I'm staying put, for now.

I am convinced by the coalition and our reason for entering it ?


Am I convinced that some of our MPs didn't get stars in their eyes ?


Do I think electors have been lied to ?


As a councillor elected as a Lib Dem, do I think it would further damage people's trust in my area if I resigned as a Lib Dem having been elected as one ?


People are sick at the moment of voting for people who say one thing, then do another. "Vote Lib Dem to get ..." they were told. In my area, I intend to keep my promises even if nationally the party have failed to do that.

So until my term is up as a councillor, I will remain a Lib Dem and I will continue to oppose those things I was told we should be opposing in election literature delivered just days ago. However, I cannot  promise I will remain a Lib Dem after May 2011.


Michael Kilpatrick said...

Glad to hear that you've decided not to make a dramatic protest in the form of a resignation.

I still believe you need to consider the issue of "voters having been lied to" more carefully. As my father said when we had an email discussion about the election results: "Individuals voted for one specific party because they didn't have a choice of another method." In other words, we had no opportunity to say "I want to vote Lib Dem but only if they don't go into coalition with the Tories". This means that the parties - all of them - had to campaign on the basis of their own manifestos and their own manifestos alone. Yet, right from the beginning of the campaign, we all knew the polls suggested there would be a hung parliament. It's an undeniable fact that a coalition was a highly likely and necessary outcome and it was highly likely that Labour's extent of defeat would make it appear illegitimate to allow Mr Brown to continue in some form of Lib-Lab pact.

Lib Dems, all along, did not deny that coalition politics could be upon us, whereas the Conservatives and Labour pretend it would not happen.

Lib Dems did not lie to anyone. They tried to allow the public to come to an independent understanding of what might happen if the Lib Dems got enough seats. Some of the public (and especially the tabloid press, who would rather we carried on with the ya-boo politics of old) still have failed to grasp it.


Nich Starling said...

Michael. A nice response. Thanks.

I have too many friends in the party to just walk away. I very much hope I will be able to admit I am wrong. But I am still convinced we will never be forgiven for what we have done, and I cannot blame people for this point of view.

If I am wrong, I will publicly apologise. I wonder if those who have taken us in to this coalition will apologise if we are wiped out as an electoral force ?

Mark Pack said...

I'll do you a deal then: I think the coalition was the right agreement in the circumstances and that it will deliver significant Liberal Democrat policies without wiping us out as a party. If that's not the case, you'll have an apology from me for getting it wrong.

I'd rather we had a majority Liberal Democrat government that could implement all of our policies. But with having come third in votes as well as seats, it seems to me getting a significant chunk of Liberal Democrat policies introduced which a Conservative minority government would not have done is a major and worthwhile achievement.

(Labour - or rather, some in Labour who paraded themselves across the media - wrote themselves out of any alternative script.)

Nich Starling said...

Mark, I never said we houdl ahve dealt with Labour, but appreciate your comment.

David Morton said...

I think I'm still banned from this blog however I'm delighted that you aren't leaving. Give it 6 months and once some of the hysteria has died down and the cuts have started a more sober attitude to the coalition and "dissenters" will prevail. I suspect all voices will then be welcome.

David Morton

dougf said...

So exactly where in this sad tale of personal angst is your heartfelt concern for the 'National Interest' ?
Is there no such thing in Norfolk or is it your view that whatever that 'interest' might be, it comes secondary to Lib-Dem security ?

Before you decide to abandon ship because the 'people have been lied to'(even though they have not), you might want to cast aside your inbuilt dogmas and ask just one small question about the future.
Namely --- what exactly do you think the 'historical role' of Labour is going to be after this fundamental re-jigging of UK politics ? Once you can answer that question, satisfactorily, you might have a clearer idea of where YOU are at the current moment in History. Once you have determined that only then can you decide where you want to be in the future.
With all respect ---- I don't think you 'get it' quite yet. Not at all really.
Emotional responses based upon the 'old' template make for dubious decisions. Please count to 1000 or so and then try to look more 'objectively' at the situation, the context, and the likely futures. I would hope should you do that, that you will feel a lot more positive about your position.

Julian said...

One thing I can't understand is how you can be in favour of PR yet not be prepared to work in coalition. We obviously don't have PR at the moment but if we had, it could have come up with a result like this one.

You say you don't think the Lib Dems should work with the Tories or with Labour. How then is PR meant to work, exactly?

Man in the street said...

The expected result

no bollocks

entirely predictable

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

What an attention-seeker you are, Nich. One question, if I may: would the Lib Dems have actually missed you?

Here are two contradictions:

"As a councillor elected as a Lib Dem, do I think it would further damage people's trust in my area if I resigned as a Lib Dem having been elected as one?"


"The reason I won was because of me, not my party logo"

Do you ever remember what you say in previous threads?

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think you need to take a much broader vision. Things in life are never black and white. You need to act according to the circumstance presented even if it is not what you intended to do.There are risks for all, but nothing is acheived without some risk.
I look at it with an optimisic hope. i know i may be dissapointed but I hope not. The Tories have changed, and so have the liberals and the have met in the middle at the right time.

Nich Starling said...

Justin, you don't get it do you ?

People are elected to a greater or lesser extent because ot the campaigns they run and the amount they give of themselves. Those who lose seats easily tend to be party animals, reliant on logos, pictures of party leaders and the success of their party at any given time.

That's why you have failed to breakthrough in Tottenham. You are relaint on party logos.

I won in a safe Tory ward at a time of Tory success. Why is this when the Lib Dems polled less than 20% in a parliamentary by-election just 9 months earlier ?

Work it out.

Man in the street said...

Stand as an independent Nich or you'll never live this down.

I have been harsh before but to your credit at least you haven't started justifying the u-turns on nuclear power, VAT bombshells, tuition fees, early imposition of dangerous cuts, the pathetic AV rather than PR etc. How you align yourself with people supporting this is beyond me though. People I hear excusing these things, like Simon Hughes, are out of the game for good for me. We have long memories where I come from.

Anoneumouse said...

"However, I cannot promise I will remain a Lib Dem after May 2011."

Sorry, but good.

If you really can't see that this coalition is both best for the country, and gets key Lib Dem policies from the leaflets and into the statute books, I don't know what to tell you frankly.

Add to that, that as vocal campaigners of PR, how the hell do you think that works? Or were you hoping for a perminant liblab coalition?

It seems that it's the rabidly left wing (pretty much Labour in all but name) of the party having the most trouble with the coalition.

In which case the answer is simple. Go join Labour.

Viva Nick Clegg, and Viva la coalition!

Foregone Conclusion said...

In fairness to the left of the party, they seem generally to be as supportive as the rest of the membership. Just look at the supporters of coalition - Evan Harris, Simon Hughes, Tony Greaves, the SLF... I think that the distinguishing feature of those who oppose the coalition is not that they're social democrats, but rather that they're virulently anti-Tory.

Man in the street said...

but what about those cuts that could well cause a double dip recession? What does Vince think now?

By all means enjoy being "in power" for once, but don't keep insulting everyone's intelligence. You have to square the circle that you are implementing economic policy that your economic sage would have no truck with. And doubtless, you as individuals were saying the same thing as Vince before the election. How you shamelessly "change" your views is incomprehensible to me. Or maybe you still think the policy you are following is a dangerous one?

How the new politics is changing us? eh?

MB said...

It has to be said that Nich hasnt even tried to answer any of the key points put to him, like how he can claim to support PR but opposes coalition government; how allowing a Tory minority government would have been better for the vulnerable in this country; etc.

Lon Won said...

Hi NB,

I've been following your continuing concerns about the coalition with some interest. Many of us have been going through a similarly turbulent period of questioning.

However, my journey over this last week has been more about repeatedly changing my mind on the pragmatics than about a sustained tussle with conscience.

So while I've blogged about my decision in this post, it might not help you.

Nevertheless, perhaps it's a little reassuring to know that, unlike some of the people you've heard from on this issue recently, many of us are still uncertain about whether the coalition was the wisest course of action. Time, as always, will tell.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...


Get over it old chap. The link up may wipe out the LDs but surely the orange bookers can join the Conservatives and the lefties can Join the Greens or Labour.

Are you staying on the council just to get the allowance.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Look we cannot go on spending so "those cuts" will have to be made sometime. WE HAVE RUN OUT OF MONEY.
Its frankly astonishing that so many so called educated people do not understand the most basic of economics.

http://northbriton45plus.blogspot.com said...

Thank God there are a few Liberals who actually believe that the Lib Dem voting electorate did NOT vote for a Tory government.
To say I am disappointed is a massive understatement but I have suspected for some time that many of our leading Lib Dems have been more interested in so called power than in political integrity. Witness the Ashdown fiasco in 1997.
It is, however, important that our 51 elected MPs should recognize the potential consequences of their actions not only to themselves but also to the liberal cause in the future.
Please take a look at http://northbriton45plus.blogspot.com
and, if you wish post a vote.

Anonymous said...


Glad to hear you are staying put for now. I think the onus is on Nick Clegg and the Parliamentary Party to demonstrate that the coalition does deliver what is hoped. It's relatively easy to see the things that won't happen as a result of coalition (repeal of Human Rights Act is a favourite of mine); the critical question for me is whether positive changes will also result.

It's a huge risk - but I think it's also a huge opportunity.

David Wright said...

It's a pity you didn't come to yesterday's Special Conference. You might still have voted against, but you'd have seen a really good Lib Dem debate.

There were speeches against the coalition, which were listened to with respect even though they did not convince many people; there were also great speeches in favour, most notably by Simon Hughes. Seeing old sparring partners Tom McNally and Tony Greaves in complete agreement was also remarkable. Ordinary members got to speak too - I know because I was one of them.

There were amendments - all passed - calling on our new ministers and MPs to defend the HRA, say no to any increase in tuition fees, introduce PR in local elections etc.

Two ministers effectively said they'd resign if the government abolished the HRA.

On nuclear power, our ministers confirmed that there will be NO public subsidy to the costs of nuclear power stations, including decommissioning costs; I suspect that means they won't be built as I believe they are uneconomic if you take all cost into account.

One speaker said that no longer locking up the children of asylum seekers was what convinced them. And remember, a Labour Party which locked up innocent children, introduced the database state, created so many new criminal offences that even lawyers can't keep up with them, banned peaceful protest near Parliament, and promised PR when in opposition, and again when they had lost, but failed to introduce during the 13 years that the had the power to, cannot be called "progressive".

In the end, about 99% of us voted in favour of the coalition. That does not mean we're blind to the risks, but because each of us saw that the opportunities to move our policies "off FOCUS and into Government" outweighed the negatives, and even the sick feeling of having to work with Conservatives.

Unknown said...

Nich as one of the many who helped you win Taverham and a fellow Broadland Councillor I welcome that you are staying on as a Lib Dem for the time being and hope greatly for all our sakes that in the longer run all works out well so you and others feel your worst concerns unjustified. For myself I readily share many if not all your fears. It is not the denial of such matters, but rather my greater concern of the serious consequences of a further period of political uncertainty in the current perilous economic situation which relegates such matters to secondary importance in my mind. Liberal Democrats have not been dealt an easy hand. I believe we are doing the right thing, certainly by the country if not necesarily by our own Party although realistically we will be lucky to get proper credit for so doing. Only time will show (and then probably inconclusively) who was right.
All the best


Chris said...

Good Heavens Peter, Nich had HELP to win Taverham?? I am astonished! I never knew, and I am sure he never admitted it!!

Truth is - he is closet Labour lover; with a visceral hatred of the Tories. Of course he is going to despise the coalition. Most of us realise that we would never had a hope in hell of getting any of our policies anywhere near government; and we relish the chance of really making a difference; but not our Nich - the coalition isn't with his chums the Labour lot, and so he's have a personality crisis.

Quite frankly we can well do without such drama queens.

Johnny Norfolk said...

As you can all see nick is really a Labour man. He just cannot bring himself to try and see if it works.

Its a pity as it is this attitude both from the far left and far right that has cost this country dear.

As a country can we not agree how the NHS and education should be run for example. The problem is that the Labour party is a party of revolution.

Nich Starling said...

When ever you agree with me, I know I am in the wrong.

You only see the world as a left right struggle, a sort of gitial rather than analogue world.

If I were Labour I would have joined the Labour party years ago. The problem is that so many people see the world this way and that is why they are stuck in their class struggle.

When you get over yourself you might see the world in a multicoloured way and not with your blue tinted spectacles.

Anonymous said...

What in the hell are you saying. Are you staying on the council for the expenses. Go andjoin Labour.

Nich Starling said...

You utter fool. Learn to read or at least have a basic understanding of how a council works.

If I resigned as a Lib Dem, I would still be a councillor anyway. You pathetic troll, posting things anonymously and making your self sound quite pathetic.

Oh, and for the record, I do not claim for all the things I am entitled to claim for anyway.

Post such false and malicious allegations and I will delete them.

Nich Starling said...

Should have added, I'm off now to a Parish Council meeting.

It's the sort of thing local councillors should do.

Interesting that according to one parish councillor my tory predecessor didn't attend parish council meetings !

Duncan Borrowman said...

I can't be bothered to trawl through the comments, I got as far as Mark's. But my sentiment is much as his. You an dI have sat in dining room in North Walsham discussing how to remove the North Norfolk seat from the Tories. I reported Derek Conway for the employment of his son Henry. I did the Three Jobs Bob newspaper cover in the Bromley by-election. But I voted for. I am very pleased to see you hanging in there Nich. The decision was bound to upset some people and drive them away, glad that you aer being pragmatic for the reasons you give.

Man in the street said...

Duncan, you should have had a closer look at Norman Lamb. He's well into the top 20 of expense claimants. £1000 per month on mortgage interest for his second home for example.

How is Cable getting on implementing those £6 bn cuts that would have lead to a double dip recession only a few days ago, according to none other than, er, Vince Cable?

ah, the new politics. Makes you all warm inside


Cheer up Nick. You nasty posters, shame on you - dissent and debate is healthy and LibDem. I don't know what it all means either but the hard Right hate it - surely a good sign?

Johnny Norfolk said...

Nich said

"Interesting that according to one parish councillor my tory predecessor didn't attend parish council meetings"

Namwe and shame please. Prove what you are saying.

Nich Starling said...

Do you really want me to make a great deal of the attendance record of the previous Tory ?

Best left forgotten considering he attended just one full council meeting in th pervious 12 months priort to my by-election and I was greeted by a Parish Councillor at my first Parish Council meeting with the words "You've beaten your predecessor's attendance at these meetings already".

It's a matter of public record how many meetings Cllr Dicks attended. The EDP also reported on it at the time.

English Pensioner said...

I don't think there is any country which has proportional representation which does not have a coalition government, something that is comparatively rare with "first past the post".
If the LibDems don't like a coalition government perhaps they need to think again about PR.

dazmando said...

As you know I have blogged on your feelings myself. I believe your principled position is the best one. It also allows you to see what happens. If you ever leave the Lib Dems it will be a great loss to the Lib Dems.

Anonymous said...


er, what principles?

Anonymous said...


great news for rapist's

Anonymous said...

as stated previously
even as a local Norfolk Labour supporter

while it would be great to have you in membership

actually we need you toat least fight for education, health and Norfolk

once the Coalition has proved as bad as we all fear

then you can consider your party membership

maybe independent etc

love to have you in our great Party
but you have to be comfortable with that journey

and that may not be the case presently

We will have a mass campaign against cuts soon

we hope to see you on the baricades

Manfarang said...

"mass campaign against cuts"
Cuts a Labour government would have made.

Anonymous said...

well Labour will be the only party fighting the Cuts, outside the Nationalists

And in normal times we know Libs would be there

I do hope they will be ????

Get real

and fight the cuts

just look at Gove at Education

money for schools of the middle class

and F the rest