Witney: You can’t teach old dogs new tricks

Witney by-election result in and the scores on the doors are:

So no great change there and an opportunity to start holding the Tories to account lost. Positively, had Labour, the Greens and the LibDems been working together then there is a better than fair chance they would have taken the seat away from the Tories. It poses the question, are the LibDems in a position to make such an alliance work?

Anyone who follows the LibDems Press Office Twitter account can’t fail to have noticed the nature of their tweets since they received their donation from Lord Sainsbury has been decidedly anti-Corbyn. It is an odd thing to read a Tweet sailing under the LibDem ensign that looks like it was written by someone from SavingLabour or Progress; even stranger when you consider that the LibDems are positioned to need to be a junior, yet significant, partner in a political alliance if they are to make any sort of resurgence on the national political stage. The LibDems should be focused on making themselves team players but would appear locked in some weird fantasy world where they have held positions as majority governments.

British politics needs to grow up in many ways and it is likely that it will not manage it in this generation. Labour has been shown to be riven by internal divisions and that a party can be held to ransom by a small waning cult aligned to a neoliberal ideology on its last legs but that still enjoys the trappings of the wealth and negative media access that can be rallied beside, if not behind, its banner. The LibDems seem all at sea, with the potential influence being exerted by the same financial backers of Labour’s cultists spreading their talent for wrecking public opinion of a party. The Greens need more money.

The Greens should be able to offer a platform that bridges Labour, the LibDems and moderate Conservative voters, they should have been able to capitalise on the fallout of the LibDems ignoble dumping in 2015. The Greens should be offering the grown up alternative to two party politics but they haven’t been able to get their act together on that front. I’m not sure a ‘celebrity’ candidate helps get them taken seriously. It seems tougher to be a party with a positive message, to be a party that is not playing to people’s fears, that is not being divisive but that is where the Greens stand. They need to figure out how to play more significant roles within local government. If the LibDems become a staging post for Labour’s neoliberal right wing, maybe we’ll see true LibDem supporters realigning themselves with a party more closely represents their views.

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