Over at the New Statesman, Lib Dem blogger and Voice day editor Nick Thornsby has a piece setting out why he thinks the arguments for going into coalition remain as strong today as in May 2010.
Here’s an excerpt:
A coalition with Labour and a number of the smaller parties in Parliament was never a serious proposition, both because of the numerical difficulties and because of Labour’s intransigence. In hindsight it’s clear that most in the Labour party weren’t interested in joining a coalition. They’d rather be in opposition.
A confidence and supply arrangement was another option, but in my view those who think this would have been better for either the country or the Lib Dems are mistaken; it would have all the downsides of coalition with few of the benefits.
That left only a coalition or a minority Tory administration. Within weeks of forming a minority government, George Osborne would have produced the most populist, tax-cutting budget imaginable and, when it failed to get through the Commons, David Cameron would have visited Her Majesty, Parliament would have been dissolved and a new general election – probably in autumn 2010 – would have ensued. And at this point, both Labour and the Tories would have had one message: “it’s time for you to vote for one of us – the Lib Dems have rejected the option of power”. The Lib Dems would have been squeezed like never before; every marginal – virtually every Lib Dem seat – would be vulnerable. We’d have been reduced to a miniscule Parliamentary Party.
And the Tories would have got their majority. Even the most anti-coalition of Lib Dems can’t seriously say that that would have been a preferable option.
The combination of being in government and being members of a truly democratic party leaves Lib Dem members with an immense amount of influence. We should use it as best we can to make this government is fair and as liberal as possible – not blindly supporting but constructively engaging, working with Lib Dem ministers, who we know to be honest, caring liberals, to achieve as much as possible.
You can read Nick’s full piece here.
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