Opinion: The counterfactuals seal the deal for a Lib-Con coalition

Allow me to indulge the personal for a moment. I was brought up in Eccles, a solidly Labour-voting suburb of Manchester (the seat hasn’t changed hands in the post-war era), by Labour-voting parents, and even gave my first vote to the Labour party, although I stopped short of ever becoming a party member. I say this because I want the reader to appreciate that I come to the Liberal Democrats firmly from the left of the political spectrum, which may make what follows a little remarkable.

In recent days I’ve read so many diatribes against a perceived betrayal from those that have shared my political journey, so many impassioned articles critical of the decision to form a coalition with the Conservative party, that I felt moved to add my tuppence worth – and in doing so I’d like you to consider the counterfactuals.

By counterfactuals, a term the economist-blogger Giles Wilkes introduced me to, I refer to the ‘what might have been’ scenarios, the ‘what ifs,’ the ‘flipsides.’ For instance, to those convinced that any sort of deal with the Conservative party was wrong on principle, I point to the fact that, like it or lump it, the Tories did win 36% of the vote and that the flipside of our refusal to work with them would have left the country’s biggest party without a voice in government.

And no, I’m not saying we should feel sorry for Tories in this case, but could true democrats countenance such a distortion to the popular voice, having spent decades campaigning for an electoral system that rewards votes with Parliamentary influence? Nick Clegg certainly didn’t think so, insistent as he was that as winners of the most votes, the Tories had a claim to ‘seek first to govern in the national interest.’

Then there’s the simple counterfactual of which of the alternatives on offer critics of our current position would have preferred. A minority Tory government, unstable in itself and yet with the ability to push through its legislative programme without countervailing voices as there now will be? Many an argument was made for us to step aside; instead we will now see many of our most cherished policies implemented and the harshest Tory plans shelved, so which would you prefer?

Or perhaps we ought to have gone for a so-called ‘rainbow alliance’ with Labour, Lib Dems and assorted others? To put the Conservative creed to one side is seen as beyond the pale, and yet so many have rushed to exalt a union with a party that, lest we forget their record in the last 13 years, trampled on our civil liberties; sat back as the fruits of an unprecedented and unsustainable boom accrued to the wealthy; spent billions on PFI schemes whist scrapping the lowest tax band; and lead the nation to a disastrous and illegal war in Iraq. If this forms part of the legacy of a supposedly progressive party, who’s to say that as a counterfactual, the Tories can’t deliver government we can tolerate at worst?

Yes, many Conservative policies go against our instincts as a party, and yes we must now tread carefully to avoid our liberal agenda being trashed in favour of classic Toryism – yes, indeed, none of us are that pleased with the prospect of a largely Eurosceptic, instinctively anti-State Conservative party being in power. And yet, there comes a point where partisan dislike of the Blue (or indeed Red) Tribe is trumped by one simple truth. We don’t make and campaign for policies because they’ll fit better with either Labour or the Tories; we don’t champion our commitment to freedom, justice and equality because it will please one or other of the two Old Parties; we don’t believe in fair votes, far taxes and a fair start for all children for any other reason than we are, and shall continue to be, Liberal Democrats. And if we are to remain distinctive in our approach to politics, let’s look at the extraordinary coalition agreement positively and recognise that from the Pupil Premium to an increased income tax allowance, some of our very best policies will now be implemented. Of course we must continue, as strongly, passionately and clearly as ever, to hold those in power to account, to insist that the capabilities and freedoms of the most vulnerable remain at the heart of public policy-making, but no longer from the sidelines; we now have an historic opportunity to actually execute much of what we’ve promised as a part of the government.

Which brings us to our final counterfactual – the consideration of where we would be as a party without a commitment of bringing about fairer votes at the next general election. It’s the prospect of electoral reform that gives me the most hope for the future, the prospect of going to the electorate with a record of having made pluralist, transparent politics work – and that too on an equal footing with all other parties, to let our liberal democracy shine through on merit – and that is enough to seal any deal for this Lib Dem.

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  • Angry ex-Lib Dem 15th May '10 - 7:23pm

    You can deceive yourself, but you can’t decieve the Great British Public! You have supped from the cup of Judas! You have taken your 40 pieces of silver (or should I say, 40 seats in the ministerial limos?!?) You have put yourself beyond the Pale! When I voted for the Liberal Democrats, I was under the impression that I was voting for the Labour Party – you have sold me out!

    I have been a loyal Lib Dem supporter all my adult life, but this is the greatest piece of treachery since Judas Iscariot! You have been conned by TWO OXBRIDGE PUBLIC SCHOOLBOYS, who probably spent most of their lives quaffing port in the master’s study, and have planned this all along! You have sacrificed your principles on the Altar of Power! Let me tell you something – neither I, nor my wife, nor my three children, my next door neighbour, my babysitter, my cat or my dog will EVER vote for your corrupt party ever again!

    Good luck having NO SEATS!!! next time round!

  • Sorry Mike, but people should have been grown up enough to work it out for themselves – the Lib Dems were never going to win outright, and if Labour got a kicking at the polls and that meant a Lib Con coalition was always the likeliest outcome. I didn’t like it either – my keenest interest in party politics to date has been anti-tory, and for this reason i’ve often excused the actions taken by Labour, on the grounds that a Tory alternative would be worse. Had the electorate got more firmly behind the liberals it may have been very different – likewise if we had STV or even AV (i assume Labour will now support the Yes vote in the referendum??)

    Also, i note you describe yourself as labour – can i assume that you therefore did not vote Labour, but voted Lib Dem in order to keep the tories out in your area? That was what your own ministers advised even… but that wasn’t the Lib Dem message from the top. Clegg had always said that the party with the biggest proportion of the vote and most seats should have the first opportunity to try and form a government. It is Labour that were trying to play politics prior to the result, not the Lib Dems.

    The Lib Dems are a party born for coalition government – we are so diverse and, as the names indicates, liberal. We will work with anyone, if that is what the electorate wishes us to do, as far as we can interpret their wishes. Coalition is also the inevitable outcome of a more proportional voting system – it’s interesting to note that some of the same voices decrying the new arrangement are also barracking for full STV; what do they really think the outcome of STV would be? Better to compromise and achieve, than stand on the sidelines and do nothing.

    I initially argued against the coalition, on the grounds that basically, i don’t like the tories, but we have to be grown up about this. Lets work with, and see where it gets us. So far, having read the agreement, i have to be positive. It’s going to be a difficult few years, but it’s so progressive, it deserves our support.

  • @Angry, loving it 😉

  • Mike-

    Yes, this isn’t a merger or electoral pact. Both parties will continue to stand their own candidates and campaign against each other in both local and national elections.

    You seem surprised that that would be the case.

  • Andrew Suffield 15th May '10 - 7:59pm

    Why was any suggestion that there might be a Lib-Con coalition derided as “Labour spin” and fearmongering?

    Well, because all those suggestions were Labour spin and fearmongering. They had no idea what would happen and were trying to induce fear. We even have an example right here:

    Clegg had already pretty much committed himself to the Tories

    We all know that’s a lie, and that he was prepared to go either way. So yes, it was just spin and fearmongering. Labour’s defeat doesn’t make that change.

    There’s nothing principled about an individual who thinks he knows better than the parliamentary system and imposes his own arbitrary rules to try and excuse his later behaviour as inevitable.

    After your party spent 13 years evading their manifesto promises to introduce electoral reform, and then finally declined to form a coalition and went into opposition because that’s what their MPs wanted to do, it’s rather whiny to complain that you don’t like a system which awards the government to the party which won the most seats. But go ahead: this “parliamentary system” that Clegg “knows better than” – how does it work, and what government should it have selected?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 15th May '10 - 8:32pm

    Angry ex-Lib Dem

    That was really rather entertaining – a sort of cross between William Shakespeare and Vicky Pollard.

    Please do keep posting. It’s great to have a bit of humour injected into these earnest political discussions.

  • Andrea Gill 15th May '10 - 8:37pm

    @Mike (Labour) – That is what happens everywhere else where coalition governments are the norm, e.g. most stable European countries etc…

  • It was illuminating to listen to Roy Hatersley today on Any Questions today wax lyrical about the LD’s coalition with the Tories as if this was some sort of great betrayal – and how we had compromised our principles and our political souls (I note some of the postings above also refer to Judas – well there is nothing quite like getting a bit of the bible into a serious debate).

    Roy’s perspective is really quite incredible from a senior and seasoned labourite who has seen labour coalition in Scotland, labour coalition in Wales and countless examples of labour coalition in local authorities up and down the country. However for some bizarre reason it would appear that there is a doctrine that at Westminster coalition is verboten and against some unwritten creed.

    Yes parties co-operate; and yes they will then fight each other at elections and by-elections. Across Europe they must really be wondering what all the fuss is about. Coalition in Germany, Netherland and elsewhere are the norm.

    I am staggered by the faux indignation coming from some parts of the left and centre left commentariat. Many individuals are sincere in their antipathy to our pragmatic approach to democracy, but given the mess the economy is in, a minority Government was not an option and a rainbow alliance of SNP, PC, SDLP, Green, Labour and LD would have been totally impractical (if you really want to see political vitriol just try and imagine a Labour – SNP partnership in Scotland; and I write as a Scot).

    Idealism is fine and dandy – and no doubt the left will engage in a heavy bout of they’re being “more purer than thou”………

    However your share of the vote went down, the Tories went up.

    You lost seats, they won seats.

    But no party ended up with enough seats to command a majority in the House.

    We hold elections in this country to elect a government. We now have a government. We have had to compromise, the Tories have had to compromise.

    At the end of the day political purity is fine for the dinner party, the Party meeting, the academic treatise, or indeed the chat room and blogosphere , however now is the time for pragmatism. Political pragmatism may, just may, provide the stability we really need at this time.

  • Am I the only Liberal that feels stabbed in the back by the parliamentary labour party preferring to hide in opposition than working with us sensibly to keep the tories out? Making us out to be working with the devil when they left us no alternative but to get the best deal possible out of the conservatives.

  • Mike (Labour) – “It will be interesting to see how “consensus” politics is squared up with parties trying to knock each other’s ministers out of parliament- how they’ll campaign against each other. ”

    In 1999 the Scottish Parliament election led to coalition with Labour & LD MSPs holding positions in the administration. Then they went to the country again in 2003 (note after a fixed 4 year period) with all parties competing as separate parties, with separate agendas and separate manifestos.

    Post the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, we saw the continuation of the Labour and LD coalition as that is what the electorate delivered (Lab = 50, SNP = 27, Con = 18, LD = 17, Other = 17)

    So it seems that coalition and contested elections can go hand in hand. And in the UK. How odd.

  • Andrea Gill 15th May '10 - 9:08pm

    @Mike (Labour) – I am very much hoping that we will be able to start using examples of what we have actively achieved in government rather than resorting to the old and frankly tired “two horse race” bar charts and strategies…

  • Mike (Labour) is disappointed that (Labour) no longer has the god-given expectation of the Liberal Democrats as coalition partners for (Labour). But for some reason blames the Lib Dems when, on the night when the rainbow coalition was on the table, senior Labour figures were making it clear that they would deny that fragile coalition a majority in the House by withholding their support.

    Oh well. Coalition Government: *5* Days Without An Illegal War

  • “Am I the only Liberal that feels stabbed in the back by the parliamentary labour party preferring to hide in opposition than working with us sensibly to keep the tories out? Making us out to be working with the devil when they left us no alternative but to get the best deal possible out of the conservatives.”

    James, I feel that way too. What makes it worse is that they haven’t stopped wailing about how evil the coalition is, and I don’t suspect they will stop any time soon. It makes life very simple, to be able to blame everything on someone else. The reason we have a Tory government (minority or majority) is because Labour fucked up, and left others to sort out the mess.

    I am starting to think part of what Labour are expressing is this weird belief that no one other than them should be in government, maybe also a bit of jealousy that if this coalition works then it makes Labour irrelevant (I think this was the main feeling behind Mehdi “Kaafir” Hasan’s rants on QT the other night).

  • Mike – you seem to be really angry that the LDs, a party you don’t support, has somehow betrayed your sensibilities. I sense displaced rage – perhaps you really feel that if Labour had worked a teeny bit harder, or its leader had managed to retain some respect for the electorate (or even just the old ladies part of it) it might have been able to do well enough to contribute to clearing up the horrendous mess it created and then scooted off and left behind.

  • John Emerson 15th May '10 - 10:27pm

    I think many lib-dem activists would have thought a Tory/LibDem coalition was nearly impossible, (I certainly did), as of the 4 ‘tests’ that Nick Clegg set out, fairer taxes and reform of westminister voting, are both unacceptable to the Tories.

    For reason that have yet to be explained, (other than a minority government would have been ‘unstable’), we did not stick to these tests. The 10k new tax threshold is now, under the agreement, largely unpaid for, (no mansion tax or pension tax change.). Unless I am mistaken it will be paid for by spending cuts and/or tax (probably VAT) increases. How, without the second half of our policy (or equilivilent), could be considered fairer taxes?

    I also (foolishly?) thought voting reform was to some type of proportional representation, not a AV referendum where our coalition partners would be campaigning against it.

    “A minority Tory government, unstable in itself and yet with the ability to push through its legislative programme without countervailing voices as there now will be?”

    Firstly,here in Scotland, the SNP have run a minority government for 2 years now, (however much I disagree with their policies). Secondly, if you wanted more stability why not have a pragmatic confidence and supply deal rather than a full coalition with a party which we are ideologically opposed to on so many issues? Thirdly a minority government, by definition, cannot push through any of its legislative programme without agreement from at least some of the opposition.

    “Oh well. Coalition Government: *5* Days Without An Illegal War”

    An illegal war which was supported wholeheartedly by our new coalition patners

  • Tony Greaves 15th May '10 - 10:46pm

    Can I suggest that “Mike (Labour)” stops wasting our time and space and goes away to some Labour website where he and his mates can talk angrily amongst themselves? How intersting it is that so many members of the Labour Party seem to think we are an adjunc t of their rotten right-wing corrupt outfit!

    One interesting fact is that there are more people joining the Liberal Democrats nationally than resigning. Another is that some of the people angrily “resigning” are years out of date with their memberships!

    Tony Greaves

  • A progressive alliance/coalition with Labour was not on. You would need a very short memory to regard Labour as progressive and the numbers do not add up even if you are unlucky enough to have such a memory. The coalition with the Conservatives will be justified if we succeed in rescuing the UK from the appalling mess where 25% of every pound spent by the government is borrowed and remain true to our values. A difficult task to say the least but one which deserves our (ie Lib Dems’) support.

  • The Labour trolls littering these threads with their fatuous comments are having the exact opposite effect of what they (presumably) intend. I am deeply critical of the leadership and how it has (mis)handled the aftermath of the election, but the Labour trolls are goading me into rushing to Clegg’s defence.

    Anyway, here is my answer to Prateek’s analysis.

    I agree that the Leadership had little choice. Labour refused to negotiate, and doing nothing risked having an unstable government and a fresh general election that the Tories could win outright. My preferred option would be standing aside, but with a guarantee that the party would not support a motion of no confidence until October 2011. We would vote down measures that were contrary to our published manifesto, and the Tories would be unlikely to go to the country having just made deep cuts to the public sector. Not an ideal scenario, but preferable to getting into bed.

    The so-called Tory concessions are undertakings to delay implementation rather than to abandon. Once the Tories get an overall majority, ID cards and airport expansion (among others) will be back. Recall that it was John Major who tried to introduce ID cards and only stopped when Peter Lillie succeeded in talking him out of it. And it was the Heath government that tried to build a 3rd London Airport, first in Buckinghamshire, then on Foulness.

    The question we have to ask about each of these so-called concessions is: what do the Tories’ billionaire paymasters want?

    The control agenda is the creation of the US military/industrial/petrochemical complex, which insinuated Cameron into the Tory leadership through the mechanism of Frank Luntz. Of course the Tories are going to pursue it once they get the chance. That is one of the reasons they got those £50 million! If you don’t believe me, as yourself why David Davis fought that byelection – oh, and why Davis hasn’t been given a Cabinet post.

    Similarly, there is no way that the Tories will reform the banking system. Bankers are among the Tories’ most loyal and generous supporters. To Tory activists, irresponsible traders are heroes. The notion that the Tories are going to do anything to regulate the banking sector and cut down on bonuses is preposterous. No wonder Vince Cable looks so miserable.

    The Liberal Democrats are providing political cover for a Tory administration dominated by the hard right and committed to the further aggrandisement of the super rich and the expansion of US global hegemony. Added to that, our party has been neutered as a campaigning organisation. It is a nightmare scenario.

  • Mike – perhaps you can tell me what was in your manifesto that was exactly `progressive`?

  • Mike (Labour),

    I did join Labour, many years ago, but I left. Why? Because I was accused of being a bourgeois opportunist and middle-class. Oh, and I didn’t agree with Clause 4 (which everyone I met in the Labour Party wanted to implement in full). On one occasion, I was hauled before a Labour Party court. Now, it’s too long ago to recall all the insults that were thrown at me, but one of them was: “Guildford!!?? What about Welsh miners and Liverpool dockers??!!” Yes, in the pre-Blair Labour Party it was a crime to live in Guildford.

    Now, that was in the days when the Labour Party actually did have some principles, though admittedly not very nice ones. What Blair/Mandelson did was turn the Party into a tool of US foreign policy and the super rich. One might have expected the class warriors, Guildford-haters and sundry Stalinist bullies to to fight tooth and nail to stop this. Like hell they did. Most of them joined Blair and Mandelson as lackeys of the hated capitalists.

    I think you will forgive me if I deline your invitation to join the Labour Party.

    The people’s flag is deepest red, it’s soaked in the blood of… hundreds of thousands or Iraqis.

  • Andrew Suffield 16th May '10 - 12:08am

    If you’re getting votes from people who only vote for you thinking that you wouldn’t go into coalition with the Tories…

    I think both the party and society can probably live without that guy’s vote. If the only political awareness a person has is “I hate Tories”, then they’re just contributing to a culture of hatred and retaliation, which does nobody any good. When you go around hating people because of their political beliefs, then it’s not really any different to hating them for other beliefs.

    Such thinking is so completely opposed to the fundamental principles of the Lib Dems that they really should not be voting for the party to start with. They’re probably crypto-BNP or something like that.

  • Simon,

    Would Cameron have won the acquiescence of the Tory right if he had not persuaded them that he was taking the Liberal Democrats for a ride?

    As we know, the Tory Party is hired and paid for by the super rich (many of them in North America). If YOU paid £50 million to someone to promote your interests, would you not expect value for money in return?

    Don’t worry. I’m not going to spend the next 18 months attacking the coalition, because that would run the risk of damaging the party. It is important that the party holds together so that we survive as a collectivity when reality catches up.

  • Simon – Thank you, totally agree! 🙂

  • @ Mike (Labour)

    Another interesting fact is that the Labour Party has gained thousands of new members- speculation is that many of these were Liberal Democrat voters who feel misled, if not actually members.

    LOL. Oh please, they’re people who want to vote in the leadership election – and fair enough, why shouldn’t they? To assume they’re all disaffected Lib Dems is wishful thinking I’m afraid. And while I respect the fact that you’ve identified your political allegiance alongside your name (and for this reason wouldn’t define you as a troll), I do find it curious that you’ve so far posted more comments in this thread than any Lib Dem… I’m sure we all appreciate your enthusiasm but if Labour is really undergoing such a resurgence shouldn’t you be busy posting at LabourList and planning your imminent return to power?

    @ Sesenco

    My preferred option would be standing aside, but with a guarantee that the party would not support a motion of no confidence until October 2011. We would vote down measures that were contrary to our published manifesto, and the Tories would be unlikely to go to the country having just made deep cuts to the public sector.

    I initially (i.e. the day after the election) would have preferred the confidence-and-supply option as well, but after thinking about it for a couple of days I became less and less comfortable with it. Yes, we could’ve voted against the marriage tax break rather than abstaining as we will do now, and we could’ve voted down the inheritance tax break (which we’ve managed to get rid of anyway). But as I understand it spending cuts are made in the ministries and don’t need to go through parliament. The only economic bill that would have been presented is the budget – and we would’ve had to let that pass or else bring down the government. By handing Cameron the keys to No 10 without Clegg walking in with him, we would’ve given our tacit approval to all the cuts without having any influence over them. That would’ve been the worst of all possible worlds – to be tainted by association with cuts that we had no say in. Give me David Laws as No 2 in the Treasury any day rather than Osbourne wielding the axe on his own.

    Plus, I don’t believe for a moment that a Tory minority would’ve lasted into 2011. They would’ve made a few cosmetic cuts this year and brought in some populist policies, then found an excuse to claim they couldn’t get anything done because of those awkward Lib Dems voting down all their bills and called an autumn election blaming it on us. Not only would that have almost certainly delivered a Tory majority, but the public would’ve come away with the impression that minority / coalition government just doesn’t work, killing off the case for voting reform for another decade or more.

    But I applaud your decision to stick with the party even though you’re not in favour of the coalition – and the way you’re arguing your case constructively (unlike some others!). Friendly dissent is what we’ve always been about and one of the things I’ve always loved about the party.

    You completely lost me on the £50 million / David Davis by-election / US petrochemical stuff though – care to elaborate for the less well-informed among us?

  • Miranda Ward 16th May '10 - 2:03am

    An onteresting and thought provokiing article. Followed by a selection of comments by some posters who did not seem to have read it and were so churned up with anger, hate and frustration

    Lukily enough sound commentary to enable my hopes to stay buoyant. It is rather frightening how some people seem to have such extremely entrenched view points. Nothing is cast in stone and political growth and even democracy, are organic. The ones who wish everything to be as it was – I wonder if they would hold the same view if they had been born a hndred years earlier and then, miraculously, dropped in to this century. I can imagine some folks having apoplectic fits arguing that the earth is still flat!

    One of the best ways to effect a change is from within – not throwing molotov cocktails from the other side of the ramparts. Just look at Bangkok at the moment. This is a rather more civilised way of doing things without the anger and the venom.

    I do hope the ‘betrayed’ of wherever who is never going to vote Lib Dem again in company with his family, baby sitter, cat et al either presents himself as an Indie or politely spoils his next ballot paper. Afterall, if he don’t wote he can’t complain. Or maybe he wishes to switch to Labour? He might well find others of his ilk with whom to form a new new labour? But he sounded more the ‘woman scorned’ type to me. At least he is lucky enough to live in a land where he does have a vote and his kids will have an education and, hopefully, be allowed to decide how they will vote for themselves.!


  • Catherine,

    Quite simple, really. The military/industrial complex is the term used by President Eisenhower in his valedictory address to denote the symbiotic combination of America’s bloated military (much more vast today) and the companies that manufacture the weapons systems, supply the canteens, maintain the tanks, etc, and whose directors tend to be retired generals. The complex has an obvious self-interest in expanding and augmenting US military and economic hegemony across the globe. Add to the military-industrial complex the oil industry, whose interests and objectives are closely aligned to the former, and the “families”, the descendents of 17th immigrants who still control the levers of power and have immense wealth hugely disproportionate to their numbers.

    Now, if you want to know what these people are thinking, ask their paid spokesmen, the neocons. They will tell you. The key neocon placeman in the UK is Michael Gove MP, Cameron’s spiritual adviser and SOS for Education. It is the military-industrial complex and the network of elite families that gave us the Iraq war and are pushing the control agenda. Which brings us to David Davis. In recent years, a number of key Tories have become alarmed at the exponential growth of untrammelled US power, and the terrible consequences it will ultimately have for the British people: Michael Heseltine, who opposed the US takeover of Westland Helicopters, and has warned about the North American control of the UK media; Ken Clarke, John Gummer and Douglas Hogg, alll of whom opposed the Iraq war; and David Davis. What Davis did was give us a subliminal warning of what is planned and will assuredly come on the civil liberties front. Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t have a place in the Cameron cabinet.

    Now to the £50 million. This is the figure that has been bandied around as the size of the Tory election war chest. Where does this booty originate? Well, some of it from Lord Ashcroft. Did this money come from Ashcroft’s own pocket, or was Ashcroft merely a conduit for people unable to donate directly because they are foreign nationals?

    Cameron is a North American puppet. When Michael Howard resigned, it looked as if David Davis would be a shoo-in. All the surveys at the time, and virtually al the pundits, said as much. Then along came the Republican pollster and psychological manipulator, Frank Luntz, who staged a phoney focus group on “Newsnight” whose purpose was to suggest to Tory members that Cameron could appeal to the wider electorate while Davis could not. And before I finish with Luntz, when it appeared that there might be a contest to replace Tony Blair, he went through the same exercise and tried to foist Dr John Reid on us!!!! Thankfully, he was never let loose on the Liberal Democrats.

    So, please forgive me if I regard the cancellation of the third runway and expansion at Gatwick and Stansted as sweeties offered out of the car window to entice us in. Once they have more power, the Tories will concrete over half of England if that is what their puppet-masters tell them.

  • Paul McKeown 16th May '10 - 10:35am


    I too was surprised and disappointed that David Davis was not a member of the government, he has principles and sticks to them and passionately believes in liberty.

    I don’t follow what you say about Michael Gove; can you elaborate?

  • Paul McKeown,

    Michael Gove has only been a politician since 2005. Before that, he was an opinion piece writer for Rupert Murdoch. In this capacity, he defended the Iraq war, lauded US foreign policy and lamented what he considered the moral and spiritual decline of Europe which only a more powerful America could arrest and reverse. Gove likes to present himself as an urbane, civilised gentleman, but behind that patina of media-savvy smarm lurks one of the most extreme and dangerous Tories around. Gove is certainly no liberal. He is in favour of forcing people to join the Army. Be warned.

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