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Where did it all go wrong for The Liberal Democrats ?

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Butts

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As today brings about Elections for various offices in the whole of Great Britain, this once great Party stands on the edge of extinction and becoming if it is not already an irrelevance.

Behind The Greens in Scotland, Plaid Cymru in Wales and just about everyone in England it must be a major embarrassment being a member in these current times.

Remember those halcyon days of sharing power in Scotland and Wales and having 60 odd MP's in the not to distant past ?

Did your Party die with Charles Kennedy the last (in my view) decent if troubled leader you had ?

Willie Rennie is running around Scotland like a headless chicken trying to revive a moribund Party and improve on a paltry 5 seats. I'm sure similarly cringing scenes are occurring in Wales and England as well.

Is there a way back ?
 
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RuralRambler

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Yep, Nick Clegg. You really can't go into an election on promise of no rise in student tuition fees and then vote to treble them.

Such a shame they hounded out Tim Farron as leader because of his Christian values. He's an awesome local MP and could have been the leader to save the libdems from oblivion.
 

telstarbox

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In 2015 the well known story is that Labour lost "safe" Scottish seats to the SNP, but simultaneously Tories were ruthless in targeting Lib Dem seats in England . They couldn't have won their majority without gaining 24 from the Lib Dems, mostly in the South West where Labour don't really compete. Remember that David Cameron was expecting another coalition and they ultimately outperformed expectations.
 

telstarbox

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Then of course the Brexit vote happened and since then their "Hard Remain" position was pretty niche, although they did get 11% of votes in 2019 which would be 60ish MPs in a proportional system. They still do well in local pockets and are probably the best party at using local data and activists.
 

Journeyman

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"I agree with Nick"...
Absolutely. The Lib Dems basically propped up one of the most ideologically nasty Tory governments we've ever seen.

Such a shame they hounded out Tim Farron as leader because of his Christian values. He's an awesome local MP and could have been the leader to save the libdems from oblivion.
It's not a "Christian value" to be a homophobe.
 

birchesgreen

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People have long political memories, though some parties get affected by this more than others.

When I was a youth, in the 80s, the Liberals were in a similar position to now. Paddy Pantsdown finally got them on the slow road to recovery and gradual increasing of seats. It will come eventually though I don't think Davey is the man for it.

Another problem the Liberals have is that they aren't the "third" party in Westminster anymore so the SNP get the guaranteed exposure at PMQs which the Liberal leader used to get.
 

nlogax

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The student fees debacle meant the LibDems ended up carrying the can for much of the unpleasantness from their coalition 'partners' and were seen as enablers for the very worst of the Tory policies of that era. Voters never forgot that.

As follow-up acts Tim Farron and Jo Swinson were pretty damned unpopular. Swinson in particular was a liability for the party and an utter disaster.

Did your Party die with Charles Kennedy the last (in my view) decent if troubled leader you had ?

Never a truer word spoken. Charles Kennedy stood head and shoulders above any other modern day LD leader. It was dreadful to see how alcohol destroyed him.
 

Journeyman

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The student fees debacle meant the LibDems ended up carrying the can for much of the unpleasantness from their coalition 'partners' and were seen as enablers for the very worst of the Tory policies of that era. Voters never forgot that.

As follow-up acts Tim Farron and Jo Swinson were pretty damned unpopular. Swinson in particular was a liability for the party and an utter disaster.
Something about Swinson made my skin crawl. It's hard to put my finger on why, but she seemed extremely obnoxious and unpleasant. I think her absolutely uncompromising Remain stance was too much, and I say that as someone who will never forgive those responsible for Brexit.

As a former evangelical Christian, I know the sorts of views and values Tim Farron is likely to hold, and I no longer want anything to do with them.
Never a truer word spoken. Charles Kennedy stood head and shoulders above any other modern day LD leader. It was dreadful to see how alcohol destroyed him.
He was a decent man, certainly, and very sad to see what happened to him. He suffered a lot of abuse in his final days too.
 

Typhoon

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Behind The Greens in Scotland, Plaid Cymru in Wales and just about everyone in England it must be a major embarrassment being a member in these current times.
At one time there was a choice of Tory, Labour and, if you couldn't stand them, Liberal/ LibDem. We now have that wider choice that you imply - and, increasingly, not voting at all.

In 2015 the well known story is that Labour lost "safe" Scottish seats to the SNP, but simultaneously Tories were ruthless in targeting Lib Dem seats in England . They couldn't have won their majority without gaining 24 from the Lib Dems, mostly in the South West where Labour don't really compete. Remember that David Cameron was expecting another coalition and they ultimately outperformed expectations.
That should have helped the LibDems, campaign slogan 'we are the only alternative to the Tories' - but, of course, they backed them to the hilt for 5 years. I'm amazed they only have one MP in the west. They seem to be concentrating on South West London and parts of Scotland. Not really the firm basis on which to built. They also have a bunch of pretty anonymous MPs (Davy - who is Starmer-lite, personality wise, Farron and Layla Moran are the only three I could name) and, I can only speak for the area I live in, East Kent, have pretty much disappeared locally; no newsletters, no campaign literature, no stalls in the High Street. We used to have LibDem councillors, good one's too. No more.
 

nlogax

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Something about Swinson made my skin crawl. It's hard to put my finger on why, but she seemed extremely obnoxious and unpleasant. I think her absolutely uncompromising Remain stance was too much, and I say that as someone who will never forgive those responsible for Brexit.

Completely agree with all of this.
 

Journeyman

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Completely agree with all of this.
Yeah. Trying to overturn a democratic vote is never a good look, however much you disagree with it. The referendum was won by Leave, and however much I'll curse that fact until my dying day, constantly telling the voters they were wrong has never worked.
 

24Grange

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Nick Clegg brown nosing Cameron to taste power - tuition fees, people realising after that instead of an alternative to the other parties and their hogwash they are exactly the same - that being the case, so may as well vote for one of the other 2 parties who have a chance at power.
 

Journeyman

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Nick Clegg brown nosing Cameron to taste power - tuition fees, people realising after that instead of an alternative to the other parties and their hogwash they are exactly the same - that being the case, so may as well vote for one of the other 2 parties who have a chance at power.
Precisely. The Lib Dems did nothing to moderate Cameron, so alienated all their centre-left voters, and the centre-right ones decided to cut out the middleman.
 

Merle Haggard

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Yeah. Trying to overturn a democratic vote is never a good look, however much you disagree with it. The referendum was won by Leave, and however much I'll curse that fact until my dying day, constantly telling the voters they were wrong has never worked.

By the (only) party that has 'democrat' in its name...
 

LOL The Irony

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It's not a "Christian value" to be a homophobe.
Both a heavily cited Wikipedia section on LGBT rights and I seem to disagree with this implication that Tim Farron was homophobic.
In 2007, he voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which for the first time imposed a general restriction on businesses discriminating against people on the grounds of sexual orientation.[45] In May 2015, regarding a court ruling which found that a Belfast bakery had acted unlawfully in refusing to carry out an order for a cake in support of gay marriage, Farron said that "it's a shame it ended up in court" and "it's important that you stand up for people's rights to have their conscience," but "if you’re providing a service, that’s the key thing – you need to do so without prejudice, without discrimination against those who come through your door."[46]

He voted in favour of allowing marriage between two people of same sex at the second reading of the 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, but he voted not to timetable the debate on the Bill, which would have made it much more difficult to pass had the House of Commons agreed with his position,[47] over concerns of the impact the "spousal veto" could have on trans people.[48] He was absent for the vote for gay marriage on the third reading of the Bill.[49]

In 2014, he voted in favour of extending the right to same sex marriage to Armed Forces personnel outside the United Kingdom.[50] He currently holds a 90.4% rating on the issue of same sex marriage according to the website Public Whip.[50]

During an interview in 2015 with Cathy Newman for Channel 4 News, following his election as leader, Farron avoided a question from Newman on his personal beliefs regarding gay sex, saying that his "views on personal morality [didn't] matter", adding that to "understand Christianity is to understand that we are all sinners".[51] In the build-up to the 2017 General Election he repeated similar lines in another Channel 4 News television interview, before Nigel Evans asked him in Parliament whether he thought being gay was a sin, to which he replied, "I do not" and said that he was "very proud" to have supported his party's efforts to introduce gay marriage.[52] Later, in a BBC interview, he further stated that he didn't believe "gay sex" was a sin.[53] Despite this, Lord Paddick resigned from his post as home affairs spokesperson in June 2017 "over concerns about the leader's views on various issues".[54] In 2018, he expressed regret over his previous assertions that he didn't consider homosexual sex to be sinful, saying he felt under pressure from his party which led him to "foolishly and wrongly" make a statement "that was not right".[55]

Farron's handling of questions regarding LGBT rights and the sinfulness of homosexuality have been heavily criticised by LGBT+ Liberal Democrats,[56][57] as has his continued association with evangelical anti-'gay lobby' groups, which has been seen as a "lack of care" to the LGBT community.[58] Former head of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, Chris Cooke, made unsubstantiated complaints to the party about Farron's personal conduct when "drunk", and admitted that he "made up a story to cause trouble" following his suspension over Twitter comments directed at Conservative MP Anna Soubry.[59]
 

DarloRich

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Two things:
  • Being the coalition human shields & enablers for the Tory party
  • Tuition fees
They were punished by the voters for enabling the Cameron government and were the ones made to carry the can for the sins of that government. That is slightly unfair but understandable really.
 

Sad Sprinter

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I think the problem with the Lib Dems is they don't know what 'Liberalism' is and don't know how to apply it practically to present day politics.

Put simply, the LibDems should be about equality without Labour's class politics. That should mean a high focus on education, public spending, economic rebalancing and devolution/constitutional change. However, they've boxed themselves, like Labour, in an awkward, unattractive corner by being staunchy internationalist and anti-nation state (they can kiss goodbye to any Northern England seats), being dogmatically anti-Brexit and not accepting to vote or at least advocating some kind of new UK-EU relationship and embracing 'woke' politics before more moderate progressivism - at least, that's what I have seen from members.

The LibDems should start by saying to the Tories and Labour that at least a third of you are probably Liberals. One Nation Tories are Liberals - mildly progressive, fisicaly responsible, patriotic but also internationalist. Whilst Labour moderates are much like the latter but perhaps more likely to advocate higher public spending. These two groups are not Corbynite or Johnsonian Red Wall purists, plus they're probably both remainers anyway.

The LibDems would then need to realise that most major socio-economic policies from 1945-2016 were Liberal in nature. The Beveridge Report for instance, Thatcherism - a Liberal rather than a Tory ideology (Thatcher even admitted she was more of a Gladstonian Liberal than a Tory), Blairism which arguably completed the neo-liberal Thatcherite project and lastly Cameron who was just a more 'small c' Conservative Blair. The Liberals have a large, ready-made ideological spectrum that if it accepts and capitalises on could drain away disenfranchised Labour/Tory moderates.

I believe they need a intellectual, passionate leader that can really aggressively sell the nation what it means to be a Liberal. Until then, they're just going to have to keep dreaming of a time when PR becomes the General Election voting system.
 

Journeyman

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Both a heavily cited Wikipedia section on LGBT rights and I seem to disagree with this implication that Tim Farron was homophobic.
There's some evidence in there to suggest Tim Farron thinks gay sex is sinful.

Therefore he's a homophobe.
 

Dent

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Both a heavily cited Wikipedia section on LGBT rights and I seem to disagree with this implication that Tim Farron was homophobic.

How do you consider what you quoted to "disagree with this implication that Tim Farron was homophobic"? You literally quoted a long list of incidents of him voting against LGBT rights or expressed homophobic views.
 

LOL The Irony

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There's some evidence in there to suggest Tim Farron thinks gay sex is sinful.

Therefore he's a homophobe.
He's voted in favour of lgbt rights several times but let's ignore that because he may, just possibly, think gay sex is sinful.

Ok then.

How do you consider what you quoted to "disagree with this implication that Tim Farron was homophobic"? You literally quoted a long list of incidents of him voting against LGBT rights or expressed homophobic views.
Ok, How's this for size?
1620298842866.png
1620298783587.png
(Pictures show Tim Farron's voting record on gay marriage - from https://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.ph...stmorland_and_Lonsdale&house=commons&dmp=6686)
 
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al78

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I get the impression it started to go wrong when they formed a coalition with the tories.
 

Ianno87

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Put simply, the LibDems should be about equality without Labour's class politics. That should mean a high focus on education, public spending, economic rebalancing and devolution/constitutional change. However, they've boxed themselves, like Labour, in an awkward, unattractive corner by being staunchy internationalist and anti-nation state (they can kiss goodbye to any Northern England seats), being dogmatically anti-Brexit and not accepting to vote or at least advocating some kind of new UK-EU relationship and embracing 'woke' politics before more moderate progressivism - at least, that's what I have seen from members.
I do think this is is a big deal.

I was always very pro-Remain, but the LibDem stance did have a bit of a vibe of dismissing the genuine issues (not usually EU related) that led to the Leave vote.
 

Journeyman

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He's voted in favour of lgbt rights several times but let's ignore that because he may, just possibly, think gay sex is sinful.

Ok then.


Ok, How's this for size?
View attachment 95604
View attachment 95603
(Pictures show Tim Farron's voting record on gay marriage - from https://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.ph...stmorland_and_Lonsdale&house=commons&dmp=6686)
Yup, the "gay sex is sinful" view is homophobic. Evangelical Christianity is absolutely chronically homophobic, despite their best efforts to hide it.

It's a slippery slope from this view to conversion therapy, which I really, really seriously hope you don't approve of. Anyone who does has blood on their hands.

I was part of that culture for twenty years. I held and was encouraged to hold homophobic beliefs, but also encouraged not to be too open about them in case it put people off God.

Churches are, in the main, absolutely not safe spaces for gay people, and won't be for as long as views like Farron's exist.

The dreadful judgemental attitude and nosy, puritanical obsession with what other people get up to in the bedroom is one of the main contributory factors behind my decision to leave church and renounce my faith.
 

Sad Sprinter

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I do think this is is a big deal.

I was always very pro-Remain, but the LibDem stance did have a bit of a vibe of dismissing the genuine issues (not usually EU related) that led to the Leave vote.

They've got the same illness Labour now has-their heartlands are Southern Middle Class voters whose political views are noticably tainted with classism.
 

Ianno87

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They've got the same illness Labour now has-their heartlands are Southern Middle Class voters whose political views are noticably tainted with classism.

Don't think I'd go as far as "classism", but they can exist in a bit of a "bubble", not realising that not everybody is like them or sees things the way they do.
 
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