Tag Archives: coalition government

The pointless question is….

No not the quiz programme.  I am asking about the Liberal Democrats – a minor, centrist political party in the United Kingdom.  A Party that for 86 years has espoused a fairer and more representative voting system but for some inexplicable reason in 2017 it lost all enthusiasm for coalition government.

Our current leader said during the last election campaign “I would be astonished if he (Tim Farron) countenanced any kind of coalition with Labour or the Conservatives.”  So here is the very big SO – why bother voting for us, after all there was no chance that we would be forming a Government.  If we weren’t going to countenance a coalition with either of the two main parties how were we going to bring our influence to bear in securing a second referendum, for instance.

This was a denial of our long standing, honourable and rational argument for a fairer voting system that more reflects the diverse views of the electorate.  An argument first made by the Liberal Party in their 1931 General Election manifesto.

The conditions of the present Election are one more proof of the imperative need of a reform in the electoral system if the real wishes of the voters are to be truly expressed at the polls.

The purpose being that

Posted in Op-eds | 29 Comments

How should we approach future coalitions?

If we do decide to take part in future Coalitions, one thing that does need to be resolved is how to approach them.  Make no bones about it – we were nearly annihilated.  Play it like that again, and we could be doomed to oblivion.  Yet if we choose never to go into Government again, we’re doomed to impotence.  Scylla and Charybdis had nothing on this.

Last time the voters viewed us as having “got into bed with the Conservatives” rather than partners in something different.  The Rose Garden set the image: a love-in rather than a business partnership. One with us seen as the weak partner: dominated rather than dominant.  This might elicit sympathy, but voters won’t flock to who they see as the victim.  They seek out strength in their leaders.  Consider how Labour portrayed Nick Clegg (unfairly) in “The Incredible Shrinking Man” in 2014’s European Elections.

We’ve had analyses on what went wrong.  Nick Harvey’s “After the Rose Garden” has detailed prescriptions and is well worth a read.  George Kendall posted ideas in the direction I was thinking, and Bill le Breton highlighted that a workable and successful approach already exists for hung Councils, hung Parliaments and hung Assemblies in “Life in the Balance”, by ALDC.

Things that come out again and again include making the transactional nature clear, exposing linkages with wins, losses and trade-offs.  Keeping your distance (an arrangement, not a marriage) makes it harder to portray you as weak and dominated.  

Posted in Op-eds | 27 Comments

Former BBC Director General: Liberal Democrats secured better settlement for BBC

Former BBC Director General Mark Thompson has told how the Liberal Democrats in coalition government secured a “different and better” settlement for the BBC. Now that the Conservatives are unmoderated, things are not so good for what many feel is the highest quality public service broadcaster in the world.

The Guardian reports:

Giving his his first interview about the BBC since he left in 2012, after eight years at the helm, Thompson said the broadcaster was having to pay for government policy. “It’s welfare … It’s totally inappropriate to use BBC to support social transfer in this country.”

When George Osborne tried to impose the same cost on the BBC during negotiations in 2010, Thompson started writing his resignation letter, along with several BBC Trustees. This July the current director general, Tony Hall, agreed to shoulder the burden in return for relief from other costs.

“In 2015 the political circumstances are very different and it is much tougher for the BBC. In 2010 it was the coalition government and the Liberal Democrats … played a very big part in securing a different and better settlement. That recourse has not been available to the BBC this year.”

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Steve Webb talks about how a pension age “bad decision” was resolved

We’re hearing quite a lot about the ins and outs of the coalition government these days. Yesterday it was Vince talking about his relationship with Osborne or lack of it. Today, Steve Webb has been speaking to the Institute of Government about his experience as Pensions Minister.

Widely regarded as one of the most successful coalition ministers, Steve Webb reformed the Pensions system, making sure everyone has access to a workplace pension, introducing the triple lock to stop the paltry increases of Labour years and enabling people to access their pension fund early if they need to.

He specifically referred to a situation early on when ministers and made a decision about raising the pension age and had to later change their minds when it became clear how badly some women were going to be affected.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Vince Cable on “decaying” relationship with “bloody-minded” Osborne in government

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The Lib Dem minister and the carefully annotated 500-page document that was shredded by mistake

It’s Friday, so it must be time to read Civil Service World, which sounds like one of those publications they feature at the end of “Have I got news for you?”. (Baroness) Lindsay Northover tells the magazine about her experiences of working with civil servants, while serving as a whip in the coalition government. Lindsay is very complimentary, in the main, about civil servants. She tells of one of the challenges of coalition government:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Clegg: Lib Dems bring conscience and stability to a Coalition

As the Lib Dem manifesto is launched, with a headline of giving opportunity to kids, which is much more inspiring than the Tory extend right to buy in middle of housing crisis caused by right to buy and Labour waffle on deficit, Nick Clegg has been talking to the Guardian’s Patrick Wintour. His theme is that we know that the election is not going to give anyone an overall majority, and asks who people want to be walking into Downing Street with Cameron or Miliband.

the looming question in the next phase of this campaign is whether there is to be a coalition of grievance, or of conscience. The last thing the British economy needs is the instability and factionalism that those coalitions of grievance of right and left represents

He talks about UKIP and the SNP offering the “politics of grievance”. Though he uses the same theme of Labour being forced to dance to Alex Salmond’s tune, he stops short of the ridiculous things being said by the Tories on that. He also makes a very important part about the failures of the Labour Party:

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