Cabinet positions with little policy

I can tell you the reaction in the staffroom at work today was one of total shock that the Lib Dems had folded and given up the position of schools minister to Tory Michael Gove.

Crazy ideas from the Tories about intoducing a compulsory two hours of maths a day at primary level and allowing any group to set up their own schools which allows money and resources to be taken from existing schools now seem to be given the go ahead by the Lib Dems.

More total capitulation whilst Lib Dems take position in cabinet which have very little in the way of policy as part of the brief.

Our leaflets in the election warned about letting the Tories get hold of the NHS, and who is in charge of the NHS now ? Andrew Lansley, the chum of the private healthcare business. And more than that, the man we condemned for walking away from an all party agreement on healthcare and how to care for the elderly.

Now we have given them education too !

Out new party logo will be a white bird on a white background painted on to a flag !


Niklas said...

On the other hand, we have got the Tories to commit to giving schools greater freedom in the curriculum, so perhaps the extra maths by diktat will be dropped. I too was hoping that David Laws would get schools instead, but Gove is one of Cameron's favourites.

And we have got a commitment on the pupil premium, funded with new money from outside the education budget.

Norfolk Blogger said...

The Tories supported the pupil premium anyway.

Also worth noting that the one position of responsibility with policy given (to Huhne) means he will have to implement Tory nuclear policy !


Peter Dunphy said...

The Lib Dems have secured (with the 10K tax threshold) the most progressive change in income tax for 50 years, abolition of ID cards, an elected house of lords (with PR), shelving of the IHT cut etc etc and had we allowed a Tory minority government we would have none of these advances and a 100% Tory cabinet, Gove and all. At the moment the coalition joint programme is more progressive, you could even say 'left wing' than anything Labour has done in 13 years. And we've got Vince in as Chief Secretary to the Treasury...

Norfolk Blogger said...

Explain to me why one person should vote Lib Dem now, or for the next five years if they know we will deliver this programme if they vote for us or not ?

If they support this, they may as well vote Tory.

If they oppose , why not vote Labour ?

I fail to see at the moment why a vote for us will be in anyone's interests ?

John said...

That's because the journey to transform our democracy has barely begun?

Because without us these things wouldn't have happened?

A whole new political vernacular is struggling to come out of the womb methinks.

Peter Dunphy said...

That is coalition government Nich - and I assume you support PR which makes this inevitable. You could just as easily argue that if we were only ever prepared to go into coalition with Labour then there is no point in our existence, as we would be a wing of the Labour Party, and if we refuse to go into coalitions that involve compromise, we may as well disband as we are saying we are never prepared to go into any form of government. Your question if they support this they should vote Tory is not correct - because then the Tories would have achieved an overall majority and we would not have achieved any of the items on my list.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I support PR and coalitions, not the other way. We will be absolutely shafter under FPTP after this election. PR avoids that, FPTP guarantees it.

We will not get AV because Murdoch will stop it.

Take of the rose tinted specs and get real !

None of the above said...

How can you hypocrites come on here and justify working with people and policies you have roundly denounced days earlier?

You have no shame, no character, no backbone and fewer principles. You are, however, well-suited to modern life.

AndrewC said...


why don't you join us in Norfolk Labour Party? The LP is a progressive alliance with a wide spectrum of views; it isn't the monolith that you seem to fear. The opposition to the Coalition Govt needs to be united and strong.

Anonymous said...

the last thing you should do is seed your council seat
that will not help the progressive forces

what progressive people need now is for you to remain in the lib dems but put up a hell of a fight on issues like schools and the nhs

it may or may not be appropriate to support Labour or the Greens in council or parliamentary elections

But you are important because
a) your a key liberal blogger
b) a councillor
c) a school teacher with influence

and can help the fightback against what will be a massacre

i truly believe we are going to have major social unrest

I say this a a very pragmatic progressive

Norfolk Blogger said...

Andrew, need I mention

1) Your failure over 12 years to deliver PR
2) The War in Iraq
3) ID Cards
4) The 10p tax rate
5) The cancellation of the helicopter orders
6) Failure to deliver a properly democratic House of Lords
7) A lopsided economy
8) Over-expensive PFI projects which will burden us all with debt for decades
9) Too many education reforms so none knows which strategy has aver been properly effective
10) Pointless targets in every sphere of life

I could go on all day like this.

Anonymous said...

thats dear john (Nick)

but please please keep raising education and health privatisation

it does not require any parliamentary approval

the ministers can just instruct, compulsory contracting out/privatisation

This has to be stopped

Norfolk Blogger said...

I will go to the meeting we have with Lib Dem MPs in Norfolk at the weekend and will take my membership card with me. Whether I leave holding it is another matter.

Anonymous said...


We can of course, with difficulty accept a level of cuts in health and education, even maybe a pay freeze this year

But its one thing to make that sacrifice, but another to find yourself contracted out to an american mulitinational

Obviously if staff want to set up social enterprise that ok
but must listen to teachers, doctors and nurses (ballots of staff for example)

Department of Health dictats demanding NHS Trusts put out to contract. NHS services (such as primary care - District nursing etc)is just not acceptable given the impact on patient care, fragmentation of the NHS and the cuts we have to make.

No compulsory contracting out of Education or NHS services

dazmando said...

Nich, Im going to the Birmingham conf I guess this one in Norfolk is the same. I think your right about Murdock, and I agree AV is not PR.

I think however that we need to prove to the Tories that there is not a centre left alliance against them (im more a liberal btw with a small s in socialism) ie thats why they dont support PR. we need to prove that strong government works in a coalition. Labour had there chance and blew it when they took away there PR offer (thank Brown). Im no tory fan but I understnd why the lib dems are doing this.

I really hope you can hold back from quiting like I think you may, we need people like you in our party.

None of the above said...

Have some bollocks man and give you membership card in.

Don't bottle it. You are right.

If you don't agree with the main parties, don't support them. And please don't slip into the pathetic excuse-making crap we're seeing from spineless toadies.

And one day you'll be able to tell your child what principles are and what they are worth. And they'll think you're fantastic

Duncan said...

"Also worth noting that the one position of responsibility with policy given (to Huhne) means he will have to implement Tory nuclear policy"

Have you actually read the agreement Nich? We aren't expected to vote for it and are allowed to appoint a representative to speak out against it: how is this a worse position than we'd be in on the opposition benches?

AV isn't STV but it's only multi-member constituencies away from it and will be a massive step towards a situation whereby we'll be able to negotiate for STV.

None of the above said...

two weeks ago Cable said Tory economic policy was suicidal. Now we hear that those cuts have to be made at some point, so there's no real difference

you lot would have invented doublespeak if Orwell hadn't beaten you to it..

those cuts were never suicidal - they are in your best interests. Repeat. Big Nick loves you.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Its time for the old SDP types to leave the Liberal party and go back to Labour. Liberal should be centre right as Mr Clegg has done. The takeover by the left of the Liberal party is over.

In my younger days the liberals were refered to as pink tories.

No matter what happens the mould has been broken and we are in uncharted seas. but the left has been destroyed and if nothing else that is so wonderful.

Michael Kilpatrick said...

You ask "Explain to me why one person should vote Lib Dem now, or for the next five years if they know we will deliver this programme if they vote for us or not ?"

You really just don't get it, do you? In this hung parliament *no* party can deliver their entire programme. That's stating the bleedin' obvious! Coalitions are by their very nature a compromise of mutliple manifestos. Your outraged indignation at the coalition deal just makes no sense. You seem to be living still in the world of two-party politics in which it's "buggins turn". Yet the Lib Dems aren't going to get a turn because it's not likely we'll get an overall majority any year soon.

So, the answer to the question is obvious: you vote Lib Dem to get *more* Lib Dem policies enacted, and hope, over time, to convince even more voters so as to get a majority Lib Dem government in the future.

Both Labour and Conservative continue to be "our enemies" but we require a multiparty coalition to move forward after 6th May. Please wake up and smell the coffee. The days of "either A or B" politics are over. The new politics is about getting as much as possible of your policies enacted whilst accepting that you have to compromise on others. That could mean an coalition of AB, BC, ADE, or any combination of parties.

At the moment we're a minority partner, so we have a smaller say - but *do* have a say. It's now our job to make the British public understand how to cope with the new politics and how to promote Lib Dem policies in such an environment.

Your negative attitude is simply going to herald a return to two-party politics, and we'll all lose.

Michael Kilpatrick (South Cambs Lib Dems)

Norfolk Blogger said...

"Your negative attitude is simply going to herald a return to two-party politics, and we'll all lose."

Yes, keep telling yourself its my fault. I'm sure that's the best way.

Michael Kilpatrick said...

"Yes, keep telling yourself its my fault. I'm sure that's the best way."

That wasn't much of an answer to any of the points I made.

Why don't you look at Germany. The coalition between the CDU/CSU and the FDP parties was returned into government last year. In 2005 the CDU/CSU got 37% and the FDP got 9.9%. There's no way of calling the FDP anything other than a minority partner - a lot more so than the Lib Dems in comparison to the Tories. Yet in 2009 they increased their share of the vote to 15% over 2005 results, but the CDU/CSU declined by a small fraction.

So, rather than be negative about the Lib Dems getting into bed with the enemy, why not consider whether we can do what the FDP did and increase our support and number of seats by showing our positive influence as a result of being in government. The Lib Dems won't get swallowed up by the Tories anymore than the FDP would do by the CDU. So yes, there is still and always will be a clear reason to vote Lib Dem rather than Tory.

Anonymous said...

Liberals should be proud they have Cabinet posts for the first time in 65 years, and I don't care what you say, they WILL have influence, no Tory wants to see the coalition fail, the people would rightly punish them for that. Yes of course you're not getting everything, but do you really think you'd have had more say under a minority Tory government? And as someone who supports PR, please explain to me, if you aren't ever prepared to get into coalition with the Conservatives, then why not just be done with it and join Labour? Don't expect right leaning people like me to vote Liberal under PR then- all you're telling me is "we'll support Labour". So you dislike Tory policies? Fine! I respect that, in fact I don't agree with everything the Tories wanted, I hope Liberals can stop/change/amend them. So stop complaining on the oustide and change them from within. I believe Liberals have that chance to do so in Government for the first time since most of you were born.