The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Thursday, September 29, 2005
One more heave...
By Peter

"One more heave" was the Liberal slogan in October 1974. Now the Tories are being warned against adopting it in 2009. Writing in Public Finance Philip Johnston points out that

In 2005, Labour lost a number of seats that it had taken from the Tories in the 1990s, but they went to the LibDems. After 2001, the Conservatives were in second place in 356 seats, but after May this year, they are second in only 269 constituencies. In other words, should Labour falter at the next election, the LibDems are as well placed as the Tories to pick up the seats.
Moreover, at the May election, the Conservative proportion of the poll fell in Labour-held seats, as it did in every sub region of the Midlands and northern England. The party came third among voters below the age of 34. In the major cities and towns, in Scotland and Wales, the Conservatives are either unrepresented or have established only a precarious toehold. Deciding to just hang on in there, in the hope that the political pendulum will swing inexorably back in their direction, would be a mistake of historic proportions.

Of course, there is better news for the Tories later in the article, but Lib Dems who stick with it to the end will get their reward.

So there are plenty of rocks and concealed reefs out there for the Tories, but it isn´t going to be plain sailing for Lib Dems. We need to establish our credibility on the economy. In the bad old days, this was always our weakest card. (Who will forget that disastrous moment when Michael Meadowcroft told a journalist that "Liberals weren´t interested in economics"?).

While the Tories are busy choosing their leader, Liberal Democrats have a window of opportunity in which they can - metaphorically - seize the Front Bench. We need to spend that time being interested in economics.
posted by Peter Pigeon @ 3:10 pm  
  • At 29 September, 2005 15:43, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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  • At 29 September, 2005 19:30, Blogger peter said…

    Read this by Max Hastings in today's Guardian. A pretty savage demolition job of the Tories' leadership and prospects:,3604,1580429,00.html

    A typical extract: "Two years ago it seemed impossible that any Tory leader could surpass Iain Duncan Smith's record of inadequacy, but Howard has managed it. The campaign to succeed him will commence in conditions which compare unfavourably with Napoleon's retreat from Moscow."

  • At 01 October, 2005 09:22, Blogger Chris Black said…

    "Who will forget that disastrous moment when Michael Meadowcroft told a journalist that "Liberals weren´t interested in economics"

    Um ... I have forgotten it (assuming I ever heard it in the first place! ). Let me guess - 1987 election?

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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


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