Do I want to remain in a party that goes in to a full coalition with the Tories ?

The rumours this afternoon suggest that Lib Dem MPs are now swinging towards the idea of a full coalition with the Tories. If this is the case, I am absolutely appalled.

I can understand the arguments for allowing the Tories to run a minority government. I can understand the arguments for allowing the Tories to have support on key issues like the Queen's speech, major issues in their manifesto, and areas where Lib Dems and Tories agree. However, I cannot see the need for a full coalition other than to tickle the bellys of certain Lib Dem MPs wishing for a ministerial car and the title "Right Honourable".

If we get in return immediate support for the AV voting system and AV+, then I could stomach it. But if it is to got to a committee, then to a referendum, and finally be allowed to be crushed by the Rupert Murdoch media empire who will use every sinew of their energy to oppose it, ensuring we have torn the Lib Dems apart in order to allow the Tories to rule with no change to our voting system, then our MPs will allow themselves to become the Ramsay McDonalds of the Liberal movement.

Do I want to remain in such a party ? Do I hell !

Tuesday Night Update - So much of me wants to just give up on the party, but in many ways, that is what our parliamentary party has done, and I think there should be some of us left after they do their Ramsay McDonald act and either lose their seats or join the Tory Party. Someone has to carry the torch for the Lib Dems, so I will, in all probably stay on.


Michael Heaver said...

You do seem too sensible to be a LibDem, especially on the EU..

Alan said...

But what is the alternative, Nich?

Labour will not deliver PR. There are too many Labour MPs against it, and the cannot whip them in. A seven party coalition (Lab-Lib-SDLP-Plaid-SNP-Green-Alliance-SDLP) would be needed to run the country.

A COAL (Coalition of all the losers) administration would not last, and the LDs would be severely punished for propping up Labour and destabilising government.

LibDems say that coalition government is a good thing. I am afraid they have to learn to work with allcomers, not huff off if they don't get their way on a process issue.

I actually think Lib & Tory have a lot in common - they are both socially liberal, with Labour being authoritarian.

Sure, there are differences - LDs tend to economically authoritarian, like Labour, wanting to raise taxes, spending & borrowing. But this is an academic point for the next 5 years. All parties are going to be forced to economically liberal for a while.

i albion said...

Funny that, as a Conservative i feel the same,about the Libdems so we both feel ......well....tarnished

Norfolk Blogger said...

Alan, as I have pointed out, a full coalition is not the only alternative.

Alan said...

I know, but Clegg does seem to have boxed you into that.

If you prop up the Coalition of the Losers, or even fail to accept Cameron's big, open gesture (and just let him govern as a minority) then LDs will appear to be opportunistic and partisan (I'm talking about appearances here).

I know, and you know, that there is nothing intellectually wrong with negotiating with both parties at the same time. But this is not how the electorate will see it (I think).

English Pensioner said...

As one who votes for UKIP, I fully support electoral reform, but have no wish to see it rushed through in a hurry, and thus by definition I must support the idea of a committee on the basis that all recent rushed legislation has been a disaster.
There are numerous voting systems, all of which might be considered an improvement; the LibDems seem to have set their heart on one particular variety, which a cynic like me thinks is because they consider it is to their advantage. Whether they would hold the sme view if in power, with UKIP snapping at their heels, would be a different matter!
Personally, I strongly oppose anything that requires party lists as with the EU elections, because the parties can then ensure that everyone on the list is a party clone and we loose any genuine independent thought or indeed personal representation.

Anonymous said...

Firstly Alan needs to remember that in this lovely FPTP election no-one actually "won" in the sense of achieving a majority of seats (or votes), so the Tory-LD arrangement would also be a "coalition of losers".

Secondly describing the Tories as "socially liberal" is ... well let's just say premature. They have a liberal strand that goes way back, but for most of its history most of the Conservative party has been well on the authoritarian side of the divide. Socially liberal positions have been held by free-marketeers, old-school patricians and One Nationers, but the centre of gravity of the party (particularly away from Westminster) has been markedly more towards the swamps delineated by Monday Club xenophobia, hang'em flog'em lock'em-up-and-throw-away-the key ranting, national service nostalgics, Mary Whitehouse censoriousness, ... It's been rather more Alf Garnett than Ed Vaizey!

The Cameroon talk is enticing - but then so was Tony Blair's. So I hope you will forgive us if we use a couple of decades' worth of experience (successful and not) in local government, Scotland and Wales and attempt to get something thorough and rigorous spelled out that the parties involved (whichever configuration that may be!) can commit to and deliver upon.

Alan said...

I thought that number of votes and/or number of seats was important? Perhaps we are meant to have some kind of PC "every one wins equally, and no-one comes first, second and third" approach like some schools apply?

Re social liberalism, you are right to correct me that this is new (and still work-in-progress) for the Tories. But I truly believe it will stick.

As a social and economic liberal, I used to have to choose between Liberals & Tories. So I am delighted that the Tories are moving in the right direction.

I would be equally delighted if the LDs moved more towards economic liberalism (by which I mean lower taxes, spending & borrowing), as I would have a choice of two parties

Anonymous said...

I like many LD members recoil from supporting a Tory pact, however I also recoil from support for the authoritarian paternalism which is the mark of Labour - Old and New - in government.
I have voted Liberal then Liberal Democrat all my life - I don't plan to hang up my allegiance in a hurry - nor seek to pressurise a negotiating team who may see more of the play than a mere minion.

The time to judge if this is an issue to walk away from membership is in 2 elections time (the quick one then the longer one after) when change resulting from this week may be more evident.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Anonymous. Nice if you to call me a "minion" whilst you sit there hiding your real name.

Whilst I might be a minion, I have been asked many times to stand in winnable seats, but I choose not to because I have a career and a family life I love.

Sorry that you have the moral superiority, but you know little about me so stop the insults.

Anonymous said...

minion is my view of my own position in the Party - not yours

Alan said...

Hey - I'm feeling left out.

You LibDems are not supposed to be fighting one another - you're meant to be fighting me! :-)

At least politics is not boring at the moment.

Anyway - to inject some dissent:

All this uncertainty and Cleggy flirting with everyone for the maximum partisan advantage is the best possible advert against PR.

To get the long term buy-in for PR, Clegg should have stepped up straight away. People would have said "Gosh, hung parliaments are really workable and painless" and, hey presto, the biggest argument against PR disappears.

Shame the German government (PR poster boy) is currently collapsing.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Just what are the Lib dems playing at. You are just destroying things.Even talking to Labour is just disgusting in the way you are doing it. I though you were acting in good faith.Are you going to have a coalition of looser that will fail at the first vote as most of Labour will not support PR vots or anything like it.

Alan said...

@Johnny Norfolk

Hey. Chill. Show some sympathy - they've been carping on the sidelines for 90 years. It's seductively nice to never be in power(*) and just in perma-opposition. It's a big decision for them to finally be accountable.

I suspect they'll flunk it and stay out of power (again).

(*) I don't count local govt as this is just easy decisions like spending money raised by central govt, and not hard/unpopular decisions like budgets, tax or defence.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Alan, you are being glippant and ignoring a basic truth.

We don't mind taking responsibility for our own actions. What I am worried about is that we will have to take the rap for the Tories mistakes too.

Alan said...

'Twas a little tongue-in-cheek I admit.

But the reason I would like a LD/Con coalition is that each side would stop the other making mistakes. LDs would temper any social right-wingery from the Tories. Tory economic rigour would curb unrealistic LD spending.

Both would be blamed for sorting out Labour's mistakes (raising spending by 13% of GDP, but taxes only by 6%, borrowing the rest).

But I wasn't being too flippant - being in power now will be bad for the parties concerned in the short term, but good for the country.

Norfolk Blogger said...

And bad for the country long term. The destruction of the Lib Dems, the only Westminster Party to oppose the war in Iraq, the only party against the Digital Economy Bill, the only party to have always campaigned against ID cards, etc, etc, would rob this country in the long term of its conscience.

Alan said...

Only if you believe that working in coalition will destroy the LDs in the long term.

I don't.

I think there will always be a demand for a party strong on social liberalism (a conscience as you put it). Labour sure ain't it. The Tories are only recent converts.

Keith Elliott said...

I believe in electoral reform and a more proportional system. Therefore, I believe in coalition government - and I want the Lib Dems to be part of that government, implementing Lib Dem policies.

I'll wait for the details, but at the mo, and particularly with the offer of a vote on AV (we ain't gonna get STV at this point from Lab or Con) the Cons seem to be best placed for us to do a deal with.

It works in local gov up and down the country.

Manfarang said...

Don't mention the National Liberal Party!

English Pensioner said...

Would you remain in a party that goes into a full coalition with Labour?

None of the above said...

How Liberals can justify working with a party they've just spent four weeks telling millions of people not to vote for, and to vote Liberal instead to keep that party out, is hypocrisy of the highest order that deserves nothing but a punch in the face the next time one of them asks for your support to keep the tories out.

You're right Nick. Looks like you need to find another party. Or none of the above maybe

tony said...

And Now?
[word verification="denal"..I kid you not!]

Alan said...


I'll eat my humble pie now. I misjudged the LD leadership. I was wrong.

I think that the LibDems (and the Tories) have acted very magnanimously in the national interest, with even die-hard lefties like Simon Hughes (who I struggle to forgive for Bermondsey) being statesmanlike.

There is, I think, a real opportunity to create a liberal consensus in the UK, repositioning Labour as the big-government authoritarian alternative. Let's face it, Labour's track record on the poor has been appalling, keeping millions in a benefits trap.

I think solid LD involvement will control & temper any possible Tory right-wingery, whilst focusing on controlling debt & spending.

I appreciate this will create new, and possibly troubling, time for party activists (I have never even been a party member) - but I think what both the current LD & Tory leadership are doing is very worthy indeed.

I would be very interested in your views.

Norman Lamb watch out said...

We had a visit from Norman Lamb three weeks ago Nich. He pleaded with us to vote for him in order to keep out the Tories. If he ever comes back to the village, I'll run the smarmy bastard out of town.

Unless he can't work with the Tories of course. I'm sure he'll be able to find the excuses though.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Say what you like about Norman, but the one thing he is not is smarmy.

Anonymous said...

As much as I would love you to leave the Lib Dems, actually we need you to be their fighting to save the NHS

The Tories want to privatise whole chunks of it

as an NHS Nurse please please do all you can with lib Dem Mps to save our NHS from compuslory or forced privatisation

If you fail then leave

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

bye, bye, opps, first LD u-turn at sniff of power!

Norman Lamb watch out said...

well Nich, he might not be smarmy but for claiming £1000 per month mortgage interest on his second home, he sure is a bastard. Stonewall.

Mark (a Lib Dem supporter) said...

What was the alternative? Seriously, WHAT was the alternative?

The only other way a government with a majority and a chance of holding together beyond the weekend could have been formed would have been by going back to the country for another election - and it wouldn't have been a Lib Dem majority government baby; the Lib Dems would have been squeezed out well and truly and we would have got, in all likelihood, an unfettered Tory government. Would you rather that than a Tory government moderated by Lib Dem principles?

Or would you just rather sit in splendid isolation on your island, carping on about how bad everything is and with no one listening?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Minority Government was the answer, or an agreement to support the Tory budget, but for us NOt to take the rap for all the worse Tory policies.

If there was another election in 6 months, believe me, the losses we would ahve had will be nothing compared to those in 5 years time.

Mark (a Lib Dem supporter) said...

A minority government would have meant the currency markets would have slaughtered Sterling. Would the Lib Dems then have pulled the trigger on the minority government? How would that have played in the Tory press. The Lib Dems would then have been slaughtered in the ensuing election. End of dream of power.

The story would be pretty much the same with Lib Dem 'supply and confidence' support. You phrase that as "agreement to support the Tory budget" which must mean to support WHATEVER CUTS the Tory government would have decided on. Of course the Lib Dems would have to take the rap for Tory cuts in that situation, the Tory press would see to that.

For myself, I think the election result is absolutely better than we could possibly have dreamed of and gives me hope for the future of this country, the effects of peak oil aside. It is perfect (given the circumstances) - a neutered Tory right-wing (which suits Cameron's liberal One Nation conservativism), a new political framework of collaboration (the rest of Europe do it all the time), and five years to sort Labour's mess out in a planned, measured way.

Will the Lib Dems be rejected at the polls in 5 years time? Who can tell what the future holds but it is surely better to be in some sort of control of one's destiny?