Tories desperate to save their fall guys

Iain Dale writes on Lib Dem Voice today an article that attempts to point the way forward for the Lib Dems in the wake of catastrophic election results. Sadly, despite the fact that Iain is actually a rather nice guy, he fails to understand the problem, and his solutions are very much what is best for the Tory Party, not the Lib Dems.

Vince Cable, who has long been on Iain's list of Lib Dems who need bashing, comes in for some tribal abuse from Iain. The fact that Iain then brings up a quote from a campaign manual from more than a decade ago, long since abandoned, but still copied and circulated as a truth by the Tories actually serves to highlight the very point Vince Cable was making about the Tories.

But where Iain really loses is is his view that the Lib Dems need to stick with the coalition. The need to join was to avoid a Greece style meltdown. This has been avoided, so the need for the Lib Dems to remain has gone. Iain says we face the prospect of the Lib Dems losing many MPs if we walk away from the coalition now. What he does not say is that if we go now, we lose. But if we wait four more years, we take all the flak for the Tories, allow them to pick off our council base, degrade our ability to campaign and show our independence, and by the time 2015 comes around, we will be in a worse state, whilst the Tories will be strengthened.

Iain's final analysis that the Lib Dems position would improve by bringing back David Laws his hopelessly at odds with what I found on the doorsteps in March, April and May. Iain likes to quote canvassing in Norfolk. I can assure Iain that bringing back a discredited right wing Lib Dem who has long been suspected within Lib Dem ranks as being on the extreme right wing of the party (admittedly though still to the left of Iain), is not what people want on the doorsteps of Norfolk.

What people told me is that they want those who broke promises to stop lying, apologise and for the Lib Dems to once again develop a back bone, which was so obvious in the Iraq war.

We do need to re focus and decide what we stand for, and what we want to be as a political party because we have abandoned our voters. Tories like this government, and as I warned a year ago, why should anyone who likes the government vote Lib Dem ? If they like this government, which is essentially a Tory one with a little Lib Dem garnish, they just need to vote Tory, You don't order a meal because you like the side salad, and that is what we are.

Nick Clegg is political poison. I turn the TV off when he comes on because he makes me want to shout at him. When he was in Norwich a couple  of weeks ago, I told Lib Dems I would  NOT like an invite to his meeting for fear I would say what I think of him.

The Tories love him, he's their fall guy. The fact that Tories are coming to his defence is reason enough to know we are not doing the right thing.


Hopeful said...

Some good points.The Tories want to keep Clegg in place because he is a lightning conductor for ALL anti-coaltion sentiment.I find it hard to believe a party as politically savvy as the Lib Dems used to be has allowed this to happen.Even more depressing are the Lib Dems who now feel the party's problem is one of 'presentation and perception' .These are exactly the excuses used by John Major and Gordon Brown just before suffering massive election defeats.I wish I kndew a way back for the Lib Dems, but they seem to be heading full steam towards the iceberg and electoral oblivion.

Alan said...

Your analysis is right, Nich - you will be damaged if you stay in the coalition.

You will, however, be damaged if you leave it, as a minority Tory govt will take all the credit for things going right, whilst you have taken the initial investment in pain. The key policies (economy, education, welfare) will march on and deliver goodies to the public around 2014. Fiddling with the NHS is always a vote-loser and can be ditched. No LDs would also allow the Tories to adopt popular/ist policies on prisons & EU.

It's a moot decision point anyway, as the chauffeur-driven cars have captured the hearts (Tim Farron being a notable exception). You will stay in coalition because your leaders have no wish to lose their power.

The time to have argued your points was before the last election (as preparation for negotiations), or possibly before your party elected a load of Orange Bookers to the top of the party,

As a Tory voter, I see Laws, Clegg, Lamb, Huhne, Alexander etc as "wet" Tories - economically liberal, free trading tax-cutters (like all Tories) but with a socially liberal bent. This is not how I would describe the typical LD activist (although many LD voters, esp in the South, do match this).

How on earth did you let them take over your party?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Norman Lamb does not fit your description, in my honest opinion. I've known Norman for 19 years, was vice Chairman of North Norfolk Lib Dems, and he is no Orange Booker.

Aside from that, I accept the
thrust of your arguments.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Hopeful, the situation reminds me of the scene in Austin Powers 1, with the guy frozen with fear as the steam roller slowly approaches, slowly, painfully slowly, and he stands for 30 seconds until eventually he is steamrollered out of existence. We can see the steam roller is four years away and have our eyes closed as a party hoping it somehow won't crush us.

Augustus78 said...

Is Norman Lamb advising Nick Clegg to push through Tory policies or is Clegg not listening to Norman?