Posts Tagged ‘Ashcroft’

Monday News Review

20/09/2010, 07:00:23 AM

Lammy at Lib Dem conference

So to David Lammy. The Labour MP acknowledges that some think his party is too aggressive towards the Lib Dems and is getting more tribal. I would certainly put myself in the pluralist quarter of the Labour party but it may be shrinking to 10%. I don’t think any one political party has all the ideas. We need to get used to ministers being able to publicly disagree within government.” He gets applause for this. – Guardian blogs.

Ashcroft’s departure

“Going into the election, many voters had little clear idea of what we stood for or what we intended to do in government. At a national level, too much of our message was focused on unnecessary and counterproductive attacks on Gordon Brown and Labour, which meant that voters were not clear about our own plans.” – Lord Ashcroft, FT.

Lib Dems on 9/11

The Lib Dem motion notes “the widespread public concern about the human rights abuses that have taken place since 11 September 2001 under the guise of the so-called ‘war on terror’ initiated by the Bush government and backed by the Labour government in the UK. The abuses have included enforced disappearance, rendition and torture.” It also says “there has been a lack of transparency as to whether and to what extent the UK has been involved in these abuses and that such a lack of clear information is both detrimental to Britain’s reputation and damaging to public confidence in our security services”. – The Guardian.

‘Useful Idiots’

Labour’s Liam Byrne accused the Lib Dems of being the “Tories’ useful idiots”, who offer “progressive poses for a Conservative Budget that hits the poorest hardest and an economic strategy that puts honest people’s jobs at risk”.
The measures against tax evasion came amid reports that Tory backer Lord Ashcrof is to quit as the party’s deputy chairman after attacking its failure to win an outright majority at the General Election. – Mix 96.

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John McTernan on the cant of an honest debate in the Labour movement

18/05/2010, 06:12:46 AM

There are two great mistakes that parties make when they lose elections. First, they blame each other, then they blame the voters.   Each in its own right is disastrous. Together, they are toxic.
Thus far, the emergent leadership campaign has been more benign. There is a refreshing willingness to concede that we made errors in office and need to reconsider before we rebuild.
But the biggest trap awaits – the false consciousness of an “honest debate in the party/the labour movement.” This is cant, and dangerous cant. A debate with ourselves is a conversation with the already convinced – we all voted Labour. We lost, not amongst the 29% who voted Labour or (generously) the 10% of voters who pay the levy or join the party. We lost among the middle-ground decent folk of Britain. If we were serious we’d let voters in Brighton, Redditch and Redcar choose our next leader.
I’m not suggesting that we have primaries. There is a very good reason that parties have members: the collective discipline provided is crucial for effectiveness in campaigning and ultimately in governing. What I do believe is that unless we understand not just why we lost but also what our people want, then we are doomed to a treadmill of defeat.
Let’s be clear, we were liberated by New Labour because it was a set of policy ideas based on analysis. The example set by Philip Gould was finally copied by the Tories when Lord Ashcroft funded the work that underpinned his polemic pamphlet “Smell the coffee.” What we need now is an equally detailed and compelling assessment of where public opinion now stands. We will differ about how to respond to the facts, but can we have the sense to gather them first?
John McTernan was Political Secretary to Tony Blair.

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