Can you think of a better name for the Liberal Democrats?

The problem with the Lib Dems is they are neither liberal nor true democrats.

Their lack of liberalism is obvious in their backing for a huge range of regulatory interference with our daily lives, and their supine acceptance of so much regulation made in Brussels. Practically every problem produces a Lib Dem answer of more government action and more government spending.

Their lack of belief in democracy is even more obvious. They deny us a referendum on Lisbon and want it rammed through without one. They want more decisions taken by the unelected government in Brussels. They want a system of voting that gives those voting for unpopular parties the chance effectively to vote twice. They do not accept the idea of One person one vote politics where the winning parties has to get more votes than the runners up in each seat.

I think they should be called the Euro regulator party. Their cry, when in doubt, is more EU and more regulation.
I would like to hear your thoughts on how we can have what’s in the tin clearly stated on the outside.
You can’t really call them the Green something party, as none of their Councils get top marks for Greenery from the independent Assessors.

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33 Comments

  1. Simon
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    None of the main parties really do what it says on the tin. The Lib Dems are perhaps the least offensive on this. You know that they're going to capitulate to Brussels on everything, as long as that's understood then nothing else they say really matters. You also know what you're going to get from Labour no matter what they say.

    The Conservatives are the ones to worry about. If it was clearly stated that they would cut taxes and regulation, recind all the laws designed to erode freedoms, cull bureaucrats , hold an EU referendum, encourage business and personal responsibility we would be getting what we expect from a Conservative Government. None of this has been unequivocably stated. Instead we have Tory Councils behaving like the Stasi, curious stories about Cameron engagingwith key Blairite advisors like Matthew Taylor and George Osborne speaking to DEMOS. I see a few of these sort of side issues going on and it makes me think that no matter what Cameron etc. say that we're in for more of the same treatment that we've been putting up with for the last ten years or so. It is almost as if there is a cross party conspiracy to subjugate and control the people of this country, not a pleasant thought. People do realise this and more and more of the people I speak to say they will vote either UKIP or BNP (no stigma in that any more) as they are the only parties that offer a truly different agenda.

    Reply: I am glad to say I do not think a single BNP or UKIP MP is likely to be voted in, as I think the British people are more sensible than that.

    • David Eyles
      Posted September 14, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood: Be not so optimistic about the BNP. Apparently Barnsley council now has a majority of only one official Labour councillor (anyone out there to check this statistic?). Many of the rest are either independent Labour or BNP. The BNP have shown that they are capable of presenting sensible policies in that area – to the point where some Asians are increasingly interested in the "no more immigration" stance.

      If I am right, then not only is there a possibility of a BNP MP, but it will indicate a good deal of electoral fluidity caused by the apparent "lightweight Tories" that has been talked about a lot in other places. The Conservatives have still not sealed the deal with a lot of voters, because of their apparent refusal to engage with the really difficult issues.

      Reply: That's not what current Opinion Polls suggest, but the Conservative leadership is rightly not complacent and is working away on how to sort things out if elected to government

      • mikestallard
        Posted September 15, 2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        In the 1920s Adolf Hitler was deeply ridiculous. It was only after Wall Street in 1929 and the crash that followed in the 1930s that he came to prominence.
        Also, politicians were held in disrepute because they seemed to be people who were in it for themselves, who did not care for the traditional values of the German Folk.

        We are on the brink, perhaps of a similar depression.
        In this very blog, and elsewhere, there is a growing frustration with politicians. (See Simon above, for instance, or Blue below.)

        This is the classic recipe for racist militarism.

        reply: I am glad to say I see no evidence that the British public wish to go in such an unpleasant direction.

  2. mikestallard
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Well said, John!
    I reckon myself that at the moment:

    Liberal = authoritarian
    Red = Green
    Democratic = Socialist as in USSR/North Korea
    Environmentally Friendly = we go to Bali; you stay here and don't use heating, the car or eat food.
    Equality = as in Animal Farm with Napoleon, the head pig, moving into the Farmer's house to live.

    And, to my delight, we even have the Ministry of Justice! I look forward with excitement to the Ministry of Truth.

  3. mitch
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    How about "the protest party" (another rude suggestion left out-ed)

  4. Posted September 14, 2008 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Slightly mischievous but I have played this game to:

    LibDim is purely rude & I use it often.

    LudDim is my favourite since I do think they have sold their souls to the Luddite "envirobnmentalists".

    LDs when being non-contentious.

    Pseudo-Liberals for obvious reasons.

    Social & Liberal Democrats was the name when they merged & is probably still so legally & liable to embarrass as it plainly puts the socialism first.

    Slids – nearly an abbreviation of the above.

    The serious point, which you clearly also hold, is that liberalism is a distinct political philosophy maximising individual political, national & economic freedom, unlike both traditional Conservatism & Socialism which place social cohesion, under traditional or proletarian leadership respectively, higher. I do think it is a term that is worth fighting over & histories are sufficiently detailed that we can show that the founders of the movement were opposed to most of what the "Lib Dems" now stand for.

    Both Whig & Tory were originally abusive names produced by Tories & Whigs respectively, but that was in the days before spin doctors put every nuance of name & logo before focus groups.

  5. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Another excellent article. The difficulty of renaming the Lib-Dems is finding a title that is not rude or obscene. They attempt to tell their audience what they think that particular group wants to hear, they will then go just down the road and tell another group the exact opposite. They take hypocrisy to new levels, we want to reduce tax but we are going to increase it. Let's all join the glorious EU, and the latest, "throw more money at schools". They are further away from reality than Zac Goldsmith, the vandals friend.

  6. Posted September 14, 2008 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    "Can you think of a better name for the Liberal Democrats?"

    I can, but nothing that would get printed on your blog!

  7. Posted September 14, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    New Labour without the charisma

  8. Blue
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    At least the LibDems are promising a referendum on whether or not we should remain within the EU. The Tories are hedging their bets as to whether to offer a referendum at all, depending on the outcome of the Irish coersion initiative by the EU bully boys.

    Given that all three main parties reneged on their 2005 manifesto pledges WRT the Lisbon Treaty, are manifesto pledges of any use at all? Can we not hold parties to account for failing to implement them?

    This is one of the main reasons that politicos and particularly mainstream parties are now held in such contempt.

    I'm conservative by nature and a member of the Conservative Party but, like many others, am sorely tempted to vote UKIP in the coming elections.

    Reply: For heaven's sake! The Conservative party was the only party to keep its manifesto promise on Lisbon.We moved an amendment to hold a refernedum on the Treaty, and were whipped to vote for it. We have said we will vote again for a referendum any time we think we can get one prior to the wretched thing coming into effect.

    • Blue
      Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your reply. However, the Conservatives reneged on their pledge to withdraw from the EPP, and to date, Cameron has not offered to give us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (to repeal it), if it is ratified by this government.

      As others have pointed out, most referendums have been retrospective – i.e., implemented after the ratification of treaties, so there really is no excuse for Cameron not offering a post-ratification Lisbon Treaty repeal referendum.

  9. Tom FD
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    The yellow party. As in the colour they turn when expected to stand up for something they supposedly believe in.

  10. Freeborn John
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    On the assumption that a party’s name should reflect the ultimate end that it seeks for society I would suggest the Liberal Democrats rebrand themselves as “The Federalists”.

    Politics in the globalised 21st century will likely be a 3D world in which the liberal-authoritarian axis on social issues and the nationalist-cosmopolitan axis assume more equal status alongside the classic left-right line that dominated the one-dimensional politics of the 20th century. If we retain the first-past-the-post electoral system we will likely keep two main parties and it will be interesting to see how they position themselves relative to one another in this 3D world.

    My ideal would be the Adam Smith & J.S. Mill brew of liberal economics, liberal social policy and nationalism (because representative government depends on the nation-state). I actually think the Green Party is the closest of all British parties to this combination… If only they would be a tad more sceptical on climate change they would be perfect 😉

  11. Posted September 15, 2008 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    How about "Vaccilators"?

    Or, perhaps, "The Flim Flam Party"?

    Or, even better(?), "Last of the Summer Whiners"?

    I'll get my coat!

  12. Stretch
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Socialist inadequates?

  13. David Cooper
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    In the days of the Lib-Lab Pact in the late seventies, legend has it that one Tory backbencher reacted to a narrow Government victory in the Commons – only enabled by support from the Ulster Unionists alongside the Liberals – by denouncing the "unholy alliance of Enoch and the eunuchs". (Any idea who that was, John?) Perhaps this may provide an answer to your question, reflecting at the same time the new name for what was then the European Economic Community: "the EUnuchs".

  14. Stuart Fairney
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    What about

    "Federal united chameleon kollective"

    It sounds vaguely 21st century and European and sums them up really well. What ever environment they find themselves in, that's the colour they turn, they are vaguely collectivist socialists at heart and anything coming out of Europe must by default be good and better than anything we could think of. Oh and Clegg-over is this week’s leader….

  15. Snaresbrook Owl
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    John Freeborn has the right idea, but I would extend his suggestion to the "European Federalist Party."

    It would open a few ideas,particularly in the South West.

  16. Keith
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Blueon 14 Sep 2008 at 9:09 pm

    At least the LibDems are promising a referendum on whether or not we should remain within the EU. The Tories are hedging their bets as to whether to offer a referendum at all, depending on the outcome of the Irish coersion initiative by the EU bully boys.

    Would this be the same LibDem party which voted against a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?

    • Blue
      Posted September 15, 2008 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Blueon – agreed, the LibDems flip-flop all over the place. However, a referendum on whether or not we are in or out of the EU is better than no referendum at all.

      Although, given that the FlipFlops reneged on their manifesto pledge to hold a referendum on the ConTreaty, how can we be expected to believe that they would hold an in/out referendum should they ever come to power. (The FlipFlops might well become THE party of opposition in 2010).

      But the same holds true for all mainstream parties – how can we be confident that any of them will hold true to their manifesto pledges?

  17. tim holden
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The Essential Thirdocrats.

  18. David
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Do try and keep up John, this line has been done loads of times, and wasn't funny the first time. I think we should think of a new name for John Redwood, he is neither a wood nor a red.

    • Cliff
      Posted September 15, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      How about leader of the Conservative Party or just Prime minister!!
      At least John Redwood is a real Conservative.

  19. Posted September 15, 2008 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Un-Lib Un-Dem isn't very catchy, but hopefully my point is made.
    http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

  20. Posted September 15, 2008 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    There are plenty of parties worldwide that do this, so instead of changing to what they are, perhaps it should be changed to something that makes it more obvious that it's a lie.
    eg. The Peoples Democratic and Liberation Party.

    I'm not sure why people think Green means something to do with the environment and not green with envy – I think they should make that clearer.

  21. Posted September 15, 2008 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The Yellow Belly Party sums it up for LibDems.
    Colour scheme is already in place too.

    Simon:
    You make a good point regarding George Osborne speaking with DEMOS which also has links with Common Purpose incidentally.

    Certainly no MP who's fully all there would not be aware of this attachment along with the implication of the conspiracy you relate to as being possible. I believe this is why people generally feel it could be more of the same, and why clear distinctive policy should be given on the European question by David Cameron now if people are to feel they can be freed from a dilemma which begs the question whether real politics and real democracy has not already been replaced by "think tanks" and persuasive lobbyists such as DEMOS and Common Purpose.

    Many people I communicate with feel the way you're saying they do and I think unless Tory policy can convince them then the feeling many have that the system is held in a grip by the unelected, will undountedly remain the case whether or not this is represented in the polls. Incidentally, there is a mass of non-voters and apathetic voters which could be switched on if they felt someone was really rooting for them in a distinctly different way.

    Liberals and Labour are ALL for us being IN Europe.
    Conservatives are IN but seeking a lone negotiation, which isn't really possible to do. It must say we're not accepting the Lisbon Treaty, we'll withdraw or move to EFTA. This is what people want.

    For my money, the Conservative Party should simply bring a policy forward to say We will join EFTA and roll back the Treaties including Lisbon. That would then be IN but not controlled by Europe. If they wanted to do this then they would have done it by now instead of talking with "think tanks".

    • mikestallard
      Posted September 16, 2008 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Open Europe, day by day, tells the story of how the Irish are reacting to having their veto overruled. The major party (Fine Gael – hope I've spelled it right!) seems to be firmly against accepting the treaty by pushing it through the Dail.
      Meanwhile the Czechs are muttering – like the Poles may be, whose mouths were quickly stopped with (your) gold.
      Things are not yet lost: the Lisbon treaty may be being implemented illegally, but there is a glint of hope on the horizon.

  22. Posted September 15, 2008 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Lets not beat about the bush – "Illiberal Authoritarians", "Disingenuous Bandwagon-jumpers" or "EU(bit left out-ed) Federasts" will do.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted September 16, 2008 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Very clever use of English, if I may say so.

  23. adam
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I like the federalist reference, perhaps with the added flair of mocking the lefts past attempts to sound legitimate ie democratic peoples republic of North Korea.

    How about
    The European Peoples Movement for Sustainable Federalism

    or just
    The Monster Raving Tantrum Party.

  24. Posted September 15, 2008 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    This same thing frustrates me about some wings of the Conservative party. I thought the point was to conserve – conserve the economy, and our way of life.

    Margaret Thatcher (http://www.margaretthatcher.org/speeches/displaydocument.asp?docid=108237) and David Cameron seem to get it a bit, but why is there still anyone in this conserving party in denial that emitting carbon is going to ruin our businesses?

  25. StevenL
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    the Patchwork Redistributive Idealist Conveyors of Kneejerk Solutions party.

  26. Posted September 15, 2008 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Illiberal Dupe-o-crats.

    But, with the normalisation of Doublespeak, we'd perhaps be better orf with the Regressive Authoritarian Tendency.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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