Tag Archives: coalition years

Leadership and the C-word

Venn diagram of Lib Dem/Tory influence on Coalition policies“Two non-entities” – the curt analysis of historian David Starkey on the Lib Dem leadership race seems unduly harsh. But as a semidetached

Lib Dem looking for an excuse to reattach I have at the very least been struck by just how similar the two Lib Dem leadership candidates are.

The Lib Dems are now a very new and fresh party in the sense that most members have joined in very recent years or even months. For those of us with decades of libdemmery under our belts, Ed Davey and Jo Swinson almost feel like extended family. They are resilient folk who have been around for ages. Both of them are very much to be admired for withstanding the humiliation of losing their seats and then clawing those seats back.

White, middle-class, Oxbridge/Russell group, neither at first sight really exude life’s hard knocks. In fact, both have put forward moving accounts of just how searing real life can be. Jo Swinson’s speech in Parliament on combining politics and early motherhood was an astonishingly frank tour de force. Ed Davey’s poignant radio interview on his experience of early bereavement was truly memorable.

But, and it’s a very big but, how do we process their work in coalition? There is a poverty of debate in the party about the Coalition and about… err… poverty. The Lib Dems dropped austerity unceremoniously in 2015 (almost as suddenly as it was adopted back in 2010) and by 2017 it was almost as if the Coalition had never happened.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 141 Comments

A mistake from the Coalition years that we must never repeat

I still think that we did the right thing to go into Government. We did a lot of good on mental health, the environment and education and we stopped the Tories from doing a whole load of nasty stuff that they proceeded to do the minute we were out the door.

However, we made some howlers of mistakes. It would be very strange if we didn’t. Some of them were completely avoidable. And one in particular, I can’t just let pass.

Recently, Polly Mackenzie, then a Special Adviser to Nick Clegg, was celebrating the Lib Dem plastic bag tax.

Posted in Op-eds | 154 Comments
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