Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Shirley Williams et al......Taking the Brown Shilling is it a nail in the Lib Dem coffin?

Many years ago I followed Shirley Williams into the SDP and then the Lib Dems because she was and still is one of my political inspirations. For me she is one of our greatest assets, so I find myself somewhat perplexed at the idea of her, along with others, joining the Brown "war cabinet".

To quote a pal, "this is not a Lib Lab pact - where we negotiate terms, howsoever unfavourable. This is not 'negotiated' with the government party, and we have thus, nothing in return. This is a major change in government without an election*, and the new government is picking off senior Lib Dems at will, without any coherent strategy from the LibDem leadership."

It seems to me that Brown is playing a very clever game - what's that saying about tents and "relieving" one's self?! What we are seeing is a new, all inclusive paly sort of a guy......charming (and I'm easily charmed!). It sounds so appealing, what the punters want, people working for the national interest, like in the war, hmmmmmmm, maybe that's what we are preparing for??? However, to flourish, democracy surely depends upon choice. Already we get the lament on the doorstep, "You're all the same".......how will this play? How will this help to reinvigorate democracy? Instead, methinks the velvet glove of inclusivity hides the iron fist of the ultimately promised Brown Stalinist tendencies. Why, Tories are clearly floundering, the only real moral opposition lies within our party, so lets pull us in and ultimately neutralise us.

No this has little to do with inclusivity and a whole lot more to do with Brown attempting to ensuring his and Labour's reign go on for time immemorial..............


Norfolk Blogger said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Shirley Williams et al broke away from Labour because Labour then became too looney left. When Mr Blair became PM, he almost immediately invited Shirley Williams to come back to New Labour. Lady Williams (with Lord Lester and Rabbi Neuberger) returning to Government is indeed a signal to Lib Dems -- the party is, sadly, not sustainable, they'll never be elected to power, they shouldn't sit on the political sidelines as professional, perpetual opposition winers, but participate, either in coalition or choosing a side. Lady Williams, I agree, is a very bright, honest, clear thinking politician: one of the best. With the lack of talent in the Commons, I'm happy Mr Brown is reaching to the Lords and outside his party for official advice, perspective and experience. Lib Dems should decide to influence from within power and Government, not just clever and intelligent speeches from the sidelines.

Paul Walter said...

"The Brown "war cabinet"" What is that, then, Linda? Have I missed something? Williams has been offered, but not yet accepted, an occasional advisory role on the rather arcane subject of nuclear proliferation. That is a million miles away from joining a "war cabinet". Of have I missed some irony or blogesquerie here?

Surely the whole point is that we get "nothing in return" isn't it? The fact that we get "nothing in return" validates the fact that these are independent advisory role, doesn't it?

"Picking off senior Lib Dems at will". Three rather fusty old peers actually. And they all have very specific expertise from past roles, which is being drawn on.

"Without any coherent strategy" - isn't the strategy outline by Ming on 28th June on his blog (http://tinyurl.com/36yqrb) good enough for you? It seems fairly comprehensive to me.

I agree that Brown has his own motives here, but the main element of this episode in people's minds is that Ming has categorically rejected ministerial positions (the Paddy refusal will I suspect stay well in the public mind). He played a calibrated balanced game by only accepting clearly defined independent advisory positions.

Another element which has been neglected is this one: Imagine what would happen if Ming said "no advisory positions under Brown". I would venture to suggest that he would severely cheese off Williams and Neuberger and cause Lester to leave the party are at least be a remarkable thorn in the side of the party, I also think the action would severely hack off other peers who would feel solidarity with Williams, Neuberger and Lester. I also feel that it would play badly with a certain section of the party who would be reminded that the LibDems were tribal and un-cooperative.

Linda Jack said...

To respond to anonymous (you are always so elusive!) - we should either participate in coalition or go away. Well, we haven't been offered a coalition have we? Where we have been in coalition (in Scotland) it is the result of a coalition with us that the Scottish people have many of the progressive policies we English yearn for. The natural conclusion of your argument is to accept the anachronism which is two party adversorial politics, to deny the British people any real democracy or choice in what for me are crucial areas and to continue the woeful disengagement with politics.