Independent leader article argues for another Lib-Con coalition

Today’s leader article in the Independent praises Nick Clegg:

Many of the good things the Coalition has done are owed to the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg may not personally recover from the tuition fees debacle, despite being right (eventually). But history will record him as the man who turned a party of protest into one of government. As a principled, effective politician who could hold another Coalition together, we hope he keeps his seat in Sheffield Hallam. He has confounded his Tory critics, held his party together, been a fine advertisement for a European kind of government, and championed the green agenda just as Tories abandoned it. On raising the income tax threshold, the pupil premium, early years learning and apprenticeships the Lib Dems have been a force for progress, and if he returns to government Mr Clegg should insist on being Education Secretary.

It concludes by arguing for a continuation of a “Lib-Con coalition”:

A hung parliament is certain this week. For all his talk of no deals with the SNP, Miliband is bound to rely on that party to get his legislative programme through. This would be a disaster for the country, unleashing justified fury in England at the decisive influence of MPs who – unlike this title – do not wish the Union to exist. If that were to be the case while Labour were the second biggest party either in terms of vote share, or seats – or both – how could Labour govern with authority? They could not. Any partnership between Labour and the SNP will harm Britain’s fragile democracy. For all its faults, another Lib-Con Coalition would both prolong recovery and give our kingdom a better chance of continued existence.

This title casts no vote. But we prize strong, effective government, consider nationalism guilty until proven innocent, and say that if the present Coalition is to get another chance, we hope it is much less conservative, and much more liberal.

You can read the full article here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Eddie Sammon 4th May '15 - 9:54pm

    Thanks for posting this Paul. It is the ideas that are important, not so much the tacit recommendation. It was a bit harsh on the nationalists, but still, don’t want to set liberals against liberals.

    The Lib Dem mock women’s manifesto also made me laugh today and I thought it communicated liberal values well. We need to start winning the PR war. I need to do my bit too 🙂

  • Samuel Griffiths 4th May '15 - 10:05pm

    The women’s manifesto was indeed excellent! I very much enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of the very down to earth party I spent so much time with in the year building up to 2010. I hope some of that can be recaptured – another right wing coalition is not the way to do that though. Enough damage has been done to the people of this country over the last 5 years, I really hope LibDems looking to a continuation of the coalition can see that.

  • I can’t think why the non-dom owner of the Indy wouldn’t want Labour in power.

    I would be interested in how they expect the “coalition” to be returned, when that isn’t an option on the ballot paper.

  • I wouldn’t be happy with this. Independent readers aren’t, they thought their paper was left of centre and editorially independent of its very dubious, extremely wealthy non dom owner.

    Backing the lib dems would be acceptable to its readers, just, backing the Tories stinks. Something is very off here.

  • The last bit is just another bout of anti Scot fear mongering. Drawing the SNP in to wider British politics and accepting them as the representatives of their BRITISH ELECTORATE might actually have done some good, but alas the foolish English press and silly politicians have decided to get xenophobic and claim the English will be forced to eat deep fried Mars Bars and Haggis with every meal or something, thus absolutely guarantying Scottish independence at the first opportunity Scotland can create. History is not going to look on this shoddy exercise kindly and anyone who thinks the toxicity of the Tories north of the border can be ignored or even more ludicrously can unify Britain is painfully mistaken. The absolute surest way to end the Union is propping up a basically Southern English rural Fringe party for another 5 years of pauper baiting and disability persecution. How about we go the full hog and introduce the rebellious Scots to crush line into the national anthem.

  • @g the clue is in the final paragraph.

    The editors have looked at the two options and concluded that a continuation of the current coalition is the least worst option given the alternatives

  • TCO

    Not the editors. The owner.

    It isn’t a free press when you do the biddng of billionaires.

    Now, backing the lib dems would be uncontroversial, the independent often does this, but it has been one of the most trenchant critics of Coalition policy over the last 5 years, particularly over welfare reform, so to see a dramatic change in to the run up of the election looks bad, and if it’s confirmed it was the personal view of Lebedev (who is not someone no decent politician wants to be in debt to) rather than the editorial team, then it’s just blown its credibility.

  • Matthew Huntbach 5th May '15 - 9:51am


    Drawing the SNP in to wider British politics and accepting them as the representatives of their BRITISH ELECTORATE might actually have done some good, but alas the foolish English press and silly politicians have decided to get xenophobic and claim the English will be forced to eat deep fried Mars Bars and Haggis with every meal or something,

    Indeed. How exactly is this to happen? If there is an informal support for a minority Labour government from the SNP, how are the SNP going to force the English to eat deep fried Mars Bars and haggis (or whatever else the Tories and right-wingers in the LibDem leadership tell us they will)? The SNP are only going to be able to force Labour to do thongs that Labour does not want to do if they can get backing from elsewhere to defeat Labour on it. That is, from the Tories.

    So, yes, the SNP could force deep fried Mars Bars and haggis on the English – if the Tories back them to do it. Otherwise, so what? The SNP is going to table a vote of confidence and bring down the government if a minority Labour government does not push the Mars Bars and haggis? How is that going to go down?

    The supposed “kingmaker” position of a third party in a non-majority Parliament comes from being able to trade off one of the major parties against the other. The key to this not happening if there’s a minority Labour government is the Tories not allowing it to happen. When the Tories say it will happen, they are in effect saying that THEY will behave irresponsibly if there is an SNP-supported Labour minority government, THEY the Tories will be supporting the SNP in wrecking the stability of the UK by making unreasonable demands.

  • SIMON BANKS 5th May '15 - 10:00am

    So the Independent is unaware that we were a party of capable and responsible government, taking hard decisions well, in Scotland and in local government long before 2010? Up to that moment we were a party of protest? With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    We can expect the Sun and the Telegraph to try to do us down. The Guardian has had spells of treating us well in between trying to get rid of us, but now the Independent tries to finish us off through a firm identification as the moderating appendage on the Tories.

  • matt (Bristol) 5th May '15 - 12:15pm

    Surely anyone who thinks our party will be in a stronger position and able to make a further Lin-Con coatlion ‘more liberal’ after 8 May is a fantasist, irrespective of their other preferences. With less MPs, our hold is less, even with less Tories. The very best we can hope for is more of the same, surely?

  • matt (Bristol) 5th May '15 - 12:18pm

    Sorry that should read ‘the very best we can hope for FROM CAMERON is more of the same’

  • @matt (bristol) grand coalition of the liberals with Clegg as PM. You can get 100-1 on it.

  • matt (Bristol) 5th May '15 - 12:47pm

    Hrrmph. .

  • g
    “Not the editors. The owner.”

    Definitely. The bit about Clegg being principled and effective is so outlandish that it can only be meant as one of those coded cries for help like the ones you get in letters from kidnap victims.

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