A statement following the AV referendum and May 2011 election results

Liberal Democrats are reflecting on the likely and disappointing loss of the AV referendum, and difficult electoral results in Scotland, Wales and in English local elections.

The Social Liberal Forum has said for some time that the party needed to show more publicly how the Liberal Democrats differ from the Conservatives within the coalition. The Party signed up to this at the March conference when agreeing a new strategy whereby ministers lead the way in communicating not only those Coalition policies that are clearly Liberal Democrat ones, but also those which we accept as a result of being in Coalition and those Tory policies we’ve successfully blocked or amended.

As Nick Clegg recently affirmed, “If this referendum campaign, in a slightly gloves-off manner, has dramatised the fact that the Liberal Democrats are the progressive voice of this coalition, then it is not a bad thing in the long run.” 

The party needs to work with liberals and social democrats across the party divide to restate its position as a voice of the centre-left, and this is best achieved if we clearly communicate how our vision of a fairer, greener Britain differs from both Tory and Labour parties’ current stance.

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4 comments on “A statement following the AV referendum and May 2011 election results
  1. Roger O'Brien says:

    What is the difference between a Liberal Democrat, and a Tory who believes in electoral and constitutional reform? Why is nick Clegg the former rather than the latter?

  2. Bill le Breton says:

    The Coalition Agreement had necessarily to be put together in haste with the input of the four negotiators (chosen by the Leader) and Nick plus his team. I suppose that the Party President had some input also.
    That team was not representative of the Party as it is constituted either in the Policy Committee or in Conference.
    75% of that agreement was unexceptionable to most Liberal Democrats and would have passed through Conference, but the most important parts including the acceleration of action on deficit reduction would not have, nor would the wording in agreement relating to the receipt of the Brown Report.
    Most ‘mistakes’ this year for which the Party has been rightly punished, followed from the ideology and policies held by this leadership coterie. Its policy and tactical decisions have been inept. It has led to the destruction of the Leader’s reputation on his previously strongest suit: trust. It has led to the destruction of our Party’s reputation in an area always challenged by our opponents and therefore one that should have been our most guarded asset.
    This is, though, a key opportunity for the Parliamentary Party, the Policy Committee and Conference to grasp back its rightful and constitutional influence usurped by the present leadership.
    We should begin by demanding that the production of Agreement 2 starts with the proper contribution of our ministers, our Parliamentary Party, Our Policy Committee and the September Conference.
    Agreement 2 is not so urgent that it should be conducted in secret by Alexander working with the Conservatives before it has been considered by the Policy Committee and passed through Conference.
    Taking time and allowing the Party to contribute to our opening stance would be good for policy formation, good for negotiation tactics and good for the country at a time when Government action in Year One, as directed by Agreement 1, is so obviously failing to bring economic recovery.
    I hope the Executive will consider this as a matter of urgency. Our conference could be a wonderful example of open government, especially if every Focus team in the country conducted a resident’s survey not just on local issues but on the question of what a New Deal for Britain should contain and brought these to Conference.

  3. Cllr Nick Cotter says:

    I Agree with Bill !!!

  4. Andrew Toye says:

    “A grubby little compromise” is how the AV option was described – we all wanted full PR – an a grubby compromise now defines the coalition deal itself. We sold our best milker for a handful of “magic” beans and this time, there’s no golden goose. The Tuition Fees fiasco lost us trust; subjecting the country to unnecessarily severe austerity goes against our progressive instincts. Next year at the local elections, we need to make sure that, whatever happens economically, David Cameron receives his fair share of the blame/credit.

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