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.


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7 responses to “Sleepwalking into oblivion…..”

  1. Joe Otten says :

    Do you believe that anarchists are all basically right-wing or Tory? Just a question.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I think there are strong collerations between anarchism and libertarianism; including common political DNA and even a shared heritage yes and since libertarians are often, but admittedly not always, right-wing Conservatives then the basic answer I would have to give is yes with the qualification things are a bit more complex than that.


  3. Joe Otten says :


    Well I agree that (vulgar) libertarianism is right-wing and that libertarianism and anarchism are very similar, but this doesn’t stop anarchism being left wing. What right-winger would declare that property is theft after all?

    What this illustrates to me is that there are more than two political ideologies that exist, and that the relationships between them are not always straightforward. Conservatives, fascists and vulgar libertarians are right wing, bur are as different from each other as communists, socialists and anarchists are on the left.

    Your support for top-down state centred approaches can divide the political world into two halves but not all of either half is left wing or right wing.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I think we are arguing at cross-purposes here because ye I agree no right-winger would typically declare that. Similar does not mean the same; I am certainly not saying they are the same.

    I can agree there that reality can be more complicated. I guess you are harking after the libertarian/auhoritarian axis which can reflect a truth but like the left/right dichotomy can also be simplistic and reductive especially when it comes to economic issues.


  5. Joe Otten says :

    I’m not so sure that multiple axes improve that much on the hopeless single axis. There is something more qualitative to each party and each ideology than x% socialism and y% libertarianism.

    But to get back to your post I am a little surprised that you seem to read support for the Conservatives into any statement of opposition to Labour. Why would somebody with those blinkers ever join a third party in the first place?


  6. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Well maybe yes.

    It’s not so much a statement as a tirade and statement of intent and of strategic orientation really so I think on balance in this case the ‘reading in’ is fair.


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