Dear Lib Dems

Dear Lib Dems,

I know you’re heavily distracted right now but you and your leader seem confused about what has gone wrong.

You got excited.
You thought, like most of the people back in 2010, that this was an economic emergency and that you had a public service duty to negotiate a coalition in the ‘National Interest’. Perhaps it is that you were naive; perhaps it was the long, oh so long awaited chance to be in power that made you blind during those early, heady days.

You have acted, ultimately, as the front men, the shills, the appeasers and apologists for your senior partners. You’ve voted with them time after time, irrespective of whether it was in the citizens’ interests or even ethical and sensible. You have contributed to the increasingly desperate vulnerability of every single group bar the ‘I’m alright, Jacks’. [And don’t you dare think to yourself: “but we’ve lifted (blah number) over of the tax threshold” or that 24/7 childcare and free school meals or whatever your particular defence is today, are wondrous salves and believe yourselves righteous.] You have upheld and then perpetuated a crony status quo. You’ve relentlessly tinkered with and demolished so much, so callously and with real ignorance. You’ve continued to subsidise profiteers with taxpayer money rather than facilitate a liveable income for the majority of the workforce. You built misery instead of houses. Courted the establishment rather than served the Commons. Turned Social Security into a capricious game of fare-well-if-we-say-you-can roulette. You’ve done nothing meaningful to address the real problems of increasing serfdom, asset stripping, the corporate tax fiasco, accountability of once public but now private service/utility provision. In fact, you align yourself with a senior partner who has the intention to do the opposite. You’ve avoided everything the sane and ‘common’ person on the street would have you fix and chosen, instead, to support and vote through the kinds of cruel, divisive, patriarchal false economies that so typify Tory mentality.

A year or so into your partnership, here on the ground, those who did not previously understand economics and finance were travelling a steep learning curve. We came to realise that, although this was indeed an emergency, you were being utterly disingenuous and wilfully obfuscating about a varied and complex set of causes and, therefore, about any appropriate solutions.

You thought that because you kept on message that we would not deviate either. You assumed we were all swallowing the mainstream stenographic tripe. We weren’t. We were educating ourselves elsewhere.

A truer picture began to emerge: Labour hadn’t just ‘created the mess’ – not on its own. It had taken time. Thatcher’s Tories arguably started it; Blair’s Labour ran with it and now, with your willing assistance, Cameron’s Tories were and still are, running amok. We learned that Labour’s general culpability was really no more than any other Western government’s. We learned that none of you actually understands how to, let alone cares about constructing and facilitating an economy that works for the citizens.

So, while you were busy feeling chuffed, we were learning new words and concepts and getting our heads around a new acronym every day. We were learning about limitless leverage, derivatives, LIBOR and other price fixing, bubbles, Ponzis, High Frequency Trading, Credit Default Swaps, paper gold, depraved banksters and traders, Investor State Dispute Settlements, vested interests, politics as a wealth-creating career and investment vehicle, fiat currency Wars.. It was and continues to be an astoundingly long list.

We learned that what private collateral there is is so insufficient as to be emasculated and that you are so ignorant and irresponsible that you will sell any public asset you can think of – be it in physical existence such as Royal Mail or packaged as a financial service such as student loan books. We discovered that The City was a hub for everything from the pretty shady to the downright fraudulent. And, under your ‘helpful’ governance, still is.

We learned that ‘neoliberalism’ was shorthand for ‘capitalism, right-wing, corporate’. We saw that Neoliberals love power and money much more than people. We realised neoliberalism is what’s undermining people and the planet and that it is the obstacle to our sustained well-being. The well-being of billions. We looked around; made the connections. It made us imagine a slope towards fascism as a very possible 21st Century consequence.

We began to understand the whole obscenity. You didn’t. Or you just chose to ignore it. It has to be one or the other because we, out here, we’ve managed to at least grasp the rudiments in spite of the concerted attempts of powerful mainstream politicos to hinder our understanding.

Back in 2010, when you sat down to negotiate, you (must have) realised how unpalatable the reality of a junior partnership in a Tory coalition would be if you were to maintain your reputation – which, as you’ll remember, was not bad at all. You could have shown integrity and told the Conservatives to form a minority government and that you’d support them where you could. You should have. But, even if I give you the benefit of the doubt and believe you were truly earnest and noble in your intent, once ‘in’ you would have had even better opportunities to learn at least the same things as were we down here. One would think you’d have had an epiphany by the end of that first year. And what did you do? You carried on as though the Tory narrative was almost faultless. For four years.

Every time you were called out on it you patronised us as though we were too stupid to know what was good for us. And, not content with that, you now justify your behaviour on the back of ‘recovery’. You seem to think you are, or soon will be, vindicated. Here, on the ground, those of us who have been busy trying to live under your ‘helpful’ governance; those of us doing all that learning: we know this is a recovery for those who need it least; a recovery built on bubbles, corruption, cronyism and the serfdom of the masses. The real shit has not even hit the global fan and there you are, trying to sweep our own dirt under a shifting carpet. It’s a fiat recovery, based on fiat ideology, carried out by fiat authority.

Liberal Democrat doesn’t really shout ‘integrity’ now, does it? ‘National Interest’? Yeah, if ‘national’ means ‘Westminster’ and ‘interest’ means ‘self’.

And now you think you’ve done so badly in the EP Elections because of your debate with Farage. Ok, that really wasn’t very impressive… your better arguments were not just lost amongst the crude populism of Farage but you demonstrated that you really do not understand that those people who take issue with the Union, do so for rather different and more sophisticated reasons than the xenophobic, corporate, anti-intellectual platform that is UKip. You were the only party with the integrity – AND platform – to defend the concept of Europe and you wrecked it by wasting time repeating rhetorical catchphrases and endorsing a retarded sycophancy for the technocratic status quo. You seem to think that anyone who sees Europe as having or being a problem, views it through the Tory/UKip lens. You really have to stop listening to hysterical mouthpieces. And we don’t all want to leave Europe just because we don’t agree with you, either. It’s the technocracy, the receding democracy, the neoliberal bullying, the corporatisation, the commodification of our lives that we hate, not the Social Chapter, nor ‘red tape’ that acts for Common Interest, nor our fellow Europeans. You need to understand that for a great many of us, the problems we see in Europe are the same problems we have with our own, successive UK governments; the same problem we see in nigh-on every country on the planet, in fact.

Seriously – that TV Farage-Clegg trip: that was just a recent straw out of a bale’s worth. But why would you see the connection between these points when you can’t seem to even see them individually? Some of your party are even tabloid-riven enough to suppose that getting rid of your leader is the solution. Nick Clegg might be the authorised face of your toxicity but, my gods, if you think we don’t know all your higher profile names or your collective voting record, you probably should all just give up – right now.

It’s a global economy supported by a neoliberal attitude and our country is in trouble because our own politicians, economists, and media are of the same means by which much of this infernal crash came about. You have failed because you cannot appreciate either the details or the whole picture and you have failed to recognise that the electorate increasingly does.

There is much satisfied vitriol in the country at your fall from grace. On the surface it’s deliciously tempting and quite understandable. You brought this circus to town. But it’s also a tragedy. It’s a tragedy for your once rational, honourable party and a serious blow to an already dwindling faith in our democracy.


44 thoughts on “Dear Lib Dems

  1. There is something about you Juli that I like ! Sometimes words are not enough in life , but yours are like the sun streaming through a stormy dark cloud , creating a pure clear magic. Thank you.


  2. Juli, thanks for this brilliant article. We might not have much of a voice in our democracy, but we are shouting loud and clear through our artists and poets.

    “There is much satisfied vitriol in the country at your fall from grace.”

    That is definitely me, but I also share your sadness. I truly believe if they ditch the coalition now, they will eventually regroup, that people will recognise that they did finally do the right thing and remember the Lib Dem’s before this coalition. If they ride it to the end I think they are done forever. I know a lot of people think they are done forever either way, but I hope they can be saved. Even these LibDems are a better third party than UKIP.


    • Thank you, Julia! I’ve also made plenty of quippy comments over the last few years. We love our satire, though, don’t we 😉

      I think the Lib Dems will survive either way, to some degree, especially as I think they still command some trust at the local level but whether they retain sufficient viability as a serious force in British Democracy on the national stage, may well be up in the air. It could take a very long time for them to restore their reputation but, then again, people can have quite short memories – see how the Tories got the majority in 2010!

      Like you, I hope they can sort themselves out, for Democracy’s sake, if not theirs. 🙂


  3. Summed up many of my own thoughts but in a literate form! Can’t help but chime with ‘We were educating ourselves elsewhere’ and how ‘we were learning new words and concepts and getting our heads around a new acronym every day.’ Bravo.


  4. Pingback: Dear Lib Dems | Think Left

  5. Reblogged this on Stuartsorensen's Blog and commented:
    How could we possibly fail to notice the FibDems’ moral bankruptcy? The fact that Clegg and co think we’re alltoo stupid to notice doesn’t make it so. This open letter by Juli Juxtaposed sums it all up so well.


  6. What a fantastic piece. I’m away to share it everywhere I can. Everyone needs to read this and then sit back and think…


  7. Your article is, I admit, good as far as it goes. But either by omission or acceptance you have ignored at least 2 points about the Lib Dems that are important – just as important as some that you mention. The first is their suggestion that somehow they are a party of justice (and possibly even fair play). You’ve demolished that thought to a degree but you could well have mentioned their abysmal record in their treatment of women – their own supporters to boot ! The Rennard affair is a scandal and no one in the party seems (by instruction?) to give the complainants any credence at all, much less support. Carlile says that there have been two enquiries which lay the complaints to rest – so that should be the end of the matter. The first enquiry was by the Police – proclaimed as if that fact was a guarantee of integrity. For readers and Lib Dems still clinging to that notion, one need only mention the name of Cyril Smith. The 2nd enquiry by a QC has not and will not – according to Carlile at the time the report was first mentioned in the MSM – ever be made public. One wonders if the disciplinary committee of the Lib Dems will even see it before they make their required decision on his future in the Party. It’ll remain secret for sure. Around 2005 it was Party policy to push for hard core pornography to be issued free to teenagers. A letter stating as much in a South West London newspaper was never challenged despite it being one of a series of letters between a Lib Dem MP and one of her constituents. That is a policy which I don’t find attractive. At the LSE last week during a public lecture, a member of the audience claimed that the EU was compassionate. This is a construct that had a very big hand in bringing the Greek people to their knees and allowing them to scrabble in refuse bins for items to eat. This was brought about not least by the EU knowingly accepting “fiddled” figures in conjunction with the Greek government itself to allow the country to gain acceptance to the EU and it’s monetary policy. The EU, it seems, has not seen fit to provide any support to those people whatsoever – despite the EU’s massive income. Similarly the French, good EU members, bulldozed immigrant camps at Calais last week and left the occupants to the vagaries of the weather and the French countryside. These are circumstances reminiscent of New Orleans after Katrina. This is a compassionate organisation? It’s compassion is matched only by it’s deception and lack of accountability to the people who “elect” it’s leaders. Does anyone think that the Lib Dem’s assertion to be the Party of “In” (the EU) did not have a serious effect on it’s recent showing?


    • Thanks, Roger. I wasn’t trying to cover everything. I rarely do. I tried instead to provide sufficient context with the odd example here and there, with which to deliver the particular message I wanted to get across. I believe I did that. I think, too, that to try and cite every scrap of bad practice or bad press risks being patronising and I’d hate to do that to my regular readers. So yes, there’s a lot I could have but chose not to say or even forgot in the final edit. Looking at your list, I reckon we have both failed to mention many other details but I’m content knowing that most readers will think of their own examples as they read or after they’ve read what’s really just an opinion piece. 😉


      • I apologise Juli, I forgot to mention the Mike Hancock saga in Portsmouth South. Thanks for your initial contribution which has much more weight than simply an opinion piece, regards.


  8. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Juli tells the Lib Dems at length what is blindly obvious to everyone but them, that they are hated and despised because of their enabling of and collaboration with the Tories’ vicious attacks on the poor and their promotion of the growing power of a corporate, technocratic elite. They also point out where Clegg is wrong about his view of their failure to win more support for Europe against UKIP: very many other people are highly critical of the EU, but for entirely different reasons than the Right-wing Tory, populist ideas spouted by Farage. The parapolitics magazine, Lobster, is a good example of this. It’s critical of the EU from an ‘Old Labour’, anti-corporatist, anti-technocratic perspective. Juli is also right in that none of the Lib Dem front bench are suitable to lead the party to help it win back some electoral confidence. All of them are equally complicit with Clegg in the Tory regime of punitive cuts, privatisation and the exploitation of the poor and the vulnerable.


  9. Neo Nazi scumbag,a good friend of mine hung himself because he did not reach the limit for appyling for a job and was sanctioned for 3 month and a great man loving father and a devoted husband he could not take not being able to keep his wife and 3 children,so because of the sanction i also lost a very good friend to whom i miss very much,this is what the b””””””s have done not only to me and his family but other people who have killed themselfs because of Cameron and his millionaire pals,get that scumbag out,he’s a murderer.


    • That is awful, George. It breaks my heart that so many, like your friend, can be made to feel so desperate and that so much misery might have been avoided. I wish you and your friend’s family courage, strength and peace in the time to come. xXx


  10. Um, this is unreadable and makes no sense what so ever. I suppose I should just forget about it but I got a headache from trying to pull anything like a cohesive thought out of it. Bizarre. I guess it’s meant to trash liberals? Bravo. Original. Snore.


      • Oh, Jeff, I was just about to compose a response when your second reply came through. That’s twice you’ve made me chuckle. I forgive you 😉


  11. Just as the LibDems where deciding whether to form a coalition with the Tories or not (having just decided not to do so with Labour) I wrote to their leadership saying that to join with the Tories would be seen as a sell-out, especially by the grass roots and urged them to either abandon the idea to cause a new vote or (preferably) to reconsider forming a coalition with Labour (because if anything Labour – the actual politicians – then and now are in the main further right than most LibDem supporters).
    The reply I received means I will never vote LibDem again unless there is an overthrow of current leadership.

    The reply basically said *we are forming a coalition with the Tories because doing anything else would cause us to be taken apart by the media*.

    Sorry guys but any party that puts the press before the country, its supporters and its own principles is never going to get my vote.


      • Just to add – I not only am going to vote Green, I’ve also now joined the Green Party, the first time I’ve ever actually “joined” a political group of any kind – as far as I’m concerned they’re the only party left with any real vision and independent of both the media moguls and global corps.
        Also they’re the only party promising to re-nationalise rail and considering nationalising power/energy and promising to actually *reverse* the creeping privatisation of the NHS perpetrated by the Tories (and LDs).


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