The real commitment to inclusive Government laid bare

In the last parliament, there was one person in the Lib Dems above anyone else who was really promoting the case of cross party co-operation on key areas of policy.

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb championed the idea of parties working together to come up with a proper response to the issues of personal care for the elderly in a way which would remove party political point scoring and instead focus on solving problems.

So what has Norman Lamb's reward been for championing working with other parties ? Nothing. No ministerial post, not at any level of government.

So when it comes to proving that people can work with other parties, Norman Lamb is given zilch by Nick Clegg in what appears to be Norman bring pushed aside by David Cameron, who seems now to be able to decide who in the Lib Dems will and won't be given positions.

What an appalling position for the Lib Dems to be in.

Update : I should add that Norman was not at the meeting of Norfolk Lib Dem members this morning. Simon Wright MP was in the hotseat and to be fair, did a good job of trying to justify the party's decisions. Although I disagree with almost everything he said and his interpretation of the situation, he remains a friend and even if I find myself leaving the party, Simon will remain a friend.


Johnny Norfolk said...

Nich. Ever since I started reading your blog you came over to me as left wing labour rather a liberal as i think i have said to you in the past. I am not being rude to you but speaking my mind. So in a way your current attitude proves me right. i am a right of centre Tory. I have many concerns but if it works out better for the country I will live with it.
I do believe you should just calm down and see how it pans out. For me, to be rid of Labour with its control freakery is a price worth paying in what we now have.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Of course you like the deal, you get a ready made scapegoat.

Man in the street said...

Norman Lamb.

"Vote for me to keep the tories out"

"I can look at my voters with a clear conscience"

The new politics my arse

The longer you stay, the less principled you look Nich. Although, that isn't a hindrance to anyone these days. (And it's getting a bit
drama queeny too)

Rob Tomas said...

For God's sake Starling, if you think the party has sold itself cheap, then will you PLEASE leave now, remove your blog from Lib Dem blogs, and stop bothering the rest of us. I think you're just embarrassing yourself now, trying to get as much attention to yourself as possible.

Anonymous said...

Given that the chances of the Lib Dems getting a majority at the last election were virtually non-existent, what would have been your preferred outcome?

Its early days, however a coalition of compromises from both sides, although it doesn't allow either party to deliver on all of their principles and policies, will hopefully provide stability.

Anonymous said...

I voted Lib Dem for the past 2 elections because I felt that out of the three main parties, I felt that they are not afraid to stand for what is right (this is also the case for labour rebel MPs and a handful of conservatives, including Ken Clark). But after this alliance, I will not be voting for them again, because I feel betrayed. The Greens will get my vote from now on.

Anonymous said...

Looks like there are some people that cant tell the difference between the government coalition and the Lib Dem party. They are two different things. It is perfectly possible for Nich to support one and not the other.

There were plenty members of the Labour party who didn't support their government at some time in the last 13 years. Has the Lib Dem party suddenly become even less tolerant of diversity within its ranks than Labour? No, we are a liberal party and Nich is part of it and long may he be so!

Michael Kilpatrick said...

Yes, it is disappointing not to see Normal Lamb being offered something. But of course it is possible that the price Lib Dems had to pay was to have a certain people excluded from the cabinet, just as it might be that the Tories had to bow to Lib Dem pressure not to include certain individuals as the price for Lib Dem support. Those are the details of the deal we won't hear about. But it's conceiveable, for example, that without the Lib Dems the Tories might have put Michael Gove as Home Secretary despite his recent gaffes.

As for my part, I shall be campaigning here in S Cambs to help Sebastian Kindersley unseat Andrew Lansley at the next election, so perhaps we may well have a Normam Lamb minister yet. We had a further 2.5% swing from Con to Lib Dem last week.

Man in the street said...

Don't any of you have even the slightest twinge of embarrassment at Lamb's comments, and those of Cable et al?. I agreed with them at the time, and still agree with them but now they are telling me black is white. The early Tory start to cuts was dangerous last week and now you 'newspeaking' drones are right behind it. New politics? Even worse hypocrisy and cant.

I, too, will be voting for the Greens next time. Even though they have Rupert Read in their ranks.

Michael Kilpatrick said...

"I, too, will be voting for the Greens next time."

If you vote Green at the next election and they get 50 seats, and it's a hung parliament again, and another party (e.g. Labour) asks the Greens for coalition support to form the next government, do you somehow imagine that the Greens will not drop *some* of their policies (and therefore by definition drop some of their points of opposition to Labour policies) in order to reach a compromise with Labour and to get some other Green policies enacted? Of course not. The Greens would do exactly as the Lib Dems have done. They'll have the choice of *no* Green input (by not taking part in coalition) or *some* Green input (by reaching an agreement with Labour). It therefore follows, as night follows day, that they will be swallowing hard in putting up with some Labour policies they vehemently fought against during the campaign. Just as us Lib Dems have to accept some unpleasant Tory policies.

If you don't accept that then you don't really understand coalition politics.

You vote Lib Dem to get *some* Lib Dem policies (or, if you're lucky, *all* if they get a majority in parliament). Unfortunately you as an individual can do little to influene how the other 45 million voters vote so you can't determine which party the Lib Dems or Greens will end up having the option of talking to with a view to forming a coalition (if at all).

So, if you will be voting Green next time it merely means that you're a Green, not a Lib Dem and that you will be just as disappointed at the lack of greenness of the next government as you are with the lack of LibDemness of this government. Hmm, big change. Hardly a step forward, hey?

Johnny Norfolk said...

Its clear so many of you are afraid of taking any kind of responsability, As soon as your party is involved in real government off you go to the greens or something. Try and find the " I just want to carp from the Sidelines" party it will be perfect for you.

GE said...

I have always voted Lib Dem and I am 100% behind the coalition, surely the best way to change things is through being part of a solid "new politics" government.

I really do find it strange that now we find ourselves in a position to make an impact and actually govern I suddenly find fellow Lib Dems bailing out, moaning and saying they are voting Green next time. It is almost like you are afraid of the responsibility that comes with government and would prefer to sit firmly on a fence and moan.

The Tories need the Lib Dem votes to govern, and we are in a position to get Lib Dem policy into law whilst at the same time blunting some of the more whacky elements of the Tories.

I hope the coalition works and we jointly Con-Dem Labour and their cronies to the dustbin of history, thereby opening the route to a Lib Dem led government in the future...a dream, probably, but a dream with a chance nowadays.

And remember that PR will always result in a balanced parliament and so you vote for the party who will work best with others to get your prefered policies implemented.

Anonymous said...

If we want PR showing that coalition politics works is essential.

If you voted Lib Dem last weeks you are actually going to see some of their biggest policies like cutting tax for the low paid delivered. Look at the coalitions environment policies far more there than the Green Party could ever hope to achieve.

Foregone Conclusion said...

You probably know more about this... but perhaps Norman Lamb doesn't WANT to be in government! He may have been offered a position, and politely refused it!

Paul Martin said...

I think Nich is right to air his concerns and anyone who says otherwise is not a true liberal.

I come from a Labour background. In 1997 however I was sufficiently unhapppy with Blair to vote Lib Dem in a Cornish 3 way marginal.

I was living out of the country in 2001 so did not vote.

In 2005 and 2009 I have been living in Torridge and West Devon which is a Conservative/Liberal Democrat marginal. My leaning has been to vote Green. Howver, in both elections I was persuaded by the Lib Dem candidate to vote Lib Dem in part to keep the Conservative out.

Now we have single transferable vote. Our votes have effetively been transferred to a Conservative party which jusging by the list of quotes I have from Lib Dem spokesmen only a few weeks ago is far from fit for power.

So I have done the only thing I can do. I have got around at last to joining the Greens. There is no way I'd vote Lib Dem again even if in a marginal seat come the next G.E. I wouldn't even put them as a preference. I've been screwed once - never again!

I feel for people like Nich who have nowhere to go but are deeply unhappy. Thanks Mr Clegg!

Rokos said...

Hi Nich! An old uni friend here - we haven't spoken since we left Coventry in 1997, but I saw your name on a BBC News article online and thought I'd check out your blog.

I haven't been a card-carrying member of the Lib Dems since that time, but have voted for them at every general election since then. And my view on the current situation is, I'm afraid to say, "I agree with Nick". It is far from ideal, but I'm persuaded that it's the least bad scenario.

To accusations that Clegg has sold out Lib Dem principles, I would ask: were critics watching the same election campaign I was? Because Clegg said repeatedly during the election campaign that this was an opportunity ‘to do something different’, that he wanted a new kind of politics, and that he wanted politicans of different parties to work together to address the deficit. What do angry Lib Dem voters think they were voting for? Far from surrendering Lib Dem principles, it seems to me that Clegg’s actually doing exactly what he said he wanted to all along.

I may have got this wrong but I had always understood Liberal Democrat principles as enshrining a belief in pluralism and coalition governments, and that these were enduring principles that towered in stature over individual election-by-election policy commitments. So the current coalition is, to my mind, consistent with Lib Dem principles. After all, no one votes Lib Dem expecting them to govern on their own - and any coalition is going to involve compromises, even one with Labour.

That said, I'm beginning to suspect that both Cameron and Clegg are really quite committed to this experiment, to making it work. It’s just possible that they think it’s something more profound than a marriage of convenience, potentially.

Personally, I celebrate this coalition’s good intentions. Whether I'll celebrate its actions and achievements remains to be seen. But an end to partisan tribalism is, in my view, a good thing - and I'm looking forward to seeing how this adventure pans out.

Anonymous said...

So now it's "my friend didnt get a ministerial job and that's why this deal is rubbish". Wow, is that scraping sounds the bottom of the barrel being reached?

GE said...

One last comment from me to all the "I am going to vote green now" comments....unless you support this coalition you will never get anything close to PR, which in turn means that if you happen to live in my part of Suffolk then you dont get the choice to vote Green...we had choice of LIB/LAB/CON and...UKIP.

Anonymous said...

Here in the Irish Republic we're all laughing at disgruntled Liberals joining the Greens. The Greens are part of the government here, helping to cut family allowance, job seekers benefit and public sector pay.

Anonymous said...

So one of the pro-coalition arguments seems to be that we must go into coalition because we are in favour of PR and PR leads to coalitions. They argue that the Lib Dems MUST go into coaltion with the tories to prove that PR works.

Take a look at reality. In Scotland they have PR. No coalition there. Why? Because the Lib Dems refused Alex Salmond's offer of negotiations for one in 2007. Strange that they didn't feel the need to negotiate one just to prove to England that coalitions work so as to get PR for the UK. Also the minority government up there has proved to be remarkably stable but the SNP don't have unfettered ability to push through anything they like because they have no majority. Why couldn't we have considered that here? Or perhaps its just that the ministerial trappings in Edinburgh aren't as flashy as those in London?

G said...

As the now-hackneyed saying goes, politics is the art of the possible. Any Lib Dem voter who feels 'betrayed' is being abandoned not by the party they voted for, but by their capacity for realism and their ability to think ahead. if we cast our minds back a few months ago, when the tories were 40+ in the polls and an overall majority, a reaffirm-ment of the 1979/1997 cycle, looked inevitable. Offered the outcome we have now, any right (left)-minded individual would have seized upon it. This isn't 79 and we got off lightly.

Rob Tomas said...

Well bugger off to the Greens, then, the lot of you. Obviously you don't read Nich's blog and if you did you'd see what duplicitous little shits the Greens are.

I suppose you think it's an advantage that they've never been near power.

Anonymous said...

Nich, you are acting like a petulant seven-year old. Stay and grow up or go play in the sandpit; but spare us the queening around FFS.

Anonymous said...

Nich, I am really enjoying sharing your private grief and total disillusionment with the party you have worked so hard for over the years. Having observed the Libs, the real 'nasty' party, at close quarters it is they who are 'duplicitous little shits' not the Greens. It is the Libs who put out misinformation about other parties candidates during elections. When all the other parties attack each other on policies it is always the Libs who get personal and negative. Frankly if you all jump ship and fall apart it will give me great pleasure. The Libs in the coalition can always 'cross the floor' and become proper Tories while you try and infiltrate the Greens with your 'nasty' election strategies.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Lots of good will here then.

Anonymous said...

Well I have been following the news and the opinions published of a fair number of liberal voices. I just wish they would stop being so precious about the deal that Clegg and the libdem council made to have a coalition with the Tories. It is the closest that the LIbDems have ever been to have actual clout and influence in how the country is goverened. A lot of the libdems complaining seem to be making out the Tories to be the devil incarnate. For those with short memories it was Labout that got us into this economic mess, just as it was labour who screwed up before Maggie became PM. I like how even 20 odd years later people still hang on to the Maggie brush to tar the tories. For once in this country as British people can we give something a chance without shooting it down.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Oh and by the way. The reason Lamb was not picked is he is too much of a leftie.

GE said...

Makes me laugh to see people use scotland as an example!!

It is far far easier to "govern" in scotland because all they get to do is spend spend spend (english money!).

The harder part of government is managing the books, something Labour were incapable of doing, and something that no minority government could do either.

At least with us involved we might get to sweeten some of the painful medicine that is on the way.

The new government has already committed to upping the tax thresholds and upping the capital gains rates to match income tax rate. Doubt either of those would have happened in a pure Tory government.

Norfolk Blogger said...

One thing that is clear, is anyone feeling annoyed, like I am, would be crazy to join the Greens. They campaigned in Cambridge claiming in this Lib Dem held seat that the Lib Dems couldn't win ??

In Norwich South they claimed on polling day that only they could beat Charles Clarke and moaned about Lib Dem leaflets that said they would come fourth.

The result was that Lib Dem leaflets were correct.

The Greens have a set line which is that the Lib Dems tell lies. The problem is the examples they always give show the Lib Dems telling the truth. Only one party consistently told lies in Norwich South and that was the Green Party.

Michael Kilpatrick said...

I think we have to take it as read that a party such as the Greens will be attempting to push out the Lib Dems wherever possible in order to "show that they are the true inheritors of all ant-Tory and ant-Lab votes". It's pretty negative, but the most obvious tactic, surely?

That's also why the Lib Dems should concentrate a *lot* more on showing the positive side of their being a minority partner coalition and having *some* power. It isn't about being anti-Labour or anti-Tory. It's about being pro-LibDem. If 20% of all the coalition government's Acts of Parliament are a result of the Lib Dem manifesto, that's a reasonable start.

P.S. I hardly ever post replies to blog sites such as this. Why do so many people feel that they shouldn't attach their real name alongside their comments?

Anonymous said...

To answer the last poster. I don't put my name because I hate having to register and sign up everytime I want to make a comment on some blog. I don't post enough to make it worth it. Just I had to post here as I am tired of libdems whining when have never had it better in terms of access to power.

Michael Kilpatrick said...

I didn't need to register to post here - on this site there seems to be an option simply to type a name in the box (which does not require any further details). You can then google me and see that I'm an active Lib Dem.

I don't regularly post comments on blogs so I don't know if that's the norm or not!

Dan R said...

I am hoping to see Norman Lamb as a Select Commitee chair in the near future...

Anonymous said...

Nick: everything comes to he who waits.....Lamb did not throw *his* toys out of the pram and voila!

"Norman Lamb MP appointed Chief Parliamentary and Political Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister

Mr Lamb will be based in the Cabinet Office. His role will be:

• To provide confidential political advice to the Deputy Prime Minister; to advise the Deputy Prime Minister on issues relating to the Coalition Committee.
• To operate as part of the Liberal Democrat whips team as one of two deputy whips reporting directly to the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip.
• To develop and enhance frontbench and backbench relations between the two Coalition parties, in conjunction with the Government Deputy Chief Whip.
• To provide liaison between Liberal Democrat Ministers and Liberal Democrat MPs in parliament
• To facilitate discussion between backbench Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament on the progress and achievements of the Coalition and the implementation of any and all Coalition Agreements.

The role encompasses that of deputy whip and parliamentary private secretary, and as such Norman Lamb will be in attendance at Cabinet and relevant cabinet committees."

Hopefully this will give you more confidence in the Coalition?