Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Former Labour Party supporter and editor of the New Statesman, John Kampfner, has published a pamphlet setting out why he has decided to give his support to the Lib Dems at the coming election. He has also set out his views in the Guardian as well.

He says: 'As somebody who has a long involvement with the Labour party, including editing the New Statesman magazine, I have been able to give a frank and honest appraisal of a decade and a half of New Labour. And in it I explain why I can no longer support them, and am instead turning to the Liberal Democrats.

'Alongside one million other voters, I deserted Labour in 2005 in protest at Iraq in favour of the Liberal Democrats, the only party to oppose the war [my emphasis]. My decision to back the Lib Dems in 2010 is based in a more fundamental appraisal of Labour’s record together with a positive assessment of the Liberal Democrats’ platform.'

Kampfner notes that New Labour in office was solely interested in re-election. 'Since 1997, their every working day was based around the task of prolonging their term of office. It filled in the ideological hollow and justified ever-encroaching authoritarianism and a pandering to the right on criminal justice and other areas of social policy.'

He contrasts this approach with the Liberal Democrats' analysis of the failures of the deregulated market and points to the Lib Dems' tax reform plans, which will take four million low paid workers out of tax altogether. The Lib Dem plans 'are the most redistributive of any party'.

Kampfner also commends the Liberal Democrat approach to criminal justice, human rights, foreign and social policy is close to mine.

Kampfner concludes with a point which might refer to other parties as well as New Labour: 'People can only for so long be exhorted to hold their nose, to vote for a party they feel has let them down, simply because the alternative is worse. It is deeply damaging to politics to resort perpetually to the double negative. The Liberal Democrats offer a positive, radical and different vision. That is why they have my support.'

Well, quite.

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