What Lib Dem members think about talking to the Tories: LDV poll results

Lib Dem Voice has been conducting a survey today of party members registered on our members’ forum asking them for their views of the discussions that have been taking place between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. Here’s what you’ve told us …

  • 89% support Nick Clegg’s decision to let the party with the most votes and most seats try and form a government;
  • 90% support Nick Clegg’s decision to enter into discussions with the Conservative party on that basis;
  • 80% say that significant progress on electoral reform is a deal-breaker;
  • 98% rate Nick Clegg’s performance during the campaign as effective or very effective, with Vince Cable scoring 85%.

Full results below:

LDV asked: Do you support Nick Clegg’s decision that the party with the most seats and most votes has the right to first seek to govern, either alone or with support from other parties?

Yes I support the decision 89% (309)
No I do not support the decision 6% (20)
Don’t know 1% (5)
Other 4% (13)

LDV asked: Given the Conservatives won most votes and most seats, do you support Nick Clegg’s decision to enter into discussions with the Conservative party?

Yes I support the decision 90% (314)
No I do not support the decision 6% (21)
Don’t know 1% (4)
Other (please state) 2% (8)


LDV asked: Is significant progress on changing the electoral system a deal-breaker for you?

Yes it’s a deal-breaker 80% (279)
No it’s not a deal-breaker 14% (47)
Don’t know 3% (11)
Other (please state) 3% (10)

LDV asked: What is your view of Nick Clegg’s performance as Lib Dem leader during the election campaign?

Very effective 55% (192)
Effective 43% (148)
Ineffective 2% (7)
Very ineffective 0% (0)
Don’t know / No opinion 0% (0)

LDV asked: What is your view of Vince Cable’s performance as Lib Dem deputy leader during the election campaign?

Very effective 31% (108)
Effective 54% (187)
Ineffective 11% (37)
Very ineffective 0% (1)
Don’t know / No opinion 4% (14)

Lib Dem Voice e-mailed the survey to the 891 party members registered on our forum. As of 2.15 pm today, 347 (c.40%) had responded. Please note: we make no claims that the survey is representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However it is the largest survey yet published of the views of Lib Dem members.

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91 Comments

  • He has an opportunity to listen to the overwhelming majority of the membership and avert (or at least reduce) the electoral disaster that would result from allying with the Tories by trying to get PR via a Lib/Lab alliance.

    We the membership are saying, in no uncertain terms, that he should certainly go for that route if he possibly can.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th May '10 - 3:01pm

    “80% say that significant progress on electoral reform is a deal-breaker;”

    Not surprising, but nice to see it in black and white.

    It suggests to me that if “significant progress” had been replaced by “a definite commitment to a referendum”, a comfortable majority would still have agreed.

  • Michelle Taylor 10th May '10 - 3:07pm

    I voted that electoral reform should be a deal-breaker, but that is not saying ‘in no uncertain terms’ that a Lib/Lab alliance would be a good idea.

    I think most likely a Lib/Lab alliance would be disasterous.

    I think we can’t make a deal without electoral reform, and the amount of electoral reform we would need before a deal with Labour (which would most likely fall through miserably in fairly short order giving us a swift second election and probably a decade of the Conservatives in ascendance) would be a good idea is much greater than that which would make a Lib / Con pact (not a coalition, no cabinet seats, just a confidence and supply agreement) worthwhile.

  • Having been a member or supporter for over 30 years I have to say that the thought of doing a deal with the Conservatives turns my stomach! I fear that many of those who voted Lib Dem to try and keep the Tories out will desert the party in droves at the next opportunity, seeing this deal as a betrayal. Anyone with the slightest experience in politics knows that the Tories will stitch Clegg up and dump him without any ceremony whenever it suits them. It is a no win situation for Clegg I know, but getting into bed with the Conservatives will be political suicide and will see a massive drop in support for many years.

  • Miles Spencer 10th May '10 - 3:08pm

    Although i fully support the decision to speak to the tories to see what is on offer, a deal that does not include PR or at least AV+ would be a grave error. I and all LibDems i know do not remotely trust cameron et al. though all options should be explored, the more natural partner would be labour – though without Brown…

    I know that this would then need other parties involved and potentially be highly complex to gain a working majority but if the Lib Dems are tarnished by supporting a Tory party repeating the mistakes of the thatcher government in their wholesale abandonment of the needs of the more disadvantaged elements of our society. I for one can see it coming, would be truly horrified and would without question consider a move to labour – depending upon the leadership makeup…

  • Nice to see the vast majority in agreeance.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th May '10 - 3:15pm

    It’s starting to sound as though sanity may have prevailed.

  • i did not vote lib dem for Nick Clegg to jump into bed with David Cameron the leader of the BARBARIC party.
    I am appalled that he can talk to the party that wants to bring back the sickening past time of hunting with dogs.
    If this happens me and many of my animal loving friends will not vote for you again. i did not vote tory ,but i might as well have done. R.S.

  • A lot of people are afraid that we will get stiched up by the Tories. Whilst this is an obvious fact, the broad and literate realisation of this is of great comfort to me. This is why I’m happy with our current negotiations. If less than 90% of people were opposed to it, say 60-70% it would mean we were in a lot of trouble.

    I think the 10% are probably the usual suspect awkward squad on the left. Although some people have told me they would never vote Lib Dem again if we got into bed with Cameron, I suspect they were Labour voters in the ballot box and now are trying it on.

  • Labour are neither liberal or progressive. Its time to wake up.

  • Miles Spencer 10th May '10 - 3:30pm

    Don’t let us forget this was an election for Cameron to lose, Nick did great but the fact we didn’t have a Tory lanslide is down to the huge numbers of people who do not trust the Tories and and feel no connection to Cameron / Osborne etc. Cameron is not popular, I know the Tories got the most votes / seats but in my opinion the result shows quite clearly that Cameron does not have the trust of the wider public.

    They wanted change, but not Tory change. The next year or 2 are gonna prove prickly for all parties. show the voters we care and we’ll be rewarded… in due course. Tory for most does not honestly equate to a party that care about them..(unless they have plenty in the bank..) a bit simplistic but we know that this is largely the case don’t we?

  • Peter Chegwyn 10th May '10 - 3:31pm

    Personally I’ve no problem with Nick Clegg TALKING to the party that won most votes and seats but I have no wish to see us then jumping into bed with a party that I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to defeat at every opportunity.

    Let the Conservatives go it alone and form a minority government. Preserve our independence and announce we will judge each and every issue in the national interest, voting with the Conservatives when we agree with them and voting against them when we don’t.

    They need us more than we need them.

    Lest anyone think the Conservatives are our new best friends, in my own hometown of Gosport (where the Conservatives gained control of the Council last week) the Conservatives have called a Special Council Meeting for later this week to:

    i) Scrap the convention of ‘revolving’ the Mayoralty between the political parties

    ii) Ditch the incoming Lib. Dem. Mayor and replace a Lib. Dem. with a Conservative

    iii) Remove a former Lib. Dem. Councillor from his role as (unpaid) Organiser of the Council’s Annual Waterfront Festival

    iv) Remove all Lib. Dems. from all outside bodies.

    No Conservative has had the courtesy to tell us any of this.

    It has been left to junior Town Hall officers to ‘leak’ the details of what is happening.

    And they say nationally that Lib. Dems. and Conservatives can now all work together in harmony?

    Don’t make me laugh!

    Beneath the smiling faces, the Tories are still the same old nasty Tory Party!

  • As a member (though not on the Foum) I have no problem with Nick and the Parliamentary Party talking to the Tories on the basis that the latter constitute the largest block in the new House of Commons. I am confident that a deal that is remotely acceptable to members cannot be acheived, with or without a commitment to a referendum on PR. I think a deal with Labour could be acceptable and workable, provided (1) there is a genuine commitment to a referendum on PR, (2) Brown goes immediately and (3) there is a reversal and unpicking of the control agenda. Talking to the Tories is the perfect riposte to those who will inevitably say we are the poodle of the Labour Party. We tried to do a deal with the largest party, but that party refused to act reasonably. If Labour reneges on PR, we can force an election and tell the people that Labour double-crossed us.

  • Strange…….

    The results are totally different to what I am hearing from my local candidate and local LD voters, especially points 1 and 2.. ?????

    And no I am not a “trying on Labour voter” or a member of the “awkward squad” just a concerened Lib Dem voter.

  • The question “Do you support Nick Clegg’s decision that the party with the most seats and most votes has the right to first seek to govern, either alone or with support from other parties?” is being reported (by the Guardian at least) as “Do you back Nick Clegg’s decision to negotiate with David Cameron?”. This is NOT what was asked. Some clarification is needed.

    People were responding to “Do you think Nick Clegg should have kept his word as to who would have first chance at a coalition?”, not “Do you support a deal with the Tories?”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/10/general-election-2010-live-blog

  • Miles Spencer 10th May '10 - 3:46pm

    Agree 100% Felix – questions here are not specific enough

  • Calvin Jones 10th May '10 - 3:47pm

    Nick Clegg is in an impossible position. Unless that is, he takes party democracy seriously, in which case, he merely takes your findings seriously and Levels with Cameron. This party will work with you if you give us Electoral Reform, if so, then lets discuss details. Otherwise, it’s time to talk to labour, and prefereably time to get rid of Brown.

  • Andrea Gill 10th May '10 - 3:49pm

    Felix – They were two questions, and the Guardian has (for once :p ) not mis-represented this especially since they actually link to this page so people can read for themselves:

    89% support Nick Clegg’s decision to let the party with the most votes and most seats try and form a government;
    90% support Nick Clegg’s decision to enter into discussions with the Conservative party on that basis;

  • I’m still waiting for someone to explain by what measure the Labour Party are in any way progressive, or that their record in office suggests anything other than a authoritarian, war-mongering, right-of-centre party.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th May '10 - 3:59pm

    I can’t believe the meeting was meant to turn out like that.

  • In reply to whelan, and for balance

    I am a Tory supporter who voted lib-dem to try to get labour out and I can state that I would never vote lib-dem again if you got into bed with Labour :) More seriously, all parties are coalitions and I see more links between the ” liberal localist” side of the liberals and socially liberal conservatives (small c). It is the “government can solve all problems” politocs that are more dangerous.

  • Just read David Laws’ statement. Anyone else think that was code for “the negotiating team thought they had a deal but the MPs told us to take a flying jump”?

  • Colin Green 10th May '10 - 4:13pm

    Nick Clegg clearly stated that in the event of a hung parliament, the party with the largest mandate had the moral right to form the next government. It turns out that the Conservative party has that right. Nick is right to stand by his statements and negotiate with the Conservatives. If we are to live up to our name as democrats, we should respect the will of the people who’s decision it is which party “wins” an election. We should negotiate with David Cameron to see if an agreement should be reached. It is not for us to say “but we don’t like them” – the choice is the electorates not ours.

    We can, if we have to, say that we can’t work with the biggest party without crossing certain lines of policy or ideology. It may yet come to that. We should, however, try the best we can to make the voter’s choice of MPs work. We may not get all our own way in terms of policy or PR but neither are we entitled to that with only 23% of the popular vote. I have confidence in Nick Clegg and his team to negotiate the best deal they can with the Conservatives. Our elected MPs will decide if they can or cannot agree. I am prepared to let them try.

  • I will be very very disappointed if the Lib Dems support the Torries. It’s my first time I voted Lib Dems as I do believe your tax policies are far fairer than what you’d expected from Labour – for example.

    Lid Dems have nothing to do with Torries! It’ll be my first and my last time I voted Lid Dems if you support the Conservatives. And I think this is the feeling of many voters like me!

    E

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th May '10 - 4:17pm

    Surely it was a mistake to raise public expectations when the leadership must – or should – have had a pretty good idea that the deal would not be acceptable to the parliamentary party.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th May '10 - 4:19pm

    “Nick Clegg clearly stated that in the event of a hung parliament, the party with the largest mandate had the moral right to form the next government.”

    Crikey. How many times does it have to be pointed out that Nick Clegg was very careful to say “the right to seek to form a government”?

  • Colin Green 10th May '10 - 4:21pm

    Anthony Aloysius St

    “the right to seek to form a government”

    I stand corrected, however the outcome is the same. We are right to speak to the Conservatives first.

  • Paul McKeown 10th May '10 - 4:23pm

    @KL
    >>>Just read David Laws’ statement. Anyone else think that was code for “the negotiating team thought they had a deal but the MPs told us to take a flying jump”?

    Probably more like, hmm, can’t we do better? Try again…. go back to the bald barmpot and tell him to stop p.ssing about; “give us your backstop”. Think Laws was wrong to mention Labour at all, sounds like a threat, which will just get the barmpot’s back up.

  • I am a young 1st time Lib Dem voter. Never, ever, again, should they form an agreement with the Cameron!

  • I am a young 1st time Lib Dem voter. Never, ever, again, should they form an agreement with Cameron!

  • Paul McKeown 10th May '10 - 4:44pm

    Hague is a very clever man, and a good politician. I imagine he’s got a couple of good sweeteners up his sleeve. One thing I haven’t heard is any mention of our defense policy regarding remuneration for our armed forces, to bring them into line with newly qualified nurses and police. Bound to be good PR for us, if we got £6000 p.a. for newly qualified soldiers and sailors, when our forces are engaged in active theaters of war. There are probably little nuggets like that that he has stored up for us.

  • Tony Butcher 10th May '10 - 4:46pm

    When it comes to politics I am very much at the Centre, as I believe most of the country are, and it is because of the position I feel that a Conservative/Liberal Democrat partnership is best for the UK right now. I am not interested in far right or far left ideology, although I acknowledge the passion that those people at the extremer ends of the political spectrum feel for their cause.

    Ordinary people – otherwise known as the electorate! – often have views and opinions that do not easily fit into Party Ideology, Gillian Duffy was an example of this, a life-long Labour supporter but with concerns about the EU and EU immigration. It is only the die-hard political activists who will stick rigidly to ideological positions while the rest of us are more concerned with stability and prosperity and have wide ranging views, often straddling different parties political views.

    I like certain Conservative principles, I like the concept of smaller Government, the concept of lower taxation, the concept of being tougher on crime yet I also like Liberal Democrat principles of social justice and equality in society, regional government and parliamentary reform – I do not believe these concepts are incompatible.

    I want a Government to secure the future for my family, give my grandchildren the best opportunities that life in the UK can offer, allow me to spend my money on what I want rather than take it away to fund ideological policies. I believe that a Conservative/Lib Dem partnership will be better placed to provide a government placed at the Centre of the political spectrum. A Lib Dem/Labour coalition will simply be a prop up of a government that has failed the British people over the last couple of years and a continuation of the policy framework that lost the Labour Party so many seats last Thursday.

    I believe that the British People should be given a government that meets the needs and aspirations of the bulk of the electorate rather than the ideologies of those at the fringes of political consensus. What is needed now is a deal that can restore faith in British politics, tackle the problems facing us mere mortals earning lower than those in the Palace of Westminster and address the problems facing this nation for the benefit of all of us. We should not be held hostage to those on the outer reaches of the political spectrum who see this as an opportunity to achieve their own, minority, ideological ideals.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th May '10 - 4:48pm

    The BBC is reporting that a senior Lib Dem frontbencher has told them that formal negotiations will now be opened with Labour, to run in parallel with the negotiations with the Conservatives.

  • LiberalHammer 10th May '10 - 5:00pm

    If electoral reform is a deal breaker then we go down as a party of narrow self-interest. Right now there are more important matters. PR should be parked for now and revisited when the danger of economic collapse has passed.

    Let’s be honest. PR is not popular with the wider electorate. If it was we would have got more than 23% of the votes.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th May '10 - 5:02pm

    Let’s be honest. PR is not popular with the wider electorate. If it was we would have got more than 23% of the votes.

    Great argument for the Lib Dems ditching all their policies and adopting those of the Tories instead!

  • Paul Griffiths 10th May '10 - 5:09pm

    @ LiberalHemmer

    “If electoral reform is a deal breaker then we go down as a party of narrow self-interest.”

    I assume you mean we would be perceived as such. Electoral reform is of course in the national interest.

  • Paul McKeown 10th May '10 - 5:12pm

    Brown to resign. That’s a start. Now for STV and fair taxes. Then Labour ditching all it’s reprehensible measures of state versus the individual. DNA, id cards, NHS databases, anti-terror laws abused to stitch up the little man.

    That would seem fair, the Conservative’s, to be fair to them, understand all of that. Labour are a bit thick-witted when it comes to those Liberal ideals. Hope our chaps don’t mess this up!

  • Rita Martin 10th May '10 - 5:31pm

    I voted Liberal Democrat because I believed with all my heart that they really did know what the British people wanted.
    I am very very angry that they would even consider a deal with the Conservatives. I can only assume they do not realize how unpopular this is with the grass root voters, yes a Lib/Lab allance, that we could accept,
    but how could you even think of helping the Conservatives into power.
    If this deal goes ahead they will loose thousands of grass root voters, and I for one will never ever vote for the Liberals Democrats again.

  • Peter Davies 10th May '10 - 7:56pm

    So the Tories are offering a referendum on PR with two boxes labelled NO. As Douglas Hurd just said, AV would be acceptable to most Tory MPs. It might possibly be acceptable to some of our MPs who’s majorities it would secure but it is clearly not accepable to the Lib Dem membership.

  • Just fantastic. An unprincipled bunch of single issue arseholes. Nice to see the Libs in their true colours.

  • There speaks a rather disenchanted and bitter Tory !

  • Roger – 76% of this country did not vote Lib Dem. The majority of your candidates, on a regional basis, failed to convince their prospective constituents. I would rather a minority government be formed, without this auctioning off of electoral reform. Not bitter, just disgusted; and FYI, watching you ‘liberals’ get into bed with the Tories is what is moving me to post on this board.

  • Peter Davies 10th May '10 - 10:09pm

    If you think we’re obsessed with this issue, what about the Tories. They seem prepared to sacrifice the chance to form a government just to ensure that the people don’t get a chance to vote on STV.

  • Peter, if that is the outcome, and we have another general election, then at least we would see one party unwilling to sacrifice principle for power.

  • James Connolly 10th May '10 - 11:17pm

    We’d be crazy to join a Labour coalition. We must stop seeing the world as we wish it was but see it how it actually is. Think it through people! A Tory minority government WOULD happen. Within months, a 2nd election would follow with the Tories asking for a mandate. The Tories can afford a campaign. Can we? I think not. We’d be absolutely decimated, any slump in the economy would be blamed on us, there’d be a Tory majority and we can kiss all our hopes of ANY voting reform goodbye for another 30+ years.

    – Lib/Lab would still be hostages to the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the SDLP to get a majority. These smaller parties have no interest in a stable, long-term Westminster government – all they want is more money/less cuts for their own electorates. So then we’d get blamed by our English electorate for cutting their services in exchange for nationalist support

    – A coalition works best with as few parties as possible. Tory/Lib has a strong majority so will serve a full term. 4 years down the line, we could silence any criticism of coalition that says it always results in weak, short-term governments. If we joined Labour, it’d be weak, short-term and would confirm everyone’s worst fears about coalitions.

    – Now that Gordon Brown is resigning, a Lib/Lab coalition would have ABSOLUTELY NO LEGITIMACY in the eyes of anybody. Yes yes I know we’re formally a parliamentary democracy and all that but perception is everything. People will see a Lib/Lab pact under a new Labour leader as being yet another stitch-up.

    – It’s taken 100 years to not quite reform the House of Lords. Using AV for the Commons for the foreseeable future isn’t perfect but it’s a step forward for once. These things take a very long time. Maybe if we can persuade more people to vote for us then we can get STV.

    – We’ve never been in government. Just because there’s a chance that we may be about to join one, don’t anyone DARE think about suspending our principles and ramming an electoral reform bill through parliament without a referendum.

    I really don’t see the need to agonise over who to join. My only real hope is that Nick Clegg is using smokescreens to make the Tories give us a clear offer. If he’s genuinely looking at Labour, he’s mad. It will do us no good at all.

  • Thank you James, sense is slowly but surely prevailing. We need to step up and become the mature and sensible party we wished the public had voted for in greater numbers last week…

  • James – surely to form a solid coalition with the Tories, more than a few key principles would need to be sacrificed? You seem to be suggesting that the decision making for the coalition should be based on how much money you can get from your party donors. I don’t hear values or vision. Disappointing.

  • Tony Butcher and Colin Green 4.13 pm- well said.

  • Also James, Hague had about him the look of a man who had expected this. It strikes me that perhaps this was always agreed by our negotiation teams. I do hope however that there are still talks ongoing with Labour to hopefully work towards the committee that Nick proposed to deal with bank reforms, defence etc.

  • Malcolm Todd 11th May '10 - 12:12am

    don’t anyone DARE think about suspending our principles and ramming an electoral reform bill through parliament without a referendum

    Since when was having a referendum on changing the voting system a “principle” of anybody’s? If it’s the necessary compromise to get a majority in parliament, okay, but there’s absolutely no constitutional or democratic need in principle for a referendum. Parliament passes laws; that’s what it’s for.

  • James Connelly 10.17 pm. Thank you James , well reasoned . We must win the argument on PR , not impose it through back room deals. I do not think Labour MPs wth large majorities and the unions are keen on PR. If Balls beats any of the Millibands , I cannot see him and the Unions supporting PR. Balls and Wheelan have been preparing the post Brown leadership campaign for months, look at the number of MPs supported by UNITE.
    We do not know who will be running Labour in 6 months time. How can any of the present Labour team guarantee they can deliver in 6 months? Unite is likely to be far more powerful in 6 months time within the Labour Party. If Labour has to negotiate with the SNP, PC and the Greens will this be to our advantage?

  • I voted Lib Dem but think Nick Clegg has made his self look two faced. I dread a deal with Labour i’ve gone from middle class to lower class under labour. Nick there the most underhanded party going, Mandy has been kicked out twice for dodgy dealing don’t join them else we’ll end up painted with the same brush

  • Malcolm

    It may not trouble you but it would really trouble me if any coalition attempted a change to the votiing system without a referendum. Nick said it was the voters to decide what they wanted from the election: that is even more true in the case of a change so fundermental to our voting system. Surely we above all others have to trust the voters. Or is it that you think we might lose the referendum? Well in politics sometimes you win, many times you lose. We have no “right” to win we have to convince voters on the arguments.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 11th May '10 - 12:28am

    One depressing/amusing thing about this is how many of those involved – even as key players – have such a tenuous grasp of the relevant facts.

    Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that BBC political correspondents think that Clegg needs only a simple majority of the MPs to approve a deal – rather than 75%. Percentages and fractions can be terribly confusing, after all.

    But one would hope David Steel – who has generally been talking about as much sense as everyone else put together – would know that the State Opening of Parliament isn’t a week tomorrow but a fortnight tomorrow.

    And I just heard a Labour MP solemnly telling the BBC that even the Lib Dems and Labour together would have less MPs than the Tories. No wonder MPs got into such hot water with their expenses, if they can’t add up.

    Oddest of all was the fact that William Hague – supposedly a key member of the Tory negotiating team – seemed to think that AV was the Lib Dems’ number one demand. Did no one mention to him during those four days of negotiations that the party would prefer STV?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 11th May '10 - 12:34am

    “Yes yes I know we’re formally a parliamentary democracy and all that but perception is everything. People will see a Lib/Lab pact under a new Labour leader as being yet another stitch-up.”

    Of course you’re right (in more ways than one). After all, the right-wing press – and judging by today’s coverage the BBC (Nick Robinson really should wear a blue rosette when broadcasting) – would be telling them so at every opportunity.

    We are indeed formally a democracy, but certainly there are ways around that.

  • Andrew Suffield 11th May '10 - 12:51am

    I must be in the wrong party, Conservatives bring me out in hives, and all my energy is against the privilege and unfairness they have always promoted, my objection to them is more important to me even than electoral reform.

    That certainly doesn’t sound like very liberal thinking to me. If this sort of tribalism is your first priority, you’re probably looking for Labour.

    (Liberals might still have tribal tendencies, but I would expect them to put their core principles first)

  • Carol Hadfield 11th May '10 - 7:14am

    I voted for the Lib Dem’s for the first time on the 6th May. I thought your party could make a real difference. I believed what your leader said, he spoke with conviction and passion. However if the Lib Dems support the Tories I will go back to being be supporter of the Labour party. To me it appears that your leader is going to abandon all he and your party stood for. I am very confused, betrayed and deceived. Shame on you.

  • Clegg’s decision to negotiate with the Tories regarding Lib Dem support for them in parliament was a sensible, pragmatic move. He seems to have shown consumate skill in putting maximum pressure simultaneously on the Conservatives and Labour. But even with a Tory concession on an AV referendum in return for our support, I don’t think an alliance– of any sort– with the Tories will run, First, Cameron cannot [or will not] deliver, and the idea of him “whipping” Tory MPs in support of the nescessary legislation, if a Tory Government were formed, is totally unrealistic.
    Secondly, there is no way Lib Dem MPs, and the National Executive and the Membership of the Party in the constituencies, will accept such a deal. Personally I have fought the Tories for the last 60 years, and I won’t tolerate this Party propping up a Party which has failed to secure any mandate to govern– which is what they intend to do if they can con the Lib Dems into supporting their putative government!
    The “progressive alliance” secured upwards of 53% of votes cast in the election, and thus has a moral right to govern, if co-operation between the parties can be secured. Such a government would be the first in peacetime to govern with the support of a majority of votes cast in a General Election. [In 1951 the Labour Party seciured 51% but "lost" the election under the corrupt FPTP system-- even when it was a "2-party contest". ]

  • James Connolly 11th May '10 - 11:23am

    Ian @ 12:04am said…”You suggest the decision making for the coalition should be based on how much money you can get from your party donors. I don’t hear values or vision.” I think you’re alluding to the funding from Lord Ashcroft in marginal seats. Well, it’s easy to blame the dark forces of other parties for our disappointing performance but it’s not accurate. It’s harder but truer to accept that we just didn’t do very well. Sure we could have done with a few millionaires’ chequebooks but perhaps a lot of people just didn’t buy our arguments.

    I’ll keep saying this until the party as a whole realises it – A LABOUR COALITION WOULD END IN OUR COMPLETE DESTRUCTION!!!!!! All this talk about a centre-left progressive alliance is rubbish. The amount of infighting and back-stabbing across the political Left is staggering. If we were all so brotherly and lovey-dovey why are there so many separate parties?

    Do any MPs read these posts? I hope so.

    Politics is the art of the possible. We as a party have spent years talking about the benefits of coalition. We’re not sacrificing values and vision. At least I’m not. It’s all very nice to dream of a happy society but unless you can implement it then it will remain just that – a dream. We must accept that while the distribution of seats isn’t fair, the numbers of votes means the Tories have by far the greatest moral right to form a government and if we come to an arrangement with them then we can influence policy for the better. So yes, I have plenty of values and principles thank you.

    As for the vision thing – my vision is proving to the electorate that coalition government can work amicably and last out a full parliamentary term without descending into legislative blackmail. As I said last night, a Lib/Tory administration would achieve that and silence, once and for all, the criticism from a lot of the Press.

    Andrea Gill @ 12:06am…I fully support our policy on Trident, not least because we can’t afford it at the moment. However, given the Parliamentary arithmetic, I can safely say we’re going to be outnumbered and Trident renewal will go ahead! But we should be used to that by now :-)

    Carol @ 7:14am…I’m sorry you feel let down. But the government will either be Lib/Tory or Lib/Lab. I’m guessing you abandoned Labour because you were unhappy with them – so a Lib/Tory government will not be implementing any of Labour’s policies. If the Libs were abandoning everything we stand for, why are we STILL holding out for as much as possible with the Tories? Sure, we’re not going to get everything we want. But we’re going to get some of it which has NEVER happened before. If 45% of the electorate had voted LibDem then we’d be partying by now. But they didn’t. We lost the election badly – again. So we get what we can.

    Malcolm Todd…tut tut!! That’s naughty. We made a referendum promise and we stick to it. That’s what we promised. End of story :-)

    One more thing. Labour is about to go into meltdown and swing way to the left again like they did post-1979. We’ll get poisoned if we hang around them. ID cards? Illegal wars? Insane CRB checks? Government run from a kitchen sofa? Count me out.

  • I think that the Lib Dems should walk away from both of them. Let one or the other try to form a minority government and lets fight another election before the end of the year. Neither party really want us and can’t be trusted.

  • Tracy – we couldn’t afford another election & the public would punish us at the ballot box for our behaviour.

  • James Connolly wrote

    “ID cards? Illegal wars? Insane CRB checks? Government run from a kitchen sofa?”

    Are you describing a Cameron government? It certainly sounds like it. Cameron was imposed on the Tory Party by the US military-industrial petrochemical complex in order to pursue the control agenda even mroe vigorously than Blair and Brown, to allow American plutocrats to asset strip our economy and to provide cannon-fodder for more illegal wars.

    If you think I’m mad to say this, remember how Cameron got elected. David Davis was the runaway favourite and hardly anyone had heard of Cameron. Then Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and psychological manipulator, ran a bogus focus group on “Newsnight” in which he tutored an audience to say positive things about Cameron and negative things about Davis. It was Luntz on “Newsnight” that caused the surge in support for Cameron among Tory members. What does that tell you?

    Anything, absolutely anything, that keeps Cameron and Gove out of No 10 is worth a try.

  • James Connolly 11th May '10 - 12:48pm

    Tracy…we can’t afford another election!!!! The Tories can but we can’t!!! We’re stony broke!!!!

    And Douglas Alexander has said that Labour won’t deal with the SNP. I’m sorry guys but that’s the progressive alliance plan down the tubes. It’s not going to happen. There IS no progressive alliance. There’d be no majority. We have GOT to prove that coalition politics can be sustained for a full parliamentary term. The economic situation dictates it must be so.

  • I strongly agree with James Connolly there. COME ON FFS Nick Clegg & Lib Dem leadership you have got to stop this nonsense now….

  • James Connolly 11th May '10 - 2:57pm

    Sesenco,

    Haha! I love it. But be careful, there will be some people who think you were actually being serious.

  • James Connolly 11th May '10 - 3:03pm

    Haha @ Sesenco!

    I love it. But be careful…some people will think you’re being serious :-)

  • Demosthenes 11th May '10 - 3:55pm

    Ar we sure it’s plain AV and NOT AV+ that William Hague was talking about as their final offer? A referendum on AV+ would seem to be a fair offer to me, even if the Tories all campaigned against it (although I imagine it would actually help some of them in seats where UKIP ate into their vote).

  • Voted Lib Dem and got the Nasty Party and think the Lib Dems will be wiped off the map at the next election. Expect we will have a Fair Votes Now Party in the next election. They could do rather well. I would vote for them.

  • Alex Rimmer 11th May '10 - 5:57pm

    Hi,

    I voted Lib Dem for the first time in this last election, if PR is not on the table from either coalition, I think the Lib Dems should withdraw from the talks with both the Tories and Labour.

    Yours faithfully
    Alex Rimmer

  • The lib dems have now, by bending over for Cameron & Co, condemned british politics to another few decades of undemocratic, unbalanced, capitalist led, flip flop, self serving government….well done! I should have voted for a progessive party…oh yeah, I did, yellow for the last time!

  • Keith Browning 11th May '10 - 8:37pm

    I’m confused.

    Lib dems have hands on government for first time since 1920 and with the opportunity to rein back a Tory government. Do Lib Dem supporters just want to be part of a protest group. If coalition works well then PR becomes achieveable in the future – if it fails then PR will disappear into the ether.

  • norman White 11th May '10 - 8:48pm

    I can’t believe it. Cameron is the new PM, and I actually voted for him by voting lib dem. Will never ever vote lib dem again. As Tony Blair said a vote for the lib dem is not a serious vote.

  • Gordon Lishman 12th May '10 - 2:03am

    Many of your postings remind me of the old saying: “I wish I was as sure of anything as he is of everything”.
    I wrote and proposed the “triple lock” on behalf of Burnley Liberal Democrats. The purpose was to make sure that the party – not just the Parliamentary Party in the Commons – had a voice in any arrangement that affected the party’s independence of action. Tonight, I have participated in a meeting of Parliamentarians and representatives of the Party throughout the UK which demonstrated the importance of ensuring that involvement. Some of your commentators need to consider that real democracy may be about responsibility and considered opinions rather than instant reactions.
    There seems to be a belief that liberal democrats are either Tory LibDems or Labour LibDems. Nonsense! We are liberals. That means being associated with a political philosophy that involves another 109 liberal parties around the world. We are not defined by other people’s ideologies: we are liberal.
    In Burnley, where I live, the words “progressive” and “Labour Party” rarely occur in the same sentence. The Labour Party may be progressive on some issues; it is profoundly conservative on others – particularly where it has been in power.
    Let’s be clear: on the issue of a “progressive” alliance in Government, the Labour Party bottled it. They were too concerned with their own leadership and internal battles even to consider a deal. The LibDems therefore – and rightly – have assessed the options on offer and have made their decision.
    What would your contentious correspondents have preferred: an early election with a major third party squeeze (what the late David Penhaligon MP called “turkeys voting for Christmas”) or a deal to implement major parts of the LibDem manifesto? After Labour’s collapse into ignominious and incoherent inter-necine warfare, they were the only alternatives on offer.

  • Gordon Lishman 12th May '10 - 2:09am

    I am interested by the argument which appears to say: “I am strongly in favour of more democratic goverment and a proportional system of election” (with which I entirely agree) and which then goes on to say: “therefore I should be entitled to impose my opinion about PR and a particular system of PR on the British people, regardless of whether they think that is the right system or whether it is a priority for government”. Does that really enhance pluralist democracy?

  • Rupert Brooke 12th May '10 - 3:00am

    All you needed to do was hold out for a PR referendum, everything else would have surely followed in its train; for us all. You just couldn’t do it. You have set the cause of liberty in the country back for generations. Betrayal is not strong enough a word. You will be seen by the not-too-future historians as the Judas Iscariot of British politics.

  • activelibdem 12th May '10 - 8:29am

    i pounded the streets for lib dems for 8 years for lib dems,for what?
    vote libdem get tory.
    no way.
    At least labour dont sell out.we all told you at grass roots to walk away,leave the tories on their own and labour.
    you failed to listen.
    you prostituted our party for your power,unforgiveable.

  • what might be more pertinent and interesting is if you were to ask the same questions of those people who voted and put their faith in the Liberal Democrats – that might burst the self justifying bubble. Vote Clegg, get Osbourne. never again!

  • activelibdem

    “At least labour dont sell out.”

    Really? I think Dick Cheney got a different impresison!

  • This is what Norman White had to say…in an earlier post…and it is hard to believe the illogicality of it.

    “I can’t believe it. Cameron is the new PM.”

    He was a parliamentary candidate in the election and the leader of the party that got the greatest number of votes in that election. Not a majority of the votes. Just like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown our system of election means that he didn’t have to.

    “Cameron is the new PM, and I actually voted for him by voting Lib. Dem.”

    No you didn’t. We live in a parliamentary democracy…unlike those poor apocryphal souls who turned up at the polling station and asked where they could vote for Nick Clegg or Gordon Brown or David Cameron – you weren’t able to vote for a particular PM. We don’t do presidential elections in the UK.

    “[Norman White] Will never ever vote Lib Dem again.”

    Fair enough…you live in a society where how you vote remains (at least I hope it will) your own choice.

    “As Tony Blair said a vote for the Lib Dems is not a serious vote.”

    Saints preserve us! That really takes the biscuit…quoting from the little red book of Tony Blair the great authority on British democracy and British politics. Anyone quoting the member for North East Texas really does need their head examining.

    I turned out on the streets of London to plead with Tony Blair and his government not to proceed with an unlawful war in Iraq. He didn’t listen. One honourable and one not so honourable member of the cabinet listened. But given the parliamentary fix…Blair got his way. I know hundreds of Labour party members who never imagined that their votes for the Labour party would pave the way for a Labour Prime Minister, yes – a Labour Prime Minister, to prosecute an unlawful war in Iraq.

    It was that great Labour politician Aneurin Bevan who told the Labour party conference off because of what he labelled ‘an emotional spasm’. Anyone who throws their toys out of the pram (Lib, Lab or Con voting) because they cannot get what they want in a parliamentary democracy, when the parliamentary arithmetic that comes out of a General Election is not what they wanted, invites the same label for juvenile behaviour.

    What makes me most angry about what has happened in the last few days is the refusal of Labour politicians, who had a choice to help form a very different kind of government, to consider it seriously. Instead they headed for the hills, when the time came to accept responsibility for the consequences of their 13 years in government. They had the opportunity to start building a progressive alliance in British politics and they walked away; it was a decision based on narrow party considerations. In narrow party terms it may turn out well for them; but one thing I know it didn’t take the political guts that the PLDP and our party’s FE have shown.

    There are some simple conclusions to be drawn by genuine Liberal Democrats from the events of recent days. Large numbers of Labour politicians believe in winner takes all politics. Large numbers of Labour politicians take the view that those who are not unconditionally with them are entirely against them. It’s nonsense of course but it certainly helps to ‘circle the wagons’ / ‘keep the tribe together’. You can choose whatever imagery your prefer.

  • Norman White 12th May '10 - 7:04pm

    Ed Randall said “We live in a parliamentary democracy…unlike those poor apocryphal souls who turned up at the polling station and asked where they could vote for Nick Clegg or Gordon Brown or David Cameron – you weren’t able to vote for a particular PM. We don’t do presidential elections in the UK.”

    Sure, you are right. BUT, many people voted for a particular lib dem PM in (the hope) not to get Cameron as a prime minister. You know the rest … we got it at the end. I know who I will be campaigning AGAINST the next elections.

  • During the election campaign I was very impressed with Nick Clegg and was tempted to vote for the lib/dems, thank goodness I changed my mind at the last minute . I now realise he was a wolf in sheeps clothing in other words a closet tory. Also where did Vince Cable leave his principals this time in the same place as when he left the Labour Party.

  • I know its all politics, and I shouldn’t be surprised but can we be realistic.

    LDV asked: Do you support Nick Clegg’s decision that the party with the most seats and most votes has the right to first seek to govern, either alone or with support from other parties?

    Irrelivent, as most voters from ANY party belive that the person who gets the most votes should seek to form a government, just as the team with the most points wins the league.

    LDV asked: Given the Conservatives won most votes and most seats, do you support Nick Clegg’s decision to enter into discussions with the Conservative party?
    Loaded question… Why not just;
    Do you support Nick Clegg’s decision to enter into discussions with the Conservative party?

    LDV asked: Is significant progress on changing the electoral system a deal-breaker for you?
    The first question of ANY relevence…obviously its a deal breaker, its the ONLY way the party would join the conservatives. It may make it all worthwhile.

    LDV asked: What is your view of Nick Clegg’s performance as Lib Dem leader during the election campaign?
    And
    LDV asked: What is your view of Vince Cable’s performance as Lib Dem deputy leader during the election campaign?

    Yes they both did a great job.

    Now can we ask the real relevent questions to the party members, that we want answers to:
    Has the coilition put you off voting lib-dem in the future.?
    Do you feel we have given up too much to enter a coilition.?
    Are you happy with the way things have turned out.?

  • “Has the coalition put you off voting Lib-Dem in the future.?”

    No, but given how they sabotaged negotiations it’s put me off ever giving Labour my additional preference.

    “Do you feel we have given up too much to enter a coalition?”

    As opposed to what? Having a Conservative minority government. I’m amazed we got as much as we did considering they held almost all the cards. Kudos to the negotiators on both sides – ours for being firm and theirs for being reasonable.

    “Are you happy with the way things have turned out?”

    I’d have preferred a Lib-Lab coalition I think but between the self-interested Labour backbenchers and tribalist negotiators like Ed Balls I’ve been denied it. I still think I’d favour that option in future hung parliaments but I’m not as sure now. I’m incredibly pleased with the deal the negotiators have been able to get; I think it’s a perfect example for the future of how coalition governments should operate (like our last coalition, in Holyrood, which got about 80% of the LibDem manifesto passed).

  • Sellouts that’s all I can say a bunch of self serving sellouts Im lucky to have a well paid secure job but I am still outraged that it seems that the “cuts” that the party is supporting is going to affect the poorest people in the UK.

    Its disgusting that the ones that caused this trouble the bankers are getting off and the poor are going to get screwed.

    Thats not what I voted for by a long shot.

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