Sleepwalking into oblivion…..
Sunny Hundal, writing on Liberal Conspiracy, writes in support of the Compass proposals to encourage tactical voting. Supporters of non-tribal politics seem to be flocking to support the idea which is understandable. However, I think it is simplistic to see a hung Parliament as automatically leading to a Lib-Lab pact as some do; in fact, I think the likely outcome is that the Liberal Democrats will, in fact, support the Conservatives, not formally but in a ‘supply and confidence’ manner.
Let’s be quite clear that this is not just based upon personal experience or the fact that the Liberal Democrats are in coalition with the Conservatives in many areas. It is based upon a reading of Nick Clegg’s character and policies especially and although it is totally fair to say that the leader is not the party let’s also be quite clear that were the Lib Dems to gain a vast amount of seats Clegg’s personal capital would carry him and his prospectives a long way. Indeed, given recent events who honestly feels that the LD’s would really defy their leader?
So, what does Clegg think? Let’s look at The Liberal Moment published just last year. Clegg says of Labour:
“I believe Labour’s basic approach to governance – to social, political, economic and environmental progress is fundamentally flawed”.
He complains that ‘top-down, state-centred’ approachs to social problems are the wrong response; ironic, considering he wants to use the state to break-up the banks amoung other things. Talking about the ‘suggestion’ that Liberal Democrats ‘fall in line to hold back the rise of the Conservatives’ Clegg says he would ‘never’ contemplate such a move. He talks about the problems with Labour in power like the Iraq War and the curtailment of civil liberties but crucially he says:
“even if none of these things had happened the Liberal Democrats would remain a very different party with a very different ideological core”
Clegg hardly sounds here like somebody spoiling for a ‘progressive Lab-Lib alliance’ does he? Instead, he argues that Labour is undergoing the same fate that befell the old Liberal Party and this is what gives the Liberal Democrats their opportunity. Selectively he talks about Labour turning on the Lib Dems by entering coalition with the Conservatives to keep them from power. Anybody can tell this is a one-sided and biased account of a situation where Lib Dem’s ‘turning’ on Labour is just as likely. Clegg feels that the chances of the Liberal Democrats replacing Labour as Britain’s leading progressive party are ‘high and growing’. Given that are people really naive enough to think he would prop Labour up? If people want an end to tribal politics then casting their vote, even tactically, for Nick Clegg is not the way to achieve it…..before you cast your Compass vote take the time to read what Clegg really thinks.