Cowdenbeath Calamity for Clegg

by Charlie_East_West on January 24, 2014

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The Cowdenbeath by-election result:

Alex Rowley (Lab) 11,192 (share 55.79%, +9.33%)
Natalie McGarry (SNP) 5,704 (28.43%, -13.17%)
Dave Dempsey (C) 1,893 (9.44%, +2.45%)
Denise Baykal (UKIP) 610 (3.04%)
Jade Holden (LD) 425 (2.12%, -1.77%)
Stuart Graham (Victims) 187 (0.93%)
James Trolland (SDA) 51 (0.25%)

So, a good night for Labour, a worrying result for the SNP and quite frankly, a calamitous result for the Lib Dems.

UKIP beat the Lib Dems…in Cowdenbeath of all places. The Lib Dems only received 425 votes. We are now talking about Monster Raving Loony Party levels of voting. Even a bunch of swivel-eyed idiots are more popular in parts of Scotland than the Lib Dems.

It appears that a reactionary bunch of right wing clowns resonate in Scotland more than a party who tore up their pledges to support the Tories. Ideological betrayal is the worst crime that any political party can commit with the electorate, and that is why the Lib Dems are marching towards a significant culling at the next General Election.

Typically, Nick Clegg will offer up the usual delusional rhetoric about “making hard decisions” but instead he should take a long hard look at himself in the mirror and ask the following question: is the end of the Lib Dems existence in Scotland?

After the recent wipe outs of Lib Dems in Scotland at local and Scottish election levels, they are now also facing the prospect of further humiliation in Scotland at the forthcoming European elections.

All of this saddens me. I cut my professional teeth working for the Scottish Liberal Democrats between 1995-1997. At that time, the Scottish Liberal Democrats were the second most powerful political party in Scotland in terms of local and General Election seats. The party had a clear set of ideological principles and were full of heavyweight Scottish politicians such as Menzies Campbell, Charles Kennedy, Jim Wallace, Robert Maclennan, Malcolm Bruce, Archy Kirkwood, David Steel and Russell Johnston. Sadly, since the gradual internal coup d’état of the Orange Booker brigade featuring the likes of Danny Alexander, Nick Clegg and David Laws, the party has completely lost their political compass in pursuit of a few grubby little titbits of power. We are now left with a party that most people cannot trust. The Lib Dems have become in effect, a bunch of Wet Tories.

I admit that the old industrial heartlands of Cowdenbeath is hardly the most fertile of environments for the Lib Dems even at the best of times, but getting beaten by UKIP is what people will remember about the Lib Dems at this election. It just looks bloody embarrassing.

The Lib Dems are like a Talking Heads song. They are on the road to nowhere. It will probably take years to find their way back.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin Thorpe January 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

On the road to nowhere is precisely the direction that Calamity Clegg has led them in.

Bring back Charles Kennedy!

I say this only half in jest; I voted for Charles Kennedy’s Social Democrat party throughout the 2000s but will never again. The worst of it is that I believed Nick Clegg when he spoke during the leadership hustings and was pleased that he was seemingly more popular (for a brief time) then the Nasty Party and the New Labour experiment that was so wound up in its attempts to triangulate the middle ground that it forgot what it meant to be a social democrat/democratic socialist. Do you remember “I agree with Nick” how cringeworthy now.

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Eddie Kaye January 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Like you say Charlie, not really a Lib Dem heartland – will they have too many nightmares about a result down from a previous poor position. The UKIP angle is interesting from the point of view of the ‘mainstream’. The Lib Dems would be seen as a protest vote – in a seat like this one up from a spoilt ballot paper. Now they are in Coalition, they also qualify as part of that mainstream – a void that UKIP might be looking to fill. Lib Dem to UKIP is hardly a natural progression, but a possible one for disgruntled Labour or Tory voters. I’d be more worried (as you point out) if I were Alex Salmond – a 13% swing away is a bit of a Western Super in the run up to the independence vote.

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Charlie_East_West January 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm

The Yes campaign has yet to get a bounce. I am beginning to despair.

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John Dunn January 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

“They are on the road to nowhere. It will probably take years to find their way back.”
But for Lib Dems to find their way back, a little orienteering in needed, and grasping of why they were on the wrong road in the first place.
This is about colours.
In 2010, a group of young (and inexperienced) Orange~ist lads, sniffed the air of power and ministerial cars, and thought “We’ll have some of that”. Even though the Yellows hadn’t seen it, (or didn’t want to see it!), Orange had already allowed a distancing from Yellow to evolve.
True Blue Cameron, had already grasped that Orange was in fact Light Blue, and knew that when push came to shove old schoolmates would stick together. He was right. So where are you now.
The Orange (light Blue) careerists, have done well, and will continue to do very well. But their career springboard, has ‘torched’, decades of Yellow rosettes, and the reputation Yellows had built up.
And the sad thing is, this isn’t new, and I think that in future years it will begin to dawn on Liberal Democrats (the real Yellows), that in the same way that the Labour Party got high-jacked, by Blair, Brown and ‘New Labour’, similarly, Lib Dems got high-jacked, by Clegg, Laws and the Oranges.
It was all very predictable.

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Charlie_East_West January 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm

John – I completely agree with that.
All that has happened is that these careerist and ambitious politicians (Blair, Byrne, Mandelson and the Milibands et al for Labour/Clegg, Laws, Alexander et al for the Lib Dems) have hijacked both Labour and the Lib Dems and effectively made all three parties a neoliberal trilogy.
Thatcher will be laughing in her grave – various forms of Thatcherism are now displayed right across all three main parties.
If UKIP are there to offer an alternative on the right, where is the alternative version on the left?

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John Dunn January 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm

@ Charlie_East_West
“If UKIP are there to offer an alternative on the right, where is the alternative version on the left?”
In truth, I’m not sure that ‘right’, and ‘left’, are functions of modern politics anymore. If I could use the American system as a ‘thought example’?
It has long been understood by voters in America, that they pretty much ‘get the same’, whether they vote Democrat or Republican. Is that, not because for 30+ years Neo~Con, and Neo~Liberal have resided in the same body politic?
Three questions :
1. Is there any REAL difference between Milliband, Clegg and Cameron?
2. Does left and right have any meaning in such a democratic lockdown?
3. If as a voter, you feel you are constantly hitting a stone wall, does it matter the colour of the tool, as long as it is harder than stone?

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Charlie_East_West January 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

John – again, you raise some valid points.

The whole current state of tribal politics is outdated and completely misplaced. All three parties continue to pick a fight with each other, despite having similar ideologies.

I agree, in that it is time for a radical change in our party political system – with new organisations providing modern and relevant policy solutions that are workable in this day and age.

At present, we have three parties not offering much in the way of new insights, policy and communication.

But, will it change? I am not banking on it. The current neoliberal settlement is still heavily backed by big business and media – and that is where the real sources of power lie.

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John Dunn January 27, 2014 at 2:24 pm

“But, will it change? I am not banking on it. The current neoliberal settlement is still heavily backed by big business and media – and that is where the real sources of power lie.”
That is possibly, the core ‘take away’ from this debate.
‘Left’, and ‘Right’, is a spent battleground, when the power lies ‘Neo’, ‘Corporate’, and ‘Off World’ in Davos.
But what tools do we have to change things?
It seems very counterintuitive, to say that even those considering voting Ukip, actually distrust Farage. But, let’s not forget the ‘secret lunch’ that Farage had with Rupert Murdoch !!
BUT,.. unfortunately, if you want to unblock democracy, and knock the ‘cabal of 3′, from their Westminster perch, Ukip, (sadly!), appears to be the only sledgehammer we have in the toolbox, at the moment.?
If anyone has other solutions, I’m all ears.

Charlie_East_West January 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm

If I have to look outside of the main three parties to vote, then I will be looking towards the Green Party rather than UKIP.

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