5/07/2011

Wake up and smell the coffee

Yesterday, I made the point that I predicted the Lib Dem meltdown 12 months ago. So I'd like to summarise, without links, what my arguments were last year.

1) Junior coalition partners always get punished without PR
I made clear that we would be the Tories scapegoat, we'd take the flak , and the Tories would get off scot free. In that, I've been proved right. The argument people gave last year was that "Of you believe in PR, then you believe in coalition". Indeed I do believe in PR, and accept that this may lead to coalitions (but not in Scotland), but by having PR, the smaller party gets some protection, and a guarantee that they will not suffer electoral wipeout. That's a prospect we are facing more and more, and delaying the inevitable for four more years (at which point we'd be several thousands councillors down, and many activists long gone), merely delays our recovery.

2) We won't get AV
I said we wouldn't, and we didn't.

3) People will no longer trust us
Most of the things that made people want to vote for us, our concerns about raising VAT, our clear view that cuts shouldn't be too fast so as to damage the recovery, and our opposition to tuition fees, have all been trashed. Taken with our opposition to Trident and new nuclear power, the things that really made people want to vote for us, have largely been abandoned.
We need to forget all the spin about "75% of our manifesto pledges being in the coalition agreement", if those 75% were the bottom 25%, not the top 25%. People voted for us because of the big marquee headline policies, not the ending of child detention. However, noble that might be, nobody has ever told me they voted Lib Dem because of their party's pledge to do that.

4) The Tories can't be trusted
I was told I was too tribal for suggesting it. Not even Vince Cable agrees.

5) We didn't need to go in to a coalition
I made the point that a minority Tory government was viable and could work. See Scotland for evidence of this where the SNP obviously made a good fist of things.
If it was an imperative to get the markets to see there was some stability, now we have avoided a Greece style meltdown, we can surely withdraw from the coalition ?

In truth, the coalition is killing our party. We are going to lose activists, lose thousands more councillor, and will by the time we are thrown in to oblivion in 2015,  lack any ability to rebuild in many constituencies.

Nick Clegg is a total liability. For every person I canvassed when I stood for election on Thursday who liked the coalition (usually Tories), I found 10 who didn't, and Nick Clegg's name is mud and he has no credibility with the public.

For the sake of our party, we MUST end the coalition and Nick Clegg must go.

2 comments:

amk said...

but by having PR, the smaller party gets some protection, and a guarantee that they will not suffer electoral wipeout

What about the Irish Green Party?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Hywel, who left a comment then deleted it. You can email me at nichstarling@gmail.com.

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