Let's stop referring to us being damaged by "an anti government protest"

I heard Evan Harris on Radio 5 earlier referring to us suffering as the party of government being punished by the electorate because we are making unpopular decisions. I read on the internet that we are suffering "an inti government backlash".

Let's stop glossing over some basic facts.

This is NOT an anti government backlash.It is an anti Lib Dem backlash. The Tories, who LEAD the government MADE NET GAINS ! This excuse, parroted  by Lib Dem MPs on TV and radio does not hold water.

The simple truth is that Tory voters like what the government are doing, so will back the Tories. Our voters don't like what we are doing because it is, in the main, not what our voters want.

Abandon our principles and we abandon our voters. Learn the lesson and learn it fast.


Alan said...

LibDems are being punished because the MPs are trying to move from a party of permanent opposition(*), where you can tell people what they want to hear, to being a party of government, where you have to be consistent and stand by your decisions.

Like you, I suspect they won't make the transition, because most of the activists prefer the purity of opposition. So for a decade or two, we will go back to two-party politics in this country.

Of course, it doesn't help with the likes of Huhne complaining about dirty tricks, when FOCUS is hardly a byword for accuracy and Queensbury rules!

(*) I don't consider local government to be full government, as it is only in charge of spending (which is politically easy) not raising money (which is where the hard choices have to be made).

PS I hope you fared well in [greater] Norwich. You seem to care for your electorate, which is a big plus -- and quite unusual, regardless of rosette.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Thanks Alan. Yes, I did okay, my majority up from 159 (when I was elected 14 months ago in a by-election) to 667 on Thursday, and we gained the other seat in my ward from the Tories.

I accept some of your comments, but we cannot go around blaming mid term unpopular decisions when clearly the tories are using us a shield.

Alan said...

Well done on increasing your majority. Although a Tory voter, I would have voted for you. Of course out here in *really* rural Norfolk, we only got one choice (plus a joke Labour candidate).

I completely agree the LDs are being used as patsies, but if you walk away from the coalition you will be crucified. Don't forget, your peers and MPs voted UNANIMOUSLY to do this, and the party as a whole voted OVERWHELMINGLY to do this. Huffing out now will not be forgiven, and you will look back longingly on days of 15% vote share.

Yes, you're up sh*t creek without a paddle, but you (the party) put yourselves there. I'm human enough (in spite of voting Tory) to feel for you. The right decision, for your party, was to support a minority Tory govt, but the baubles and trappings of office were too shiny to resist.

At the time I said it looked like the LD party had not prepared for this situation, and had not done sufficient scenario planning, despite that being what the polls consistently predicted for 6 months prior to the election.

You got played.

Harry said...

It never ceases to amaze me how Tories on the one hand want to disrespect, insult, belittle and demean the Lib Dems to essentially destroy the party, but on the other sanctimoniously INSIST until they're blue in the face that the Lib Dems MUST stay in the coalition because there is NO ALTERNATIVE.

How ridiculous. Of course there are alternatives. But that is what terrifies the Tories. The fact that they don't actually have ANY mandate or legitimacy by themselves, and NEED the Lib Dems to have any power whatsoever. So the Lib Dems have 'no option' but to stick with their abusers.

The Tories are simply living in complete denial, saying that the Lib Dems should be grateful for the cabinet positions they hold, because they are 'taking them away' from good Conservatives. Pardon? Am I the only one who sees the problem with that arrogant presumption? There would be no Tories cabinet positions AT ALL without the Lib Dems!

I think Norfolk Blogger has correctly diagnosed the problem above. And since the Lib Dems want to actually be electable in future and retain at least *some* of the seats they held at previous elections, the party needs to ditch the Coalition and return loyalty to its core values. It is only by staying in the Coalition that we are being 'crucified' by our supporters. Clearly it serves the Conservatives for us to be in this situation, which is why they're so insistent we put up with the abusive relationship. But it does not serve us at all.

The biggest 'threat' we are supposed to fear from pulling out is that of a snap election. Except Cameron wouldn't want to call one, because the Tories are still behind in the polls, and the boundaries have not be altered yet, and when the austerity measures begin to bite, they will certainly not be popular. There is a high probability of an outright Labour victory if Cameron tries to call an election anytime between now and 2015. The Tories hand is no stronger than our own.

So either Clegg becomes much more hard-nosed and starts demanding policies we want, like a PR Lord's reform, and attacking all the Tory policies that we do not want, and scuppering a fair few that simply don't correspond to our values at all like the NHS privatisation, or we pull out of the Coalition and scupper ALL their 'policies'.

Unfortunately Clegg seems very confused about how Coalition government should work, and unlike any other European coalition, is trying to pretend we don't have any differences and are a 'united' front. It leaves him and us with a very weak hand, and our supporters become disillusioned and furious at what they see as betrayal. He needs to stop playing our modest hand so weakly. Because the Tories have no one else to turn to. We do.