Analysis News

LibDems abstain en masse to prop up Tory NHS privatisation

Swinson’s party hides, helping Johnson defeat Labour’s anti-privatisation motion

A Labour motion in the Commons to end NHS privatisation has been defeated by the Tories – with the help of a cowardly abstention by the entire LibDem party.

The LibDems have a long and dishonourable history of supporting Tory predation of the poor and vulnerable – and clearly have not changed their spots.

Jo Swinson and her party are rightly being ripped to shreds on social media. The ‘NHS Million’ pro-NHS account tweeted:

But their cowardly behaviour is also costing them support from people who might otherwise have been fooled into voting for them by their pro-remain stance:

Eighteen former Tory ‘independents’ actively voted to defeat the motion, proving again that you can never trust a Tory with the NHS – whether the blue, yellow or ex- variety. Independent John Woodcock, the former Labour MP who resigned rather than face investigation over sexual harassment allegations, further shamed himself by joining them in the voting lobby.

Of Labour’s 245 MPs, a handful did not vote because of illness or parliamentary ‘pairing’ with other MPs who were unable to attend to vote. Desperate LibDems have tried to use this to excuse the wholesale cowardice of their party.

Of the independents who voted to end privatisation, five are former Labour MPs, with independent unionist Lady Hermon the sixth.

As ever, a vote for the Labour Party that created the NHS is the only option for those who wish to protect it.

The LibDems are also said to be planning to abstain in the vote on Boris Johnson’s Queen’s Speech – a chance to express no-confidence in his government – yet are asking MPs to support their referendum amendment.

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55 comments

  1. The mainstream pundits continue to talk about a great LD revival that is eating at Labour votes. The fact they are currently losing 5% of their vote a month never gets a mention. I wonder how many people would want Swinson as PM?

    1. I don’t subscirbe to the ‘Let’s whistle’ or ‘Let’s deny’ style of poll analysis. Reality is where to start from.

      In 12 months, the LibDems have gained about 9% in the polls; Labour has lost about 14% in the same period on the same basis.

      1. And in the last 6 weeks? A big fall. Nobody thinks Swinson would make can acceptable PM. Do you think she would?

      2. In the last 6 weeks, their polling has stayed about the same or risen very slightly. Not a ‘big fall’. Like Labour’s position. Differences over the period are well within margins of error – so ‘same’ is the most accurate statement.

        In the year, the Tory lead has widened.

        These are the facts – based on the trend of all polls – not one-offs.

        I’m not sure what my evaluation of Swinson (actually very negative) has to do with it. It’s not relevant.

      3. It’s irevevelant as to the quality of the Leader and potential PM? Really! The hard fact is that Swinson has very little public support partly because of her school girl manner of lecturing the nation but primarily because her only aim is to reduce the Labour vote and ‘save’ the country from Natioalisation and all the other ‘horrors’ of a left of centre government.

      4. RH….nobody takes the libdems seriously only the thgullible,Did you learn nothing from the last election if Labour HQ had been open for the election we would have walked into Downing street.Ignore the polls everybody else did but you.

      5. Not sure what you’re on about, Joseph. I suppose reality denial is a comfort blanket. Hanging onto the fallability of the polls as a justification for using chicken entrails as an alternative is understandable in those terms.

        The *main* thing to be learned from the last election is that Labour lost – not that it did better than expected. And that after 7 years of disastrous Tory/LibDem government.

        All I’m doing here is outlining the best evidence of where opinion is at NOW – not an infallible prediction of the future.

        Your sentence “If … we would have walked into Downing Street” is interesting. Because the *fact* is – ‘we’ didn’t.

        This refusal to face reality is a major Achilles heel of the ‘left’ : it confuses wild fantasy with idealism. There are still individuals around who think the miners’ strike was other than a major defeat that people are still paying for in the old coalfield areas.

    2. To take polls in general seriously one would have to trust that they’d found a method that worked – an algorithm or some magic incantation to stop ‘the polled’ making shit up.
      Or at least one would need to have identified the precise and correctable ghost in the machine that caused them all to get it so wrong in the Great FuckUp Of 2017.
      Prof. John Curtice is the BBC’s go-to-guy on polling who always has an explanation for every little perceived shift.
      That in itself proves he’s as full of shit as every other ‘expert’ pollster.
      Since ‘Landon beats Roosevelt’ and ‘Dewey defeats Truman’, pollsters have tried to correct the method.

      It’s not possible to correct the method, for one simple reason – agreeing to answer pollsters’ questions is aberrant behaviour.
      Those who participate are part of a tiny, self-selecting minority and therefore by definition unrepresentative of the population at large. Weirdos.
      There is no method that can correct for that.
      Why anyone bothers to respond to polls I could only guess – perhaps they’re lonely or just flattered to be asked – in which case possibly too clueless ever to have had their opinions sought on anything by real people.
      When the vast majority of us see somebody with a clipboard in the street WE DON’T STOP.
      I could but I won’t guess who here stops and who keeps walking…
      By the way – telling me that most polls are by post or online or that people volunteer to participate won’t prove me wrong, but do have a go anyway 🙂

  2. ……..as Starmer; Adonis; Mandelson; Thornberry; McDonnell; Hodge et al. move the Labour Party policies ever closer to the Lib.Dems, there would appear to be more serious questions to be asked about this Blairite direction of travel.

    1. I’m not sure why Mandelson is on the list. He’s not a Labour MP or even a supporter. As for the others they have come to heel after their brief scuffle for first dibs at being the next leader.

    2. Steve, it has absolutely zero to do with Blairism, that is just a petty insult Leavers such as yourself like to throw at Remainers. Over four times more voters have left Labour to go to Remain Parties than have left to go to Leave Parties. The fact is that if Labour supports any form of Brexit we will be annihilated in a GE.

      1. New Labour Blairite logic. In order to attract middle class Liberal & Tory voters we must become more like the Liberals & Tories & stop all this ‘unpopular’ Socialism. We need to attract the ‘centre’ ground!!!!!
        If you want to Remain in the EU at least instruct your MPs to stop being dishonest & vote to abandon Article 50 & show us what liars & hypocrits they are. This will remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader & allow Keir Starmer or (we need a woman leader) Emily Thornberry to follow Swinson into oblivion. The Labour Party was formed to represent the needs of the working class; now hi-jacked by the bourgeoisie. Blair was right, the class war is over….at least for you.

      2. I agree many elections are won on the Centre ground – but not a ‘Brexit NOW’ election. Labour under Corbyn has very sensibly positioned itself as more centrist than the ‘Everybody Out’ from the Tories and ‘Everybody In’ proposed by young Swindler. They’r3 the extremists who will suffer as a result.

      3. Steve, your obsession with Leave is causing you to make wild assertions about those who disagree with you. The reason of course is, like most Leavers, you have have absolutely no supportable case whatsoever to show that any form of Brexit will benefit the vast majority of the British people.

        The favourite tactic of Leavers is to try and drag opponents off into the long grass so that at all costs the damaging affects of Brexit are not discussed.

  3. I asked my local ward Lib Dem councillor to explain the abstention and he replied as follows: “There have been lots of questions about this in Lib Dem Facebook groups. Alastair Carmichael (chief whip) has posted this
    This is the text of the Labour amendment. We abstained for a few reasons :
    1 The Health and Social Care Act has not ended a publicly funded and administered NHS.
    2. Repealing the act would require another reorganisation of the NHS which is not what is we need right now.
    Over half of GPs have an average waiting time for non-urgent appointments at their practice of over two weeks. More than half (55%) of British adults with a diagnosed mental health problem who sought NHS treatment say they had to wait more than 4 weeks to see a mental health specialist.- Instead of focusing on these problems, Labour is proposing to repeal a piece of legislation, without saying what they will replace it with.
    3. It is classic Labour using the NHS as a political football. Presumably they want to distract attention from the fact that the Commons could have stopped Brexit last night but we didn’t because 19 Labour MPs voted with the Conservatives.”

    1. I seem to remember the FibDems enabled the 2012 Health and Social Care act, which broke the link between government responsibility for and provision of health care. They did this under the cover of the coalition government, but that cannot excuse their decision to support it.

      Many MPs have financial interests in health care companies. This is from 2014, but a good many of the MPs listed are still in their parliamentary seats. Including Ms Swinson and former FibDem leader Vice Cable. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/selling-nhs-profit-full-list-4646154?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar&fbclid=IwAR1mPoUhanKJmGcv_g5Au5IenPE_Bq3bZ-gogvLfNf1H94411Q5snCVY4N4

    2. Nivkd….. l am not interested in libdem excuses for capitulation once again,bloody half witted morons all of them

  4. Now a Referendum on this I would support! I don’t believe Parliament represents the people on this and many other issues.

    It’s no surprise all Lib Dem MPs voted against this motion, they were instrumental in de facto ending the NHS in the 2012 Health and Social Care bill in the Tory/Lib Dem Gov. and have are pro ‘privatise the world’ neoliberal economics and political ideology.

    Reminder to watch/re-watch and encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to watch ‘Sell Off’.

    I laugh when people think Brexit will be a boon for Trump… NHS has been reorganised ready primarily for US private health and insurance companies over last 30 odd years!

    1. You should look forward to splitting your sides when the great US Subservience (Brexit) Bill passes, then.

      1. Typical reply from you. My point was on NHS specifically and privatisation in general… US has always been UKs closest ‘partner’ in that neoliberal endeavour in UK public service sector. EU just ensures Germany, France and other EU countries, banks and private entities can fund their social programmes/pensions and profit from UK privatised, water, rail etc.

      2. “Typical reply from you” – as your post is ‘typical’ of you. So what?

        What would you expect? An atypical reply?

        Can you really not see the enhanced danger from the UK becoming wholly subservient to the US? Going on about the ‘neoliberalism’ of the EU is just a statement of the obvious : all world trade takes place within a neoliberal framework, but some choices are better than others.

        The UK as a free-floating bastion of socialism simply doesn’t compute in any real world terms. Particularly one founded on a far-right merry jape for plutocrats.

      3. RH, you might choose what you see as a least worst option, I choose to oppose neoliberal finance Capitalism, ‘privatise the world’ economics and imperialism. The current system is failing even those that have benefitted the most (top 1-5%) and not delivering profit margins required and I see a Totalitarian system taking its place if we don’t vehemently oppose the current systems.
        Some believe the new authoritarian/totalitarian system is becoming soviet style corruption and authoritarianism but I see it as fascistic where state and wealthy, powerful private interests merge to serve the interests of the few and their enablers aka Corporatism where everything has to become a source of private profit directly or via financial system.

        I am fed up with least worst options I want real change. I don’t have some Socialist nirvana in mind just consistent powerful push back to begin change in a more positive direction for society and the world. You appear to think the change has to come all at once globally, I am someone who believes that it’s easier to break major problems down into bite size pieces and build (inspire?) from there, making alliances with all countries/people working in the same direction even if it’s not the way ‘we’ might do it. I’m pro different approaches for different cultures and societies, I despise hegemony. I don’t want us all to think the same and solve problems the same way, we can learn form the efforts of others and vica versa.

        Like it or not we still have countries at the moment and politicians are far more easily susceptible to public pressure in that structure than a budding, aggressive empire of EU super state where the real decision makers (ruling councils and ECB) aren’t even accountable to and cannot be removed by the public.

    2. Re my point about Tory/ Lib Dem Gov. ending/abolishing NHS, for a quick answer, see Allyson Pollack @ approx 14.44 in the film about 2012 Act abolishing the duty of Sec of State..

      1. I have no illusions, Maria – and I rate Allyson Pollack very highly. I well remember her warnings of what the Blair government was doing, as well as Dave Hinchliffe’s despair (then Chair of the Health Select Committee) at the manoeuvres of the government.

        But a sell-out to the US poses a new order of threat.

  5. The so called centre ground is breaking up and being rejected across the western world,Even in the USA the political class of the established viewpoint are drowning in their own vomit and swimming in the sewer of hypocrisy.Swansong and the Labour centre will also have a day of reckoning with the people and it will be the people s vote that removes them…..Corbyns still the best leader in the country and one we will need to get behind to stop the Torys…..bring on the election and trust the people….its our only choice!

    1. I agree. As a Leave voting Labourite its Corbyn who speaks common sense so far as I can see it. The idea of revoking the whole thing is not just close to impossible but would lose any majority vote. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if by some freak Swinson ended up In Charge and immediately abandoned Brexit! The absurdity of it shows the LD’s don’t really expect it to happen (they’re not that crazy!).
      The LD’s only want to knock Labour in the hope they end up with another Tory minority that – Who knows might give them a job?
      With snakes like Chukka suddenly right at the top of their organisation they don’t appeal to the average voter.
      What do they stand for except to see a new Tory government?

  6. Too often remainiacs rely on the safety in numbers argument for staying in the EU,
    So when austerity was inflicted on us all, who took the biggest kicking, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland Spain, UK
    Point is there was no protection from neo liberal casino capatalism,
    To nail it down the single currency just exacerbated this sick joke of a Union, remain and reform,
    REALLY

      1. Not the first time you’ve USED it though – is it, Mr 70% of labour membership?

      2. Well at least you’ve stopped defending the indefensible.

        (Not a compliment by the way – it’s an expression of resigned pragmatism)

        I could provide you with a plethora of examples of when you’ve used your opinion poll results to back up your claim to remain, but I just can’t be arsed trawling through your post history to find them. That’s despite it being not to difficult, or time consuming a task.

      3. The Toffee (597) at 4:56 pm

        I am quite happy to ‘admit’ that I have posted links to the evidence that supports what I’m saying. As I’ve said to you many times you are more than welcome to provide your own evidence to support your assertions (if you can find any).

  7. I’m gonna scare the livin’ bejaysus outta the local kids this halloween by putting that picture of swindle (up top) in my front door window,

    And when their parents knock to complain about it, I’ll do the same to them by telling them what the lib dim rodents are playing at.

    1. ……..that really is a cruel form of trick or trick & there’s just the photo @ the top of the page of ‘Cruella’ Swinson flashing her gnashers.

  8. Doug, “the safety in numbers argument for staying in the EU” is valid.
    The EU is certainly neoliberal, but to nowhere near the same degree as the US or even the Tory right.
    In the US neoliberalism is inherent – conflated as it is with ‘rugged individualism’ – the cowboys’n’guns culture – the ‘American Way’.
    It’s supported by everyone from the religious morons of the bible belt to the moronic southern Trunt-lovers with their still-simmering resentment at the enforced end (technically) to slavery.
    The US is a deeply damaged and damaging society that any thinking person would want to stay well out of the clutches of.
    I believe the EU to be capable of persuasion by rational argument into reform – I also believe the US will resist rational argument to the last cowboy.
    Why would Trunt NOT bully a socialist UK exactly as he does Venezuela? “Special relationship?” Don’t make me laugh.
    We could quickly be faced with having to either submit to US demands or be forced into extremely uncomfortable alliances with other sanctioned nations.
    China, Russia and the EU are about the only entities left in this globalised world capable of resisting US economic power.
    Choose.

    1. I’d chose Russia because it has the best Leader. And it’s part of Europe (geographically).

      1. Paul 24/10/2019 at 6:01 pm
        “I’d chose Russia because it has the best Leader.”

        What is it about Putin that you admire.

      2. The way he saved Syria from a jihadist nightmare and spiked the guns of the US, Israel and the Saudis. That’s for starters.

      3. ….. are we to just ignore his human rights record and the suppression of democracy in his own country.

      4. Well nobody complains about the lack of human rights in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt, USA, U.K. Etc etc. What other leader can claim to have defeated the Jihadi Coaltion that comprised all the above?

      5. Your brain just gave up the effort? I can believe it. Have a cup of tea and see if you can distinguish Saudi torture with anybody else’s? Because they’re on our side supporting Jihadis? What do you understand about the situation in Egypt? Or is it all too much to take in?

      6. No Paul, I simply can’t be bothered wasting my time with your nonsense. But you are more than welcome to continue, knock yourself out.

  9. SteveH 24/10/2019 at 6:21 pm · ·
    ….. are we to just ignore his human rights record and the suppression of democracy in his own country.

    And just who the fuck are you to question the ‘Suppression of democracy’ ?

      1. I think the word is ‘supporter’. The word ‘lover’ nudges old racist comments.

      2. Paul 24/10/2019 at 7:00 pm · ·

        “I think the word is ‘supporter’. The word ‘lover’ nudges old racist comments.”

        Only in your mind maybe. Attempting to make sly accusations of racism against me because you don’t have an argument is low-life desperation. .

      3. He’s got a far better idea of what democracy is than you have, cretin.

      4. He does struggle doesn’t he! I think it’s more ignorance than just trying to be awkward (which is a possibility). He should maybe check out more real news. Strangely enough for once, today it’s the turn of the Jerusalem Post that has a detailed and graphic story about hi2 Turkey has le5 loose an army of deranged right wing Jihadis who are posting videos on line of civilians and prisoners being executed on the road side. Western media don’t mention the numerous atrocities carried out by the jidhadis and say the videos are too graphic to be shown- so they don’t and therefore don’t mention it. Once again the West is in cahoots with the ‘Muj’ as the Americans used to call them. Steve might get an insight into the real nature of The Coalition.

  10. No surprise from the Neo-Liberal capitalist Tory 2nd X1.
    In my CLP area the Lib Dems have been putting out what is in essence the SAME leaflet every week for weeks (where are they getting the money from?) and they must think it is clever psychology repeating 3 simple messages.
    1. Jeremy Corbyn is a bogeyman.
    2. The local Labour MP is Corbyn’s candidate (more fear).
    3 Appealing to Tory voters (Tories came third).
    So perhaps Labour could counter this narrative:
    1. The Lib Dems are insulting the intelligence of the electorate. Jeremy Corbyn is a great Labour Leader who has helped Labour develop 201 great policies to benefit working people. Judge Labour on its IDEAS!
    2. The local Labour MP like most MPs is independent minded but generally supports democratically agreed policy but has rebelled 3 times against his own party.
    3. Labour asks ALL citizens in this CLP area to vote for our great IDEAS against those of the Lib Dems and Tories but are the Lib Dems frightened of their own record – voting for austerity and pay freezes and tax cuts for the rich and big business plus welfare cuts and the Bedroom Tax etc.
    So the Lib Dems should fight on IDEAS and STOP INSULTING THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE ELECTORATE!
    Lightweight Lib Dems!

  11. I guess the question is with the Lib Dems voting made any of difference could we have won it with their vote ?

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