Yes folks that is the title of James Slack’s latest piece in the Daily Mail. You can read it here if you so wish. It is a wonderful feeling when right wingers in the Daily Mail are getting so pissed off with the Lib Dems. Every week someone says how awful we are that we are busy protecting human rights or civil liberties or wielding too much power for having just 8.7% of MPs in Parliament despite having 23% of votes from the electorate.
So when you look at it closely it isn’t our fault that the percentage of votes and MPs isn’t proportionate. It is just an issue of our antiquated First Past The Post system that doesn’t fairly reflect the will of the nation but heck we tried to change that but the people decided that hated the Lib Dems so much that they would cut off their nose to spite their face (or the Lib Dems) and will be up in arms when they notice how disproportionate the results are next time around and they’ll call for fairer votes again. Oh people of Great Britain *sighs*
Anyway back to the case in point. Everyone in the media for over a year has been feeding the myth that the Lib Dems are the Tories lap doggs. The people of the country have turned on the party because of this. They see what the newspapers say and they think that Nick Clegg and his team soul their soul for a few ministerial cars and a sense of power. That they sold out and in doing so sold out their voters and in particular the students so far down the river that they can never return to embracing the party let alone voting for them.
However things are different now. Everyone is complaining that the Lib Dems are having too much of an influence (when I say ‘everyone’ what I really mean is ‘the media and Tory MPs’). The Lib Dems are in fact curbing the excesses of the Tories and watering down anything the blue half of the coalition are proposing.
For a year or more so many Labourites I know have been banging on about how the Lib Dems are finished and they are a mere footnote in history. The party wil disband and we can live in a two-party bliss where the reds and the blues can blame each other when they are in opposition but do very similar things when they are in government. When you consider the fact that Tony Blair and his team were more right-wing on civil liberties than any party I have ever seen shows that Labour and the Conservatives are pretty much interchangeable. It was Labour who started the privatisation of the NHS and left hospital trusts in serious financial jeopardy thanks to PFIs.
The only differences are that the Tories will be more aggressive in selling off national assets for short-term gain whereas Labour will say that everything should be nationally owned but when it comes down to it they’ll get the wheels in motion for selling everything off.
The Lib Dems are different. That is why I’m a member and why I believe in what they are trying to do. The Lib Dems have positions on issues and they in general don’t change whereas the Tories and Labour will change depending on the thoughts of the electorate at the time and whether they are in power or not. ‘The Lib Dems position on tuition fees changed’ I hear you cry. No they didn’t. The money wasn’t there to do what they wanted so they had to find the best solution. Yes they could have kicked up a fuss and stopped this tuition fees rise. That was doable but if they did then the likelihood of any progress on the deficit would be low and the likelihood of a second General Election would be high. A second GE would likely have brought home a Conservative outright win and tuition fees would be sky high anyway.
Overall the Lib Dems can have far more influence inside government than outside and in the grand scheme of things this was the right move. It pissed off the masses but heck now it’s pissing off the Tories and if we keep doing this for the next few years and standing up for what we believe in then we’ll be ok. The big difference now is a snap General Election if the Tories were that pissed off with us wouldn’t be guaranteed to bring home a Tory majority whereas it probably was in the autumn of 2010. That is a significant difference.
As long as David Cameron isn’t sure the electorate would give him a majority he’ll have to keep pandering to Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats and that is where the party can flex their muscles. Nick Clegg played his hand poorly with the referendum on the voting system but he is starting to very much find his feet and so are his ministers and that is a very good thing indeed.
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