No to coalition With Lib Dems
Posted by Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, at 10:43, Fri 28 September 2012:
Let’s face it politicians are absolutely hopeless at apologies. They don’t do them and when they do they are for events for which they weren’t and couldn’t have been responsible. Tony Blair apologised for the Irish potato famine of the mid nineteenth century, Margaret Thatcher similarly for doing nothing about the German invasion of Sudetenland which took place when she was thirteen and Gordon Brown said sorry for the conviction of Alan Turing. Breaking with precedent the hapless Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Lib Dems, has got in on the act about tuition fees for which he did have responsibility but he has still got it wrong! Instead of a full blown mea culpa for voting to treble tuition fees when he had signed a pledge to remove them all together, he has apologised for the promise itself not its breach. This is like an unfaithful husband apologising for taking marriage vows and not his infidelity but still expecting to philander and keep his partner. The Lib Dems are only registering single figures in the opinion polls leaving it fourth behind UKIP, while his party activists are busy promoting motions of no confidence in him. Nick Clegg’s partnership with the electorate and his party is heading for divorce which is the real reason for this pseudo apology. This is the Nick Clegg who during the General Election told the nation ‘it was time to say goodbye to broken promises’. This solemn declaration of a new honesty in politics lasted less than a fortnight, sniffing the intoxicating aroma of power and high office he jettisoned virtually every policy and promise he had made during the General Election. The health service instead of needing more money he now wanted to privatise and demolish, in fact nothing could make him happier than joining the Conservative’s project to restructure the public sector in favour of private capital and profit. Questioned in the rose garden at Number 10 he was unable to think of any policy disagreement with David Cameron. He became a brilliant exemplar of power not only corrupting but exposing. Clegg wasn’t interested in how to create a fairer society. What he really wanted was a permanent share of the spoils. His big demand during the coalition negotiations was not to help the financial lot of students, they weren’t even mentioned, but constitutional change. By reforming the House of Lords and changing the voting system he hoped to create hung parliaments in perpetuity; realising the dream of all Lib Dems to be permanently in Government however the electorate voted. Nick Clegg was self evidently insincere when he aspired to make broken promises history, but even if his sincerity had been beyond reproach the coalition negotiations would most likely have destroyed it. The coalition negotiations between the Conservatives and Lib Dems were by their very nature a conspiracy against the electorate. The parties having campaigned hard on their manifestos decided that they would create new policies for their own convenience, some of which the electorate had never seen. Secret negotiations between eight people became more important than the dialogue between parties and tens of millions of voters. The coalition agreement became a binding manifesto from which the electorate were wholly excluded. Vince Cable and some members of the Lib Dems think they can remain in government after the next election if Labour is the largest party but without a Commons majority by performing the same trick. Ed Miliband is giving credibility to this notion by letting it be known that he and Vince are text buddies. I for one am against doing a post election deal with the Lib Dems, who have shown themselves to be enthusiastic in pursuing the Conservatives’ programme. I don’t want to be in an alliance with a party that has spent four or five years helping the rich with tax cuts, attacking the poor and dismantling the welfare state. I also don’t think Labour should replicate the stage two manifesto process that has characterised this coalition. It is part of a process which is turning the British electorate from sceptical to cynical. It would damage democracy as well as Labour. Labour MPs should stick as far as is humanly possible to voting for what they say at election time. Clegg’s non apology should be taken for what it is, a calculated move to restore credibility to a pathetic man who is way out of his depth. Having watched the self destruction of Clegg and the Lib Dems Labour should learn the lesson and not fall into this power trap. The Labour leadership should make it clear now that there will be no cosy deal done with anybody who has been part of this shameful government.