Opinion: What the hell have the Lib Dems done?

I wasn’t the first in the party, and I doubt I’ll be the last, to say the Liberal Democrats need to make more of our achievements in government. There’s little doubt the balance of power in the Coalition lies with the Tories, but with five members of the Cabinet and sixteen further Government Ministers, we must have some kind of influence, right?

Well we certainly seem to. I recently came across a document outlining how the Liberal Democrats have been meeting their various manifesto commitments in government. It included some of our key pledges, such as raising the basic income tax threshold towards £10,000, introducing a ‘pupil premium’ for disadvantaged kids, and scrapping ID cards.

These are the bread and butter policies we campaigned on a year ago, and are central to the Lib Dem philosophy. Beyond those high profile successes however, the document also lists a raft of other policies, now implemented, that Mrs Smith down the road might not be so aware of.

A judicial inquiry into Britain’s role in torture and rendition, banning wheel clamping on private property, prioritising research into dementia and respite help for full-time carers – just some of the things the Liberal Democrats have moved from Focus leaflets into Government policy documents.

Of course I’m not suggesting we can take sole credit for everything good the Government announces, but these policies were all clearly written into the general election manifesto we campaigned on – stated Liberal Democrat policies now on the nation’s statute books.

Knowing that not everyone enjoys spending their weekend reading Lib Dem policy documents, I’ve put together a simple website highlighting some of these achievements – www.WhatTheHellHaveTheLibDemsDone.com. What’s more, I’ve given it an intriguing name so you simply can’t resist taking a look!

It’s my way of getting across to activists and sceptics alike what the Liberal Democrats have been doing in government, which is vital if we are going to stand up and be counted in May’s elections. The alternative is simply to bow our heads in apologetic silence until it’s all over.

Finally, allow me to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Funnily enough, neither the Lib Dem ‘successes’ document nor the website mention anything about tuition fees, an issue which still leaves many in the party frothing at the mouth. That is not to ignore the fact we haven’t handled everything particularly well in government. It has been, for many of us, a testing time. It’s just that it shouldn’t cancel out all the positive things we’ve done over the past twelve months, and the real part we are playing in the future of Britain.

William Summers was the party’s parliamentary candidate in 2010 for North West Norfolk and can be found on Twitter here.

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  • Nice job.

  • I seem to remember when chosing my vote between SNP or Libdem I thought I won’t vote for a party that will privatise Royal Mail so I checked your website Trust is very difficult to regain tell me how many people you trust after they have lied to you.

  • Obviously SOME of your manifesto has been implemented – obvious things that have universal consensus, like uprating the minimum wage in line with inflation. I’d be willing to bet more of your 2005 manifesto was implemented by the Labour government of 2005-10 than your latest manifesto will be implemented by the Coalition.

  • Call me nit-picky, but abolishing ID cards and introducing a pupil premium were both Conservative (as well as LibDem) policies, so I don’t think the LibDems can claim credit for their introduction. They would (one presumes) still have happened if a majority Conservative government had been elected.

  • david thorpe 4th Apr '11 - 12:07pm

    @ john

    your right about the ID cardsm, although if it had been a minority tory government it might have been blocked by tory rebels,
    as for the pupil premium, micheal cove is on reciord as saying that while he favoured a policy very close to the pupil premium, he was told he couldnt have it as it would be too expensive, the l;ib dem negotiating team dug their heels in and it became part of the coalition agreement

  • @Dan
    That is complete and utter rubbish. I can list soooooo many things that Labour did in power that went directly against the Lib Dem policies ranging from attempts to raise the number of days one can be held without charge all the way to abolishing the 10p tax band. Looking back I can barely think of one policy agreement between Labour and the Lib Dems between 2005-10 except for the nationalisation of the banking sector which in the end had universal approval.

    In comparison I can think of soooooo many things that have been implemented by the coalition that are Lib Dem policies that are by no means matters of ‘universal consensus’: Raising income tax threshold, pupil premium, restoring earnings link with pension, scrapping ID cards, the AV referendum, the banking levy, the increase in capital gains tax etc.

    In short your talking complete rubbish in both respects.

  • Part of me thinks that this is great, but I don’t like the idea that is tacit (if unintentional) idea in the article that somehow government can be reduced to a tick-box exercise. Tick enough boxes and people will vote for you – right? What would the reaction have been if Labour had done this in about 2007-08. Everything they said would have been accurate, and would likely have ticked a lot of good boxes, but would it somehow have made for a better political situation.

    Of course, not everyone will agree with every bit of Lib Dem policy (I never liked the pupil premium for example – throwing money at a problem will not per se solve it), and that is entirely fair enough. But further than that, the voters can make of the reality they face what ever they want to. Ticking boxes on a website will not as such make people more content with the performance of government.

    With a sincere apology for striking a more negative note, I’m not sure that this will be any more than an exercise in telling people what they should be thinking.

  • You’ve wrecked Higher Education. The sums don’t add up and you’re threatening to restrict access to make them. You’ve gone from the party of no tuition fees and easier access to HE, to one of high fees and reduced educational chances. That is unforgivable.

    Jobs, Education and Healthcare. What’s you’re record on these? Because it’s this that the electorate will judge you on.

  • @toryboys – yes, that’s serious, but it’s not likely to have been implemented by a politician, more a misguided manager (who should be rooted out and firmly disciplined, but being the civil service probably won’t be.)

    @g – I’m not defending tuition fees – I don’t support them and never will, and that is the overwhelming view of most Liberal Democrats. On healthcare, take a look at the Social Liberal Forum website and you’ll see an example of the concern that there is in the party about this policy (which wasn’t in either party’s manifesto or the coalition agreement.) On jobs – this takes time, but if we’re in a better place in 2015 than in 2010 then I’ll be happy.

  • Dave Page – Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    I don’t dispute a big part of that. If anything, I would go a step further and say we need far more balance in our politics. I said this, incidentally when Gordon Brown was the subject of all sorts of vicious comment, but that is a story for another day.

    Where I do disagree, and with the greatest of respect (and I do mean that) you kind of demonstrate my point.

    ‘Of course, that won’t be perfect – I’ve already seen a Green supporter say “nothing on this list matters because of tuition fees” – but that kind of argument starts to look a little lame while stacked up against a solid list of promises delivered.’

    No – you do not get to tell voters that their arguments are, ‘lame.’ You disagree with them, that’s it. You might have what you rightly or wrongly think are promises delivered. Fair enough, but you can’t tell voters how to think or feel. You can’t decide for voters what issues they feel strongly about. Students are the extreme example perhaps, but what do you say – sorry about the fees, but the boomers are getting a gold-plated earnings link so that’s a box ticked in compensation.

  • KL, it’s no good saying that Lib Dems don’t support tuition fees when your parliamentary representatives voted for them and one of your ministers drew up the plans! Plans, incidentally, which are more of a disaster than the NHS reforms, it’s just the press haven’t latched on to it yet.

  • What they’ve done is to demonstrate that once they get into power, all the fine words count for nothing. They’ve demonstrated that politicians really are all the same. All my adult life I’ve waited for my voice to be represented in parliament. I’m still waiting.

    What have they done? They’ve betrayed the membership and made a mockery of the party’s objectives and structures.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 4th Apr '11 - 1:28pm

    KL – given the extent of the change it looks pretty much like policy to me. And if it weren’t I would have expected to have seen more of a rebuttal by now. Genuine liberals should be pursuing Webb to take action now.

  • LondonLiberal 4th Apr '11 - 1:30pm

    Will – great website, and well done for putting it out there. More people need to know the full list of things we’ve done so they can make a more balanced and infomred judgement before screaming ‘betrayal’. As for all those frothing at the mouth at how evil the libs have suddenly become in their eyes, i ask them, what woudl they rather see, a coalition with the libdems holding the tories back (and believe me, we are) or a full-blooded Tory government that really could do whatever it liked? because those are basically the only two alternatives that confronted us after the election last year.

  • Would be a great initiative if it was a bit more honest.

    For example, Lib Dems have not invested 2.5 Billion in the Pupil Premium, they have taken most (if not all) of the money from other areas of the education budget. So take a win (saving that portion of the education budget and pushing it to poorer students) add some spin “Hey we’ve met our committment to new money” and you end up with cynical voters unable to trust anything said…

  • @BCM

    ” Raising income tax threshold,” – except this isn’t actually happening, due to the change in uprating tax thresholds by CPI meaning, in real terms, the tax threshold will be back where it was in 2010 by the end of the Parliament
    ” pupil premium” – again, not actually happening – the education budget has been (slightly) cut in real terms
    “restoring earnings link with pension” – in Labour’s manifesto
    “scrapping ID cards” – Labour offered to do this in Coalition talks with Libs
    ” the AV referendum” – in Labour’s manifesto
    “the banking levy” – in Labour’s manifesto

    I stand by the claim that more of the Lib Dems’ manifesto was implemented between 2005-10.

  • In all seriousness, saying “this really is a Lib Dem-influenced government” is the worst possible move – it will make people think that the current terrible government is actually in sync with Lib Dem values, rather than the Lib Dems just putting up with Tory values. It will make you even more toxic than now. People aren’t going to change their mind on what they think of the government’s record just because of what you say – your best bet is distancing yourselves as far as possible from it.

  • William Summers – Thank you for your reply (also to Dave Page).

    Perhaps let me put this another way. I would certainly like to see more balance and, indeed, civility, in politics. I said this at the height of the Brown bashing, some of the comment from all sides at the time was shameful – so to be clear I extend this to all parties.

    Firstly, I believe that there is nothing to be proud of about the HE fees deal – nothing. Even if we leave aside the signed personal pledges, that policy is a mighty kick to the young whilst the old are being preferenced. But this idea is, of course, not about one policy.

    The Lib Dems are not the first party who feel they are getting a raw deal from the media, and I guess this is just a part of government. By all means, produce these lists – I’m sure they will be interesting pieces of work. All I am saying is that any government can tick the boxes. It’s just that telling students about the successes on pensions really is not going to cut the mustard in the way your article seems to suggest.

    I would also add one other interesting aside here – why is it that you are having to do this at all? Your comment perhaps by accident gives a good answer,

    ‘If we don’t tell voters what we believe in and what we’ve been doing with a share of power, who else is going to? The Guardian? The Daily Mail? David Cameron??’

    Shouldn’t that list include Nick Clegg and the other Lib Dem ministers? The leadership in the past six months seems to have vanished without a trace.

  • There is also the coalition pledge tracker which gives a good breakdown by coalition partner


  • The strange thing is that I keep seeing comments such as… and you voters really should understand this better…..

    – the LibDem members don’t really support the tuition fees rise

    – the LibDem members don’t really support the external market proposals for the health service

    – the LibDem members don’t really support the jobcentres fiddling the books

    – the LibDem members don’t really support [name your policy]

    But heyho once the voters (perhaps those Barnsley cretin types) just get to understand that we nice LibDem party membersdon’t really support any of these nasty policies everything will be rosy in the garden.

  • @ Dave Page

    And Dave while you on the doorstep make sure you explain that at least 60 universities look set to charge fees at the £9,000 level – as the government made the assumption that £7,500 would be the figure there’s a good chance that it will be even harder for your potential voter’s children to get a place at all.

    Oh but of course I suppose LibDem members are opposed to all of this…

  • LondonLiberal 4th Apr '11 - 2:54pm

    @ peebee
    “And Dave while you on the doorstep make sure you explain that at least 60 universities look set to charge fees at the £9,000 level – as the government made the assumption that £7,500 would be the figure there’s a good chance that it will be even harder for your potential voter’s children to get a place at all.”

    So how will you be voting next time, peebee? Maybe for one of the parties that agreed to abide by the recommendations of the Browne report, which was much worse for pooer students than the current proposals? the libdems broke a pledge, for sure, but no party’s hands are clean on this issue, i’m sorry to say.

  • @Dan

    You’re missing the point that whilst the education budget is being cut (as indeed it would under Labour) the Lib Dems have ensured that those from lower income backgrounds will be less cut (or by some studies genuine beneficiaries).

    Similarly the raising income tax threshold, you say isn’t really happening due to the changing of the inflation link but the fact is even in real terms people right now will be better of by several hundred quid as a result. You’re right that it may not continue to the end of the parliament (though that is more up for debate because it is debatble what is better measure of ‘real’ inflation, RPI or CPI, particularly when those on lower incomes are unlikely to be paying for housing costs in the same way as those on higher incomes are, and indeed RPI isn’t actually always higher than CPI) but I didn’t see Labour offering a tax break for everyone and lowest earners in particular over this parliament.

    Restoring earnings link was still a Lib Dem policy now implemented that hasn’t been done between 2005-10

    Scrapping ID cards, yeah cos you could have totally trusted Labour on that one after they bleeding introduced them!

    The AV Referendum. Again not implemented between 2005-10 when Labour could have totally done so with their majority.

    The Banking Levy was set to end under Labour. Thanks to the Lib Dems it is continuing.

    Overall your answer would be rather more convincing if you actually managed to say a Lib Dem policy pledge delivered between 2005-10 and in fact lay out how many more were implemented then than now rather than just steadfastedly asserting with no basis in fact. I am a Lib Dem who was pretty switched on in the last parliament and I think I would have noticed if large swathes of our manifesto had been implemented… I must have missed it…
    Oh wait IT WASN’T.

  • @Dan – AV referendum was in the Labour manifesto, yes, but it was in the 1997 and (I think) the 2001 manifestos too – we finally get one 14 years after Labour first promised it. And they still voted against it!

    ID Cards – there’s no way this would have been dropped under Labour. Watered down, possibly, but it really was Labour’s big baby.

    @g – tuition fees – look at the manifesto for the Scottish Liberal Democrats published tomorrow, and – I’m sure – the Welsh Liberal Democrats too. Look at the various conference votes over the last year in the regions – only one went in favour of tuition fees, and that was because (I understand) of an error by the chair in ending the debate. Vince Cable may support them now, but the majority of Lib Dem MPs did not support the increase (28 voted yes, 21 voted no, 8 abstained.)

  • Even David Laws’ distorted account of the coalition negotiations concedes that Labour offfered to ditch ID cards:

    “Labour did make some concessions – agreeing to reform of the House of Commons, to axe the third Heathrow runway and the National Identity Register – but there was little movement on anything else. ”


  • @Dan

    Kind of illustrates my point that you chose that one thing (which again you misinterpreted, I didn’t deny Labour offered that concession, I just doubted they’d actually stick to that deal, especially when they would have no way of implementing it due to a lack of seat) and completely failed to address the challenge to actually come up with policies of the Lib Dems that were implemented 2005-10

  • KL, I think perhaps you’re missing the point. You can’t say you object to tuition fees while your MPs introduce them. Not unless you want to look like a dishonest and feckless bunch of political chancers.

  • From the Guardian’s Pledge Tracker:

    Of 82 Lib Dem proposed policies in the Coalition Agreement the current statuses are

    Kept: 21
    In Progress: 33
    Wait & See: 22
    Not Kept: 6

    Looks fairly good to me so far …

  • “and completely failed to address the challenge to actually come up with policies of the Lib Dems that were implemented 2005-10”

    As I recall, one of the Lib Dems’ flagship policies in 2005 was a 50p rate of tax; this was implemented by Labour. The Libs wanted increased investment in education; achieved by Labour. Ineed, I could even say the Lib Dems’ pledge to get troops out of Iraq was (eventually) done by Labour (sure, that’s engaging in semantics – but so is making claims like a ‘pupil premium’ which is simply recycling money already existing in the education budget).

  • @Dan

    So in total you have about 2 actual peices of the Lib Dem manifesto implemented by Labour…. Let’s have a count of the Lib Dem policies implemented by the coalition. I can think of at least 20 off the top of my head, the real number being far larger. So rather than about 1% of our manifesto being implemented 2005-10, its now around 60% or more.

    Seriously Dan, stop spouting this rubbish and rosey eyed view of the last parliament that it was some progressive golden age with Labour taking us under their wing in a kindly manner. The actual fact is Labour was viciously regressive even at a time of financial leeway, ridiculously authoritarian and overwhelmingly irresponsible and incompetent. Three things that the Lib Dems never have and never will stand for.

  • “So in total you have about 2 actual peices of the Lib Dem manifesto implemented by Labour…. Let’s have a count of the Lib Dem policies implemented by the coalition. I can think of at least 20 off the top of my head, the real number being far larger. So rather than about 1% of our manifesto being implemented 2005-10, its now around 60% or more.”

    No, that was just the Lib Dems’ three MAIN policies at the 2005 election, all of which were technically implemented by Labour. I have no desire to trawl through their entire manifesto, but I’m almost certain more of it would have been implemented by the last government than will be done in this Parliament.

  • And you don’t think the Coalition’s economic polcies are regressive? REALLY?

    I’d even question whether the current government is significantly less authoritarian than Labour… sure, ID cards have gone, but control orders are staying and, despite the Clegg spin, children are still being kept in detention centres.

  • @Dan

    But again Dan, you’re ‘certainty’ has absolutely no basis in fact, it is actually simply rubbish. And in fact I would say by equal measure most of our MAIN policy pledges have actually been implemented in this parliament, e.g. pupil premium, increase in tax threshold, raising capital gains, stopping renewal of trident at least for this parliament, restoring civil liberties, constitutional reform etc. The only main policy pledge that we haven’t delivered on is tuition fees.

    In comparison Labour in the last government went directly against what I would class as our main policy pledges, barring extra investment in education (I’m not sure I would class pulling out of Iraq as an up there policy commitment, it was more the case that we opposed the initial involvement). Looking back lets look at the MASSIVE infringements on civil liberties, the complete failure to implement any sort of constitutional reform, the complete failure at tax or benefits reform, the profligate failure of any budgetary responsibility etc. and rather predictabley it looks like Labour wasn’t in line with the Lib Dem manifesto AT ALL. The reason that you don’t want to trawl through the last parliament is that if you did it would be abundantly clear that you’re speaking with absolutely no factual basis.

    Seriously Dan, you need to check your facts, realise you’re being openly stupid to say Labour implemented more of our manifesto than we are doing now, and then just be quiet. I am no blind supporter of the Lib Dems, i think the tuition fees pledge was a major balls up and i sincerely hope that the nhs reforms don’t go through but unlike you I can actually weigh up situations in a balanced and above all FACTUAL manner. Go through the last parliament and count up how many Lib Dem policies were implemented. If it’s more than 40 then reply. If it’s not then you are soo clearly talking rubbish that you should save yourself the embarassment and stop replying on this thread.

  • @Dan

    Note: ‘viciously regressive even at a time of financial leeway’. It is almost impossible not to be regressive in a recession. You can only mitigate the extent of the regression and I think the lib dems have done that quite well with the bank levy, capital gains, income tax threshold increase etc. In comparison Labour presided over 13 years of unparalleled economic growth and still REDUCED social mobility.

  • @Dave Page . ‘Some peple we will never win back’ That, with respect, is the most accurate of all your observations. And my comment here will be deleted!

  • “KL, I think perhaps you’re missing the point. You can’t say you object to tuition fees while your MPs introduce them. Not unless you want to look like a dishonest and feckless bunch of political chancers.”

    We didn’t introduce them, Labour did. What exactly is wrong with campaigning against something you don’t want to see introduced, just because you’re in a political party doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they do in government (as a minority coalition partner no less, and still implementing a graduated rate of repayment and loans for part-time students even if I disagree with the system as a whole).

    We’re not all tribal party machines, if we were we’d be closing our minds to innovative ways to deal with the nations problems. That makes you unelectable.

  • I don’t think voters remember manifesto commitments….. or even know them for that matter and most of them don’t have human contact with us.

    We have to think what we were projecting on the economy, on education (and higher education), on taxation (and avoidance because Vince had a lot of media coverage on this), health, welfare (including pensions), the environment, defence, the law (and human rights inc. ID Cards/database state, freedom), etc, etc.

    On this basis I don’t think we’re really doing billiantly:

    – We done a volte face on the economy
    – We seem to be privatising education for the benefit of people like Toby Young (because he’s angry with his parents???????)
    – We have done a volte face on higher education and people are very unhappy including many in the party
    – We can’t even stick to the coalition agreement on health
    – We’re in the process of demolishing the welfare state but it looks like we might be helping pensioners
    – I’m lost at where we’re at on the environment although I keep being told by Cameron that this is the greenest government ever although Clegg is sending messages about nuclear and Chris Huhne is sending jibes back!!!!
    – Defence, again, I’m puzzled, but think we’ve had to concede plus we’re involved in a very selective (we seem to be helping Bahrain put down their protests) bombing for democracy campaign in an oil rich part of the Middle East with the demented ‘Sarko’ as one of our allies
    – I think we’ve had some losses but also some win with the our message on the law and human rights…. we’ve ditched ID cards, renamed control orders, stopped child detention at one site but moved to another. We’ve lost on immigration, prisons policy I’m not sure about although privatising in order to enrich those at the top of companies specialising in nothing but ex-public sector Tory cast offs
    – Equality is a disaster starting with the spending review when we refused to look at the effects on different groups including women
    – Culture we’ve lost

    On a more general level I think Clegg crawling all over the odious Cameron is a big loss too and the thought that they may be doing a ‘buddy movie’ style roadshow together in order to sell ‘us’ the dreadful NHS reforms is bad too.

    These are the reasons that simply ticking off manifesto commitments doesn’t work and why we’ve lost roughly over half of our vote. Commitments have to be coupled together so that when you reduce tax for the poorest you’re not at the same time reducing their jobs to rubble or taking away numerous key public services at the same time that cost them a relative fortune or raise VAT.

    I am really frustrated because I am very pro-AV but if this gets turned into a Cleggarendum it would be diabolical. We really have to stop talking rubbish in a smarmy way and pretend that the voters are just wrong. The reality is that we’ve joined the Tories despite Clegg promising otherwise and everything we do gets pretty screwd up.

    This is just my view anyway.

    Anyone know how the Ghurkas veterens are doing these days??????

  • This is a worthwhile initiative which nevertheless won’t appease those who think that Tories are the children of Satan and have no right to govern.

  • @Londonliberal

    Well, you ask me who I might vote for next time – and the answer is it probably at the moment won’t be for a party that promised (and even personally pledged) so much – coupled with a plea to change politics for the better – and worse is supporting policies on the health service that were not even mentioned in the coalition agreement.

    You do need to understand that there is a whole bunch of voters just like me that you reached out to, who voted for you and just feel completely let down. And please don’t give me the line that you can only make so much difference – you made your bed and now you are in it and there were other choices.

    I think there’s only a few months more of blaming Labour for everything under the sun that the electorate will put up with from the LibDems – after that you are firmly and squarely with the Tories as one and will be judged as such.

  • Bradley Colmans 5th Apr '11 - 12:07am

    Until the party stops trying to pretend and goes back to its grassroot policy and stop insulting their supporters with these weak claims the party will continue to slide to the abyss. I am one of those supporters who will never vote for the party (a party I have always supported) until Clegg is banished along with the other faux LibDems. They are destroying the party I love along with all its principles. You can look into minor little “successes” mostly in policies that where already agreed with by the Tories, but it will be a long time before the party that has allowed the Tories to get away with Student Fees and even more disappointedly with the privatisation of the NHS for the Tories’ big business friends, will be forgiven. I expect the Tories to act the way they do, I never thought I would see the day when a so called LibDem party helped them.
    Shame on the Clegg Lib party. Lets hope for the heart of the party to be listened to soon

  • daft ha'p'orth 5th Apr '11 - 1:01am

    @Dave Page

    “For what it’s worth, I’ve taken the time to explain on the doorstep some of the positive facts about the new tuition fees regime – the lower monthly payments and higher threshold, the extension to part-time degrees and other forms of HE, and the improved access agreements.”

    Oh yes? Try that at my house, which contains an ELQ student on a STEM subject who has been left high and dry by your ‘policies’, and you’ll get short shrift. Many people aren’t eligible for your tuition loans, and won’t benefit from your ‘lower monthly payments’. Instead, they’ve just had to shelve their plans, probably for good, because the dear old Lib Dems think ELQ students don’t get kicked in the teeth often enough.

    As a university employee with a decent grasp of the likely effects of these changes, I am sorry for my university and for the sector, which has been serially abused by all the major parties, none of whom seem to be capable of distinguishing what the VCs say they want from what the sector actually needs. So don’t knock on my door.

  • @Bradley Colmans

    I don’t think the Lib Dems let the Tories get away with tuition fees, it’s a Lib Dem minister in charge of that fiasco…

  • Leviticus18_23 5th Apr '11 - 7:43am

    And don’t forget Control Orders. They were really bad, so the Lib Dems helped to… change the name.

  • @Richard

    “……which nevertheless won’t appease those who think that Tories are the children of Satan….”

    For all those people who voted for us and were anti-Tory, do you think they feel pleasantly surprised and are kicking themselves for totally mis-judging the Nasty Party? Or do they probably feel correct in their judgement and are dreading the next few years under a Tory government?

    I’m guessing the latter but it’s just a guess.

  • Nigel Quinton 5th Apr '11 - 10:49am

    @Frank – very much agree with your analysis above. Its not about specific manifesto items for the majority of the population, its about the perception of what Liberal Democrats stand for now, and many are confused. Clegg’s love in with Cameron is disastrous, but worse is the Labour-style spin we have been reduced to spouting.

  • an angry voter 5th Apr '11 - 11:14am

    No wish to sound cynical but when your canvasser in my area says that a vote for Lib Dems will get rid of tuition fees ‘and this time we mean it’ she adds, does make me think that its proof you were going on promises with no intention of keeping.

    Still after all, I’m a cretin and ungrateful creature according to the Liberal Democrats

  • toryboysnevergrowup 5th Apr '11 - 1:30pm


    You could also add dealing with the economic crisis using Keynesian economics as they used to be supported by Vince.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 5th Apr '11 - 1:35pm

    What I would find interesting is an analysis of proposals set out in the Orange Book but rejected by the LibDem conference which are now being implemented. If only if it would make ordinary LibDem members realise that there has been something of a coup in their party.

  • Ruth Bright 5th Apr '11 - 8:00pm

    William mentions more research into dementia – this pales into insignificance when cash-starved councils are shutting day centres and downgrading “luxury” services like activity therapy for people with Alzheimer’s. So often the coalition gives with one hand and takes away with the other.

  • Putting aside the annoying fact that the website is very ‘sticky’ and won’t let me click away from it, the main problem is that this is a ‘box ticking’ exercise that largely ignores the big issues: tuition fees and health.

    Most uni’s will now charge £9K/year. Trust me, from personal experience this sort of debt is scary if you’re from a working-class/average background. And it’s a debt, not a ‘graduate tax’ – I pay income tax every month; I don’t get a big ‘income tax statement’ saying what I need to pay, with interest, over the next 10-20 yrs. The tuition fees enabled by the Lib Dems imply that university confers purely selfish, personal benefits – if a person from a poor background works hard – and forgoes years of income – to get, say, an electrical engineering degree, and then goes on to start up a hi-tech company that employs 10s-100s, well, presumably that’s of no no benefit to society, eh?!

    As far as I can tell, the health plans seem to amount to removing national oversight, and funnelling taxpayer’s money – via GPs, who want to specialise in medical matters – to private company profits. US providers such as Tribal are rubbing their hands together in glee. A friend who works for a health authority confirms the policy is a shambles already.

    The above would be more palatable if (a) it had openly featured in the election and (b) the coalition was actually competent. I don’t remember NHS privatisation or tuition fee tripling coming up much in the Leaders’ debates. And where I work in the public sector we’ve had a sort ‘shock & d’oh!’: first came the mad cutting plans, then the shambolic rowing back when they realised it can’t be done without everything falling apart!

  • David from Ealing 9th Apr '11 - 12:12pm

    There are some positive achievements, but what philosophy is it all based on? The party doesn’t seem to have one.

  • If it was a rugby score

    Change in position on reducing deficit – Conservatives 14 points
    Tuition Fees – 5 points (x2 try) 10 points
    NHS – points (x2 try + conversion) 14 points
    Allowing for mass privitisation of everything – (Forests etc ) (Try + conversion) 7 points
    Going along with Tory policies when the LDs don’t agree with them. 7 points


    Any major victories from the Liberal Democrats ?
    Raising tax threshold and maybe two others – 9 points maximum

    These denial of reality articles about how people view the electorate view the Liberal Democrats and what they have actually gained, I don’t think helps the Lib Dems at all. It is not about poor communication from the LDs, People understand what the LDs have enabled the Conservatives to do.

    Voters are very angry with the LDs particularly on undeclared policies like the privitisation of the NHS.
    The local elections in a few week will likely produce some very heavy losses, the AV vote may also be lost as well. Will some reality set in then ?

  • Does the background have to be blue? Please can change it?

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