourable exceptions- have championed it and become vituperously anti-Labour. Any agreement with the Alexanders, Laws and -yes – Farrons now seems impossible.

  6. John,

    Thank you.

    I do not want or expect a grand agreement with the Lib Dems. We cannot and will not agree about everything.

    I think we should just be honest about those limited areas where we can agree.

    I am expecting to be as unsettled by the PM’s speech on the EU next week as I expect many Lib Dems to be.

    I do not support the Clegg Bill on an elected second chamber, as one term senators would be unaccountable, but I do support a second chamber elected by some form of PR.

    I also agree with those Lib Dems who argue that we need to raise more of our tax through increased wealth taxation (e.g. a mansion tax or land tax or similar).

    There may be other areas of agreement, e.g. more powers for local government, including greater tax raising powers.

    Of course, the Lib Dems should be held to account for the decisions they have made – most particularly, their support for the disastrous economic strategy of George Osborne – but I don’t really see what we lose by acknowledging that we agree about some things. And, potentially, what we may gain in the event of hung parliament may be very great. At the very least we have to put the Lib Dems into a position where they would be disinclined to again sustain a Conservative PM.

    Best, JT

  7. John A Bateson says:

    If you had said to me in 2001 ” In 2013 W&L will have an MP who will vote to cut the income of hard working families and VAT paying jobseekers; and encourage medieval bloodletting on the Westmorland fells” I would have agreed with you, and I would have been right. I would, however, assumed the MP would have been a Conservative !

  8. We certainly do not agree with Tim Farron and the Lib Dems on these points, John. We should campaign hard for every vote in every seat. We should major on what is distinctive about Labour as we do so. This does not preclude acknowledging some limited points of agreement with the Lib Dems.

  9. scott says:

    You lot are pathetic the labour party hates the british people they would rather have a country of immigrants and people like you who are blind to whats going on and are nothing more than drones. They would be nothing more than another U.S. puppet government.

  10. wendy loakes says:

    we need a man who has feeling for humanity,gets dirty,unashamed of disability
    actually does work,not like the pm,who has only used a pen,this man is a shame
    to this country,and if i could meet him i would tell him,these tories need to be plundered,and imprisoned to be taught a lesson of humanity,there are people dead,who took there own lives,the cost of life is too valuble there should be a an
    all out revolt,too much damage has been done,and to the im alright jacks i say
    not for long,you will taste they tory poison.

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