Episode 84 – 13th May 2011

Should Nick just say sorry? What are the limts of privacy? And who’s been playing the race card? Find out in this week’s show!


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Black and White Homeopathy Show (1:38) by Sean Ellis
LibDem Promises (6:24) by Jennie Rigg
Privacy, Injunctions & Twitter (14:28) by James Firth
Anonymous Pwnz Sony (23:56) by Salim Fadhley
Creationism in Schools Crisis (31:12) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Tessa Kendall)
Why We Believe (36:10) by Jourdemayne
Uganda’s Gay Ban (44:08) by Natalie Dzerrins

Follow-up Links

12 thoughts on “Episode 84 – 13th May 2011

  1. I disagree with Jennie, lookup “karl rovian tactics” for the real reason people hate the Lib Dem’s. Apologising is the last thing you should ever do.

    She mentioned that Julian Huppert advocates ‘evidence based polices’ yet she hates Nick because he made the decision on tuition fees based on logic rather than what will play well with the electorate. Grow up.

  2. It seems unlikely that tuition fees is such a huge issue that the entire electorate turned against the LibDems because they broke their promise on it. If there is any evidence other than “a few people I talked to mention it” that would support it, but otherwise, it seems more likely that the electorate is just as petty, tribal and immature as the politicians and would rather have had a government that failed in a couple of months and a fresh election, than having the party they voted for work with people they consider the enemy.

  3. G.Shelley – so you dismiss the notion that people dislike the Lib Dems for openly breaking their pledges due to lack of evidence, and the assert that the electorate is ‘petty, tribal, and immature’ without any evidence of your own. Thats a pretty massive logic fail – at least Jennie bothered to ask some people what they thought, rather than decided what others think on her own as you seem to have done.

    Also, disliking the Tories, and those who have chosen to work with them, isn’t “petty, tribal and immature” – its called having principles.

  4. Not sure that Tuition Fees is the only reason people feel betrayed by the Lib Dems – they also made a number of other commitments that they abandoned – but it is an obvious, easy to grasp one. It also affects a lot of people: almost 50% of young people will go into Higher Education. These students have relatives who will see what it does to them.

    Also not sure that Jennie is right saying that opposing it would have been worse. The Tories don’t have a majority and so a principled stand with the Opposition (who could be relied upon to vote against Tory policy) could have stopped it.

  5. Jennie Rigg really misses the point, and G.Shelley manages to also. Having voted Lib Dem in the last five elections, I never voted to have a Conservative run government. If the LD’s had said that they would join with the Cons if the situation arose, I would not have voted for them. And from now until they change their leadership I will not vote for them again.

  6. Firstly, Peter: the Lib Dems repeatedly said they would go into coalition with whoever had the biggest mandate. There was no “except the Tories” appended to that.

    Everyone: I don’t think that the tuition fees debacle is THE ONLY reason the electorate have lost faith with the the Lib Dems. As I said right at the start of the piece: it’s the proof, not the crime. There are, obviously, other bits of proof (things that the Lib Dem leadership have cocked up) too, but like Toby says, this is an easy one to grasp.

    Chris: since when did being disappointed with one action a person has made equal hating them? I don’t hate any of the 36, I am good friends with some of them, I am just annoyed at this one thing they have done.

  7. Jennie, when did the Lib Dems say they would work with whoever got the most seats? I never heard that once in the campaign. I’m sure someone said it, but I consider it unlikely that it was ‘repeatedly’ or in any particularly high profile time/place.

    Just so you know, the “should’ve read the smallprint” response also pisses people off.

  8. Clegg said more than once that in the event of a balanced parliament, if a party had won the most votes and the most seats then they would have the first right to seek to govern. It was fairly widely reported over a few months as you’ll see from the dates of the articles below (just the first 5 links I could find).
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7107269.ece
    http://www.newstatesman.com/2009/11/whichever-party-british-votes
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1268695/GENERAL-ELECTION-2010-Cameron-goes-attack-Clegg-holding-country-ransom.html
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/andrew_marr_show/8642638.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8440502.stm

    Jennie, thanks for changing my mind. Manifesto commitments are implicitly conditional on a party winning enough seats to implement them (it would be ridiculous to criticise Labour for failing to implement their latest manifesto for example – they are just not in a position to do so). The best the Lib Dems can do is attempt to influence Government policy in the direct of their manifesto. You can argue about how successful they have been and the compromises they have had to make to do so – but that would be a debate about policy and strategy rather than honesty.

    But their is a difference between that and a candidate personally pledging “If elected, I will vote for x” and breaking that commitment.

    I’m not sure you’re right in saying that it’s the main reason the party is so unpopular – I think many people just assumed the Lib Dems were some semi-autonomous arm of the Labour party and were shocked to discover that they weren’t. However, it should be the main reason.

  9. Just to clarify – the bit you changed my mind about is the significance of the personal pledge. I hadn’t really registered what signing the pledge really meant: not just “I can sign this because it accords with party policy” but the rather stronger “If elected, I personally promise to vote for this”.

  10. Acknowledging that the party with the most seats has the right to govern isn’t the same as saying that you will form a coalition with that party. In any case, I saw nothing about coalition forming in the manifesto, so if I have to manage to hit the right articles from the right news sources to find out what Clegg was really up to, then I can’t help feeling he was hiding something.

    Perhaps I should’ve done some more research (instead of, you know, having a life). I should’ve carefully analysed each and every statement uttered by the Lib Dems to figure out how an apparent promise or statement of principles could be wormed out of after the election. Basically, to know what I now know about the Lib Dems before the election, I would’ve had to hire some one to look over their manifesto, pledges, and public statements, just as you would hire a solicitor to look over a contract. Funnily enough, I don’t consider this an acceptable situation.

    Maybe I’m just a fool. I certainly won’t make the same mistake again. Ever.

  11. No-one knows everything about a political party or can anticipate their actions in every possible scenario – that’s just a feature of representative democracy.
    But on the question of a Lib-Con deal I think you’re overstating it. Understandably “what would you do in the event of a hung parliament?” was quite frequently asked of Clegg before the election and he usually answered with “the party with the most seats and the most votes has the first right to seek to govern”. That suggests some sort of arrangement to allow them to govern. So I think someone who took an interest and regularly watched the news or politics shows (or read a decent newspaper) would have been aware that Clegg was open to deal with the Tories in certain circumstances.

    Manifestos are a party’s opportunity to set out the policies they would like to implement if they win an election, rather than to speculate on possible post-election deals if they don’t win. In any case, more people watch the news regularly than read manifestos.

    Perhaps parties should be clearer about this stuff in advance of an election (and arguably Labour and the Conservatives were much less open about the deals they would be prepared to make), but it is understandable that they prefer to spend most of their time promoting their preferred policies rather than speculating on possible coalition deals – particularly as they don’t know what the outcome of the election will be. In addition, to get as much of their manifesto implemented as possible they probably don’t want to tie their hands ahead of any coalition negotiations.

    Personally, I’d would rather have seen a Lib-Lab deal. Unfortunately the maths didn’t work and in the event anything other than a Lib-Con coalition would have led to another general election, which I fear the tories would probably have won.

  12. There is no reason at all why the Lib Dems couldn’t have declined government, and let the Tories proceed with a minority government. Clegg’s statement is (perhaps deliberately) ambiguous.

    For the record, I never personally saw the Lib Dems as anything to do with the Labour party, I saw them as a distinct (perhaps protest) choice. The speed at which they jumped into bed with the Tories, and how easily their neoliberal beliefs (not stated in the manifesto) matched those of the Tories, surprised and alarmed me. Freed of having to be held to their promises with the we’re-the-junior-partner excuse, we are seeing their true colours come out.

    The word ‘fair’ was thrown about a lot by the Lib Dems during the campaign. Clearly what Lib Dem MPs consider fair is privatising everything in sight and letting the market decide. This seems to me to be a fairly marginal definition of fair, and if many of the voters who deserted the lib dems after the election feel the same way as I do about that, they are never coming back.

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