“Loathe this government if you will…” – 4 points following on from Julian Glover’s must-read Guardian article

Julian Glover, writing for The Guardian’s Comment Is Free, puts forward a trenchantly pro-Coalition, pro-Clegg line — one that’s guaranteed to attract the ire both of Guardianistas, and of some Voice readers, too. This excerpt offers the substnance of his argument:

Loathe this government if you will, but at least acknowledge that neither side in it got all it wanted at the election and that neither has sold out all of its principles. The strangeness of co-operation exposes its component parts to the easiest of attacks: of promising one thing before an election and doing another after it. But as Clegg has pointed out, the reason he is not implementing the Lib Dem manifesto is because the Lib Dems lost. So did everyone else.

Riled, Lib Dems are making a poor job of defending themselves. They are embarrassed to speak confidently – not so much because of the deal they did, better than anyone guessed before the election, but because they never presented themselves as deal-makers. Instead, they presented themselves as tellers of fantastical truths, signing pledges on tuition fees the leadership never thought they’d need to return to. That was the worst of the Lib Dems: indulging an unworkable policy that amounted to an unaffordable middle-class subsidy dressed up as principle.

Some of the voters won over by such things are angry. Many have decided to support Labour instead. Fair enough: many Lib Dem voters – and many members too – were content with the perfection of irrelevance. Clegg, though, is dealing with the imperfection of power. He’s hoping to be judged on what he does: on his multibillion pupil premium; on being in a government brave enough to cut prison numbers and defence spending and middle-class benefits; on political reform. It hurts when everyone throws rocks at you – but it is better that the rocks come from all sides. It suggests the claim of balance is real. Navy admirals are angry, so is the Daily Express – and so are many Guardian readers. …

Britain’s political tribes are determined as much by emotion and prejudice as any absolute sets of policy. There are instincts, ideas and loyalties that pull one way or another, and parties must set those out as best they can before an election. Clegg believes he is doing that: he talked of liberalism, warned of savage cuts, and promised to create a different kind of state – and the consequences can be traced everywhere in coalition policy.

Reflecting on this article, and the past tumultuous week for the Lib Dems, I’d make four quick points:

1) The Tories believe too many concessions have been made to the Lib Dems… though it’s clear some Lib Dems are looking at the Coalition and thinking ‘Did we really sign up to this?’ as a result of the leadership’s about-turn on tuition fees (and, to a lesser extent, nuclear power), Tory members are convinced they were the ones who have conceded too much to the Lib Dems (on prisons, Europe, capital gains tax increases, constitutional reform, etc).

2) Our communciations are inconsistent… Mark Thompson is right in his article for LibDemVoice today: the party has too often failed to strike the right note between ‘collective responsibility’ and ‘amicable disagreement between partners’. In part, this failing can be excused by the cash-starved party’s abrupt post-election redundancies. But in part the leadership must carry the can for failing to present a consistent tone, sometimes admitting openly the differences between the Lib Dem and Tory approaches which have necessitated compromise, at other times trying none-too-credibly to paper over the cracks.

3) Coalition means party members are bound to be disappointed… Just like public spending cuts, it’s one thing signing up to the principle, it’s quite another to see the reality. What we’re seeing now is the reality of Coalition. As I wrote on 11th May about the purpose of consensual politics:

Many of the hobby horses of political parties which are not mainstream, and do not command majority public support, are jettisoned. Instead politicians learn to focus on those policy areas which they know the public will like, and on which there’s widespread agreement. Parties hate it – they like to be in control – but the public is the winner.

4) No-one now asks if the Coalition will last… This, for Nick Clegg, is I suspect one of the biggest prizes of all. Back in May, people were speculating about the Coalition breaking up in a matter of weeks or perhaps months, the idea of it lasting a full Parliament was dismissed as a pipe-dream. It may yet collapse in ruins, of course — but most people now talk of the Coalition lasting years not months. For a party that’s always championed the idea of Coalition politics — of politicians putting the national interest first — that’s a crucial first step towards convincing the public that pluralist politics can work. If it implodes, those who will be most grateful are Labour and Tory tribalist reactionaries, who will crow about how strong, stable government can only be assured by continuing to rig the electoral system (aka first-past-the-post).

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100 Comments

  • It’s too bad that the entire Libdem Party is not like Mr. Glover. Maybe you can clone him and then send all the faux LibDems back to Labour where they really truly want to be. Let the Coalition do it’s best and then ask for election based upon the results. All else is airy-fairy, indulgent, nonsense.

    There is a pithy phrase which sums up the LibDem situation in Government ——- Man Up.

  • 4) No-one now asks if the Coalition will last…

    You say this as if it’s a good thing. I reckon the longer it lasts the worse it’ll ultimately be for the Lib Dems.

    Though personally I’m looking forward to voting for whichever new liberal party rises from the wreckage of the current one, so I’m not fussy either way.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 18th Oct '10 - 8:46pm

    “There is a pithy phrase which sums up the LibDem situation in Government ——- Man Up.”

    Surely Man/Woman Up? (Delete as inapplicable.)

  • What have you got out of this .Not one proper cabinet job and not one policy yet fully implemented.Just seen channel 4,s dispatches about tax dodgers,Nick was going to stop all this ,”We are all in this together ” what a joke How you going to explain this on the doorstep
    andy edinburgh

  • dougf

    I would hardly recommend Glover a a role model – he is clearly a Tory who could not be more delighted that the Lib Dems are hand in glove with the Tories – after jettisoning a large number of the policies they were voted in on. I think the article hides the main one ie. the opposition to the Tory cuts as well as others such as the tuition fees.

    Can’t believe that the party is now supporting policies that it actively campaigned against

    I would also like to respond to these faux Labour comments – I was a Labour voter up to 2001 and then transferred to the Lib Dems because I was naïve enough to believe there statements and public comments. Does this make me fax Labour?

    Just to let you know that a lot of your votes come from people like me and those sort of comments are akin to the pathetic responses of the Blairites. The Lib Dem party has a pretty low membership and the latest polls suggest that the core vote only seems to be around 15% – do you think with comments like this and those that your leaders make that you are going to win back those ex-Labour voters? Or do you really think you are going to take votes from the Tories at the next election?

  • paul barker 18th Oct '10 - 9:35pm

    Any chance of reprinting Glovers peice on LDV, every Libdem should read it. Glover sums up just why we are so hated. For most on Labours “Left” & for many Libdems, our purpose was to act as Labours conscience, a safe repository for their “Ideals” in case they were ever wanted. We were never supposed to actually do anything & for many, across the political spectrum, the Libdems in Power just feels wrong.

  • Paul Barker

    I wanted them to do something – it is just that they are not doing it!

    Surely the problem is that the party is seen to be one with the Tories – where is the separate identity. The MPs sit with the Tories especially on the Front Bench. Clegg is there nodding to comments that are made by the Tories that he actively campaigned against 6 months ago. It is this that makes me so frustrated.

    Will any of the Government members abstain or vote against such things as Tuition Fees, Nuclear Power, Trident, wet.

    I hear the comments about the ‘liberalness’ of the Tories but apart from certain aspects of the surveillance society I see very little in the way of liberalism on parental rights, gay rights, drug laws, policing, employee rights etc. The Labour party was actually liberal in some areas (usually opposed by the Tories) and far too authoritarian in others.

  • Geoffrey/Bazsc – Julian was an active LibDem when we were at university together, although my understanding is that he is now a member of no party. He certainly isn’t a Tory, and even tho’ he is not a member, he certainly is a liberal on almost all issues on which we could identify a clear liberal / illiberal distinction. And he is someone who understands our party, our principles, and politics more generally. That is why he is worth reading.

  • I think people forget the arithmetic – the Lib Dems account for only slightly more than 1/7th of the governing coalition, and so it’s 85% a Conservative government with a bit of Lib Dem smoothing. Now Nick Clegg could play hardball, as without the Lib Dems there is no majority, but his hand isn’t very strong and he has decided that such a tactic isn’t the best way to get the small amount of Lib Dem policies that he can get . I think that’s right.

    I do think the tuition fees has been a disaster, I can’t see a good argument for ever believing a Lib Dem’s campaign promises, except ‘this time we realise we might be in govt’. But the disaster was having policies they didn’t believe in, not the policy of junking it now.

    I also worry about Clegg’s parroting of stupid Tory talking points, such as comparing the government deficit to a credit card bill. But these are easily counterbalanced by the good performance by the other Lib Dem ministers so far.

  • tim leunig

    I respect what you have to say but he seems not to have believed in what the party stood for at the last election and also seems to be moving further rightward with every article. He is not the most popular man on CiF at the moment (and I would say most of the posters are liberal left) and he removes any criticism of his articles with a Brownian authoritarianism.

    Are you sure his politics have not changed since you knew him?

  • the lib dems are know hated because they betrayed people like me who voted for them,i voted for them for what they where campaigning on in the last election not what the tories where campaigning on and not to bend over backwards to every tory whim,the more you insult people who voted for you the less chance you will have of getting these voters back,this is nothing to do with labour,i persuaded many people to give your party a chance last may,i told people you where different,you weren’t like labour and the tories,you could be trusted to stick your manifesto and your pledges,do i feel an idiot know,what we got was lies,lies and more lies,we were promised “new politics” what we got was the old politics with extra bullshit

  • “Clegg … talked of liberalism, warned of savage cuts, and promised to create a different kind of state – and the consequences can be traced everywhere in coalition policy.”

    Sure, because Cameron and Clegg are the perfect match in rhetoric, political belief, and action.

  • Nich Starling

    I don’t understand what you are getting at. Labour was rubbish that is clear and why a lot of people transferred their vote to the coalition and I imagine most of the posters here know how wrong they were, especially post 2001.

    What relevance that has to the LD and their position in the coalition is not clear to me!

    Steve

    Unpleasant website – what relevance?

  • Sorry meant to say Lib Dems not Coalition in above post

  • Julian Glover is spot on. Most of the opposition to the coalition is visceral. Of the four key libdem election pledges, we have (1) increased threshold for income tax; (2) achieved pupil premium (3) referendum on AV (4) made small steps to political reform such as elected house of lords.
    We haven’t got everything we wanted, but with 57 MPs we have achieved more than at any time in our party’s history.
    I am immensely proud to have voted libdem.

  • Nich Starling

    what the hell has labour breaking promises got to do with the lib dems breaking theirs,i didn’t vote labour i voted lib dem,its the lib dems that lied to get my vote,if i had voted labour and they had lied to get my vote i would feel just the same and would be on their equivalent to ldv pulling them on it…..

  • The Liberal Democrats betrayed NO ONE

    Before the election Nick Clegg was asked who he would support in the event of a hung parliament.
    He answered that the party with the greatest number of seats should be given the first chance to form an administration. The Conservatives won the most seats and unusually for British Politics opted to attempt a coalition rather than try to rule as a minority government.

    The Liberal Democrats remained true to the principle of trying to create a fairer and more equitable society by getting agreement to raise the tax threshold to £10,000 and by the introduction of the pupil premium. In fact even those who have dodgy tax affairs have reason to fear.

    Reform of Parliament was one of the main planks of the party going into the election and we have legislation going through parliament to allow the people to reform the electoral system, reform of the house of lords is also planned so once again that promise by the party has been kept.

    Finally there is one area where the Liberal Democrats have failed to achieve their desire before the election. This is in the area of tuition fees. There is much in the Browne report that should be welcomed by all sides. It does stick in the throat that a promise to phase out tuition fees looks likely to be replaced by a policy of raising the cap on fees however the precise details have not yet been announced, the salary level at which people begin to have to repay the debt has been raised so that people have a chance to get established before being crushed by the debts.

    So once again I say I AM PROUD TO BE A LIBERAL AND A DEMOCRAT.

    This party has betrayed NO ONE.

  • • Ben Johnson

    (1) increased threshold for income tax- that’s not much use if you are about to be made redundant like the predicted 1,000,000(pricewaterhousecooper) people who will lose their jobs because of your policies.

    (2) achieved pupil premium – what about the pledge on tuition fees.

    (3) referendum on AV- “that miserable little compromise”,n clegg.

    (4) made small steps to political reform such as elected house of lords- that’s great,whens this going to happen,i’ll believe it when i see it.

  • bazsc – I am still in touch with Julian.

  • Julian Glover hits the nail on the head with this sentence:

    “This mindset does not judge the coalition for its actions but condemns the fact that it exists. The fury – far beyond the scale of anything the Lib Dems expected – is rooted in a hostility to pluralism that regards Conservatism as something approaching an evil, and any Lib Dem association with it an unnatural compromise. Presumably, the only acceptable outcome would be ceaseless Labour rule.”

    Unfortunately the Lib Dems have attracted quite a few voters who are all in favour of a coalition as long as it’s not with the Tories. Not very liberal and not very democratic.

  • tim

    Well can you ask him to stop modding my comments on CiF and also to resign as Chief Leader Writer and just be a normal columnist. Those of us who have read the paper for the last 20 or more years would like to see our paper return to the left. We have enough right wing papers thank you

  • Richard

    The Lib Dems also attracted some voters who believed what they said before the last two elections and are sick of seeing the leaders nodding their heads to Cameron and Osborne on things they campaigned against 6 months ago.

    Be in Coalition with the Tories but try to maintain some dignity.

    Just to toch on some other points made:

    Lifting people out of tax – welcome indeed but VAT increase wipes out most of the benefit

    Pupil premium was following on from work started by the last Government nd was pretty much the same for all parties

    Referendum on AV – a minor success but looks like it will be lost. Will we see any further reform for a generation. The elected Lords is good but will wait to see it actually happen.

    On tuition fees – if the stories are true about HE cuts then a double disgrace. Students should not have to pay 7000 for HE, A squalid situation

    Will we see liberalism in drugs laws, policing, surveillance (CCTV particularly), anti-terrorist laws (if there is another terrorist attack), immigration, equality.

    Some aspects of the Coalition are liberal some are not.

  • @Ian James
    “The Liberal Democrats betrayed NO ONE”

    Oh yes they did!!!!!! Oh yes they are!!!!!
    Let’s see what happens on the 50% cut in social housing and the removal of tenure. What WAS Lib Dem policy on this?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/aug/04/liberal-democrats-council-tenancy-cuts
    I loathe all in this government more and more by the day.

  • Anne

    I remember having a discussion with someone when this idea was first mooted and the consensus of opinion was that if handled correctly it could have significant advantages to the tenants by reducing fuel poverty because they would move into accomodation more suited to their circumstances.

    Now the policy needs to be approached more with making it possible for people to move if they wish to rather than forcing people out. It also needs an increase in the social housing stock so that if people do move they are not forced out of their community support networks.

    I have seen nothing at all about a 50% cut in social housing and when reading the article that you linked to I did not recall seeing any mention of it there either.

  • “Unfortunately the Lib Dems have attracted quite a few voters who are all in favour of a coalition as long as it’s not with the Tories. Not very liberal and not very democratic.”

    In what sense?

    When Clegg says in 2008 that he will ‘never’ go into a coalition with the Tories, when Clegg signs a pledge for voting against a rise in tuition fees then votes for a rise… would you call that ‘liberal’ because I certainly wouldn’t call it democratic.

    It would be democratic for a party to reflect the views of its members and voters, which this party is clearly failing to do. It would be undemocratic to betray your voters and engage in a volte face, after stealing their vote, which is what the party is doing.

    I’m afraid the coalition with the Tories was the most undemocratic and unmandated decision a party has made in quite some time… especially when it campaigned on Laour’s position economy wise and most of its members and voters wanted a Lib/Lab pact. I can’t say that would have worked, but it becomes clearer daily that a minority government would have been better both for the country and for the electoral survival of the Lib Dems.

  • And there is of course a certain absurdity in the idea of other Lib Dems criticisng voters who have come from Labour: ;go back’ etc, when Clegg’s policy was clear: he made a centre-left appeal to attract disillusioned Labour voters at the last election.

    If the Lib Dems are not going to get their votes from floating Labour supporters, whoa re they going to get them from?

    The fact is that the Lib Dems have 0 appeal to the centre-right: COnservative voters. There has been very little defection from the Conservatives to the Lib Dems. This alone shows that there is no room for the Lib Dems as a centre right party.

    There is a certain irony when Lib Dem memebrs reject ex-Labour voters and then tell them that they never wanted the Lib Dems to be elected. It seems that you right-wingers never want the Lib Dems to be elected, because you are bent on this party having no appeal beyond an extremely parochial and boring definition of ‘liberalism’ which the Conservative party already encompasses to a large extent. It appears that some posters themselves revel in the fact that they are some sort of elite: because they vote for the smallest of the main parties and they want to keep it this way. Yet the fact of the matter is that if the Lib Dems want to win more votes they must have a broader appeal than to ivory tower upper middle class windbags…. and the only appeal they can make is to the centre/centre-left.

  • Please forgive the typos, I should really take more care.

  • Stephen – the Guardian came out for the LDs pre-election. Julian Glover is close to the Cameron inner circle. The other Guardian senior editorial team are pro-Coalition – Martin Kettle in particular. I don’t understand why you maintain it is a Labour newspaper. My take:

    Cameron doesn’t have the right-wing of his party. They’re whinging about the LDs because they need a target – and you can’t really target a new PM after 13 years in the wilderness. It isn’t a sign of your effectiveness in power, I’m afraid to say. Its a sign that Cameron isn’t paying attention to the most dangerous members of the Coalition – backbenchers.

    The LD narrative is unnecessarily poor. I’ve said it many times before – after living under Coalition in Germany (the devolved ones here do not compare) their groupings are much more distinct, with much more public debate between partners. Clegg needs to realise that he is slowly strangling progress by appearing to be the deputy leader of the Tories – not leader of the LDs.

    Its not party members you need to worry about being disappointed – its the 97 to 98% of the others who vote for every party. It will be harder to explain to them the reversal of core LD party policies.

    As an ex-party member characterised as a Labour tribalist on these pages – I won’t be celebrating if the Coalition implodes. It will signify an unsightly truth – that Cameron has won.

  • The thing that Julian Glover got most right in his article is that the hatred is visceral. In other words it isn’t about intellectual understanding of policy positions etc etc (the sort of thing that Lib Dems are very good at discussing). It’s about emotion. You can’t fight emotion with intellectual discussion. We have to engage emotion on the Lib Dem side. The more we argue with facts and rationality, the more we sound like someone’s patronising parent – and we will infuriate Labour even more.

  • @MrsB

    I wonder how you could appear any more patronising than in what you have just written.

    Of course, we lib dems are not angry because the leadership has done a complete U-turn on all our major policy positions, as well as breaking pledges they were stupid (or cynical) enough to sign before the election.

    Of course not, you must be the ‘rational’ side and we must be the ‘irrational’ side. How bloody patronisjng.

    All I have seen out of many posters here has been tribalism. You’re just like Clegg, whenever asked to support something you don’t think for yourself or stick up for the principals (the very point) of our party, you just roll over.

  • Elizabeth Patterson 19th Oct '10 - 10:00am

    I don’t know why it is almost exclusively lads who take up comment threads, both here and on other sites. Is it that ladies are more pragmatic? I offer this opinion In an attempt to help the gender balance:

    I was pleased to read Stephen Glover’s article yesterday, almost the first recognition from the Guardian stable.
    I think Chris Huhne was right when he cheerfully acknowledged to an interviewer that he had been living on a diet of eaten words since the election.
    I can satisfy my conscience by seeing manifestos as what a certain group in society would ideally like. A hand of cards that we put before the electorate and they decide which hand to choose.
    Free tuition and no nuclear power is what the LD family offered in their hand. it is what we would ideally like. But in coalition government and with the books to balance we must compromise.
    So, boys, Rob,Richard,Barzac,Tim et al, keep your principles and your dreams, but let us get behind a compromise programme that will bring the greatest benefit to society as a whole.
    Elizabeth

  • It does amuse me when you see and hear Liberal Democrats, Standing Tall, Shoulders Back and Head Held High and trying to tell the rest of us that we should be proud of what Libdems HAVE MANAGED to achieve in Government. ie

    Raising the income Tax allowance by a thousand and plans to raise it to 10k in the future.

    How is that £1k in income Tax Relevant (£20 a week) Which was supposed to take so many people out of tax, but also put money back into the purse of families from poorer and middle incomes.

    when The Liberal Democrats are also supporting

    Cuts to Child Benefits (in excess of £1k+ a year to middle income earners)
    Axing Child Trust Funds
    Raising VAT to 20%
    Raising Fuel Duty
    Reduce support for people on income support receiving Housing Benefit or support for Mortgage Interest Payments.
    Freezing of some Benefits for the next 2 years
    Higher Tuition Fee’s
    !!!!!!!!!!
    that’s without the added cuts that are to be announced tomorrow, which will probably include reducing child benefit to 16 instead of 18.

    When you consider how much the average family is about to LOSE in cuts too benefits and raises in Taxes, Which will amount to far more than £1k Rise in Income Tax Allowance.

    Can Liberals really stand so tall and proud and shout from the roof tops look at what we have done and deserve your support!

    Gimmie a break lol

  • Hear hear Elizabeth!

    How about an article from you on LDV?

  • No, it is not about emotion. Lib Dems campaigned on keeping the Tories out. This is a fact, is it not?

  • the voters will decide when the time comes

  • @ Ian James
    I have seen nothing at all about a 50% cut in social housing and when reading the article that you linked to I did not recall seeing any mention of it there either.

    The news of a 50% cut in the social housing budget was widely available last night, including on BBC news so you did not look very far. The article was Simon Hughes on tenure as you well know.
    Another attack on the poorer in society, loathsome government indeed.

  • According to the BBC this morning, the Tory government is proposing to cut the social housing budget by more than 50% and force LHAs to raise their rents to a “near market” level. This kind of thing used to be known as “hammering the poor”, prior to the invention of Cleggspeak.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Oct '10 - 11:40am

    “According to the BBC this morning, the Tory government is proposing to cut the social housing budget by more than 50% and force LHAs to raise their rents to a “near market” level.”

    And yet we’ve been told over and over again that the most vulnerable would be protected.

    But how can you protect the vulnerable, while making cuts of this magnitude? Of course you can’t.

  • @ Elizabeth Patterson

    So, boys, Rob,Richard,Barzac,Tim et al, keep your principles and your dreams, but let us get behind a compromise programme that will bring the greatest benefit to society as a whole.
    Elizabeth

    How patronising, I am not a ‘lad’ or a ‘boy’. Would you like to be degraded in response to your posts? I also have principles, Have you thrown yours out? I am unable to see any benefit to society from this government, sorry that should read any benefit to the POORER in society.

  • Anthony Aloysius St
    ”But how can you protect the vulnerable, while making cuts (in Social Housing Budget) of this magnitude? Of course you can’t.

    Of course you can – it’s called Housing Benefit.

  • @ ian james
    In fact even those who have dodgy tax affairs have reason to fear.

    They looked scared last night on dispatches “we are all in this together” what a joke ,
    So are the Lib Dems trying to justify
    Danny the axe Alexander going for the disabled,who are the most vulnerable in our society ,just ask a disabled person if they are scared they are going to be taking all there benefits away and see the answer,then ask your self is this what the lib dems came in power to.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Oct '10 - 12:53pm

    Simon Shaw

    What you purport to quote from my comment is _not_ what I wrote, and not what I meant.

    What I meant was that it is impossible to protect the vulnerable when making cuts of this magnitude in public spending.

  • @Anthony Aloysius St

    Well, it’s what you posted at 11.40am.

  • Matt
    ”when The Liberal Democrats are also supporting
    Cuts to Child Benefits (in excess of £1k+ a year to middle income earners)
    Axing Child Trust Funds
    Raising VAT to 20%
    Raising Fuel Duty
    Reduce support for people on income support receiving Housing Benefit or support for Mortgage Interest Payments.
    Freezing of some Benefits for the next 2 years
    Higher Tuition Fee’s
    !!!!!!!!!!”

    Are you really suggesting you are opposed to all of those?

  • Matt
    ” When you consider how much the average family is about to LOSE in cuts too benefits and raises in Taxes, Which will amount to far more than £1k Rise in Income Tax Allowance”

    But that is inevitable, surely?

    The annual budget deficit for this year, inherited from Labour, is around £150,000.000,000. That’s £2,500 for every man, woman and child in the country.

    So, Matt, if your “average” family comprises (say) three individuals, there is a gap of around £7,500 between what that family pay in taxes (and their “share” of what businesses pay in taxes), and the benefits paid to them and spending attributable to them.

    And you complain about the Coalition Government “raising fuel duty”!!

  • The decimation of our defence capability shows that the appeasers in the Blue Tories have been heavily influenced by the party of appeasement. The only time that the Orange Tories have demonstrated that they have any influence over their Coalition partners. The Blue Tories have always retained within their ranks a small but significant number of appeasers, isolationists and non military interventionsts. The so called ‘not in Britain’s interests’ Brigade. Those people prevented Britain’s intervention in the Balkans for years and gave succour to the ethnic cleansers. Only Labour can now be trusted to maintain Britain’s defence capability and intervene militarily where necessary. Those Blue Tories who are not appeasers should vote down these defence cuts. If you want to maintain peace prepare for war.

  • MacK,

    “Only Labour can now be trusted to maintain Britain’s defence capability and intervene militarily where necessary. ”

    Translation: Act as cannon fodder for the US military-industrial complex when told to by Washington.

    MacK, did you favour intervention to stop the ethnic cleansing and genocide in East Timor? Oh, sorry, I’m being thick today. General Suharto carried out said ethnic cleansing and genocide with the blessing and encouragement of the United States.

    Are you sure you’re not a member of Republicans abroad?

  • Actually Simon I am opposed to them.

    Every single cut Hit’s people from low and middle income families, and hits the poorest and the most vulnerable the most.

    I object to hearing Liberal Democrats, shout from the rafters that they have lifted a million people out of paying taxes, by raising the threshold by £1k and putting MORE MONEY in the pockets of people from poorer and middle income families, when in truth they are TAKING MORE money from the poorest. When all these measures are totted up together.

    I am fed up with hearing this, were all in this together clap trap from the coalition government, when programmes like last nights channel 4 Dispatches, Expose ministers who hide there millions in offshore tax havens in the British Virgin Islands.

    I am fed up with hearing from so called top 35 British Businesses backing the coalitions Cut’s and telling the Government that we should continue with the cuts, even if we go into a double dip recession. Especially when These so called top British businesses, sign there companies over to their wives and run the business from Monaco so they do not have to pay Corporation Tax in the u.k

    I am fed up with hearing from this coalition government that they are going to go after people who use tax avoidances, when so clearly government ministers and Government advisers are guilty of doing exactly that.

    I am fed up with seeing the bankers walk away unscathed from this financial mess that they HELPED cause, and paying themselves BILLIONS in Bonuses with what is in effect our Taxes. As it is our taxes that is propping up the banks, and if the banks where forced to pay back what they owed us now, then they would collapse and the bankers would be unemployed.

    I am fed with hearing A NEW KIND OF POLITICS and WHERE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. when quite clearly were not

    The middle will be squeezed, the poor will be bashed and the Tory FAT CATS will get even fatter along with their new Liberal chums, who have lost all their compassion, credibility, integrity, and sense of fairness in less than 6 months.

    It’s time Liberals stopped playing the public for fools,
    You got our vote, now do the job you promised to do, instead of supporting this TORY DROSS!

  • You really should be looking very inwardly as a party I dont think you will like what you see.Just heard the latest spine chilling news about housing budgets.
    So as a public sector worker with disabled children a school leaver elder son living in social housing in a rural aerea I’m just about as stuffed by you Torys(cos thats what you are) as can be imagined.I have worked without a break for 25 years my wife has also worked most of her adult life till childcare issues took her from the workplace.It is hardly my fault my children are disabled and it is charming bieng told the socially uceful job I have performed for a quater of a century is a frivolous waste.
    So as far as I am concerned you (yes you)see me as having been doing useless work should have jolly well sorted out my genetic heratage not been naieve enough to get caught out in the 90’s housing bust and had a child clever enough for uni because they seem to be the only ones you give a hoot about.
    You carry on convincing yourself you are doing the best for the old country if you like but as far as me and many many of my workmates family and neighbours are concerned you can all just dissapear into well deserved oblivion.
    Sadly many of the people of whom I write will now transferr their alligance to the extreme left or right not through ideology but disgust at their marginilisation.Well done you you must be so proud.
    Now I know you will like to write me off as a tribalist troll not living in the real world(tho r patey is my real name)but prepare yourselves for some real anger on the doorsteps come May.

  • > The annual budget deficit for this year, inherited from Labour, is around £150,000.000,000

    I wish people would stop using the expression “inherited from Labour” for the deficit. The deficit is due in part to poor behaviour of the banks which came from Conservative (and Lib-Dem) pressure to have light touch regulation on the city.

  • @ Sesenco

    “Translation: Act as cannon fodder for the US military-industrial complex when told to by Washington.”

    I don’t think that Paddy Ashdown thought he was doing that when he advocated (courageously and honourably) military intervention in the Balkans.

    @ Sesenco

    “MacK, did you favour intervention to stop the ethnic cleansing and genocide in East Timor?”

    Who on earth supports ethnic cleansing and genocide except the ethnic cleansers?

    @Sesenco

    “Are you sure you’re not a member of Republicans abroad?”

    Are you sure you’re not a member of Conspiracy Theorists Abroad?

  • @ Matt

    Bang on Matt!

  • MacK,

    “Who on earth supports ethnic cleansing and genocide except the ethnic cleansers?”

    In the case of East Timor, Lyndon Johnson, Richard, Nixon, Henry Kissinger, the military-industrial complex and the billionaire families, plus the Project for a New American Century and sundry journalists and think tank gravy-trainers.

    It’s great to be a cheerleader for US imperialism, because you get friends like the above. Wonderful human beings the lot of them.

    “I don’t think that Paddy Ashdown thought he was doing that when he advocated (courageously and honourably) military intervention in the Balkans.”

    Did you cheer when Croatia ethnically cleansed Serbs from the Kraijina with the blessing and encouragement of the United States? Is it only the ethnic cleansing of groups that are favoured by the United States that incurs your disapproval?

    The Jugoslav catastrophe could have been prevented had the international rule of law been stronger. But you believe in the international law of the jungle where the strongest wins out against the weak. As long as the strongest is the US military-industrial complex and billionaire families, that is.

    Labour supporters with internationalist leanings must cringe when they read your posts and realise that post-Blair the Labour Party still harbours raging neocons within its ranks.

  • Slight correction. Lyndon Johnson encouraged Suharto to butcher communists and other political opponents in the mid-1960s, not East Timorese. The genocide in East Timor was instigated by Henry Kissinger through the corrupt, murderous US puppet, Suharto.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Oct '10 - 3:53pm

    Simon Shaw

    “Well, it’s what you posted at 11.40am.”

    Of course it’s not – you inserted the words “(in Social Housing Budget),” which were not in my original comment.

    I know sites where that would get you automatically barred.

  • Matt
    ” Every single cut Hit’s people from low and middle income families, and hits the poorest and the most vulnerable the most.”

    Complete rubbish!

    Just two examples:
    1. Child Benefits – the proposed “means-testing” does not affect “middle income earners” as you claim; it only affects high earners.
    2. VAT – the IFS has confirmed that the increase in VAT is “mildly” progressive, so it hits the richest the most, not the poorest as you claim.

    Rather than saying what you don’t like, why don’t you come up with some suggestions of ways of cutting the £150,000,000,000 annual deficit.

  • @Anthony Aloysius St
    Please don’t tell lies.

    Your posting said “…the Tory government is proposing to cut the social housing budget…”

    That was the only other use of the word “cut” or “cuts”.

  • Voter
    ”I wish people would stop using the expression “inherited from Labour” for the deficit..”

    As roughly two-thirds of the current annual deficit is structural, it seems perfectly fair to talk about it being “inherited from Labour”, i.e. the majority of the current deficit is there because of Labour’s financial incompetence.

  • Voter
    ” The deficit is due in part to poor behaviour of the banks which came from Conservative (and Lib-Dem) pressure to have light touch regulation on the city.”

    Reference to (alleged) “Lib-Dem pressure to have light touch regulation on the city” displays an amazing level of ignorance. It’s as if Vince had never existed.

  • @Simon Shaw

    “Rather than saying what you don’t like, why don’t you come up with some suggestions of ways of cutting the £150,000,000,000 annual deficit.”

    I believe I have made myself quite clear in my posts on how I think the deficit should be cut.

    Hitting bankers who helped cause the financial crisis.

    Force Banks to start paying back Loans supplied to them by the tax payer, on a “monthly” repayment basis including Interest. (which is how banks operate with it’s customers, when they owe money to them)

    Tackling Millionaires/Billionaires & Ministers from hiding money in Offshore Tax havens and avoiding taxes.

    Putting stop to the so called top 35+ British Businesses who support and call for the savage cuts to public spending and yet manage to avoid paying corporation Tax by saying they run their business from Monaco for example.

    Stop Paying Government Advisers ( Owners of the top 35 British Businesses) Millions in Consultancy fee’s on how to (Cut Spending) which hits the poorest in society, And shows just how corrupt this Government, Tory Fat Cats and their New friends the Ginger Toms(Liberal Democrats).

    It would appear as though not only are some Liberal Democrats innumerate and have shown that they did not cost their manifesto pledge “competently” but are also Illiterate and not able to read posts correctly!

  • “It’s as if Vince had never existed”

    I prefer my comments to be based on fact, so correct me if I am wrong.

    I have checked the 2005 manifesto. I did not find measures which would have prevented the banking crisis. And Vince was in place in 2005.

  • It is you who assert that I am a cheerleader for U.S. Imperialism. Tempting as it is you really must avoid ascribing to people views for which you have absolutely no evidence. All I did was suggest that the influence of the party of appeasement will result in Britain being unable to defend itself effectively. Are you sure you haven’t ben watching too many Oliver Stone films?

  • Previous comment was in response to Sesenco.

  • @Sesenco.

    You can’t be suggesting that Paddy Ashdown was a cheerleader for US Imperialism, surely? If so, I am in good company.

  • Having listened to Cameron’s Defence Review statement and the questions flowing from it, it now seems clear that Cameron is taking huge risks with our Trident Nuclear Deterrent for political expediency. He is terrified that if he signs the maingate contract to renew Trident this side of a General Election the Coalition will implode.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Oct '10 - 5:43pm

    Simon Shaw

    Regardless of your half-baked guess about what I meant, I was referring to cuts (plural) in general, not the specific cut (singular) mentioned by the previous poster.

    Is it really so hard to understand that it’s not acceptable to alter what people have said while pretending to quote them?

  • MacK,

    “Tempting as it is you really must avoid ascribing to people views for which you have absolutely no evidence.”

    Oh please! The evidence that you are a cheerleader for US imperlialism can be gleaned from your oeuvre on this site. Your own words condemn you (or elevate you, in the eyes of the neocon right).

    “All I did was suggest that the influence of the party of appeasement will result in Britain being unable to defend itself effectively.”

    Statements as outrageously tendentious and provocative as the above would be blue-pencilled even by the “Sun”.

    “You can’t be suggesting that Paddy Ashdown was a cheerleader for US Imperialism, surely? If so, I am in good company.”

    On balance, no. Paddy was concerned about the human rights of people in Jugoslavia, while the US didn’t give a monkey’s about the humanitarian issues, being concerned exclusively to install regimes it could control, including one in Serbia which would allow US corporations to buy up the few profitable bits of that beknighted country’s economy. Also, Paddy has never accused opponents of US imperialism of being appeasers and anti-Semites, as you have.

    On the issue of Trident, this is not and never has been an independent weapon system. Its original purpose was to defend the United States against the Soviet Union at Britain’s expense, and now that the SU no longer exists, it is an opportunity for the US military-industrial complex to milk the UK taxpayer in the spurious belief that Trident bestows some kind of protection on Britain from Iran, Iraq, Islamist terrorists, and sundry bogeymen real or supposed. Don’t give taxpayers’ money to foreign billionaires, use it for the benefit of the British people.

  • Emsworthian 19th Oct '10 - 6:00pm

    The acid test is not moaning about working with the Tories-whom I continue to deeply distrust-but whether the Osborne medication works. We have to be clear that we not just helping the Tories win the next election on their own but getting the country through challenging times and yes there is a difference. If it works we have to be ready to shout from the rooftops about the part we played. If not it’s P45 time for LD MPs

  • I have just seen a publican break down in tears on the bbc news. Whatever you think about the military etc and all the other policies there are people who are going to be left devastated financially and emotionally. I have seen no kindness of any kind in any announcement about cuts. It seems that the coalition are deviod of campassion.

  • Nicley put Pat I know the rest of you you like to ignore me but it’s telling how none of you have anything to offer me my family or my ain folk.

  • Why is my first post on here awaiting moderation there is not one untrue or unheartfelt comment in it.If you find its tone offencive then as someone who fearfully voted for you as a lesser evil you may take it I am offended.
    Me and many others so get used to it.
    The lack of moderation of people having private rows on here criticising peoples spelling and punctuation and calling each other liars whilst my articulation of my very real fears and fury gets me a slap makes me wonder where your priorities lie.

  • Anthony Aloysius St
    ”Regardless of your half-baked guess about what I meant, I was referring to cuts (plural) in general, not the specific cut (singular) mentioned by the previous poster.

    Is it really so hard to understand that it’s not acceptable to alter what people have said while pretending to quote them?”

    The fact that you are incapable of expressing yourself clearly is surely your problem, not mine.

    I wasn’t referring to what the previous poster had said, but rather what you had said.

  • Voter
    ”I prefer my comments to be based on fact, so correct me if I am wrong.
    I have checked the 2005 manifesto. I did not find measures which would have prevented the banking crisis. And Vince was in place in 2005.”

    I’m really pleased you like your comments to be based on fact.

    So when you claimed that that there had been “Lib-Dem pressure to have light touch regulation on the city”, what is your factual basis for that? And you don’t even have to limit yourself to what our manifesto(s) have said.

  • @Simon

    I am curious as a Liberal Democrat Councillor. Do you fully support your Liberal Democrat MP for Birkdale “John Pugh”

    Who has said he will vote against rises in tuition fee’s
    http://www.southportvisiter.co.uk/southport-news/southport-southport-news/2010/10/12/southport-mp-john-pugh-to-rebel-over-tuition-fee-rise-proposals-100252-27453070/

    “Dr Pugh said: “I signed that pledge for very good reasons, having thought long and hard about it, and I do not propose to change my mind now”

    http://www.unisonnw.org.uk/resources/alternatives/Documents/Million%20Voices%20John%20Pugh%20MP%20v2.pdf

    “John was one of the 157 MPs who before the election signed an early day motion calling for a
    Robin Hood Tax on banks which could raise between £30-£50billion. A bank tax was also a Lib
    Dem manifesto pledge. The bank tax the ConDems have introduced is a pathetic gesture that raises
    around £2.5billion. Banks will also benefit from cuts to corporation tax.”

    “John has spoken in parliament in favour of clamping down on tax avoidance/evasion. These
    uncollected taxes could be worth £120billion a year, yet the ConDems went ahead with cuts
    despite this alternative. How can John support a pay freeze for public sector workers, a VAT
    rise to 20% which hits the poorest the hardest, 600,000 public sector workers losing their
    jobs and massive cuts in services when he knows there are fairer alternatives?”

    It would seem your own Mp from your ward, agrees with what I have said in previous posts.

    Am I to assume then Simon that you do not agree with the statements made by your fellow Liberal Democrat and for whom I am sure you must campaign for and helped to get into parliament???

  • Matt
    ”It would seem your own Mp from your ward, agrees with what I have said in previous posts.”

    I don’t think you need have any fear that any Lib Dem MP would agree with what you have said.

  • @Sesenco

    ‘ . . . and now that the SU no longer exists,’

    Er …. I think you’ll find that the land mass formerly known as the Soviet Union is still there and bristling with Russian nuclear weapons. I also think you’ll find that the Russians occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia and made the world tremble. Meanwhile, the mugs in the Coalition are winding down Trident, planning aircraft carriers that will be without planes, cancelling Nimrod and axing most of our tanks. Well done. The defence of the realm is truly safe in your hands!

  • “The lack of moderation of people having private rows on here criticising peoples spelling and punctuation and calling each other liars whilst my articulation of my very real fears and fury gets me a slap makes me wonder where your priorities lie”

    Well said. Trawling through most of the apologist nonsense that passes for insight amongst these comments is a profoundly depressing experience.

    When the very real devastation of this disgraceful and immoral “spending review” comes to fruition….this party will have no excuses and no place to hide. I am ashamed that I ever voted Lib Dem. Attacking the poor and the dis-advantaged in such a vicious and cynical way is something I expected of the Tories…but to hear Lib Dems attempting to any way justify their party’s participation in this makes me extremely angry and upset. You can make all the excuses you like…this is Conservative ideology at work. And it’s sickening.

  • Has Simon Wright Been writing on LDV? he certainly didn’t post a reply to my thread where I asked him he how we vote on tuition fee’s and directed him to the link on his website.

    He has also ignored e-mails that I have sent, setting out my concerns for where the party is taking us.

    Funny how he finds the time to communicate with yourself though, I will have to ask him to explain that one next time.

    I am a voter who voted Liberal Democrats last time and I am sure I have a valid reason and a right to be holding this government to account, I am sure I also deserve a response from simon Wright considering I voted for him.

    I am still curious though Simon. your sometimes are very fierce in your responses towards people and how we should Cut Everything, and even shockingly how you don’t think these measures will cause most suffering to families from poor and middle income is astounding.

    I would think there are far more disillusioned Liberal Democrat posters who have agreed with what I have said. Even your own MP from your Liberal Democrat seat has echoed my points in Parliament. (surly he must be concerned if a councillor from his ward does not agree with his statements in parliament?

    And Just to Clarify for me, are you saying that my MP Simon Wright agrees with posts that YOU have written in regards to comments to me ?? Curious

    on a final note you said

    “I don’t think you need have any fear that any Lib Dem MP would agree with what you have said”

    I said

    “How is that £1k in income Tax Relevant (£20 a week) Which was supposed to take so many people out of tax, but also put money back into the purse of families from poorer and middle incomes.

    when The Liberal Democrats are also supporting

    Cuts to Child Benefits (in excess of £1k+ a year to middle income earners)
    Axing Child Trust Funds
    Raising VAT to 20%
    Raising Fuel Duty
    Reduce support for people on income support receiving Housing Benefit or support for Mortgage Interest Payments.
    Freezing of some Benefits for the next 2 years
    Higher Tuition Fee’s
    !!!!!!!!!!
    that’s without the added cuts that are to be announced tomorrow, which will probably include reducing child benefit to 16 instead of 18.”

    You telling me now that No Liberal Democrat is going to be worried about these policies tomorrow and more of them being announced, that are targeting poorer framiles, children and middle income families.

    NO MP’s would agree,

    As I said in an earlier post

    “The middle will be squeezed, the poor will be bashed and the Tory FAT CATS will get even fatter along with their new Liberal chums, who have lost all their compassion, credibility, integrity, and sense of fairness in less than 6 months.”

    If some Liberal Democrat Mp;s cant relate to any of that, then we are surly are going to be in one sorry mess!

  • But to return to the thread:

    @Stephen Tall

    What this coalition experience has surely demonstrated to the public is that the Orange Tories and their unrealistic, utopian ideas should never be allowed anywhere near government again. It has also explained why they usually achieve less than 25% of the share of the vote at General Elections. I now see FPTP as a really effective means of keeping this dangerously naive and panglossian party out of power indefinitely.

  • MacK,

    Do you, in common with the late Kenny Everitt, want to bomb Russia? Your reply to Stephen Tall suggests that you are about as committed to democracy as Vladimir Putin, leading me to wonder why you dislike Russia so much. Like Bernard Levin on TW3, your technique is to rile people by saying outrageous things that you know will irritate. The difference being that Levin did it with great subtlety and panache.

  • Lib Dem Voice is starting to look like a mirror image of ConservativeHome, There, right-wing Tories and former Tories trash the actions of the Coalition and talk of betrayal of Conservative principles. Here, left-wing Lib Dem supporters, or former supporters, accuse the Coalition of pursuing a right-wing Tory agenda.

    The challenge of those on the centre-right and centre-left is demonstrate that coalition politics really does work as a model for the future. We are told that Tory and Lib Dem ministers are in private working amazing well together and have transformed political debate in Whitehall. Perhaps it is time for leaders of both parties to acknowledge that together they are able to bring about change, and change for the better, which neither party alone would have been able to achieve.

  • “Here, left-wing Lib Dem supporters, or former supporters, accuse the Coalition of pursuing a right-wing Tory agenda”

    Er, because they are Graham.

    “Change for the better”

    ??? The mind boggles. Maybe if you are the amongst wealthiest 2% then I imagine it will be change for the better. Hurrah. Pass the champers…

    How anyone viewing things from an allegedly “liberal” or even SLIGHTLY left of centre perspective can fool themselves into believing this is anything other pure Conservative ideology is baffling. I know where my allegiances lie and it isn’t hanging on to the coat tails of a radical Tory agenda. That way lies oblivion for this party.

  • …and while I’m here

    @Oranjepan

    Smugness is never a virtue. Next time go easy on the smug and be a touch more liberal (heh) with the wit. It’ll work wonders for your own menu. Trust me.

    Ciao.

  • Defence cuts 8%.
    Cuts to the poorest and most vulnerable on welfare and benefits tomorrow ?

    But all is well because Nick has a nice office and make flatpack furniture with Mr Cameron at Number 10.

    There will be a reckoning next year for Nick’s pollyanna faction who are pretending trust is irrelevant.

  • PMQ’s just raised my eyebrows.

    Cameron’s last response to Milliband’s Question was.

    One thing that he learnt in 5 years of sitting on the opposition bench was, If you haven’t got a plan, you can’t attack a plan.

    There I think the Conservatives have finally admitted it.

    They did not had a credible plan for Government in the last 5 years, and since winning the election 5 months ago, they have been making up, rushing through policies as quickly as possible, Policies and spending cut’s that have been poorly thought threw and yet stands to damage our country, our services and attack the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

  • @Sesenco
    “Do you, in common with the late Kenny Everitt, want to bomb Russia? Your reply to Stephen Tall suggests that you are about as committed to democracy as Vladimir Putin, leading me to wonder why you dislike Russia so much.”

    There you go again, making an ought from an is! Given that the Orange Tories crow so much on this site about the amount of influence they exert on the Blue Tories I merely observed that the Orange Tories had succeeded in watering down our defence capability and was instantly accused of being a cheerleader for US Imperialism! I then pointed out that Russia still exists and is bristling with nuclear weapons from which you infer that I wish to bomb the place because I despise democracy! My commitment to democracy is absolute, and I fully support extending the suffrage to people of sixteen, something which, despite all of their pre -election commitments, Orange Tory MPs found great difficulty supporting in the House of Commons. (A labour amendment, of course).
    I am flattered by the comparison to Bernard Levin, a great man, but acknowledge that I have neither his wit nor panache. I also think that I am the one whose leg is being pulled, Sesenco.

  • “But as Clegg has pointed out, the reason he is not implementing the Lib Dem manifesto
    is because the Lib Dems lost. So did everyone else.”

    Is anyone actually taking any notice whatsoever of this spurious little scrap of political fluff ?.

    The LibDemas didn’t win so they aren’t bound by pre-election promises, and conference determined policies.

    Please not , just as the LibDems did not win , nor did the Tories. That is why the coalition exists. If Cameron had actually secured a real mandate for his party’s policies and manifesto he wouldn’t have given the LibDems the time of day.

    To say there was no mandate given to the LibDems merely underlines no such mandate was given to the tories. Thus, why on earth should anyone accept or support tory policy.

    I can only assume that as the author appears to regard noone as being properly elected he will be calling for an immediate election. This will of course require that LibDems assist in bringing down the governement which the author underlines is without any real mandate to govern.

    Is it only me sees the incredible irony that a party supposedly dedicated to reform of the electoral system is so avidly shoring up what amounts to a minority government with an invented mandate to rule ?

  • Just coming to this thread now. Some time ago “Voter” wrote ” I wish people would stop using the expression “inherited from Labour” for the deficit. The deficit is due in part to poor behaviour of the banks which came from Conservative (and Lib-Dem) pressure to have light touch regulation on the city.”

    Leaving aside the calumny about the Lib Dems – the comment about the Conservatives is valid – I want to examine this thing about the deficit. Undoubtedly the measures taken (necessarily and rightly) by Gordon Brown to save the situation caused by the bankers created a major increase in national debt. But no-one is talking about rectifying that in any sudden way. In fact most if not all of it may well be paid down ultimately by profit from the public ownership of some banks. It is the continuing annual deficit that the coalition is tackling i.e. the appalling gap between public income and public expenditure every day of every month of every year. As far as I am aware no money is currently being paid to banks or expended in other ways to help banks. I suppose the interest on the national debt is higher than it would be if the banking crisis had not happened but that would not explain much out of an annual deficit of over £106bn.

    I am no economist but am I right in saying that the ongoing deficit as distinct from overall national debt is not being contributed to in any major way by the banking crisis?

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