Tag Archives: coaliiton

Coalition Years – The Good, The Bad and What of the Future

I wanted to do an article on the coalition years by looking at what we did well, what we could have done better and the consequence post-coalition. I want to make it clear that I was not in favour of an alliance with the Tories and would have preferred to have supported the Tories on a case-by-case basis (a bit like the DUP) with the main proviso that we get PR (and not a billion pounds) first before offering support. I would not have advocated joining the government because it’s difficult to critically question your partner in government and take credit for your policies. I wouldn’t quite go as far as holding up furry handcuffs as Linda did (I believe) in Birmingham but I felt it was a mistake to go into coalition with the Tories simply because they cannot be trusted.

Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers and other senior ministry proved their high calibre in government. They did a great job and were easily equal to any Tory minister. Our party brought forward some excellent initiatives that have benefited this country: the Green bank, pupil premium, increased support for mental health patients, same-sex marriage legislation and reducing the threshold where you start to pay tax to name but a few achievements.

Thirteen years of Labour government marginally increased pensions whereas we, led by Steve Webb, introduced the triple lock on the state pension. In the five years we were in government we built more homes than labour had done in the last thirteen years. Other achievements can be seen in an article written for LDV by Robin Bennett dated Friday 19th May 2017: https://www.libdemvoice.org/achievements-of-the-libdems-in-coalition-20102015-54382.htm

Posted in News and Op-eds | 74 Comments

Vince Cable’s take on tribal Tories and the tyranny of the Treasury

Vince Cabe has nothing to lose. He’s (sadly) not an MP any more. In his new book, he could have gone absolutely to town trashing everyone’s performance in the coalition. But he didn’t. In an interview with the Guardian yesterday and an extract from his forthcoming book, he gave a thoughtful critique of the coalition years.

While Nick Clegg was right to have “the quad”, he and Danny Alexander gave too much power to the Treasury and didn’t challenge it enough, says Vince. That is a reasonable criticism.

On the Tories

Vince also talked about the tribalism of the Tories and h0w “vicious” they could be if their vested interests were challenged but rather than criticise them for it, he suggests that we might have been too nice:

The Tories collectively could be appalling, with some ugly tribal prejudices, and when their party interests were directly challenged, they could be vicious. During the alternative vote referendum, they channelled funding to Labour-led groups that specialised in scurrilous personal attacks on Nick, which led to one of the few cases of real verbal fisticuffs in Cabinet. But as individuals they were invariably courteous, professional, often likable.

This ability to operate on different levels is part of the modus operandi of the House of Commons. But the Tories appeared to have an exceptional ability to compartmentalise, to commit political murder with a charming smile. I worried that, in its rapid ascent from the Championship to the Premier League, my party hadn’t acquired this ruthlessness, and has now paid the price.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 44 Comments
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