Labour weren’t serious about keeping the Conservatives out of office

So much for all the Labour rhetoric about how only a vote for Labour could keep the Tories out of power. Turns out Labour was quite willing to see David Cameron become Prime Minister as you can see from tonight’s statement from ‘a Liberal Democrat spokesperson’:

It is clear that the Labour Party never took seriously the prospects of forming a progressive, reforming government with the Liberal Democrats. Key members of Labour’s negotiating team gave every impression of wanting the process to fail and Labour made no attempt at all to agree a common approach with the Liberal Democrats on issues such as fairer schools funding for the most deprived pupils and taking those on low incomes out of tax.

It became clear to the Liberal Democrats that certain key Labour cabinet ministers were determined to undermine any agreement by holding out on policy issues and suggesting that Labour would not deliver on proportional representation and might not marshal the votes to secure even the most modest form of electoral reform.

It is clear that some people in the Labour Party see opposition as a more attractive alternative to the challenges of creating a progressive, reforming government, not least in the context of a Labour leadership election campaign.

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177 Comments

  • JUST for a handful of silver he left us,
    Just for a ribbon to stick in his coat—
    Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,
    Lost all the others she lets us devote;
    They, with the gold to give, dol’d him out silver,
    So much was theirs who so little allow’d;
    How all our copper had gone for his service!
    Rags—were they purple, his heart had been proud!
    We that had lov’d him so, follow’d him, honor’d him,
    Liv’d in his mild and magnificent eye,
    Learn’d his great language, caught his clear accents,
    Made him our pattern to live and to die!
    Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,
    Burns, Shelley, were with us,—they watch from their graves!
    He alone breaks from the van and the freemen,
    He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!

  • Voted Lib Dem. Got Tory. Won’t make that mistake again.

  • NorthernMonkey 11th May '10 - 10:06pm

    Get real.

    The Liberal Democrats had a choice. They could have joined a progressive coalition or they could have joined with the Tories.

    And they got in bed with the Tories. Not just supporting a Tory minority government, but a FULL coalition! You’ll pay the price for this at the next election.

  • Spin it how you like. The Lib Dems are going to get slaughtered at the next election and you will totally deserve it.

  • I voted for the first time on wednesday, voting for the Ld. If this coalition with the tories doesn`t work out we all know who will get the blame,and suffer most and it wont be the tories.I did not vote for a torie goverment.

  • What did all these Labour sympathisers want? A coalition of losers which would never have got any electoral reform through OR a weak Conservative minority government, for which we would have got the blame?

    As it is now we can play a real role in protecting the poor and most disadvantaged in society. Something Labour can not do in opposition and wouldn’t have been able to in a few months time if a Conservative majority government had come to power after a failed minority lib lab coalition collapsed.

    Folks we are back in power after 70 years. Be happy!

  • Very true Joe. Labour are to blame for this. If they had accepted PR when Tony Blair was leader, we would probably be in power with Labour now.

    It’s Labour fault!

  • Paul McKeown 11th May '10 - 10:24pm

    Voted Lib Dem, got 3.5 out of 4 parts of the Lib Dem key “freedom” agenda timetabled.
    Voted Lib Dem, got the Tories to ditch many of their most objectionable policies.
    Voted Lib Dem, getting rid of many of Labour’s worst ideas.

    Voted Lib Dem, got (a lot of) Lib Dem.

    Two and half cheers at least!

  • “Folks we are back in power after 70 years.”

    Jesus some of you people need to get a reality check. Your “power” will be severely limited, and short-lived. You just made a coalition with the Tories. That is not what people voted Lib Dem for. If this Conservative Party pushes through most of their divisive policies…then I hope the Lib Dems do end up paying the ultimate price at the next general election.

  • Mike (Labour) 11th May '10 - 10:33pm

    Making excuses already? It’s sounding like you expect your government to be a disaster.

  • It wasn’t a binary choice between two offers of coalition. The Lib Dems could and should (and I pray still will) have let the Tories go it alone.

  • Mark Lightwood 11th May '10 - 10:37pm

    @Alec

    “eying up marginal ConLib seats, and you know how much support is going to come from pro-Labour voters”

    Why would pro-Labour voters support the Tories in ConLib marginals?

  • Harry, every party exists to get it’s policies through. So I promise you this we will get more through with the Tories than we would under the prior Government.

    And let’s not forget Britain only went down hill in the world when Labour achieved power and replaced us. Now we can show the country how good our leaders can be.

  • Vote Lib Dem, get Tory… get used to that slogan, got a feeling you’ll hear it a lot…. bye bye Lib Dems…

  • Mike (Labour) 11th May '10 - 10:43pm

    “And let’s not forget Britain only went down hill in the world when Labour achieved power and replaced us. Now we can show the country how good our leaders can be.”

    Labour inherited a country that was bottom in Europe for child poverty, and it’s been a hard slog trying to stop that trend from going where it would have gone without Labour. According to the IFS it is only Labour’s policies that have stopped inequality shooting through the roof at the kind of angle it was doing before Labour got in.

    Might not make other leaders scared of Britain’s imperial might but that’s not what matters to Labour.

  • it’s not an election or a fall-out in one of our leadership elections and we’re on TV tonight – can you believe it?

    this is the big time! Wuhhhooo!

  • Congratulations to Nick Clegg on being appointed Deputy Prime Minister (the first Deputy PM of a different party from the PM since Attlee served in Churchill’s War Cabinet). This is of course the highest level the Liberal Democrats have reached; and probably the highest for a liberal party since Lloyd George’s coalition cabinet broke up in 1922, or at least since the National Governments of the early 1930s.

  • Mike (Labour) 11th May '10 - 10:49pm

    @Liberal Neil: I think you’ll look at the Labour years differently when the alternative is fresh in mind. Minimum wage, an NHS that isn’t chronicly underfunded, streets safer to walk on. Wasn’t perfect, sure, but it did a lot of good things that no other government would have.

  • Scott Miller 11th May '10 - 10:50pm

    Excuses,excuses,excuses. The numbers simply weren’t there for a Lib/Lab coalition.That left the Libs with the choice of going into coalition with the Tories or allowing Cameron to form a minority government. The decision YOU have made will now see Nick Clegg in parliament on the government benches next to Cameron.As Deputy PM he will have to answer for the actions of his government on all sorts of issues he probably won’t agree with.Enjoy the show.

    BTW the ‘join Labour’ server on the party’s site has crashed. I’m sure more than a few Lib Dems will be joining the queue.

  • Andrew Suffield 11th May '10 - 10:50pm

    Funny thing: if the next election is an IRV election, then all this “vote A get B” nonsense will be dead and nobody will be penalised on that basis. So all the trolls who are already posturing about the result of the next election are irrelevant.

    Ironically, the tendency of IRV to pick the “least hated” candidate in 2-major N-minor elections means that tribal voters like these will cast votes which are more favourable to the Lib Dems than they would under STV – because no matter how much they rant about the Lib Dems supporting the other party, they are not going to vote “1. Labour 2. Tory 3. Lib Dem”, or “1. Tory 2. Labour 3. Lib Dem”. That’s all the constituencies which are 2-way races between a Lib Dem candidate and a Labour or Tory. (IRV will squeeze out the Lib Dems in most 3-way constituencies, and the actions of the non-tribal voters are very hard to predict; the overall result is impossible to call until we’ve had one)

  • Mike (Labour) 11th May '10 - 10:51pm

    @Liberal Neil: Child poverty and inequality are two pet hates of mine. If they aren’t important to you then what can I say? I suppose the fact that you may have been given the option to buy an ID card if you wanted to is far too offensive to make Labour’s defence of the vulnerable worthy of your applause?

  • Jeremy Sanders 11th May '10 - 10:53pm

    The comment that this is highest level Liberals have reached since the National Government in the 1930s isn’t exactly encouraging.

  • Liberal Neil…………laugh now. I have a feeling the joke will be on the Lib Dems at the end of the day. The joke is certainly on the electorate who voted Lib Dem.

  • Voted Libdem, got Libdem, with Tory support.

  • And as for PR… keep on dreaming boys…..dont want this shambles happening every time. If Cameron has gone in with the”euro nutters” what has Clegg just done…. i’ve said it before, bye bye lib dems…

  • And as for PR… keep on dreaming boys…..don’t want this shambles happening every time. If Cameron has gone in with the”euro nutters” what has Clegg just done…. i’ve said it before, bye bye lib dems…

  • You lib demmers are already sounding like tories, blaming the Labour party for putting the tories in power when your party is forming a government with them is ridiculous. The Labour party have made a dignified exit while the Lib Dems have sold their souls along with the Tories in a greed for power.
    A lot of Lib Dem voters must be feeling sick to know they have helped not to just prop up, the shallow David “Camera’s on” but to join his government will never be forgiven. You might have stood a chance of helping to defeat the Tories in a new election but you will probably now help a new “clean” Labour party destroy the both of you. So much for open and honest politics. So far, talks so secret that “Camera’s on” is in Downing St before anyone knows what the deal is – SO OPEN. So far, both parties have ditched the manifestos they were elected on – SO HONEST.

  • Cameron entered No 10 because Gordon Brown invited the Queen to put him there. Nick Clegg and his team tried to do a deal with Labour, but the Reidosaurus and other odious throwbacks to a bygone era shafted it, preferring defeat to compromise. Cameron is where he is because Labour put him there. It’s as simple as that. Don’t blame us, Labourites, blame your own perfidious party.

  • Vote Lib Dem, get Lib Dems in government and Lib Dem policies implemented.

    Without a Lib-Lab deal, the choice was coalition or nothing. I.e. represent some of the views of those who voted for you, or none.

    It emphasises the need for electoral reform, but given the situation, the Lib Dem team played it right. #IstillagreewithNick. (and Dave Page!)

  • I am disgusted at this sordid deal – it’s a marriage made in hell. LibDem voters did not vote for this – they voted in their hordes to keep the Tories out. The only comfort I have is that the LibDems will (deservedly) be wiped out at he next election. Goodbye!

  • Dave Page – quite.

    Everyone who has been voting Labour or Tory over the years has sometimes got most of what they voted for.

    All the times I voted Lib Dem before, I got none of it, or some of it by the back door – like Labour making the Bank of England independent despite claiming up to polling day that it was a terrible idea.

    Now, I get some of it. Not all of it, but infinitely more than usual, and it’s long past due!

  • I will never, ever, ever vote Lib Dem again.

    I did it for one reason and one reason only: to keep the Tories out.

    Labour have been so bad in power that it was simply a vote against a party, rather than a vote for a party.

    I will never make that mistake again.

    I may go back to Labour, I may not.

    But I will NEVER vote Lib Dem again.

  • “Labour party have made a dignified exit”

    Gordon Brown has done, but Labour? Sadly, not 🙁

  • Roland, how to you feel about Tony Blair selling his soul to Dick Cheney? How do you feel about your former leader being unable to travel abroad for fear of being arrested as a war criminal?

  • I had always thought that the Lib Dems were the sensible wing of the Labour Party.

    Not it has emerged that Clegg was a Tory in the 80s, that about a third of the Lib Dems are prepared to vote for the fox hunting ban to be repealed and that the party is prepared to betray everything it held dear to join an alliance with a right wing party.

    I will never forget this betrayal.

  • lots of anti lib from Lab people and true there is more in common between the two parties but just a thought what if left leaning tories and right leaning Labour all vote for the lib dems next time seeing them – as they have always been seen – as the not so bad alternative. The 2 old parties will be gone.

  • Liberal Neil…………you seem to be under some illusion as to exactly who your leaders have made a “coalition” with. This is not a cosy love-in based on mutual values. Ah well…………keep those rose-tinted specs on.

    Oh and “Deputy PM”…………..Non-job!

  • I live in a Tory / Lib Dem marginal.

    Who am I supposed to vote for now?

    Oh, maybe the party that promised to reform the electoral system so that my vote would count, and then delivered on that promise?

    Er, that would be none of them.

    Another ex-Lib Dem voter here.

  • Mike (Labour) 11th May '10 - 11:13pm

    @liberal Neil: And what would you have them do? We’re in a new globalizaed age now. Labour took the edge off, the Liberals and the Tories won’t. Or is child poverty going to be solved by giving the middle classes a tax giveaway with the £10,000 tax thresh-hold which does next to nothing for the poor and increases inequality by itself?

    Labour was dealt a social mess, slowing down inequality under the conditions it found itself in is an achievement and largely to do with Gordon Brown as chancellor.

  • This is a disgrace, why have the Lib Dems not promised to invade more Muslim countries? I wanted a progressive government with Labour, for goodness’ sake!

  • Sorry, but did anyone actually vote for any Lib Dem policies or was it all tactical voting against Labour/Tory?

  • ToryBoy-Apparently 11th May '10 - 11:15pm

    First, well done Nick Clegg, the most consumate stitch-up of the Tories, Labour and your own party
    (Is this the true meaning of the Triple lock!!!)
    Unfortunately, the lure of power has corrupted as previously stated/suspected.
    In return for the cynical assasination of Gordon Brown (as a sign of good faith and conversion to the Tory creed) you get Deputy PM + other posts for Lib-Dems. No realistic movement on electoral reform as the referendum WILL fail without a doubt and Sainthood in the Tory political church ( a stained glass window all for your self).
    Nothing more than a blatant grab for power and influence, principle be dammed.
    I wait with bated breath for the silent blade between the shoulders from the Tories when your of no further use.
    Where is the ‘Greater good of the Country’ etc …..
    A true accolyte of Tory political machination has been born.
    Cameron needs to watch his back as the true heir is closer than he thinks.

    I hate it when I am right.

  • “This is a disgrace, why have the Lib Dems not promised to invade more Muslim countries? I wanted a progressive government with Labour, for goodness’ sake!”

    And it’s good to know satire isn’t dead. Then again maybe it is…

    I agree with Billyboy wholeheartedly. A lot of us ex lib-dem voters already.

  • I wanted a progressive government with Labour, for goodness’ sake!/

    What makes you think Labour could suddenly become progressive after the last 13 years?

  • I voted Lib Dem to get the sitting Tory out. Got the Tories anyway. This grubby deal has made my disillusionrocket to new levels, and I’ll never trust the Lib Dems again.

  • Boys, boys, please. Pick up the toys and play nicely.

    The Liberal Democrats did what was best for the Liberal Democrats. In my humble opinion, none of the options were any good. In the end, I think they chose the most sensible option. Labour had become bloated, complacent and frighteningly right-wing, masquerading as a people’s party.
    At least the Tories are honest about what they are.

    All this tribal bickering. Political parties exist to get power. What did you think would happen? Labour wouldn’t have pissed on the LibDems if they were on fire, back when they were just the poor cousin. Now suddenly the LibDems are the great betrayers. Horsecrap.

  • Howard Bentley 11th May '10 - 11:20pm

    You do realise that:

    a) you wont be getting PR? But simply a referendum on AV, which aside from the fact that you may not win anyway, is barely any different to FPTP and is certainly not a fair electoral system, and

    b) everything that goes wrong with this government will simply be blamed on the Lib Dems.

    Add into the mix the fact that everyone that voted Lib Dems to keep the Tories out (ie 90% of the Lib Dem vote) have this evening just vowed never to do that again, and I dont really think it’s that great a night for the Lib Dems!

  • David Parkes 11th May '10 - 11:21pm

    Listen to the detail of the agreement and you’ll see a lot of the Liberal Democrats agenda that we all voted for are going to become law. Considering our support evaporated on polling day, this is an amazing result for Lib Dem supporters.

    Yes we have Cameron in No10, but we have a parliamentary system, not a presidential one, so who gives a toss who gets the grace-and-favour home in Downing Street.

    It remains to be seem if the Lib Dem Parliamentary Party and the Federal Executive approve the deal. But if they do, they have not just managed to dilute conservative agenda, they have successfully pushed a liberal agenda forward.

  • @Liberal Neil

    So, you would have been happy to see the rate of child poverty increase in line with where the Tories were taking it?

    You believe the Tories would have introduced a minimum wage, Freedom of Information Act, Human Rights Act, lifted over 1 million children out of poverty, begun any reform of the House of Lords, funded the NHS at the same levels, recognised Civil Partnerships, introduced the Social Chapter, funded international aid and write off debt repayment for poorer countries, devolved powers to Scotland and Wales etc. etc.?

    After 17 years of the Tories a whole generation of young people had been abandoned, communities and our manufacturing base had been destroyed, schools were crumbling (literally) and NHS waiting lists were 18 months etc. etc.

    For any complaints there may be regarding Civil Liberties issues (which I don’t completely agree with), this country is in a far better place now than 13 years ago.

    The Lib Dems share nothing in common with most Tories on Europe; on electoral reform; on political reform (unless you count gerrymandering 500 FPTP constituencies reform); on taxation; on immigration; on the environment (some Tories don’t really believe in Climate change); on Civil Liberties (don’t believe the Tory ‘conversion’ for one minute); on tolerance (plenty of homophobic Tories still) etc. etc.

    So we begin to see the shape of the Lib Dem pay off. Laws negotiates himself the role of Schools Secretary, no self interest there. Clegg to be Camerons’ Fag, St. Vince to be Osbornes’ whipping boy and two more prizes still up for grabs.

  • Senesco, what has Tony Blair got to do with your party throwing it’s manifesto in the bin along with the Tories, or are you blaming him too? The Labour party refused to do the same as the Conservadems and I think that is more dignified and loyal to it’s voters.

  • Robin Whitmore 11th May '10 - 11:23pm

    Sorry all the negative comments , but you sadly completely miss the point.

    Labour had no stomuch for the fight needed for a rainbow coalition.

    Would you REALLY have preferred an unfetterred Tory Government?

    QED

  • Anthony Aloysius St 11th May '10 - 11:23pm

    “You lib demmers are already sounding like tories, blaming the Labour party for putting the tories in power when your party is forming a government with them is ridiculous. “

    I wish one of the people saying this would explain what the Lib Dems were supposed to do after Reid, Blunkett and the others destroyed any possibility of a Lib/Lab coalition.

    We can argue about whether a minimal “supply and confidence” agreement would have been better than a formal coalition – personally I think it would have been – but the actions of Labour politicians today made it inevitable that Cameron would become prime minister.

  • Nothing more than a blatant grab for power and influence, principle be dammed.

    Given our past performance, why would anyone whose main ambition was power and influence even think of joining the Liberal Democrats?

    Maybe he will turn out to be a nasty piece of work. We’ll find out. Bit early to call it, don’t you think?

  • Mike (Labour)

    Labour took the edge off, er… what? US foreign policy? The control agenda? The widening of the gap between rich and poor? The power of big money?

    It was Tony Blair who joined Cheney’s illegal war for oil. It was Peter Mandelson who said that “New” Labour is “incredibly relaxed about people getting filthy rich”. It was Blair, Brown, Straw, Blunkett, Reid, Clarke and Johnson who gave us martial law for under-16s, the extradition of Gary McKinnon, and plans for ID cards and satellite surveillance of motor vehicles. For the last 13 years it has been the Labour Party that has been the lickspittle of the global super-rich and the US military-industrial petrochemical complex.

    Labour shares more with Cameron than either share with us. Spare us your bleatings.

  • Jim,

    I voted Lib Dem to stop the tory candidate getting in again. As this is a two party area and I would not vote tory even if they were the only party and they paid me!, The Lib Dem vote was the best option. This was due to me not agreeing with anything the tories say. Amazingly the tory candidate won which has baffled a lot of people!..
    You can guess how I feel now!!

  • If you dont like the negativity then I suggest you dont log on to facebook or twitter.

    Just two weeks ago there was a whole generation of 18 to 34 year olds prepared to vote Lib Dem, many not just Lib Dem but actual voting for the first time, as they thought they were going to get real change.

    There is a frenzy of activity on facebook and twitter which can be summed up as anger with what is seen as a betrayal, and there is a strong sense that this generation will never vote Lib Dem again.

    If Labour were genuinely serious about not forming a coalition then reveal why. It might still not be too late to have lost those people, although I suspect that nothing you do now will be taken seriously ever again.

    Never has anyone in the public eye fallen from grace as rapidly and to such a distance as Nick Clegg has in the last month.

  • Roland,

    Ah, I see, it’s more dignified to throw one’s toys out of the pram, as Labour has done today?

    Oh, and what dignity does Tony Blair have, grovelling to the likes of Cheney and Rupert Murdoch? Blair has blood on his hands, the blood of hundreds of thousands or Iraqis. And it’s bone-headed Labour loyalists like you who allowed him to get away with it. Search your own conscience first.

    (I see you share the Gordon Brown trait of refusing to spell people’s names correctly.)

  • Some people seem to have taken a vote for the Liberal Democrats as a way of voting “None of the Above”, and are now shocked to discover that they are actually a political party with an interest in attaining power. I mean, politicians seeking political office — can you believe it!

    If you voted Liberal Democrat because you’re crypto-Labour, and you wanted to keep the Tories out, then obviously you’ll have a problem. And if you voted Liberal Democrat because you’re crypto-Tory and you wanted to dump Labour, we probably heard you yesterday crying over how a Lib-Lab coalition would spell doom, destruction, and defeat for all eternity. I think that the Liberal Democrats are better off with those who vote Lib Dem, not to get one of the other parties in or out, but because they want the Liberal Democrats in office.

  • As a Lib Dem, this hurts. I’m sure all of us feel this.

    However, we did what we needed to do for the country. We’ve made some major concessions. So have the Tories.

    It’s not the best solution. But it’s the best of a bad job.

    We have to make this work for the good of the country.

    If it fails, we’re going to be the one falling on our swords along with the Tories.

    If it works because of the policies in OUR manifesto. Then we could do much better next time.

  • Howard Bentley 11th May '10 - 11:34pm

    Since when did John Reid and David Blunkett dictate Labour’s policy?

    A deal could have been done with Labour, and Labour could have offered real PR. No doubt about it, it would have been tricky, and it would have required support from other parties.

    But you spent what, 90 minutes discussing this before going back to a nasty religion and foxhunting obsessed party? All parties are the same – they sound great in opposition but will give up every principle they have if they get a sniff of power.

  • WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE HAD NICK CLEGG DO?

    Seriously! How would Lib-Lab have stood up?

    How would a Tory minority government have worked?

    Clegg would have got a kicking whatever he chose to do.

    If people are voting merely to keep the Tories out, that’s
    a) an indictment of the electoral system
    b) their fault for voting tactically instead of voting for what they believe in.

    As unpalatable as a Lib-Con coalition is, a Liberal Democrat is Deputy Prime Minister, despite the party having fewer than 60 seats. We should have been nowhere. We’re now sharing power. Those Twitter/Facebook first time LibDem voters need to grow up, quickly.

  • Rachel the Lib Dems have not betrayed the Labour party they have betrayed themselves and their voters. When the Consevadem government collapses you will see that the future is not orange.

  • Quick question:

    Will Clegg and co be offering full support for Cameron when he tries to bring back fox hunting later this year?

    They can kill that bill dead if they like, but I somehow think they’ll let that one go in order to keep their filthy hands in power.

  • ToryBoy-Apparently 11th May '10 - 11:40pm

    A win by any means is a win …… OK !!!!!?????

    At least the nose-bleeds will stop as I can get down from the political high ground and grub in the dirt with all the other unprincipled politicians.

    There is no way to explain there is any form of natural affinity between Con & Lib-Dem, basically Nick Clegg has been suckered into believing the Tories somehow have common high principles with him. The Tories WILL lie to get into No. 10 and obviously have been practising for some time to be VERY convincing.

    Watch and learn as their true nature is shown as the clock starts to tick.

  • It sickens me that Clegg talked so much about electoral reform.

    All I wanted was for my vote to count.

    But he’s compromised that principle to be a deputy PM who’s sole function is to go round the country telling everyone what a great job the PM is doing.

    Thanks Nick. Don’t agree with you any more!

  • Nonsensico you really are a closet Conservative even the Tory press wouldn’t try to blame Gordon Brown for my incorrect spelling.

  • roland,

    I am a LibDem voter, a real one (not a kneejerk anti-Tory tactical voter) and I don’t feel betrayed. I feel upset by the bitter, angry Labour supporters and tactical voters being so vicious.

    Co-operation is not selling out. Politics doesn’t mean rigid, unyielding battle lines. Anyone who thinks that isn’t “progressive” in any way. It’s just flaming childish. Politics is about getting one’s policies enacted. Betrayal doesn’t come into it.

  • I would have preferred that the Lib Dems stuck to their principles and said they would not enter government unless they got PR.

    They’ve not done that, therefore they have betrayed the electorate that voted for them in good faith.

    A Tory minority government would have fallen apart, and, with PR massively on the agenda, the Lib Dems could then have won the popular vote at the next election, at which point PR would have been inevitable.

    That’s what I wanted the Lib Dems to do if they couldnt do a deal with Labour on PR.

    That’s why the Lib Dems are going to be trounced at the next election. And what’s worse, that’s why PR is now back to being at least a generation away from being introduced.

  • I can help but laugh at Nick Clegg, deputy pm, seriously?

  • I cant help but laugh at Nick Clegg, deputy pm, seriously?

  • Mike (Labour) 11th May '10 - 11:45pm

    @Senseco: No need to be a prick. And you’re wrong- I never said Labour was perfect. I opposed the war- the person I voted for in this election opposed it more fiercely than anyone and with more at stake than any Liberal.

    If the LibDem/Tory government does what a progressive tax system and a Labour government could not- if you narrow inequality against the global trend and reduce child poverty further and faster than Labour has managed to- you will have a point. That is not going to happen.

    The Liberal Democrats going into cabinet positions contributed to the Orange Book which advocated sweeping privatizations of pensions, post office, prisons etc and the dismantling of the NHS. They have more in common with the Tories than any Labour person.

  • Looks like the Lib Dem negotiators served their own interests well. Danny Alexander as Scottish Secretary and Chris Huhne in line to be Home Secretary (although not confirmed). A good few days work.

  • Howard Bentley,

    You are wrong. A progressive alliance government (call it what you will) would have had such a slender majority that it would have required the active cooperation of all Labour MPs, including Reid and Blunkett, who are not exactly insignificant mavericks. I would have liked to have seen such a government formed and work. But Labour’s dinosaurs wouldn’t allow it. They chose to put Cameron into Downing Street rather than lose face by going into coalition with the Liberal Democrats. I cannot imagine how history is going to treat Reid and Blunkett, but I will hazard a guess that it will be rather more harsh on them than on Nick Clegg for his foolish decision to go into coalition with the Tories, a decision that at least has the virtue of influencing government policy in some small way, rather than running away as Labour has done.

  • I am a Lib Dem councillor and have mixed emotions tonight. I like many others have fought Tories most of my political life. But this country does need a strong government to sort out the mess. A weak Tory minority government would have lasted a short time, done nothing difficult and made things worse.

    The choice with Labour did not exist. The numbers did not stack up and frankly their MPS were not on board. They wanted to go it alone. We seem to have got a good deal and I am willing to give Nick a cahnce and am not running off to join Labour.

    Just on fox hunting it will be a free vote so forget it – no fox hunting return this Parliament

  • Marianne of course you sold out you gave a party with 36% of the vote a majority for a few months in power. Perhaps in true Tory fashion, because you now are Tories, PR doesn’t matter now you’re in power.

  • @Alec regarding your 10:15 comments, you should really really know by now that Sinn Fein dont take their seats,as even Tories became aware during the last week while counting prospective majorities on their fingers.

  • Mike (Labour)

    Your opposition the the war amounted to nothing, because Blair took his orders from Dick Cheney, not his own members. At least Nick Clegg (even though I disagree with what he has done) is getting change out of Cameron. More than you ever got out of Cheney’s puppet, Blair.

  • I am getting so tired of hearing about the Lib Dems’ ‘fair’, ‘progressive’ policy of raising the income tax threshold. It’s nothing more than an ill-targeted, across-the-board, regressive tax cut that will drive up poverty and inequality (by raising the median income but not the incomes of the worst off – those of working age living on less than £6,500 a year and pensioners living on less than £9,500). No wonder the Tories have signed up.

    I fear that we’re now in a ‘worst of both worlds’ scenario. The Tories have signed up to an expensive Lib Dem tax cut for low-to-middle earners, but won’t stand for the tax rises for the rich that were supposed to pay for it. That just adds to the pressure to cut public spending. I can see that becoming a pattern – expensive Lib Dem policies being pursued but the Tories refusing to fund them through progressive tax measures, leaving public services underfunded and indirect taxes that penalise the poor spiralling upwards.

  • First-time Lib Dem voter here.

    I voted FOR certain Lib Dem policies (especially fair votes for all) and AGAINST certain other party policies (mainly the digital economies bill, banning drugs based on newspaper hysteria rather than evidence and the Tories’ plan to bring back fox hunting).

    Fortunately for me, the Lib Dems became kingmakers.

    But I’m not getting PR, the digital economies bill wont be revoked, the drugs policy is set to stay the same and we’re still going to get fox hunting.

    I dont really see what the point of asking my opinion was all about.

  • Let me just say one thing.

    Fuck Off.

  • Mike (Labour) 11th May '10 - 11:57pm

    @Sesenco: So what exactly is the problem? Blair (who I’m not a fan of) is long gone from the Labour party. The people left I trust to have been misled rather than badly motivated.

  • We have Liberal Ministers for the first time in decades, I have a strong trepidation about the future – Yet am very happy.

  • Mike (Labour) 12th May '10 - 12:00am

    @G.O: Exactly. They can go on TV and say “We took the poor out of tax” and win plaudits- while the poorest are left worse off. It’s for the middle class voters to pocket a tax cut and feel philanthropic about it is all it is.

  • These 18-34 yr old facebook/ twitterati users being the ones who
    a) didn’t turn up on polling day
    b) voted labour.

    Still, nice to see the consistency. It has been fun on here over the last few days. We (the Lib dems) are going to hell because we sided with Labour and now we are going to hell because we sided with the Tories. Well, if the old dinosaurs didn’t want reform (and lets face it they didn’t did they…they trooped before the tv studios) – wemay have to try somebody else.

  • We have betrayed progressive politics ? Get real. Every Labour Prime Minister there has ever been could have introduced Fair Votes. They didn’t. And now it’s our fault?
    To get political reform we have to do it. Labour promise it to get power, then do nothing. We now have the chance of a referendum. Without this deal there would be another 5 years of nothing.

  • David Walker 12th May '10 - 12:05am

    re people posting along the lines “I voted Lib Dem and got Tory”

    Why are people so surpised that they can vote for one party, but end up with another? Some of us have been voting Lib Dem for decades and got Tory or Labour time after time. Even aside from the absurd voting system, there are other people’s votes to take into account as well!

    It seems that it was the disfunctional Labour party that was couldn’t even be bothered to make a serious effort to reach a deal with the Lib Dems. That’s Nickcleggsfault, is it? A more likely truism would therefore be “vote Labour, get Tory”.

    And which party is going to be the one to actually achieve electoral reform, rather than just talk about it when it suits them to? How anybody, including Alistair Campbell, clings on to the idea that Labour are a ‘progressive’ party is simply astonishing. The only progressive party of the big 3 is the Lib Dems.

  • Nigel May,

    I vote LibDem for the same reasons as you. I have for years and years. I’ve seen nothing come of it because we’ve never come close to power.
    I sincerely hope that this new coalition does not merely involve the economic liberalism Mark (Labour) speaks of in the Orange Book, which is less to my lefty taste.
    We’ll see.
    For now I just want the whiners off our back.

  • Mike (Labour) 12th May '10 - 12:07am

    “G. O. – £700 is a lot of money to someone on £10K. I’m all for it and look forward to watching Labour trying to explain to their core supporters why it is a bad thing.”

    This is why it is a bad thing-

    The government will have to cut deeper than Thatcher, without the options of privatizing industries for quick cash. There will be cuts that hit the poor badly.

    Rather than make those cuts a little less savage, you’re raising the tax thresh-hold. 6% of the entire cost of this policy goes into the pockets of the poorest 20% of people. It will decrease the relative buying power of the poor compared to the middle- and if in the coalition the mansion tax has been dropped also it will increase the fortunes of the rich and very rich more than it does the poor.

    This is a policy with which 94% of the cost goes to the incidental 80% who aren’t supposed to be the targeted beneficiaries. And it’s costing £17billion of public services which would otherwise not have to be cut, and the poorest benefit disproportionately from public services.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 12th May '10 - 12:08am

    albo2002:
    “If Labour were genuinely serious about not forming a coalition then reveal why.”

    These comments just get more and more bizarre.

    It must have been obvious to anyone watching the news coverage today that a sizeable proportion of the Labour party was not just “not genuinely serious” about forming a coalition, but was implacably opposed to doing so.

    As for the reason why, it doesn’t take too much imagination to work it out – and several of the Labour politicians who sabotaged the deal explained exactly why: they preferred to be in opposition.

  • @Liberal Neil

    Well, if you are in politics for what you have now got then good luck to you. You are entitled to your view that the Tories are only ‘slightly’ worse than Labour. The reality is that the Tories would not have done any of the social and political reforms of the past 13 years, were intent on destroying the Health Service and State Education, marginalising us in Europe and continuing to reward the wealthy and privileged.

    It is not being a Labour apologist for pointing out where we would be had the Tories remained in power. It is also the case that not everything they have done I agree with. Although I’m not as outraged as some, there has been a bit too much authoritarianism and not enough regard for some civil liberties. I certainly did not support the Iraq War.

    I also understand that there are some in the Labour Party (wrongly in my view) that did not want a coalition with Lib Dems (mostly has been ex-home secretary Blairites, delighting in Browns’ downfall). The numbers never did stack up for a Lib Lab coalition. However before the Lib Dems get too self congratulatory, you would do well to remember that you lost seats and failed to capture seats you could easily have won.

    Labour performed badly, but exceeded expectations. Lib Dems performed badly, but fell well short of expectations. Had you achieved your potential then maybe the numbers would have been there for a Lib Lab coalition?

  • Mike (Labour)

    As recently as earlier this year Gordon Brown told the Chilcott Inquiry that the Iraq War was a noble enterprise, that he was 100% for it and was fully involved in the decision to participate in it.

    Misled? A plagiarised PhD thesis? Sundry speculations from Iraqi defectors not noted for the objectivity? As George Galloway put it, those Labour MPs who voted for the war were either wicked or stupid. Either way, they deserve to be out. You are clearly very trusting.

  • Mike (Labour) 12th May '10 - 12:09am

    Bugger, I seem to have picked up the habit of writing “thresh-hold” instead of threshold.

  • Scott Miller 12th May '10 - 12:09am

    You can cease your spinning now.Guardian editorial:
    ” Labour appears to have bent over backwards to make policy compromises. In the end it was the Liberal Democrats who said no thanks, this is not going to work for us, and headed for Mr Cameron’s door instead”

  • Ive voted LibDem all my adult life. After this fiasco I wont be doing so again. HiHoHiHo, Over to Labour I go.

  • From the BBC Website

    This is the scale of the damage done:

    More on the details of the coalition deal. The Lib Dems agreed to an emergency budget within 50 days and to Tory a budget reduction plan including £6bn in cuts to non-frontline services in 2010/11. The two sides also agreed a commitment to a replacement for the Trident nuclear missile system but the programme will be scrutinised for value for money.

  • Mike (Labour) 12th May '10 - 12:12am

    @Senseco: I remember the enormous pressure for war- a war that was going to happen with or without British involvement. Better a America-Britain coalition than an America minority invasion eh?

  • Mike (Labour) you just don’t get it do you. Why do you bother posting here. Post where people thing that the poverty trap is a good thing.

  • A final post. When the election was being fought Nick Clegg had an admirable dignity; as did all Lib Dem voters. I have followed the last few days since the election quite closely. I have seen the Tories and their disgusting media sink to new lows over this period. Not only have they continued their personal attacks on Gordon Brown (the only person who has been dignified throughout) but when they thought Nick Clegg was going to do a deal with Labour their disgusting animosity turned on him. I have also noticed that gradually Lib Dems who initially wanted a deal with Labour metamorphosed into Tories themselves after only four days of talks. Is there any surprise Labour wouldn’t do any deal with them.I believe a lot of Lib Dem voters have kept their dignity and principles but some have followed their leader. David Cameron.

  • Mike (Labour) 12th May '10 - 12:14am

    And it’s pretty hypocritical for you to say that the Iraq war is an unforgivable blight on the Labour party while governing in tandem with the Tories good lord.

  • The Liberal Democrat apologists, who seem to have no idea why any Liberal Democratic voter has the right to feel aggrieved with the Con-Lib pact, will be in for a great shock next election.

  • “Lib Dems performed badly, but fell well short of expectations. Had you achieved your potential then maybe the numbers would have been there for a Lib Lab coalition?”

    Hold on a minute, Steve D. The reason we have a hung Parliament rather than an outright Tory victory is because the Liberal Democrats stopped the Tories winning a dozen or more key target seats and actually won three seats from them.

    I don’t agree with what Nick Clegg has done, and I feat that it will all end in tears. But the fact remains that Labour tribalists like Reid and Blunkett sabotaged any possibility of a non-Tory coalition government.

  • watching news at moment, lib dems what a joke like sheep coming out of there meeting.never being so betrayed.

  • Mike (Labour) 12th May '10 - 12:19am

    @Hugh: A fundamental plank of New Labour was endeavouring to avoid the poverty trap- with tax credits for example. This is what Labour has won plaudits in academia, outside of the right-wing press that has managed to shape the narrative. We’ll see what poverty’s like when more jobs are lost than needed to be so- Christ, this Lib Dem tax cut in isolation increases poverty by decreasing the relative buying power of the poor and increasing inequality, that’s not even factoring in the extra cuts that will need to be made.

  • The tories whole heartedly supported the Iraq war, some of you seem to have forgotten that.

  • Mike (Labour)

    So you are now defending the war?

    Roland

    Lib Dems metamorphosed into Tories? Oh, you mean like Tony Blair when he was paying homage to puppet-master Cheney?

  • Mike (Labour) 12th May '10 - 12:23am

    @Senseco: I’m saying that I wouldn’t have supported it, but it has happened, and it might have been goddamn worse for the Iraqi people if it had happened without British involvement. The best Blair could have done was let America do it and not get involved- which might have left him with a cleaner slate personally but might not have been best realistically for the victims of that war.

  • Sesenco

    Nick Clegg is now David Cameron’s right hand man, and will push Tory agendas in his absence, the metamorphosis has occurred in all but name (as of yet).

  • Anthony Aloysius St 12th May '10 - 12:25am

    Scott Miller

    I’ll just post the link to that editorial so that people can read it for themselves:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/may/11/coalition-government-liberal-democrats-editorial

    Naturally you omitted this part:
    “In fairness to the Lib Dems, it has to be admitted that the Commons arithmetic with Labour was far more difficult than with the Tories, and that Labour’s partisan recalcitrants spent much of the day in front of the cameras illustrating just why the management of such a coalition might be a nightmare.”

    Actually I think that is an extreme understatement. I would have liked nothing more than to see a “Progressive Coalition” to keep the Tories out. The problem is that the actions of the Labour backbenchers would not just have made it a “nightmare” as the Guardian says – they would clearly have made it impossible.

  • Mike (Labour) Clearly you do not have many friends on the minimum wage where their hours vary from month to month. Socialism likes to keep people in their place grateful for “benefits” instead of being able to improve their own lives by their own efforts. I’ve helped people fill in the forms and had to tell them not to do the extra hours or take the pay rise.

  • The Liberal Democrat apologists, who seem to have no idea why any Liberal Democratic voter has the right to feel aggrieved with the Con-Lib pact, will be in for a great shock next election.

    I couldn’t give a stuff. I will keep voting for what I believe in. That’s all it’s in my power to do. I doubt I’ll be shocked next election: the nation voted for Maggie Thatcher. Three times. Revenge voting because you’re annoyed that your best friend went off with someone you dislike is childish, but I know what people are capable of and I expect it. Hey ho.

    Go ahead, feel aggrieved, but I can’t see what the alternative would have been, I really can’t.

  • A lot of people who yearned for a ‘progressive alliance’ obviously have a different interpretation of the term ‘progressive’ than I do.

    Personally I don’t think it’s a byword for big state spending, target-setting and central control of public services, a labyrinthine tax credits and benefits system that traps people in poverty, the steady erosion of civil liberties and a decline in social mobility – but that is what Labour’s social democracy has delivered.

    I see no sign that leading figures in the Labour Party resile from any of these, and until they do, the Left will be unable to deliver on the noble aims that it espouses.

    Now of course there are plenty of reasons to doubt the Tories’ progressive credentials – but I believe they have moved in a liberal direction under David Cameron’s leadership, and Lib Dem influence over, and participation in, the next government will serve the achievement of progressive ends. It also happened to be the only sensible way forward given the hand we were dealt by the electorate.

    So I’m genuinely optimistic about this deal and certainly think we should all give it a fair wind.

  • Wow, what a momentus day.

    I’ve now just been phoned by a Labour councillor who’s ‘disillusioned’ by what we’ve done… The same councillor who backed a Tory council administration on our DC for several years but had nothing to show in return…

    Well I won’t be rushing off to back the Labour Party – they lost sight of what people need, they failed to get to grips with the challenge of low incomes and getting people to work – removing disincentives and giving people a fairer system for tax and benefits without lumbering them in dependency. They failed to change the electoral system when they had the chance and aren’t credible on this now.

    The Lib Dems have made the only pragmatic choice on offer. Yes its going to be tough – was always going to be so. And whatever we did we’d get the brickbats – no friends for us in the press… If we’d sat back and offer to vote on policies in parliament we’d get beaten up regularly on each issue and have little influence – been open to media manipulation by our opponents and we’d have seen many more unpopular Tory policies implemented than we will see now.

    In doing so we are growing up as a party – we are taking responsibility and sharing in the tough decisions that the economy requires.

    Never forget how tribal our politics is – rational argument is not accepted by many political activists. That has to change and we’re part of the change, our appeal is to the wider electorate in the end. We are part of making changes happen based on our policies – not sitting on the sidelines and playing innocent. A tough choice was made, I think Nick deserves support and encouragement.

    Labour are in disarray – the oponents of a deal with us were vociferous in their attacks and undermined the credibility of what was supposedly on offer. Labour need to go away and be in opposition – we’re right to take up the challenge and get our hands dirty in the national interest.

  • Mike (Labour) 12th May '10 - 12:30am

    @Hugh:Mike (Labour) Clearly you do not have many friends on the minimum wage where their hours vary from month to month. Socialism likes to keep people in their place grateful for “benefits” instead of being able to improve their own lives by their own efforts. I’ve helped people fill in the forms and had to tell them not to do the extra hours or take the pay rise.

    I live on a fucking council estate mate, do you think I know people on minimum wage? I wouldn’t know people on minimum if you’d had you’re fucking way would I because there wouldn’t be one you pillock. What kind of poverty trap would there be with the poorest on half the wages they can expect now eh?

    I’ve spent too long tonight trying to put off waking up to a reactionary government, I’m going to bed before you piss me off further.

  • @Sesenco

    Yes but you failed to win in many other constituencies where victory was easy. My own constituency of Watford, where the Lid Dems dominate local politics, being a prime example. Ok, so it was a Labour MP, but now it is Tory (not Lib Dem or Labour). There are plenty of other examples of where you could (and should) have done better.

    What about York Outer, Romsey & Southampton North, Hereford & Herefordshire South, Truro and Falmouth, Camborne and Redruth, Richmond Park, Newton Abbott, Cornwall South East? All lost to the Tories on large swings. That’s eight seats lost for a start. Then from your Targets that you failed to win, Guildford, Watford, Ealing Central & Acton, Weston-Super-Mare, Ludlow, Dorset West, Meon Valley, Devon Central? All requiring less that a 5% swing. That’s another 9 seats.

  • Andrew Suffield 12th May '10 - 12:34am

    So all the trolls who are already posturing about the result of the next election are irrelevant.

    Come, now, Andrew, you’re in the big time… you can’t keep dismissing dissenters as not only wrong but malicious.

    Claiming you know the result of the next general election, when it won’t be for months or years, is not “dissent”. At best, it’s insanity. When used as a basis to bitch about the Lib Dems on this site, it’s just trolling.

    Damn right I’m dismissing you as malicious.

  • I personally, like many other individuals know of plenty of people who voted LD this election, will not in future, call it short sighted, or whatever you like, truth is LD have agreed to implement the Tory manifesto, and have given up on electoral reform.

  • All of you Lib Dems or should I say pupating Tories should realise Nick Clegg is not your leader any more David “Camera’s on” is. Nick Clegg is only your Deputy Prime Minister. You now have no Identity as a party.PS Don’t blame us or the “National Good” for this, look in the mirror.

  • Deary-me what have the Labour trolls been drinking tonight? An almost comical outpouring of bile from a party that refused to work for a “progressive coalition”.

  • So Steve D why don’t you get it? The FPTP system, our press and the general beating up by Labour and Tory machines through the campaign have generated a hug parliament. the Lib Dems have opted for the least worst opton – in the national rather than party interest.

    Don’t really think you can spin this all as our creation – your party should have changed the voting system when you had the chance – 13 years of it!!!

  • Scott Miller 12th May '10 - 1:05am

    It seems to me, and is now being confirmed in more news reports, that the Lib Dems contacted Labour for talks to try and wring more concessions out of Cameron.It worked, well done.

    Just as an afterthought what will your joint LD/Tory leaflets now be called?

  • Labour made the right decision, deep down they knew that that them making a three way party would have completely destroyed them and the lib dems in the next election paving the path for the torys to stroll in to downing street unchallenged the only reason labour contemplated siding with the lib dems was to keep the torres out an perhaps to strenghthen the lib dems possesion amongst things forcing the torres to abandon some of there country killing policys.
    they chose the surrender rather then form a rocky goverment which could have easily be picked of by the conservitives the fact is if the went through with the rainbow coalition the would have had some many flaws one being an unelected prime minister once again the had no choice but to admit defeat which i am glad they did
    it
    shows that they value morals before power well ill be voting for them next election although not being perfect i believe that they are the best leaders for the country i would of liked a lab/lib unity but the seats were simply not there so i believe they chose the national intrest above clinging onto power which is the right decision

  • As someone who narrowly lost a council election to a Conservative five days ago you might expect me to want to keep as far away from them as possible. Actually I think Nick and our negotiating team have made the right decision, and by backing this deal our MPs have done us proud. Of course there will be elements of the programme – such as, apparently, Trident renewal – that we are a bit grumpy about. That’s life. But it looks to me like this will be a programme strong on the environment, strong on fair taxes and strong on political reform. The decision we’ve taken today was a mature one, and it was right for the country and for what we believe in.

  • I agree with your analysis Yab, and for that reason will support the Lib Dems

  • vince thurnell 12th May '10 - 6:18am

    I don’t think some of you actually understand why so many people are not only upset but disgusted with what the Lib Dems have done so i will try and explain.
    I have been brought up to vote Labour as they were the only party that helps the working man. In 2005 I decided enough was enough and swtiched to the Lib Dems because i had,had enough of a Labour party that was equally as right wing as the Tories. I have to say it was not something i did lightly as my dad would be turning in his grave at the thought of voting anyone else but Labour even though i come from an area where it is a straight race between the Lib Dems and the Tories.
    Even though i don’t agree with all of your manifesto such as privatsing Royal MailI i did believe your policies were the nearest to my own beliefs so once more voted for you in this election.
    I took great delight after the election although tinged with some surprise trhat the Lib Dems had lost some seats to see that the Tory party had not gained an outright majority and really felt now was the time that something different could be done in British politics.
    Instead I have seen Nick Clegg prostitute himself to the highest bidder in a desperate attempt to get any type of power he can. I would of had no problem with the Lib dems voting for the Tories on a policy by policy tactic and certainly would of understood voting for the queens speech. Instead he and your party have sold themselves for a few scraps the Tories have thrown you from their dining table.
    I feel betrayed and actually feel partly responsible now for having a Tory government..The Tories stand for everything i hate in life but my vote in a small way has now allowed them to be the government. Nobody is saying that the Lib dems shouldnt of tried to get some concessions out of them but that could of been done on a policy by policy basis rather than sitting in their cabinet propping up their primeminister.
    Its a shame some of you havent grasped how let down some of us feel and how what has happenned has really gone against everything we stand for. Hopefully you will never be in the same position as some of us because i’ll be honest it really doesn’t feel nice knowing everything you stand for has been turned on its head because of one mans need for power ie Clegg. And to top it all ive got my father waiting for me at the pearly gates ready to lecture me about how i might as well of voted Tory.
    Shame on Clegg, shame on your party and shame on some of you. I hope your never put in the same position as some of us have been over the last couple of days.

  • Liberal Neil

    “G. O. – £700 is a lot of money to someone on £10K. I’m all for it and look forward to watching Labour trying to explain to their core supporters why it is a bad thing.”

    You’re right on two counts – reducing the tax burden by £700 for someone on £10,000 is a good thing to do, and it’s therefore not easy to explain to people who might not be interested in the nitty-gritty of these things why the policy as a whole is regressive.

    So what, though? Responsible politicians *have* to be interested in the nitty-gritty, and should not be ignoring these two ugly facts: that only a small proportion of this £17bn handout goes to the low earners it’s supposedly intended to help (making it a hugely inefficient use of scarce public money), and that it will leave the very poorest – those not earning enough to get the full £700 benefit – even more firmly outside the mainstream of society. (Still, who cares about them when this is such an easy sell for the low-to-middle-income ‘core vote’ – oh, and the couples on £50,000 or £100,000 or £200,000 who also stand to get a nice tax cut. Is that really your position?)

    This shouldn’t be that hard for a thoughtful person to grasp: a tax policy that gives more to those who need less just is not progressive. This policy is worth £700 to people earning £10,000, a bit less to those earning £9,000, less again to those on £8,000, and so on until people on less than £6,500 get nothing at all.

    In contrast, the tax credit system – which lifted my own family out of poverty, incidentally – could have been used to give more to those who need more; it could have been used to give that same £700 to a £10,000 earner, but more to a £5,000 earner and less to a £20,000 (or £40,000, or £80,000) earner.

  • I think there’s a simple enough choice here for grassroots Lib Dems (not easy, maybe, but simple!):

    If you see yourself as being on the liberal right, obviously you should stick around and do what you can to nudge the Tories in the right direction on Europe, Trident, immigration etc. – although it looks like that won’t be much! – while broadly backing them on (e.g.) choosing tax cuts over public spending.

    If you see yourself as more in the social democratic tradition, though, I think this is a time to think seriously about ‘coming home’ to Labour and doing what you can to nudge Labour in the right direction on civil liberties, Trident etc. You would find many natural allies on the liberal centre left of the party.

  • Those earning below the threshold are simply not in the tax system under our proposal.

    So yes, it is a tautological truth that a tax cut will not affect those who don’t pay taxes. But it certainly helps the low earners in the tax system much more than it does the high earners [proportionally of course, but I am sure you are not suggesting we should remove proportionality from our tax system as that would be a poll tax].

    So rather than attacking this superb, progressive, equalising policy, why not start attacking the whole package of green jobs, easier employment for the disabled, more stable benefits [eg 6 month tax credits] etc… which Labour unfortunately forgot about in favour of the 10p tax move (regressive), growing extreme child poverty, and a tax credit system that actually hits the poorest the most with confusion and unscalable bureaucracy.

  • ToryBoy-Apparently 12th May '10 - 10:03am

    To the apologist, I am not a labour troll or in any way say the lib-lab-et al alliance was viable, which it was not.

    The basic fact is that the Lib-Dems have compromised their ideals for power (fact)
    (You cannot excuse trading away your most basic ideals)

    The illusion is that this is an equal partnership, but remember all the ‘we won’ rhetoric against labour from the tories. (Internally, the numbers will be raised. i.e. we got a massive increase in vote and won, you came 3rd etc

    The tories do not think this is a fair and equal partnership, based on the relative proportion of the votes each ‘partner’ received.

    It is an arrangement forced on them by circumstances and agreed to because of their desire for power at any cost.
    The lib-Dems have agreed to the partnership on the basis of power at any costs is better than none.

    Now the deed is done the mutual respect and back slapping is going to start to fade.
    There is no common ground only a common need for power.

    Do you seriously think the right wing of the Tories is going to have any form of conversion, overnight or otherwise.

    The primary objective now is to implement enough policy to appeal to the latent Tory voters out there and demonstrate that they could achieve ‘so much more’ if they were not hobbled by the ‘marriage of convenience’ they have entered.

    Also do you think any fixed term agreements are going to mean anything if the Tories see the main chance for total victory.

    Best of luck with the pipedreams, this is just a lull before the storm in terms of the economy and the political landscape.

  • Henry –

    “this superb, progressive, equalising policy”

    – sorry, but it just is not equalising. The crucial gap between those on very low incomes and those on middle incomes will widen, because the incomes of the former will stay the same while the incomes of the latter will increase by £700. That’s beyond dispute, surely?

    If you haven’t yet done so, take a look at the work done by Left Foot Forward and the IFS on this question – Google ‘Lib Dem tax policy fails the fairness test’.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 12th May '10 - 10:46am

    “Instead I have seen Nick Clegg prostitute himself to the highest bidder in a desperate attempt to get any type of power he can.”

    I see what you say about the possibility of tolerating a Tory minority government rather than entering a formal coalition, but I think we have to be clear that by yesterday afternoon there was only _one_ bidder. A large enough section of the Labour party had declared publicly against a Lib/Lab coalition to make it obvious that it wouldn’t work.

  • ToryBoy Apprently wrote:

    “There is no common ground only a common need for power.”

    That is one way of looking at it. Another way it to say that there is a need to govern the country, and that it is better governed witrh some Liberal Democrat input than allowing Cameron and his gang to do their worst unhindered. My own feeling is that the leadership found itself an impossible situation and took the least disastrous of a very limited range of options (the better one having been shut off by Reid and Blunkett).

  • I have indeed read the analysis you mention – as I said, it is equalising for all those within the tax system (after the reform) and unfortunately you are simply repeating the self-evident “those who don’t pay taxes won’t benefit from a tax cut”.

    Anyone earning less than £10,000 per annum gets a 100% tax cut: We can’t actually reform the tax system any more. And the IFS called it progressive in another report…

    There are other policies to help those who don’t pay tax after the reform, and this is talking purely about tax reform so as I said, don’t just talk about this.

    You avoided mentioning or answering my questions surrounding: Labour’s 10p tax move (regressive), growing extreme child poverty, and a tax credit system that actually hits the poorest the most with confusion and unscalable bureaucracy.

  • Andrea Gill 12th May '10 - 1:49pm

    Don’t feed the spiteful Labour trolls, it’s not worth it.

  • Andrea Gill 12th May '10 - 1:59pm

    Just remember – BREATHE DEEPLY and give this a chance.

    Also, just think about this – David Cameron enthusiastically asked people to VOTE FOR CHANGE. Doesn’t it make you smile just a LITTLE bit that he probably got a wee bit more change than he’d hoped for? 😉

  • I hope that’s not me being accused of being a ‘spiteful troll’. I know rudeness is endemic on message boards, but it’s a poor tale if one can’t engage in a reasoned, respectful discussion about a policy issue on a progressive website without coming up against that sort of comment.

    Henry –

    “There are other policies to help those who don’t pay tax after the reform, and this is talking purely about tax reform so as I said, don’t just talk about this.”

    If there are policies in place that will ensure that very low incomes rise in line with middle incomes, then of course I’m taking too narrow a view. I don’t know if that’s the case; if so, though, it’s worth noting that the package as a whole must cost even more than the £17bn headline figure, which is cause for concern.

    ” it is equalising for all those within the tax system (after the reform)”

    I don’t think that can be right – the incomes of people in the £6,500 – £10,000 bracket will rise by less than the incomes of middle earners (i.e. less than the full £700), so the gap between those groups will widen. In any case, equalisation for those within the tax system is a rather strange thing to aim at given that the biggest victims of inequality are *outside* the tax system.

    “and unfortunately you are simply repeating the self-evident “those who don’t pay taxes won’t benefit from a tax cut”.”

    Of course this is self-evident, but that hardly means it’s irrelevant! It’s equally self-evident that an inheritance tax cut for millionaires won’t benefit ordinary people, but it’s still reasonable to oppose it on those grounds (as the Lib Dems have successfully done, of course).

    “Anyone earning less than £10,000 per annum gets a 100% tax cut: We can’t actually reform the tax system any more.”

    ..which is why I think tax credits, which enable us to actually give people the money they need (perhaps thousands of pounds) rather than simply refraining from taxing them, are a better way of addressing the problem of very low incomes than tax cuts.

    “You avoided mentioning or answering my questions surrounding: Labour’s 10p tax move (regressive), growing extreme child poverty, and a tax credit system that actually hits the poorest the most with confusion and unscalable bureaucracy.”

    I don’t have a problem with admitting that Labour have got things wrong and the Lib Dems have got things right – e.g. I think it’s probably right, in the present circumstances, to look at cutting child tax credits for the better-off in order to protect higher-priority spending. I’m not trying to score partisan points, just to express my concerns about this particular policy.

    On child poverty: part of the issue here has been that the median income naturally tends to pull away from the lowest incomes, increasing the gap between the bottom and the middle (and hence levels of relative and absolute poverty). My main problem with the tax threshold rise is that it continues to pull in exactly that direction.

    On tax credits: of course we should do everything we can to make sure those who need them can access them, but I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that their overall effect is to *harm* the poorest (many of whom receive thousands of pounds a year in this way – my own family was lifted out of poverty overnight when we started receiving £350 a month in tax credits).

    There’s a wider question here, which is this: at a time when public spending is going to be under enormous pressure, how can it be right to spend £17bn or more on an across-the-board tax cut – 70% of which goes into the pockets of above-average earners? If it’s wrong in the present climate to spend £1.2 billion on tax credits for families on incomes of around £30,000 – £50,000 (as the Lib Dems have been arguing), how can it be right to spend ten times that amount on tax cuts for familes on £30,000, £50,000, £100,000, £200,000?

  • I think anyone that voted libdem but isn’t keen on the idea of a collation or in fact it seems PR, Well you have to wonder what the hell you were doing? A lib-dem vote isn’t code for “i secretly want Labour” Labour have done some great things but they’ve also done some truly shocking things that should never be attributed to a centre-left party.

    We’ve been handed a chance to get some solid and by the looks of it excellent Liberal Democrat policy’s through and have tapered quite a few of the unsavoury conservative ones. We’ve got concessions of opt-ing out on other things,

    I’m not happy it’s with conservatives but quite frankly the OP is right labour blew it on Monday evening when they practically turned the whole negotiation into a circus of inter-fighting and one-up manship , it wouldn’t work number wise and it seems over us nothing but a fake smile of “Oh you know us were a progressive bunch, really” as if everyone could just forget the last 13 years.

    I wish the Deputy PM and his team well and I hope they can do us proud in what are difficult circumstances. 🙂

  • ToryBoy-Apparently 13th May '10 - 2:02am

    I hope someone has noticed the ‘little’ 55% tweak of the constitution.

    All the talk of new politics and the 1st thing you do is rig the system to ensure you get your maximum term to play out your long term plans.

    This is regardless of whether the coalition works or not.

    Please note this is not sour grapes but real concern that the built-in ‘Emergency brake’ is being cut and any future government (assuming the Tories can now ever be voted out) can lock themselves in by tweaking the percentage up as it is established that this is a valid and legal strategy.

    This has solidified my assessment that apart from being a astonishingly clever strategy by Dave & Nick to gain power, it is also the clever re-purposing of a well used and proven idea from the ‘Cold War’.

    Welcome to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) politics revisited.

    David Cameron and Nick Clegg are both risking all as any failure will allow the extreme factions of their respective parties to destroy them from a career point of view and possibly the party itself.

    There is a commitment to fully support each other and mutual fear of destruction will work to cement the agreement as has been proven by history in another arena.

    The 55% tweak removes a possible fracture point and locks in the ‘game’ from a time perspective.

    So well done, absolutely stunning, really !!!!!

    I am now convinced that this coalition cannot fail because it is held together by fear, a much more dependable and managable emotion than respect or even belief.

    New politics indeed, sometime ‘OLD’ repainted works just as well.

  • I suspect the 55% tweak is ultimately about giving the Tories a safety net rather than saving the coalition. The Conservatives have 47% of MPs; thus they could now survive a no confidence motion *even if* the Lib Dems walked out of the coalition and voted against them. So for all the talk about how the coalition ‘has to work’ etc., it looks for all the world as if Cameron is expecting at some stage to be trying to keep a minority government in power.

  • …in fact, maybe that’s not cynical enough! Once this 55% measure is enacted, can’t the Tories just ditch their coalition partners at their earliest convenience, safe in the knowledge that they effectively have a majority in the Commons? (A party with 293 seats or more now can’t lose a confidence motion.)

    Is that right? Am I missing something? If they’re getting away with that, it’s unbelievable.

  • Been doing a bit of reading around this 55% business… apparently it’s not no confidence motions that need 55% support, it’s motions to dissolve parliament. The idea, supposedly, is that if (say) Cameron was left running a minority government and it lost a confidence vote (which I think would still only require 50% of MPs + 1?), he couldn’t just pull the plug on the parliament – other parties would get a shot at forming a government. It’s all a bit complicated, but I’m not sure if it’s the democratic outrage it appears to be at first glance – it seems to be about making parliaments safe from governments rather than vice-versa.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 13th May '10 - 8:33am

    “Am I missing something?”

    Yes. The 55% threshold has nothing to do with no-confidence motions. The agreement doesn’t say anything about no-confidence motions.

    The 55% relates to the agreement to fix the term of parliament. It’s the size of a “supermajority” that would be required to shorten the (otherwise fixed) length of a parliament and trigger a general election. (If the term of parliament were absolutely fixed, the threshold would be 101%, not 55%.)

    This was somehow misreported yesterday. That misled a lot of people (including me) into thinking something fundamentally undemocratic had been agreed. But it’s actually a watering-down of the fixed-term parliament policy that was in the Lib Dem manifesto. Personally I think a higher threshold – say two thirds – would be more appropriate, to take the decision to dissolve parliament out of the prime minister’s hands even if he has a largeish majority.

  • Good luck Lib Dem, I think you will need it…

    I have expressed my views, several times and have enjoyed doing so, at the end of the day it is the Lib Dem party that made the choices, blaming Labour is sadly trying to make excuses for those choices.

    Your party has stepped into political adulthood and all that comes with that, including accepting responsibility for ones actions, good or bad.

    We cannot tell what the future holds for the coalition, we can only hope and pray that the coalition gets it right, if it does not, then the fear is it is those who can least afford it, who will carry the most burden in ratio of income to tax, it is always the poorest and those who need help the most who will suffer the most.

    Every government of every colour when it needs to make cuts, always looks at those on benefit, the sick and disabled have for government after government had the goal posts moved to take people off benefit, now I can understand there are some that abuse the system, but do politicians realise how hard it is to get some of the benefits in the first place?
    You are not just given them, usually there is medical after medical, test after test, and now we will see even more tests, actually what I have heard it will be a non medical person making a judgement by running a test from a crib sheet…which makes me cringe

    And when unemployment rises beyond what is acceptable do you know what will happen, just like when Mrs T was in power, let them go on the sick to hide the real figures… yes we still remember.

    I think you have a very small plank across a very deep hole, whatever you do even abstaining certain votes will not protect you.

    Good luck God bless

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