Leaked Change UK memo sets out plan for crushing, not cooperating with, Lib Dems

A leaked Change UK / The Independent Group memo, not denied or ‘clarified’ since its appearance this morning, sets out an aggressive plan for the party in its approach to the Liberal Democrats.

It eschews seeking any sort of formal relations:

No mergers, pacts or alliances.

But it goes much further, with an objective for the new party of replacing any role for the Liberal Democrats in UK politics:

Objectives: Single party, brand, entity and leadership team for progressive politics at the next General Election including all progressive traditions (centre-left, One Nation and Liberal).

No sense of cooperating in any sort of loose arrangement (such as an umbrella grouping) or even accepting co-existence. Rather an objective of replacing the Liberal Democrats with that use of “single”.

What’s more, the tactics set out are heavy on poaching support from the Liberal Democrats, with talk of trying to get key Lib Dem donors to switch, to recruit councillors from the Lib Dems and to win over prominent Lib Dem supporters.

It’s not exactly a plan for wanting to work together in search of common aims.

That is all rather disappointing, to put it mildly. And needs to be added to the growing list of Change UK candidates with a record of intolerant and discriminatory comments.

It shouldn’t, however, be seen as the end of the matter as not only do we not know how widely this approach is supported within Change UK, but also we don’t know how Change UK will view matters are the council elections and the Euros.

If the former see widespread Lib Dem gains and the latter see Change UK splitting the vote and helping elect Hard Brexiter MEPs*, for example, it’s easy to see the mood change significantly. And, so far at least, Change UK has been shedding those illiberal candidates.

A reason, therefore, for Lib Dems to redouble our efforts in aid of our own successes and to hold back a verdict on Change UK for the moment.

Here is the memo in full published by the Daily Mail.**


* Of the six opinion polls carried out so far for the Euros, five put the Lib Dems ahead of Change UK and one had the parties tied.

** Given the instinctive reaction of some of ‘Daily Mail, must be fake’ it is worth adding that Change UK hasn’t denied, repudiated or ‘clarified’ the memo. Not even in the quotes given to the media by Change UK for a follow-up story about it. That wouldn’t be the case if it were a fake or a hoax.

14 responses to “Leaked Change UK memo sets out plan for crushing, not cooperating with, Lib Dems”

  1. Listening to Heidi Allen, admirable in her way, I seriously doubted
    if Change will ever really take off. Its leaders are not of the calibre
    of the Gang of 4. They have been joined by Annabel Mullin, who
    seems more anti LibDem than anything more positive. Though I can
    understand her feelings about the way she was treated by the LibDems,
    this is not the way forward.

  2. What a great disappointment they are, so they have split from their respective parties to carry on in same light as their former colleagues!

  3. “Meet the New Politics
    same as the Old Politics”
    Change are being very silly & a bit Sad really but hopefully a brush with Reality will change their minds.

  4. It says so much for cross party working within TIG that every approach locally to my knowledge to get TIG MP’s to support Lib Dem council candidates (as they have none) has been met with deafing silence on their part. From Stockport to Devon, Sheffield to Cambridgeshire.

    • This memo may be genuine but it has the hallmarks of being the product of a single person rather than developed thinking from a group. Whatever, LibDems should be laid back in public about such gratuitous belligerence in my view. But beneath the surface we should be pedaling furiously. On the one hand, we are the ones who believe in cooperation across the centre-left. We should mean what we say, welcome initiatives which help cooperation and speak out against actions which damage it. On the other hand, LibDems are the party with experienced, energetic people on the ground and the infrastructure to support them. We can use all that to welcome the new support which the Tiggers have stimulated and draw people in to help us. The elections on May 2 will be a big opportunity. Is it too late to invite Tigger supporters to come and help us with them? And then with the Euros of course. Asking their MPs is probably a waste of time, as Terry suggests.

  5. The point to remember is that the Lib Dems are left-of-centre but philosophically liberal and change UK is left-of-centre but philosophically illiberal. Were that not the case, then when they broke away they would have defected to us. The fact that they didn’t speaks volumes: they may see themselves as progressive, but they are not liberal with it.

    When am I going to join them? Never!

    I joined the party because I’m a liberal. I hope every other current party member says the same to themselves.

    • I don’t see it that way.

      It seems to me that LibDems and Change UK are both socially liberal, internationalists and open. We have a common agenda, particularly in regard to the EU, obviously.

      Where we differ is on economics. Change UK is more right wing, Orange Book, Blairite, neoliberal. Change UK could cooperate with the Tories and attract Tory Remainers. We LibDems have shed our Orange Bookery (I think and hope), could cooperate with Labour and attract Labour Remainers.

  6. Libdem have been the standard bearers for pro EU politics in this country. Why switch allegiance now? Work with Greens, yes absolutely as Climate Change will soon become the biggest ‘political’ issue. it already is the biggest issue in the real world.

  7. If they want a fight, they can have it. Preferably after the Euro-election. They give the impression of not knowing what they’re doing: setting up with a fanfare, but wasting the initial surge of media interest by having no mechanism ready for recruiting members or supporters; saying they’re not a party and then, ah, well, we are; not even a mention initially of the local elections due so soon after their foundation; some positive contacts with us but an aim among some to replace us; offering change but no idea of what the change will be. They’ll be lucky to recruit more than a few disconnected Liberal Democrat councillors or activists. A hard line on relations with us could well split their party. In the meantime, we continue to welcome co-operation where they want to co-operate: the ball’s in their court.

  8. Sadly the real impact of the LibDems and CUK not working together in the 2019 Euros is that with both parties are sitting under 10% and in most regions that does not even give you one seat. This can damage the remain cause. That being said it looks like the Brexit side is doing the same trick.
    The methodology used to allocate seats does not favour the little parties, and now with 7 contenders for seats the final numbers will depend on very few votes.

  9. the thing to remember is that all their MPs have come from the two parties where they were expected to do as they were told by the leadership and the whips.. it is new to them to have to think for themselves, independently and strategically. They can now take over the mantle, that the media always used to try to dump on us, of being ‘not the other two’, because they have no distinctive thread of policies fof their own.
    We must welcome them if and when they show an interest in working with us to support our policies, but otherwise quietly ignore them. They may take some votes from Tory/Labour, but probably no danger to us.

  10. I voted Remain, but found to my surprise, that fellow Remainers wanted to bicker around the details! I know quite a few Leave voters, whose simple mantra of ‘take back control’ and ‘no more immigration’, ….to say nothing of ‘another £350,000,000 a week for the NHS’, worked well for them. To see this new Change group now infighting with the Lib Democrats is frankly mad. But in Westminster these days, who wouldn’t be?
    Disillusioned from Poole, Dorset.

  11. Change UK look set to be disappointed by the EP elections; hopefully then some of their backers will have a quiet word and they will start to work with us.
    It can be a non-aggression pact rather than a merger, so long as at the end of it the HoC is elected under a proportional system. After that, we won’t have to stay attached to Green, or Change or Renew – but we will have to negotiate with them over coalitions, an area we have learned some lessons in.

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