Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blog Nation: left Lib Dems

At the Liberal Conspiracy blog nation event yesterday one speaker from the Social Liberal Forum told us that the biggest threat in this Parliament will be tribalism. He continued to predicate everything on the inevitability of Parliamentary mathematics and the idea that the Lib Dems had no choice but to support the coalition.

Well, I don't agree. Like my friend Dave Osler who gave a spirited rant in response I think the biggest threat posed by this Parliament is a slash and burn economic policy under pinned by a right-wing anti-state ideology.

It's estimated that between half a million and 1.3 million people will lose their jobs, millions of families who rely on public services will find their lives harder and many people will literally find themselves on the streets - all cheerfully supported by the Lib Dems en bloc, en masse, en tribe.

Anyone who saw the beleaguered Vince Cable on Question Time this week will have seen the shonky dishonesty of the Libs Dems on proud display. He weakly tried to justify this budget as progressive and good for the poor. He claimed to have changed his mind about VAT, coincidentally at the same time as being given a cushy treasury job, even he didn't believe it.

If Lib Dems want to dissent from the party, argue against the budget and other parts of the coalition deal then they're welcome to pride of place in any campaign I'm part of, but you don't get to posture as part of the left while supporting these extraordinary measures of mass impoverishment.

The speaker told us that if we rock the boat too hard it would "jeopardise the referendum on AV." Well, big deal. AV, like FPTP, will leave millions unrepresented in Parliament and millions more massively under represented. As carrots go it's pretty rotten.

The AV referendum is the Tory strategy to prevent PR, damn right I want to jeopardise it but not half as much as I want to challenge the down right villainy of this budget.

If Lib Dems want to hang out with the left then they need to buck up and stop pretending that they're taking part in some sort of "progressive coalition". Our job is to thwart the intentions of this government, not give excuses to its embarrassed supporters.


Sunny H said...

the idea that the Lib Dems had no choice but to support the coalition.

that isn't incompatible with thinking the biggest threat is cuts.

In fact, the left-libdems are not, as Linda Jack pointed out, that happy with the budget.

We can point out what we're unhappy with, but that doesn't mean Libdems have no right to be in govt. After all, Labour did the same. If the Greens got into govt, they would similarly have to abandon bit of their programme. That's the nature of centrism

Matt Sellwood said...

And why centrism is so utterly and totally ill-advised.

Jim Jepps said...

I thoguth Linda (if she's the person I'm thinking of) was very good, but she was clearly unrepresentative of the left lib dems in the room let alone in the party more generally.

I'm not sure I am arguing they have no right to be in government - I'm arguing that they can't pursue right wing policies in government and eat the left cake too.

I'm all for compromise. But there comes a point when a coalition becomes far more about feeling important and the prestige than it is about implementing policies you went into politics for.

If there's ever a green government (hmm) I have no problem with it producing a budget that has compromises, non-radical and bits I don't like in it. If, however, it is defined by those features then I'd be very outspoken about that.