LibLink: Stephen Tall: Two signs which show the Tories think they will fail (again)

Stephen Tall has been writing for the Times’ Red Box blog. He reckons that it’s been clear all along that the Tories have known perfectly well they won’t get a majority, for two reasons:

The first piece of evidence is the Conservative manifesto itself, an unfunded wish-list which vows to turn the budget deficit into a surplus, while simultaneously promising tax-cuts for everyone, more money for the NHS, freezing rail fares — all to be paid for by unspecified welfare cuts and, fingers crossed, economic growth. How else to explain this unsquareable circle other than as a bartering tactic for future coalition negotiations?

And the endorsement of the Tory press for us? It’s not a coincidence:

The second piece of evidence is the endorsement of the Lib Dems by usually Conservative-leaning newspapers in their traditional “If we had a vote” leader columns. Given the battering meted out to the party by the press these past five years, most of us had written off these write-ups. Instead, The TimesThe Sunday Times, the FT, the Economist, and, yes, even The Sun, have all called on their readers to consider voting tactically for the Lib Dems where the party’s fighting Labour.

It’d be naïve to think they’ve been won over by our policy “red lines” or Clegg’s distinctly upbeat campaign – they’re making nice because they think it’s the most likely route to the continuation of some form of Conservative-led government.

And who would have thought 5 years ago that the Lib Dems would be the stabilising influence?

As the Lib Dem campaigns director Ryan Coetzee noted, in a less controversial tweet: “In 2010 coalition was seen as a risky outcome. In 2015 it’s the only outcome that can bring stability. That’s the Lib Dem achievement.” He’s right – even if Cameron is unable to bring himself to admit it in public.

 You can read the whole article here (£)

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in LibLink.
Advert

28 Comments

  • It’s the only way there will be another 5-years of a basically Tory government. That is the only reason the Tory press is supporting the LibDems, if it wasn’t they would be destroying you in their columns.

  • Sadly I think Stephen is correct. Five more years of Propping up Cameron while the Liberal Democrat brand is further tarnished and weakened..awful.

  • I think there’s another thing Tall is forgetting: the Conservatives talking up the SNP.

    You have to wonder, if they’re really so confident about winning a majority, why they are constantly, incessantly warning about ‘a Labour government propped up by the SNP’. Why are they trying to frighten voters in England instead of taking the fight to Scotland? From the Tory perspective, wouldn’t the best way to preserve the union, and counter the SNP’s narrative, be to have a strong contingent of Tartan Tories at Westminster?

    But rather than trying to preserve the union they claim to love so much, Tory party has accepted its defeat north of the border, and rather than ambitiously trying to win a majority, it is merely trying to minimize its losses and maximize Labour’s.
    Can’t you see it? They’re already preparing the party line for when they lose the election. The will be the largest party, and will repeatedly insist that Labour lacks a democratic mandate, since the ever-so-popular Tories have the greatest number of MPs at Westminster.

  • It may be premature but can we add another ‘red line’? Let’s all push at the very least for the introduction of PR to local government elections. Reform may have to be incremental. But the shock of a fairer electoral system can be introduced gently at local level first.

  • ………………….The first piece of evidence is the Conservative manifesto itself, an unfunded wish-list which vows to turn the budget deficit into a surplus, while simultaneously promising tax-cuts for everyone, more money for the NHS, freezing rail fares — all to be paid for by unspecified welfare cuts and, fingers crossed, economic growth. How else to explain this unsquareable circle other than as a bartering tactic for future coalition negotiations?………………..

    Thank you Stephen…..At last something other than Red Ed’s inability to eat a sandwich, his ability to use a knife (on his brother) and the imminent arrival of Darth Vader (sorry Sturgeon)…

  • I meant to add that, sadly, after all the personal attacks on Milliband, I believe that Cameron will form the next government….”No one has gone broke underestimating the intelligence of… etc”…..Look out for yet another “”It’s The Sun Wot Won It” headline….

  • Charles Rothwell 6th May '15 - 3:18pm

    I think Josh White is right. There surely cannot be any doubt left in anyone’s mind any more that FPTP and the “one party has all the answers, so vote for them” system are simply no longer fit for purpose. The Party would gain enormous credit among the electorate and really make its mark in British history (if the end of this has not already been reached with a SNP sweep of the board north of Hadrian’s Wall!) by (at last) bringing in (real) PR for at least local elections as a key demand for supporting any government. It would also be a useful lifeline to opening links with other parties (Greens) and sections of parties (Conservative and Labour) who know the tectonic plates have shifted for good and want to help establish a new beginning. If it leads to the two splitting (which the Conservatives have been on the point of doing since Thatcher made her Bruges Speech), then so much the better and let’s have a spectrum of parties which reflect modern British politics to an infinitely better extent than the two blown up leaky barrage balloons have done for the past thirty years. Local electoral reform plus local income tax to replace the discredited and likewise hopelessly outdated Council Tax banding criteria could well get us on the move as the party of innovation and reform again!

  • “… In 2015 it’s the only outcome that can bring stability. That’s the Lib Dem achievement.”

    When was “stability” a Liberal democrat priority over everything else?

    Change and stability are not the same thing.. The Liberal Democrats are a party of change or we are nothing.

  • I hate saying this again, but it was obvious pretty much obvious from the start of the coalition. The thing is if the Coalition reforms the attacks will start again and the knives will be out for Cameron. My view is that any agreement should insist on proper electoral reform because the two party system is plainly dead.

  • @Charles Rothwell “If it leads to the two splitting (which the Conservatives have been on the point of doing since Thatcher made her Bruges Speech), then so much the better and let’s have a spectrum of parties which reflect modern British politics to an infinitely better extent than the two blown up leaky barrage balloons have done for the past thirty years.”

    All three “main” parties are unstable marriages of convenience designed to cope with the effects of the FPTP system. PR would blow the whole game open and a new set of groupings would emerge. I can characterise these as:

    – Little Englander Nationalism
    – Progressive Economic Liberalism
    – Social Democracy
    – State interventionist authoritarianism
    – Environmentalism

  • So TCO broadly the groupings would be:
    1) UKIP + the extreme wing of the Tory party
    2) The more moderate wing of the Tory Party (the Cameroons) + the right of the Lib Dems (Laws, Brown, Lamb, Clegg, Alexander ect.) + business backing
    3) The more moderate wing of Labour (the Blairites) + the left of the Lib Dems (Cable, Farron, Hemming, Huppert ect.) + personal liberty campaigners (Shami Chakrabarti ect.)
    4) The extreme wing of the Labour party + Galloway + a various assortment of hard left wingers (Len McCluskey, Owen Jones ect.)
    5) The Greens

  • Malcolm Todd 6th May '15 - 6:29pm

    Ah, the reappearance of the second favourite speculation game of LDV contributors: “How I’d realign the parties rationally when we’ve got PR.” As pointless and airy as the slightly more popular Design-your-own-electoral-system.
    The thing is (and stop me if you’ve heard about this before), there is already a realignment of the party system going on — which may well lead to PR. You’ve got cause and effect the wrong way round.

  • I agree about the tory manifesto, but with the exception of the Sun those media sources have all largely viewed the Lib Dems as having a positive effect on the government (I don’t think that’s an uncommon view on the center right) so it’s hardly surprising they are recognising this in their endorsements. There’s no need for conspiracy theories.

    I think PR at the local level is a great idea. Insisting on proper electoral reform – I don’t see it. I don’t think the referendum is winnable and doing it without a referendum seems questionable in the extreme.

  • @JJ I’d also include some Labourites in group 2 and some of all Lab and LD and UKIP in group 4

    @Malcolm it’s been a looooong campaign 😉

  • Thst was UKip in 4 and lab and LD in 5

  • “they’re making nice because they think it’s the most likely route to the continuation of some form of Conservative-led government”

    Of course it is.

    Yesterday morning on Radio 5 they were interviewing a young “floating voter” who had finally decided which way to vote. She described herself as “right-wing” and a believer in “trickle-down economics – well some of it must trickle down to us, mustn’t it?”

    For these reasons, she’d decided to vote Lib Dem.

  • Malcolm Todd 6th May ’15 – 6:29pm
    –“..: “How I’d realign the parties rationally when we’ve got PR.” As pointless and airy as the slightly more popular Design-your-own-electoral-system.”

    Yes indeed, Malcolm. You sum it up perfectly!

  • Stephen Hesketh 6th May '15 - 9:06pm

    So no place in Liberalism for mainstream social justice Liberal Democrats!

    Just follow the conversation …
    TCO 6th May ’15 – 4:03pm … JJ 6th May ’15 – 5:24pm … TCO 6th May ’15 – 7:44pm … TCO 6th May ’15 – 7:46pm

    I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all Preamble-supporting Liberal Democrat candidates a very successful election day and count. Very best wishes, Stephen.

  • @Stuart “She described herself as right-wing … she’d decided to vote Lib Dem”

    The meteorite has hit and the ashcloud is forming …

    @Stephen “So no place in Liberalism for mainstream social justice Liberal Democrats!”
    Erm … ” + the left of the Lib Dems (Cable, Farron, Hemming, Huppert ect.) “

  • Stephen Hesketh 6th May '15 - 9:53pm

    The meteorite has hit and the ashcloud is forming …

    Meanwhile on planet Earth things are clearing …

    It was 3) social democracy that carried the “+ the left of the Lib Dems (Cable, Farron, Hemming, Huppert ect.) “ comment and it was made by JJ.

    Although I must admit, the post: “@JJ I’d also include some Labourites in group 2 and some of all Lab and LD and UKIP in group 4”, in as much as it means nothing coherent at all, could literally have meant anything the writer wished it to.
    Possibly time for a claim of ‘irony’?

  • @ Malcolm Todd
    ‘Ah, the reappearance of the second favourite speculation game of LDV contributors: “How I’d realign the parties rationally when we’ve got PR.”’
    As Bruce Forsyth would say good game, good game.

    @ TCO
    “– Little Englander Nationalism
    – Progressive Economic Liberalism
    – Social Democracy
    – State interventionist authoritarianism
    – Environmentalism”

    OR

    Anti-European English Nationalist Party
    Libertarian Party
    One Nation Conservative Party
    Social Democrats
    Social Liberal Party
    Socialists
    Greens

  • @Stephen feeling chilly yet?

  • Stephen Hesketh 6th May '15 - 11:13pm

    Michael BG 6th May ’15 – 10:40pm

    Thank you Michael. A much more politically informed and ‘not intended to stir up controversy for the sake of it’ post!

  • Matt (Bristol) 6th May '15 - 11:39pm

    Firstly, I am sick to the back teeth of the assumption every-blessed-where that a Tory-LibDem coalition is the natural order of things now and we should just give over our party to be Cameron’s get-out-of-jail-free card (however, that does not mean I think we should NEVER go into government AGAIN with the HATED Tories and join the HARD LEFT, I just can’t logically see where it gets us or the country at this election if we do get less than 40 MPs).

    Anyway, to be drawn like the speculative moth to the flame of the party realignment game…

    Why are people assuming any realignments that do or don’t happen have to be on a pan-national basis? How much more of a pasting from the SNP do we have to see before the Scottish non-Nationalist parties all detach more-or-less completely from their London HQs and possibly mutate and fuse into new, strange shapes? Is there really room for 4 parties up there still, particularly if seat redistribution on a population basis does eventually happen?

    In the same way, how much longer is it before we see regionalist groupings in England having an effect on local and national politics? Quite honestly, if this party spontaneously combusted tomorrow, I wouldn’t immediately be looking to join up as a ‘social democrat’ with some ex-blairites, I’d be looking to join a devolutionist party that would finally, finally get some person or other to grant us the regional devolved bodies England has been flirting with whilst doing nothing about for the last 20 or so years. The SNP have shown the way to a minor party ‘cheating’ FPTP by concentrating their resources and voters in one area — who’s next?

    So, yes, anyway — I find both the speculative lists above disappointingly London-centric and sadly lacking in devolutionism for a LibDem forum.

    And I’m sorry Malcolm, I know it’s train-spottery and utterly pointless, but I like inventing new voting systems.
    See you all the other side of the Apocaplyse.

  • @Matt (Bristol) a gurt Bristol party is a roit good ideal.

  • “I am sick to the back teeth of the assumption every-blessed-where that a Tory-LibDem coalition is the natural order of things now”

    That might have something to do with Party leaders not going much out of their way to emphasize that the Party is in no way bound to a second Con/Dem coalition, nor indeed suggesting that they might be open to any arrangement other than the current one.

  • David Allen 7th May '15 - 12:30pm

    David-1 is right.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when Cameron falls short, and Miliband, faced with the choice between the SNP and the Lib Dems as potential allies, first offers the Lib Dems the opportunity to negotiate with him.

    Did I hear “Over my dead body”?

  • @David Allen you did

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Jeff
    This is a major reason it is important that Britain respect the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol. It was the EU which attempted to impose a bord...
  • Matt Wardman
    >It is also why in Belgium, a non-voter finds it difficult to obtain a job in the public sector; Is it true that public sector employers in Belgium get a...
  • Andrew McCaig
    There are plenty of Lib Dems who oppose HS2. And there are many Lib Dem MPs who do not agree or vote for every official policy. I would like to think that the L...
  • Andrew McCaig
    Well hidden in one article on this Sefcovic said that all that is needed to resolve the cold meat issue is a lable saying "not for export from N Ireland". I th...
  • expats
    Nonconformistradical 13th Jun '21 - 2:[email protected]“The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement does not exclude Northern Ireland or Ireland from establishi...