Tag Archives: coalition

Coalition: Yes or no?

Liberal Democrats quite like to be in government. We like to think that we can make a difference. So when the larger parties find themselves without an overall majority, we – as individuals – are courted.

This article deals with two aspects of the decision to go into coalition – political legitimacy and our party’s mandate to govern.

Liberal Democrats do not support the current unequal voting system. Put simply, we want every vote to be valued equally. We want the number of elected representatives to correspond to the number of people who voted for each party. So, if a party overall gets 10% of the vote, we believe that they should have 10% of the representatives.

When this doesn’t happen – which is nearly all of the time – the main question to ask is whether we make our decisions based on the numbers of representatives, or based on our vote share. For example, if we have 10% of the vote but only 2% of the representatives, do we say our mandate reflects our 10% or our 2%?

Posted in Op-eds | 21 Comments

Don’t let the Tories airbrush us out of history

The Conservatives’ Twitter feed has annoyed me even more than usual today.

It’s no different. They are always taking credit for things that Lib Dem ministers drove forward in Government, but we shouldn’t let them away with it.

Remember when David Cameron told Nick Clegg in the 2010 leaders’ debate that the rise in the tax threshold was unaffordable? Now they are proudly claiming credit for it as if it was there idea when everyone knows it wasn’t.

They also highlight the rise in the State Pension. Ah yes, but who was responsible for the triple lock, ensuring that the pension rose by earnings, 2.5% or inflation whichever was the biggest? Step forward Steve Webb, former Lib Dem Pensions Minister.

And they are also boasting about the Pupil Premium, an idea implemented and boosted by education ministers Sarah Teather and David Laws.

It’s funny that they’re not boasting about that other Lib Dem achievement, the massive investment in renewables. Ah, that will be because they’ve dismantled that one.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 18 Comments

In conversation with David Laws

The former Liberal Democrat MP and government minister discusses his new book about the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, says what he would do differently in hindsight, and looks into his crystal ball to see what the future holds for the party…

Your new book about the Coalition has certainly made a few waves following its Sunday newspaper serialisation – the right kind of waves?

I think inevitably there is a temptation in the press to shed light on things which are currently topical, such as Tory divisions on the referendum. But the primary reason I wrote the book was to give an accurate, historic account of the Coalition and a proper explanation of our part in it – and if the serialisation results in more people reading the book, so much the better.

It sounds like you’re, by and large, proud of what the Lib Dems achieved in government?

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A surprising gap in David Laws’ knowledge

Last night, Biteback Publishing held a party to celebrate the launch of David Laws’ book, Coalition.

The Times (£) has an amusing anecdote from the event:

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David Laws on Marr: I want to expose how NHS chief was leant on to encourage debate on NHS funding

It’s the second week of David Laws’ coalition revelations serialised in the Mail on Sunday. This week we have him telling us that:

To take them in turn:

You have to wonder why we bought and publicised the £8bn figure, too. It’s all very well for David Laws to tell Andrew Marr today that Norman Lamb was always sceptical about it, but I seem to recalls making a massive thing about how we were the only party who was going to meet the £8bn request in full. If we knew that the figure was nonsense then, why on earth did we not say loudly and lay out the choices that the nation faced in a much more realistic way?

On Marr, David Laws emphasised how the Lib Dems helped IDS veto Treasury requests for further welfare cuts, confirming that Osborne saw it as a cash cow.There are problems with this analysis, though.  Danny Alexander seemed to be hand in glove with Osborne on a lot of this stuff, at one point calling people affected by the Bedroom Tax “bedroom blockers.” Also, a lot of the really awful ideas, from the rape clause to the capping at two children were IDS’s idea.

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Clegg says Tories are squandering our legacy. But it wasn’t tuition fees that lost it for us

clegg cameron rose garden

Nick Clegg has used his first major interview since stepping down as Leader of the Liberal Democrats to take a swipe at his former Coalition colleagues for ‘squandering’ their legacy. In today’s Independent he states:

The rhetoric at the beginning from David Cameron was good. I held my tongue. But I am afraid the very thin gruel the Prime Minister has announced, and the deeply regressive steps taken by his Chancellor, means it is insecure, hollow double-speak.

He has drawn up a long ‘charge sheet’ about the current Government: …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 45 Comments

Is aiming at Coalition shooting at the wrong goal?


I couldn’t go to Conference so listened to Tim Farron’s speech on i-player afterwards. What a great speech: full of idealism, commitment and determination. We’re so lucky to have Tim as leader.

But there was one thing that really worried me.  I had already seen reports in the news that morning that Tim was going to talk about getting back into Government again in 2020 – about how going into Coalition had been the right thing to do. Looking at the decimation of the Party and the loss of so many first-class MPs I am still not so sure about that, but leaving the past aside, is Coalition what the Lib Dems should be aiming for now, and more importantly saying what we are aiming for? I would generally say not.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 57 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User Avatarpaul barker 21st Oct - 3:37pm
    This was a seat where we got 1% less than our Average vote share, I think if we got 31% in 2020 most of us...
  • User AvatarPaul Kennedy 21st Oct - 3:19pm
    Labour voters I met in Witney were absolutely convinced they were going to win, and that Lib Dems would struggle to beat UKIP. I suspect...
  • User AvatarTim13 21st Oct - 3:06pm
    Dav You speak of "values voters prioritise above finance". I am sure that is true of some voters. But I think where your thinking goes...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 21st Oct - 3:04pm
    It is clear that in the last 10 days Labour put in a big effort to shore up their vote in Witney. I saw one...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 21st Oct - 2:54pm
    Tonyj Good point, well made.
  • User AvatarChristopher Haigh 21st Oct - 2:45pm
    Tim Farron got a crude expression of disgust from the sad man on a train on 'This Week' last night which actually made Andrew Neil...