We stand alone but stronger for it…..
Gordon Brown is gone and tonight 10 Downing Street is occupied by David Cameron. Whatever you may feel about policy; whether you see eye-to-eye with Brown or not it was hard not to be moved by the dignity with which Brown conducted himself. He will be a loss to Parliament and too Labour but his departure is, characteristically, the right thing to do. I never believed that the Liberal Democrats would support a ‘progressive alliance’ and in their deal with the Conservatives they have forfeited their ambition to ever replace Labour; Clegg wanted to replace Labour but now, instead, he is handmaiden to the Conservatives and Cameron and Labour stands alone; bloodied but far from unbowed.While backbenchers complained that a coalition with the Liberal Democrats would damage Labour they forgot the national interest although in terms of party interest they were probably right. It was right, in the context of the national interest, that Labour to try as it did to form a progressive alliance to spare this country the horrific prospect of economic butchery that now darkens the horizon. Ed Ball’s speaking on the BBC said that the talks failed due to the Liberal Democrats keenness on deficit reduction; if this is right then it is quite right that we go into opposition and that we did not surrender ground on this issue. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Labour was used as a gambit in the negotiations with the Conservatives; that Clegg never had any intent of doing a deal with Labour. So, whatever mud is thrown at Labour people should remember that; no doubt they will try and blame Labour but that simply doesn’t stick. All the Liberal Democrat attacks on the Conservatives are hollow words; not even ‘supply and confidence’ but instead a formal coalition where they will be collectively responsible for the actions of the Conservatives and there will be no escape from this. All those Liberal Democrats in the North East, Scotland and Wales and all the other areas which David Cameron has said will bear the brunt of the cuts now have to realise they will be part of bringing misery and impoverishment to their areas as will those in the rest of the country – so much for ‘fairness’. In Scotland and Wales Liberal Democrats are now collectively responsible for foisting on those areas a government with absolutely no democratic mandate. In Europe, the great ‘Europhiles’ are formally part of a government whose allegiance is to frankly, all sorts of unpleasant types.
So, what have they won? STV as a project is dead; maybe, just maybe they will win a vote on AV but then again even that is not certain as the public backlash against 5 days of deal or no deal may well effect their chances of even winning this reform. Some concessions on tax wont be allowed and we can guarantee the logistics of a tax proposal which already benefitted those higher up the scale will be weighted much more in their favour; meanwhile they will be part of attacks on benefits. They will be part of dragooning the sick on incapacity into work and slashing already merge benefits. I have no doubt they will have to accept an immigration cap and be part of enforcing it. So, alot to be proud of then. All sold for a referendum on a voting system they don’t even want in the first place; something that will kill forever their chances of advancing towards STV and in the long-run this is the beginning of the end of the party; their one-hope of ever achieving power was STV and that is gone.Meanwhile, if you want an indication of the future then look at the fate of ‘libservative’ councils at the last set of local elections. Council elections often prefigure the national political undercurrent and here Labour’s results were a resounding success. All those who advocated, like Compass, a ‘tactical vote’ for the Liberal Democrats as an anti-Tory vote look, frankly, rather silly. A sad day for Labour but by no means a calamity.