I’m used to being told I shouldn’t exist, but not as a LibDem

As a Trans person, I get quite used to the view from extremist quarters that I shouldn’t exist. Apparently, I somehow offend the natural order of the universe or some such nonsense. Fortunately, such idiotic comments are rare.

I find some perverse amusement that this time, I’m being told I (Or rather we) should somehow no longer exist as Liberal Democrats rather than as a Trans person. This is according to Tom Watson over at Labour Uncut:

The opulence of Carlton Gardens might calm his lieutenants tomorrow, but Clegg’s crisis will not go away. His party no longer has a reason to exist.

Tom wonders what Clegg’s approach would be “as the Lib Dem grassroots react to the result”. My reaction is this: Our vote held solid and was over 20 points above the national polls and, if I have my maths right, about 7 points above the by-election polls. Between us, the two coalition parties gained more votes than Labour.

I’d have preferred a win, but in the middle of cuts that all parties would know would hurt the party in power, this doesn’t strike me as the kind of disaster for the Liberal Democrats that Labour would have liked. Coverage on BBC Radio (1, 2 and 4) this morning was generally positive towards the Liberal Democrats and somewhat more negative towards the Conservatives.


  1. It certainly isn’t a disaster for the Lib Dems – the only way it isn’t one for the Tories is if a lot of the local Tories decided to vote tactically.

    Labour’s less than glowing victory has to be weighed in the context of 1. the Woolas effect and a lot of people still being angry about his behaviour and 2. the fact that a lot of students are still not back at college and probably didn’t think, or were not able in the time frame, to get a postal vote. (Some people did comment on Jan 13th being unusually early in the year for a byelection.)

    Overall, people will argue but not a byelection to cause anyone despair or elation – just a result.

    1. I’m not aware of large higher educational establishments up on Saddleworth moor but I may be wrong. But I think the student affect would be minimal for a consituency which is the outskirts of a northern town and hill farming land.

    2. “Labour’s less than glowing victory has to be weighed in the context of 1. the Woolas effect and a lot of people still being angry about his behaviour”

      How long before we start seeing the BNP complaining that the Woolas effect split their vote?

  2. Wonder if Ed will be so enthusiastic about AV now. It is quite possible that they would have lost if the pro-coalition vote could swap second preferences.

    1. It might have caused him to lose here had we had it already, but my understanding (From people that are far more knowledgeable about such things than I) is that overall, it’s good for them.

  3. Labour wouldn’t have lost under AV, it would have taken more than half the Tory voters to put Lib Dems second without anyone who voted any way putting Labour second, and as these are the Tory voters that refused to tactically vote Lib Dem I don’t think that’s likely.

    The Lib Dems benefited from a huge amount of Tory tactical voters, that’s all. Preaching the same thing to the same choir as the Tories means the Lib Dems don’t have an electorate and stand only as long as the Tories will let them. Your future is either hand-in-hand with the Tories for the long-term or a deferred collapse, discarded once the Tories no longer need you.

    1. I’m not sure that for many, putting a coalition partner second to keep the Enemy out would have been quite as distasteful for them as not voting Tory first.

      But yes, it would have needed a huge number of votes to swing it in this case.

  4. Tom and devotees of sectionalist politics like him in both socialist and conservative camps have been saying things like this as long as I can remember.

    Before the coalition it was the same but that the liberals would collapse in on themselves due to never having a hope of getting anywhere. Especially in the Labour camp: Labour’s only unifying value is not liking the Tories, so there being people who don’t like the Tories but just as vehemently don’t like Labour bewilders them terribly.

    If I had a pound for every headline in the labour-tory press asking “what are the lib dems for? therefore they must be about to vanish!” I’ve seen over the years, I’d be out on the town getting trollied on very very good liquor just now.

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