Analysis

Labour lets LibDems outflank it on left with call for higher taxes on rich and Universal Basic Income – and shame Labour right with admission that referendum call was fatal

Yes it’s cynical and no they won’t be in government to implement it, but LibDem manoeuvres expose failings of weak centrist positioning and shame attempts to rewrite history

Layla Moran and Ed Davey are contesting the vacant leadership of the Liberal Democrats – and both this morning supported higher taxes for the rich and a Universal Basic Income to support both the vulnerable and the economy:

The positioning is cynical, as nobody expects the LibDems ever to be in government to implement it. But this is territory the Labour Party should be occupying and winning the argument over – and to hear such clear language on jobs, tax, the economy and wealth redistribution from the party most known for dithering puts the current Labour hierarchy to shame.

Both Moran and Davey also admitted that they had lost out badly, including the seat of former leader Jo Swinson, because they pushed hard for a new referendum and a remain vote before last December’s general election. That was obvious to anyone long before the election, but the admission now is yet another thing that shames the current attempts of the Labour right to rewrite history and pretend their vocal calls for a new referendum weren’t the driver for Labour’s massive election losses in leave-voting former heartlands.

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42 comments

  1. “The positioning is cynical, as nobody expects the LibDems ever to be in government to implement it. ”

    It would certainly be a turn up for the book if they formed the largest party, BUT they did of course form part of one coalition, so maybe this sets down a marker to show they have changed.

    When Charlie Kennedy was their leader, they were certainly to the left of Blair’s Labour, and had considerable success in comparison to before and after. Indeed, in 2005 I voted for them, because the laternatives were too dreadful to contemplate and Kennedy was by far the straightest politician around south of the border.

    It may be, as you state “cynical.” But with two parties likely to be fighting for the right-wing vote (3 if Farage founds yet another right wing party) then it’s getting a bit crowded, and no-one fighting for the left of centre voters.

    Demonstrates the stupidity of the PLP! Still, I’m sure they’ll all be able to find a job for a couple of hours a month that pays a six figure sum, so they won’t care.

    1. Dear me, Skwawkbox. The Lib Dems are up to their usual pseudo radical posturing again ! They’ll be promising to vote against raising Student fees again next ! There is nothing whatsoever ‘Left wing’ about that ideological ‘bleed over’ from the most extreme Libertarian free Enterprise , low tax, small state, wish list of projects. That the centre Liberals (Lib Dems) and Left Liberals ( many Corbynistas ) also propose variants of this pernicious concept just shows how the constant defeats of the working class and socialist Left of the last 30 years has destroyed the Left’s faith that we can ever reinstate and expand a humane universal comprehensive, taxation-payed-for, Welfare State. Instead the Left liberal ‘radicals’ borrow a repeatedly discredited idea from the Right wing ‘Social Credit’ movement of the 1920’s, and adopted by the Libertarian right – whereby everyone gets a small basic money ‘ration, regardless of their personal needs , or personal WEALTH, and is expected to then exhibit ‘personal responsibility’ and nous in managing this money ration well – so if they starve it must be due to personal failings , not the built in gross inequalities in income and wealth and their large personal need (for the disabled in particular) to blame !

      All studies and limited trials of this Universal Basic Income nonsense show that the very poorest , particularly those with multiple special needs, are actually WORSE off under it ! It can’t operate, as promised, at very low administration cost, because needs-based assessment will always be needed alongside it. and , it actually costs a ridiculously HUGE amount , with no real pay-off, except for the rich. It is a Right wing hoax, and no substitute for a comprehensive Welfare State funded by progressive taxation which gets that tax haven cash off the superrich in particular. The Greens tried the Basic Income policy in the 2017 General Election, and were repeatedly humiliated by the likes of Andrew Neil when interrogated closely, beyond their vacuous slogans, on how it would work ! The crap nature of UBI/Citizens Income is well illustrated by the way that empty posturing Left-Faker, John McDonnell, was so keen to explore it !

      1. I served reluctantly in a Lib dem.\Lab coalition.They are even more sly and crooked than the Torys and Labour.The Surrey Reigate council was indistinguishable from the Torys and was a disaster for the local Labour party.Don’t kid yourself lib dem politics are poison.JPenny on this is correct.Lets hope that somthing happens soon,the country needs a complete re.make of our corrupted political pretend democracy.

      2. Oooooops – I somehow edited out at the beginning of my earlier spiel that I was attacking the mistaken idea that UBI/Citizens Income is in any way a genuinely ‘Left Wing’ idea. In fact it’s exactly the pseudo radical neoliberal , ‘taking personal responsibility for your own fate’ nonsense , that ignores the gross inequalities of wealth, income, and power, in capitalist society, that you’d expect from the Lib Dems.

      3. jpenney, if UBI were to be a fixed amount as the name suggests, with no extra payments for need, then I’d agree that it was retrograde.
        I haven’t heard any Labour figures be that specific though.
        Obviously it’d be a disaster under the Tory yoke, but as a socialist I’ve always agreed with needs-based social incomes.
        People of an older generation bitterly resented the ‘means test’ as being a humiliation but I never saw it that way myself – on the contrary, rich people drawing child benefit is what I find intolerable.
        I’ve always assumed their resentment of the means test came from those times when neighbours all knew each others’ business in local communities where wives stayed at home and – er – ‘kept each other up to date’ scrubbing the step or ‘doon the steamie’.
        I was born just in time to see those old communities as a child – by the 1960’s they were just about gone.

      4. Joseph okeefe, one of the core claims about UBI/Ctizens income has always been its supposed negligible administration cost – because everyone just gets their equal money ration. It conveniently totally ignores the huge built-in disparities of Wealth and income in a capitalist society, or the huge disparity in personal needs between individuals – health issues being a key feature of very different needs. That is certainly one of the attractions for the Right Wing proponents – it is meant to replace ALL other social welfare benefits (and hence save on taxes too of course) – leaving the citizen as an isolated consumer in the capitalist market place – making ‘educated, responsible’, choices as to how to spend this ration. And when the ration is spent – the poorest, sickest, citizens are simply left to rot – having made the ‘free choice’ to be poor and sick !

        Outside of the Far Right Libertarian ‘low taxes, small state’ argument for UBI (The tax-dodging billionaire oligarchs of Silicon Valley are all in favour of it !) , there is no genuine excuse for supporting it – when a humane, generous, Welfare State, with free healthcare as part of the package, provided on a universal collectivist, not individualist, basis – with needs based assessment providing generous benefits to those most in need, but lacking personal resources, is quite clearly the socialist approach to welfare provision.

        It is the vicious, deliberately humiliating, ‘Poor Law’ style conversion of our Welfare system over the last 15 years by the Tories (and Lib Dems, and the Blairites – it was Yvette Cooper introduced those vicious disability work assessments) , that has put people off needs and personal means -based assessments. But there is no reason why assessments of need should be repressive and humiliating – that is a deliberate policy by the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour Right, based on the repressive ‘Workfare’ policies imported from the USA. The current promotion of UBI by Left Liberal middle class people on the supposed ‘Left’ is just yet another reflection of the collapse of confidence on the Left in the possibility of a Left government, after 30 years of defeats . Make no mistake, UBI might start out relatively generous, with other benefits still in place, but the amount each year of the fixed ‘ration, would be under government control, and would be used as a bribe to enable the further destruction of all our universal welfare benefits, the NHS free services in particular. I suspect The attraction of UBI to many middle class liberal ‘radicals, is that it gives them personally a free wodge of cash to top-up their home-based internet businesses – and they conveniently forget that all studies show that the poorest and most vulnerable are actually much WORSE OFF than with a properly functioning universal Welfare State on the traditional socialist model.

  2. Anyone remember other Neoliberal austerity dems pledges?
    Not a good track record.

    1. I agree with you to a large extent Frank, but which LibDem leaders would you or I have trusted? Personally I can think of just the one.

      It demonstrates how important it is to have a leader who can be trusted. That might just be me …. but I don’t think so – which explains why so many joined Labour when JC was top dog, and why so many had drifted away beforehand, and now.

  3. Well, steven h, dicky h, and jack t – What have you to say about their admission they bollocksed themselves up with their pro-eu, anti-democratic 2nd referendum – just like stammer did for labour?

    Was it JUST them ballsed up, and stammer’s somehow exempt from criticism? You and your precious 70% still think you were right and everyone who says first and foremost that the 2nd ref cost labour is wrong?

    Still claiming EVERY former labour voter voted toerag, fundamentally because they didn’t like Corbyn and NOT because of stammer’s anti-democracy – something that’s becoming increasingly evident with each passing day since he’s become YOUR party leader?

    And steve h, what have you to say that the lib dims have seized the initiative of UBI and higher taxes on the rich – thereby appearing left of the already right-of-centre stammer, who has refused to even consider those policies?

    Still deluding yourself you’re a social democrat? You’re NOTHING of the sort.

    The worst government to blight these shore throughout history, and stammer’s doing his best to keep them in power, aided, abetted and even encouraged by your sycophantic servility.

    Ordinarily I’d tell you to hang your head in shame, but rats like you don’t do shame. So just hang. You should – For your treacherous sell-out of this country to those vermin currently in government

    1. Whatever the Libdems did is of no concern to me.

      As for a Labour’s confirmatory vote it was entirely right and democratic. The majority of the left agreed with it but a few of the self indulgent left including you Toffee, chucked their dummies out of the pram, rolled on the supermarket floor in a tantrum screaming their heads off that their Brexit was going to be taken off them and they weren’t going home without it. Captain Fred Scuttle came to their rescue and stuck the dummies back in their mouths and soothed their tears when he promised to ‘get Brexit done’.

      70% of those who wanted Brexit have now changed their mind.Too late, the terrible consequences will be upon them/us soon, hastened by CV19.

      1. How reassured you must be, knowing that the 2 Liberal Parties ie Lib.Dems & New New Labour are both Blairite acolytes. Jeremy’s solution was sabotaged & certainly not acceptable to you, even knowing what the alternative might be. Demands for a 2nd Referendum were insulting; the accusation is that people are too stupid & voted the wrong way. Only a 2nd Referendum & an acceptable outcome will suffice. Usually the accusation is that Brexiteers are racist; poorly educated & emotional; obviously incapable of making an informed choice.

      2. Never read such rubbish. Polls don’t mean anything beyond what they were commissioned for: to get people to change their minds through peer pressure.
        I guarantee you if a poll was taken that included the upcoming cost to richer members of bailing out the rest over ECB borrowing for Covid-19, there’d only be about 17% in favour of the neoliberal construct.

      3. ‘Chucked dummies from the pram’ did we?

        Err…..Nope.. Some of us had the perspicacity to repeatedly and consistently warn the likes of spoilt little twats like you (And your 70%) – who were screaming at the tops of their voice that brexit was a zionist conspiracy and other such tripe – of the consequences of going ahead with a plan to undemocratically deny people of the thing they voted for.

        You were told that people’d vote elsewhere and you said you’d take the lib dim’s share by doing so. Remind us all how the dims did?

        Even the party had it as policy to respect the result, and they were ahead in the polls right up until YOU ALLOWED stammer to bollocks it all up.

        Had it not been for the likes of YOU, we’d have had a Corbyn-led, labour government negotiating our withdrawal from the eu, instead of the cretinous simians we have now.

        But YOU knew better. Well look at how much power your zionist adversaries have NOW, jack. And remind us all WHO gave them their latitude?

        It wasn’t me, or those who respect the referendum result. We warned you what’d happen; you were repeatedly told it’d be the end of Corbynism and return to bliarism and you metaphorically shrugged your shoulders.

        In fact, you laughed at us and went ahead anyway.

        And now no bastard’s laughing.

        Too late, you’ve opened pandora’s box, and everything – including AT LEAST a decade’s worth of hope – has fucked off.

        Well played, helmet.

      4. Steve, banging the drum for mob rule again. Have you ever changed your mind after becoming more aware of the consequences of a previous decision? 70% of those who voted for Brexit have done! However you adopt the mantle of being hurt and insulted when challenged because it gives you the feeling of being a down-trodden warrior for your cause. Go for it, wallow in your persecution complex.

      5. Toffee, another of your Tourettes style outbursts, as the dire prospects of an action for which you voted are on the horizon.

        Of course according to you, it wasn’t the Zionists and their lackeys in the back room of the Labour Party who did for Corbyn, it was those who wanted to see if voters had changed their mind over Brexit, who were the enemies of democracy.

        Too much democracy for Toffee is a trigger for outrage and more tantrums.

        Has Nigel found a place around his table for you yet?

      6. Oh don’t you fret. jack, you’re not anywhere’s near bright enough that stammer would ever consider offering you any sort of thanks for jockeying him into his position anyway, so I wouldn’t even bother going down that route.

        Even steve h accepts as much, but he’s as obsessed with stammerism as you are with zionism.

        On another website, here’s someone who agrees with what I’ve said here…Perhaps his name sets alarm bells ringing in your warped little mind?

        https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/08/23/you-cant-trust-the-tories-but-did-their-lies-manage-to-convince-you-at-the-election/#comment-123797

        Well, jack, what have you to say? Does it confirm your paranoid delusional suspicions or not? I’d love to know.

        Me, and everyone else denied a Corbyn-led labour government, because of your shithousery, that is…

      7. Cat got yer tongue, jack?

        Or are you too preoccupied with gnawing away at your furniture in a tantrum because once again I’ve called it correctly on what you are and what your infantile pigheadedness has achieved?

      8. Toffee, a shill for the Zionists and their shill now leading the Labour Party. But they’ve no need to worry because Toffee is watching their backs with his trusty shield of ‘it’s them %%%% anti-Brexiters wot done it’ expletives deleted.

      9. Can’t face the fact you fucked the chances of a Corbyn led government up you blame me for calling you out on insisting on a 2bd referendum, you label me a Zionist shill.

        Except you don’t even have the courage of your own convictions to do the same to someone with a Jewish-sounding name who happens to agree with me over the 2bd ref.

        Youre nowt more than a part time racist and full time hypocritical gobshite.

      10. Better get your boots on Toffee, Nigel will be around soon to take you for your morning walk, or is it a ride?

      11. Still in denial then Jack,I find it extraordinary how you manage have the views you do generally but manage to retain the fiction about the policy change on Brexit not affecting the result of the ’19 election.It makes me wonder how you arrived at all the other positions you hold.

      12. john thatcher, you make a fair point. I’m in work at the moment and will respond later.

      13. john thatcher, I replied a couple of hrs ago but it looks like Skwawky has chosen not to print it.

  4. The prospect of a Lib-Lab pact might make the Tories and the MSM flip into full-on propaganda mode against Starmer as they did against Corbyn. If the SNP joins in, anything might happen in 2024.
    How will Starmer respond? He can hardly call the LD proposal “deluded and wrong” without a whole lot more resignations I think.
    On the other hand agreeing with them will show his motives in working against Corbyn to be personal rather than purely political differences.
    And no, SteveH, I have no evidence of that either.
    These are just musings.

    1. The country hasn’t forgotten, or forgiven the coalition for 9 years of unnecessary austerity. What makes sense to staffers, toadies and pollsters isn’t what the public want. MSM would love a NewLabour/LibDem government, it’d be like Cameron all over again. Fortunately, no one else does and wee Jimmy Krankie is pulling no one’s strings.

      1. I only wrote it because I liked the irony – personally I wouldn’t vote for either party.
        Looking at it realistically, unless all we lefties hijack the Greens and elect Corbyn leader, I’ve probably voted for the last time already.

  5. Anyone remember when the Neoliberal austerity dems teamed up with ukip and the tories to keep labour out of power.

  6. I believe Starmer will attempt to form a government with the liberals if he can muster enough votes. No matter how bad the Tories are, NewLabour haven’t a chance by themselves.
    NewLabour and the liberals would be a match made in heaven for neoliberals and establishment fans of “humanitarian intervention”……..Keith Starmer and Layla Moran, you know it makes sense.

    1. PR…ER…..what you need is a written constitution and abolition of the monarchy including assorted titled geriatric clowns and then we can think about a real democracy.But it will never happen and we know it.The only way to get a democracy will be from the streets when the working-class finaly after century’s of corruption decide enough is enough and physically remove the establishment groupys..Will they have the guts?a

  7. Apparently what we need is Mumsnet… reading between the lines on BBC Newsnight just now it looks like Mums aren’t convinced about schools opening and they’re asking some very pertinent questions.

    If Mumsnet turns out to be the best ongoing source of good information I’m gonna piss myself laughing.

  8. The performance by the Labour front bench has been extremely poor. Under JC Labour managed to get the Tories to take on board some watered down versions of Labour policy which is better than the current situation in which we have a government which does not really have any policies to speak of on many issues. Take the education issues – why is Labour not pushing its policies? Even if the schools go back there will be occasions when the schools may have to be closed or some pupils may have to work from home. Therefore both classroom and online learning will be required. To access online learning and teaching they will need reliable broadband which some poor families or those living in remote areas still do not have. The Labour policy of free broadband for all comes to the forefront in this. Even if Labour manage to push for this for low paid families on Universal Credit it will be step forward. At the moment they are not pushing.

    We are in the midst of a pandemic but will still need to plan for the future and Labours Green energy policies would create many jobs which are needed more than ever now. Yes changes will be needed to the workplaces but the jobs and places of work still need to be created. It seems that the whole Labour front bench is asleep. They need to wake up and start pushing and/or key figures need to be replaced.

  9. Has no one realised that elections are a waste of time.
    The ruling class won’t let us have a real progressive government.
    Recent hystory has shown us that.
    They mobilised the whole of the UK media to smear a socialist alternative.
    They manipulated the postal voting system to ensure marginal seats went Tory.
    Don’t kid yourselves into thinking we live in a democracy/
    The UK ticks all of the boxes now.

    The 14 Characteristics of Fascism
    https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html

  10. The Lib/Dems have ‘outflanked’ Labour before, Clegg did it, and look how that turned out! Word games! Where is the country now, thanks in part to Clegg, and where is Clegg?

    But, let’s not get lulled into siding with Starmer’s cabal!

  11. The Liberal Democrats also support only 3 replacement submarines for the Trident nuclear status symbol and an end to continuous at sea patrols (CASP).

    By contrast, Labour policy on this issue is for four submarines and to maintain continuous patrolling. In other words, their policy is exactly the same as that of the Conservatives.

    However, circumstances may well force the Conservatives to change their stance. In that event, Labour will look even more ridiculous on this issue than it does now:

    https://cnduk.org/trident-down-to-three-subs/

  12. When all’s said and done, the Libdems are not daft: They recognise the ELECTORAL and intellectual benefit of higher taxes for a tax band that very effectively manages to dodger fair taxes on most of their income and wealth.

    Being outdone by bourgeois lenders – Sir Nicely has already started costing Labour votes.

    We need rid of Sir Kier fast. Faster the better. Even David Thunderbird Miliband would probably harm Labour less.

    1. Miliband? Wash your mouth out qwertboi…

      “Rule Britannia’s got nothing to do with Empire” said the rabid old Norman Lebrecht about the decision to play instrumental-only orchestral versions of that and Land of Hope and Glory at the Proms.
      “The conductor has no understanding because she’s Finnish” ffs.

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