Tag Archives: coalition

Tainted love?

I’ve seen people talking about the need for a leader who will be “untainted” by Coalition.

I couldn’t disagree more.

We have a strong story to tell, and the Coalition is a crucial part of it. We will never thrive by being the party of protest and pure tactical voting. As Mark Pack and others have said, we need to create a core vote of our own. The Coalition makes this more plausible.

Despite being naturally liberal, I didn’t support the Lib Dems before the Coalition because I perceived them as a protest party.  I thought they were opportunists, tactical vote recipients, defined by who they were not rather than who they were.  Then the 2010 General Election happened, and the Lib Dems went into Coalition and started making hard choices. They started governing. Either I had been completely wrong about the Lib Dems, or they had risen to the situation amazingly. Or quite possibly, it was a bit of both.  They proved  beyond a shadow of a doubt  that they were a true and plausible political party of Government with their own agenda and ethos, which I very much liked.

The Lib Dems achieved so much in Coalition, outpunching their weight by a huge amount. The rise in the income tax threshold made a massive difference for the just-about-managing (note how the Tories have tried to take the credit for this). The Quad – with Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander – adjusted the austerity regime to boost growth and protect the poorest and most vulnerable. Take a look at the distributional analyses of tax and benefit changes under the Coalition and compare them to those under the Tory majority rule since – it’s a horrifying change.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 92 Comments

Achievements of the LibDems in coalition 2010-2015

The Lib Dem Manifesto of 2017 gives canvassers plenty to promise on the doorstep, but past achievements can be more convincing. Yet who among canvassers can instantly name three achievements attributable to the Liberal Democrats, against Conservative inclinations, in the Coalition Government of 2010-2015?

Here is a short list, which will no doubt benefit from correction or expansion. A full list can be found in an Appendix to David Law’s book Coalition.

  • The allocation of 0.7% of GDP to International Development, both in practice and as law
  • The raising of the Income Tax personal allowance from £6475 to £10,600
  • Steve Webb delivered the “triple lock” on the State Pension
  • Nick Clegg saw through the pupil premium of (eventually) £1320 per primary school child and £935 for secondary children to reduce the attainment gap in England and Wales
  • A £2.5 billion banking levy
  • Free school meals for infant-school children and in the first three years in primary school in England
  • Vince Cable vetoed a proposed “fire-at-will” employment law
  • Stopping welfare cuts and ensuring benefits kept up with inflation
  • Same sex marriage legislation
  • 15 hours free child care for disadvantaged children
  • Prohibition of the export of chemicals to where it is known they may be used to carry out the death penalty
  • Strong and stable government (true!)
  • 5p charge on plastic bags.
Posted in Op-eds | 57 Comments

+++Tim Farron’s pledge to voters: Lib Dems won’t make coalition deals

The Observer reports:

The Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has ruled out any form of coalition with the Tories or Labour after the general election as he sets out a bold ambition to attract enough Remain voters to form the main opposition party in parliament.

In a dramatic shift of strategy for a party that entered coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 in the “national interest”, Farron said in an interview with the Observer that there will be “no deal, no deal with anybody” under any circumstances.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 4 Comments

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?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

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:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments
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